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Topics - SteveCuster

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Kit Building / FSM Brownsville Depot
« on: June 14, 2020, 11:09:17 PM »
Hello everyone.

I recently completed my version of FSM Brownsville Depot. I knew my time would be limited building this kit so I didn't do a step-by-step. I chose a different color scheme than George.

Thanks for checking in.

Kit Building / FSM Chippy Hollow Hardware
« on: December 07, 2019, 05:52:35 PM »
Hello everyone,

My next kit in line to be built is FSM Chippy Hollow Hardware Co.

I figure most everyone knows this kit but here is a photo of the box.

Lots of lead castings in this box. Most of the work with this kit will be painting all of them.

This is all the wood included with the kit.

Primed and sorted the castings that mostly represent wood. I used Rust-Oleum Khaki for these.

Anything that represents metal is blackened with Jax Pewter Black.

I primed the walls with gray auto primer.

Next I washed the walls with A&I.

I wanted some variation in the different stones but still keep is subtle so I used alcohol and powdered Rembrandt chalks to color some of the stones. The colored the walls with A&I before this so it didn't wash away all the chalk. The A&I really helps create some depth between the stones.

I used a thin brush to wick some A&I between the stones to give some shadow to them.

I dry brushed the walls with a very light tan color.

I liked the Floquil Depot Buff color for the windows but I substituted it for Apple Barrel Khaki.

2 washes of A&I really helped tone the trim down a bit.

The kit calls for gluing these wooden spacers to the bottle of the cast walls. I primed them with gray just incase they were visible somehow but I don't believe it is necessary.

I started working on the windows and doors. Still need some work before I installed them.

I'm jumping around a bit with this kit while I wait for things to dry. While the epoxy was drying between the walls and the wood filler pieces I painted some of the castings. I'm a big fan of these fuel canister castings. I haven't seen these in one of George's kits before. I use double sided tape and a tongue depressor to hold the castings while I paint them. For metal castings the 3M double sided tape from Staples or Walmart won't hold them so I use carpet tape from Home Depot.

Thanks for following along.

Does anyone have any photos of Brian Nolan's build of this kit? I remember seeing his years ago but when I google it I only find a thread on the railroad-line forum and the photos are super small.

Dioramas / Bar Mills Gritty McDuff's
« on: November 28, 2019, 12:49:28 PM »
I recently mostly finished my version of Gritty McDuffs from Bar Mills.

I condensed the design a bit to fit the area on my layout. I changed a few small things on the kit but mostly I kept to the original design. I did choose not to use the shutters for the main taller building. This photos was taken with the structure placed on the layout.

This shot was taken on the workbench. The main change I made to the kit was I removed the rear section from the taller building. I built it and then found out it wouldn't fit the area. If you follow my layout thread I repurposed it on another smaller building.

This shot better shows how I condensed the area a little.

Ignored the gap between the road and the scenery.

I didn't get too crazy detailing the yard area because it will be very hard to see once it's installed on the layout.

The kit came with 2 tanks but I only had space for one. In the original design this tank sat behind the yellow/ground building but my yard area is much more narrow than the original design so I placed it between the 2 buildings.

I still need to add some vehicles and some little people to the scene. I'll complete it once I add it too the layout.

All in all this was a fun little project and I feel like it works well in the overall feel of the layout.

Seeking Kit... / Bar Mills Gritty McDuff Instructions
« on: September 19, 2019, 10:30:34 PM »
Hi everyone,

I recently picked up Gritty McDuffs off Ebay and it's missing the instructions. Does anyone have a set of instructions for this kit?


Kit Building / Builders in Scale Getz Gas
« on: August 07, 2019, 11:16:04 PM »
Hello everyone

Next in line is Builders in Scale Getz Gas. I enjoyed building Pitkin City Hall so much I decided to build another BIS kit. This will sit in the foreground area on the layout in front of city hall.

First step was sorting the castings. As with the Pitkin City Hall kit the castings are all excellent. Very little flash and very little cleanup. I sorted everything either wood or metal. Wood will get a Khaki colored primer and the metal will be blackened.

All the wood components laid out.

I roughed up the siding with a wire brush and gave it a base color of A&I.

These cast pieces will represent the legs for the decking.

The decking consists of this piece of scribed siding.

I cut the decking down into 3 sections for the 3 individual docks.

This is the decking template. All the BIS kits I have include these excellent blueprint type templates.

This is the skirting that does around the base of the building.

I stained the decking material and used double sided tape to attach it to the template face down.

I glued the skirting to the bottom of the decking first. I used a piece of wood to keep the skirting at a 90 degree angle. I painted the skirting with Apple Barrel Tuscan Teal. That's the color I will be using for all the trim. Next I glued the joists and then finally the metal supports.

Same with this little dock.

The walls are painted Apple Barrel Granite Gray. I coated them in Mineral Spirits before I painted this coat on.

I used a wire brush to pull up the paint. The thinner keeps the paint from really adhering to the wall so this technique works well.

Same thing with the rest of the walls.

The rest of the skirting is a tiny bit taller than the skirting that goes under the decking. It all gets glued to the bottom "floor".

Here it is with all the loading docks and skirting attached.

The loading dock doors are built from scribed siding. I primed with A&I, colored with Granite Gray and weathered with another coat of A&I.

These are the door handles. I bent then with a small pair of needle nose pliers.

Here they are installed in the door.

All 4 doors are done.

I painted all the doors, windows and added the trim pieces.

The walls were weathered with A&I.

Added some signage.

I started to glue the walls together.

All the walls are together and I tried to make sure all the corners were true.

I glued the walls onto the first floor assembly.

Thanks for checking in. Next step is the roofing and some details.

Kit Building / Builders in Scale Pitkin City Hall
« on: August 05, 2019, 09:41:08 AM »
Good morning everyone,

I just finished up building Builders in Scale Pitkin City Hall. Here are some photos of the completed kit.

This whole scene will be removable from the layout to allow access to the rear track. This is how it fits into the scene. I'm still working out the front area but I have the diner from FSM Roadside Delights and maybe another small building that I may use in front of the road. I'm not really thinking of this area as an access hatch but more something I can remove if I really need to with minimal damage. Obviously this picture was taken while the ground cover was still wet and most of the details hadn't been added.

This was my first kit I've built from Builders in Scale. I always thought of them as something similar to Campbells or one of the other older kit manufacturers but they are really closer to Fine Scale Miniatures in quality of components and kit design. The castings were all excellent and all the parts fit together very well. I'm not sure why I overlooked them for so long. Most of the kits can be picked up for a good price on Ebay too.

I already picked up BIS Weiry and Sons and Getz Gas to build for the layout. Getz Gas might fit in front here next to the diner.

I have more step by step of this build on my website at

Thanks for checking in. I'm going to start Getz Gas today. It looks like a easy quick kit to build.


Baggage Car - Daily Chat / My Website
« on: July 11, 2019, 06:49:27 AM »
Hello everyone.

I started to put together a website with all my different builds and projects from the various forums. Please check it out and let me know what you think. I still have lots to add.

Kit Building / RailroadKits Firehouse
« on: July 11, 2019, 06:11:19 AM »
Hello everyone.

I just finished RailroadKits Firehouse. Pretty straightforward hydrocal kit. I ran into a few issues mainly the bell tower got broken off and I had to fabricate my own. I used pinking shears to make the roof shingles.

Thanks for checking in.


Kit Building / Bar Mills The Gravely Building
« on: May 16, 2019, 02:41:02 PM »
Hello Everyone,

I just got finished a quick build up of The Gravely Building by Bar Mills. It will be part of a group of storefronts for an area of the layout. It was an easy and pretty quick build, overall a nice kit.

Here are a few photos.

Thanks for taking a look.


Kit Building / Bar Mills Gibley's Furniture Co
« on: April 15, 2019, 11:58:07 AM »
I decided for the next kit I'm going to build Gibley's Furniture from Bar Mills.

First step of course is to separate and prime the castings. I always use double sided tape to stick all my windows to a sheet of paper.

The shingles for the upper portion of the siding come off this sheet.

The walls are made from this composite paper board. Similar material came with FOS Darnell's Autobody. It requires a different approach to weathering because it really reacts poorly to moisture.

Windows are primed. I also gave them a wash of A&I.

I primed all the shingle sheets with tan spray paint and I also gave them a wash of A&I.

I'm going to be using one of these makeup sponges to apply the paint. I bought 100 of them on Amazon for $7.

If you rip them in half they give you a nice rough texture to apply paint.

I used the sponge to color the shingles. I wanted a slightly inconsistent color but I still wanted them to represent painted shingles not sunbleached cedar shakes.

I used the same technique and color for all the windows.

I painted all the walls Krylon dark gray automotive primer. I did a little test first and it didn't cause any warpage to the board material.

I used a few A&I washes over the shingle sheets.

I started adding the shingles to the walls.

I did some antique white drybrushing on the shingles and very lightly the gray lower portion. I started installing the windows.

I colored the storefront area with the same gray and a sponge.

The laser cut pieces get sandwiched together to make the front doors and windows.

All of the front pieces are put together.

All of the acetate pieces are laser cut.

I added the window glass to the front door pieces.

This is the front door/window area all glued together.

I added all the window glass and dirtied it up a bit with some brown chalk. I won't add the tilting windows until I glue all the walls together.

The kit comes with laser cut wood pieces for the vertical battens on the lower portion of the walls. I decided to use some scale 1x2s I weathered with A&I.
I ran the board over the edge a little bit. I'll trim them once they are dry.

Thanks for following along. I'm almost ready to glue all the walls together.


Kit Building / Master Creations Blandings and Gallard Cement Co
« on: February 10, 2019, 06:22:26 PM »
Hello everyone.

Next up in the build pile is an old Master Creations kit "Blandings and Gallard Cement and Construction Co. Ltd". I'll be heavily modifying the configuration of this kit because I have a specific place I want to put it on the layout and it's pretty narrow. I bought the kit from Ebay and the taller brick building is missing from the kit also.  I've not heard great things about the Master Creations resin walls either so maybe it's for the better.

The kit originally went for $134.95 in 1988. I think that comes to around $300.00 today.

I found it difficult to get a feel for how the kit was going to look from this picture. I also Googled the kit and found nothing.

Instructions are 2 huge front and back newspaper style sheets like older FSM kits. Going over everything it looks like during this time Master Creations was trying to make kits very similar to FSM. The only other large Master Creations kit I built was Minerva Casket and it was very different from this. Minerva Casket was a big box of laser cut parts and confusion.

Lots of lead and stripwood.

I built the small stone office a little while ago as a separate kit. I always liked the building but this one will need to be heavily modified to install on the layout. I might cut the top off the peaked walls and use it as a lower floor for a building.

All the castings are good quality. Not a ridiculous amount of flash either. The windows have a nice wood grain texture. 

The kit came with enough parts to assemble a few trucks.

Looks like this brass sheet goes with the lead vehicle parts castings. Looks like maybe 3 trucks total. I'll probably wait to tackle these.

The kit came with a bag of about 15-20 windows but I'm not sure what they go to. Might be the resin brick building. I'm going to set these aside for now.

I cleaned all the flash from the castings.

I separated all the castings into either wood or metal. These are the castings that represent wood. I stuck these to a sheet of paper with double sided tape and I'll prime them Khaki.

The rest of the castings got blackened with Jax Pewter Black.

In a little while I'm going to flip the castings I primed over and spray the other side so I can start painting them tomorrow.

I like buying older not real popular kits on Ebay when I can get them for cheap enough. I paid $80.00 for this kit and I think it's worth more than that in castings alone. I wish I had all the parts but I'll do my best to turn it into something halfway decent regardless.


Scratchbuilding / F&SM G. Brill Co Scratchbuild
« on: January 28, 2019, 04:13:48 PM »
Hello everyone.

I needed a little structure that would sit on a hill for my layout and I've always been a fan of the old G.Brill Co that used to be on the F&SM. I decided to scratchbuild my own version of it. This building is no longer on the F&SM. I'm going to stick pretty close to the original.

This is the original model from George's layout.

I made a rough drawing using some graph paper. I figured out the height and width by counting the clapboards and measuring a FSM window casting.

The clapboard sheets I'm using I bought directly from George. I figured they are probably pretty close to the ones he used for this.

I started cutting out the walls.

The back wall will have no windows and details and won't be visible once it's installed on the layout. I cut out the back wall by tracing the front with an exacto knife.

I usually cut my windows and doors out from the front. I change my blade after every couple windows.

I wanted the windows to be pretty similar to George's but I didn't have anything that was close on hand. These are Tichy windows I modified to match George's.

I stained all the walls with a basecoat of A&I.

I washed the walls in mineral spirits and painted them using Americana Deep Burgundy craft paint.

As the paint just started to dry I used a piece of tape to pull some of it up. I also scratched some of the paint off with a wire brush and my X-acto knife. The red can be a little challenging if you rough it up too much with the wire brush it starts to look pink.

The windows are all Tichy and the freight door is laser cut wood from Master Creations.

I added some nail holes to this one. I thought it added some character to the beat up siding and George's has nail holes of course.

I added the trim. The trim and windows are painted Apple Barrel Khaki.

Thanks for checking in. Hopefully I can make some more progress on this later tonight.


Kit Building / FOS Darnell's Auto Body Tom Schwarz Build Challenge
« on: January 13, 2019, 04:47:53 PM »
Hello everyone.

I decided to build Darnell's Autobody from Foscale for the 2019 Tom Schwarz Build Challenge.

I picked this kit up at the Altoona Expo.

This is the pilot taken from the FOS website.

First step of every build is laying out the components and taking an inventory.

Next step is my most disliked portion but the most necessary. Bracing all the walls. I have a few 100 clothespins I use for this task. I try to brace all the walls and prime all the castings in one sitting so I can let both things dry overnight.

After all the bracing dries I rough up the siding with a wire brush. This is my favorite type of wire brush. They are sold at Home Depot in the welding section for a few dollars.

I colored all the walls and stripwood with A&I. This will be my base for the paint.

Thanks for checking in. Should be putting some color on the walls tonight.


Dioramas / Foscale Carter's Supply
« on: January 13, 2019, 04:32:39 PM »
Hello everyone.

I recently completed work on a quick build of Carter Supply from Foscale I wanted to share. I changed a few things to give it my own touch.

Let me know what you think.

I didn't include the small corrugated metal shed to the left of the front of the building in my build. Instead I added a chimney, a small fence and some junk.

I changed the roofing on the main building from tarpaper to diamond shaped shingles. I made these using pinking shears. I colored the tarpaper smaller roofing with red to give it a little contrast.

The chimney casting is from BEST I believe. The smaller vent is from FSM. I'm not sure who made all the barrels and things. I pulled them out of my box of random castings.

Nothing real interesting back here. This area will not be visible on the layout. I changed the flat roofing also. This roof was done by spraying a card with black paint and sprinkling on fine cinders. It came out a little patchy but you wont be able to see it once I place it on the layout.

The pallets in the foreground are from Northeastern. I'm not sure about some of the junk on the porch. I think the hand truck is FSM.

Overall this was a nice kit and only took a few days to assemble.

Thanks for checking in.


Scratchbuilding / Modeling Chain Link Fence
« on: December 13, 2018, 10:57:55 PM »
Hello everyone.

I wanted to do a quick how-to on modeling chain link fencing. I think it's a great way to box in a scene without blocking the view of the details past the fence. It's also very easy to do and pretty inexpensive. This type of fencing has been included in many kits but it was always a scary prospect to me until I tried it.

Here are a few pictures of some chain link fencing I've done on my models.

I drew out a basic drawing for how I want to fence. These are spaced 6 ft apart and are 5 space ft high.

I liked the crossbar support detail on the SierraWest fence so I used that here as well.

This is the rod material I used for the posts.

The chain link is made from a material called Tulle. If you buy it on a roll the holes are too big. You need to buy it by the yard. I got mine from Joann Fabrics. It was $.79 per yard. The SKU number is 717371410313. 1 yard is enough to do several layouts worth of chain link.

I cut a few sections of material much bigger than the fence I'm making and taped them to a piece of paper.

I painted the material with a light coat of gray primer. The paint gives the material a little more strength and stability so it's a necessary step.

I cut the brass material to the lengths I wanted and dropped them in Jax Brass Black.

Double sided tape on the template.

I stuck all the pieces in where I wanted them on the tape. I also super-glued any of the sections that touched together.

I glued the tulle to the fence just like this. I will trim it up next.

Using a ruler as a guide I cut along the top of the fence. Just make sure you use a brand new razor.

The bottom section is all trimmed up.

Here is both the top and bottom trim and glued up. After this I sprayed them with another coat of gray primer.

Here's the fence in place on the layout. It adds a little depth to a scene without obscuring it like a vertical board fence does.

Hopefully this will be helpful to someone.

Thanks for checking in.


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