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Building the Swing Set

The swing set was definitely the most challenging piece of playground equipment to build because of the shape and thin pieces for the chains for the swings.  It couldn't be cut out as you would normally do because it would snap the thin pieces off so I had to slowly dig it out.  The pictures here make it look like it's a good size any would be easy to work with.  These are close-ups and in person it's a lot smaller than it appears!


I started out by doing a lot of research on Google to see how high a swing set is, how far away the swings should be, and all of the other dimensions.


The picture to the left shows the swing set drawn up on a piece of sheet styrene.  I left extra room at the bottom that will be used for additional strength and stability and will be covered with "wood chips" when it's placed on the layout.


I also used a small drill and an X-Acto knife to hollow out the swings

Here you can see how I began shaving away and the areas that are to be removed to reveal the swings in the finished product.  The picture on the left shows what it looked like after hollowing it out, but before I cleaned it up with a file, sandpaper, and an X-Acto Knife.


I broke a swing!  I attempted to pour hot water over one of the swings so I could hopefully bend it into a swinging position.  It didn't work and I broke it off.  I tried gluing it back on, but it didn't work.  Bummer!  I decided I'd continue on and address it later.

I used some sticky tack to stand the swing set upright cut 4 pieces of styrene out to become legs.  I attached them using modeling cement and let it dry overnight.


Time to replace the broken swing.  I decided to replace the broken swing with a swing glider like I used to swing on when I was a child.  It wouldn't look exactly like it, but I'd be able to capture the idea of it.  I measured the room I had to work with where the broken swing had been and drew out an outline of the glider on the styrene sheet.  I made the part at the top slightly angles so that when I install it onto the swing set it will be in mid swing.  I then cut it out and cut a notch in the top that would fit snugly onto the top crossbar.  I cut off the remaining portions of the broken swing and used modeling cement to attach the glider.


Here you can see the glider which is now attached to the swing set.  I painted the swing set in fun colors as you would see at a nice park playground and left the seat of the swing unpainted.  I did this because I had the intention of gluing a figure on it as if they're using it.  I also didn't paint the glider.  I had cut the top on an angle to make it look as if it's in mid swing.  The modeling cement doesn't work well on painted surfaces so the plan was to glue the figures on it first and then paint carefully around them.


When the paint dried I used Testors "Dullcote" spray paint to take the gloss off of the finish.

Here is the finished swing set with the glider painted, the people installed, and the "wood chips" glued in place.  The swing is in mid swing, but there's a problem.  I had used a lighter to briefly apple heat to it which made it bend to make it look like it's swinging.  The problem is that is also shrunk up a little.  I looked into placing a figure on it, but their head is so close to the crossbar that it looked ridiculous and completely unrealistic.  I now plan to paint the seat black and somehow rig a figure in the air as if they had jumped off the swing.  There are a few methods I could use to accomplish this, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

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