Security Screens For The Drill Co.

by Jul 9, 2019Modeling Techniques, The P48 Experience4 comments

At one time, metal security screens protected the ground floor windows of the Hoosier Drill Company building. These were nothing more than a heavy steel mesh welded to a frame of bar or angle stock.

To make one I used some 1/64” by 1/16” bar stock for the frame along with some brass micro-mesh screen from Scale Scenics. The job was simple on the surface but I took pains to make an accurate frame that is a press fit for the window opening. I soldered the corners and used gel CA to attach the screen. I would have preferred to solder everything but wasn’t certain my skills were up to that extensive of a job. Since it’s a static detail, the CA is fine.

I gave the screen a bath in Blacken-It™ followed by a mix of Tamiya browns and flat black paint. A final dusting with rust colored chalk completed the work and I’m happy to hide the crappy workmanship of that window sash.

With the major work on the cameo done, I can add details like this at a leisurely pace when the mood strikes. That feels like a good place to be in the craft.



  1. Matthieu

    “With the major work on the cameo done, I can add details like this at a leisurely pace when the mood strikes. That feels like a good place to be in the craft.”

    The is the fundamental difference between working on a large layout or simply crafting something scaled down at a comfortable size. You can master what you are doing at your pace, instead of rushing simply to reach goal posts so you feel you are moving forward. I could write a lot about that but will refrain to state obvious facts for the sake of brevity.

    As for the screen, from an architect point of view, wouldn’t it have been easier to install the mesh inside the frame instead of outside. It is my understanding that metal shops generally fabricate these in such fashion. But knowing you, I’m pretty sure you are working from a real example.

    My remark aside, this is another layer of detail that add to how we can relate to this “place we don’t know”. Interestingly enough, this kind of detail doesn’t exist to grab our attention like most obnoxious details made to crowd the place, but rather to enhance the sophistication (yes, a bad word nowadays) of the model.

  2. mike

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for commenting. Your observations prompted me to look at my photos again and I discovered I’ve made assumptions about the screens that aren’t accurate. (No surprise here!)

    I saw examples with the screen fitted on the inside of the frame and the outside. What I didn’t pay enough attention to was the sizing of the materials involved. The mesh on full size screens is more open than the material I used. In addition to that, the perimeter frame work is much lighter as well. My example looks heavy-handed and clumsy by comparison. There is enough discrepancy between them to be irritating, so I will likely redo the detail with finer materials. There’s only one or two to deal with so there’s really no reason not to since the effort isn’t that great.

    To your initial point about the differences between layout building and individual models, I much prefer model making. I feel happier and more settled now than previously. I don’t have to deal with the never-ending compromises that a room or basement size layout demands. It really is a good place to be, at least for me it is. I wouldn’t presume to say it’s for everyone.

    To close, sophistication is a perfectly acceptable word on this blog.

    Cheers friend,

  3. Jeff

    As usual, you hit the nail right on the head. The beauty of a micro or a cameo is that it is easy to revisit and add/upgrade the detailing and it isn’t a herculean task.

    In my career as a firefighter, I encountered window bars and screens in all forms – inlaid bars, flush and exterior mesh and until they invented a way of being able to slice through them quickly they were a bear to deal with. Many of the exterior screens were attached with an L-shape bracket and bolted into the masonry. Some were done properly but many came right off with a pry bar

  4. mike

    Hi Jeff,
    I may have hit the nail but I didn’t set it properly. See the most recent post.