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Survey - Scratch Building - Which scale and which materials are "best" for scratch building??

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Survey - Scratch Building - Which scale and which materials are "best" for scratch building??
Posted by exPalaceDog on Friday, June 29, 2007 3:41 PM

The Old Dog is sitting here and has decided to toss a bone to the board.

Which scale (and maybe guage) do you is the best for scratch building freight cars?

Which materials (wood, plastic, brass) are best to use in scratch building freight cars?

And what about building structures such as stations?

Have fun

 

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Posted by tatans on Friday, June 29, 2007 3:53 PM
Be prepared for a ton of questions, this is a pretty open question, and very hard to respond to. I don't even know where to begin, sorry.
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Posted by orsonroy on Friday, June 29, 2007 4:09 PM

 exPalaceDog wrote:
Which scale do you is the best for scratch building freight cars?

HO, as it's a good compromise between size, material usage and detail.

Which materials (wood, plastic, brass) are best to use in scratch building freight cars?

Styrene. Wood's too fragile, takes too long for adhesives to dry, too hard to paint, too hard to seal, has grossly overscale grain, is too hard to cut, warps more easily, etc ad nauseam.

And what about building structures such as stations?

Again, styrene. I built this in less than six hours, and painted it in another two. How long to do the same in wood?

Ray Breyer

Modeling the NKP's Peoria Division, circa 1943

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Posted by Cox 47 on Friday, June 29, 2007 4:44 PM
I have scatch built in both HO an N...I am in N now because of lack of space....I find N scale is a little easier as you can get away with less detail[you just can't see some of it] I use styrene from "for sale" signs from Wally World,Wood and card stock just about anything I can get my hands on....Cox 47
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Posted by simon1966 on Friday, June 29, 2007 5:18 PM
Styrene is great for scratch-building, but I happen to like wood.  I find that the issues of wood are compensated by how well it takes stain.  IMO nothing looks like weathered wood better than wood.

Simon Modelling CB&Q and Wabash See my slowly evolving layout on my picturetrail site http://www.picturetrail.com/simontrains and our videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/MrCrispybake?feature=mhum

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Posted by jrbernier on Friday, June 29, 2007 5:19 PM

  I have built models in both HO and N.  HO may be better in that one can get a wide selection of detail parts like doors/windows and frt car detail parts.  I have built structures using Northeastern milled siding and Evergreen styrene siding.  I really like to use styrene for structures, and Grandt Line windows/doors for structures.  The 'last' wood structure I have scratch-built was on 1979, but I have built up wood kits since then like the laser-cut ones that are currrently available.

Jim Bernier

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

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Posted by G Paine on Friday, June 29, 2007 5:34 PM

I have always modeled HO.

Never tried scratchbuilding a car; but like styrene for scratchbuilding buildings.

 I have used wood ties for making retaining walls and road crossings; also basswood sheet and strip for concrete retaining walls. I have also used plaster of Paris for making custom bridge abuttments and retaining walls. Maybe this does not classify as scratchbuilding.

George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch

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Posted by on30francisco on Friday, June 29, 2007 5:49 PM
Scratchbuilding can be done in all scales from Z to G. I have scratchbuilt in HO, O, S, and Large Scale. I have discovered for myself that the larger the scale the easier. I enjoy working with wood and to me, nothing looks more like wood that wood - in O and larger Scales. I love how wood takes stain and paint and how easy it is to weather (no airbrush or fancy techniques required). Styrene is perhaps a better choice in HO and smaller scales. Styrene can be made to look like wood with different painting techniques. For non-wooden parts, I use styrene or brass. I currently model in Large Scale and find scratchbuilding to be an absolute pleasure compared to when I did it in the smaller scales.
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Posted by dstarr on Friday, June 29, 2007 9:32 PM

   My scratch building is in HO, 'cause I am an HO modeler.  It's perfectly possible to scratch build good looking cars that run well in HO, plus HO has a LOT of scratch building parts available.  I do mostly freight cars from Northeastern milled basswood.  They have a milled roof section that really helps get the car together.  Sides are scribed basswood for "wood" cars, or covered with glossy photographic print paper (just cut up some old photographs) for steel sided cars.  Full underbody detail and brake systems need only shim brass and brass wire (plus an air tank, a brake cylinder and a triple valve). 

My scratch build boxcars are better looking than Athearn blue box cars, but I cannot exceed the quality of the modern Red Caboose and Intermountain plastic kits.  My scratch builds are of simple steam era cars brush painted in boxcar red.  I haven't gotten into the fancy two toned paint schemes.  A good boxcar red with decals makes a very beleivable model.

 

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Posted by leighant on Saturday, June 30, 2007 10:07 AM

I enjoy scratchbuilding in N, and I say it is POSSIBLE to scratchbuild structures in N.

Is it better in N?  Just to be controversial, start a scale war, etc. I could be flippant and say scratchbuilding seems "natural" in N while HO seems big and clumsy.  But I would be saying that just a start an argument.  I have seen lots of wonderful work in HO and O.  My advantage to N is that I can stick lots more interesting buildings and scenes in a small available space. 

I have done a lot of wood-for-wood structure models, but doing more styrene-for-wood, and occasionally even metal for "special cases" and things that need to be small but strong.

Freight cars?  Again, "possible" in N, but freight cars often need to be more scale-exact-  not as much variation in size of a particular protot freight car as in structures.  Here is a "hgalf-scratch-half-bash" of Santa Fe sulphur gondolas in N.  Cast underframe bashed by filing rivet detail off a flatcar, superstructure scratched in styrene.

Kind of a bit crude, but fun.  I even have one or two "wood-box" house cars scratched in N.  One used NMRA cardstock printed sides, but bugs ate a little of it and even small bug bites are @#$%&* in N scale. If scratchbuilding freight cars is your main #1 fun thing in the hobby, maybe a scale larger than N would be better.  But it is fun in N as part of an overall "little world". 

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Posted by exPalaceDog on Saturday, June 30, 2007 11:23 AM

Leighant

You certain make a point about N Guage structures. At first glance, the Old Dog thought it was looking at an O guage structure.

Have fun

 

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Posted by simon1966 on Saturday, June 30, 2007 1:37 PM
Leighant what do you use as the control system for the layout in the shed?  It does run doesn't it?Bow [bow]

Simon Modelling CB&Q and Wabash See my slowly evolving layout on my picturetrail site http://www.picturetrail.com/simontrains and our videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/MrCrispybake?feature=mhum

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Posted by orsonroy on Saturday, June 30, 2007 10:36 PM

Nice work Leighant. While I do most of my work in HO, I'm also an N scaler, and actually enjoy scratchbuilding in that scale (especially now that Tichy has nice N scale doors & windows).

You're right to a degree, that scratching in N is fun & easy. It's also quick and much less costly, since you're working on 1/4 of the volume of HO! I sometimes have a hard time converting back to HO when I'm working on a series of N scale structures, since HO seems HUGE after cranking out a dozen or so N scale structures!

Here's my latest N scale project; a series of IC standard plan depots built for a friend:

N scale scratchbuilding goes amazingly fast. I completed these 16 depots (each different) in about the same amount of time it takes me to build two in HO!

The thing that amazes me is that so few N scalers ever dream of scratchbuilding. When I trot out my Ntrak modules and show off my scratched depots, grain elevators, and simple frame houses, other N scalers stare at them in awe and disbelief. Micro-Trains has done the scale a huge disservice by turning the hobby into all RTR all the time.

Ray Breyer

Modeling the NKP's Peoria Division, circa 1943

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Posted by R. T. POTEET on Sunday, July 01, 2007 2:06 AM
 exPalaceDog wrote:
Which scale (and maybe guage) do you is the best for scratch building freight cars?

I found this question just a little puzzling; I am an N Scaler and if I wanted to scratchbuild an (operating) freight car I would naturally build it in N Scale - in HO Scale if I were modeling in HO Scale - and O Scale if I were modeling in O Scale.  There are, however, two exceptions to this; if I were interested in a contest quality model I would probably elect to do it in O Scale, when all is said and done, because of the ability to render detail; and, if I were going to build some sort of a display model I would probably also do it in O Scale although HO Scale would probably be large enough to get the necessary detail associated with display models.

Which materials (wood, plastic, brass) are best to
use in scratch building freight cars?

There appears to not be a lot of work done these days using brass for the construcion of freight cars; brass seems to lend itself better to the scratchbuilding of passenger cars.  Styrene seems to be the material of choice when it comes to scratchbuilding freight cars.

Styrene and glue do not go together like hand in glove - sodom and gomorrah - love and marriage - damon and pythias - pick any combination you want - to me; styrene and glue always seems to end up spelling MESS so I tend to stay away from that combination and, were I to go to scratchbuilding freight cars, I would probably give wood my first shot.  I did construct a few N Scale passenger cars in styrene based upon procedures advocated by a Gordon P. Frederick in the NMRA bulletin back when Custer was a cadet - but Mr. Frederick's procedure required a minimum of gluing.

And what about building structures such as stations?

I don't seem to have nearly the problems with MESS when using wood which has been my choice of building material for scratchbuilding structures for many years now - the last plastic kit I remember assembling was back when that same Custer mentioned earlier was still a cadet.  There is nothing like wood to represent wood; I know of no 1:1 plastic buildings but I do know of many, many 1:1 wood buildings and I have had excellent results -in my humble opinion, of course - working with wood.  I have put together one brick building using some of the old Holgate and Reynolds building sheets affixed to - are you ready for this? - styrene; I was not unduly impressed with the final results and am currently working on etching a stainless steel jig which will impress brick detail into basswood. 

From the far, far reaches of the wild, wild west I am: rtpoteet

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Posted by exPalaceDog on Sunday, July 01, 2007 8:23 AM

 R. T. POTEET wrote:
am currently working on etching a stainless steel jig which will impress brick detail into basswood. 

First thought, balsa might work a little better since it's softer.

Second thought, one of the Old Dog's summer jobs was in a circuit board plant. They used to use plastic masks (like camera film) to make the silk screens needed to print the boards. They would paint the silk screen with a special paint, then exponse it to intense light with the film on it. The parts where the mask was clear would harden, the parts where the mask was dark would remain soft. They then could wash the silk screen removing the soft paint and leaving the hard paint. The silk screen could then be used to print the circuits on the boards.

Maybe you could use a similiar process to make your "jig".

Have fun

 

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Sunday, July 01, 2007 4:31 PM

The only things I've been scratch building lataly have been turnouts, 16.5mm gauge.  Materials: NS rail, balsa ties, cardstock, foam plastic, brass tubing, paper clips...

Of necessity, anything I scratchbuild will be 1:80 scale.  Materials will be determined by what I'm trying to accomplish and what methods I decide to employ.  If whatever it is has moving parts, I use Rube Goldberg as an inspiration.

Anything is possible.  Some things are more probable than others.

Chuck (modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

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Posted by R. T. POTEET on Sunday, July 01, 2007 5:44 PM
 tomikawaTT wrote:
. . . . . . . . . . If whatever it is has moving parts, I use Rube Goldberg as an inspiration . . . . . . . . . .

Right now I can hear some of these here young whipper-snappers saying, "Wasn't he a member of the Clinton cabinet?" You're sure showing your grey hairs on this one!

From the far, far reaches of the wild, wild west I am: rtpoteet

Question: What's the difference between Political Correctness and Mindless? Answer: Thirteen Letters!

Only dead fish go with the flow! - - - - - Sarah Palin

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Monday, July 02, 2007 12:48 PM
 exPalaceDog wrote:

The Old Dog is sitting here and has decided to toss a bone to the board.

Which scale (and maybe guage) do you is the best for scratch building freight cars?

Which materials (wood, plastic, brass) are best to use in scratch building freight cars?

And what about building structures such as stations?

Have fun

 

Scale - personally, I like S because it's large enough to enjoy working with and small enough to have a layout.  If it's to be a display model then O or G would be a good choice.  Having scratchbuilt several cars and buildings in HO, I know that that's a possibility also. And others have done N scale.  I remember years ago one of the mags had a scratchbuilt, operating, 1:350 locomotive.

Materials - I like wood, but you can get good results with any of them.  I use wood for wood, plastic for metal and metal for metal. I have old Quality Craft kits with wood that the instructions say to paint with sanding sealer and rub with steel wool for steel sides. I have seen styrene that looked like wood when it was finished.  Years ago there was a guy who made steam locomotive superstructures from paper.  

So for me S scale out of wood is the best.  But really it's whatever appeals to you.  I remember reading about Frank Ellison's painted stone arch bridges that people had to touch before they would believe it was a flat surface. 

Enjoy

Paul 

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.

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