Scale garages have become a must for the super-scale fans. These days you have a bunch of options if you want a scale shop. From backdrops like the ones Real Sticky makes to Element RC boxes, it’s now easier to get a scale shop up and running than it ever has been in the past. Back in the day, if you wanted a scale shop you had to make it by hand.
Before I went full-throttle into the scale RC world I used to collect action figures, and one day I stumbled across dioramas made for “toy photography.” At that time, I went online and saw how much people were charging for them. After seeing the expensive price tags, I decided to check out some YouTube videos to try and build my own.
From there I learned about dry-brushing, brick carving, what tools and supplies to use, as well as what scale reference was. Once I discovered the scale RC world, meshing the two hobbies together was a perfect fit. If you have been wanting to make a scale shop and are on a budget or looking to try new style, then this is the way to do it.
Tools and supplies needed:
• ½ inch foam board insulation
• Hobby knife
• Small T-square
• Dull pencil
• Matte black acrylic paint, along with whatever other colors you might want
• Super glue or Velcro
Measure out the walls, floor, and whatever else you might be making from the foam board. Getting the walls cut beforehand will make it easier to work around. After you have
it all measured out, take the T-square and hobby knife and cut the foam board down to size. Using a T-square will help keep your cuts straight and allow the foam board to sit better.
Cutting the bricks can take a while depending on the size of your building, so be patient and take breaks. For small bricks I like to make them 1 inch long and ½-inch tall. The size can be up to you, but I found this to be a good size for 1/10 scale. Measure half-inch marks all
the way up the wall on both sides. Once that’s done, you can set your T-square down, match up the marks from side to side, and cut them up. Make sure not to use too big a hobby knife or you can cut too deep. After that, cut 1 inch across the first row, and starting at the ½ mark for the
second row will stagger the bricks. Once you have the first two rows done, you can use the T-square to cut the marks down the walls. Pay attention to skipping every other row, or you won’t get that staggered look.
After all the carving is done, take a dull pencil and run it back and forth in the cut marks. This will open up the cuts without tearing the foam. This also adds depth and detail. Once that’s done, take some matte black acrylic paint and add a small amount to about ½ cup of water. This technique is called black washing; paint all of your walls with the black wash. The watery paint will find and fill in all the cracks and cuts in the foam board.
Once the walls are dry after black washing, you can begin to dry brush. For small bricks I use a red acrylic. Using acrylic paint is very important, because it will not eat the foam like other paints will. By
dabbing small amounts of paint on the brush, followed by whipping 90% off, the color will fade into the walls. Dry brushing tends to beat up a paint brush, so be prepared for that.
Once all the painting is finished, you can now assemble the structure. In the past I used toothpicks, which work well, but after a while the assembly starts to loosen up. I found Velcro works best if you are looking to break your structure down and store it. For a more permanent hold, super glue is the way to go.
I hope this helps anyone looking to build a scale shop, homemade from scratch like Grandma’s cookies. The sky is the limit when you use your imagination, so let it run wild!
You may already be familiar with Jeremy Griffith from Big Squid RC, but for a deeper dive into his RC adventures, follow him on Instagram
@everybodysscalin and on Facebook @jeremy.griffith.5249.
Text and Images by Jeremy Griffith