Sunday, May 29, 2016

4Ground Buildings For The Chicago Way

I completed several 4ground buildings for my TCW table over the last few weeks, and am really pleased with the results.

My first build was the two story Corner Bakery from the World at War range. I felt with a few changes these buildings (they also do a one story Corner Grocery that I have two of that still need built) they could easily pass for buildings in prohibition era Chicago.

I have two each of these kits, so I decided to leave this first ones colors original, but I'm sure I'll change the other one. I did paint the interior walls a flat white (a decision I'm not sure I'm happy with) and did some striped wallpaper on the ground floor, which I am pleased with.

When I originally built this, I didn't realize that I should have taken that middle part on the top floor and swapped it for the middle part a floor below with the window; I'll be sure to catch that on the next kit. The reason for the switch is that that would now allow me create and place a side sign for the business, a window wouldn't allow that.

I had even debated on no side sign and leaving the building as a one story, but I like side signs way too much!

For this particular building, and being a corner shop as well, I was thinking for a business it probably should be something food related. Finding the 'Burbanks Ice Cream and Soda' sign fit this building perfectly! I found some small poster adverts for cakes, gum, candy, etc. that fit nicely on the windows and doors as well.

The look of this particular building, along with how perfectly the signs go with it, I think this may be my favorite so far!

I did the swap on the first and second floor middle pieces so I could create my side sign. Both parts popped right out with little effort and I had no problems making the switch. One down, three more corner buildings to go.

I really like old giant signs on the sides of buildings, and it's something you saw all the time in this era. So I threw a couple of really big wall advertisements on the row houses that run along the back end of the table. I cut each sign so we can still access the houses. Weathering needs done on the buildings though, the signs stick out a bit too much in my opinion.

Next up was 'Oldfield Tire Shop' from the new TCW line. This was a really easy build, and went together quickly. There were a few mis-labled parts but nothing that I didn't catch right away.

I debated on whether or not to leave the front overhang, as I felt I could fill in the holes for it and still have a nice storefront (I bought two of this kit, so I think for the second one I'll leave the overhang off).  

I decided to leave it, but I printed out what looked like a canvas type material to give it an improved look. And as usual, I changed the sign :) This time I found a cool looking sign for Clapp Radio & Electric. Seemed like a pretty appropriate business for the time period.

What I have to get though, is a boatload of the 4Ground sidewalks! Unfortunately though the sidewalk package does not come with pieces that will work with corner shops, like the bakery and grocery, so I'll probably end up having to cut those. I'm sure a future release will fix this.

The biggest problem with this particular kit is that there was absolutely no way to get the roof off easily to access the inside of the building; unless you flipped the little hatch open and used that as a "handle" to lift if off. It was a bit of a head scratcher as to how this didn't get caught by the 4Ground guys.

My solution was to use some of the leftover roof details from The Wrigley's Building and use that as a "handle" to get the roof off. A vent in the corner worked perfectly for this.

I also decided to improve the look of the roof by creating a shingle type of surface. Some sandpaper cut to size, painted black, and then glued on did the job.

Next up was 'Davis Jewelers', again from the new TCW line. When these buildings were announced I was immediately drawn to the storefronts - I really liked how 4Ground changed the doors and windows for these new buildings.

This particular buildings front really reminded me of Geiger's bookstore from my favorite movie of all time, 'The Big Sleep', so I ended up buying two of these kits.

The building itself went together in absolutely no time at all, and the brick columns on the sides is a really neat detail (I still need to do touch up work and get the Geiger Bookstore sign made).

The big issue ended up being with the front windows - of course my favorite part! The frames for the windows, and also the door frame as well, are so thin and fragile, it makes it extremely difficult to work with and to get the windows placed nice and straight. I really think that this is a time when plastic parts would make this part of the build easy peasy. 

I've tried a few different methods to get the windows in on different kits now, and still haven't found one that works perfectly. Hopefully I can find a solution, because despite all the issues, I still really love the look of these new storefronts. I unfortunately was missing the piece that would have filled that gap in along the middle of the roof; not a huge issue as I'm sure that I'm going to change the roof.

A few more buildings are almost complete, and we've got a little AAR coming from a game played a couple of days ago!

As always, thanks for looking!


  1. Great looking kits. Looking forward to my TCW-book that should reach me any day now.

    1. Thanks a lot! Really enjoying these newer design 4Ground kits. Have fun with TCW - if you like DMH, you'll love TCW!

  2. Looking great. Love the signage: really gives character to the buildings.

    1. Thank you! The signs give so much narrative to the buildings and settings; I think that's why I'm so focused on them all the time :)

  3. Wonderful stuff. I've only just found my way to your blog and was blown away by the your attention to detail. Your TCW and DMH buildings are alive. I'm beginning an old west town of my own and hope to take some lessons from you in it's construction.

    1. Thanks a lot! Very kind words and humbled.
      The details and signs are the funnest part of the build process for me - everything is all about the narrative and the small story each building or area of the table tell :)