Construction of buildings from plastic card

Producing buildings takes a high time investment but will identify your layout.

a look at the tools

These are main tools for plastic constructions. Cutting board with straight edge, small square, ruler, heavy duty cutting blade, skrawker, piece of wood with sandpaper, knife and pencil.

Serious cutting jobs ask for a selection of special knifes ready to choose from and extended now and then of course. Sometimes old knife blades are handy to cut up into a new form, thus don't throw them all away but keep a few in stock. An example of such a specialized tool is the skrawker for gutters
to planing set
With thanks to Peter Clark who designed and developed this set of planes and shooting board *) and to Robert for lending his set to me. This is valuable equipment for squaring up card but even better for producing 45 degrees corners with fidelity. All corners on the buildings of Spaubeke were produced with help of a block of wood with 45 degree edge and the sandpaper board but these tools definitely speed up this process.


Set is no longer available but drawings suitable for home production can be downloaded

Another very useful tool is the angular cutting board designed by Geoff Jones for making parallel cuts to high precision. This has a 1:10 angle so that you can make cuts to 0.1 mm precision by moving the ruler 1.0 mm. Not available on the market but easily made at home frome a piece of thin mdf and a ruler. Sofisticated versions use a piece of cutting mat with square divisions to help subdivision and marking.
angular board

start with a building

prototype selection

First select a nice a prototype and make photos from all sides and take some measurements. No matter how many photos you take, you will always end up with some things not entirely clear.

producing an ornamental facade

Produce a sketch and print enough copies, at least one per layer. Then cast enough plastic material with the right size of stones and start cutting walls.
The type of facade on the photo is easier to produce if you glue a copy of your drawing for each layer onto the plastic and then cut along the lines, a child can do it.

test fitting

Use paper tape for test fitting such as seen here on the far end. If you are satisfied with the corners glue the walls together. You now have booked some progress that you can show to others.

stage1, the raw building

put out the flag

Finish the roof and have a beer for reaching the highest point.

To be honest this turned out not to be the easiest of buildings to tackle, all walls turned out to be different and assymmetrical. The horizontal ornamental line required special cutting of long thin strips from thick V-groove sheet. But also a neat fit of the roof with its overhangs and T-form was a time eater.
In my view this was the difficult part. Now I only need to finish all those tiny little details that stick out on all sides.

bringing on colour

Bring up some colour before you go on with doors and windows. These are airbrushed acrylics and a layer of Paris crayons as first preparation layer. Detailing and weathering comes later on. You can also see why some delay with the glue and use of paper tape pays off as airbrushing is much easier to do on the separate building parts.

building stage3

Preparing Waimes for an outing on the 20th anniversary of N in Fremo gave a new drive to finish this area. This photo shows the current stage of a test fit of the station building, mid 2008. Most of the details are now in place. The windows and doors are etched and glazed. The interior is represented by coloured black card showing some detail as curtains or hidden dark grey interiors. Chimneys are added to the roof, although not all of them, roof supports, gutters and rain pipes. Still missing are the etches for the snow girders, the aerial, station nameboards and other signs for toilet and directions. We can now head for finalising the entire station area and complete the building by adding the last details and weathering of the roof.

copyright: Henk Oversloot
date: 8 januari 2003, june 2006, july 2008