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The Thomas Point Shoals lighthouse - BEST models- HO scale by Popeye

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seeing Dan building these card lighthouses has been fun to watch.  it happens that besides ceramic and plaster churches,  I {as well as the admiral} have a fancy for lighthouses too.   in browsing around on the net,  I've seen a few really neat kits.........but never pulled the trigger on one.  I was looking through oldmodelkits the beginning of August,  when I saw this one........really caught my eye :) 


the Thomas Point Shoals lighthouse is located in the shoals,  to the north of the South River,  near Annapolis, MD.   this is what it looks like since 1875.........it has been rebuilt about three times,  damaged in various degrees by bad weather.   by 1964,  it was the only manned lighthouse on the bay.    damaged again in 1972 by tropical storm Agnes...surprisingly only sustaining superficial damage,  even though some of the storm waves reached 23 feet!   it's the last screwpile lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay,  and remains there today,  since attaining historic landmark preservation status since 1975.

   I got worried there for a bit......usually when a kit in in the process of purchase,  it remains in the listings,  but with 'email for availability' label under it.   I didn't know,  but they were on vacation,  and likely had their system set up to remove it while they were away.   around the 15th,  I got an email stating that it would be shipped within the week......I was at ease :)   I was going to wait to do some research,  but in the pictures I saw of the kit,  I had enough to go on,  so I began.   Precision Lasercraft had me baffled........the site I found only does laser engraving on tumblers and cups.......no model kits were listed.  digging deeper,  I found this:


Precision Lasercraft History - Bollinger Edgerly Scale Trains - About B.E.S.T.


   this was the beginning of Precision Lasercraft.........started by Bruce Sparrow in his basement in 1994.  he mentions that he supplied Micro Mark with kits to sell.  I looked around,  but I guess I'd have to have old catalogs to see the selection.  all Micro Mark carries now,  is Scientific,  Walther's,  Banta,  Woodland Scenic,  and a few other brands.   A few years later,  Precision Lasercraft was sold to BEST model.   Brian Bollanger and David Edgerly were partners of New England G scale Trains.......likely after that the name change occurred.......B.E.S.T. 


Bollinger Edgerly Scale Trains - Welcome!


   I probably don't have all the timeline straight,  but it was fun tracing this one.   if you read the short bio from Bruce,  it's pretty interesting what he used for a laser cutter.   it might also be of interest that BEST Models also sells parts for their structure models......so far all I've seen is shingles,  but digging deeper might uncover more that they sell.......scribed wood too perhaps.

   much like Northeastern Scale Lumber,  which used to be Ambroid,  structure kits and accessories can be purchased.  when I read about this kit,  I read where the doors and windows may have been painted on..........hell no!   I found that Micro Mark carries window and door frame assortments in HO and N scale....other scale too,  I think.  I was ready to order them if this was the case {I still need to order that brass assortment 'bag' that they offer.....I can make good use of it on the Progress project}.  I've been wanting to try one of these structures........I see them in the catalog,  and they look really neat.  if all goes well,  perhaps I can get a couple to fill out that B&M snow plow diorama I have in the closet.  one never knows  ;)    here is one site where I have found BEST kits


Valley Model Trains -HO- Precision Lasercraft


Northeastern Scale Lumber Co.

for those who don't have this site book marked,  here it is  :) 


Edited by popeye the sailor
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I have been lax in doing a kit contents for a few of my projects.   looking at the way this kit is packed,  I'd be foolish not to!  it comes in a very sturdy box......fairly heavy cardboard.


another baffling piece to the puzzle,  is that Precision Lasercraft is located in Agawam,  Mass........I have no idea of the production date of the kit.  BEST Models,  I was surprised to find,  is located in Belmont N.H.


in some of the pictures I've seen,  there is a shelf of sorts built into the screw pile pillars.  I'm guessing that these pictures were taken,  when the lighthouse was being repaired,  and they devised the 'shelf' to store the wood they were using to repair it.   in others,  it can be seen to have been built on a rocky shelf,  only seen probably at low tide.   most of these were 'nick nack' souvenirs though.......a nice touch to show a bit of detail.

   there is a four page set of instructions and an exploded parts sheet.


....followed by another four pages of parts diagrams and three pages of full color step diagram pictures


bag #1 has the floor panels and flat roof panels


bag #2 has all the structure side panels


bag #3 has the roof parts and window & door framing,  PE and glazings


bag #4 is the beacon and wiring,  along with the cast metal parts.  it also has the AC adapter.


bag #5 has all the wood stock and plastic trim parts


it also comes with a jig to assemble the screw pile.  I will more than likely  use it as the base 


since this will be the first model of it's type that I've built,  it won't be a good idea to go bee bopp'in all over the instructions.  it will be one step at a time ;) 

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it starts off with the roof and dormers.  the center is made up of six walls,  the side edges beveled  to mate one another.  the lantern deck is dry fitted in place to help with the alignment.


the dormer sides and fronts are stacked up in the background.   once the center hexagon is dry,  the dormer sides were dry fitted in place,  to check for any gaps.   moving them around,  their best positions were decided on.


the lines on the outside are guides for the roof locator tabs,  strips of thin wood for the roof panels to be cemented to.   the fronts were put in place next for the same evaluation.  when all this is done,  the sides and fronts were cemented in place.   rubber bands will keep the pressure on till they dry........also,  adjustments were made to insure the sides were flush with the edges of the fronts.


now comes the first problem........the dormer roof rafters.   these are tiny laser cut parts.....the rafter framing is not a complete assembly......the only real purpose I can see,  is that they stick out 1/16 along the roof edges.

    with this in mind,  there should be 60 of these parts.........I only got 18 of them.


there are five notches on each dormer wall side....there is a sixth at the mating with the dormer front,  but I'm not concerned with them.  should I have the need to get rid of them,  I can simply fill in the tiny slot.  the roof panel for the dormers fit into a slot in the center hexagon,  which will give the roof it's pitch {they can be seen in the pictures}.   cementing it to the front's eve's should give the roof sufficient strength........these rafters can be fudged away and won't be missed in the assembly.    the concern is along the sides where the slots are.......I think these will be visible.   more on this soon ;) 


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thanks Michael...welcome to the log as well as those who are look'in in. :)   I've always wanted to try one of these kits........so far so good in spite of this small hiccup.   I have a satisfactory solution in the works at the moment for the rafters,  and once I can dry fit a roof,  I'll know then if I'm on the right track.   ran into an issue with glue.......but I'll get to that in the update.   


welcome to the log........I hope you enjoy :) 

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Nice model, Denis.


Did you know that  you can visit/tour the Seven Foot Knoll lighthouse, oldest screw pile lighthouse in Maryland, at Pier 5 in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. It sits atop the pier now and is open to public. Admiral and I took our granddaughter thru it about 5 years ago. Worth touring. The Thomas Point is open for tours also but not as easy to get to as Seven Foot Knoll.

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thanks Lou and Jack for the kind comments.  it's a reminder that i have pictures in the camera ;)   I haven't looked at the electronics yet....surprising,  since when installed,  I'm going to have to adjust the beacon light......it blinks! :)    I read about the tours through the Thomas lighthouse.......the interior looks quite comfy. must be neat living in one.


I did a dry fit to see how much of the rafter slots could be seen........too much I'm afraid.


so,  I'm have to do something about it.  looking in my inventory of wood,  I got some thin strip mahogany.  2 mm will have to do......I cut 36 pieces for what I have in mind.


putting a Testor's tip on the white glue bottle,  I was able to dab them as I went along.  now they need to dry.  I figured I'd start on the screw pile.  since I want to use the jig as the base,  I adjusted the length of the supports.  they instruct you to raise the jig 1/4 off the table and push them in place,   so they rest on the table.  I won't need to do this.  they fit in the holes really tight.......I even drilled them out a little.


the squares are for spacer pieces supplied in the kit.......I hate to think I'd have to cement them in place and mar the surface.  I will come up with a different way to accomplish this.  I started the assembly using Testor's green tube cement.  these are plastic "I" beams.


in between these drying,  the roof parts were painted,  so they would be ready when the roof and dormers are completed.


these are the six sides that will make up the main roof...the ones above make up the dormers,  outhouse,  and shed,


back at the main roof,  the main roof supports were cemented on the sides of the dormer walls



once dry,  they were sanded flush to the front wall.  this probably wouldn't matter,  since they will be covered by the roof parts.   at this point,  I took my convex toe nail clippers and cut the excess off at the angle of the eaves  ans did a bit of sanding.


next,  was to paint the exposed parts of the dormers.


then came another zinger........the glue wasn't holding the 'I' beams for the screw pile.  the one nice thing about it,  was I could remove the dried glue without damaging the parts.   I changed over to Ca to start over.


there were a couple of joints that didn't want to take,  but another dab of Ca seemed to have done the trick.  the  first step of the screw pile is done.



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doin' some roof'in today........


man walks into a bar

"what'll ya have?"

"I'll have a shingled roof",  the man replies

"ne'er 'erd of it!",  the bartender bristled.

"sure ya 'ave',  the man torted........"it's on the house!"

Edited by popeye the sailor
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what can I say........it's the kind of day I've been hav'in  ;)    Third floor moved out..........I was put in charge of bring'in his 'leavings' to the curb..........'bout 100 bags worth!  :omg: the neighbors will be cry'in on the fence tonight!  they already complained about him putt'in a few pieces of furniture out there last week!   did the lawn work too......all that is out of the way for next week......my birthday :)   the following week I'm on vacation.....we go to the seafood festival out at Hampton Beach.......plan on gett'in fat on the beach ;) 


I did this first......painted the underside of the roof gray


I did this the other day.......painted the bottom floor gray


making head's or tail's of the doors and windows......there is a sticky backing to them.   I put the bottom part on the doors.......I hope I don't get any paint on the sticky part,  because I have the clear cello to put on the after.    


I tried to think of a good way to cement on the main roof parts,  so they would match up all the way around.  these parts are made of card,  and painting them did put a bit of a warp to them.  I taped them down to keep them flush while they dried.  I kept the corners flush to the edges....hope they all fit OK.


one thing this kit doesn't tell you,  is the orientation of the first floor walls.  I have already primed them,  so I could match them up with the slots.    I also had to judge where the two smoke stacks would be on the model.


the first floor walls,  as well as the shed and outhouse walls have been primed for paint



now.....to think of a different way to set the bottom floor up with the spacers,  so they can be better removed.


I still need to add the other six formers for the bottom frame of the screw pile.  that will raise it up to add the upper braces for the floor.  the six holes can be seen around the inner part of the deck.  there are also holes to run the many truss lines that help support it.  the dormer roofs were cemented in place next.......the idea about the rafters was a success.  I did need to trim a couple,  but that was no big deal ;) 


here....I'll turn it around.........


I had a bit of a laugh,  because it looks the same all the way around ;)   more on the lighthouse soon!



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thanks Jack........and to those who hit the like button :)   I'm not liking these frames too much.......they don't fit too well together.   one would think that the window frames fit inside the outer frames.......well........they don't really.   they kinda overlap a little.........and so far,  the instructions have been a bit vague on a few things.   I tried my stick tape method,  but all that did was remove some of the char {which is a good thing}.  I seem to have hit on something though.......I just hope the remnants of char on these parts don't mess with the paint.

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thanks to all who have joined in following the build :)   I have an update that I should have posted earlier,  but it's been busy 'round here.   celebrated my birthday on Saturday....the highest point of the weekend.  work is no fun......and I had to work on my birthday too.  it didn't dampen my spirits though ;) 


so....on with the update :)   while I was writing the previous post,  I was assembling and painting the beacon deck,  which is comprised of two parts.  these two parts had to be lined up while they were assembled and drying......why I'm not sure,  but I'mm follow the directions anyway.



it can be seen that the bottom half has the slots that fit on top of the roof assembly.  I still have a little more to do with the roof,  but it won't interfere if I cement in into place.


the windows and doors are a bit confusing.........not a lot of text on them.   they have an adhesive backing....peel off the paper and stick them into place.  I wasn't sure how to go about painting them........each window and door is made up of two or three parts.  what makes them confusing,  is they they have clear cello added to them after painting,  and I wasn't sure if I should paint then before they are assembled,  or after.   I decided to paint all the parts separately.   starting with the window and doors,  I stuck them to the sticky side of the tape,   in order to paint them.  that's when I noticed all the char that was coming off them.  this is either very thin wood,  or card...hard to tell really,  but I think this adhesive stuff is what added to the char issue {depends when they were laser cut,  I guess}.


the doors are on another piece of tape.  the door and window frames need to have a sill added to the bottoms.  I did this to all but the dormer windows,  which in my opinion,  should have been done before the roofs were added.  I went by the instructions........what can I say >shrug<


once this was done,  I began to have second thoughts about painting them separately.  they are to be white....the same as the walls.  so the heck with it.........I'll assemble them and cement them in place before I paint the walls.  I've primered the walls already.


a couple of them are missing..........I installed them in one of the walls to see if this would work out.


...and then I did the rest.   good thing I noticed that I oriented a couple wrong before the glue dried.



to combat the char issue,  I'll airbrush them rather than use a brush.   the dormers........I'll have to assemble them and figure a way to airbrush them.  if I use the tape,  I'll have to clean out the individual panes of paint build up.  one more day..........then I'm on vacation :)   first real vacation in quite a while........usually I took days off here and there,  spreading them out over the course of the year.  should be fun  ;) 

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3 hours ago, lmagna said:

You just made my wife look at me with the look of death Denis.


I turned this on during one of her one of her NUMEROUS court shows and almost lost my life!

Nah... she won't do that if she's been watching court shows.   Find a hit man maybe.....

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We have the twin in Mobile Bay sans dormers. When a teenager we motor out and play around the light there was access via a cast iron ladder, we climb up and jump off into the bay. They finally stopped access folks were doing the graffiti thing. It is now protected and has ongoing maintenance.


Its extremely close to Mobile Ship Channel surprised it hasn't been knocked over by a shallow draft ship or barges running light.






middle bay1.jpg

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1 hour ago, Jack12477 said:

they do make ear phones so you don't disturb the Admiral

I do use them most of the time, like when I am listening to music or watching something. But sometimes............ Like when she is watching one of those stupid court shows........... 😈 I just can't resist.


9 hours ago, mtaylor said:

Find a hit man maybe.....

No, I think after almost 40 years of having to put up with me she would not want to miss out on the personal satisfaction of doing it herself. She would probably make it slow and painful! :(

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Missing your opportunity purchase one of those portable mega horns stand by the front door, jogging shoes on, the best cane you have, and when they are about to give a verdict give one long blast then hobble out as fast as you can with luck you can make it to the car if not its been a good life.:default_wallbash:

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You have the proper word when you use "Hobble" John!:( 


I am now officially the slowest creature in my household! My  wife is faster, the kids can outrun me, the dog and cat can run circles around me. The squirrels laugh as they run past on the power lines going from tree to tree, even the spiders in the back yard can keep up, and they are lazy! I MIGHT make it to the car first if I rigged the horn like an IED and triggered it remotely while standing outside the open door of the car! But even that might be overly optimistic.

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6 minutes ago, Jack12477 said:

You could be "at altitude" in under 10 seconds 

It's not the altitude that bothers me so much as going the other direction! That sudden stop at the end is what slowed me down in the first place!


Right now she is watching one of her "How to kill your husband" movies on one of the women's channels.


We need to get Denis back here and post some progress pictures, and he is off eating fancy food and partying it up! How rude of him, leaving us all alone and unsupervised in his workshop.

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some how........Paul Simon was thinking when he penned his song :D   studies do show though that couples are more happy when they try to keep it 'interesting' ;)   I'll break the manotany for you as best I can.


I love that lighthouse John........with a little modification,  it can also be modeled from this kit :)   it has the same screw pile design........note all the truss cables to support it....I'll be doing the same for this one too!


thanks to all who have joined in.......I hope you enjoyed the video.  if I can find the right scale of Popeye figures,  I can put a model concept of mine into play :)    ....but ........that's a future thing ;)   anyway....I have started my vacation and managed to get a bit more done on the lighthouse.  I finally opened the electronic part of the kit and took a look.......I wonder how the wires are going to fit down that center tube :unsure:  I think I have some smaller wiring in my electronic's box...I'll see if I can change this up some......this won't happen til later,  when I know how much of that tube will be sticking out of the top,  in the beacon.   the dormer windows have all been assembled,  punched out,  and painted.  the kit give a very generous supply of clear cello,  which still needs to be cut and cemented in the windows.


the one on the far left is broken on one corner.......gotta fix it.   it will be interesting to see how much paint that will need to be trimmed.  the outhouse was assembled and cemented in place on the first floor deck.


I never forgot about the 'brass assortment pack'  that I saw from Hobby Lobby.  I should have bought it when I had the chance.  they don't seem to carry it anymore.  I was looking through Micromark at the time I started the Progress build,  when I saw it.....I thought....PERFECT!!!!!  it will give me all the metal parts to make some of the fittings :)   I kinda procrastinated though......dragged my feet on buying it........until now!


:omg:........there is all kinds of odds and ends in here!  even square and triangular tubing.........hollow tubing of all different sizes,  and shaped metal strips!   there are some shaped strips that could very easily be used to make an automotive chassis frame............but we won't go down that slippery slope {fighting the urge HARD}.  :ph34r:   ordering and receiving this at this point in time,  gave me an idea about the spacing issue......hmmmm

     the shed was assembled and cemented to the deck.


at first,  I though that they might have made a mistake with the dimensions of this structure.......having to add the 1/32 strip wood to the front and back sides.   but,  seeing it together and painted,  it looks great defining the clapboard sides.  I wondered why there are no doors on these two structures,  but I'll look at this when the first floor walls are in place.  I'll try not to cement them in place,  so I can make this mod,  if I see it can be done.  six more of the 'I' beams were cut to add the braces for the center tube.  as this is being assembled,  I'm sure that CA is running down to the base,  cementing the posts to it.  it's a good thing I'm planning to use it as the base.......this was my intent from the beginning.  even though I drilled out the holes,  the post still fit in them pretty tight......it would likely be a bad thing to try and remove it now.  I have a plan to dress it up so it looks nice.......got to paint it first.


the wood that was to be used as the spacers,  was used again for this part of the assembly as well.  all these parts are at the same height..........I'm forever checking for any connections that come loose......a couple of them already have.  while I was looking at the electronic parts,  I read about the beacon,  and how it was assembled.   they show the clear cello window that will surround the light...it has been scored so it can be bent into shape.   at the bottom is a black strip of card with adhesive on it,  to be run along the bottom of the cello strip.  noting that there is a slot for the formed cello window to fit into,  in the deck,  I though to apply the black strip a tiny bit above the cello edge.....I think it's probably .5 mm........just enough to fit it into place.


time to put that thought of mine into play............I want a spacer........but I don't want to cement those wood pieces on the base for fear of marring the surface {it's what they suggest,  since the base is actually a jig}.                      selecting a piece of brass tubing that fits over the center plastic tube {now that I have an ample supply},  it was marked to the height of the wood pieces,  and cut to length with a tubing cutter.


so when the first floor deck is slid over the center tube,  it will have a stop


now......all I need to do is cut all the support beams and set them in place,  using a ruler or something suitable,  to level the deck before gluing.   I think I have a 'plumb level' around somewhere.   continuing with the frame and base,  there are six round beads that fit in top of the posts......not sure what they are made of,  but they are clear.  the tops of the post have been beveled to accept the balls...the support beams will need to be beveled as well.  still a bit more to go before that happens :) 


more soon :) 


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thinking about where I might have out that level..........oh...I know!   it was in my Home Depot "modeler's" tool box!   it actually didn't take much fiddling to get it level :) 


I used the airbrush on the first floor walls....this is the first time in quite a while,  that I used a gravity feed with a needle.   the EZ airbrush I usually used doesn't have any moving parts,  except for the trigger.  I wasn't totally happy with it's performance,  but it did what I wanted it to........the char would have given the windows an ashen quality if I had used a brush.


I went over them later with a brush.  once they were totally dry,  I assembled the building together.....dry fit.   then I can install the corner pieces...........leaving it with the ability to cement in the cello,  and assemble it later when the screw pile is fully assembled.



the triangular corner pieces were cut and cemented in place,  completing the wall fabrication.



more to come :) 

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I have no pictures for what I did today on this project..........window work ;)    all the corners of the six sided structure are now painted.......next was to size the glass.   the big windows were around 12 x 20.5 mm....give or take .5 mm.    this marks the second time I've use the 'pick 'n place' tool......it did the job quite well.  two smaller windows and the doors were around 12 x 12.75 mm....give or take.......they went in equally as well.  next are the dormer windows........the one I feared broke did not come off the tape willingly......I had to repair it.   I think I fixed it ;)   these windows are 8.5 square........I'll set the glass once I get them cut and fitted.  hopefully I'll have some pictures for you soon :)   thanks for look'in in..........hmmmmmm............yea,  OK.......... I punned myself ;) 

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I did snap these two pictures of the window prep........the wall cemented together.........and the two sizes of window glass {cello}.


the tops and bottoms of the corner moldings were sanded flush to the walls.  I marked the top and bottom decks for proper orientation of the the wall {sandwich}.


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the windows went in flawlessly!   the dormer windows however was another story.  after cutting the glass and cementing them in place,  adding them to the roof was a feat and a half.   I ended up breaking a second window in the process and had to fix two of 'em for the price of one.   the repairs went well though,  although one of them has a speck of 'something' on the glass.  it's on the inside.........due to the fragility issue,  I'm gonna leave it. 

    think of it as a small white cat sitting in the window  ;) ..........cone on...........you know you want to ;) 


along the crown of the roofs,  .030 wire was cemented in place {supplied in the kit}



this led to a bit of a mess.........they will be painted red.   I'll touch up the roof panels while I'm at it ;)   the dormer roofs are done here.


the bottoms are done here.....


there is edge molding that will encircle the roof assembly.......I'll get to that next.   after scoring the black apron around the beacon glass,  I bent it along the scored lines that separate the panes.  this led to another piece of the puzzle.  now I left a thin border around the bottom to eventually cement into the beacon deck.  if the beacon glass forms an octagon........how is it going to fit into the beacon deck,  which is a hexagon?


I submitted that question to the 'ponder department' ;)   waiting for an answer to it....................................................................:ph34r:

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