A little information about this build:

Welcome to Building Matthews Mercantile. In the next few pages I will attempt to show and explain some of the techniques I used to build this particular Campbell kit.

Campbell kits have long been a favorite of mine. The very first kit I built when I got interested in HO scale model railroading was a Campbell kit and as of this writing I have built over a dozen of their fine structures and several of their bridge kits.

When Campbell kits came out in the 1960’s they were state of the art. By today's standards there are higher detailed more costly kits available but none have instructions easier to comprehend than the Campbell kits. In my live clinics I always suggest that modelers entering the hobby start with a Campbell kit of their choosing because the instructions, plan sheets and isometric drawings included in each kit are in my opinion the best in the hobby. Just following these instructions will almost guarantee a completed model. The quality of the build will depend on the modelers attention to detail and neatness of assembly. The modeler must also have a bit of patience because these are not shake the box quickie kits. However, unlike buying a ready built model, upon completion of these kits you will have a personal feeling of accomplishment and a good looking model for your railroad or shadow box.


Tools and Other Sundries:

Before getting into the building of Matthews Mercantile, let me talk briefly about tools, techniques and skills associated with this project. I am going to assume that you may want to build your own Matthews Mercantile or some similar kit so allow me to throw out a few comments about tool and materials selections.

You will need a few basic tools to complete this or a similar project. You’ll need one or more X-Acto knives with no. 11 blades and a chisel blade would be nice to have for trimming the battens. Many modelers use a white or yellow carpenters wood glue, I prefer to use Ambroid glue because I like the way it shrinks when it dries. I have models over 35 years old that were assemblied with Ambroid glue and have never had a joint failure.

I also use a medium viscosity ACC glue for adding small parts. Whatever your preference in glues, a box of round wooden toothpicks and a box of the thinner flat wooden toothpicks are indispensable for applying small quantities of glue exactly where it is needed on the model. Some modelers use way too much glue as they must feel it is necessary to achieve a good joint or maybe to compensate for a bad fit between parts. The trick to achieving a tight bond between components is not how much glue is used but rather keeping pressure on the joint while the glue dries. To achieve tight joints, I first select what I believe is the proper glue for the job and then I make use of numerous clamping devices as well as heavy objects from around my shop to compress assemblies while the glued joint is drying.

I have been a faithful user of Floquil paints for many years. On this build I use several Floquil colors and to make a stain I thin the paint with a solvent called Xylene/Xylol which I buy at my local ACE Hardware store in quart cans. On this project I used #0, #2, and #3 size soft bristle brushes and a sharp tooth pick for applying the various stains and trim colors.

I have found that given enough time, any structure built from wood will warp and twist itself so as not to sit level. To offset this tendency, I have added some additional interior bracing and increased the size of the interior bracing provided in the kit. In the future the structure will be glued to a heavy wood base and the roof will be left removable for access to the interior.

Once complete the model will require periodic cleaning. Dust is not weathering and can only diminish the overall presentation of the model. To clean the model I use a small vacuum which can be purchased from various outlet stores under various names for about ten bucks. I modified one of the nozzles to adapt to my vacuum set which is sold through Micro Mart and other distributors.

Enough of the babble, lets build Matthews Mercantile.


Building Matthews Mercantile

(The Build Begins)