Greenbuck - Hotel



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 cutting.
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 storeys.

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 1800s?

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 application)
11 is the same, with a wash of the ink-alcohol mix over it.

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 mostly unpainted.
but the other “western” towns seem to have been mostly painted.

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 needed.

After a longer pause, caused by work, health, family and so on, all those things, we summarize as: That's life
Feb 2016:

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 railings)
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 parts together.

the second and third floor floors are planned as “drawers”.
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 sidewalk.

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 interior walls.

That here…

and making this... the reason for masking the window frames and  openings.

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 interested.

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

next floor:

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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