Sur-Sweet Kitbash

by Ted McCormack

Ted's kitbash of Walthers Sur-Sweet Feeds kit sure is sweet! Lets see how he did it:

"I have always enjoyed kitbashing and stratchbuilding in plastic during my 20+ years in N Scale, so when I switched to On30 due to old eyes and thick fingers (after an aborted journey into Nn3; don’t ask) I decided to try my hand in larger scale kitbashing of sorts."

I had seen Walthers Sur-Sweet Feeds kit at a train show and was able to get one from eBay. About the same time, I began studying the techniques of Harold Minkwitz’s Pacific Coast Airline Railway and Darryl Huffmanin his "Easy Scratchbuilding in Wood" DVD set.

As you can see in the photo below Sur-Sweet Feeds makes a pretty good building right out of the box. It is one that you can assemble with minimum adhesive and no paint. Since I had the perfect spot for it on my new layout I decided to enhance it's appearance using some of the methods learned from others. As Tom Yorke says, "Practice, practice, practice."

The first was to paint the wall a light brown-tan, let it dry, apply rubber cement all over [I may have gone overboard here and there], and then stipple a white top coat; I used Testor’s enamel in all instances. After the final coat dried, I rubbed off the paint covering the rubber cement to give the appearance of peeling paint. The walls were finished with a wash of alcohol and India ink. I used the same rubber cement technique of the window frames.

Next, using Harold Minkwitz’s technique of making plastic look like old wood, I finished the loading dock by distressing it with a brass brush, various grades of sandpaper, under coat of white acrylic, and a final thin coat of Dye-na-Flow black fabric paint.

I now turned my attention to the roof. The one that came with the kit was very thick plastic [likely to scale], but it seemed oversized and since the roof was what many people would see the most of, I decided to experiment here also. First, I offset the cupola just to add interest. For all of the roofs, I installed a base of .040 thick sheet styrene. I liked the red tarpaper and batten roof system of Darryl Huffman, so I painted several sheets of black construction paper with a mix of Napthol Crimson and Cadium Yellow acrylics. After that had dried, I cut the paper into scale 3-foot wide strips and attached varying lengths to the styrene with white glue. While this was drying, I was soaking some scale 2 X 4 stripwood in a vinegar and steel wool pad pickling mixture. After drying the battens were installed to cover the horizontal and vertical seams in the tarpaper. The roof was finished off with a wash of diluted white acrylic.

For the loading dock roof, I made a sandwich of scribed siding on the underside and plain styrene on top. After gluing it to the supports provided in the kit, I installed Sodders Enterprises O Scale corrugated metal sheets that had been weathered using PCB Etching Solution [Caution: very toxic stuff!].

The main building signs were made in the Darryl Huffman style using a simple word processing program, then glued to a basswood sheet that had been cut to the correct dimensions. The signs were distressed using the point of a hobby knife, but need a little more weathering. That knife and a steel rule were used to scribe lines to make individual boards in the sign.

I added several other touches that you may see in some of the pictures: Scribing expansion joint lines and cracks in the concrete foundation of the building and loading dock supports. Shades made out of manila folders to the office windows. Two interior view-blocks using black on black foam core board. A floor of grooved styrene painted and weathered with acrylics in the central part of the building that would be visible when the load dock doors were open. Using a paper sign made to look like metal as part of the roof.

View Blocks

Interior Floor

As you can see, the building is about finished, which is more than I can say for the rest of the scenery on my layout, so I am acquiring detail parts and vehicles to complete the scene. What still remains is to install a bulletin board outside of the office with papers flapping in the breeze and some signs pasted or tacked to the walls of the building."

You are visitor number:

Click here to return to the On30 Articles Index

This page updated Aug 3, 2006
Webpage © Larry Rickert
Text and photo's © Ted McCormack