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Built Review
HO scale
Millwright Zip-Kit
The Millwright
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

The Millwright
Series: Zip-Kit
Mfg. ID: zip4
Materials: Multi-media: wood; card; plastic; paper; metal

Carolina Craftman Kits has created a new model series - Zip-Kits. Zip-Kits are conceived to be easy to assemble yet high quality models. As multi-media kits, Zip-Kits contains everything a modeler needs to build the basic model: laser-cut milled wood walls; stripwood; injection-molded items such as windows, doors, lamps and chimneys; wire lamp hangers; rigid cardstock floor and roof halves; roofing material and printed brickwork. Zip-Kits remain affordable by foregoing printed instruction sheets, window glazing and scenic detail items while the design makes assembly obvious.

The Millwright is the first of CCK's Zip-Kits.

The Millwright
CCK packages the model material and parts in a zip-lock bag. A printed color image of the constructed model serves as "box art."

Contents of the kit are:
    4 x wooden wall components
    1 x wooden loft door 'sprue'
    1 x stripwood bundle
    1 x heavy card floor
    2 x heavy card roof halves
    5 x sprues of Tichy windows, doors, and lamps
    3 x wire lamp hangers
    1 x chimney
    1 x sheet of printed masonry
    1 x roof material

The wooden wall parts are of sturdy unwarped wood about 1/8 inch thick. The wood grain is good for HO. Almost all of the laser-cut parts are sharp and cleanly lased. Only the one end wall has splinters where it didn't part cleanly from the parent wood sheet. However, the wall is not split and the splinters should cut off cleanly.

The walls are milled to simulate lapped siding. Window and door openings are cleanly lased through the sheet. The milled plugs from the openings are good to keep in your spare parts box as there are many uses a modeler can create for them.

Stripwood is used to cover the corners and create the foundation. The single sheet of printed brick is wide enough to be cut in-twain and thus long enough to surround the foundation. For 2-D the brick looks very good.

The loft (Mow?) door is made with four parts. Board detail is etched on via laser.

Sharply molded Tichy windows and doors fill their respective voids. An injection chimney is molded with good brick detail.

While the walls lack notches cut into them, the roof halves are notched and marked for left and right. Once they are seated the modeler can add the roofing material as is, or cut it into strips to simulate tar paper rolls.

Finally, the three wire fishing tackle snap loops are provided to fashion lamp hangers with.

Instructions, painting guide
None. The model is simple and basic assembly should be simple. Novice modelers may be a bit befuddled if this is one's first craftsman kit and one doesn't know a few tricks. Elusive tricks can be found on this site or elsewhere. Two ideas are cutting the roofing material into equally sized sheets to attach to the roof to simulate the tar paper covering, and poking nail holes on the exterior.

Painting will be wherever your source material or imagination takes you. The one thing that may be a surprise is wood warps after receiving paint. Convention dictates that to avoid warping, wooden components should be painted on both sides, or first sealed with a clear varnish prior to adding paint.

other ideas
OK, so this model is designed for HO - 1/87. Very close to 1/72. I measured the windows and doors with my ARC 1/72 ruler and found the windows to be plausible 4.5 feet high in 1/72, while the doors are a low 5.5 feet tall. To me that means I would only need to enlarge the doors to 1/72. There are 1/72 injection molded buildings being released and they have separate windows and doors; while I haven't found any 1/72 door & window sets yet, perhaps they will be forthcoming, or at least there may be extras left over. Regardless, 1/72 modelers who would like this building should have little trouble enlarging doors to 1/72.

Raise the roof!
OK, we'll raise the whole thing. The assembly was simple once I dry-fitted things and decided on my plan. I also punched out the plugs from the laser-cut windows and doors - keep these, they'll come in handy later.

Want to see in-progress photos? Then please see the link Building the Zip-Kit below!

First, the parts were sprayed with a wood sealing clear coat. This will prevent problems when the paint goes on.

Second, I discerned whether the walls go onto, or around, the floor piece by just abutting them against its edges. By doing so I noted that no wall overlaps another. A quick inventory of stripwood shows that a length of the small pieces are sized to be the corner posts. The biggest pieces are reinforcement for the wall interiors to prevent warping. I cut them to fit, glued them onto the interior with medium viscosity CA, and weighted them flat.

Step 3a, CA the corner posts. My gluing jig came in handy here. I 'spot glued' the edges and mated them flush, followed by a thin application of CA. These steps were performed over wax paper. I read that CA doesn't adhere to - or easily pulls off of - wax paper. I don't know because no excess CA got on the wax paper.

Step 3b, mow door. It is cut from its own stock, a heavy sticky backed card. It was very easy to cut from its 'sprue.' I left the backing on the door yet had no trouble removing it from the delicate framing. The adhesive stuck tight to the door and corners of the wall openings.

Four, the floor went down and the walls set around it. Machinist squares helped align the parts while more CA did the trick. The CA bonded the card floor to the wooden walls and the wooden walls to the other.

After I was happy that the walls were plumb I used a thin CA to reinforce everything, followed by 'spot welding' the joints with a few globs of thick CA for strength.

5, paint! I used good ol' Pactra acrylic Light Yellow. I wanted a building that looks well kept without being on the cover of Pansy Press and decided that linseed oil lead paint would weather. While the Pactra was drying I randomly scrubbed some yellow craft paint across it. I also painted it straight from the bottle under the eaves where the sun would not ravage it.

Pactra Hull Red brought color to the Tichy windows and doors, and framing of the mow door.

When all of this was dry I very lightly drybrushed a tan to simulate wear and light. Finally, I dipped a toothpick into hull red, dotted under the window ledges, and drybrushed it down for light streaking.

Sixth, the windows and doors go in. This was not a problem with the walls together although in retrospect I would seat them before erecting the walls. For glass I cut pieces from an ink cartridge bubble pack; it is clear yet thick with imperfections in it, a'la shop glass of the era. While CA did the trick for the glass, the doors and windows fit so snug in the precisely lased openings that I only needed a spot of tacky glue to secure a couple of them! Impressive! Curiously, while all Tichy windows dry-fitted into their holes before I treated the wood with sealer to prevent shrinking and warping, I had to just barely plane away part of two window openings; perhaps the paint affected the wood after all?

Step 7 - raise the roof! The roof halves joined smoothly to the other at the peak. Two tabs on an end wall fit perfectly into the slots in the roof halves, yet two didn't. One went in with some force. The other required trimming. Ultimately, I trimmed the lower edge of both tabs (I left the upper end alone as I figured this was critical for roof alignment.) to fit into the slots. This helped with one but the other seemed slightly wide. A pass of sandpaper eliminated that!

Sandpaper was necessary for something I did not foresee although it should have been obvious to me. The roof pitch glides smoothly down the angle of the end walls, but then it hits the upper edge of the side walls and corner posts, dislocating the slope. I taped sandpaper down tightly onto a flat surface. Inverting the building I careful of the eyeballed the roof slope to the surface, then gently (I did not want to test how sturdy the wood and my CA joints were!) moved the wall across the sandpaper. Eventually the edges were close enough to the roof pitch that the roof sheets set across them well. Note to self: bevel the top edges of the side walls before assembly next time! CA secures the roof to the walls.

Next I cut the roofing material into strips about three HO feet wide. Common white glue was brushed upon the roof substructure and the strips of 'tar paper' applied, bottom to top. I left some overhang on some at the edges - not enough as these were beasts to lap around under the eaves. Note to self for next building... .

Depending on age and season it appears that tar paper will look 'wet' in places. To simulate this I randomly drybrushed white glue onto the strips.

I wish I had marked the incline of the roof onto the chimney before attaching the roof. I made my marks and sawed the chimney to set on the roof pitch. It was tricky but these things were usually sealed with tar, so I added white glue and thick black paint.

While admiring my work I realized I did not 'nail' the roofing. Several passes with my pounce wheel did the trick, as it did on the exterior walls.

Step 8, I used the remaining stripwood to make the foundation. It was easy to do by tracing the building footprint on wax paper and cutting the wood to fit. After the CA set I cut the printed masonry in twain and CA'ed it to the foundation. Then the building was realigned upon the foundation and glued together.

Finally I cut the fishing loops apart to simulate the metal conduit for the lamps. I drilled the lampshades out with a No.62 bit and threaded the wire into them, securing the union for posterity with CA. The drill opened holes over each door, he wire pushed in, paint applied...

...Finished! Zip-Kit The Millwright is complete. Looks great!

Just a little more. Recall I suggest to keep the plugs from the windows and door openings? I noticed my HO millwrights have an HO two-foot hop from the ground to the doors. So I took scraps and made steps and ramps. I simply layered the scrap siding and used other scrap to make the risers. The wood is about six HO inches thick, a nice rise for steps.

I liked what I saw: precise, clean laser cutting of sturdy wood; milled exterior detail for the walls; Tichy plastic windows, doors, chimney and lamps; wooden mow door. Good looking printed masonry. Tabs cut for aligning components. Now I like what I built. It assembled easily and quickly.

Only the one end wall had splinters where it didn't part cleanly from the parent wood sheet. However, the wall is not split and the splinters did cut off cleanly.

I think this model will afford even inexperienced models an easy to assembly economically priced craftsman style building. Highly recommended.
Highs: Precise, clean laser cutting of sturdy wood; milled exterior detail for the walls; Tichy plastic windows, doors, chimney and lamps; wooden mow door. Good looking printed masonry. Tabs cut for aligning components.
Lows: A few splinters on a wall.
Verdict: I think this model will afford even inexperienced models an easy to assembly economically priced craftsman style building.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: HO Scale
  Mfg. ID: zip4
  Suggested Retail: $34.50
  Related Link: Building the Zip-Kit
  PUBLISHED: May 13, 2013

Our Thanks to Carolina Craftman Kits!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2018 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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