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General Category => Modellers At Work => Topic started by: BKLN on September 16, 2010, 11:17:21 AM



Title: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on September 16, 2010, 11:17:21 AM
I have been a member here for a couple of months now, but so far I haven't really shared much of my work. I feel a little guilty of just consuming information rather than sharing. So here is bit documentation of one of my current projects. I appreciate this forum for it's honesty, so please don't hold back.

The following project is in full progress and hopefully finished soon:

THE KENTILE SIGN
The Kentile sign is to post-industrial Brooklyn what the Statue of Liberty is to New York Harbor. The sign sits on top of the Ex-Kentile factory, which stretches out over multiple city blocks right of the Gowanus Canal in South Brooklyn. In my opinion this is a true landmark, that should be preserved. I think the only reason why it is still standing is that nobody wants to spend the money to tear it down. However, that's just a matter of time.

I started by trying to gather the general dimensions from Satellite images and maps, since there were now plans available.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on September 16, 2010, 11:26:53 AM
I started the project sometime in February or so and spent a lot of time building the scaffold from strip styrene. The whole front was built by taping the styrene strips onto a detailed drawing and then gluing it.

The "ribs" were built with a simple jig.

I don't want to bore you too much with the process, so here is the result after a couple of months of sniffing glue. (and yes, - that's my lunch money. And no, - not for one day!)


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on September 16, 2010, 11:36:06 AM
I tried to assemble as many big "building groups" as possible, but there are really only the "facade" or front and then the support ribs in the back. After that it's on to gluing one piece at a time without a jig. That obviously has major potential for f#&k-ups, so please ignore the crooked pieces.

The structure is amazingly robust and not as fragile as I expected. I had to make a few short cuts to not go insane: I didn't build any of the tie plates that hold some of the beams together. I also shortened the rear of the structure a little bit.

The ladder is a little custom job from DaKra / VectorCut.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on September 16, 2010, 11:44:51 AM
One of the big questions was how to do the base. As you can see, the sign itself sits on a tower-like structure on the roof of the factory. The factory roof is already probably 25' above street level. So I decided to cut my diorama base out of the factory to establish a minimal base that is not too overpowering.
(Thanks to DaKra who suggested the angled layout. It makes the whole thing a little more complicated to build, but it does look a lot better)

The building was made from foam core board with an overlay of regular grey cardboard.
 


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on September 16, 2010, 11:58:06 AM
The most exciting thing on this project are by far the letters. Getting there took some unexpected learning about styrene. I love working with styrene more than any other material. The base of the letters was made from .030" styrene sheet. The sides were made from .010" styrene sheet. And that was the problem. It all looked good. But after a couple of weeks, the letters started warping. I turned out that the thin .010 styrene didn't have enough structural strength to counter the glue and the .030" base. So it was back to square one. This time I used precut .020" strip styrene. This makes the side panels a lot thicker and somewhat unrealistic, but it was a good compromise. Another option would have been thin sheet metal or foil, but I am not good with metal, so I decided on this compromise.

The final letters got a bit too much of weathering, but I am worried about messing them up by reversing at this point. The red on the prototype is a weird color. Depending on the daytime and weather, the red will take on any hue from dusty orange to a deep maroon.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: finescalerr on September 16, 2010, 01:11:41 PM
Perhaps you are a little too critical of your work right now because you are so deeply engrossed in it. From my standpoint it is satisfactory. -- Russ


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on September 16, 2010, 01:29:54 PM
Wow, in my little time here I have learned that "satisfactory" is pretty good seal of approval. (I was tempted to bribe you with a little bikini chick climbing the ladder.)

I have actually started to put the letters onto the sign, but right now I am focusing on the structure itself. Last night I did some roofing work.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Chuck Doan on September 16, 2010, 01:47:26 PM
Damn that is looking good! That's a neat project. Unfortunately styrene can do that sometimes.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: DaKra on September 16, 2010, 01:51:36 PM
Ditto what Russ said!   


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Ken Hamilton on September 16, 2010, 02:33:19 PM
....I just love how this Forum continues to attract the Lunatic Fringe......

BKLN, this sign is one of the most outstanding pieces of styrene construction I've ever
seen.  With not a hint of any wimpy Selective Compression, this is IMPRESSIVE!
Love the letters, too.
Fantastic job.  Can't wait to see it painted.

Welcome aboard.





Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: chester on September 16, 2010, 04:10:28 PM
Well I'm certainly impressed. The lattice work of the frame looks like it would make anyone go bonkers. I particularly like the letters and neon detail.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: NORCALLOGGER on September 16, 2010, 05:23:49 PM

Just the kind of construction that drives a guy completly bonkers.
I love it.

Will the Neon Tubes light up when finished?

Thanks for coming along and sharing your work.
Rick


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Philip Smith on September 16, 2010, 06:51:30 PM
Nice Build!

The Mother of all signs!

Philip


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Ray Dunakin on September 16, 2010, 07:25:30 PM
Wow, that is way too cool! A very fascinating prototype, and some excellent modeling work!

(Was just thinking -- Man, that thing would be huge in 1/24th scale!)



Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: JohnP on September 16, 2010, 08:17:50 PM
What a big pile of...STYRENE! it looks good and square and straight, very well proportioned.

Bonkers and Lunatic are very complimentary terms here by the way.

I really like the lettering. Nicely executed and hard to tell it is 1:87.1. Can't wait to see more.

John


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Ken Hamilton on September 17, 2010, 04:40:12 AM
....I keep coming back for another look at those letters.
They're gorgeous.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: SandiaPaul on September 17, 2010, 05:14:26 AM
WOW, does this bring back memories....I saw that sign nearly everyday for 2 years from the F train while I was going to grad school at Pratt, it was my fav part of the trip, esp at night when it was lit up. Great project!


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on September 17, 2010, 07:34:52 AM
Thanks, everybody! Feedback like that is very motivating!

I am through with all the annoying repetitive work on this thing, so now it is really a pleasure to see this monster take shape with every step. I will post some more progress photos later.
 
And -no, I won't light up. It will be a lifeless steel carcass just like the original. DaKra tried to talk me into lighting the neon tubes, but it would have been too much. The neon tubes, by the way, are made from .010 x .020" styrene strips. I did some experiments with wire, but the wire option proofed to be too clumsy and too hard to control.

SandiaPaul,
I am excited to hear that you actually know the sign. And that you actually saw it lit at night. I moved to Brooklyn in 2002, after Kentile went out of business, so I have never seen it lit. And I have been searching the whole web, but I couldn't find one single nighttime picture of the sign.




Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Chuck Doan on September 17, 2010, 07:50:34 AM
 There are a number of pictures of it on Flickr, and all are of the post-business era. Apparently making floor tiles from Asbestos wasn't a great idea after all.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Ken Hamilton on September 17, 2010, 08:01:11 AM
Hey, BKLN......are you the guy who attended CSS-09 with Dave K?


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on September 17, 2010, 08:13:47 AM
Yes, Ken! We met at CSS09.
DaKra lured me in, just like he did here.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: DaKra on September 17, 2010, 08:19:09 AM
Yup, talent hidden is talent wasted.   :)


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Chuck Doan on September 17, 2010, 09:34:03 AM
Yup, talent hidden is talent wasted.   :)

Ain't that the truth! I know of some very talented modelers who rarely show up online. Then again maybe they realize what a black hole of time the internet is!


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: TRAINS1941 on September 17, 2010, 07:06:51 PM
Perhaps you are a little too critical of your work right now because you are so deeply engrossed in it. From my standpoint it is satisfactory. -- Russ

Yes if you would have had a thong girl in the picture it would have been excellent!!  Just remember when he saw the sign he was under the influnece of a good "BRANDY"!!!

I'm thinking sober right now and it looks excellent to me!!!

Jerry


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Ken Hamilton on September 19, 2010, 06:51:56 PM
Yes, Ken! We met at CSS09.
DaKra lured me in, just like he did here.
....thought so.
Hope to see you there again this year!


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on September 20, 2010, 07:07:34 AM
I had a really good week. During the week I gave the scaffold a simple paint job (Krylon Dark brown ultra flat camo from the spraycan) and put up the letters. Spacing them out was a little difficult, but it worked well in the end.

I apologize for the bad picture quality, but I usually end my work session at night, when it is way too dark to shoot outside or setup proper indoor lighting. I'll promise some outdoor pictures once this thing is done.

Ken,
I am looking forward to talk to you again this year. My tolerance for "oh-so-cute-clapboard-country-store-cannery-tobacconists-barber-shop-bordellos" is pretty low, but I think there might be a certain lumber stacker on display that I really need to see at CSS10.



Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on September 20, 2010, 07:08:40 AM
...and the backside.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on September 20, 2010, 07:50:58 AM
Earlier this weekend I started the roofing. I have tried a lot of different methods to create a tarpaper effect in 1/87. Besides newspaper strips I really like blue painters tape, because it is easy to position. Once all the tape is on, I give it a coat of diluted white glue. A thick layer of acrylic paint will smoothen out hard edges.

The roof of the Kentile tower has a very dark, very dull roofing, while the surrounding buildings have a grey-ish , lighter shade.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Chuck Doan on September 20, 2010, 07:54:09 AM
That is just beautiful! Totally captures the real thing.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on September 20, 2010, 07:59:35 AM
I started my Sunday morning with a final coat of wall paint. Until then I only had a simple base color that had a green tint from the texture paint I used to create a bit of stucco look. The actual color is darker eggshell, almost creamy white.
The western side of the building has a lot of roof-top graffiti. Originally I intended to make waterslide decals for that, but those turned out being too large to handle. I also don't like the edge that you get from a decal. I ended up painting the graffiti by hand, which was a lot of fun. (against all expectations) There too, I had to take some shortcuts, but the overall-feel is right. Again, nothing here for nut-counters.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Ken Hamilton on September 20, 2010, 08:48:18 AM
What an absolutely gorgeous piece of work.
You ARE bringing this to CSS, right?


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: JohnP on September 20, 2010, 08:07:04 PM
And out of the sky drops...Super Modeler!

First the stack o' styrene inspires awe, then the sweet letters cause gasps, then the painted and installed assembly photos create confusion (that is the real thing isn't it??), now the graffiti goes on and it looks like you have had practice tagging autoracks in your younger days.

It is very nice to see a unique but believable model come along. Thanks for sharing.

John


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Ray Dunakin on September 20, 2010, 09:07:30 PM
Great work! The graffiti is spot-on.



Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: finescalerr on September 21, 2010, 02:25:14 AM
Utterly disgusting. And most satisfactory. -- Russ


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on September 21, 2010, 07:00:19 AM
Thanks for the kind words everybody!

Seriously, I am very excited to get such great feedback from such talented people. So often I find myself browsing thru these threads, blown away by the dedication and great execution of your models, but it leaves me speechless. People like Chuck, Ken and Marc are really a big inspiration and motivation. The discussions here are far more refreshing and informative than in many other places.

I took a lot of pictures of the sign in preparation of this project, but lately I have been discovering so many things that I missed. I live close by and just this morning I discovered that the eastern side wall has a lot more detail than I thought. So tonight it's back to to the workbench to fix at least a few minor things. Yet, I still see so many flaws, angles that are crooked, paint that's too thick. 

Russ, "disgusting" is a wonderful compliment for somebody who loves industrial decay. I guess this the "Rustlovers Therapy Group" anyway.

Ken, I am not sure if this thing is save for travel. But I'll see if I can work this out somehow.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: marc_reusser on September 21, 2010, 03:20:18 PM
I have been watchingthis all come together, trying to think of what to say that everyone else hasn't already....to no avail...this is just an amazing piece of work....you must have the patience of a saint, and one heck of a steady hand.
Just beautiful.  Thanks for jumping in here and sharing this project. Look forward to more on this and any other builds.

Marc


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on June 09, 2014, 11:18:18 AM
I just realized that I never posted any pictures of the finished sign. I promise to do that as soon as possible. In the mean time I have a very serious request.

This sign, that has been looming over the Gowanus neighborhood (my neighborhood) is in immediate danger of being torn down under the cover of the night. Luckily, concerned neighbors have caught wind of the hush-hush operation and alerted local preservationists. I don't want to get into any political discussion here, but I believe in "responsible gentrification", but that's a different story.

I ask you to help to preserve this important landmark of Brooklyn's industrial heritage by signing the petition in this link:

http://bradlander.nationbuilder.com/kentile

Thank you very much
Christian


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on June 09, 2014, 11:20:11 AM
Here is a crappy little snapshot just to catch every ones attention.
(the image quality will probably get my fired here, but I included a can of quality Mexican beer to make up for it)


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: finescalerr on June 09, 2014, 01:08:57 PM
Nice beer can. The model is okay, too. -- Russ


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Chuck Doan on June 09, 2014, 03:21:28 PM
Great model of a great sign. Hope they save it, but it looked like the scaffolding was already up.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Mr Potato Head on June 09, 2014, 04:54:18 PM
that is fantastic!
what did you use for the light tubes, will it light up some how?
love to see that thing in person!
MPH


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on June 09, 2014, 07:40:28 PM
@ Chuck,
yes, they put the scaffolding up, but it seems that the public outcry has at least halted them for now.

@ Mr.Potatohead
The whole thing is pretty much all made from Evergreen and Plastruct profiles. The bases of the letters were lasercut. The neontubes are just very thin styrene rods.

Here is the REAL sign in it's full beauty, 8 stories towering over the Gowanus - a small but vital industrial area in South Brooklyn.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on June 09, 2014, 07:44:57 PM
And here are my humble attempts of cultural preservation en miniature.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on June 09, 2014, 07:47:21 PM
And here is my buddy Mark taking the shots above.

Again, please help by signing the online petition to save the sign:
http://bradlander.nationbuilder.com/kentile


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Chuck Doan on June 09, 2014, 08:00:26 PM
Those are wonderful pictures of an amazing model! Just outstandingly good. A perfect capture of the real thing.

Petition signed, hope it helps!


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: nk on June 09, 2014, 08:38:36 PM
Nice nice work there.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: finescalerr on June 10, 2014, 01:48:24 AM
What photo shows the model? -- Russ


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: SandiaPaul on June 10, 2014, 05:09:10 AM
Great work, and one of my favorite signs.
Petition signed.

Paul


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Design-HSB on June 10, 2014, 08:51:13 AM
My appreciation is a great unique model.

It then comes to light it on the desire with me.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: 1-32 on June 10, 2014, 02:49:07 PM
it seems to be a common thread around the world-lets get rid of all the iconic landmarks.
any chance of a close up shot.
great work
kim


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Ray Dunakin on June 10, 2014, 11:49:30 PM
Holy carp, that is a very impressive model of an impressive prototype!



Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Guy Milh(imeter) on June 11, 2014, 01:26:15 AM
here in Belgium we say "MACHTIG !!!"

translation: mighty, powerful, influential

petition signed !!


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: chester on June 11, 2014, 05:24:41 AM
Would love to see the sign saved. You've done a wonderful job of replicating it for posterity. I signed.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: eric on June 11, 2014, 01:11:08 PM
wow really great, bluffing pics.
Look like it can resist hurricane too  ;D


eric


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: jerseymercantile on June 11, 2014, 05:37:14 PM
I grew up in Brooklyn.
I passed the sign daily on my commute to school (NYCCC) and then to my job at A&S Department store.
It would be a shame to lose it.
I signed.
Jack


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Chuck Doan on June 13, 2014, 01:39:05 PM
I recieved an update from the councliman who started the petition. Seems the sign will go, but the letters will be preserved. Sort of a dubious victory. I can't imagine how they would ever display them again. But nothing lasts forever.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: BKLN on June 16, 2014, 07:15:51 AM
I can't consider this a victory, either.

What really gets me, is the short sighted view that so many of these businessmen have. The Gowanus neighborhood has gone thru drastic changes: once rich with jobs and heavy industry, then to wasteland and now into newly energized mixed use between residential and light industrial use.

What the owner fails to understand is that it is exactly the industrial heritage that attracts people (call them yuppies if you will - I am one of them) to this neighborhood. By denying and rejecting this heritage, he strips his properties of the most valuable asset: Authenticity!

But the sign is private property, and he can do whatever he wants with it.

Anyway, thank you all for all the nice comments!


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Hydrostat on June 16, 2014, 11:33:33 AM
That's what I thought, too. Tear it out of its context and it will get meaningless. You come straight to the point when it gets to the question of "profitability", which mostly is denied by people who want to get rid of their history.

A very impressive structure in prototype and model. I like the pics very much. Very well done - both the model and photography.

Volker


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Chuck Doan on June 16, 2014, 07:51:03 PM
I can't imagine anything new that will be built there that will ever create as much notice or feeling.


Title: Re: A really big neon sign in 1/87
Post by: Hauk on June 17, 2014, 02:09:04 AM
I recieved an update from the councliman who started the petition. Seems the sign will go, but the letters will be preserved. Sort of a dubious victory. I can't imagine how they would ever display them again. But nothing lasts forever.

So much of the Industrial and Architectural heritage disappears. Especially the landmarks that the casual observer labels "ugly" or mundane gets torn down at an alarming pace.

I find this very depressing, but at the same time it is a good reason for building scale models, and personally one of my biggest motivation factors as a model builder. Another example, the prototype for my red warehouse model is falling to the ground almost as we speak.