We hope everyone had a great summer & are now looking forward to fall season projects in your workshops & on your layouts.
Algoma Central Railway Fall Colours Tour Train
Topics Covered In this Newsletter ...
1. "Modeler's Corner" - Conclusion of the "One and Done" story ...
Part 3 - The HUGE Custom Build
2. "ITLA Operations Schedule"
1. "Modelers Corner"
1) ITLA Custom Build ...the Rod Stewart project
In past newsletters (Oct. 8 & Dec. 11, 2021) we shared the challenge of our HUGE HO scale custom Skyscraper project, commissioned by a very special customer & long time supporter of us here at ITLA.
We just couldn't say "no" to this noble gentleman. Many of you wrote us back, guessing who this person is.
Yes, none other than that most famous rock star model railroader, Sir Rod Stewart.
Sir Rod Stewart pictured at our workbench during his recent visit to ITLA
His Request ... "Hey Nick, I want you to build me a skyscraper".
So as we've done for him in the past, I suggested a quantity of wall panels and trim parts which he would kitbash into his vision of a skyscraper.
Then he clarifies ... "No mate, I want YOU to build it for me, and ship it to the UK".
To say that we were a “little” anxious about custom building for a person of his incredible talent and achievement is, well, an understatement.
But hey, what’s life without a “little” challenge? (Please note that we're NOT taking on any more custom projects for a long, long time to come ... phew :)
An in-process view looking up at the 25 stories of the "monster" structure
The Requirements …
Sir Rod wanted a towering structure with a large footprint, for a prominent location on his recently relocated 1940’s era Grand Street & Three Rivers Railroad … a layout based on New York City, now located in his UK home.
It had to have all laser engraved brick walls … wow!
The model was to ship completely assembled, painted and weathered with roof top details packaged separately for him to install later.
He wanted as many of our "glorious Fire Escapes" (his words) on the front of the structure as possible.
Street level view with Fire Escapes and Lobby doors / windows based upon the existing Equitable Building in NYC
The Concept… A skyscraper based upon the Equitable Building in NYC was the goal, using some existing ITLA wall designs for time savings.
Inspired by a previous customer's model (shout out to Frank Varga), an "H-shaped" structural footprint was used, and maximized in size to accommodate some of our our existing ITLA wall designs.
Some concept models were built for Rod's approval (shown below).
Concept models built to verify the design intent, and gain Rod's approval.
The Concept continued …
To survive a flight to the UK in the belly of an aircraft, we had to consider a solid construction method and materials.
The answer became a 3/4" plywood core with our detailed ITLA laser engraved brick walls adhered to it.
So, two 4 x 8ft sheets later, hours of head scratching, measuring, plywood cutting, tubes of PL400 adhesive, many many wood screws, the structure's core was born.
The inner core parts shown with the laser engraved wall panels and concept models.
"How's this gonna' work again?" ... I'm thinking
As with all of our ITLA kits, we wanted to ensure the roof top of "The Lancaster" meant business.
Roof Top Details add another dimension to Rod's structure
The End Results …
We used six cans of Krylon Fusion spray paint (out in the back yard), followed by hours of hand applied acrylics … thank you to Dave Ross for your weathering methods and assistance in painting all those walls and roof details!
The completed model has 1,644 windows, each with an individual frame, sill and header. Doing the math, that's a LOT of parts.
Thank you to my wife Renée for cutting all these windows out of their carrier sheets, helping to weather the walls, and allowing me to use our dining room for final construction, not to mention keeping me sane and on task.
We installed 98 of our cool ITLA Fire Escape kits … thank you to my sons Nick & Ryan for assembling all of these! Rod wanted these on the front of his "monster" structure.
We finished with custom Roof Top Details – some unique ITLA components created just for this project.
The completed model ... "build me a skyscraper" he said.
We successfully created a 25 story structure, comprised of 32 individual custom ITLA wall panels, painted, weathered, and assembled.
"The Lancaster" building measures 38"L x 20"W x 40"H, weighed 80lbs and required a custom 200lb crate for air shipment overseas to Rod’s home in the UK.
That custom shipping crate is shown below. The model sits in bubble wrap, within a cardboard box, which was surrounded in 2" of styrofoam peanuts to absorb any shipping vibrations. Thank you to Steve Juranics for your help in designing the packaging, and providing shipping logistics.
"The Lancaster" ready to be sealed into its custom crate for shipment to Sir Rod.
This was a landmark project for us at ITLA Scale Models, and one that we're very proud of.
To quote Sir Rod … “it’s more than lived up to expectations, it's absolutely beautiful ... thank you my friend“.
One heck of a scratch building project… "One and Done!!"
Sir Rod Stewart in front of his Grand Street & Three Rivers Railroad (August 2022). Our custom building is in the background, among all of his own amazing work. We're proud to be a small part of his incredible layout.
2. ITLA Operations Schedule
We're back up and running after our trip to Europe.
We wish to thank all of our customers who placed orders while we were away ... we appreciate you patience and support!
Please visit the ITLA website using the links below to access all of our great products.