One element I kept seeing in my reference was the big metal door. Inspiration “Door” blog I even took a bunch of reference pictures on the Iowa of one;
I knew I’d have to make one.
To hang such a door I’d need to make a fake section of a wall, which made sense and I figured I would need to anyway because I’d need to be able to change the shape of the room for the different sets.
The flats for these walls started with thin plywood with a frame.
The first flat needed to be at least 7×4 to fit the door
The next I did in sections, so I could mix and match the details and move/swap them around.
I carefully cut the shape of the door into it, and a piece of insulation foam to form the door itself.
Painted the flats with a grey base to match the walls.
Built the and detailed the door with some greebles, as well as a light/cage for an industrial feel.
The door from inside, you can see how I used a coat rack for the door latch and reinforced the hinge attachment with wood scraps. I also added some gutter screen ‘vents’ for more detailing and to break up the surface a bit.
A little bit of paint and weathering goes a long way towards selling the realism here.