Interior Modeling - Part 1

A natural consequence of lighting buildings is that you also need to put something inside of them so your not just lighting up empty plastic shells.  Well, that's not entirely true.  You can block out the windows, either by making them opaque (so that light shines through) or use window coverings (that give the look of draperies, which are typically provided with a lot of the German plastic kits), which is a technique I use frequently enough.  But I think we all would agree that actually showing some detail is preferable in some cases!
One of the main lessons I've learned about interior lighting is that where you put the light is critical.  Its really important for the LED to be as close to the 'window' as possible - in other words - you want the light to shine on the same surface of your interior design and details as you would 'see' it when you look in the window.  The reason for this is fairly obvious (at least after you create, light and install an interior); if you put the light 'behind' your subject, you will put all of your detail, figures etc... in shadow, which is not really the effect that you want to achieve.  

Tramway "Star House":
The detail on the ground floor is made up of two different approaches.  On the right side is a "Mos Burger" restaurant.  You'll note that it has different color lighting from the store on the left.  I used 'warm white' LED's for the restaurant and 'normal' (?) white LED's for lighting the electronics stores.  Seems to be right I think.  I also color/paint the floors separately to add further differentiation.Furniture is primarily basic, cheap-o N scale benches while the tables are just bits of styrene glued to small 'cubes' of foam-core, or random bits of thicker plastic.  Whatever is handy really.  Everything gets a bit of paint to make sure its reasonably appropriate.  For the walls, I try to use whatever I already have...usually no one can read the signs on the walls, so the idea is to put something there that might look okay, but doesn't have to be perfect.
For the electronics store on the left ("Elprice"), I download various generic images of shelving, reduced and sized them appropriate to N Scale, printed them out on a color inkjet printer, and then glued them to strips of styrene (or foamcare) and then glued to the floor.  I also printed out extra 'logos' for the walls.  I usually plan for as many different types of images I'll need and then print them all out on one sheet so I don't waste to much paper.  As a result, I have a stack of various N-scale sized images on various sheets of paper in a stack in my modeling area!
The back side of the building got an interesting addition...a parking garage entrance!  This was actually pretty easy.  I used various thin pieces of styrene to give the impression of the sort of cabinets and storage doors that you'd see in this sort of entrance, even glued some thin wire to simulate pipes to the walls, and gave it a coat of grey paint.  The 'parking' signs are something I just created on my own.

I have to say, this is one that I'm still pretty proud of...with the exception of one error.  As I knew from the beginning that this building was a perfect office building, I knew I wanted to stock it with office cubicles.  As their is no such thing available in N Scale, I had to make my own using corner sections of styrene glued to flat sections.  Very basic, but they work.  Office chairs are another problem, so I basically just positioned most of the cubicles so you wouldn't see the chairs when looking in (so they aren't actually there!).

One major flaw with this is that the floor didn't get glued in correctly, so it totally bends...argh!!! You can see the bottom of the floor bending up over the window. 
The ground floor of this office building got an 'espresso bar', some planters with shrubs and various posters.  A couple of 'gag's in this building are the 'successories' poster ("Teamwork"-  barely visible on the back wall of the office cubicle photo above), and the "Big Brother is Watching" poster in the ground floor lobby (below).  Most of the other posters and images were taken from the unused sticker sheets from Greenmax, Tomix or Kato kits.
Vollmer 7726 'double up':
This is a building mod I did a long time ago that I've never talked about, but its basically two Vollmer 7726's doubled up.  It turned out pretty well and I'm still kind of fond of it despite that it was one of my earlier attempts.  The ground floor uses some colorful paper and some N scale figures to simulate mannequins, while the fourth story on this building has its drapes open and three people in one of the residences are visible.
One error I made with the fourth story detail, is that I inadvertently glued the floor at the bottom of the window frames, which looks silly, but I can live with it for now.  Lesson learned....
The ground floor of this building turned out pretty well...this building predates the same techniques I used in the "Star Tower" ground floor.  I think I covered this one pretty well in my original post.  Note the 'wall coloring' of the "Greasy Taco" restaurant was another design I just created on my inkjet printer.  Nothing fancy!

Faller 2227 "Shakey's & Hobby Shop"
I had a lot of fun with the ground and upper floors on this building, but some of this work was wasted.  n the ground floor I included both a hobby shop and a pizza parlor.  The below image shows the ground floor before installation, and you can get a pretty good idea of the standard techniques I use to create interior furniture, etc....
And after installation....
It was fun to think of the different colors and lighting that the building would have between the Pizzeria and the hobby shop, I think it turned out pretty well.

Where I probably wasted more time than I should have is on the upper floors, where I made a fairly elaborate residence - a couch, ottoman, dining table, wallpaper and paintings on the wall - as can be seen below.  There's also a bedroom behind the 'living room ' wall:
Unfortunately....once this was installed, it was barely visible through the windows!
This building was a painful learning experience...a "Games Workshop" store on one side had some of my typical retail interior work which was unfortunately marred by 'fogged' plastic from using CA glue on the clear plastic. I've since learned this is a 'no no'.  At some point I'll try and go back and replace the glass.

On the opposite side are more self-made restaurant tables and some paper with a checkerboard design pasted into new interior back walls for the "Lumberjacks 24 Hour Diner":
Kato 23-434A Office Building:
Another building that is both 'doubled-up' from two kits is this Kato office structure.  This building again features kit-bashed office cubicles, random stickers from Tomix, Greenmax and other kits, and neutral paint tones on strips of styrene to create walls to give the effect of a real office environment.
I'll continue to share some of these, hopefully this is interesting to see!  As you can tell, I try for a certain level of detail and then stop...my philosophy is to give the impression of reality, not to try and duplicate it.  At some point I would like to try and commit more time and effort when the list of 'to do's' is much shorter than it is now!  Hopefully I was able to share something of my work that is at least interesting!  Thanks!


  1. These are really good. I particularly like the "cubicle farm" (and I didn't notice the curved floor until I read your comment about it). The parking garage is also good; it doesn't take much detail to suggest one of those.

    And good point about putting the LEDs towards the front. I hadn't thought of that (I'm still planning my first interiors) and would probably have tried to space them around the room as you would in a real room, and ended up with some odd shadows.

  2. Hi Jerry.

    Very inpirational stuff. Interior detail is not my thing, but I must saying that your work is trully great!

    Thank you once again!

  3. Looks great! I've been enjoying your posts lately.

    My one quibble is that Japanese offices never have cubicles. Seriously.

  4. Jerry have you seen this


    He sells a 15 storeys building and also some furnitures.

    I haven't tried any of it. So I don't know the quality of it.

    Best regards
    Magnus Mossberg

  5. Thanks everyone for your kind comments!

    @Magnus - Thanks for the link! I've never seen this company or products before! They have N Scale furniture! :-) I think I have to amend my post now!

  6. Jerry...another awesome post! I also am loving the latest postings too.

    Thanks again for this. I'm still needing to figure out this lighting stuff.

    Your work on interior detailing has helped me immensly on my modeling. I love it. This detailing also completely brings a model to life as well.

    Magnus...that link Rocks!!! Thanks for sharing it!


  7. Whenever I read Your Post Allways got Something New
    Lights Ot Examination