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When famed model railroader/author Mike Tylick first learned of the concept of
the "1-Kit" he decided it would be useless to him, Mike is a wonderful, allbeit
eclectric modeler & individual. Mike was commisioned to construct our "1-Kit"
diorama... he'd HAVE to use the kit ... like-it-or-not. Do you know what?...nowMike
pretty is much dependant upon the thing and has used it is many building
projects! Anyhow... as Paul Harvey would say.... "and now you know the rest of
the story"... or at least you will if you read on!
When Artie first proposed the 1-Kit, I wasnt at all sure what he had in mind.
My first thought ran to the well-known styrene modular wall system. I couldnt
figure out how small clapboard sections could be ganged together into a larger
wall. I also wondered if a good variety of openings would be available. It seems
I always wanted modules that werent available in the styrene kit. The answer to
the first question was simple- you cant easily form longer walls from the
clapboard, but the wall sections are over fifty scale feet in length. Only large
industrial buildings might have unbroken walls longer than that, and most of our
compressed models come to a jag or a corner before that. Drainpipes and vents
can conveniently hide joints in walls longer than that. Ive built some very
long structures without having to resort to this artifice. The window and door
sections were designed to be truly open ended- it seems any window or door
design I have wanted can be built with a little imagination and planning. Ive
made a number of structures of widely varying designs with the Bar Mills modular
system, and Ive come to paraphrase Henry Ford with the belief that You can
build anything you want with the 1-Kit as long as you want it made of clapboard.
A problem with this versatility is that no tangible set of plans or precut parts
are provided. The purpose of the 1-Kit is that you design your own. For some
hobbyists this is a welcome opportunity, for others a most difficult challenge.
I didnt realize it at first, but the knockouts on the wall backsides make
designing a structure quite simple. Rather than measuring and drawing openings
and wall lengths, the laser guides almost do this for you. No need to worry
about whether you have the right doors and windows or if they will fit. If you
follow the lines you will have the correct door and window components and the
parts will fit. Although I prefer to work directly on the wood, many designers
will prefer to layout their structures on the provided paper templates. These
may be photocopied and even glued to cardstock to make scale mock-ups before
cutting expensive wood. In either case, dont forget you are designing on a
mirror image. The parts will come out reversed.
There is no question that working with wood is more time consuming than working
with plastic, but only wood siding will provide a true appearance of wood. The
difference may be subtle, much like the difference between cedar clapboard and
vinyl siding, but the difference is unquestionably there. Hobby time spent
building models should be enjoyable unto itself, not merely an exercise in
filling as many square feet of layout in as short a time as possible.
Working with wood hasnt changed much since the advent of milled siding, and
some advice is always good. Work with sharp blades to avoid wandering and
splintering cuts. Earl Smallshaw taught me to use an X-acto chisel blade most
useful for opening doors and windows. I find the chisel is also the best blade
for cutting windows frames to length. I outline my cutouts from the back with
masking tape to avoid splitting the wood siding. I brace the walls extensively
with heavy stripwood that I cut from pine scrap on a band or table saw. Painting
both sides of the wood will also help retard warpage. Common white glue is
perfectly adequate for joining the parts- I use spring clothespins to hold them
together while the glue is drying. If thin coats of glue are applied to both
parts and heavy pressure is used, assemblies can dry surprisingly quickly.