Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Tale of Three Buildings - More from Knuckleduster/Tri-City Laser Inc

I  received another shipment from Knuckleduster of the Tri-City Laser Inc buildings. That set the painting plans back a bit as I went back to construction. These go together pretty much as expected, so I'm not going to go into the same level of construction photos that I normally do except for the hotel.

I bought the TCL Town Deal 2 along with 2 extra pitched roofs for the Hotel and the General Store that are part of this deal. What I forgot to purchase was a slanted roof for the Small Store. I also ordered two of the brand new "Room Addition" which is a small room that you can tack on to the side of just about any building. Its a very "western" feature, unfortunately they have been so popular that when I ordered they were already on backorder.

Overall the quality of the Tri-City kits is really quite good. As much as I like working with plywood though the floors do have a tendency to warp so you really need to get some weight on them when you are gluing things together. I still have a real problem with the lack of instructions as well. Now this is not a huge deal when you are dealing with the standard box or rectangle like the Small Store and the General Store. The counter in the General Store is trickier than it should be and the little slip of paper with a picture is just not an adequate set of instructions for it. Yes, you can puzzle it together it just takes longer than it should. The Hotel is quite intimidating when you pour out a bag of parts and all you get is a picture of the finished building. This one needs at least a one page set of instructions like the one pager you get from 4Ground or Sarissa Precision. Of course my favorite is the instruction booklets from Battle Flag and Aetherworks. I just feel that Tri-City Laser really needs to step up and do a bit more with their instructions.

A lot more could be done with the included interior detail as well. If you are going to advertise interior detail you should at least be engraving floorboards on to the floors. The other thing that bugs me a lot is the fit of the window frames. Instead of fitting around the window opening, they are actually cut to cover part of the window opening and there is no guide so you are kind of lining it up by eye. Is it hard? No, it just makes something a bit more difficult than it needs to be. The other feature that drove me crazy is the interior stairs for the Hotel. The angle on the banisters does not match the angle of the stairs nor is it long enough to actually go from top to bottom. I managed to cobble something together and ultimately my players aren't going to notice, but I notice and it bothers me a lot.

Despite my gripes these are solid kits and look good alongside the kits I have from other manufacturers. If you take your time and pay attention to what you are doing these build up just fine. Well, except for the those stairs.

Now on to the fun stuff, construction photos!
First up is the Small Store
The Parts

Gluing up the walls

And the walls from the back

I had a hard time getting this one to setup right. Grabbed my
new clamp (squeezes in from all four sides) to help me out
on this one. I like this clamp a lot, to bad most everything I work
on is to big to use it one. I have added my big weights to try
and work the warp out of the floor.

Clamps and weights from the back.
So that was a pretty straight forward build. Just wish I had remembered to order that roof. I'll have to catch it the next time around.
Now to something slightly larger, the General Store.
What you get out of the bag.
And now an unobstructed view.

Another straight forward build. You can glimpse the interior here.

And the "full" interior. The shelves and the counter and
shelving unit are nice but I would really like an engraved floor.

A Black Scorpion Tombstone Mini providing some scale 

Some more Black Scorpion Minis on the inside

And a look at the finished building complete with the optional
pitched roof.
Again another straight forward build, the interior detailing was a little fiddly, and construction would have gone better if there had been better instructions.

Now the tough one; the Hotel.
Here are the parts, a bit intimidating

Skipping the construction photos and just showing the sub-assemblies

Putting together the first floor. I didn't glue in the porch front. I'll  paint it first.

The first floor sort of ready for action. Nothing is glued down on the
inside yet. I want to do some detail work in there first.

The second floor going together. Notice the variety of clamps
and magnets being used.

A Black Scorpion scale shot for the 2nd Floor

All finished, complete with the optional pitched roof.
I actually borrowed this from the General Store. I forgot to put
the second roof kit together. I have something to do tonight now!

And another scale shot featuring Black Scorpion miniatures


  1. Fantastic buildings! love the new clamp as well, what a great idea!

    1. I'm going to find out if there is a bigger version of that clamp. It really came in handy.

  2. Great review, you know for the floors you could take some coffee stir sticks and cut them down, instant flooring!

    1. I could do that and I have certainly thought about it. However, I think I have something that will be a lot less work. I'm just about ready to give it a try and see how if it works.

  3. I have the Hotel kit and just to let you know the stairs are put together wrong in the pics. The boards on the side should be vertical. Maybe that's why you had so much trouble getting them to fit. I admit they need better instructions. Like you said the Hotel can be intimidating and people should take there time and test fit so they don't glue something in the wrong place.

    1. That's good to know! I think I messed around with that for 30 minutes or so before I decided to just get it together. Does have the boards go vertical actually make everything fit correctly then? I'm not sure the angle would actually change, but I would love to have a second chance at putting them together. If you have a picture of your's I would like to see it. They just flat out need instructions period with a couple of these kits.

  4. I just came across your blog and was fortunate to aquire some of the old buildings...These are discontinued now and very scarce...Concerning the weight that you use...What exactly is it, and where can one but one...?

    1. The first set of these came from Micro Mark. They are called precision 1-2-3 blocks. I don't remember where I bought the second set but they were cheaper than Micro Mark, just google precision 1-2-3 blocks and you should get a lot of choices. They are typically used by machinists for setting up tools and the like.