Phase One

Scratch Building Emporium Seafood

Work I hope to emulate in scratch build

For this model which I hope to turn into a turntable-mounted diorama, I will be following prior kit builders who have photos of the finished kit online.

There is no clear set of instructions, simply a set of templates which give me an idea of the shape and relative sizes of the arious components.

Emporium Seafood is my most ambitious project to date and despite the fact I have a set of plans, I still consider this my most challenging scratch build. Just look at what this formidable kit (selling today for over $500) can render.

That's my goal, a diorama of one of the most impressive models to come out of the George Silios (he originated this structure for his Franklin etc.) mindset.

Actually, I have several goals in mind for this project:

1. Make it my best effort worthy of the time and efforts others have invested in me.

2. Provide an "in context" tutorial to help others with scratch building projects.

3. Stay within budget. Since the price of this unassembled kit today is over $500, I plan to keep my costs under a fifth of that.

4. Make use of existing modeling tools and materials.

5. Be creative, both in approach and in carrying out the project.

The first thing I realized is I would need to build this structure in portions. It is not a small structure in HO and I work better when I limit my work space to the 16” X 20” glass surface in front of me.

I started by building each of the main structure walls complete cutting and inserting windows and door holes. Next, I more than adequately braced the wall. I didn’t want any warping from the painting process.

I use craft colors to get my basic building colors and rely on powders for the aging process. Once I have laid down the wall color I insert the laser-cut wooden windows and doors, pre-painting the trim before adding the window and door jams.

Once I have the four walls completed I set them aside to thoroughly dry. Moving on to ancillary pieces, I clear off the glass work area.

My favorite was the rooftop water storage tank which started life as a toilet paper roll core which I cut to a scale eight feet. This matches to the individual 12”planking material from Builders In Scale and to my surprise, in more ways than one.

I really enjoyed converting a toilet paper roll core into a rooftop water resevoir. It is just about the right diameter for an HO Scale watertank, but I was surprised by the correctness of another measurement, circumference.

I forgot how to calcuate this with a known diameter but it looked like it would work. I had been planning om using eight-foot, 12" planks from Builders In Scale. They are partially laser cut and come in 5 3/8ths inches in length.

For this project I used the 3M Super 77 spray adhesive on the core. I wraped the sheet of planks around it and it was an exact fit, no editing needed.

Without plans calling out specific dimensions, these three ancillary builds took a little extra. I wanted an unusal billboard so I picked the 1948 Tucker (initally called the Tucker Torpedo.

Of the 51 built, 47 have survived.


I am sure the three clocks came with the kit but I had to find mine, not normal scratch building supplies.

I found them at AC Moore in packets of three trinkets, 1 clockface each. $3.99 a packet. I have six other trinkets if you are interestged.

Adding A Splash of Color

Emporium Seafood Project After One Month

I have learned several new techniques which I have put into this scratch build in hopes of making it better and getting it done quicker.

For instance, the Guard House (above) is normally clapboard like the rest of the struture. I wanted a little more color so I opted for brick. Both the brick walls and the metal roof camem from Model Builder and were printed out on the spot.

Another new (at least for me) sub-project was this polymer casting of a random stone retaining wall. The flatness (caused by rolling it to a 1/8th-inch thickness will nt be as obvious behind the full length wharf with boats tied up in front.

It is a lot less expensive than buying cast rock work and as an added bonus is flexible enough to follow a curve.

The pilings, their bracing, the sub-structure of the deck and the wharf surface material take a lot of stripwood which needs to be weathered. My chosen method is I-A usually with multtiple applications. There had to be a better way then brushing. Meet The Weathering Tubes

They measure 7.5 inches tall and about 1.25" in diameter. They are just what I was looking for. I found them at AC Moore. In their regular life they are sand art bottles used in wedding unity ceremonies. Selling as a unity set, they run $125 for a set of two with vase.

Mine were a buck apiece with the vase an extra $2. I have $5 in the whole rig. I use two for Alcohnol-India Ink mixes (one light, one dark and the third is the vinegar/steel wool.

Slicker than snot on a doorknob

I take a handful of sticks, dunk them in the tubes for 10-15 seconds, pull them out and dunk the other ends Let dry and repeat depending on the amount of weathering desired.

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