4 Background Buildings

Behind the new passenger terminal, and across from the "Martel" warehouse, is a long, slim blank area.
Sparse in details, this area is now the focus of my attention.   This new project has me now working on 5 separate 'facade' buildings for this area.  Three of these are 'Artitec' kits.  More photos of these kits un-assembled over on "Scaper's" Flickr site.
The above building is a kit bash of two Artitec 'facade' structures to raise the height of the building from 3 floors to 5. The building still needs its details, lighting and other elements applied.  I may also add a bit more paint.  While I like the overall look (the detail came through nicely), it might need a bit more color.  To be determined.
The above is clearly a department store of some sort.  The package photo clearly shows what apears to be a red brick building, but I'm not so sure I wanted that look, so I tried to stick with a more 'concrete/stucco' style (or painted brick!).   I should mention that these Artitec kits need to have extensive cutting of flashing...so every single window needs to be cut, trimmed, etc...  They are a lot of work!
The building above is cheating.  Its actually an HO kit, but I found that by removing the HO-sized door and replacing it with an appropriate N Scale doorway (I used a leftover double door from the Walthers Hardwood Furniture kit that became the Martel warehouse) it turned into a fairly convincing N scale building.  I don't know what this building is, or what it could be.  Some sort of temple, church or something?  Whatever it is, its a good urban facade that is unusual and will look really nice I think.
Finally, the above is a structure that is probably pretty familiar to most folks.  I believe this is an old Pola mold that was re-marketed and sold by Model Power here in the states.  A long time ago, this was a Movie Theater.  I'm in the process of converting it to a building with a very Parisian style cafe on the ground floor.  The photo to the right of the building gives you an idea of what I am trying for.
When they are complete (lights, details, interiors, paint, etc....) they will look something like the above row of structures.  Compare this photo with the photo at the top of this post to kind of get an idea for where I am going.  You'll notice the structure to the right (which will be on the corner) is the kit-bashed/scratch-built Arnold structure.

I do have to say, facades are a lot of fun.  I think I enjoy focusing energy on just the 'faces' and not having to put a lot of thought or effort into the 'rest of the building'!

One other thing that I did that was different was my painting technique for the three Artitec buildings (most noticeable on the 'temple' building as well as the 5 story facade).  I tried I technique I read (or looked at) in the French model train magazine "Loco Review" (no, I can't read French, but the photos are pretty good - plus some of the words can be looked up or are easily translatable to English!).

Anyway, the technique is to paint the buildings in all black paint (spray can is fine - similar in a way to how Games Workshop / Warhammer painting is recommended), and then spray over the black with an air brush.  Because I'm lazy, I usually prefer spray cans to the air brush (cleaning and all that!) but I have to say the little bit of extra effort to use the air brush (and the nice pallette of paints available) really makes the details pop and the black under-coat really gives a natural texture to the surface that the rather crude coverage of a spray can can't match.

Hopefully in my next post I'll have things lit up and shining on the layout!


  1. Hi Jerry,

    Love your new structures. Great job with the Artitec kit bash. I've always liked their products. More so now that I've seen your pictures. Can you tell me where you purchased the two?


  2. Hi Jerry,
    Interesting point about using HO buildings in N scale situations: I’ve been quite bemused for a long time with the manufacturer’s idea of scale and I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of them work with the maxim, ‘it’s the right scale if it fits in the average Joe’s spare room’, i.e. there’s no point in building to true scale if the end result is too big to fit and sales don’t take off.

    A good example of this is the Heljan nuclear power station sold as HO but underscale even for Z! On my own layout I use the Faller Bonn HO station because it looks grander and more befitting than Faller’s N gauge equivalent which looks quite underscale and positively mean by comparison. If you put the two stations side by side one is either grossly underscale or the other is grossly over scale. They can’t both be ok.

    Recently I obtained some bits and pieces from DPM HO kits and by merely removing the centre window casement bar on each window frame the buildings morphed from small town HO to imposing classical N scale. I even turned a few of their frontages upside down so that the base becomes the upper floor with fairly interesting and workable results.

    Anyway it’s Sunday and I’d better stop looking at other people's work and get on with my own layout …… or maybe I’ll walk the dog and think about what I’m going to do next…….

    Ross S
    North Berwick
    Scotland UK

  3. @ Alvin - I purchased both of the Artitec kits from Verkaufsagent-Poettmes via eBay - they had all the ones I wanted in stock so it was a relatively easy buying decision (Note that they also checked with me that I REALLY wanted an HO version since all my other kits were N gauge - I really appreciated that level of service!).

    Here's they're ebay store: http://stores.ebay.de/verkaufsagentpoettmes

  4. @ Ross -

    I agree...scale is far more subjective with buildings than most people realize, and I agree most things tend to be way under-sized! I'm curious to check out some photos of your HO station now!

  5. Hi Jerry,
    Happy to send some pics of the N Gauge ‘multi stack system’ i.e. US industrial on the lower level and German, Swiss, Austrian on the upper. Only problem is I don’t know how to post them to your blog. Why don’t you start a section for readers’ pics?

    Ross S
    North Berwick
    Scotland UK