Facts & figures
Wm. K. Walthers Inc.
5601 W. Florist Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53218
- Art Deco styling
- Footprint: 6.875” x 7.875”
- Full-color decal signs
- Injection-molded plastic in three colors plus clear
Where do all those ’57 Fords on your layout come from? If you model in HO scale, Wm. H. Walthers may have your answer in its latest structure kit offering, the Walthers Cornerstone Vintage Ford Auto Dealer. Its Art Deco-influenced architecture, including distinctive curved front corner windows, should make this building a standout in any post-1940s city scene.
The kit’s parts are molded in three colors of styrene, plus clear windows. The parts were all well molded, with no flash to speak of, no warping, and fine detail. The parts fit together well, including the tricky, skinny curved parts of the front window frames. I did have to file the edges of the interior wall to keep it from bowing, but that’s easily done, and better than fitting loosely.
I assembled the kit with Plastruct Weldene styrene cement in a total of about eight hours over two days. I deviated from the directions only slightly. Because I intended to spray-paint the building, I couldn’t install the windows during wall assembly as directed. Instead, I set the windows aside and built the walls without them. The front and side walls are made in layers; the side wall parts are molded in different colors. I assembled all four wall subassemblies, then painted them. Once they had dried overnight, I carefully glued in the windows and completed assembly and decoration.
I don’t like using molded styrene window glazing because the castings are thick and sometimes cloudy or uneven. Usually, I replace these with .015” clear styrene sheet. But since the curved windows were such an important structural part of the front of the building, I used the windows that came with the kit. I was pleased to see they were smooth on both surfaces and perfectly clear.
The curved corner glass, part of the side walls, has no frame on its front edge and meets the front wall at a very narrow window mullion. I was nervous about this piece not fitting right because I had added the glass later than instructed, but I need not have worried. The front and side glass pieces met with no gaps.
I wasn’t as happy with the windows for the back of the service area, though. The small-pane, metal-sash industrial windows had the mullions molded into the clear plastic. I did my best with fine paintbrushes and permanent markers to try to color the mullions without getting ink or paint on the clear part of the windows, but repeatedly failed. Separately molded window sash castings would have been easier to paint neatly.
The kit includes blue decals to decorate the structure as a Ford dealership or red ones for a generic car dealer. I had a little trouble with one of the decals, but it was my problem, not the kit’s. The blue “Ford” decal is exactly the same size as the projecting front sign, which means the surrounding clear film is too large for it. I should have used a hobby knife to trim this film off before soaking the decal; trying to do so after applying it to the sign shredded the edges. I repaired the rips with a 10-0 paintbrush and some C&O Enchantment Blue paint.
The wide, clear windows and attractive architecture of Walthers Cornerstone’s Vintage Ford Auto Dealer cries out for a position front and center, where visitors to your layout can appreciate a detailed interior. If you don’t want to glue cars and figures of car shoppers inside, you could style this structure as a furniture store, restaurant, grocery store, or anything else that would benefit from walk-by traffic.