After the brutal beating my thumb and forefinger took while cutting out the 650 windows of West Park Tower with an X-acto knife, I knew I had to find a better way to achieve the window cut-outs. While doing some touch-up work one day, I glanced down at some 35mm slides my father was organizing, and I realized that the slide frame was the perfect size of an O-scale office window. Or close enough anyway.
What followed is what you see here - a downtown hotel building, the windows of which are made entirely of 35mm slide sleeves. These slide sleeves used to be easily found on the Internet for very little cost. I think I paid about $30 for a box of 1000 of them.
Then, using plastic smoke-colored folders I found at Office Depot ($0.69 each), I cut little windows and inserted them into the blank slide sleeves that I had pre-painted. Then it was just a matter of gluing the assembled slide sleeve windows together to make a single floor of the building, and then replicating this for the 10 stories of the center building. The side wings of the building are only 9 stories. With the vaulted roofs, they are 10 stories, and the center unit is likewise 11 stories tall.
The interior lights up in much the same way as my first building - with two center-mounted vertical dowels mounted into the wooden base. Attached to each dowel is a 4-watt 12-volt outdoor lighting bulb from Home Depot. This is enough to adequately light not only the center building but the two wings as well.
The vaulted roofs were a little tricky. The easiest way to see how they were constructed is to look at the underside of them (see photo). It's basically just a lot of custom cut square dowels and cardboard. The "ridges" on the exterior are again just custom-cut little wooden twigs. These needed to be glued by brushing small amounts of slightly watered-down glue with a tiny paint brush.
The "roof detail," as I call it, is actually comprised of slices of a standard 2 x 4 stud. The center building has two of these, cut different heights and mounted perpendicular to each other. I then mounted more little sticks around the perimeter of the "front" piece, and painted the resulting units flat black. Then I drilled holes into them and inserted various black and silver skinny round dowels (antennae) into them, and then mounted the units onto the roof. For the side wing buildings, I again cut slices of 2 x 4, painted them black, then mounted the silver-painted fan covers on them. The fan covers are the little tabs you get when you open a carton of orange juice.
I ran out of the RailKing lamp posts on the first building (who can afford more than four of those things anyway?). For the second building, I have eight old Lionel plastic street lamps that, amazingly, still work.