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Building information that applies to our craftsman kits

Grandma's House

Before you begin:
Before you begin building your Campbell Scale Models kit examine all parts and familiarize yourself with their locations on the model. Read through the instructions, one step at a time, and try to visualize the process. The full-sized drawings enable you to use them as templates. In using the drawings as templates, first check them against the wooden parts. Sometimes changes in humidity or temperature will cause the paper and wood to shrink or swell, making the drawings slightly out of scale. If the wood parts do not fit the drawings exactly work from the center, splitting the difference. A few of the wood parts are "stock" sizes and must be cut to fit as construction progresses. Remember to use the stock-length wood wisely. Do not discard any excess material after a part has been cut. Save all end-cuts and use the shortest pieces whenever possible.

Wall Sections:
Through experience we have found it most advantageous to cover the inside surfaces of all Wall Sections with masking tape that have die-cut openings which need to be trimmed out by the modeler. Only cover the area of opening and its surroundings. This will lessen the chances of splitting the Walls. The tape should be applied running the opposite direction of the wood grain. When the tape is in place trim out all of the die-cut openings using a very sharp knife.

For the serious modeler, we highly recommend using an X-Acto #1 handle and a #11 blade for all cutting and trimming. And in addition, for cutting out our lasered parts from their frames, we recommend using the X-Acto #5 handle with a #18 chisel blade. When all openings are cleared, turn each part over and very carefully remove the tape. We are currently updating our kits where any part (mostly walls that have a die-cut for a window or door and any wall or roof cards) will be laser-cut. This means most of the cutting will be done for you and the opening will be an exact fit for the window or door. This is just one of the many things we are doing to improve our kits.

Staining or Painting wood parts:
Whenever wood parts are to be stained they should be stained BEFORE construction begins since the wood glue will seal the fibers of the wood. A weathered stain is recommended for all of the Floors, Docks, Floor Beams, Joists, Legs, Vertical Foundation Siding, Ladders and Step Assemblies. If the Main Building is to be painted in contrasting colors, that is, the trim different from the body of the building, we suggest painting these parts first. A darker color for the trim (Windows, Cornice Cap, Corbels, Rafter Tails, Fascia, Freight Door Frames, etc.) can be a good contrast to lighter color walls. All of the wood parts may need to be lightly rubbed with fine steel wool after the first coat of paint to help obtain a smooth finish and then followed with a second coat. When painting the plastic parts use a paint that is made for plastic.

More information on dying wood parts:

  1. Get an inexpensive bottle of isopropyl alcohol from the local drug store and the shoe dye from your local shoe repair shop (you can also find shoe dye at most drug stores that sell shoe polishing products...make sure this is shoe dye, not colored shoe polish). Add a table spoon or two of liquid shoe dye to a quart bottle of isopropyl alcohol and mix thoroughly. You might keep a bottle or two of black and a bottle of brown on hand for your future modeling needs.
  2. Before you dye your wood parts, you may, if you want a weathered look, scrape and/or scratch-up your wood parts. This can easily been done with a edge of a knife, X-acto blade, or any thing that is abrasive. Doing this will open up crevices which will help the dye penetrate the wood.
  3. To match your existing ties (or the structures in your layout), pour some of the stain solution (either black or brown) in a used/washed-out meat tray and submerge the new pieces in this solution for a few minutes, then lay them out on some paper towels to dry. Note: if you are dying wall or floor pieces, make sure you place a few paper towels on top and place a weighted item on the paper towels (an old book works well). This will keep these parts flat while drying.
  4. When dry, the stripwood pieces will lighten up a bit. If these pieces are too light, then try the process again...each time they will darken a bit. Once you're able to match the new color to your existing (Ties, walls, or floor pieces), write down the steps you took and use this formula for all other parts. I use this dying process on all the Campbell structures I build. You'll find you can really control the color you're looking for by following the above steps. And of course, there's nothing from keeping you from experimenting with both the black and brown dyes in some combination.


  1. For wood to wood joints: Most wood glues will work for our kits. We suggest using a white wood glue specifically designed as a wood glue which dries clear. Some yellow wood glues when dry have a yellow dis-colored look.
  2. For plastic to wood joints: 5-minute epoxy.
  3. For metal to wood or chipboard (cardstock): 5-minute epoxy.

Helpful Charts:
Decimal Equivalents Chart
Conversion Tables