High Rise Kit: Stump Tower aka "The Rhodan Building"

I put together this building before starting on the viaduct, so I'm just getting back to sharing my experience with it now.  This building is a kit called "Stump Tower" from a small family-owned firm called Lunde Studios.  I call it "the Rhodan Building".  While I'd like to have more 'modern' looking skyscrapers, I think this is a pretty good building to help give my city an 'urban' feel.  And while it seems to be a very obviously American style mid-century high rise, I've seen similar buildings in places as unusual as Shanghai. And let's face it, there's just something nice and gothic about these old, concrete/masonry high-rises.

As this building is a cast resin kit, I had to spend a lot more time than usual in preparing the building...a lot of flashing must be removed before you can start to put it together.  However, once that was done, the building is cast in a great 'grey' color for this type of structure.   The thickness of the resin is such that no 'interior' painting was needed to ensure opacity from interior lighitng shining through (which is the standard with every other kit from all the normal structure manufacturers).

What this building will need, however, is a bit of weathering!  I applied a technique that I've been reading about in the Trix club magazine.  There's probably about a million ways to do this, and I won't pretend I have any great skill, but I did create a short little video to illustrate just how easy this project is.  The only ingredients you'll need are some lighter fluid (Zippo) and some oil paint (as in artist's oil paints).  

Assembly was super fast.  Cleaning the flashing took the longest amount of time, which made gluing all the window frames seem relatively fast by comparison!  Although I decided to keep the basic color that it was cast in, I did paint the window frames black.  Becasue I was going to add wiring and still needed to add the window 'glass' I started by doing two wall sections first....and allowing them to adhere at a solid 90 degree angle, and basically left it open like this to the very end.

Speaking of windows, before assembly I randomly masked out areas of where the windows will be on the clear plastic sheets provided for 'glass'.  I then sprayed the clear, plastic sheets with black spray paint.   I then created 'drapery' on my computer (which anyone can do, its just boxes the relative size of the window frames and filled with different color lines and patterns), printed 'the drapes' out with my color inkjet printer, and then glued to the back side of the blacked out windows to create a 'drape' look (after removing the masking tape of course).  This allows me to add lighting to the upper stories of this building, but also have some diversity with some windows showing some transparency through the 'drapes' and others being completly blacked out.  The below photo shows a couple of sections ready for the 'drapes' to be applied to the 'open' spaces.  In the background is the sheet of paper with my drapes!

Once I had a couple of the walls together, its time for the electricians to take over.  For the signs over the ground floor stores (ultimately I decided on a "diner" and a "Games Workshop"), I drilled holes for the LEDs that will poke through and provide the lighting for the signage:

For all other lights - the ground floor details and the ambient lighting for the upper stories - I created an "LED Tree".  This was constructed with sintra (a stiff type of plastic material available at sign shops), and hot glued together.  I also made the 'LED tree' an extension of the ground floor details.  This was a new approach for me and I'll likely repeat it on all my large/tall structures. The photo below shows the LED tree with holes drilled, LED's inserted, and fastened to the sintra with a bit of hot glue.  Towards the bottom you can see that the base is also the area where the ground floor interior details will be as well.

Of course, the next stage is soldering all of the LEDs to the resistors and getting all the wiring in order.  This is an area where I think I get a little better with each building.  Looking back on some of my early LED soldering/wiring jobs, they are starting to look very rough!  I expect I will fully feel that way about this one in the future too!   After all the wiring is complete, the entire structure is assembled.

Below is a close up of the ground floor:

And a final shot showing that I think the ink-jet printer did a pretty fair job of simulating drapes!  There is a still yet-to-be determined SMD LED on the roof that I ultimately believe will light a billboard or something.  Better to wire it in now than wish I had done it when its all done!

As I said, a really easy kit to build once you've gotten past the initial 'flashing removal' phase.  And another nice, tall, semi-decrepit structure to fill in my 'city'!

As usual, I owe thanks to the "LED center" resistor calculator for helping me come up with the right resistors for this project!


  1. I'll have to give this a try. Right now I use black acrylic paint (Games Workshop's line, in fact) mixed down with Vallejo "matte medium" to thin it and retard drying. However, the stuff still has too much surface tension, and tends to pool up on flat surfaces which is no good. Also, despite the retardant, it still dries fast enough to make corrections to too-heavily loaded brushes very very difficult. "Oh my god, I hate trains, I hate modeling!" indeed! (Classic.)

  2. Don, Thanks, as always, for your comments!

    I use the Games Workshop stuff too, I especially like their new 'improved' inks, which I think gives pretty similar results to this method. For a building like this however, it gets pretty expensive and I could totally use a whole bottle of their inks on one building!

  3. I haven't bought GW paints in years. I have tons of the old old Citadel (in the soft plastic pots) paints that are in great condition, even after 15 years of sitting around; and tons of the later screw-top then flip-top (in the hard plastic pots with black lids) that dried up within a matter of months. I swore off buying more. I hear the pots have gone through a few more revisions, though, and keep paint fresh better than the "improved" pots did?

  4. Very nice looking building! It has a great art-deco feel, the sort of modern building that was going up in every part of the world, including Shanghai, at one point. The weathering is also very realistic.

  5. Thanks Sudasana! How is progress on the Taihoku project going?

    Don - I don't have the earlier stuff, just the plastic pots. And you're right, they turn to paste WAY too fast! Apparently distilled water can save them, but I haven't tried this yet. They have a new brand of 'ink's out that are much better than the old 'inks'. For those not familiar with GW, the Games Workshop 'inks' are designed to flow into cracks and crannies for the same sort of 'weathering' effect that I'm going after with this building.

  6. Progress is very slow, but I finally ordered a locomotive today - a JNR D51 that is the same as Taiwan's DT650 class. It's a little later than the target time period for the layout but I think it will fit very nicely.

  7. Great job. FYI -- The Lundes were behind Design Preservation Models.

  8. Really really good tutorial!
    I'm gonna weathering all my buildings as soon I finish my electrical wiring... and thank to you I'm gonna try this way ;)

    Keep the good work goin'