Tap Creek

The Chicago & North Western Tap Creek Branch


Cut pieces of transparency film, slightly smaller than the inside of the front and rear walls and glue to the inside of the walls. This effectively glazes all your windows in one go. Be careful to make sure that the glazing of the front wall does not extend above the future roof level.

To simulate curtains and blinds, cut small rectangular pieces of styrene or light-colored cardboard. Glue them either horizontally or vertically across some of the windows. Two pieces vertically along each side of a window gives the impression of partly drawn curtains, and a piece horizontally across the upper part of a window opening looks like a partly drawn blind.

If your house has windows on both the front and rear walls you should install a view block, so that a potential viewer cannot see right through the house. You would especially not want him to be able to look through the house from one floor to another, which would reveal that there is no interior.

Make a view block by cutting a piece of cardboard the height of the lowest wall and slightly longer than the diagonal between two opposing corners. Slide the piece in and it will be kept in place by its own tension. I have always made my view blocks from black cardboard, but I have always thought that my window openings look a little to dark to be realistic. In this project I instead started to use light-gray cardboard. With everything sealed by the roof this gives a more realistic, but still dark enough, effect. If you do the same you might however want to install two view blocks, mounted as shown in drawing #3. Otherwise the cardboard closest to the corners tend to come a little too close to the windows, and be directly visible from the outside. Make sure the view blocks will not interfere with the roof.

Line the inside top parts of  the front and side walls with either brick or styrene sheet. Use brick if you want the inside of the walls to be visible above the roof. Use styrene if you want to give the impression that the roof sheeting has been drawn up from the roof to the wall tops. In both cases, the lining shall extend down below the future roof line. If you choose to do the wall insides from styrene brick, also paint them and give them a gray wash for the mortar lines.

Step 4

Cut the roof from a sheet of styrene. For an ordinary square shaped house, the roof piece is also a square piece, large enough to give a tight fit between the side walls, and overhang the rear wall.

If the house has a recessed staircase section the piece has a more complicated shape. See drawing #4. Do some measures on your house and cut a piece using those measures from a piece of ordinary letter paper or cardboard. Test fit it and adjust your measures. Repeat the process until you are satisfied and then cut the final piece from styrene.

Glue the roof in place. Remember that is shall slope slightly towards the rear.

Use 0.010" x 0.080" styrene strip to add wall top sheeting. Cut to fit and glue in place. If you want to, do also add some ornamentation to the top of the front wall. Do this by gluing a piece of styrene strip, angle or channel along the top of the front wall.

Add some roof details, such as chimneys, roof hatches and pipes (See the "Additional Details" page). If you build the chimney from styrene brick, also paint it and give it a gray wash for the mortar lines .

Step 5

Drawing #3 - View block placement


Drawing #4 - Roof shape for a house with a recessed staircase section (not to scale)

Paint the roof, the wall tops and any hatches and pipes a black or dark gray color. I used Grimy Black. Paint the front wall ornament a gray color to imitate stone or concrete.

Paint the top and inside of the chimney black to simulate soot. Touch up the chimney corners and the wall stub ends above the roof with a brick color. Last, dull-cote the walls, at least if you have used cardboard for your walls. This to take away the otherwise shiny look. Do also dull-cote any other shiny parts, such as the window framing, if you used a gloss paint for those.

Step 6

To make your houses look aged and weather beaten you might try some weathering. This step is of course optional, but if you have never tried weathering before, do it now since it is really quite easy. Actually, you have probably already weathered the chimney, by painting its top black. Do only remember to stop yourself when it is enough. I tend to become a little caught up and overdo things, as perhaps show in the photos.

Start by mixing a wash of diluted white or light gray paint. Do so by simply dipping a brush in the paint and then stirring it in a little water. It is difficult to give exact directions on how to mix the wash, but generally it is better with too little paint in the water, and instead do repeated washes than to start with a too heavy wash. Give each wall a light wash in order to tone down the brick color. Do one wall at the time and let the paint dry in between. This since the wall must be held level until dry, or the paint will float around. If you use styrene walls the wash is not necessary since they were already toned down as part of the process to bring the mortar lines out. You may also apply some of the wash to the roof and the wall tops.

Next use a dark gray color, such as grimy black. Dip a fine brush in water to moisten it and then pick up some paint with it. The water in the brush will somewhat dilute the paint. Strike the brush against a piece of paper to get rid of most of the paint. Now brush light streaks of gray in selected areas of the walls, in the pattern of water and residue that has floated down them. Start the streaks at the roof and let them protrude a bit down the wall. Don't overdo it. A few light streaks is enough. If you want to you can also do some gray areas starting from the ground level and working themselves a few scale feet up the wall, to simulate moist creeping up the walls.

You may also dab the window and door frames and any trim with the brush, in order to make them appear a bit unclean.

Once the gray streaks have dried you can finish with yet another white wash, but in this case only in a few selected areas. Keep the wall level and deposit a drop of the wash somewhere on the wall. With use of the brush spread it to an irregular blob like shape. This imitates areas where the calcium in the cement has surfaced and deposited itself on the wall.

Step 7

Some more houses

Below is another house, of the same design, but built using styrene brick sheets.

This house, also built with styrene, has a slightly different design. It has also been given a stucco coating.

There are some more tips on how to vary your house design on this page.


N Scale Brick Houses

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