Introduction: 1:25 Victorian Street Miniature Model

Picture of 1:25 Victorian Street Miniature Model

Can't afford a filming permit or lack the funds to construct a full size set? Well good news! I'll be showing you how to make a miniature street for transitional shots in a program... or just because a miniature street looks awesome!

This is a very involved process and the effort you put in will be reflected in the end result pictures so here's a list of the 'basic' things you'l be needing.

Equipment:

  • Laser cutter
  • 3D printer
  • Hand tools (drill, files, knife ect.)
  • Lathe
  • Saw (Hand, table or band will do!)
  • Zen like patience for brick laying...

Materials:

  • Acrylic, 1mm, 2mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm.... you get the picture, really stock up on acrylic.
  • 2 part polyurethane resin (Fast-cast)
  • RTV 25 silicone
  • Poly filleer
  • Car body filler (Bondo I believe; if you're American)
  • Various Glues depending on how many corners you cut, I use copious amounts myself.
  • Electrical stuff..wires, Micro LEDs, Flickering tea light LEDs and batteries
  • Material, actual material for curtains ( I stole sofa samples from M&S, shhh)

Software:

  • Rhinoceros 5
  • Adobe illustrator
  • Some splicing software for your 3D printer such as Cura

Step 1: Gather Inspiration

Picture of Gather Inspiration

This is the part everybody loves... to skip!

  • Seriously though, you'll get a better model if you even just glance at some google image results of a victorian street.
  • Get some first hand experience, visit some real architecture and take pictures of textures.
  • Look at different building styles and what would have been around back then.
  • Sketch, or don't in my case.

Step 2: Designing

Picture of Designing

You could skip this step or substitute it with some sketches instead but this will pay of in the long run and i shall tell you why.

  • Here you can see I constructed a wire frame model of the street in Rhino 5
  • You can jig this model around to your liking before you start cutting up wood so you don't waste materials
  • From this model you can extrapolate the measurements for all of your laser cutting

Step 3: Blocking Out

Picture of Blocking Out

  • So you'll be needing an MDF base board at this point and make sure to leave a gap where your roads will be so they can sit flush to the pavements
  • You can see i've laser cut out my building here and stuck it together with dichloromethane (plastic weld) or superglue if I was getting impatient.

Step 4: Making Roads

Picture of Making Roads

  • By now you should have a few buildings and you'll be needing some roads
  • I bought hundreds of 5mm sqaure wooden beads from China which had THE perfect cobble texture to them (sure the paint contained lead but i din't eat many)
  • Glue them onto some wood in a semi uniform way and don't forget to shape you're wood below the beads so that the road bows in the middle.
  • Cover that in silicone and leave to cure before pulling off to reveal the negative.
  • Fill the mould with fast cast and give it a test fit before painting it up!

Step 5: Brass Etching

Picture of Brass Etching

  • If you're feeling brave you can give this a shot and make you're own lattice for the windows and tiny details like the letter box and door numbers.
  • Here's a quick break down of the process:

-Print your inverted design onto acetate.

-Apply a photo sensitive resisting paper to your brass sheet

-Rest acetate design on top and expose this to UV light

-put the brass in a 5% solution of caustic soda to remove the UV exposed parts

-add this then to a 20% mix of sodium persulphate and leave the acid to etch

  • Voila, you have very finely etched lattice and if like me you breathed the fumes in, 5 years off your life.

Step 6: Windows

Picture of Windows

  • My advice, don't make too many windows, it takes a long time
  • As you can see I drew them up on Rhino to be laser cut out
  • You can achieve some nice detailing by inverting the etch so that you have writing on the inside of the glass
  • I also made miniature bullseye glass, seen in the 3rd picture. These were 7mm squares of 1mm acrylic heated over a tiny hole with a bead in the middle then pressed down with my, now burnt, thumb
  • Spray the windows with plastic primer and then silver spray paint and then more primer, this will prevent the light showing through the acrlic

Step 7: Doors

Picture of Doors

  • You can go to town on the doors with multi-level etching like I did
  • In the first picture you can see a very colourful door in Rhino. each colour depicts a power setting for the laser etch, so higher power = deeper etch like between the planks
  • The second image shows the painted pub door with the tiny metal bars over the window and the tiny latch too
  • Eventually you should end up with a nice collection of doors, try and make them all a bit different with some character
  • You can see above the black door a metal etch I made earlier

Step 8: Cladding

Picture of Cladding

  • Get comfy because you'll be doing this for a while
  • You're going to need a lot of bricks so I started off with a plastic sheet with laser cut rectangular holes in it
  • I smoothed car body filler into the holes and left that to set before popping them out, the resulting bricks are in the first picture
  • I made a mould of around 50 of these bricks and then kept casting them out in fast cast before sticking them to the buildings with glue
  • After doing that for a week, I realised I should have instead made a section of wall with the 50 bricks and cast out small interlocking sections instead of individual bricks each time
  • Once they've been laid, give them a wash with black acrylic to fill in all the tiny nooks and crannies
  • Dry brush over the now black bricks with varying shades of red and brown
  • I made the paving slabs in the same way as the bricks ad again washed them with black before painting them grey
  • On the pub, I simply smoothed in poly filler between the wooden beams, it's a nice analog for the real thing, not too smooth and has a very fine grain to it

Step 9: Tiling

Picture of Tiling

  • If you though the bricks were bad, welcome to tiling!
  • You can see I laser cut all of the tiles with rough edges and all from a pool of about 8 slightly different tiles
  • Spray them with plastic primer and then grey/orange/brown before you start to lay them
  • The age of the building your tiling should denote how carefully and orderly you lay the tiles themselves
  • On the pub for example, the oldest building, I used slates but I cracked a few and left some gaps and allowed some to slip

Step 10: Lamp Posts

Picture of Lamp Posts

  • The worst is over, now for the fun parts
  • I designed my lamps on Rhino and then broke them up into parts to be 3D printed
  • The detail is far to fine to be captured by my hand so I opted to 3D print them all apart from the shaft which was some hollow plastic tube
  • Laser cut some .5mm acrylic squares for the glass and spray it with some frosting then paint them black

Step 11: Chimneys

Picture of Chimneys

  • These were hand turned out of chemiwood, a wood analog which is fairly soft and easy to sand but has no grain
  • After turning them I made a silicone mould and cast multiple ones out of fast cast
  • I sprayed them with a cellulose paint with a considerable amount of matting agent added to give it that furnace baked look
  • Take an airbrush and blacken the tops for a soot effect

Step 12: Lighting

Picture of Lighting

  • Now we're really bringing the model to life
  • I ran mine off a 9V battery with the LEDs being 3v
  • The lamp posts had a micro .5mm ornage LED inside
  • The buildings also had some LED tea lights you can but from a 99p shop and they add a lovely flickering effect without doing any wiring

Step 13: Pub Sign

Picture of Pub Sign
  • One of my favorite details was the pub sign
  • Like the doors it was a multi-level etch an then hand painted with acrylic paint
  • The iron arm supporting the sign was again laser cut very finely and painted black with some orange dry brushing for rust
  • The chain was from some cheap jewelry

Step 14: Finishing Touches

Picture of Finishing Touches
  • Nearly there, just add a few things to make your model pop!
  • I 3D printed some wagon wheels in 2 parts and glued them back to back
  • Etch the street sign (do your research when naming your street because they've mostly been renamed since the 1800s)
  • Print and age some posted and stick them to walls
  • Rip open a tea bag and pour the contents onto the road, brush it to the sides and in all the little nooks and crannies as well as at the foot of the buildings, it looks like dirt and decaying leaves

Step 15: Play and Photograph!

Picture of Play and Photograph!

  • Now for the fun part, photograph your work
  • Try different filters and lighting levels
  • Have a play with a go pro to really get down to the street level

Comments

TreinBert (author)2016-08-17

Thanks for the insight into modeling. I will use them to create some buildings in German style in the size 1:32.

Whovian123 (author)2016-08-03

amazing!! I'm thinking maybe a hogsmeade or diagon ally (from harry potter) diorama

kenyer (author)2016-06-25

This is really amazing! This is a really inspiring job, but I don't think that I will ever get my hobby-project up to your level.

joaoduarte (author)2016-04-16

Congrats, this is an amazing work! Where can I download the files to try and build my own?

ohoilett (author)2016-04-11

This is beautiful. Great work.

fraser02 (author)2016-03-30

That is truly incredible, congratulations on your work! you must have so much patience...:)

How long did this take you to make?

jimihendrix (author)2016-03-21

I agree this is a Great Piece of work. Lots of first class skill right from inception to build. Attention to detail is exceptional, really great and nice to see. Knowledge of materials, and mechanical applications shows a very high skill level. Above all your patience, patience, patience not sure where you get it from but you really do have buckets full of it. !!

Prans (author)2016-03-03

This is amazing work, I have voted for you. Good luck

Iannagle (author)2016-02-15

Fantastic work - congratulations, you've got my vote too !

Do you have any suggestions on what type of laser and 3d printers are best for this kind of work?

abmodelmaking (author)Iannagle2016-02-16

Thank you so much!
I used the university lasers which were trojec, very expensive but very robust, they got a lot of abuse from the other courses.
I used 2 of the university laser cutters which were an Ultimaker and a objet

mal9017 (author)abmodelmaking2016-02-21

Oh great we don't all have access to university lasers and 3d printers.All this project shows is what you "can"do if you are lucky enough to get tax payers assistance.my next project is how to make a Mars shuttle craft out of the middle of a roll of toilet paper.DUH!

aerospace4 (author)2016-02-20

I love it ! ( I would never have the patience to do that) It's awesome! You have my vote! :-)

deluges (author)2016-02-15

Wonderful. You got my vote

abmodelmaking (author)deluges2016-02-15

Thank you so much! My own laser cutter would be a dream come true!

ossum (author)2016-02-15

So glad you posted this. I found it on your webpage after the ice-cream truck Instructable, and it is really worth sharing. Some of those photos on at the end are completely indistinguishable from a 1:1 street!

The brass-etching step was particularly interesting. I haven't seen it used to make meshes like that before. I expected that it would eat away the mesh before it got all the way through, but I guess the details just have to be wider than the brass is thick.

abmodelmaking (author)ossum2016-02-15

Glad you liked it! Let me know what else you want to see instructions of.
That certainly wasn't my first attempt pictured, the brass. Obviously the thinner the brass, the finer the details you can get away with. Ideally you put the photosensitive paper on both the front and the back to stop the acid eating away at either side.

Neeraj Juneja (author)2016-02-14

Amazing workmanship!

Thank you, I'm glad you can appreciate it

vavud (author)2016-02-14

Love it. Great

abmodelmaking (author)vavud2016-02-15

Thanks :)

MarauderX (author)2016-02-14

how long did each step take? I love the work, but I'm wondering if using Hirst Arts molds would have been faster, easier, and had equal quality while weighing less.

abmodelmaking (author)MarauderX2016-02-15

I've not heard of them but I do mention about perhaps doing that instead in the instructions- I know I wish I had!

I couldn't say how long each step took but the whole thing was about 7 weeks on and off and between course work

steveastrouk (author)2016-02-14

Was there a point to this, or was it just a very, very nice piece of work-for-the-hell-of-it ? Its beautiful. There's some irony though in using a laser cutter for a Victorian street scene.

Most things are for the hell of it, you just have to lie to yourself to justify the cost! Haha

leehorn (author)2016-02-14

omg. this is amazing. Just awesome!

abmodelmaking (author)leehorn2016-02-15

Cheers!

Madasaboxoffrogs (author)2016-02-14

It's not big but it is clever, fantastic work!

Haha thank you

RAFREAK (author)2016-02-14

WOOOO! So talented!

abmodelmaking (author)RAFREAK2016-02-15

Thanks!

AlexFW (author)2016-02-14

This is so freaking cool! Awesome work!

abmodelmaking (author)AlexFW2016-02-14

Thank you!

About This Instructable

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Bio: I'm a recent graduate of the Arts University Bournemouth with an Honors degree in Modelmaking! I currently work freelance and make things whatever spare ... More »
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