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About 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 walls.

About 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 others.

To contact me, place orders, correspond, etc., email me at

Disclaimers, 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.


Urethane and silicone rubber
I 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.

Castings - curved wall edges
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.

Castings - warpage
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.

Castings - 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 this:
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 trim.

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®.

Specific Kit Information
#O205 Drug Store: It seems some of these fronts may have gone out with misprinted instructions. Here are the instructions for this kit:

Instructions: 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 the wall.

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