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Author Topic: Scratch building - basic materials  (Read 7300 times)

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Offline Jonspadge

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Scratch building - basic materials
« on: January 08, 2013, 10:31:32 PM »
All,

Having read a few threads of others scratch building I'm keen to have a crack myself but don't really have a clue where to start. Obviously I can get some reference photos and I have a scale ruler to help me draw them out. What I don't really know is what materials to use - what weight/thickness of plasticard should I use? Can you get hold of facing sheets (embossed brick or stone etc.), window frames and or general things like doors, roof tiles, etc. etc.

Does anyone have a good stock set of things they use?

Will probably try something basic like a simple hut or house first. I have no problem knocking up the ratio kits etc.

Cheers,

Jon

Offline Pengi

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Re: Scratch building - basic materials
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2013, 10:41:36 PM »
There is some information in this thread.

http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=3738.msg42349#msg42349

Scalescenes have some free downloadable kits to try and they also give guidance on the thickness of materials. It might be worth you having a look because it might give you some clues as to how to construct your scratch built buildings.
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Offline trainsdownunder

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Offline edwin_m

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Re: Scratch building - basic materials
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2013, 08:10:07 AM »
Most people choose either plastic or card construction - it may look a bit wrong if the two are mixed on the same layout.  Card is probably cheaper and there are more kits/downloads available but printed textures can look a little flat and card buildings may not be ideal if the layout is in a damp environment. 

For plastic construction there is a range of plain sheets from various suppliers (though some of the "unbranded" ones can be a little dodgy) and both Slaters and Ratio do embossed.  The Ratio ones are small and very thick so less useful, though I think their roof tile sheets are good enough to justify the effort of joining them carefully and shaving down the visible edges.    The texture is somewhat deeper than scale, but use of embossed sheets opens up other options for weathering, such as dry-brushing bricks or use of washes for mortar courses, and if the depressions are filled with paint they are less deep.  Personally I find glueing plastic much easier than glueing card, as solvent allows some structurally improbable joints to be made, and it sets quickly enough that the next join can usually be done straight away. 

Offline Jonspadge

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Re: Scratch building - basic materials
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2013, 07:13:39 PM »
Thanks for the answers. I can manage card kits fine but am not especially happy with the finish. The look a little flat to my eye. I agree mixing them on a layout may be a problem but my plan is to finish the current one (a roundy roundy for the lad) then put into practice all my learning on a separate layout for me. This would include scratch builds.

Cheers,
Jon

Offline scotsoft

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Re: Scratch building - basic materials
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2013, 11:59:36 PM »
To improve the look of card kits, you could print off a second/ third set, cut out the lintels, ledges and other parts that can be glued over the existing one to give you a more 3d effect as in Mustermarks post here:

http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=1545.msg64121#msg64121

cheers John.

Offline Bealman

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Re: Scratch building - basic materials
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2013, 03:03:31 AM »
Historically, I began using card - but when I first attempted scratch builds I was working in 009 and therefore the buildings were to 00 scale. I was hugely influenced by the work of Allan Downes during the 1970's, and used to stick individual tiles and bricks one by one onto a card shell!

That is virtually impossible in N scale, and certainly not worthwhile. It would look way overscale anyway. I have a bridge on my layout which was built this way, and while the stones are grossly overscale (I was just coming down from my 009 trip), it gets away with it in the scenic setting it is in. However, it is really a 00 scale structure.

I have a card building which represents a timber house of USA design (the plans came from a US magazine) which was built by gluing individual card strips onto a card shell, and it works quite well. Here's a shot on another thread:
http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=media;sa=media;in=1043;preview

When it comes to plasticard, I started off using Peco stuff, but found it almost impossible to work with because of it's thickness. Did manage to knock up an acceptable hotel from the stuff, and use it for retaining walls.

The ratio plasticard is not as thick, but is still difficult to work with. I found that I could get away with quite thin plasticard without an awful lot of reinforcing, thanks to the compact nature of N scale buildings (unless, of course we're talking warehouses or the like). I use thread for window frames and Milliput for various details. Once again, here's a shot from another thread:
http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=media;sa=media;in=2718;preview
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Offline red_death

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Re: Scratch building - basic materials
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2013, 10:16:47 AM »
Card and brickpaper (the scalescenes brick papers are good).  Some of the best buildings I have seen in N are those built by Grahame Hedges for his Stoney Lane Depot and Hedges Hill Cutting layouts.

Grahame wrote a really useful article on making buildings in here: http://www.ngauge-modern.co.uk/files/newsletters/NGSMAG9small.pdf

Cheers, Mike



Offline Bealman

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Re: Scratch building - basic materials
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2013, 10:22:00 AM »
Quick amendment! I haven't quite yet worked out how to put in the links yet.... click on mine and you get the pic but it shuts down NGF! (Or it did on my computer).... Sorry! If anyone out there can show me how to do it properly, much appreciated!

Bealman
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Offline scotsoft

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Re: Scratch building - basic materials
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2013, 10:46:01 AM »
Quick amendment! I haven't quite yet worked out how to put in the links yet.... click on mine and you get the pic but it shuts down NGF! (Or it did on my computer).... Sorry! If anyone out there can show me how to do it properly, much appreciated!

Bealman

If you go to your album and click on the number of the picture you want to post, this will open a second screen, here you will see the code you need to copy to post a picture - it is the "smg id" code in the square brackets.
This code is all you need post, you do not need to click on the "Insert an Image" icon.

(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)

(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)

cheers John.

Offline Bealman

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Re: Scratch building - basic materials
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2013, 10:52:54 AM »
Cool! Thank you... Easy when you know how..... I knew that....... :-[ :thumbsup:
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Offline Chinahand

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Re: Scratch building - basic materials
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2013, 04:01:43 PM »
Printed papers can appear a bit 'flat' but I've found that, by using a textured paper, I can get an almost scale texture.

If you think about it the mortar course in brickwork is only 0.07mm high in N Scale so the plasticard mortar joints are actually way over scale. I use linen weave paper for printing Scalescenes brickwork and 'marbled' paper for concrete or stone.
Regards,
Trevor (aka Chinahand)
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Offline Jellicoe

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Re: Scratch building - basic materials
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2013, 02:14:37 PM »
For a first venture into scratch building, I would echo the advice of the Scalescenes offerings.  The kits are excellent and would give you an idea of the assembly techniques and the scale of things.  You can then progress to scratchbuilding using the excellent range of brick papers.

Do not be put off by the suggestion that these papers look flat; they do not.  There is just too much detail to be added in the way of door and window openings, cills, lintels and drain pipes for this to happen.  The trick is to model what you can and only print what you can't.

Scalescenes are designed for building with card but I find that plastikard is the better medium to work with.  For N-gauge structures, 30-thou plastic card is adequate for most structures but can be doubled up for larger buildings.  It is best to print onto computer labels; a single A4 label per sheet.  These will stick to plastic card like the proverbial to a blanket and after a couple of coats of matt varnish, the buildings will be very resistant to damp.

As for tools, use Swann Morton No. 11 scalpel blades, a steel rule, a set of miniature files and a tube of cocktail sticks (for applying glue) will be a good start.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 02:16:55 PM by Jellicoe »

Offline painbrook

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Re: Scratch building - basic materials
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2013, 05:46:11 PM »

Online cycletrak9

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Re: Scratch building - basic materials
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2013, 10:42:06 PM »
I've just come back into modelling after a gap of about 30 years and I'm working on a layout based on Tintern on the Wye Valley branch line, set in the 1950's.

As a warm up exercise I've started on a sawmill for inclusion on a scenic section as my particular interest has always been modelling buildings. There was a sawmill at Tintern [now a museum] but the building is not that interesting so I'm basing my model on a sawmill in the Yorkshire village where I live.

I'm scratchbuilding using card and working from photos scaled up.My card supply comes from a collection that I accumulated before my retirement a couple of years ago. I was an accountant specialising in trusts and we regularly received, from stockbrokers and solicitors, reports expensively bound in card covers. As we had a computerised filing system the reports were scanned and the hard copies, including the covers, were binned. I started saving the card with an idea that I might start modelling again.

I agree completely with the comments on Scalescenes papers - I've found them excellent and and I've upgraded some [particularly the corrugated iron] by scribing and weathering. I've made a few mistakes the worst to date being picking up the wrong varnish can when I'd finished the main mill building. Instead of using acrylic I sprayed a coat of cellulose and watched as the printer ink ran down the side of the model leaving me with a streaky white cardboard shell! I survived the disaster and started again - no bad thing as these were the first attempts and the Mark 2 version [now nearing completion ] has incorporated lessons I'd learned on Mark 1.

If you are keen to build from scratch the secret , I reckon, is to take things slowly and to be meticulous in marking out and cutting. Also allow time for adhesives, paints etc to dry.

I use a selection of Swann Morton blades for fine detail, an Exacto knife for heavier card and a Stanley knife for the really heavy duty work. Needle files, tweezers, small bulldog clips and a razor saw are also in the toolkit along with a protractor and setsquare. I've recently acquired on e bay an old drawing set which has bow pens and compasses. I use these to draw glazing bars on windows etc.

I've uploaded some photos of the work in progress plus some prototype shots for comparison.

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« Last Edit: January 22, 2013, 09:37:39 PM by cycletrak9 »

 

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