Phil's Practical - Lockups underneath the arches


The space under a railway viaduct in town doesn't stay empty very long. We open up some businesses under there.

Our viaduct is made from a couple of Wills SS52 brick retaining arch kits. Like many Wills kits, this one is designed to be very flexible so it can be used in a variety of ways. Construction isn't quite 'shake the box', but for a simple set of vertical arches like these, it's not difficult.

The curved top of each arch is supposed to be forms of two smooth moulded parts that have to be bent and fixed in place. A strip of Slaters brick Plastikard four bricks wide is a lot easier to fit neatly as the material is a lot more flexible. Plastic solvent is perfect for this job, just place a drop of it in the join and capillary action will take it where required.

The back of each arch is a double-sided component offering bricks or a wooden frontage with large doors. The moulded plank lines are very shallow and likely to disappear under a coat of paint, so we are making them deeper with an Olfa cutter, although a scriber would work just as well.

Injecting a little life into the row of businesses starts with opening up the large door on the front of one panel. It's only slightly ajar as the site where this model will sit doesn't offer enough space behind the front for a full interior. That, and if you open it fully, you'll see the bricks moulded on the back.

Cutting the small door out left a piece of plastic too small for the hole so a new part is made from plastic sheet. For a handle, a Peco track pin is ideal.

Our last modification involves cutting out the centre section of the panel and replacing it with some scribed plastic doors. The gentle curve is marked by drawing around an old sweetie tin. Hinges are made from microstrip.

Scruffy businesses didn't always employ professional signwriters, so handwriting the names on the doors with a mapping pen and ink looks about right. The ink isn't waterproof and washing some acrylic paint over the door to weather it afterwards removed some of the lettering. I left the faded text and replaced it with a printed sign as though one had been nailed up over the other.

All the lockups are painted in suitably dull colours and then lightly weathered with some dry-brushing and powders. This isn't the smart end of town, so they need to look a bit scruffy.