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Whilst buying picture frames to use for my structure dioramas like BARLOW MOTORS and others, the print seen above was in one of the frames. It's simple charm and Australian flavour sat up and said "I will make a great model".

This is where the power of today's personal computers and some of the amazing programs that are available for them come into their own. The structure itself is very straight forward and follows all the tried and true construction methods. The real attraction of this building are the signs. Following is detailed the methods I used to duplicate these signs so I could accurately reproduce this delightful structure.

THE FIRST PROBLEM: How to square up the front of the building and the signs so I could use them on a 3 dimensional structure. First the print was scanned into the computer at a high resolution, and then put through a digital enhancing program to sharpen the image and enhance the colours so they matched the original. The picture was then open in "GIMP", or "Graphic Image Manipulation Program", which is a free download of the net. One this programs features is skew feature. This skewing was able to get the  signs very close to square.

THE SECOND PROBLEM: Repairing the signs that are covered by the veranda posts. Here again, "GIMP"  comes into it's own. The squared image of the store front is opened, and each sign that needs repaired is cropped and saved as a separate file. I do this so it is easier to work with. The vertical white strip through the "Recket Glue" sign is one of the veranda posts. Using the "Clone' tool in GIMP, slowly repair the sign. Remember, the sign is going to be quite small when on the model so the cloning does not have to be perfect. Other programs like PHOTOSHOP also have the same facilities.

THE THIRD PROBLEM: To get the signs to the correct size to be used on the 3 dimensional structure. First, I had to build the store front in the correct proportions so the signs would fit correctly.

To get the correct size and proportion of the shop front in 'O' scale (that's a " to the foot or 1/48th scale), I opened the completed picture of the entire shop front in program like " Microsoft Publisher " or "Microsoft WORD", and estimating the figure of the man to be 38mm high or about 6 feet tall in scale, I sized the print so the shopkeeper in the door was that high. I was able to then print out the picture to the correct size for 'O' scale. I was then able to use this print as a template to construct the shop front. This store front can be seen in the picture opposite. The windows have clear styrene as glass. The two angled windows have been laid flat so they could be scanned. This will also make the signs the correct size. Just cut them out and adhere to the inside of the windows.



The almost completed model can seen above

Below  are the small signs I scanned and retouched and used on the front of this building. Feel free to download and use them if they are useful.