Berlin Cathedral: Part Two

Discussion in 'Architecture Models' started by J.L., Jun 25, 2005.

  1. J.L.

    J.L. Member

    Berliner Dom was set aside to complete Notre Dame. The first stage in this Part Two of building Berlin Cathedral begins with the constructiion of a ring to form walls that will support the central dome. A circle cutter was used to cut a cardboard template to glue under the tabs of the ring walls. This insures that the ring will be concentric when it is glued to the roof.
  2. J.L.

    J.L. Member

    Base of Dome

    The ring is glued to the roof and eight pilasters are fastened around its circumference.
  3. J.L.

    J.L. Member

    Closing the Dome

    The dome is comprised of 16 segments. A central tube acts as a core that centres the pieces as they are glued in place. This is overlap work. I think I prefer the butt joint method of joining segments that uses little backing strips behind each join. We'll see how this one closes.
  4. J.L.

    J.L. Member

    An Understandable Mistake

    The glueing up of the dome did not go well. I wrestled with each segment to glue it in place. There were no tabs at the bottom of each segment - they started 1/5 of the way up the segment. This left an open gap as the process began. However, after drilling a hole in the bottom of the dome to get my fingers up into the dome, I managed to close all segments.

    Because this model has been so precise and straightforward, I reread the instructions carefully. Then it hit me. The intent was to close up the dome by itself, not glued to its supporting base with the tube column I described earlier. This is how I would have built the dome if I had not seen the central tube idea in the diagram.

    Now this brings up an interesting point. The illustration clearly shows one segment glued to the top of the tube, suggesting that the other segments would follow as the dome was closed up. Rather a novel idea actually. But the instructions do not suggest that approach. The actual intent of the designer was to have the modeller slide the completed dome over the tube AFTER its completion. Cardmodellers, not speaking the language of the designer, often depend on photographs, diagrams and other visual cues for guidance. This time following the visual cues let me down.

    It has been my experience that making segmented domes can be tricky and that a a good design anticipates this and provides a means of covering up small gaps and goofs. In the photo of Dresden dome below, you will see provision for a flashing strip that will cover the gap. This makes for a very clean, crisp dome.
  5. Bob Ebophalus

    Bob Ebophalus Member

    Excellent work on the dome. I'm sure I couldn't have made it half as well as you did. The rest of the building is also magnificent, of course.
  6. J.L.

    J.L. Member


    Thanks Bob,
    Appreciate the feedback. Sometimes I feel I am posting to a vacuum here on the site. Not many into architecture. Amazing work is going on here with military vehicles, ships, aircraft and trains. The envelope is being stretched with computer generated enhancements, and really innovative work that improves the quality of the basic model designs.
    Being able to post to this site really increases the enjoyment of the hobby for me.
  7. jcrespo

    jcrespo Member

    Sorry for contributing to the "vacuum" effect. I get to looking at the photos and enjoying the work, and totally forget to add a comment once in a while.'

    Your work on both the Berliner Dom and Notre Dame are excellent. Would love to see slightly larger photos showing more details.

  8. J.L.

    J.L. Member

    Picture Size

    Hi Joe,
    Thanks. I really would like to post larger pictures but the posting limit forces me to make the pictures smaller and smaller until they are accepted. 640 x 480 pixels end up around 300 x whaterver. I use the lowest resolution and normal compression settings on my camera and have been having some pictures appear a bit larger.
  9. barry

    barry Active Member

    I like watching but as I know very little o models building my comments are not worth much but please keep posting and watch the counter on the pic go up.

    If you place a copy of your pic off site on one of the picture hosts you can make it as big as you like but put a smaller one there for the guys without broadband.

  10. J.L.

    J.L. Member

    Thanks Barry,
    I don't quite know how that works yet. I know I have some website space with my service provider, but I don't know the details of getting the pictures there yet. I'll look into it.

  11. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    Might I suggest using a tool like Irfanview to crop, rescale, and resize your
    images rather than fiddling with the camera settings. I think you'll find
    manipulating an image a lot faster and easier than trying to get your camera to deliver the right sized image - you'll like the price of Irfanview (

    There a number of free sites around which will host images - some of them
    have been mentioned in these forums.


  12. J.L.

    J.L. Member

    Hi Charlie,
    Well, I can go a bit beyond just the camera settings. I have an iMac and am able to crop, resize, and enhance any image very quickly with iPhoto. I just export to the desktop to instantly resize photos. But as I mentioned above, this site has a 45 KB max. I think the trick would be to get off-site.
  13. CMartin

    CMartin New Member

    Berliner Dome

    Congratulations J.L.,

    A magnificent build. Indeed, you're doing justice to such beautiful model. If you're like me, being domes the most challenging and nerve-wrecking to build, they're also the most rewarding. Yours is impeccable.

    Good job.


  14. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    I think the dome is absolutely beautiful. Stupid not to say so, even if I feel a bit shy about commenting on architecture models.

    On the picture bit, I had the same problem as you in the beginning, i.e. went into the camera for bringing file size down. Everything was solved once I understood the option "Publish to the web" in Photoshop. You really should look for something like that in your programme. (I'm on a Mac, too, although not the iPhoto - still OS9.2...).

    I'm sure you'll be able to find some option like that in iPhoto. The point is that the option gets rid of all extras like previews and info and stuff, and uses all of the available space (45 K) for picture quality.

    Nowadays I have the camera set to maximum resolution, then save a copy reduced to 600 px width (which is good for guys with smaller monitors), and finally request the programme to optimize for max 45K. Done! And you still have the hi-res original.

    Makes life a lot easier - and pictures better. You really can get a lot of picture into 45K once you locate this option.

    Best, Leif
  15. J.L.

    J.L. Member

    Berlin Cathedral Conclusion1

    Thank you for the kind comments Leif and Chuck. You both may reconsider your comments when you see the results of an experiment in dome construction I am including in these final postings on the construction of the cathedral. Leif, after this build, I wil seriously investigate your helpful advice about posting photos. But for now, I'll post what I can.

    The remaining parts of the cathedral are the four open tower structures on the corners of the roof, the two square bell shaped towers with a joining statue segment and the bannisters.

    The two rear tower domes have flate surfaces, but the two larger front ones are hemispheres. In attempting to get a nice round curve, I turned mahogany armatures on my lathe. The paper was then wraped around this wooden core. It was a lot to ask of the paper. Initially, I just wanted the flats to touch the curve of the wood, but in shaping the paper, I began to tool the paper around the curve. Paper does not like compound curves. This resulted in a wrinkled dome. However, the dome is a true hemisphere (complete with wrinkles!) They may not be too noticable when viewed under soft light.
  16. J.L.

    J.L. Member


    The rear towers are smaller than the two front towers and feature domes with angled corners. The front ones are hemispheres.
  17. J.L.

    J.L. Member


    This cathedral was a pleasure to build. It is my first attempt at a review posting. I look forward to posting larger photos that truly represent the beautiful printing details of models such as this one.

  18. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Amazing to what length one is prepared to go to achieve something worthwhile - a lathe, and a mahogany mould, no less!

    I understand your frustration. Domes and all similar double convex surfaces are a challenge, aren't they. Many deep investigations into the subject has been carried out on the site, not least by Gil, who advocates laminated aluminium foil and paper, which he reports gives excellent malleability.

    I've been thinking about building such parts twice, so to speak, one version on top of the other, with the joints of the inner layer in the middle of the outer layer (final) parts. Never tried it though.

    Congratulations on a great finished build, and thanks for taking the trouble to report your considerable and successful efforts!

  19. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    (Double posting by mistake, sorry)
  20. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    J.L., Leif,

    Building domes by laminating two layers with offset joints works extemely well. Joint offset is only enough to allow a "tab" to underlay the top for glueing. The problem with this construction method is aligning and obtaining the proper curvatures before the glue sets. This can terrorize the uninitiated. I've used this method to construct test build monocoque fuselages with great results. Again it takes patience and practice to get things to go right.

    One other thing that works is to construct a "transverse ring" dome to act as an internal support for the petal style dome. Petals can be easily incorporated in a design if it's easy to align an suport them during their construction.

    J.L. , Beautiful work..., I was thinking that with the right optics these could easily be used in blue matte film and video background effects without the viewer ever being the wiser...,


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