Building a hi-fi platelayers hut

01 January 2023
Intentio's hut has been available for some time in 4mm scale. How does a 16mm scale version measure up?

Intentio might be a new name to Garden Rail readers, but in 4 and 7mm scales, they are known as manufacturers of high-quality building kits. For our sister magazine British Railway Modelling, I built a small hut from one of their 4mm scale kits as part of a diorama. At the time, I talked to proprietor, Philip Healey Pearce, and he was thinking of upscaling it, so sent me a test version. After a little pondering, he decided to go for it, so it's time for me to assemble my model.

One challenge – this is a garden scale model, so it should be at least showerproof. I doubt you'd want to leave it out over winter, but I don't want to be rushing to bring buildings in are the slightest hint of rain. This means, proper outdoor paints, and as much waterproofing as I can manage.

The kit is laser cut in MDF. 6mm thick walls should ensure the finished building is nice and sturdy. The cutting is good enough that most of the model can be assembled dry to get a feel for the way it goes together.

Waterproofing step one. Use the blue bottle of Resin W glue to hold things together, the one designed for outdoor use. The clamps are a bit 'belt and braces' as the sides locate quite tightly. Masking tape would work just as well, but I had the clamps handy.

All the MDF needs to be sealed to stop it absorbing moisture, a coat of Rustins MDF sealer should do the job. It's very runny, and even a thick coat isn't going to hide the brick detail. I do my best to work it into all the joints as well as the surfaces.

Mark Thatcher uses emulsions match pots for many of his buildings, for greater waterproofing, I'm using Sandtex masonry paint costing £4 a pot, and available in a reasonable variety of shades. About the same consistency as emulsion, the brushes wash out in water, which sounds wrong, but the makers say it is waterproof.

Picking out bricks with the base colour mixed with a little stone and slate colours from my palette (OK, old plastic lid) and a small brush. A ratio of 8:1 red:stone or slate, seems about right, although I just mixed by eye. You don't want the picked out bricks to be very different from the main wall.

While I experimented with stone colour paint for the mortar, exterior filler works much better. Squidge into the lines with a plastic spatula, then scrape away with the same tool. Wipe with a damp paper towel and polish with a sponge. A little residue is left on the brick face, but the effect is to blend all the colours together.

I'm not sure what an 'acrylic enamel' is, but a couple of coats on the door and windows looks pretty good once they have been assembled. The pot assures me it's safe for toys, so that's fine if anything licks them.

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Rafters slot into the walls, and are then sealed as it's easier to paint them this way. Use a ruler along the top to ensure they are in line, or the roof will be wobbly when you attach it.

I've cut some thick plastic for the windows and fixed it in place with epoxy resin, I really don't want these falling out! Of course, this is a job that would have been easier to do before fitting the rafters...

Ingenuously, the chimney is assembled around a cross-shaped part that ensures it ends up nice and square.

Once painted, the chimney pushes into the roof panels. The rear brick at the base has to be chamfered to allow it to sit properly, a sharp knife will trim the MDF easily.

Slates are a cut in what appears to be a heavy-duty cardboard. There are lines marked to follow, except that they don't match where the rows should be, at least on this test kit. On a little building, this isn't a problem, although drawing a pencil line for the first one isn't a bad idea. Once glued down, a couple of coats of sealer soak the card.

The chimney is blended in using some 'flashing' made from paper. I'm told some wine bottles have rather nice lead sheet around the corks that would be perfect for this job, but I've never seen it. Perhaps a reader who is a connoisseur could advise.

Roof painting is just like walls. Starting with a Slate Grey base, tiny amounts of Stone are mixed in to provide a bit of variety.


I wasn't wrong about the sturdiness of this building, while you would be advised not to stand on it, the model feels solid and should survive the attentions of pets wandering through your railway. It's a very neat and tidy model. Everything fits perfectly, especially if you put all the parts in the right place.