In this installment of the Waterfront Project we hit a milestone; we complete the last two buildings in the series! We’ll build the MTL Surf Shop (MTL Part 799 90 949) and the Taffy Company (MTL Part 799 90 945). Both of these kits, as well as the previous Bait Shop kit, were designed to reside on the MTL Boardwalk. Our next article will deal with docks and piers but today we wrap up our buildings.
Our two kits today deviate slightly in their wall trim and window application in that the trim and the window frames are one-piece peel-and-stick sections on several parts of both kits. I found you actually need to be more careful with these one-piece trim / window sections than with individual windows and trim, as the sections need to applied very straight! Now we always want to apply windows and trim carefully but here if we’re off by just a little on one side, it can have a large effect on the opposite side of the trim piece. In addition, the peel-and-stick adhesive is very aggressive, so you want to take your time and get this right.
Both the Surf Shop and the Taffy Company are straight ahead tab-and-slot construction and they go together quickly. For both of these kits I decided to assemble the walls prior to painting. Touches of gel superglue to tack the pieces together at the tab-and-slot points, then I brushed the interior corners with wood glue for strength.
These kits, as pictured on the Micro-Trains website, are shown as bright, touristy buildings. Since we’re going with the Florida working-dock look though, I went with very utilitarian colors. I initially picked up several shades of pastel paints that evoke a Florida feel, but as I poured over more and more prototype photos online from our layout’s era, it became clearer to me that pastels would have been out of place.
In the early boom days of Florida railroads (and architecture), many of the buildings and colors more closely resemble the look you’d have found in the northern parts of the US. This makes all the sense in the world as many times it was northern money and influence that shaped the look of Florida.
Since I’ll be using these are working buildings, I wanted them to look just a bit grungier than some of our other kit builds. Once a base coat was applied to our walls I’d remove some of the paint to reveal the wood underneath. Simulating age with a scrap of sandpaper held by tweezers, or the tip of an X-acto knife make for good paint-aging tools.
Once major alteration I made on the Surf Shop was to the pair of peaked roofs. The Surf Shop comes with a wood substructure for these roofs, as well as printed shingle paper. Several years ago I had played with casting my own roofs in resin and I had one of these old roof molds in my collection, I thought this would be a good excuse to cast a few roof panels in resin!
I cast my roof sections, cut them to fit using the wood roof sections that came with the kit as a template and gave them a few coats of thinned brown paint. It’s a small detail but they do add a bit of extra dimension and age to the Surf Shop. On the third roof section, the flat roof, I went with my fine ballast mix for a textured look. Finishing this kit up, I left the shed / barn / garage bay doors off this building. Since I’ve used these doors on previous kits, I wanted to have a slightly different look here. It’s be a great place to park an old truck, halfway in the building.
Next is the Taffy Shop. Again, this kit is a quick build with the trickiest part being the one-piece, peel-and-stick window and trim sections. As with the Surf Shop, take your time here to apply these sections. One minor change I made, and while probably not very prototypical I like it, was to cut the lower roof section down a bit in order to be able to view the wooden roof brackets, or corbels, when the kit is viewed from above. As on the Surf Shop, I went with my fine gray ballast mix for the roof sections. Almost anytime I can add texture in Z scale, I do it!
While this kit sells as a whimsical Taffy Shop, with its current grunge paint and beat up roof, I can see this maybe as an old restaurant or mercantile with a couple of rooms to rent upstairs. It has a slightly offbeat architecture to it that I like a lot, and I think it will add a subtle cool to the scene.
We’re now finished with our buildings, next article will be the last bit of kit construction with our docks and piers and then we move on to the layout plan!
Category: Z Scale Basics