Friday, March 27, 2009

Special Announcement: New "N Scale Limited" Web Site

You have most likely noticed a significant decrease in activity here at Rotating Coupler. That's only because the down time was necessary to complete a project that has been in the works for some time.

Many of you are probably familiar with Frank Giacobbe, author of the N Scale Modeling blog. He and I have not only been writing and sharing information with the readers of our blogs, but with each other.  We began collaborating on projects behind the scenes and found that we have surprisingly common interests in modeling -- specifically big cities in the 1940s. It was just a matter of time before we started working on a project together officially.  And that time has come.

Frank and I are very pleased to announce a brand new Web site called N Scale Limited which is dedicated to the N scale model railroader. It will have all of the same information and discussion you've been getting from our separate blogs -- just bigger and better than ever. Our individual blogs, Rotating Coupler and N Scale Modeling will be discontinued but will remain available for your convenience.

Please join us at N Scale Limited and we look forward to building a great new community of modelers there. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where have I gone to?

Hi everyone, it has been quiet around here for the past few weeks and I apologize greatly about that, but don't worry, I will make it all up to everyone very soon.  So just sit tight and be patient cause you wont see anymore posts till then, but you will like what you see.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Dominion Building - The Results are In.

I am home from the show and I am here to tell you how the Dominion Building fared in the contest.

Best of Show
1st place in Structure category
3rd in peoples choice

What really made me happy was I had competition at this show unlike the last show I entered in.  The HO victorian building was really good, it had a few minor issues, but still was a great model, a few of the other structures were good but not great.  There were a other models in different categories that were great, such as a S-scale caboose and a amazing N-scale SD70mac.  One thing that I was a little disappointed with was this wasn't a NMRA judged show, so no points unfortunately.  Also note the colors of the ribbons, Red is first and Blue is second???  When I walked up I thought I only took second but then I read the ribbon, sort of strange.  Another thing, I entered my building a day after most of the other models so I lost out on many votes, and I knew this would happen but I needed the time to touch up a few things, or maybe I am just making excuses.

Again I want to thank you guys for the input and suggestions with this building, it really helped me to build a better model.

Thank you,

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dominion Update - IT IS DONE!!!

This will be quick because I still have a few things to get ready for the show tomorrow, which actually started tonight but I don't need to enter it till noon tomorrow.  For the last week I have been rushing to finish off all the last little tasks on the building, and I just realized I knocked off a sprinkle and so I need to fix it.  
I will post more into detail on the things that I did such as the Uncle Sam sign created by the sign master Frank and the smoke stack going up the back.  Also I will give a better farewell to the Dominion as well on Sunday night after I find out how I faired at the show.  Then we will finish of the Gordon and another incomplete building soon, then I will begin a few new ones.
Let me give an informal Thank You! to all of you who have been following this build, your comments, emails and support are priceless to me and mean so much, you keep me motivated. 
Most of all I want to thank Frank, Jeff (my brother), and my wife for the never ending support.

Thank You,
Christopher Brimley  

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Cute Little Break

As most of you know it has been rather quiet lately, going from daily Gordon posts, to almost nothing.  The reason behind this is I am hurrying to get the Dominion done for the Ogden show on Friday, I will post Thursday night if I have time on the finished building.  As I have been slaving away on it I regularly had my oldest daughter watching and asking question after question after question (she's three).  But a few days ago I was doing some painting and she was determined to help, but that wasn't going to happen, so to calm her down I told her I would get her very own building to work on and that defused the situation.
So yesterday after I came home we went to the local hobby store to pick one out.  There wasn't anything "cheap" enough in N-scale so I dug around in the HO structures and found her a little Bachman house  for five dollars.
Later that night we began work on her very own building.  Under my close supervision I let her cut the parts off of the sprues with my Xuron cutters.  Once we had all the parts removed, we began assembly.  I let her figure out what parts went next and she did a very good job with that, I then assembled it for her.  On the box in big bold letters it states NO GLUE REQUIRED,  ha what a joke, without glue it was nothing more than a rickety shanty, so I glued it up.  Today she wants to paint it, so we'll see how that goes.  On a side note, it is very strange working in HO after doing N for so long, it felt huge, and seems like it would be a cakewalk to scratch build in.
I was proud of her, with the items she did, she did a great job.  In the new issue of Nscale Railroading, there is an article by Danica Kempinski daughter of the amazing Bernie Kempinski, where she makes a very good apple orchard, so this means I can groom my daughters to build all of my trees for me, ah that will be nice:)  These are a few pictures of her working on her building and one with her and the finished building.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Great Link and Free Signs to Boot.

Hi all, 
I just rediscovered a website that I haven't been to in years, in is called the Triveno Circle, and is run by James A. Powell.  The layout that he has been building is in HO but ideas, styles and basic construction is generally universal in all scales, so I don't discriminate against the other scales except TT, right now it looks silly, but so did N when it first arrived.  But anyway his layout is called the Wiscsasset Trivino & Western, it is an excellent layout with many great structures.  He has a style that is a little unique, he weathers the pants off of everything and the layout has a very dark undertone.  I highly suggest checking it out.

But one of the bonuses of his site is he has many great free signs to download.  I have a few examples down below that are from his site.  I have had these signs for many years but had forgotten where I had gotten them from, you may notice on a few of my structures I have used these signs, most recently on the Gordon.  Just click on the free signs tab on his site for many more to download.  Just one note, the signs are at a high resolution so the quality is excellent, you will need to shrink them down so they will be appropriate for N-scale.  

So don't just take the signs from here and his site, spend some time looking at his amazing layout and get some great ideas.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Gordon Building - Inspiration

I have had a number of people ask if the Gordon is based on a prototype or if it is my own design, the short answer is yes!

There have been many that I have taken ideas from, but the two main influencers are the two buildings bellow.  I don't know the names of either but I will tell you the little info that I do know.  

The first I do know it resides in mid town Manhattan among the thousands of nameless mid-block mid-rises.  I initially was going to use this design at the reduced height of where the Gordon currently sits.  I decided to change it up when I found the photo of the other building and I decided to make it into a okay example of art-deco.  That building is in Europe, but I forget what country.   

Gordon Building Update - Davids Delicatessen

Building this little delicatessen took me considerably longer than I originally expected.  I also fought with it more than any other part of the this building, but it seems to have worked out.  

Like the entrance I built the door first and work out from it, I find this helps to keep things proportionate.  The door is a standard 36 x 72" and I built it from .020 x .020", .040"  and .080" strip.  Then I began to build up the deli from the bottom up.  I use primarily .010 x 040" and .020" square strip.  Sorry I am not to terribly descriptive on how it was built.

I painted the door with a mix I had made up a while ago and the painted the rest of the structure an olive drab.  I swear that everything in New York was painted olive drab in mid 20th century.  

The signs are mix of some that I through together and some that I have had for awhile.  The bit of tile in the entry was another texture that I printed from CG Textures.  I will be adding an awning once the rest of the structure is together, I also will add many more details on and in the windows at a later stage as well.  The front is essentially done now, so I will be moving on to the right side, other than that side the roof is the only other part that will be finished, the back and left will be forever unfinished, why waste time and materials on them.  

So what going to end up on the left?  Well it is going to be another structure on the scale of the Steven's, but I don't know for sure, what I do know is it will be a challenge to build and if I pull it off it should be rather neat.  But as always I could change my mind, stay tuned.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gordon Building Update - Entry

I finished the main entry to the Gordon today.  I built the doors first so the whole thing would grow out from that.  The doors are built from .020 x .040" and .100" strip styrene and they stand at seven scale feet tall.  The side windows are made from the same stock as the doors and then some .020" square strip for the mullions.
I then used the same trick for the blocks as I did for the top, used some scrap siding that I used up on the windows and then built the lintel over the door.  I used the same trick for painting as before and it matched perfect, I am glad I have this all typed here incase I need to do all of this again.  Next I made two little sconces from .010 x .020" and .040" strip and then used a silver prisma color marker to color it, I used the same thing on the door.  Then last I used some Woodland Scenics dry transfer lettering for the address.
Tomorrow I hope to have the other side at least started, I am planning a Delicatessen, but I may change that, I also want to do a small radio station but I may wait on that, we'll see.  

Favorite Buildings - Sun Tower

Sun Tower
Vancouver, Canada -1912-

The Sun Tower was an structure that I almost built instead of the Dominion.  I debated between the two for a few days and we all know what route I took.  The funny thing is I don't know where I got the confidence to even consider either, I had only scratch built one structure and must have felt invincible.  But by doing so I forced myself to learn so much.  The funny thing about this building is that it is only about a block away from the real Dominion and was the building that past up the Dominion in height to become the tallest building in the British Empire.  I still would like to build this structure someday but I don't need too may Vancouver landmarks in my eastern U.S layout.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Favorite Buildings - Newhouse & Boston Buildings

Newhouse & Boston Buildings
Salt Lake City, UT -1908-

This pair of eleven story buildings has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember, one reason for that is because they are so close to home.   The buildings are actually fraternal twins, each has slightly different ornamentation, but basically the same.  I think it was the Boston went through a renovation last year and the other had one done a few years earlier.  These two are structures that I definitely model (in a few years), those curves will be a bear.

On a side note, a few of you have introduced to some amazing buildings that I have never seen or heard of before, and I love it.  So some of the others that are visiting, please share with me some of your favorites, I really would like to know.

Gordon Building Update - Windows

I said I wasn't going to post on the Gordon tonight but my plans fell through and so I built windows.  I used a technique that I have been wanting to try ever sense I designed a warehouse a few years ago.  What I use is a etched brass mesh to kill all the mullions but it looked to flat so I  added some .020" square strip styrene on top of the mesh. 
I then sprayed on a primer after I masked the windows off so the brass would hold the paint.  I wanted a darker color in the windows so I used a flat dark grey, in the photos it looks textured but in-person it looks fine.

Some of you are probably scratching your head in confusion because of the way I am building this, I wanted to try finishing the front facade before adding the rest of the structure.  On other projects I felt I fought with it more as an assembled structure, and caused damage as I went along, so far I am really enjoying this method and will try it more in the future, but it may depend on the structure as well.  At the rate I have been going I hope the have the front done by the weekend so I can start the rest of the structure.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gordon Building Update - Paint

Yes I went ahead and painted the front shell, I have been having fun with this, it really feels nice going to a smaller project, its like a vacation.  So because of this excitement I have been moving at a steady pace, and so the Sunday only update wont work on a smaller project.  
I gave it a base coat of Polly Scale ????, most of the label is gone.  I got it for free (not five finger free) from my local hobby shop, I wanted some empty mixing bottles and he was out so he gave me a bunch of old paint he had, but this one was still good.  Once dry I attacked with india ink/alcohol wash and that made it a little darker than I wanted.  So when all was dry I came after the wash with another wash of Polly Scale Dust, as I reworked over a few spots I noticed the paint was stripping the india ink wash and it looked AMAZING!  What happened was the brush removed the wash on the surfaces but not in the corners and cracks and I must say is one of the best paint jobs I have ever done, or as Bob Ross would say "A happy accident".  The pictures do a horrid job showing my paint job on the building, the blocks turned out better than I hoped for and now I really regret not adding them to the rest of the building.
Next up I will build the windows and there are ONLY TWELVE!, unlike the 160 that I had on the Dominion, and the way I am going to do them will be a breeze.  I doubt I will post tomorrow on the Gordon cause I have other things to do but I will update when I get the windows done.

Favorite Buildings - Chicago Board of Trade

Chicago Board of Trade
Chicago, IL -1930-

If you are a fan of the New York Central (like myself) you will undoubtedly know this building, also if you are a fan of Batman Begins, this is the Wayne Enterprises building, they changed the building for the Dark Knight.  The LaSalle Street station that was served by the NYC and Rock Island railroads was across from this, but was raised for and expansion of the Board of Trade in 1983.  
Outside of New York this is the tallest Art Deco building in the world, it was also the tallest building in Chicago till 1965.  At the top of the building rests Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture.  Also there are numerous sculptures relating to Native Americans and the Harvest.

Gordon Pilaster Plans

Here are by request the plans and dimensions of the pilasters on the front of the Gordon that I built yesterday.  Click on the image to view it better.  Also the plans are scaled 3:1 so you could view them better, but all of the dimensions are accurate.

If anyone has requests like this I am more then happy to help out and supply the info.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Gordon Building Update - Facade Takes Shape

Sorry for the surprise but I got a large amount of work done on the facade of the Gordon.  

I had to add a .010" layer to start on the frame work, across the top 1/2" I cut strips of .010 x .125" a 1/4" long and made individual blocks.  It turned out extremely well and I should have done it all the way down, ah well.  I then built the tiny cornice on top and the slightly larger one above the first floor from various dimensions of strip.  
The three vertical parts have a core of .040 x .250" strip, then I added three layers of .080, .100 and .125 strip that is .010" thick each.  Then I built the little decorative parts up at the top floor from .010 x .060" and .040" strip stock.  
In the first photo you can see my cement of choice, it is Tamiya Extra Thin Cement.  I used to use Ambroid Pro Weld, but the Tamiya has a tiny brush, so I don't flood my parts with too much cement and end up with finger prints.  Another bonus is the Tamiya is in a short squat bottle so it is less prone to being tipped over, but I have still managed to tip it.
This was just a quick update and I may not have explained some parts very well, please ask for clarification if needed.

Favorite Buildings - Helsinki Station

Helsinki Central Station
Helsinki Finland -1919-

I don't have very much info on this building but it is one of my all time favorite art deco buildings in the world.  The two pairs of granite statues are very striking and stylized and wouldn't mind one as my porch light on my home.  The clock tower is the other feature that I love on this building and yes more of that patina I love. 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Gordon Building Update - The Beginnings

Hello again, as I said here is the first Gordon Building update.  Lets get to business.  First off I cut three .060 x .250 and .188 strips, I cut them about a 1/4" too long just in case.  Then I cut a few strips off of a sheet of .030" spacing metal siding from evergreen for the areas between the windows and I also cut a .020 x .060" strip for the sills.  Last I needed some .060 x .250 cut for the top and bottom.
I then glued the basic frame work up in my magnetic gluing jig, that way everything stayed good and square, this is the critical point cause if the beginning is out of square then from here on out nothing will go right.  I also cut a little spacer so the spacing for the windows would be perfect.
Once the frame work is dry I popped it out, flipped it over and added .040 x .060" strip to the back for added strength and support.  Then I cut the tops of the vertical parts flush with the top horizontal pieces.  This building might move quickly so I may post a little more often than the Dominion, but we shall see.

Dominion Building Update - Trying to Find a Good Interior Designer

Hi Folks!  Well here it is the last Sunday update on the Dominion Trust Building, and I must apologize about the bittersweet end.  I am very burned out on this project, but don't worry, I still need to finish it for the March 6th show at Ogden Union Station.  I have a few little jobs left to do, but I need to shelve it for a couple weeks so I can start on the Gordon and finally start on some other major stuff.  I wont say too much about the gordon yet cause after all this is the Dominion show.

I began work in side and I hate to admit it but I don't like doing interiors for some strange reason.  I think it is because it is usually one of the last tasks and when it is time to do it, I am mentally on my next project.  The basically all but the furniture is photo textures that are free to down load at cgtextures.  I then sized and pieced them together on Adobe Illustrator and then printed them out on a nice glossy brochure paper on a laser copier.

The few pieces of furniture I built from strip styrene, then painted appropriately.  The table at the entryway, I added some pamphlets and a vase with flowers.  The pamphlets are paper cut to size and the vase was cut from aluminum tube.  The flowers are made from tiny squares of red paper and the stems are, he he he, hair:)  The few shrubbery's  are 1/8" square tube and clump foliage.  The paintings I got from the same site as the other textures, I them added a .020" plastic back, then colored the edges with a brown Sharpie.  I still need to build more furniture but that will come later.

I also added a black card stock view blocks on the upper floors but the windows are too lifeless and so I have a few things that I will try out to see if they will look better.  I have most of the glazing in, I just have a few windows left.  I also have curtains to hang as well on a few windows and have a few more signs and other details as well.

So I will post finished pictures of the Dominion before the show and have a better farewell but other than that we move to the Gordon.  I have built the Gordon about a dozen times in my head, trying to figure out the best route to take it.  I still have gobs of time today so I may post on it late tonight.  That reminds me, do you guys like the Sunday updates or would you prefer I post more often with smaller updates as I go?  If I don't hear anything I will stick with the Sunday posts. 

Favorite Buildings - McGraw-Hill Building

McGraw-Hill Building
New York City -1931-

The McGraw-Hill Building or aka "Jolly Green Giant" for the era that it was built was a very radical choice in colors.  It is clad in a turquoise green terra cotta, the same color is used on a smaller Art Deco building in Los Angeles that I may also post on.  Art Deco is one of my favorite styles of architecture and I will finally use it on my next structure.
McGraw-Hill no longer resides in this building but like the Chrysler Building it still carries the moniker it was born with.