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Built Review
French Corner House
French House Corner, Type 1
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:

French House Corner, Type 1
Mfg. ID: 87-0003
Media: Ceramic, resin, laser-cut
Footprint: 6 x 9 x 13 cm

Add On Parts of Belgium offers not only popular resin accessories, ammunition, bases, dioramas and upgrade Sets in 1/35, 1/72 and 1/87 (HO), they also pour ceramic models. This review is their French House Corner, Type 1 in 1/87.

French House Corner, Type 1
Add On Parts packs this kit in a tab locking top-opening box. A paper safety seal secures the contents. A photograph of the assembled gate is the box art.

Inside are:
    3 x ceramic walls
    3 x resin parts
    1 x clear sheet
    1 x laser-cut piece
    1 x packet of ceramic glue

Except for the ceramic pieces the parts are held in a zip-locked baggie. The wall sections are wrapped in bubble wrap plus protected by Styrofoam peanuts.

Three wall sections consist of the tall rectangular front and two lower sides sloping for the roof. There is no back wall. The front wall arrived broken; fortunately the ceramic broke cleanly and glued back together without being apparent. The windows are not open through the wall, rather each have a thin backing. You must break out the bottom one to mount the "glass" and framing.

Resin pieces are the metal panel roof, side shed, and the upper window shutters. Except for the roof the gray resin parts have pour block excess to cut and sand away. The roof is slightly warped although that was not a factor as explained below. Look at the shutters, see how thin they are? Then notice how thick the pour block is! That is going to be some work!

The laser-cut part is plastic and the 'glass' is thick clear styrene or acrylic.

One item not supplied with this HO scale kit that is advertised with the 1/72 model is the gutter and downspout. A downspout pipe is cast onto a corner. This can easily be scratchbuilt or you can use a set from another company (see below).

Each ceramic wall is modeled with cracks, chipping and exposed brick. Further details cast are: lateral restraint wall tie; electric conduits; cornices; vent; a relief marquee and a flush sign band; door; gutter pipe receptacle; coal gate. For ceramic the detail is remarkably sharp, hinge and door detail especially.

The cornices have several tiny pockmarks. Whether these are meant to portray battle damage or peacetime wear and tear, it looks natural, hence nothing I will complain about.

The same excellent detail is carried to the side shed and roof. The shed features excellent brick detail on one side, amazing wood and hinge detail in front, and nice corrugated metal for the roof. The main roof appears to be metal sheet with batten along each edge and nails at the ends.

Those shutters have fine hinge detail plus decorative peep holes.

Assembly and painting instructions
No assembly nor painting instructions are included. For those of you who have not painted a ceramic/plaster/Hydrocal model before, please look just above the summary area at Click here for additional images for this review. to access How to Assemble, Paint & Weather Hydrocal Structure Kit by Downtown Deco. Unsealed ceramic parts soak up paint like a sponge. This kit will provide you good experience for your next and bigger ceramic/plaster/Hydrocal model.

raise the roof (and everything else!)
The Downtown Deco article referenced above is also a good primer for assembling ceramic models. It is important that you clean and square the pieces. The front wall had a hint of excess material along the footer; it was quick and easy to remove with a Razor Saw. A quick pass over sandpaper and the parts are ready to join. Test-fitting reveled a side wall as slightly warped, troublesome as no amount of heat will soften ceramic parts for straightening. To be honest, it was not a factor assembling this model as the warpage was slight and it was easy to hide against the other wall.

This material is porous and can drink your CA, too. Add On Parts includes a packet of ceramic glue to mix up. I did not use it to cement the parts although I did use it to fill gaps. I used BSI INSTA-CURE which works great on ceramic.

Slight indentions show where to align the walls. Note that the street-side side wall attaches to the facade at an angle; Add On molded the edges at an angle. I test-fitted with the roof to ensure the correct angles, adjusted at footers, and let the CA flow, moments later followed by the ceramic cement paste. Then I fit the roof. A molded notch for the chimney required slight deepening and I also had to sand away a bit of the facade to make it fit flush along the side walls. Ten seconds later the CA went on and the roof went down, seated snugly to the structure and after a short time of pressure.

Later after painting I punched out the bottom window and added the laser-cut framing (From the interior, again with slight position guides cast onto the wall.) and glass.

The building is essentially complete. Now for the resin and after-market fun. The side shed back had a couple of millimeters of concave excess that I carved away and that was no trouble. But the shutters! After I went through the following I contemplated that as deep as the window opening is, Add On may have intended the excess resin to be used as a foundation. Regardless, lack of instructions and my preconceived notion that the shutters went on the exterior of the window portal lead me to expend a long time and a couple of skin layers sanding away the excess. I thought about using a chisel blade to peel them off the pour block but decided I'd ruin those beautiful ultra-thin shutters. Once they were less than a millimeter I cut them away from the excess. It was then that I realized that they shutters go inside the portal, hence my effort to sand them closer to a to-scale thickness was for naught! If I had studied the four-view of the model on Add On's site I would have noticed that from the beginning.

I filed the edges to make the shutters fit into the portal. French House Corner, Type 1 construction was complete! Now for paint.

Nothing models a plaster (stucco) facade better than a plaster model. There was no way I would risk obscuring that incredible surface detail by brush-painting and the small surface area did not warrant the hassle of an airbrush. So I took a small spray bottle, mixed up a wash of Polly Scale Aged Concrete, and spritzed it on. The 'spritz bottle' is not uniform in spray pattern which makes an exterior look all the better. The result was everything I wanted it to be...

...except for where the CA soaked through to the exterior face and sealed the ceramic. I didn't expect that! So a pass with a cheap tan from a rattle can uniformly sealed and primed the model. A few heavy spritzs of paint were followed by an overspray of that wet wash with an IA (Ink & Alcohol) stain I use to weather wood. Water and alcohol don't mix so the blotchy result looks like stucco exposed to an urban world. A later light IA spray was followed by top-to-bottom brushing with a large house brush.

Next I used a variety of paints and colors to add accents around the windows and along the cornices. I used a variety of paints and colors to simulate the wrought and cast iron components, and the roof. Terracottas for exposed brick and Lifecolor for wood and rusty items completed the model.

I don't have an pleasing signage for the marquee and sign board so those I left blank. That completed the model.

The 1/72 French House Corner, Type 1 has guttering. The street side corner has a bit of a groove and that is also where the downspout receptacle is. While it would be simple enough to scratchbuild guttering, lo! I have a 1/87 guttering set, as reviewed here: NOCH Gutter System

It worked great!

I show this model with 1/87 vehicles and figures, a Citroen Ami and an M16 Half-track.

This simple kit can build into a superior looking model for a corner of your residential area.

Casting is excellent. Pour block excess will make thinning the shutters an ordeal.

Ceramic models are not usually shake-the-box kits yet this one went together fairly well. You can expect some trimming and removal of excess material. The lack of guttering detracts from the overall model. Lack of even textual instructions could frustrate less experienced modelers.

I enjoyed assembling this model and believe it looks great. It makes me want to build some of their larger kits. It was quick and easy yet can enhance a diorama or railway layout. Recommended!

Please tell vendors and retailers that you saw this model here - on Armorama and RailRoadModeling.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Ceramic and resin casting and detail is excellent.
Lows: Pour block excess will make thinning the shutters an ordeal. No guttering.
Verdict: I enjoyed assembling this model and believe it looks great. I makes me want to build some of their larger kits. It was quick and easy yet can enhance a diorama or railway layout.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:87
  Mfg. ID: 87-0003
  Suggested Retail: 15,95, $21.00
  Related Link: 1/72 French House Corner
  PUBLISHED: Oct 01, 2013

Our Thanks to Add On Parts!
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 2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.



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