building to scale

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by meander, Jul 27, 2004.

  1. meander

    meander New Member

    how do you estimate the size of buildings when you just get pics of them and then build? like that awesome wendys model? It seems that lots of you are building their own wendys model, that would be cool to see everyones when theyre done.
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If you can get a good "straight on" look at a door, you can frequently estimate the size of the building based on an estimate on the size of the door. You may not be able to estimate the width of the door, but most pededstrian doors are 7' tall regardless of width. Another trick is if you can find a picture with a person in it that will enable you to estimate size based on the size of the person. If there is a picture of any other item of a known size with the building, you can use what is known to deduce the size of the unknown.
  3. NYC-BKO

    NYC-BKO Member

    As Russ stated a good head on photo, no angle is the best. Most commercial doors are 36" wide to accomadate wheelchairs. It used to be all franchises were built to the same plan, anymore they are built to fit the site they're going in, as long as they have the franchise look. When in doubt go to your Wendy's and measure some things, people will think your odd, but it's no different than people that have radio antennaes stuck all through their face and ears!! -:eek: You just need an estimate on measurements there is no right or wrong size. Good luck.
  4. belg

    belg Member

    Mike I agree with the other guys about the straight on shot being used as a guide but most residential doors are only 6'8" high and if you model older structures (1900's and before)the doors on those were even smaller. The modern stores like Wendy's would be 7' tall as you could see most times in 7/11 when exiting by the tape strip along the door to see how tall the guy that just robbed them was. Pat
  5. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    Interior residential door are 6'8". Exterior doors are 6'10". How do I know this? I'm 6'9" and I have to duck a little to get into the rooms in my house but I don't have to duck entering or exiting a building. Anyway, this is sort of nitpicking. 7' would be 'close-enough' for measuring an exterior door, then just use that to build a scale ruler out of a scrap peice of cardboard, just for the photo.
  6. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Doors are good as are some other standard size items that appear in photos. One is cinder/cement blocks, they are 8 inches high and 16 inches long. On brick buildings most are 6 rows of bricks in height equal 16 inches. These are just rules of thumb and noting beats a tape measure on the proto, but it may of been torn down before we were born.

    If the building is still there a trick is to take a 3 foot stick with you and lean it up against the building and snap a picture. This works well for people like me who are too shy to be out with a tape measuring in public. Then the 3 foot stick in the picture can be used as a reference to calibrate a ruler for drawing at home.
  7. meander

    meander New Member

    ya i dont think id have the guts to go out an start measuring in public...
  8. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    This is a good thread! Lots of good advice on how to do this. Pretty much this is the method I use as well. If you are computer savvy you could even take a picture that is on angle and "stretch" the corners to make it "head on." Then you could print it out and make a scale ruler as mentioned above (great idea!) or you could put your settings to have it print out actual size (to your scale, of course!) and just take exact measurements off the print out. If you use Photoshop, there's a built in "ruler" tool that lets you take measurements as well. (That was my method.)

    In the end, I adjusted stuff as I saw fit (either up or down) so that I could accomodate certain things. Example: the spacing between the roof and ceiling I chose because I needed room to fit lights in there. It's really up to you how you want to do it.
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    If the photo is from someone else, or the building is gone, you need to take standard items. Bricks have a fairly standard size and we've already discussed doors. You can get heights and lengths of brick buildings by counting bricks. If you get proportions right, you may only have to keep certain figures away from the building.
  10. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    This is where my favorite tool comes into play, the proportional divider, One known measurement, and the rest is easy (in any scale).
  11. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    While all of the above suggestions are right on the money, I still revert to my "what looks good" rule as I draw and cut the building shapes, windows, doors, etc. I use 36" x 60" for most windows, and 6.5' for doors, 7' for freight doors. A lot of what we do is what is practical - unless you are really into rivit counting.

    Have fun.
  12. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    I’m still a novice at trains but I’ve been drawing buildings for 25 years so thought I’d throw a couple things into this discussion. Most of what I list applies to buildings built from 1940-45 onward. That’s when “modular” construction materials and “platform framing” started coming into use. Most also refer to commercial or industrial buildings. Residential is more of an “anything goes” kinda market.

    1. Modular standard bricks run 3 courses to 8-inches vertically and oversize modular brick runs 5 courses to 16-inches. Both sizes course out horizontally to 8-inches long. This is so the brick facing will course out with the concrete masonry unit (Concrete Block) backup. You’ll also find 4-inch course brick “jumbos” on industrial buildings, again, so they will course out vertically with the CMU backup. Most brick/CMU coursing will start out even with the finished floor and then go up and down from there.

    2. There are many exceptions to #1. Brick is made in dozens of shapes and sizes, especially older brick. But most all of it will stick to the 8 inch or 16 inch vertical modules even when they use solid brick without CMU backup.

    3. When using steel framed doors, a 6’-8” high door will have a 2-inch head frame. A 7’-0” door will have a 4-inch head frame. This is so the door frame will course out with the brick/CMU. This can help you decide what the door and what the brick size is, if they match out at the head and the brick/CMU isn’t cut to fit the door head height. Most exterior doors are 3”-0” wide. 50-60’s era residential doors tend to be 36 at the front door and 34 inch elsewhere. Older structures could be most anything because it was up to the carpenter in many cases to make it from scratch. Our front doors at work, building built in 1920, are 3’-8” wide and 9’-10” high.

    4. Door knobs are usually 34-42 inches above the floor. Sometimes 48. This is especially useful to remember on monumental buildings like churches, town halls, etc, where the doors may be oversize and the walls made of cut stone. 5. Wood has come in “standard” sizes since the 40s and fifties. BUT, it has been steadily whittled down from a real 2x 4 to 1.5x 3.5 inches. The one by lumber has paralleled this sizing. This can help you figure out fascia sizes. 8 inch facia, 10 inch facia, 12 inch, etc.

    6. Overhead doors at docks started out at 7 or 8 feet wide and 8 or 9 feet high. Now we make most of them 9x 10 high at docks. Most over head doors are sectional and the panels are 2’-0” high. Coiling door ribs are about 2 – 3 inches high.

    7. Windows vary but usually course out with the brick. Most window sill heights also course out with brick, 2’-4”, 3’-4”, etc. above the floor.

    8. Work counters are usually 3’-0” high or 3’-6” high.

    9. You can also use people in the building photos to set the scale. We know how big they typically are.

    Mainly, just use Davidstrains advice and make it look like you envision it. It is, after all, your empire.

  13. jmarksbery

    jmarksbery Active Member

    :sleeping: I model in N-Scale, and this is what I do for photos or drawings. I scaned an LPB at 100% and put it in my paint program as a seperate layer and then the photo or drawing. Then I scale the photo or drawing to fit the LPB and bingo you got your scale plan. :oops: Jim


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  14. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    I read in a mag a good idea. Make a reference stick. Make it from 1"x2" sticks 2 feet long or so, and bolt them together to make a folding 8 foot stick. Mark it off in 1 foot sections and paint it black and white alternately. When you get to the building or whatever you want, unfold the stick and stand it against the building. It only takes a second to set up and no one will notice. Stand back and take your pic. Move the stick for each side of the building, you can even lay it down. Once your back home, you have the exact measurements to scale things from.

    I never forget a good idea. Just thought I'd pass it along. ;)

    TrainClown :D
  15. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    There is a 3 or 4 page article on this very topic in the July 2004 issue of British Railway Modelling.
    (yeah, I know it's impossible to find in the US -- I had to get even our bookstore to order it specially.)

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