Today’s MTL Waterfront Project kit is the Pier & Building Kit. At 8″ long by 2″ wide, it’s a large piece. The size of the dock will provide a home for our next kit… but we’ll get to that kit in our next article. The building portion of this model is built on a separate foundation, allowing placement and orientation up to you. I like this as it allows you to be a little flexible.
I went with very toned down colors for this kit as I wanted the building to look a bit more utilitarian… more like a non-nonsense place of business. I kept this kit stock except for a few minor alterations. First I shot the black tar paper with thinned green paint. I was looking over some prototype photos online and say a green roof and thought… why not?
The other change I made to the kit was the roof access door on the smaller, attached portion of the kit. I like it but felt that a simple roof access look was better so I just laid the tar paper, intended for the door access, right on the roof. It’s subtle but I like it. As this kit also comes with a good number of dock ladders, I thought having a ladder or two on the roof lent a nice touch.
The dock itself I stained with Minwax natural stain. Although it doesn’t alter the color much, it does add a sense of depth to the wood grain. The dock itself is cut from thin plywood which is a great medium, but it can have a very distinct plywood patter to it. If the pattern is small, this works. On my dock I felt the pattern a little large and I wanted to disguise it just a bit.
I masked off a couple of sections and gave them a light shot of gray with the airbrush. Once dry I then sanded these painted areas a bit with 220 grit sandpaper to simulate age. I like this effect for a couple of reasons: it hides that plywood pattern nicely and it also gives a sense of history to the dock in that these gray areas are (or were) for something. What exactly, I don’t know but I like the look.
The last thing I did a bit differently on this kit was the edges of the buildings. Rather then use the included edge border strips, I painted the edges white prior to assembly. Hiding building edges or joints is always difficult in any scale, more so in Z scale I believe due to the sheer size of the scale.
I think simply painting the edges prior to assemble is a viable alternative to dedicated edging material. I think a mix of edged and non-edged buildings will probably work well, after all all buildings in the real world are all different, I think it’s just fine if our 1:220 buildings are too!
Category: Z Scale Basics