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Old 8th January 2005, 07:22   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 726
Default N-Scale Kit Review

Sears Catalog House #161

This is a review of a new product that has not gone into production as of yet. I am to do this to help the producer make a decision on the final project. If all is successful there will be a series of the Sears Catalog homes. Now wouldn’t that be nice to have a whole neighborhood of nostalgia as a large amount of these building are still in existence today. So lets get to work and see how this project goes!

The kit as I received it came with a sheet of paper with the picture of the real house as placed in the original Sears catalog and the mockup model, a four page and picture instruction sheets, the laser cut building panel and some strip wood for the finish. Now remember I am working with the proto-type model and it didn’t come with things like the chimney, window glaze, roofing material and the small goodies that make a complete kit. But that won’t stop me, as it is an honor to help with this project.

As with any laser kit read the instructions and then read again as you go alone. The first thing the instructions suggested is to remove all the plugs as from the windows and such before you cut the building from the frame panel. So I will do that first. Be sure to use a sharp exacto knife.

That being done I suggest you use a jeweler’s file to clean up the burs. Where you’re seeing the red arrows at the latticework and window/door frames are printed on. I am going to suggest to the designer to add thin laser cut wood to give a more 3d appearance to the model. This will make it much more easy for you I think. I will make them on my model to see if it is an improvement. Also this may be a good time to stain or paint your model, as it will lay flat giving you more control. Any touch up can be done after the model sections are glued together.
It is always better to build in sub-sections whether it is a monster project or a small home like this. I deviated from the instructions somewhat; I first built up the front wall after painting and adding the window/door frames and lattice type trim. I decided instead of doing a miter joint on the corners I would go for the old method and use a corner square and butt the walls. You could also use Z molding or L molding to cover the corners. Also after looking at the prototype picture I think it shows brick columns at each end of the porch. So on my model I scribed in some lines to represent brick and painted it a brick color and added some alcohol/ink to it. The main building I gave a light yellow wash and the trim was painted white. For the roofing I designed and printed on typing paper and glued to the main and porch roof. Hopefully the store kits will also have the roofing material with it along with chimney and other small parts. You can see these changes in the photo below along with a sidewall I am putting the framing on. This is easy as it is etched in the wood to follow the lines. As you can see in the photo the framing just makes the detail pop and not have that flat paper look.

The rest of the kit is pretty much straight forward. I glued the walls together, added the rear porch and steps and then continued on to the main roof. While that was drying I built up the dormers and set aside to dry. I added a board above the concrete base as the instructions suggested to give more dimension to the structure. Now is the time to do any touch up to the paint if needed. I will do very little if any weathering to the house, as I want it to represent a fairly new building. After the roof sections had dried I did the trim edging and overhang in white. Allowing it to dry my paper roofing material comes next then I glued it into place and allowed to dry. Now is the time to do the dormers on the roof making sure to place them in the right position, be sure to put in the window glazing before you glue the roofs to the dormers. Also add the glazing to the remaining windows and add shades or curtains to give it that lived in look. I then added the chimney. After you finish your project you may wish to add down spouts and electric meters and such to dress up the kit even more.
This is an excellent little kit and I can’t wait for the next series to come out. I hope I am the first on the list for it also. Can you imagine a whole block of the Sears catalog houses on your layout? Wow! And you would be keeping right in with history also, if you look around your neighborhood I’ll bet you will find a catalog house still in use today.
I don’t know when this wonderful kit will be released, under what name or what the cost will be. But you are on notice and if you see this Sears Catalog House #161 at your hobby shop, snatch it up! You’ll be glad you did.

Opinions are those of
Col. Jim Marksberry
N-Scale Model Builder
jmarksbery is offline  


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