Tramway Star House Kit Bash Complete

I posted last month about the arrival of three models of the new "Star House" from Tramway from Japan.   I've spent most of my modeling time since then working on this building and, as always, I'm now mostly finished and can share some photos and what I've done.
As I may have mentioned on original post on these models, they look fairly plain.  Not only is their no discernible 'ground floor', but there's no 'roof' area where you might expect to find HVAC and other utilities.  The color scheme was pretty atrocious as well.  These buildings don't come with any 'glass' or plastic for the windows, and there are no 'floors' to separate one apartment from the next.

My idea was to use a couple of spare 'ground' floor units from a Kato Tomix building and go from there.
Having determined the necessary width and depth I would need for the Kato Tomix buildings to act as the ground floor for this building, I realized I'd have to cut and kit bash the ground floor quite a bit to get this to work.  My Dremel tool came in very handy for this.
Given that I would be lighting this building using standard 3mm LED's, I need to create some floors (or ceilings) to seperate each floor and act as a base for the LED's.  I created a whole bunch of 'floors' and gave them various colors to help give the impression of carpet, woof floor, etc...
These floors each received either one or two LED's that go through the holes I drilled:
I'll save you from any photos of the excitement of watching me solder these things, but I wired all of the floors with LED's in sets of three, that way I can solder them in parallel using a 120 Ohm resistor for all three. 

Dissassebly of the kits wasn't too bad, and nothing broke in the process.  I decided I wanted this building to be somewhat colorful in a contemporary way.  Although the base building would have 'earth tones', I originally went with a light blue for the balconies.  Well, the family voted and they weren't thrilled with the color, so I went back and used Tamiya's 'gray-green' instead...still colorful, but a bit more muted than the below.
The building's base color is Testor's "Camoflauge Grey" and the accent color is Model Master's "SAC Bomber Tan".  If nothing else, this building is painted in the correct colors for a warship.  In retrospect, the TAC was too bold, but its done, and I can live with it, although I'm not crazy about it.
The above photo shows the seperated pieces and also gives an idea of the amount of masking that had to be done to paint this moded.  Except for the balconies and window gates, everything is cast into the building, so each window frame, accent color and piece of trim had to be masked to be painted.  Fun!  Of course, there are the obligatory touch ups where I apply too much spray and end up getting a 'leak'....
The most difficult and frustrating part of this build was the window gates.  The plastic is very 'flimsy' and does not like to stay flat.  Getting these mildly warped pieces to stay in their holes without covering the building in glue was not a lot of fun:
I did paint these black, along with the rails on the balconies.  However, since they sit in front of the dark brown window frames, I ended up given them some dry-brushing to make sure the railings stood out.

Fast forward past what seems like many hours of adjusting, sanding, gluing, soldering, and touch ups to the below!  This is actually the 'back side' of the building (the front is shown in the photo at top).  All of the balconies face towards the 'back' (not sure why, that's the way the kit was set up).  I also added in a 'parking garage' entrance....which is sort of a joke as it really doesn't go anywhere (but that's okay as my little plastic people don't really drive...and if we run out of parking space on the layout, and I can take cars off and shove them in a box.  How's that for solving urban congestion!).
Yes, it looks like the building is tilting in the above photo...its actually one of the wires that's propping up the back end and giving it that annoying tilt in the above photo. I'm actually very relieved that this was the case, because when I saw this photo on my computer I about freaked out!

On the ground floor, we have an "Elprice" (electronics store from Norway) with Mos Burger...which is something of a hit in Japan and other places in East Asia...and now with a franchise in Quinntopia!
Another shot of the parking garage:
And finally, a night shot of a new place where the Little Plastic People of Quinntopia can now rest their heads:


  1. Great building and of coure great work!
    Each bilding you do is really impressing! I admire the way you build and light them!

  2. Make the base buildings 'Tomix', NOT 'Kato' !

  3. Good work! But I have to be honest, I don't much care for the base you made for this one. The base is well constructed, but it doesn't match the rest of the building very well. Nevertheless, another fine effort overall: you should certainly be proud! The lighting in this one seems especially nice.

  4. Anonymous - You're right! Corrected!

    Don - I know where you're coming from, the ground floor doesn't look like it quite fits in the photos. Part of the problem is that the LED's wash out the color on the base making it look very inconsistent with the rest of the building. Good suggestion. There are some things I can do rectify that.
    Another problem is trying to find a ground floor that would look better, and I really struggled trung to find something that would work here. Perhaps a 'non-retail' ground floor would have been better.
    Ngaugeblog - thanks again!