Making the Hazelnut Inn Model with Precision Board HDU

Coastal Enterprises, manufacturers of Precision Board HDU, is proud to announce a series of guest blogs written by Dan Sawatzky of Imagination Corporation, which will be posted on the Precision Board Blog at the end of each month.  In this month’s entry, Dan gives us some insight into using Precision Board PBLT-30 to make an incredibly detailed scale model – like this one for the Hazelnut Inn he profiled last month.

We find endless uses for Precision Board in our shop. One use is to build scale models. Precision Board is easy to work with and cuts precisely. It also holds detail extremely well – especially the 30 Lb Precision Board we use.

As we considered all the implications and challenges of building the Hazelnut Inn project it very quickly became evident that the normal drawings and plan views were not up to the task. The building, with its many angles, elevations and roof slopes was far too complex to easily convey to the professionals and building authorities we would be dealing with. In order to have our planners, engineers and builders understand what we were going for we needed a model.

Initially we were going to do just a quick massing model which would have sufficed for that process but we decided instead to do a full blown, highly detailed model. This would ensure we could plan out the many walkways, features and landscape elements as well. We could also work out the complex colour scheme at the same time. The model could then be used for many other purposes as well.

We started by using our plans to build the various massing blocks of the building components. We settled on half inch to the foot for the scale. Peter built the cutting files in EnRoute and then we sliced the model into sections to allow it to be cut from 2” thick Precision Board. Once the files were cut it was a simple matter of fitting the pieces together and fastening the layers tight.

Once the blocks were all in place we went over the model carefully, fixing various small problem areas and making necessary changes. It’s one thing to plan something on paper, quite another to build it in 3D. Although the necessary changes were relatively small it didn’t take long for the model to pay for itself as the changes would have been very costly at the building stage.

Once we were happy with the massing model we added smaller bits of Precision Board to create the overhangs, garden walls and other details. We worked quickly and fairly rough at this stage, filling in gaps with sculpting epoxy. Then it was time for the fun part – the detailed sculpting. The sculpting epoxy was pressed on and worked in small sections. It took Peter and I a little more than a week to do all of the areas. As we progressed we had meetings with the people doing the building drawings, engineering and the builder to make sure they understood every aspect of what we wanted to achieve.

We are now into the detailed painting of the model. We are approaching it just like we will the full sized version. We picked out the colour selection and then bought gallons of what we needed. The model will only take a teeny bit of the paint but the rest will be used as construction proceeds. We applied the base coats of paint and then did the glazes – just like the real thing.

The model is going to be spectacular and will be used in our marketing efforts for Hazelnut Inn as well as Imagination Corporation.

Sawatzky’s Imagination Corporation is a small family company that specializes in the design and creation of dimensional signs and environments. They tackle projects of any size from small signs to entire theme parks. Their work has garnered numerous national and international awards.

Dan Sawatzky is best described as a creative force and visual storyteller extraordinaire. His art career spans almost fifty years of magic. Dan’s passion is to design and create imaginative places that take people from the normal world to a setting of delight and wonder.

You can get free samples of Precision Board HDU, request a quote, and sign up for the monthly Blog Roundup from Coastal Enterprises.


Signing Off (Dan Sawatzky’s Blog)

Why Dan Sawatzky Exclusively Uses PBLT-30 Precision Board HDU

Imagination Takes Flight: Our Interview With Dan Sawatzk