J&M Automotive

Continuing where we left off… the next phase of construction involves turning plain styrene sheets into something representative of the actual structure. My weapon of choice is photo wallpaper, made famous by Lance Mindheim.

I often rely on Google Streetview for acquiring images from afar, since Iowa City is a two-hour drive for me, one way. However, there are times that Streetview images simply won’t work, either due to bad angles or other obstructions in the shot. When that happens I’ll often substitute other locations or buildings, or go with open source textures to fill in the gaps.

For J&M Automotive, I built the entire exterior in Adobe Photoshop using a combination of available sources, manipulating and altering them to fit my needs. The layered images were printed out onto plain printer paper, then rough trimmed into separate segments.

Each segment was attached to the styrene core using 3M Super 77 spray adhesive, then trimmed flush. Interior doors and windows were cut out then lightly sanded to make sure the Pikestuff components would correctly fit.

The roof and awning were skinned using a free shingle texture I found online. I printed more than was needed, then trimmed away the excess once it was attached to the styrene. Since these parts were added after the main structure already had its photo wallpaper attached, I used CA to ensure a secure connection.

Thin acrylic pieces were attached behind the windows using canopy glue, to avoid frosting that occurs when using superglue or other similar adhesives. Pikestuff gutters and downspouts were added to trim the edges and add additional standoff details.

The entire structure was then lightly, and I mean lightly, sprayed with an India Ink and rubbing alcohol wash applied with an airbrush. Careful application prevents the photo wallpaper from bubbling up, but still dulls down the colors into something more appropriate.

The finished structure was then placed on the layout to check for spatial relationships in prep for final installation and scenery application. That’s one more building finished on The Hills Line, with many more to go.

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