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admin 09.11.2013

After completing my first two downtown buildings, I decided to give a hand at trying to make a model 7-Eleven.
Here is the answer to the long asked question as to how I weather my track.I weather my track with Poly Scale paint and it is in their Military color line. Like many three-railers, I work within a limited space and budget, so when Lionel came out with its Mikado Jr., I was immediately interested. Since my first attempt detailing a Walthers Cornerstone Build Up several months ago, I decided to give it another try using some of the lessons learned not only from that first attempt, but those also gleaned from the generous and timely advice I have received both here and from other sources on the internet. I can find a lot of info about WHAT ties were made of in my time period, but not much on how long they were other then the to try to guess from photos.. When I was buying ties for the Soo, a standard tie length was 8 foot 6 inches, plus or minus one inch.
At first I thought that the only really challenging part would be the roof, which as you can see is a standard annodized aluminum siding with the classic raised runes running vertically down each side. They also seem like they would be good for a kit bash to create a totally unique structure.
Rail is often in shadow, so the color looks darker often times, and once it gets a good coat of dust, the color moves toward a lighter shade of brown-gray over time. Rowena, on the UP along the Columbia River, is now used to storage surplus cars and sometimes maintenance of way gear.
But I had already made three similar pented-style roofs for my second office building, so I figured this would be very similar, except that the sides are less slanted (more vertical).I actually only got motivated to build this thing when I noticed a spray can of "annodized bronze" at Home Depot. All should be available at any neighborhood hardware store and art supply.The first step is to spray paint the entire structure a flat white. By early 1900s I think they are referring to the USRA period and late not so much 1900-1910..
When I looked carefully at the color, it was a kind of very dark brown - black, really, with a hint of brown in it. I have always used Flat White Gesso in a can, but I'm sure another version of flat white would probably work just as well. After seeing a building done by Dennis Brennan that was featured in the Classic Toy Trains magazine, I knew the only way I could have it ,was to copy his work.
The instructions could be a little better, but the kits aren't that hard to figure out.
This is the actual color of annodized aluminum - the stuff used for the window trim around modern commercial buildings such as the one modeled here.
It's also the color of the roof sidesI was mostly right: this thing went pretty fast at the beginning. I used cold-press illustration board ("matteboard") for almost the entire exterior, including the walls, roof sides, and roof top. I go back and give a wash with watered down grimy black here & there to vary the color a bit. One extra detail I added is I used an X-Acto blade to etch brick detailing into the exterior walls.
This really took a lot of time, though, and if I ever make something like this again I will either use cast pieces with the brick pattern already etched in, or I will simply cut horizontal etches to simulate siding.What I realized half-way through it, however, is that in order to look like a real 7-Eleven, I would need to use clear plexiglas for the front store window.
The next one that I build I'm going to try and miter the corners to make it easier to hide the seam.
What I have always done for my other layout models is use a foggy Mylar material for the windows, which allows the interior light to illuminate the window, but does not allow you to look in and see any interior details (or lack thereof). Also, too much paint will cause the mortar lines in the bricks to be less pronounced, causing issues further down the line when adding mortar.That white, although dull, is still a bit too strong. To do this to the 7-Eleven would render it entirely unconvincing, no matter how I tried to rationalize it.So once I realized that I needed a clear glass for the front store window, I then realized in horror that I would have to at least partially finish the interior.
Using a mix of brown (or black if you wish) india ink and alcohol give the white-walls two thorough washes. I have used the cast resin kits from Korber and found CA very good for bonding it together.Since I was copying from Dennis, there wasn??t a need to make a design. What followed was some rather comical visits to the local 7-Eleven stores with my digital camera.
Though it may be a good idea to do the same for your first try so as to become comfortable with the process, it isn??t a must.

Taking pictures of the insides of a 7-Eleven is odd enough without having to make special spacial adjustments to compensate for the camera's lack of a wide-angle lens.
Not much of a difference, but it is noticeable as you can clearly tell from the picture.Using the darkest of the three colors, randomly chose bricks for the darker bricks. The principles are rather simple to apply to your own design but I found I learned a good deal by copying.I started by searching the internet for the kits I needed. I needed at least a few shots of glass refrigerator doors, at least a couple shots of the racks of snacks, and of course the quintessential Slurpee and Big Gulp fountain soda dispensers.Once I gathered these, as well as a picture of the exterior sign, I cleaned them up in Photoshop, and scaled them down to the proper dimensions. I think no more than five per horizontal line of bricks works well for me, though its totally up to you how many you wish.
Then I printed the images out onto white self-adhesive label medium, and trimmed the stickers down to size, and mounted them directly onto the interior walls. Here is a picture of the darker bricks in my build.Now, going with the middle shade for the bricks (and the most numerous) fill in the blanks. This should go pretty smoothly and easily as you can just put the marker down and 'draw' the lines on.
Both these kits are discontinued, but you can still find them online.As you can see the building I did was a three sided unit.
Keep in mind that you should leave a number of bricks per horizontal line free and un-markered for the lighter shade of bricks.
Its location on my layout prohibits viewing the back of the building so there was no need to finish it. But with the roof on, and looking into the front window, the effect is much more realistic, and satisfied me.What helps is the counter, and the four "snack racks" mounted in the floor.
Like the last step with the darker shade, leave four or five bricks per line untouched as seen in the picture below.Next, using the lightest shade of brick color you have chosen, hit up those remaining bricks. I started by separating all the different wall sections into components and matching them up to form the 3 major walls. These are just rectangular cubes of wood painted black with more photo-stickers of snacks mounted on them. Also, to further enhance the variety of bricks coloring, chose a few bricks to hit again with the marker. Once I was sure they new sections were the proper size and that they matched each other, I used the bonding solvent to attach all the components.There are a few tricks I learned doing this worth noting.
These elements add depth to the scene when looking straight into the front window, and this helps lend credibility to the "flatness" of the wall images.Another thing that helps is the transparent stickers that were mounted on the front store window. One more pass on individual bricks will darken the color slightly, just enough so that it stands out a bit. These advertisements also obscure a little of the interior detailing, making it just a little more difficult for your eyes to discern the truth about the details inside.Late in creating this model, I started flirting with the idea of making the exterior sign actually illuminate like the real thing. The overall effect of this will become evident once you finish the marker routine.I have had some trouble with these markers staying put during the later stages of this build (ink wash and mortar work).
Notice the strips of white styrene plastic used to attach the first floor to the two above it. The bright, familiar 7-Eleven sign over the top of the front really characterizes the store, and would make for especially appealing night-time scenes.But creating this kind of sign is one of the hardest things to accomplish in scale modeling. That strip, bonded to the back, is used to spread the floors apart and the gap is filled with a piece of molding found in the doll house section of my local art store.
The real thing lights up like a big, flat, white light panel, with the image of the sign on the surface nicely illuminated evenly throughout the whole area of the sign. To accomplish this, I knew I needed to find an ideal plastic jewel case that would allow me to open and close it in the future to replace light bulbs. It is also used between the 2nd and 3rd but a wider spread was needed because the available 3rd floor wall sections were too short.
This case could then be painted black except for the front panel, and then I could insert little lights into the bottom. Then, I just had to print a 7-Eleven sign on transparency film, and mount it on the front and I'd have the beginnings of something workable.What you see in these pictures is what resulted. By doing it this way a consistent floor to floor height can be maintained using the available kits pieces to full advantage.
In the end, it adds some texture to the bricks, but be aware that there may be some changes to the marker work.Once sealed, its time for the second brown india-ink wash.

You can also notice the end wall has different sized windows than the front on the third floor. Using this hinged plastic case allows me to replace expired light bulbs without having to do major surgery to the model.
Again, its up to you but I recommend going at it with a little more vigor than the first wash a number of steps ago. This helps to convince the viewer the floor spacing is maintained and the sign is just in front of the lower half of the front windows. To get the best "glow" from the sign, I ended up having to install seven micro lights (from Miniatronics) evenly spaced apart to give the sign its "illuminated light panel" effect. I have found the best approach is to brush two coats directly onto the dull-coat sealed and 'markered' bricks, making sure you wait for the first layer to dry before proceeding to the next wash. As neat as it was to make this building, I found it was these subtle details I learned from Dennis that continue to help me in bashing projects.After painting the brick and windows with acrylic paint I attached the end panels to the front.
Finding the right light bulbs for this proved to be the hardest part, since they had to be bright, very small to fit into the slim profile of the sign, and they also had to burn cool enough to not cause heat problems in the plastic case (i.e. For those of you unfamiliar with this artists work, he would drip and splatter paint on his canvas to achieve his version of artistic beauty. Using the same approach, dip a brush into the india ink and alcohol mix soaking it thoroughly and then 'splatter' the mix directly onto the bricks.
With the windows painted and glazed I installed them and added window sills of painted wood. The back is covered with one large piece of foam board.I added some molding to the back just to make sure the illusion is complete.
Real convenience stores like this have very bright, flourescent lights which illuminate the store to almost direct-sunlight levels.
While there are many approaches, I have had relative success using the 'lightweight' spackling. I experimented with more light bulbs of the same kind, but this still did not achieve what I was looking for.Enter Miller Engineering.
These guys make the perfect solution to this problem - a miniature flourescent light fixture, which exhibits very much the same light casting ability as real flourescents.
Although pricey (a set of 2, eight-inch tubes costs $25, which does not include the necessary power adapter), the lighting ability of these things may be worth it.The end result is, like all my buildings, highly stylized.
A little will really go a long way, just make sure that you rub it both length and width wise.
I filled the mitered molding gaps with wood filler and painted them a concrete color.I??ll also add a roof top water tank from Korber models later. Work in small sections at a time so you don't get ahead of yourself or allow time for the spackling to cure too much. I was so impressed with this building I built a larger version of it and combined them both with a loading dock.It??s a shame Lionel doesn??t make these any more. Using an old cotton t-shirt dipped in warm water, I then ran the shirt over the mortared area removing the excess.
They are also the only kit I found that has this style of window and door.After doing these buildings I find myself dissecting any kit I look at looking for parts in my next structure.
Keep using un-used sections throughout the mortaring process to ensure that the old mortar doesn't get spread around the newer section you are working on (tends to lighten these areas more than the others).
I can??t help it !Thanks again Dennis for showing the way and opening up new avenues for me in this hobby. I hope you enjoyed this build and I hope you take an opportunity to check out other builds by the many talented and imaginary modelers on the blog. Also, if you haven't already done so, please take time to vote on next month's Token Build.

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