Acadia Square - Phase 2: Riverview Hotel & Business Centre
Phase 2 of the Acadia Square project is the five storey Riverview Hotel / Business Centre. Although a building kit or kit-bash was an option I decided I wanted to scratch build this one as a self-imposed test of my modelling skills (or lack there-of). I had done some cardboard modelling as a youngster and I wanted to see if I could build something entirely unique. I started gatherin materials and mocking up small tests of window/wall sections months before actually deciding it was time to build.
I must also clarify a point. As you look through the pages for Phases 2 and 3, it becomes obvious that Phase 3 was built and in place before Phase 2. About the time that I had finished Phase 1 and ready to begin Phase 2 I was held up waiting for some materials so I jumped ahead instead of losing the time.
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Before starting the actual build, the first thing I did was to create a simple card stock shape to give me some idea of just how the hotel would look. And I must say I was a bit unhappy. As the focal point of the layout it had to be "perfect". The plan called for six stories but as I looked at the mock-up I wondered if I should knock off the sixth storey and make it a five-storey building. That would take it down about an inch in height and I thought I would like that better.
Next I started gathering up my materials. This is going to be a paper/card stock structure. The base layer upon which all the walls will be built is poster board. I took my sheet of poster board and cut out a couple of 8.5" x 11" pieces so it would be easier to work with. The big folded sheet of brown stock is 1/32" - double the thickness of the poster board and half the thickness of the other paper material I will be using, picture matte. I cut that down to size as well. There was also a small amount of balsa stock used but not much.
The next step was to print off my windows and doors on transparent stock. The idea was to have the window frames and glass all one layer. I know it is not technically correct but that's the way I am doing it. In a commercial window like I am modelling, the thickness between the outer face of the sash and the outer glass surface is about 1/2" so it's close enough. I also printed the same window patterns on paper and used that as my guide for cutting the openings.
I mounted all four paper walls on poster board using a spray adhesive and cut out the first wall to see how it would look. It was okay but in future I would probably use balsa or something of that nature because the cutouts are never perfect using paper products and wood could be sanded easier than paper could be. The knife tends to distort the sides of the window opening as it wedges its way through and there is a lot of fine tuning to do with the Exacto knife after the openings are cut. But, I decided at that point to not switch gears.
I fitted the first sheet over the transparency to make sure the window frames were lining up with the openings. In the first pic you see that. The back sheet is poster board without the window treatments but you get a sense of how it will look. The lining up is perfect so I went ahead and cut the rest of the window openings.
The ground floor windows and doors were to be cut away entirely except for the corner post areas. Store fronts would be built and attached separately. The windows and doors printed for the ground floor were just for height reference. I did cut out one set to see what it would look like.
This was very time consuming. With all the fine cutting, spraying with dull coat to seal the surfaces, the fussy trimming that needed to be done, more spray, more fine tuning the opening - it is took me more than two hours to cut one wall. The first pic shows the wall being sanded to remove the imperfections caused by the knife. It was a process of lightly sanding, spraying again with dullcoat and fine tune some more. The second is a pic of the four walls with the windows cut out but not trimmed to the exact overall width yet. The windows that were not cut out are where the hotel backs up against the back of the DPM structures.
I got much better with the knife as I progressed and had to do less trimming later. I also learned a lot about rulers. I started by using a ruler that has a cork strip on the back to keep it from slipping. The cork holds the actually edge of the steel ruler 1/16th" above the paper. That was just enough to allow the knife blade to wander off the line, under the ruler edge, when it was under pressure, just enough that the line was not perfect.
My other ruler had no cork but it had a tendency to slip. I ended up using the one without the cork but I sprayed the back with repositionable adhesive to keep it from slipping. This allowed the ruler edge to sit flat against the paper. The cuts on that wall were perfect and needed almost no touching up afterward.
The upper wall sections (floors 2 to 5) would have a precast concrete arch-top panel design. I started by laying out the four header panels.
I then glued the four headers on and cut out the walls for the ground floor storefront panels. The wide opening on the the Acadia Street side was a mistake. I accidentally cut out the two intermediate posts but they would simply be glued to the panel once it was in place later.
I could not add the rest of of the exterior panel details at this point because they had to overlap at the corners so the next step was to assemble the shell and test fit it.
I added the marquee moulding that separates the ground floor from the rest of the building and added the first of two layers of precast panel detail to the upper floors.
Next came the "stone" for the ground floor columns. This is a texture graphic I grabbed from a free graphics site. They have free textures as well as the ones they sell. I sized it for 1:160 scale and printed it.
The first shot shows the stone paper folded for one of the corner columns. The second shows it glued on. Third is a closer shot with the building turned upside down and the fourth is a shot of the inside corner detail.
And, two shots of the corner columns completed and the intermediate columns built up to their proper thickness, ready for stone paper.
Once the columns were done I made the storefront panels for the three sides that need them, complete with windows and doors. I started with laying out the windows and doors for the terrace side of the building. Each of the other two sides to receive windows and doors would be done the same way.
The general idea was to have a set of doors recessed in the center section and two large windows in each of the other sections - on each wall. First I glued a pair of doors together. Disregard the piece of styrene angle. I have decided to not use those. The next two shots show the intermediate columns on the terrace side with the balsa in place to create the recessed area for the doors.
I cut a piece of card stock for the door wall and test fitted the doors. You can see that the top cut was a bit rough but the stone paper hides that. Then I covered the door wall with stone paper and also covered the intermediate columns.
The next two shots show the door wall with the retaining strips in place. These acted as a backer for the installation of the doors. the other shot show the progression of completing the storefront - without windows and doors.
The Acadia Street side was different. First, I had accidentally cut off the intermediate posts so those would be added a part of the process. This side is different also because there are three small shops along this side and no recessed building entrance. The wall started as a single piece cut to fit between the corner posts and the window and door layout was drawn. A second layer was added to build up thickness - so the doors and windows will be recessed into the stone wall slightly - then the door and window openings were cut out and stone paper added. The fourth shot in this next group shows the paper cut and being wrapped around the sides of the openings. This is done to ensure that when the windows and doors are recessed the texture wraps into the recess.
The first two two shots of the next group show the finished wall (except for the intermediate posts) and the wall section added to the building. This third shot shows the posts being wrapped with stone paper and the second shot shows the posts added to the building. This completed the Acadia Street side.
The next group of shots show the hotel in place, ready for paint and then with the ground floor walls completed I cut out the intermediate floor - actually, the ground floor ceiling to allow better access for working on window and drapery sheets.
Paint - A Caution!
The building received two coats of butter cream paint and hit the next big problem. I must say at this point that I would not build the exterior walls out of poster board next time. I would use either styrene or balsa - something that would take being wet by the paint without delaminating. Even though I had given the walls two coats of sealer before painting, the muntons, being very small and fragile started to delaminate. They shrunk back into shape when the paint was dry (with the help of a hair dryer) but I would either print the walls with the exterior finish on them (as one would expect with a paper kit) or use something more stable.
In the panic of dealing with the muntons I forgot to take pics of the painted building before starting on the window sheets.
Windows, Doors and Drapes
I trimmed windows from the transparency sheets. Not all windows will be used. Some were printed just to make it easier to identify the different walls. I glued the first sheet in place and placed the building where it will sit to see what it would look like.
Here are shots of the drapery sheets being printed on poster board that was cut paper size to fit in the printer; the printed sheet before trimming and the first set of drapes ready to glue in; also shots of the sheet glued in place and the horizontal brace that will hold the wall straight across at mid height. These braces will be added to the other three walls as well. And finally, a shot of the finished windows on the back side of the building. The back is actually what you see when sitting at the layout.
I installed the windows and drapes for the other three walls. I also added horizontal braces half way up the four sides to make sure they stay straight. Doors and windows were installed in the ground floor. I decided to not use any kind of window coverings for these.
The Roof & Mechanical Systems
Next I added the horizontal strips that will hold the roof in place, and added the sub-roof. The roofing material was cut from sandpaper, just like the other buildings in this project. With the sandpaper glued to the sub-roof I tried the hotel in place to get a sense of what this will look like as part of the larger project. Then came the roof trim. I started by adding the flat pieces that sit atop the four walls and again set the building in place to take a look.
The walls above the roof line were painted to resemble tarred sheating board and the roof was permanently glued into place. The second piece of the crown moulding at the roof line was added and all mouldings painted the same green as was used for the rest of Acadia Square.
The roof supports two major mechanical pieces - the air system and the mechanical shed for the elevator gear. The air system is a resin piece and the shed was scratched together using styrene sheet and an extra door from the ground floor. These were painted the same green and added to the roof using a few drops of epoxy.
Finally three shots of the hotel added to Acadia Square and a shot of the downtown area with the hotel added. The Christmas trees were placed temporarily for the holiday season and are not part of the final plan.
This completes Acadia Square - Phase 2. Please use the links below to navigate to another page in this series.