Atlas Skyscraper Complete (& modified)
Atlas produced a line of skyscraper kits well over a decade ago (as near as I can tell). Although they can still be found on eBay, they tend to be fairly pricey. The kits were produced in 3 versions; a square, rectangle, and a hexagon version (the later was a sort of gold/copper color vs the dark grey/black of the 2 former models).
I was fortunate to get the square one at a hobby shop for something close to its original retail price, which was a great find! However, I soon realized this thing is huge! Not just in height (which is what I wanted/expected!), but in footprint...the total base of the square skyscraper is about 9 inches!
Well, I had to make a choice...use the skyscraper as is, and take up a lot of urban real estate with one structure, give up and put it up on eBay for someone else to use, or cut it down and modify it to make it fit with my layout.
I chose the later, although with some trepidation. The materials used by Atlas in this kit are a fairly thick sheet of 'brittle' plastic...not the relatively 'soft' plastic most kits are made of. So cutting it was going to be very interesting (This plastic also has a slight amount of transparency, which could be good or bad depending on how you look at it - uh...no pun intended).
So, what did I do:
1. Cutting. I took about 1/3 of the front and back off the kit. Making the front of the building around 6 inches. I cut the sides by about half, slightly less than 4 inches deep. The dimensions were made to fit into the 'city block' that I had in mind for this building. I cut it the old-fashioned way: scoring with a knife. This was a long, tedious process to do with 8 different sections, and there are some areas where the plastic was just not willing to score nicely and 'cracked' a bit. Yikes...."try not to think what you COULD be getting for this on eBay right now" went through my mind a couple of times. Ultimately, I got it done!
2. General Lighting. Again, added a bazillion LED's. A flashing LED for the antenna on the roof. A total of seven LED's for the backlit "HSBC" signs (which is "Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Company" a great global 'brand' to go with my 'globalization' theme), an SMD over the office door, and about 5 LED's to light the HMV store also on the ground floor.
3. Office lighting. Before assembly, I taped the pieces together adjacent to the piece it would later be glued to. On the inside surface, I then used 1/2 in masking tape to 'block' random windows, spray painted the inside surface to create an 'opaque' area, then removed the masking tape. I later used some 'under counter' LED strips (from the local hardware store) glued to a central column inside the hollow building to give the transparent window areas some light. I may have to add more to get more light, but it works for now.
4. Assembly. Assembly on this bad boy required the big guns....so I 'borrowed' my wife's low-temp hot glue gun. Love that thing. The big challenge was getting a nice fit (I won't say seamless...that's hard enough with the factory finish!) between the connecting sections that I had cut and scored. I sanded down the edge so that my scored sides would have a 45 degree bevel, well, I tried the best I could. I give myself a "C" on that one. Something to come back to and work on later.
5. Other stuff. I had to create my own roof. The roof system on the original model was just inadequate to use for this sort of modification. Same with the first floor (with the exception of the 'entrance doors').
And that's it! Easy huh? Actually...about two weekends of work! What do you think?