Starting 2022

Welcome to 2022! Let’s start the New Year out with a structure build.

J&M Automotive is an independent car mechanic located on East 1st Street in Iowa City alongside the industrial spur. The simple concrete block garage is probably the smallest single structure planned for The Hills Line. However, its small size allows me to model it to scale without cutting off any portion of the structure.

I used .020″ styrene sheet from Evergreen Scale Models, since it can quickly and easily be cut with my Cricut Plotter. For such a small structure the thickness is more than adequate, especially with some additional interior supports. I can always add additional blocking inside if necessary.

As is my preference, I used Pikestuff parts for the standoff details. A set of digital calipers were used to measure the interior dimensions of each door and window, then transferred to the plan.

The rest of the building was laid out in Adobe Illustrator, with the file then converted to use with the Cricut Design Space. While even .020″ sheets are too thick for the Cricut to completely cut through, using the Deep Cut blade is enough to significantly score the material, allowing me to snap the individual pieces out.

The cuts were cleaned with sandpaper and small files. For inside segments, such as on windows, I reamed out the opening with a X-Acto knife and a styrene nibbler. The window casting itself will hide any imperfections in the wall.

The walls and other components are then glued together using Tamiya Extra Thin Cement, which provides a strong bond in mere moments. Machinist squares and other clamps are used to ensure the corners are plumb and square.

The roof was cut from one piece of styrene, but scored in the middle to allow it to bend and flex. This avoids having to connect two separate pieces together, or try to fill the seam at the top of the roof.

The canopy above the south garage entrance was built separately from the main structure. I used left over parts to construct the deceptively-complex awning. Since it’ll all be covered with photo wallpaper when complete, I’m not concerned with any gaps in the build.

As a sanity check, the roof was dry fit onto the walls, along with the doors and windows. All seems to be fitting correctly, which gives me confidence to move onto the next phase of construction… the photo wallpaper.

5 thoughts on “Starting 2022

  1. Looks nice and neat. I love having a Cricut to cut buildings with. I’ve had better luck using the fine point blade with styrene than the deep point, all score and snap either way though. I’m looking forward to see how you laminate the walls.


  2. I just got a cricut for xmas. Haven’t opened it yet. Curious on the windows you said you reamed with exacto and styrene nibbler. Does that mean you are NOT using the cricut for the window scoring, or you just used those tools after the cricut scored. I thought that was your method prior to the cricut, that’s why I ask. Figured the cricut could at least score windows..Thanks!


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