Kato Office Building Kit-bash

My holiday project this year (well, one of them, this is about the only one I got finished) was to kit-bash and convert the Kato 23-438 "Boutique and Office Building".   I've had two of these buildings for a year and a half and it was past time to get them done!

The idea was just to increase the height...nothing too fancy.  It did require losing two of the bottom floors...
And the removal of top fascia (not sure what its called) from the other building...
These buildings come built, so rather than chance doing more harm than good, I left the building sections together for my kit-bashing and in fairly short order had the basic look of what the building was going to look like.
While each floor of this building is provided (albeit without any detail), the bottom floor was another challenge.  Typically, I'll just toss out the bottom floor, but this time I tried to preserve some of the important pieces (mainly the 'walls' that hold up the floor above it, and the nice looking stairway feature).  My method was to grind the heck out of it on my belt sander!  Luckily, this un-conventional approach worked!  Its a bit crude, I admit, but now I have pieces that I can remount onto a smaller, thinner sheet of styrene so that the ground floor of this building sits level with the rest of my structures.
For the intermediary floors, I decided that the bottom four floors would be 'retail', while the remaining upper stories would be offices.  Below is another application of using home made images (actually, gathered from the old internet) to be glued to the 'walls' or strips of foam core depending on where things need to be placed.  Here are the images I used for this structure (same as my 'Kehl/Blokker' building project from earlier this month).
Once the images and various pieces of interior detail were mostly in place, I added the light strips.  For this building, I used the SMD on light strips available from many sellers in China.  Their cheap and relatively use to place (although you need to cut them and solder them to use them in shorter sections) .

I wasn't sure about how to proceed from here...do I glue each floor together and then have a complete interior section to slide into the exterior shell? Should I add each floor one at a time? Use adhesive or not? Ultimately I decided on the first option, and for the most part it worked out.  Below you can see the result before installation.
After sliding the interior floors (with all the LED's already wired and ready to go...you can see the leads at the bottom of the structure in the below photo) I had to replace the building 'glass'.  Getting the interior floors into the exterior 'shell' was a bit of a tight fit,  and some of the floors needed a bit of reduction with the Dremel.  The exterior sections have bracing on the inside to help form a stronger bond between the two sections, which however reduces the space where the floors would go!
So..wallah!  Complete (pretty much)!  The top floors are offices for the "Weyland-Yutani" corporation, and they even have their corporate logo on the top of the building!  Interior details are a mix of homemade cubicles and bits collected over the years.
The lower floors are retail space for "Saturn" (a real retail chain that I ran into in Hamburg, I liked the look of their logo and the store I visited sort of reminded me a bit of this building), so all the original "HWV" branding that Kato nicely provides was, unfortunately, removed.
Installed on the layout, this building sits next to the 'Canon' office building, representing the modern high-rises that have taken over this part of the city (with only the church and its small plaza across the street the sole reminders of the older time sof this area of downtown).
And therefore, my work for 2011 is done!   You can see the last of my Kato buildings just to the left of this one in the above photo.  That's the next project and will be my first for 2012!

Finally, Happy New Year and Happy Trains! 


  1. Very nice. That building looks like it was designed for doubling up (I know it wasn't; I have one myself). The proportions work well with the extra height.

    As usual your interior detailing really makes the model. Which is particularly important with that front window glass.

  2. Thanks Ken! Its funny, your comment reminded me of why I do interiors of buildings at all...its only because of those large windows on modern buildings!

  3. Wow, a very impressive and inspiring blog!; i've been looking your posts and they gave me a lot of ideas for my own layout, I am an N-scaler too, very interested in scratch building my own structures. Just added your blog to my own bloglist in ferromodelismonmexico.blogspot.com

  4. Thanks Pancho! I like your blog and will be glad to add it to my blog list as well! Good to see a neighbor from the south! Thanks for posting! :-)

  5. Jerry: Something I learned in Japan. The NTT Docomo building has a "sky lobby" with restaurants. The floor is double or triple height. You could kitbash some of the lower floors off Kato building to replicate this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sann%C5%8D_Park_Tower

    And, I think the ground/entry lobby was four stories tall, except for the elevator stack and coffee cafe.

  6. He shoots...he scores! Fantastic!

    I've been toying with the idea of doing a few KATO bashes in the future for my Downtown section. Seeing this done with the usual flair really inspires me to make it happen.

    And, yes, the details really make this pop. Lights, floor work - all grand.


  7. Jerry...we need to get together this summer for sure!!! :) I'd love to learn how you light these things up...but I maybe brave and learn before then...and then we can have fun building some buildings together! hahaha...this is absolutely awesome.. I'm also incredibly happy you did this for me.. as I have 4 of these buildings sitting on my shelf waiting for me! hahahaa ..awesome work my friend... -Bob-