Thursday, January 3, 2019

Assembling the Cape Cod House - Finally!

(This is the 4th part of building the Walthers Cape Cod house kit #933-3776. For part 3, click here)

If you've been following along with this build, you've probably noticed that I'm spending a LOT of time on the walls, doing all the painting and weathering before assembly. You could certainly build this kit as it comes from the box, then paint & weather later. I think that'd be much more difficult, but I may try that with my next kit since there's nothing like having something "done" and ready to place on the layout - even if just for mockup/positioning purposes (though I think we all sometimes leave those "temporary" buildings in place way longer than we anticipated...)

Other than ease of handling, doing all the painting & weathering before assembly means that once you're ready to actually put everything together, it goes pretty fast. And it's nice to have the structure not only be done as a mockup, but have it really finished.

So, without further ado - let's build the building!

Installing Windows and Doors - and more weathering correction

Start by gluing in the windows and doors into the walls. For the first window (far left), I applied the glue to the edge of the window frame and pressed it in. That resulted in glue oozing out a bit on the right side (I'll cover it up with a shutter later).

For the rest of the windows/doors, I pressed them in and then just applied glue at the back, allowing it to wick in. No glue made it to the front.

Here are all the windows & doors put in place, with the optional shutters as well. At this point, I still was not happy with the overdone weathering.

So back downstairs to the paint room I went, and brushed on more wall color with a narrow, angled brush. Bonus: the brush strokes actually made the clapboards look more like wood!
 Installing window glass and window treatments

I measured all my windows and determined what sizes I'd need to cut out of the supplied sheet of acetate. By doing this ahead of time, I could make long strips which I could then just chop into the right heights. . .

using my handy, dandy NWSL Chopper - one of the BEST tools you can have on your bench. I just used my dial caliper, set at the proper width (window height) to set my fence, then I could chop away!

Before adding the acetate, I sanded down any high spots left by excess glue. I want the "glass" to snug down as close to the mullions as possible.

Like with the Goff Brook farmhouse windows, I decided to attach the glass using Aleene's Clear Gel Tacky Glue, applied with a microbrush.

Just some dabs around the perimeter, then I used some self-clamping tweezers to put the glass in place.

This next step is a bit time-consuming, but I think really makes the model pop - and rewards folks who are looking closely. Again, like with the farmhouse, I decided to add window shades and curtains to all the windows. Cutting them all out was the time-consuming part.

The easy part was adding them - just use the same technique as with the glass: a few small dabs of Aleene's, a pair of tweezers, and a steady hand to make sure everything is straight.

Not the greatest shot, but you get the idea.

Back of the walls prior to assembly

Front of the walls
The House FINALLY takes shape! - Putting the Walls Together

It's always a good habit to "dry fit" parts before applying any glue. By doing that, I discovered that the locating tabs on this kit were slightly off. Note the small tab - I've marked the excess I ended up removing to make thing fit square and have the bottom of the walls be flush with one another.
Quick sidebar on gluing:

While I prefer to clamp styrene together and use super thin MEK or Tenax flowed in the joint, for styrene joints that don't fit quite so tightly, can't be clamped, and/or if I need a little more working time, I really like the Testors/Model Masters liquid cement - it has a higher viscosity (it's thicker) so has some gap-filling properties and a slower (though still quick) cure rate. The needlepoint applicator is also handy. If you need an even-smaller amount, put a couple drops in a bottle cap and apply with a microbrush or toothpick. And always - for the best adhesion - be sure to scrape away any paint from the glue joints prior to applying the glue.

The kit includes a "foundation" around which you build the walls. I decided to glue my walls together two walls at a time, then the two pair together, then put them on the foundation. That way I could ensure that the corners would be nice and tight.

Unfortunately, another shortcoming of this kit that I discovered too late - the molded "ridge" on top of the foundation, which is supposed to give the bottom of the walls something to butt up against, either is out of square, or too wide, or something. As you can see above, it pressed one of my corners apart. Fortunately, that corner is trackside and won't be (too) noticeable. Next time, I'll trim off that ridge and just center my nicely-assembled walls on the foundation without any "helps".

I added the downspouts into the mounting holes (next time, I may just fill those holes and glue the downspouts directly to the walls). Next, assemble the dormers. I found it most helpful to glue the fronts, then go back and glue all the left sides, then all the right sides.

Had to scrape away a bit of paint to ensure a nice glue bond. Note that the gutters have been glued in place at this point too.

Then glue the completed dormers to the roof. They're actually almost a press fit around the mounting ridges on the roof - but you can press too hard and cause the dormer walls to separate. That's what happened here on the large, back dormer. A light clamping made sure everything would dry snugly.
After gluing on the chimney (with cap previously glued on), the next and last step is to add the roof to the building. Since it's so noticeable on a layout, you want to be sure that the seam between the two roof halves (at the peak) is as tight as possible, so sand the angled edges lightly until you get them to mate perfectly with no gaps. Then, apply some glue to the ridge and set it on the house, letting it settle into the proper angle/pitch. Press and hold the parts together until the glue sets to ensure as tight a bond/mating as possible.

At this point, if you want to keep the roof removable for some reason (maybe for a detailed interior?), you're done. Otherwise, once the ridge is cured a bit (to prevent separating), turn the whole thing over into a foam cradle and apply glue along the other three edges of the roof from the inside.

Then, you're really done:

With some painting and weathering, this kit makes a really nice model. Here it is set in place (very) roughly where it'll go on the layout, at the end of Fernwood Street, on the south side - just east of the Valley Line:

In the pic above, you can see a mockup photo of John Wallace's house, which will be across the street. Next step in composing this scene/area, will be to build a quick 3D mockup of his house to see how it'll fit with the Cape Cod house in the scene. The turnout for the Wethersfield house track is right near here, so I want to be sure I'm not putting any structures in harm's way for those needing to throw that turnout.

Of course, I still need to add the steps under the doors,  but for now I'll declare the Cape Cod House done!

Now to figure out the rest of the scene, how to lay out Fernwood Street, the sidewalks, etc . . .

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