Monday, February 23, 2015

Fords Canyon First National Bank

I want to start by saying - and if you've read any of my posts from the past, you know it's clear - that I absolutely love the 4Ground range of buildings. From Black Powder, to The Old West, Baker Street, to World at War, and everything in between. The number of kits that I have completed is pretty staggering, and I still have a pile of World at War kits to build! The quality is top notch and as far as customer service, the guys have always taken care of any issue or missing piece that may have arisen - and I live way across the pond, a damn Yank as it were! That being said, I have to say the Bank was probably my least favorite build I have completed, and I know that was the reason it took me so long to complete it - two different sessions with probably a six month break in between.

Again, I don't want this post to turn into "Why I hate the 4Ground Bank", so I'll just say a couple of things on why I think I felt this way. When the Bank was first announced I was pretty excited - a Bank has so many cool possibilities scenario-wise and it's such an essential part to any Old West story or town. Two things struck me right away when the photos were finally released - first, it was a square. And I don't mean kind of close to being square, it's exactly 8"x8" (20cm x 20cm for my mates across the pond) !? And second, it was wood. I guess I already had a preconceived notion in my head of a stone/brick building (probably from the Leone film, For A Few Dollars More) and something similar design wise to the Condon Bank from the famous James Gang raid. Maybe the baby blue color bothered me a little too :) . The build itself was standard for any 4Ground kit until you got to the interior panels on the first and second floors. This was a real head scratcher for me. Never before did something feel like nothing but busy work - gluing each individual panel into each wall was just brutal.  And honestly, not very "Old West" in feel in my opinion. If they were white and not brown, they would easily fit into a Sci-Fi setting, whether it be corridors in a base or spaceship. The thing I absolutely love about the 4Ground stuff is you can literally get a building on the table in almost no time at all. This wasn't going to happen here.

Anyway, with all that being said, I'm still really happy on how the build ended up! You'll notice a few changes right away. First is that I ended up changing the color on all the window and door frames, as well as the trim along the roof. I went with German Gray from the Plastic Soldier Sprays uniform line. I also changed the sign. This is probably my favorite part of the building. I messed about with two different fonts and sizes on the computer  - something I will definitely be doing going forward for any other signs I need to make - to get the custom Fords Canyon First National Bank sign. I weathered the sign with some Vallejo pigments and I couldn't be happier with the results! The sign on right side of the building came from what was supposed to be on the overhang in front. And that's the last change, I eliminated the front overhang completely. My initial plan was to make the overhang wrap around the right side, all the way to the back, and put my customary posts on. I even had some scrap wood already set aside for the job. It was when I began, well was actually finished with prepping the front overhang, that I was doing some test fitting when I realized that this overhang wasn't like the Undertakers and it didn't go all the way to the end of the porch!?  It only went about halfway.  If I stuck with my original plan, the posts would be right in the middle of the walkway. So the overhang had to go away. But what do I replace it with. I messed about with a few ideas, all which were awful, until I decided I would just try to fill the holes in with some kind of filler.

I ended up using some base compound to fill the holes in - the two above pictures. It ended up filling in everything with no problems. A small file sanded the little blobs down nice and even. The problem ended up being that I couldn't get a good enough match on the paint (which was a bit frustrating because I have the 4Ground paint to match) and where the holes were. The wood planks should have gone all the way through where the holes were.  So there should have been a line there indicating the wood plank continuing across, if that makes sense. I tried to carve out the lines, but that ended up being a train wreck and  I ended up re-filling a few of the holes again. So, what comes to the rescue? My ever present lamp posts. I cut four lamps and placed them right on top of those holes. I used some scrap wood to make the small white signs on the front. I cut "Banking Securities" and "Deposits Loans" from the acetate that was supposed to be used for the front windows and glued them on the wood and placed them over the last two holes I had to cover. The final solution ended up being easy enough, and I'm pretty happy with the new look!

Getting back to the interior of the building, I don't know what I did to make a meal out of the counter, but I did something wrong to where my posts wouldn't line up to fit in their holes and I ended up having to cut them down to fit. Again, I'm at a loss to exactly where I went wrong here as the counter itself sat flush both against the floor and walls. Trimming, filing and the occasional "What the #%$@*)!" finally got the counter completed, though not how it was supposed to have been. I call user error on this one, but again exactly where the error occurred is beyond me. I've seen some other guys builds and it looked as though they had no issues at all here. The final picture shows some touch up on the bricks, which improves the look.

 The gigantic base, with horse hitches, Army Painter tufts and some JTT Scenery flower

Again, certainly not my favorite kit to build, but I'm pretty happy with the final results. Though I wish I was able to make a fifth window on the second floor, I made an attempt which didn't work out, that I wanted to go above the door. Too much space between the second and third windows on that second floor.

I learned a lot on this one, but I think ultimately the most important thing was that there is always an answer. It may not be there straight away - hopefully it's not six months away again! - but it is there, and I've just got to find it.

Here are a few of my Artizan bank robbers in action!

 Next up is that trollop called the Sassy Gal. For months I've been lamenting about the size of that kit in relation to all the other 4Ground buildings on my table.  I'm hoping that I'm wrong, because I've already got a name change and new owner set for it! I don't want it to not make it on to the table.

As always, thanks for looking!

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