I have slowly begun building a range of new highly detail structures to use in the foreground sets of my narrow gauge diorama sets. Tool sheds have been a good way to practice making smaller structures that take less time to make, but are useful to learn new ways of modeling textures for many types of structures. As a result of making these, they help divide areas in the layout to direct attention and build interest in different parts of a set to photograph or film.
This tool shed first appeared in the shots of an episode of Thomas and Fiends in season 5. I often collect frame stills to use as reference guides to help with construction.
This helps me to measure out the proportions of a building I plan to make. Then I draw them out on the base material to cut.
First, I start with the door. I decide what size it is to be made, based on the type of balsa wood I use to construct it, and what style looks right for the structure I'm making. I make the door handles so they can turn to make it look the way it does when open or closed, mounted on a piece of balsa for the handle bracket mount. Doors also can be opened with either strips of thick card glued in place for the door to bend, or make door hinges out of craft wire and strips of glued paper.
I use foam core to provide a thick base for the building's construction of the walls. For wooden buildings, I begin lightly drawing the boards I want to clap in place with glue, then I measure and cut the doorway to mount and glue the door in place. The same technique I apply to mount the hand-built windows.
Now begins the lengthy process of adding the wood planks. I love using Bazzil Basics textured cardstock, cut in length with a craft knife or scissors. It doesn't matter at this stage what color the paper is, as the surface will be painted and weathered later.
Right now it looks quite colorful with the materials ready for painting!
To begin, I usually start with a primer base coat, sprayed on to dry. Then I paint the interior a light tan color. When I want to light the interiors, I want the inside of appropriate structures bright, so the light can bounce the light and make it brighter from the inside.
Then I begin applying layers of the building's main color scheme, and after those layers dry, I paint the trim. the long tool shed one on the right has a dark red-brown color, and later I painted the smaller one on the right a darker variation of hunter green.
After the paint dries thoroughly, I begin adding details. I use glossy transparent plastic sheets cut so it fits snugly in place of the window frame in the back, with a piece of card added for a curtain.
Now I make the roof. to create the illusion of a corrugated metal, I use specially made chipboard manufactured like cardboard, which I cut into strips and glue in place to be painted later.
Now the fun part! I blend the base color in different shades to give some variety look faded or give it a worn appearance. Next, comes dry brushing earth-toned colors for weathering, in rust, dirt, grime or dust colors.
A final touch is a batch of signs that can be mounted on for the set! I design my own in Adobe Illustrator or use free downloadable signs from the internet. They are then mounted and glued on thick card. For some signs seen at stations and yards, I cut thin strips of balsa, which I paint to make the border.
Other signs include shed numbers, yard notices, no smoking signs, bulletins, and posters, all in many different colors. Signs reflect the era and the location of these structures and the sets they give life to.
Now they're ready for the layout!