the company: DSL Shops (since 1993) produces scale model kits
of buildings for model railroaders (and anyone else). The castings
are urethane (a plastic-like substance) which is cold cast in rubber
molds. The kits generally include paper signs. Painting the castings
can be a challenge since all the windows and trim are cast into
the products: I offer two kinds of products: fronts only, which
are made on order and always available, and full buildings which
will be made in runs of a small quantity and sold only to dealers.
An exception to the rule is the garage which is a full building
but always available. I will take no special orders or pre-orders.
And once the run is gone, it's gone. See the latest run page for
a dealer list."Front
only" means just that: no side walls, back, or roof are included.
The modeler can use them as flats, add walls from other kits, or
add only what's necessary if the building will reside between two
contact me, place orders, correspond, etc., email me at
trivia, etc.: Products may be discontinued without notice. Order
acceptance and shipment may depend on condition of molds, which
means I may need a number of orders for the same kit before I can
justify creating new molds for it. I also do custom structure work.
Please write to me about this if you're interested. Please email
also concerning comments, questions and anything about my kits and
structures in general.
and silicone rubber
Castings - curved wall edges
use rubber molds with urethane resin for castings. The rubber weakens
with every casting made, so castings made late in the mold life
may be slightly larger. This means it's difficult to mix castings
made when the mold is fresh with later ones from the same mold.
It may also mean that some parts in the same kit may not fit perfectly
with others when each part is from a different mold. For example,
the sign piece in the O204 Department Store kit may or may not fit
snugly into the front wall space it is intended for, so some cutting
or sanding may be required. This is one reason I build walls with
windows in them rather than separately.
Some wall castings may have curved edges (that is, the rectangle
of the wall is becoming circular). This can usually be taken care
of by carefully sanding the edges straight; however, some edges
have brick relief and should be left alone. As with any other problems,
feel free to send pieces back to me that are extreme or unrepairable
and I will replace them at no charge (except that you must pay the
postage to return them). On the department store (O204), the top
piece may rock on the first story a bit - usually the top piece
is to blame. Lay a straightedge along the bottom edge of the top
piece and sand at the point that's causing it to rock. Once this
is done, I recommend taping a large piece of medium sandpaper down
to your workbench and sanding that bottom edge again. Check it often
against the first story top edge for fit.
Castings - windows
Urethane is not as sturdy as styrene and it is easy to break window
mullions and sash bars. All my windows are made with Evergreen brand
milled styrene strips, so broken pieces can be replaced with the
appropriate size. But if you don't keep a stock of strip styrene,
feel free to return the casting in question to me -- at my choice,
I will either repair the area or replace the casting.
The type of urethane used in my kits is not meant for outdoor use
(radiant heat can soften the castings). Walls can be flattened by
placing them on a piece of glass (NOT cookware! Don't reuse the
glass for anything but this process!) and baking it in a conventional
oven at low heat (200 degrees or so) for a few minutes. Watch it,
and take it out as soon as they have flattened to the glass - DON'T
COOK 'EM, or you won't be able to remove them from the glass, and
it may distort or melt the pieces. Let cool and remove by carefully
using a putty knife at the thickest edge areas.
- cleaning for painting
Castings must be cleaned thoroughly before painting - I recommend
using Goo Gone® with a toothbrush (take your time!) which seems
to work very well, followed by mineral spirits and then citric dish
soap and warm water with the brush again, then rinse well and pat
the drops out of corners with a paper towel. I sometimes soak the
parts in mineral spirits for 30 minutes or so.
I'll be the first to admit that painting my castings is difficult
since all the windows and concrete, etc., trim are cast into the
wall piece. If tedious brush painting of the windows (and never
just one coat!) is not your favorite drudgery, you may want to try
1. Spray paint the walls the color of the trim first.
2. Brush paint the brick with a mortar color (light gray usually),
being careful to avoid the finished trim parts.
3. Dry brush (wipe the wet brush in a paper towel before applying)
the brick faces a brick color, again avoiding the trim.
It is generally easier to paint the brick with a brush than the
Paper signs printed with ink will eventually fade, but this can
be greatly retarded by applying some clear coats (of acrylic, fixative,
UV, whatever) to BOTH sides of the cut paper sign. Also, it helps
to keep the finished sign out of direct sunlight and a distance
away from layout or display lighting. One trick to avoiding the
white paper edge on colored signs is to run a marker around the
cut edge before installing. If the paper sign edges tend to pull
away over time because of the spray glue, put a VERY small amount
of Walther's Goo® on the sign back right at the edges - this
is a good idea for all such paper attachment.
I recommend painting these first and letting them dry well, then
applying them with small amounts of Walther's Goo®.
#O205 Drug Store: It seems some of these fronts may have gone
out with misprinted instructions. Here are the instructions for
First trim flash with a sharp knife and sand the edges as necessary,
taking extreme care at the windows. Then wash castings in mineral
spirits or Goo Gone® (a concentrated citric cleaner), then detergent,
and rinse well (again, be careful around the windows!). Paint
all castings with a primer first, then the final colors (I used
a dark bluish-gray for the first floor and a very light gray
above that), and finally painting the window trim. After painting,
cut the clear plastic (supplied) and install as window panes
behind the wall. To attach your own side walls, etc., to this
front, use super glue or Walther's Goo®. Spray the paper sign
sheet with clear (a UV clear is best), and cut out blinds as
desired, leaving room around the edges for gluing. Attach these
to the back of the clear plastic with sparing touches of Goo®.
If not using the blinds, I recommend covering the windows from
behind with black paper or cardboard.
Sign piece: Clean casting as above. You may wish to sand the
side that's not perfectly flat. Mark two spots on the building
face for the sign rods, the first centered horizontally in the
width of the wall and vertically where the two different tile
sizes meet. The other should be 1-7/8" above that one (between
the tiles). Make corresponding marks on the back edge of the
sign piece (test fit the graphic to tell which is the back edge).
Drill the four holes (.062" or 1/16" drill). Cut the rod/tubing
to two 1 inch lengths and sand or file the edges so they slip
snugly into the holes. Paint the sign piece to match the sign
graphics of your choice (use Floquil® ATSF Mineral Red if you
use the drug sign). Carefully cut the signs out of the paper
sheet, touch a matching colored marker to the cut edges to color
the paper edge, and use spray glue to apply them to the sign
piece. I recommend spraying the completed sign a clear coat.
Install the sign and paint the rods gray or black.
Paper signs are included for other store names, or you can use
your own. Spray the sheet as suggested above if you haven't.
Cut out signs desired and touch an appropriate colored felt-tip
marker along the edges of any non-white signs to color the white
paper edge. Cut out window ad signs with extra paper on the
bottom edge to use for gluing them in (at the bottom of the
window). For the large frontal signs, you may want to glue them
to a separate thin sheet of styrene first and then attach to
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