Basic Window Construction

While constructing "Deception: Operation Titanic" a good number of doors and windows were necessary. The use of photographs of turn of the century buildings provided the designs, however, the limited availability of pre-made windows and doors in the sizes and styles that I wanted created the need to scratch-build them individually for the buildings. As with nearly every aspect of modeling, techniques that individuals employ during construction vary as the individuals themselves, this is just one more technique, but it is effective for producing a number of windows and doors quickly and consistently.
(Picture 1) Razor saw and mini-miter box
The usual assortment of cutting tools, i.e. X-Acto type knife
Six-inch metal ruler in 1/64 increments (Extremely helpful)
Two "L" brackets 2 or 3 inch
Small magnet
8 X 10-inch piece of glass (pillaged from an old picture frame)
Optional: NWSL "The Chopper" Miniature Wood and Styrene Length Cutter Materials: Basic strip styrene and basswood in the following sizes:
  • 1/16 X 1/8 (.060 x .125)
  • 1/16 X 1/32 (.060 X .030)
  • 1/32 X 1/32 (.030)
Additional sizes vary depending on complexity of window; however for the basic window the above sizes provides for countless variations Glue: One for the styrene and glue for porous materials (PVA, carpenter's glue) Note: Cyanoacrylate or Super glue is not recommended since it can produce a frosting effect on the any clear material used for the panes. (Trivia: Vapors of heated Cyanoacrylate directed at most any surface aids law enforcement officials in fingerprint retrieval.)
Getting Started:
Start with the window casing by cutting four (4) strips of 1/16 x 1/8 stock, two (2) 1 1/2-inches long, and two (2) 1-inch long. Set the angle brackets 1 inch apart and secure them with a magnet. This becomes a guide to keep the window frame square. Apply glue to the ends of the 11/2-inch lengths and insert into the angle guide creating a frame. The reveal of the casing is 1/16 and the depth is 1/18. (Picture 2) Now cut ten (10) strips of 1/16 X 1/32.
  • Four (4) 7/8-inch long
  • Four (4) 1 1/4-inches
  • Two (2) 3/4-inches long
Cut two (2) 1/32 X 1/32 strips 3/8-inches long. Place one (1) 7/8 length at the top and one (1) at the bottom of the casing and one (1) 1 1/4 inch length along the sides of the casing creating the window frame. (Picture 3) Place one (1) 3/4 inch section 3/8-inch from the top use the 1/32 mullion as a guide. (Picture 4) Cut a 1-inch by 1-5/8 inch strip of clear styrene or acetate sheet (transparencies work great) for the windowpane. (Picture 5) Now take the remaining strips of 1/32 X 1/16 and layer them on top of the windowpane in the same order creating a two-sided frame enclosing the clear material. (Picture 6) When completed you have a two-sided 1/35 scale window measuring approximately 3 feet wide by 4 1/2 feet tall. (Picture 7) Hint: Paint or stain the casing and frame prior to attaching the clear material, you do not want to color the "glass" and glue resists stain. To simulate broken glass cut the clear material prior to assembly The possible variations to the basic design allows for a vast number of window design of varying sizes. The same basic method can be employed to create entrance and French doors. All of the windows and doors for "Deception: Operation Titanic" were constructed with this method. The exception to the design is when only one side of the widow is seen then the basic elements are the same but instead of 1/32 X 1/16 inch strips I used 1/16 X 1/16 for the window frame and attached the clear material directly to the back of the frame. One final comment, the discovery of Northwest Short Line's "The Chopper" greatly aided in the construction of the windows, door, buildings, trim, and details such as the Café furniture. "The Chopper" is designed for easy set-up and the ability to cut multiple pieces the same size accurately.
  • Window Tools
  • Jig and frame
  • Jig and more frame
  • Jig and detail
  • Glass
  • Final Step
  • Finished

About the Author

About Jay Asrouch (Minuteman)

I started modeling when I was nine, inspired by some of the car kits that my father had constructed, a metal kit of a 1930’s Packard and an old three-in-one kit of a 1930 Ford. From that point on I have built everything from cars, planes, and armor. In 1994, I started modeling almost exclusively arm...


That is an excellent article....
NOV 07, 2004 - 09:50 AM
Nice one!! Im gonna have to try it out. cheers, Bryan
NOV 07, 2004 - 10:00 AM
A few days ago I've just finished the two story building of my new dio, where I had some windows. You're a little bit late with this excellent article, you could help me enormously at this dio. But for the next one thanks a lot
NOV 08, 2004 - 04:10 AM
Great article! Thank you, sir.
NOV 08, 2004 - 04:33 AM