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Author Topic: A really big neon sign in 1/87  (Read 31151 times)
BKLN
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« 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.


* kentile_01.jpg (93.02 KB, 791x572 - viewed 770 times.)
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BKLN
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« Reply #1 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!)


* kentile_02.jpg (92.09 KB, 450x600 - viewed 804 times.)
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BKLN
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« Reply #2 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.


* kentile_03.jpg (68.11 KB, 600x450 - viewed 721 times.)
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BKLN
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« Reply #3 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.
 


* kentile_04.jpg (28.22 KB, 600x494 - viewed 694 times.)
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BKLN
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« Reply #4 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.


* kentile_05.jpg (47.84 KB, 600x471 - viewed 725 times.)
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finescalerr
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« Reply #5 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
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BKLN
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« Reply #6 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.
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Chuck Doan
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2010, 01:47:26 PM »

Damn that is looking good! That's a neat project. Unfortunately styrene can do that sometimes.
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DaKra
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2010, 01:51:36 PM »

Ditto what Russ said!   
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« Reply #9 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.



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chester
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« Reply #10 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.
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NORCALLOGGER
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« Reply #11 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
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Philip Smith
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2010, 06:51:30 PM »

Nice Build!

The Mother of all signs!

Philip
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Ray Dunakin
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« Reply #13 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!)

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JohnP
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« Reply #14 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
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John Palecki
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