Kit Review

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by jmarksbery, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. jmarksbery

    jmarksbery Active Member

    Sears Catalog House #161

    This is a review of a new product that has not gone into production as of yet. I am to do this to help the producer make a decision on the final project. If all is successful there will be a series of the Sears Catalog homes. Now wouldn’t that be nice to have a whole neighborhood of nostalgia as a large amount of these building are still in existence today. So lets get to work and see how this project goes!

    The kit as I received it came with a sheet of paper with the picture of the real house as placed in the original Sears catalog and the mockup model, a four page and picture instruction sheets, the laser cut building panel and some strip wood for the finish. Now remember I am working with the proto-type model and it didn’t come with things like the chimney, window glaze, roofing material and the small goodies that make a complete kit. But that won’t stop me, as it is an honor to help with this project.

    As with any laser kit read the instructions and then read again as you go alone. The first thing the instructions suggested is to remove all the plugs as from the windows and such before you cut the building from the frame panel. So I will do that first. Be sure to use a sharp exacto knife.

    That being done I suggest you use a jeweler’s file to clean up the burs. Where you’re seeing the red arrows at the latticework and window/door frames are printed on. I am going to suggest to the designer to add thin laser cut wood to give a more 3d appearance to the model. This will make it much more easy for you I think. I will make them on my model to see if it is an improvement. Also this may be a good time to stain or paint your model, as it will lay flat giving you more control. Any touch up can be done after the model sections are glued together.
    It is always better to build in sub-sections whether it is a monster project or a small home like this. I deviated from the instructions somewhat; I first built up the front wall after painting and adding the window/door frames and lattice type trim. I decided instead of doing a miter joint on the corners I would go for the old method and use a corner square and butt the walls. You could also use Z molding or L molding to cover the corners. Also after looking at the prototype picture I think it shows brick columns at each end of the porch. So on my model I scribed in some lines to represent brick and painted it a brick color and added some alcohol/ink to it. The main building I gave a light yellow wash and the trim was painted white. For the roofing I designed and printed on typing paper and glued to the main and porch roof. Hopefully the store kits will also have the roofing material with it along with chimney and other small parts. You can see these changes in the photo below along with a sidewall I am putting the framing on. This is easy as it is etched in the wood to follow the lines. As you can see in the photo the framing just makes the detail pop and not have that flat paper look.

    The rest of the kit is pretty much straight forward. I glued the walls together, added the rear porch and steps and then continued on to the main roof. While that was drying I built up the dormers and set aside to dry. I added a board above the concrete base as the instructions suggested to give more dimension to the structure. Now is the time to do any touch up to the paint if needed. I will do very little if any weathering to the house, as I want it to represent a fairly new building. After the roof sections had dried I did the trim edging and overhang in white. Allowing it to dry my paper roofing material comes next then I glued it into place and allowed to dry. Now is the time to do the dormers on the roof making sure to place them in the right position, be sure to put in the window glazing before you glue the roofs to the dormers. Also add the glazing to the remaining windows and add shades or curtains to give it that lived in look. I then added the chimney. After you finish your project you may wish to add down spouts and electric meters and such to dress up the kit even more.
    This is an excellent little kit and I can’t wait for the next series to come out. I hope I am the first on the list for it also. Can you imagine a whole block of the Sears catalog houses on your layout? Wow! And you would be keeping right in with history also, if you look around your neighborhood I’ll bet you will find a catalog house still in use today.
    I don’t know when this wonderful kit will be released, under what name or what the cost will be. But you are on notice and if you see this Sears Catalog House #161 at your hobby shop, snatch it up! You’ll be glad you did.

    Opinions are those of
    Col. Jim Marksberry
    N-Scale Model Builder
    :thumb: :wave: :thumb:
  2. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Jim that is some wonderful work with cardboard? Like the story line, did you get writer's cramp typing all that in?
  3. jmarksbery

    jmarksbery Active Member

    :wave: It's not cardboard Tyson, it is a wood craft kit. The gentleman is planning a whole series of them. I for one hope it works out. Thanks
  4. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Sorry, in the next to last pic the walls that are laying down looked that way to me. If he brings out the kit at a comparable price to other laser kits it will probably be a big seller. It will be at home on just about any layout! :)
  5. Grantha

    Grantha New Member

    Very nice job on a nice kit!!
  6. sams

    sams Member

    thx for the heads up "first look" on a nice kit:)
    i hope to see more of the series:)
  7. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    That's neat Jim. Will be looking for this kit when it it released.
  8. Jay Gould

    Jay Gould New Member

    I think it'll be cool to have a model of a Sears home. It must have been interesting in the old days when people ordered these homes, and then put them together when the shipment arrived (a lot like what we do in N, only we're not living in them). There was a Sears house down our street in my home town, and it's still in good shape today, and where some people are calling home in 2005.
  9. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Looks like a neat little kit to me.If the price is reasonable I could see a neiborhood on my layout filled with kits like this. :)
  10. Chris333

    Chris333 Member

    I would be interested in a few. Is the company Branchline?
  11. jmarksbery

    jmarksbery Active Member

    :wave: Hi all, well the kit may not be produced on a large market. This is not made by a major company and the price I think will be in the low amounts as the person wants it that way. The Gauge members will be the first to grab a chance to get one. You guys will be surpriced when find out who is making them. (not me) And he will let us all know when they are ready as there are some details to work out first. (no one wants to be sued for using the Sears name) I had the honor to do a proto of this model and I sure am looking forward to do more. These are really nice kits and to keep the price low he is trying to make it as simple as possible to hold the cost. In other words you may have to do a little work to make it a show stopper or use as is for a fine model. We (he) is working on that and he is using my suggestions as a guide. He has come up with some great ideas and I think any of us will be proud of their model when completed. So stay tuned as I think this thing may hit pretty quick and I think I may be receiving the 2nd one shortly to review. (I hope) Thanks for your interest and I am sure you guys will support this project. It's nice to know that the Gauge members will be the first. Later :eek: Jim
  12. dispatcher42

    dispatcher42 New Member

    Very Nice Kit. I for one would be pleased to place a couple on my layout. Hope you can keep us informed of the progress.

    Take Care and Keep on Track

  13. Nscalemodeler

    Nscalemodeler Member

    Very Nice, That looks like a quality kit and I also agree it would look great on any layout.:thumb: :)
  14. sschaer

    sschaer Member

    very nice kit. please keep us informed about the availability of these kits. on this side of the pond i will never see them in any hibby shop :-(
  15. cyb0rg

    cyb0rg New Member


    Looks like a nice kit! From a newbie's point of view, I think I could build something like that. I seems like a combination kit/scratch build product in that the materials and guidelines are provided, but it still gives you artistic freedom.
  16. jmarksbery

    jmarksbery Active Member

    :thumb: Keep a close watch here as I think he will be releaseing them soon. :wave: Jim
  17. Chris333

    Chris333 Member

    Can I pre-order?
  18. pray59

    pray59 Member

    You can call them "Catalog Order" houses and avoid mention of Sears. I bet they would look cool in Z Scale!
  19. Muddy Creek

    Muddy Creek Member

  20. jmarksbery

    jmarksbery Active Member

    :wave: OK boy & girls, I told you they would be comeing at you quick. Now here's your chance to be the first to collect these catalog houses in your area. They are neat, well thought out, fun to build and puts a craftsman kit on your layout or shelf to display American history at a very affordable price. And the Gauge members are the first for this offer. I plan to have everyone of these kits made. I can't wait to make an entire neighborhood of these great kits and along the rails. Keep a watch for more reviews of them and beleive me I will tell you the truth about each. Have fun modeling and please post pictures of your work here at the Gauge. Thanks, your friend, :thumb: Jim

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