More gazebo bashing

The cupola on the Victorianna’s right-hand tower started out as a 1:48 scale gazebo. But because there’s no separation between the cupola and the tower room below, I wanted the cupola to be enclosed rather than “open air” like a gazebo.

The bottom level of the towers has 1:12 corner blocks underneath the windows. They turned out to be slightly too tall to go under the second level’s windows, so I had a bunch left over. They fit nicely into the bottom portion of the gazebo panels.

I used an Xacto knife to cut out the slats.

Next I used the belt sander to shave off the nubs on the sides of the panels.

I plan to fill in the gaps between each gazebo panel with dowels — that’s why those nubs had to go away.

Next I added 1/8″ strip wood to three sides of the corner blocks so they fit into the panel openings, and glued them in.

At this point I started worrying about how to add windows. My plan was to add acetate to the back sides of the panels, since there didn’t seem to be enough space on the fronts to to neatly add trim over the edges of the acetate, but there’s very little wood to glue the acetate to. Also, the decorative trim in the edges of the opening aren’t very window-like — they’re more porch or gazebo-like (duh). It would be much easier to pop in preassembled windows than try to attach my own.

But what windows? These window openings are about 7/8″ by 1-1/2″. Everything I found for half scale miniatures or G scale trains was bigger than that, and the 1:48 scale miniature windows and O scale train windows were the wrong dimensions… until my Google kung-fu landed me on the Kitwood Hill Models website.

They sell a set of O scale windows exactly the right size for my opening, that came eight to a set — exactly the number I needed. I couldn’t *not* try them. (Added bonus: the bottom window sashes actually slide up, so you can open the windows! Totally unnecessary for my purposes, but cool nonetheless.)

I used the Xacto knife to cut the curly trim out of the corners of the window openings. This trim has a of points of contact compared to the slats at the bottom of the panels, and I didn’t do a very neat job of it, but I figured it didn’t matter because the windows would cover up the scraggles.

Most of the window components are peel and stick paper. This is good because one of my goals in using these windows was to avoid a glue mess on tiny pieces. But it’s also bad because it meant I could only paint one side (the non-sticky side). The sticky side is light brown.

I assembled the windows so all the brown parts are on the backs, pointing into the gazebo. The frame piece that is normally the front of the window — but in my case is the back — is supposed to overhang the window, to cover up gaps. That made the window slightly too big for my purposes, so after assembling them I cut around the edges with nail scissors. Here’s a before and after.

Here’s how the window looks in the gazebo panel.

The windows aren’t quite as deep as the gazebo panels, so I added pieces of strip wood to the inside edge of the window opening, flush with the back. The idea was to make the back somewhat neat since you’ll be able to see the backs of the panels through the windows.

I got lazy and started painting the panels without adding wood filler to all the cracks. Yeah, that never turns out well. Here you can see one that was sloppily done next to one that had been filled and sanded before painting. They needed more than one coat of paint anyway, but adding the wood filler before painting makes that first coat come out better. You’d think I would have learned this lesson a long time ago…

With all the panels painted, I glued in the windows.

Here’s where this is headed. I’ll add crown molding around the edge to make a neater transition between the top of the tower to the cupola. I was thinking I’d need to cover up the brown parts of the window somehow, but once everything’s put together the inside will be shady enough and busy enough that it might not be necessary.

Another round of wood filler, this time around the windows. Some of the windows protrude out of the openings more than others due to interference from the strip wood I added to the openings. (Oops.) I can’t sand down the joints since the windows are made out of paper, so I just have to hope that once everything is put together, the inconsistency won’t be too noticeable.

Finally I carefully painted over the wood filler and window frame edges. Here’s where I stopped for today.


  1. Alayne

    Dear Emily….An amazing amount of work and effort but the finished result was well worth it. A creative solution to something you wanted to achieve for the tower and it looks wonderful…may the great inspirations keep you moving forward on this build! Cheers, Alayne

  2. Jodi Hippler

    I am always so amazed at your tenacity to find a perfect solution! I never imagined the gazebo could look any better than what I envisioned after your last post, but you’ve really brought it to a whole new level! Great work, Emily!

  3. Sheila

    Oh my… All you need is a telescope and you’ve got the perfect place for someone to watch ships go by. (if you’re near a river or sea.)

  4. Samantha

    This is wonderful! I love these kind of tower cupola! I agree with Sheila.. a telescope would be perfect, but I believe there will be no floor on this level? In any case your solutions to achieve what you want are very creative. I’m definitely filing this concept away for a future build in 1:12. Hopefully some 1:24 components will help create something similar. Thanks for sharing your thought process. : )

  5. Emily

    I have thought about adding a telescope! Shapeways has one in 1:24. I think there would be room for it on the landing at the top of the stairs, but I’m not sure how visible it would be inside of the gazebo, and it might have to point the wrong way (toward the roof instead of the front of the house). I’ll consider it once everything is put together. I think I’m going to leave the roof loose so I can still reach in once it’s assembled.

    • Emily

      Well, Shapeways *had* one, but now I can’t find it again.. :(

  6. Megan

    That is gorgeous! Love how you re-invented it.

  7. elizabeth s

    As a first time visitor, I am blown away by your ingenuity and creativity! Mixing scales can look more right than staying true to one, and you have incorporated and modified the gazebo seamlessly.
    I also love the copper roof of the finished cupola- which is absolutely PERFECT!

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