7 September 2017
By Edward Tweats, model making student at City of
Hi, I'm Edward Tweats, a Model Making student from the City of
Glasgow College. One of our projects was to create an Historical
prop that relates to Scottish heritage from before the 1940's.
After extensive research into Glasgow's history along with my
interest in architecture I eventually chose 42 Miller Street, 'The
Tobacco Merchants House', also known as 'Baillie Craig's House. The
tobacco merchants were an iconic and staple part of Glasgow's past
and what made it the prominent city it is today. The fact that 42
Miller Street is one of the last tobacco merchant houses left
standing, I felt it to be an appropriate project with great
The house itself was designed by Scottish architect John Craig
in 1775. Although the building had undergone a considerable roof
alteration in the late 19th century, it was restored back to its
original design during the early 20th century, as it remains to
Whilst at the property early one morning with my tape measure
and note book, I was spotted by Civic Trust Administration
Assistant Karen MacLeod who introduced me to Civic Trust Director
John Pelan. Mr Pelan kindly assisted me in finding and photocopying
the necessary original working drawings of the building in order
for me to accurately portray it.
I began by drawing 1:50 scale drawings of each elevation to
become full scale drawings of my model, transferring the
information onto autoCAD (Computer Aided Design), duplicating the
drawings and adjusting them appropriately for laser cut files.
The majority of the model is constructed from 3mm MDF, such as
the exterior walls of the house, the 3-level base and some
detailing. Other materials include 6mm MDF, 0.5mm & 1mm
styrene, 2mm acrylic and 1.4mm mountboard for the windows and the
hand rails at the back.
I turned a stick of dense (purple) tooling board (see text box
on right) on the lathe and using a set of needle files and half
profile negative templates, created a chimney pot and urn. Using
these two pieces as masters in a silicone resin mould allowed me to
duplicate them by casting 10 chimney pots and 5 urns from a
Aside from using the lathe, I'd say the most challenging area of
construction would be making the roof tiles as I had to cut 10mm
wide strips of 1mm styrene to size, individually, using a scalpel,
fixing them together then sanding the back flat so it would sit
flush to the MDF roof without being too thick and out of
Using a gravity-fed spray gun I painted everything with a
unanimous grey primer base coat, highlighting any imperfections
that needed to be remedied before spraying the final colour. The
exterior walls of the house are sprayed in a biscuit coloured
To achieve a textured, grainy effect I adjusted the gun to
shower little freckles of white paint, then again with a sprinkle
of dark grey. This technique is called 'mottling' and helped bring
the overall tone down to a realistic stone-like colour.
I have learned a lot of computer aided skills and crucial model
making techniques that I hope to utilize in further projects. I
really enjoyed this project, from interesting research to creating
a fully realised architectural model. I hope it's been an
interesting and enjoyable read for you also.
Thank you to Gaby Laing and the rest of the team at Civic Trust
for giving me the opportunity to display my work.
Many thanks to Edward for allowing us to display his
brilliant work here at the Tobacco Merchant's House during Doors
Open Days 2017. Edward's online portfolio will soon be available
here: www.etmodels.webs.com -
watch this space!