I’d planned to have a some warehouses on the city side of the layout, and searched photo archives for some that were extant in Tacoma of the era. I found a few candidates, including one that appeared to be small enough to model nearly full-size.
This photo was taken in 1945.
And the same building in 1948, the year I’m modeling. It looks to be little more than four walls and a roof, so probably a good choice for my first large scratch-built building.
Because I had to buy a 4′ x 4′ sheet of 1/4″ foam-board for the divider, I have a lot of the stuff left over. The idea was to form the building core out of the foam-board, and ‘skin’ it with printed texture on cardstock.
The first step was to cut a piece of 0.060 styrene to the building footprint and paint it with grey primer. The styrene simulates an 8″ concrete pad for the foundation.
I masked the edges so the paint wouldn’t prevent the CA for the walls from adhering. The foundation isn’t rectangular because the building will sit up against the divider at an angle. The other piece is for another building.
The building core in place on the layout:
The ramp is made from 0.040 styrene.
After considerable time looking for cardstock in craft stores and art shops to simulate the concrete forming the walls, I found a shade of white on 80# card that appeared to be a reasonable match. The original plan was to use commercial window castings for the windows, but I couldn’t find an exact match. There were castings that could be modified into a reasonably close match, but it occurred to me I could use a graphics program to manipulate one of the windows in the photo to appear flat, then place the windows on a template, and simply print the front of the building onto cardstock. I made the template by scanning the front of building core, and using the window holes as guides. This was also an easy way to make the sign.
That’s the building front on the left ready to be applied.
The aforementioned bone folder used to make sharp creases on the corners. Trimming with a hobby knife yielded nice edges.
I used a continuous piece of card to cover the top of the front wall. The bone folder made nice creases to cover the raised section. I used medium grey card for the roof to simulate a flat asphalt roof. I experiment with lines to simulate the 8′ rolls commonly used for such roofs, but it didn’t look good, and for N-scale, not really necessary. Sparing application of white paint covered the exposed black edges on the sides.
The completed building in place:
And the prototype photo for comparison:
Because I don’t have any photos of the structure roof, the details are notional, but consistent with the period and building function. The downspouts are 0.040 square styrene strip painted Dove Grey. Pallets are from a kit I assembled earlier this year. The exhaust fans, fire hydrant, and pallet jack are 3D printed parts from Shapeways.
The large exhaust fan is painted Pewter Grey, while the smaller fans were painted Dove Grey, then Silver. The soil pipes are 0.5 mm rod painted Flat Black. I weathered the building by lightly applying a paper towel dusted with powdered Black pastel. You can see where I experimented on the back side, and things got out of hand. This surface will be against the divider, and thus not visible.
I’m happy with the result. It’s a reasonable model of a prototype that existed in the time and place the layout is set. And it looks a lot better than a ‘placeholder’.