The subject of this ‘built review’ is Custom Dioramics (CD) kit - European Cornerstone Two Story Building – CD 8022 –. The previous in box review can be found here
. As with most of my diorama oriented built reviews this will cover a build from box to full diorama.
The kit is a typical CD piece in full resin. It has parts to build a main building with a lower ‘wing’ to the side. There are 22 pieces in all. All are very nicely sculpted; Dave Pomeranski has done a nice job in duplicating texture in this small scale (1/48). The texture transcends the wooden and rock/stone surfaces. You will be pleased with the overall molding of every piece.
Upon inspection you will find the typical resin clean up items. Since most of the pieces are from open face one-piece molds they have excess over mold resin. The walls have a small amount. The windows have a bit more. The roof pieces have a considerable amount. This is easy enough to remove with a palm/orbit sander. If you don’t have a palm sander you can tape a piece of sandpaper to a good sized flat surface and rub the excess off on the paper. The roof braces and the ridge tile pieces have standard mold blocks. These are all located on straight edges and are easy to remove. The excess casting leads to some clean up in the window and door openings. You can easily remove this with some sanding sticks. The ends and joints are mostly well done. There is some excess resin that you will need to clean up so pieces mate flush with each other.
I’m a huge proponent of planning a diorama. This kit forces you to consider at least three things; layout, size, and 360 viewing. As mentioned in the previous review this kit can be constructed with a scratch built interior. If you wish to build a diorama that can be viewed by from all sides this kit has an open back with plenty of room inside for your own interior. Custom Dioramas does not include anything for an interior. Being a larger building you are also forced to plan on an overall diorama size that supports volume. This is 1/48th scale so the overall size will be smaller than a similar diorama in 1/35th. With a corner-oriented building you must plan on how to orient the building with the rest of the scene.
Measurements for the kit are nice to have so you can plan the diorama layout. These can be found in the In-box review
. These will help you get an overall size for you project. Creativity, skill, and desire will guide the remaining planning points, layout and 360 viewing. I chose to have my building act as a backdrop building with no more than 270 degrees of viewing. I tweaked the layout a bit and didn’t go with a straight 90-degree intersection. My intersection runs about 100 – 110 degrees. I wanted to show off the building as much as possible so I left the front side very open.
Side bar planning note: I wanted to experiment with as many different 1/48th scale kits as possible. This would give me a decently rounded exposure to this scale. In this project I used Kancali, Bandi (two kits), Tamiya, and CD.
The first order of business was to clean up the excess resin. Techniques used are simple and straight forward. They were mentioned above and involve nothing more than sand paper (or file) and a razor saw (you could use a rotary tool). I test fit each part prior to cleaning it to determine if the edge would be visible. If it was not going to be visible I used a coarse grit sand paper (80 grit) to speed the work. If it was going to be visible I started with coarse grit paper and worked down to fine grit (200 grit). Here is a case where planning is key, if you know what sides will be seen this process will be easier.
The windows were cleaned up with a home made tool. I glued various grits of sand paper to coffee stir sticks. I use these to get into small places like windows and doors. Sanding the roof resin took quite a bit because it was a bit on the thick side.
The resin blocks were easily removed from the roof supports and ridge tile pieces. These were all straight cuts. The roof tile took two cuts at 90 degrees to get 100% of the block off.
Once everything was clean I tested the major components and loosely laid out the roof. CD does provide a one page instruction sheet to help. This process did identify a couple of tricky spots. The first was a result of the 45 degree angles that the front wall creates. The test here is ‘how do you keep the pieces connected during gluing.’ At odd angles like this clamps aren’t the easiest thing to use. The second area I found was that one wall was not perfectly square. This creates a small fit challenge on the vertical wall. The windows fit decently. I test fit each window in each opening to find the best match. There were differences and each did have a ‘best match’.
The 'out of square' problem created a vertical gap that can be seen in the image on the right. I adjusted the piece by adding a thin sytrene 'wedge' to the bottom of the piece (see picture). This decreased the size of the gap to a manageable size.
Loosely laying the roof support beams in place identified the biggest problem with this kit. You can see the yellow highlight in the picture indicating that the angle of the bracket does not match the 90 degree square edge of the wall. This has cascading affects. The incorrect angle will translate to a larger angle problem for the roof. With so many roof parts coming together at such a compound angle any derivation will create a very poor fit and a very noticeable problem. This problem dictated a few things with this build. I knew I had to ensure that the support was at the same angle as the outside wall. For me the easiest way to deal with this was with two smaller components, a left ½ and right ½. I glued the main side walls to their respective front walls to create a left component and a right component. I clamped the roof support piece to the outside wall and created a small wedge to fill the gap (as seen in the yellow highlight). I then glued the wedge to the support. Once the wedge was dry I could easily glue the support to its final location near the middle of the front wall piece.
I used various techniques during wall assembly; magnetic clamps, normal clamps, and masking tape. I also used a carpenters square to ensure the correct angles. I used a combination of two part epoxy and one part resin glues. I made the decision of which glue to use based on; the ease of fit, load bearing weight, and need for strength.
I used Testors putty to fill the gaps. Standard sandpaper and dental tools were used to clean this up. The gaps were pretty small and were easy to fix.
The roof was a challenge because of the compound angles involved. Take your time, work from the front to the back and test fit often. The saving grace of the roof is the seam tile pieces (the long thin pieces covering the seams.) These pieces can cover any gaps that appear. I did take advantage of this and didn’t worry about small gaps. In order to make the tile pieces fit well you must reshape them a bit. The front two pieces have to have their backside hollowed out to fit ‘over’ the obtuse angles. The backside piece needs to have the edges cut down to fit inside the tight acute angle. I used a dremil to do both. I test fit a number of times to make sure pieces sat low enough to be convincing.
Once all the pieces were assembled you are left with the single convergence point. I choose to cover this point with a bit of foil. I marked a small circle with a compass and cut it out. One part epoxy was used to attach it. I bent it down over the different angles to give a ‘finished’ appearance.
Assembly wrap up
The windows were inserted and glued with a bit of epoxy.
As you can see from the photos there were a number of tools and supplies used during this build. There were clamps, tape, rules, and sandpaper to name a few. Of these the most important two were sandpaper and tape. The sandpaper is fairly obvious; it’s really all you absolutely need to clean up the parts (the razor saw was a close second). The tape was critical in holding pieces together during test fitting and final glue-up.
The final true assembly step was to close up the back of the building. Since I decided not have a 360 degree viewing I needed to give the back a ‘finished’ look. The easiest thing to do was to use black card stock (heavy/thick paper). It comes in color and is easy to work with. I just cut the paper to shape and glued it with white glue.
The completed kit sat for at least a day to dry, then, it was on to paint. My approach to painting this kit was to have two basic layers. One hobby paint acrylic layer would be overlaid by various oil tones for depth and texturing.
The box art done by Bob Letterman shows the building in a gray tone. I decided to try to match the tone and quality and add nice light colored trim.
I used a white and black hobby paint to mix a base coat of gray. I liberally coated all but the windows. I used a light tan for a base coat on the trim. I used white over the window frames and black over the actual window panes. The doors received a coat of burnt umber.
Over the hobby paint I applied multiple coats of thin oil paint washes. My personal style with oils is to build many layers of thin color to add as much depth as possible. I portioned out a bit of black and white paint on my mixing tray. I mixed a basic color of gray. I applied it on a few stones. As I went I kept varying the color of gray.
For the roof I added one overall coat of oil paint to give it a bit of variety.
For final paint, I added a pin wash throughout the seams and creases for shadowing. I added bit of a greenish/tan color along the seams of the roof tiles to depict mossy age. The white windows received a brown wash to tone down the bright white color.
I then added pastels. I do pastels at this late time for two reasons. Pastels are delicate and easily disturbed by handling. At the final stages of the project I don’t handle the kit as much. Secondly, I use pastels as a unifying agent. After all the components have been finished and positioned I can cover all of them with the same color palette of pastels very easily.
I did apply one overall light coat of tan/brown pastels to tone down any brightness that cropped up. On top of this I used a darker color pastel and selectively weathered ‘areas of interest’, such as door stops and along the top of the trim. The texture and detail of the pieces picked up the pastel dust wonderfully.
This section deals with how well the kit was worked into the diorama. Part of diorama building is ‘setting a scene’ or ‘telling a story’. A kit may be sculpted to the highest quality but if you can work it into a scene it’s of no use.
The plan was to have this building as a backdrop centerpiece for this diorama. The size, scale and configuration of this building made it very easy to work into a roadside scene.
The large blank wall on the left side would allow for an ‘add on’ without worry of removing or concealing detail. I don’t think you will have any problems from a ‘subject’ standpoint of working this building into a diorama.
The next question, is the piece ‘workable’? I decided to see by way of adding a foundation piece. To accomplish this I sloped the ground to expose the bottom left side. I used a scratch build plaster piece as a stone foundation. I was easy to match to the kit and with a bit of two-part epoxy was very easy to add. Another detail was the door handles. I scratch build a foil handle for the front door and added it with CA, no problems. The side door handle was done with wire. I drilled a pilot hole and used CA to insert the simple bend wire handle. There were no problems with either.
I added putty covered Styrofoam steps to the front to finish it off.
This is a great kit plain and simple. It isn’t perfect, but it is very workable. The final product is a really nice piece to view. I have to remind myself that this is a 1/48th scale kit. I am so used to the bigger scales that I am sometimes harder on the smaller scales.
This kit did have a few fit issues because the walls weren’t square. Test fitting is a must with this kit. It doesn’t drop together by itself. The roof was a challenge to fit and get the long tile pieces attached. In the end I think the roof looks really good and convincing. The detail score has raised from the In Box review because the parts that are here are very nicely detailed. It remains low for what is not in the kit, steps and a simple interior or a floor are two things that come to mind.
In an up and coming 1/48th scale market that does not have a lot of buildings and support pieces, this kit shines. I see this kit becoming a ‘venerable standard’ for 1/48th scale diorama builders. It is very versatile in that it can be urban, or semi-rural, it can viewed in 360 or not, it can be Allied or Axis. The price isn’t bad for a fairly large resin kit.
I see this as a highly recommended kit. Just know you have a bit of cleanup and fit work to do.
I’d like to thank VLS for this sample.