3.16.2010

Aoshima Apartments: 20 Stories of Fine Living!

Allright...so the Aoshima Apartments are done!  Now all the office workers I've been creating workspace for have a place to rest their heads!

This was a tough build though...a lot harder than I thought.  It was actually complicated by the fact that Aoshima did a great job with this kit.  There are plastic 'insert's for each floor of the building, which makes it very convenient to add lighting and details.  This sort of convenience works well if you go with the standard 5 story building, but I ordered 2 of these kits (each box contains two buildings) resulting in a 20 story monster!
So the inserts, which are somewhat important for stability, I think, ended up getting in the way quite a bit.  I got a lot of use out of my Dremel cutting blade with this kit.

I basically followed the instructions, and attempted to think a few steps ahead of the instruction's sequence to accommodate the fact that I was adding 4 buildings together.  The stairway is first, and its something I felt needed a few lights.  Hey, if someone's going to climb 20 floors of stairs to get to their apartment, the least I can do is give the an occasional light!  These are simple SMD LED's that went into a few somewhat random areas of the stairwell.
Once I had my stairwells wired, with extra bracing on the backside to hold them together, it was clear I needed to modify the 'inserts' to allow enough room for the extra wires and bracing as they tend to sit fairly snug against the stairwell's and exterior walls.  This was a lot of messy work...but thank goodness for the Dremel cutting blade.  This is not a job you want to attempt with a hobby knife.  The below photo shows the tortured inserts (additionally modified for another hole for the SMD light strips I decided to use for interior lighting, which also required some cutting down of the interior 'walls' on the inserts to allow more light to pass through):
The next photo skips about 5 tedious hours of attempting (not altogether successfully) to get all the exterior wall seams to stay tightly glued together.  Where I ended up with gaps, I used a bit of caulk to fill in the gaps, and then covered the caulk with Model Master's Camouflage Grey, which was a decent match for the stock color of the building.
As I mentioned at the top, this was a very time-consuming and somewhat tedious build, but in the end I think its worth it.  There aren't many modern apartment buildings with this look available, so I'm glad I spent the time on it.  The real time suck on this building were the dozens of sprues that needed cutting, filing, and sanding to fit.  And there are LOT of pieces....100 balconies alone, and 160 of the smaller 'fence' gates over the windows.  A lot of work.  My only complaint with this kit is that the plastic seemed very 'brittle'.  A lot of the detail pieces, especially the small 'fence' pieces, cracked when being removed the spru.

The lighting turned out how I wanted it to, however, just enough light to give the indication that some folks are at home, and others are dark, just like reality.
I sprayed a random group of the window scenes with black, white, and grey paint, to give different levels of opacity (sprayed the inside of the windows, of course!).  This was really an attempt to avoid even thinking attempting to add interior detail to this monster!
I wish I could have added a lot more of the SMD LED's to the stairwell, but I got some of the effect I was looking for. A flashing red LED on the roof (hey, its 20 stories, you bet we want a flashing light on this building) rounds out the project!

7 comments:

  1. Jerry,

    Thanks for posting this. It's helpful to see a quick walk through before I start mine. One thing I really need to learn to do is wiring lights. It looks like this needs lights added before I finish the building. I have no idea how to do this or where to start getting parts or lights to do this. Also what happens if one of the LED goes out? burns out? I may wait to start this until I can learn about lighting.

    All that put aside. Great job on this building. It looks fantastic. You had exactly the same idea I had.

    It really reminds me of a building here in Victoria, a 22 story apartment building called the Orchard House.
    photos I've taken..

    http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1284/1026623446_c035b1c362_b.jpg

    And another Victoria Building called View Towers
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2095/1667039116_6fb9e070b1.jpg

    Cool build my friend, Bob

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  2. Thanks Bob! Wow! You're right, it DOES look like those buildings!

    I've been thinking for a while about sharing some of my 'lighting methods'....they're really pretty easy once you understand a couple of simple things, and there's lots of 'short cuts' available from different companies that make it easy too. For this building I used these strips of LED lights from Trainadsa that don't need resistors or anything (except for the lights in the stairwells).

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  3. This gives some sort of HK feeling. Great job!!!

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  4. Another masterpiece of your work.

    Each time I admire the way you expand your layout and I'd like to add some monster-building to mine, but for space issues I can't :(

    Very interesting... I hope one day to enlarge mine, so the first thing tha I'll do will be a city :D

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and steps. :)

    Good work!

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  5. I had not finished scrolling to the very bottom of the last picture - since I hadn't read all the text yet I thought I was looking at a picture of the prototype you based your work on! Apart from the obvious base and wire coming out it looks just like the real thing under natural light.

    -David

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  6. ^Thanks David/Bob/La S.../Alesandro! I did not really have a lot of expectations for this. For some reason, I like office buildings better, but this really turned out to be a cool addition to the city. It looks great with the other buildings...so I can't wait to finish some other buildings and finally get it all wired up!

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  7. Hi Jerry! Just got my own Aoshima apartment building and this post will help me a lot in the tedious and time consuming customization. Great job!

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