started in Jan 2011 for a model building challenge.
a certain gentleman had to leave the vicinity of the
Mississippi and its riverboats very quickly. fate lets
drift him into Hodge City just when the Southern &
Gulf railroad reaches this sleepy town, and he witnesses
the loading of the first cattle train leaving northwards.
in the evening at the green table one of his pardners in
sin mentions: “these cowboys smell of dung and
greenbucks…” since this crucial moment he knew but one
goal: the welfare of these hardworking cowpunchers! not
long after his life path was given this new direction he
had the incredible luck at the cards to win a lot in town,
situated next to the station. and now, only a few months
after the idea was born, our hardworking hero got enough
funds to start building!
made a first mock up of Hodge city and the hotel (on the
left) to get a feeling for the desired dimensions.
the walls were cut out, the windows were marked for
the walls were made of coffee stirrers on thin plywood.
windows were be made from thin stripes of polystyrene on
clear plastic and glued from behind.
the windows for the ground floor were done. i used thin
transparent plastic, a bit larger than the window openings
glued from behind against the wall. on this plastic i
glued the pre-cut stripes. the side frames were glued in,
once the windows were placed in the wall. the first window
was measured to get the desired proportions. for the
others i simply laid the plastic upon the first window and
glued the stripes above those from the first window. eight
more windows in two more sizes to go. for the upper
it was easy, but time consuming. only the clear plastic
was a pain above the chair. it is so thin and inflexible,
that it breaks when i try to saw it. both with a handsaw
and with a motorized one. at last i marked the cut lines
with a carpet knife and broke the sheets.
the windows were finished.
i sought advice. having made a little test, how to make
the walls, the three sections (marked with a ball pen at
the right) need different building time. if i use the
middle section as “1”, than the upper section with sanded
edges takes “2” time and the lower (with underlay-ed
plastic strips, to raise one side of each board) section
takes “4”. i plan to paint the wall in white, then to dull
it with a little grey aging. will the lower section’s
higher effort really be seen with the paint on it? (i
wasn't sure, if i got enough free time to finish
everything in time, if the walls alone take days)
the “overlapping” boards it was to be. the thickness of
the wall established i started framing:
between sorting, cutting and sanding coffee stirrers plus
cutting and placing the pieces of fishing line, the walls
took much time.
edit: i blame McDonalds! their quality control is shitty
at best! about every fourth stirrer isn’t straight! (well,
somebody has to be blamed. why not them?)
one wall ready for painting at last. i put it against
another building for an eyeball test:
going on with my hotel. i had a question presented to the
guys at LSC. from the pic below - which color would you
think adequate for a cattle town hotel in the mid to late
the difference was, that one and three let the color
below them shine through. see the diagonal stripes.
1 and 2 are toothpaste. (2 was applied twice)
3 and 4 are crackfiller (4 as double application)
6 is two drops of black ink (stamp-pad refiller) with
a squirt of alcohol.
8 is just one drop with a squirt.
10 is polish repair liquid for furnitures. (just one
11 is the same, with a wash of the ink-alcohol mix
all were pinselled on with a stiff brush.
astonishing were the answers. most everybody choose
6, 8, 10 or 11.
just two voices to mention, that Hotels looked
orderly and clean.
i did a little web search.
if i am not misstaken, the mining and logging towns were
but the other “western” towns seem to have been mostly
adding the thought, that the lower level of my layout
(2 1/2 foot to 5 foot height) receives less light, than
the upper level, i think, i should build this town with
most buildings painted.
(adding some outhouses and sheds showing weathered wood)
so at the moment i am thinking about a somewhat “aged”
white, with window and door frames in a dark green (to
go with the name “Greenback”)
seems, that further investigation and testing will be
After a longer pause, caused by work, health,
family and so on, all those things, we summarize as:
i got the front finished, most corner posts added and
am building the third side now.
(while my printer is busy to make 16 pieces of balcony
hopefully, in one or two years this build will be done…
after i made a new floor for the 1st floor, i can glue the
the second and third floor floors are planned as
that way i will have ample space for my fat fingers,
when i come to building the interior, and each floor
gets its own back wall.
only the first floor will get a flooring of coffee
stirrers for now, because the big door allows to look
into the building even without lamps.
meaning, the building as such is constructed.
next will be painting the house, then framing the
windows. after that i will build the balconies and the
well, my windows seem to be realistic enough. through five
years worth of dust on the second and third floor windows,
the figures i placed there are nearly invisible.
another thousand words:another thousand words:
this is, how i want the floors.
now i’m entering into one of the boring phases of this
build: glue some sticks, wait some hours… glue some more
sticks, wait again some hours…
actually the interior of the third floor is in the make.
as it will be visible only through the three small
windows, i don’t have to be very Dunakinish about it.
remembering a former build, i decided to mask the
windowframes and the cracks between them and the wall
while i still have easy access.
and i broke with a tradition!
instead of coffee stirrers i use plastic sheets for the
and making this...
...is the reason for masking the window frames and
time for a rant:
i am a strong believer, that the “quality” of a layout
depends on the pleasure, the visitors have.
if a visitor is called back by another: “hey, did you
see THIS there?” - that is, when they really get
all those little easter eggs - be it a woman in a bath
behind a window, or a rabbit peeping out of a hole at
the roots of a tree, or anything in between - that is,
short of animations, but before detailism, the best, a
layout can offer.
many mini-scenes, that tell many mini stories, are the
essence of a good (indoors) layout.
- for me. /rant
so good, so far.
or is that so far, so good?
ten years and eleven months since i began this model.
there is no reason, why this build might not be finished
within the next two years.
so, hold your breath till Christmas '23, ok?
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