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Tarps

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Tarps
Posted by cowman on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 7:29 PM

Am thinking about making some flat car/gondola loads, covered with tarps.  What have you used to simulate a canvas tarp?  Transition era, don't think the plastic ones of today were around.

Thank you,

Richard

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Posted by EMD.Don on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 10:02 PM

I have had great success using tissues soaked in a diluted mixture of white glue (although carpenters glue works as well) and water. I take a normal facial tissue (the multi-ply works best in my opinion), trim it slightly larger then I need it for whatever it will be covering, and using wide ended tweezers slowly dip it into the glue/water mixture. You don't have to submerge it as the tissue soaks up the glue/water solution. The idea is to make it sufficently damp enough to stick and work with/shape/drape. If it's too wet, simply touch it to a dry paper towel to whisk away excess water before applying it to your desired area. Then you place it wherever it's needed. No need to rush as you have tons of time to place it, shape it (add creases and ridges as you see fit), or drape it. Once satisfied, take a dry paper towel and mop up any stray glue/water mixture. Let it dry for 24 hours (or until it's no longer damp) and paint it whatever color you need.  No need for an airbrush or masking as the tissue makes painting simple. You can make it look like canvas, rubber, plastic...depends on desired color and sheen (for a rubber type tarp, I apply a thicker coat of the glue/water mixture to seal the tissue, let it dry, then paint it the desired color, finishing it off with a clear semi-gloss). Also...it's ultra cheap and very forgiving...if you don't like the looks of it, remove it before it dries and start over.

Add tie down straps if you want from whatever is appropriate for era and scale (many options...thin wire, stretched spru, scale rope for model ship building etc etc).

Hope this helps.

Happy modeling!

Don.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that both engines have failed, and we will be stuck here for some time. The good news is that you decided to take the train and not fly."

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Posted by "JaBear" on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 12:47 AM

Gidday Richard, Haven't tried it myself yet, but in a Jeff Wilson article on "1950s Piggyback Trailers in HO scale",  he uses heavy duty aluminum foil, painted with Grimy Black, to make the canvas tops and .012" brass wire for the tiedowns.

Have Fun,

Cheers, the Bear.

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by zstripe on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 1:08 AM

Bear,

You beat me to it,,,,,,

Cheers,

Frank

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Posted by Mr. Dispatcher on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 6:17 AM

EMD.Don

I have had great success using tissues soaked in a diluted mixture of white glue (although carpenters glue works as well) and water. I take a normal facial tissue (the multi-ply works best in my opinion), trim it slightly larger then I need it for whatever it will be covering, and using wide ended tweezers slowly dip it into the glue/water mixture. You don't have to submerge it as the tissue soaks up the glue/water solution. The idea is to make it sufficently damp enough to stick and work with/shape/drape. If it's too wet, simply touch it to a dry paper towel to whisk away excess water before applying it to your desired area. Then you place it wherever it's needed. No need to rush as you have tons of time to place it, shape it (add creases and ridges as you see fit), or drape it. Once satisfied, take a dry paper towel and mop up any stray glue/water mixture. Let it dry for 24 hours (or until it's no longer damp) and paint it whatever color you need.  No need for an airbrush or masking as the tissue makes painting simple. You can make it look like canvas, rubber, plastic...depends on desired color and sheen (for a rubber type tarp, I apply a thicker coat of the glue/water mixture to seal the tissue, let it dry, then paint it the desired color, finishing it off with a clear semi-gloss). Also...it's ultra cheap and very forgiving...if you don't like the looks of it, remove it before it dries and start over.

Add tie down straps if you want from whatever is appropriate for era and scale (many options...thin wire, stretched spru, scale rope for model ship building etc etc).

And if you want to be able to remove the tarp,say in the case of a tractor load or similar item, place a piece of thin food grade plastic wrap over the item to prevent the glue from sticking to the item. once the glue on the tissue paper is dry the plastic can be trimmed (if stuck to the tissue)or removed. Also another material you could use might be dryer sheets ( unscented variety ) they might have to be doubled so they can't be seen thru, try one with a coat of paint first to test them out.   Otto 

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Posted by mobilman44 on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 6:30 AM

This is a very old solution to that............

 

Get some thin fuzzless fabric and cut to size.  As it is drapped over the "load", paint it with pretty much any kind of shellac or varnish or Dull Cote or the like.   It will soon harden, and will look pretty realistic!

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, formerly modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by caldreamer on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 8:25 AM

I have used pieces of thin blakc garbage bags.  Whten you drape them they crease on their own   They work quite well and their is not  glue mess.

     Ira

    

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Posted by cowman on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 9:23 AM

Thank you all for your replies.

Had considered tissues and fabric, but hadn't read about tin foil.  The successful stiffening process was what I was thinking about most.

I am planning on making the load forms out of scrap extruded foam, so hadn't thought about a removable cover, but that does make for additional possibilities.  I use the wrap when making loads for hoppers, to protect the car from the paint, until dry.  I put a steel washer in the load, so it can be easily removed with a magnetic pick up tool. 

Thinking of some scratch built crates too.

Going to see if a magnet in the bottom of the load can hold it to the steel weight under the floor enough to keep it in place during operation.  Will have to get some brass wire to make the tie downs.

Thanks again for the ideas,

Richard

 

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Posted by Mr. Dispatcher on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 9:31 AM

cowman
Going to see if a magnet in the bottom of the load can hold it to the steel weight under the floor enough to keep it in place during operation. 

Some of the new neodinium magnets are pretty strong for there size. and on a side note the spell checker is not working.

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Posted by maxman on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 3:50 PM

EMD.Don
I have had great success using tissues soaked in a diluted mixture of white glue (although carpenters glue works as well) and water. I take a normal facial tissue (the multi-ply works best in my opinion), trim it slightly larger then I need it for whatever it will be covering, and using wide ended tweezers slowly dip it into the glue/water mixture.

I have a vision of the tissue just sort of dissolving in the water/glue mixture.  I take it that doesn't happen?

When the tissue drys out, does it have any stiffness to it, or is it fragile?

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Posted by EMD.Don on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 9:16 PM

maxman

I have a vision of the tissue just sort of dissolving in the water/glue mixture.  I take it that doesn't happen?

When the tissue drys out, does it have any stiffness to it, or is it fragile?

Like anything in this hobby, it takes practice and patience. But the tissue doesn't dissolve in the glue/water solution at all. It's actually strong enough that I used to use my hobby knife to fish the tissue out of the solution, carefully unroll it, then place it where  I wanted it (now I use wide ended tweezers...but still reach for the knife when I "lose" my tweezers on the workbench Whistling). I have also evolved the process such that I don't submerge the tissue into the solution, but simply touch it to the solution and let the tissue do what it does best...soak up the glue/water mixture. The multi-ply tissue works great. When it dries it's stiff and not at all fragile. If you have any concerns, you can add a thicker coat of glue over the tissue prior to painting, but I find this not necessary as the paint also adds stiffness. Best part...it's texture is already canvas looking...just add paint and done.  

Example: For "crates" or "boxed loads" that require covering, I use "blocks" of foam covered in the tissue (various sizes of foam blocks for whatever size/load I need). Once painted you can even add decals "Fragile" or whatever suits your fancy. For machinery or vechicles, I buy the old cheaper products at train shows or sales bins and cover them with the tissue "canvas". Once covered, nobody sees the cheap and low detailed "tractor" but rather the "hint" of a tractor covered in "canvas". Sky's the limit, you can use this method for any tarp. 

Hope this helps.

Happy modeling!

Don.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that both engines have failed, and we will be stuck here for some time. The good news is that you decided to take the train and not fly."

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Posted by maxman on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 9:36 PM

Don, thanks for the info.

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Posted by EMD.Don on Thursday, July 11, 2013 5:45 AM

maxman

Don, thanks for the info.

You are most welcome. Enjoy!

Happy modeling!

Don.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that both engines have failed, and we will be stuck here for some time. The good news is that you decided to take the train and not fly."

N Scale Railroader.
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Posted by mobilman44 on Thursday, July 11, 2013 6:02 AM

Cowman,

You got a number of ideas on this, and I suspect each has its own merit.   How about doing a test tarp with each of the methods and then letting us know your results?   

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, formerly modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by NP2626 on Thursday, July 11, 2013 6:09 AM

I have used a cut-up plastic shopping bag wrapped around the load and painted the green color of the old canvas tarps.  The material is easy to work with and once painted, I feel does a very good job of looking like the tarpaulin covers I have seen on trucks and railroad cars covering their loads.  The lightness and thinness of the material allows it to fold and wrinkle like the old tarps did.  

NP 2626 "Northern Pacific, really terrific"

Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association:  http://www.nprha.org/

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Posted by caldreamer on Thursday, July 11, 2013 8:16 AM

I have also used th eheavy duty green Saran wrap cut to size.  That is a littlelonger than the size I need.  I glue ends underneath  the lad and fold the ends and glue with a small drop of ACC jsut as I do with the grabage bags.  I add three ro four lengths of string over the load to represent the tie downs that old the tarp in place .  This provides a differnt color for my loads.

    Ira

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Posted by chutton01 on Thursday, July 11, 2013 10:16 AM

Don, you mentioned the dilute glue/water mixture, but you left out what I think is some key info - what ratio Water to Glue? At least a rough proporation would be helpful (I never liked articles which state "mix to the consistancy of buttermilk!" or such). Other than that, your glue/water soaked 2-ply tissue method seems cool.

I know tarp modeling is a perennial favorite in the modeling media, and I recall at least one useful article in either MR or RMC a few years back* about modeling tarp loads similar to your method of simple block shapes covered by tissue or plastic.  I tried the plastic bag tarp method but it never looked right (the bag pieces, rather than drapping themselves neatly over the "load", instead mostly straighten up and stuck out at odd angles).  I am not sure if this article was where I read that Taco Bell brown napkins supposedly made the best material for tarps...

*ETA: A few years was subject to the "Middle Age Time Contraction" effect - "oh, that was just a few years ago...holy crud,  it was 1994?" In this case, the article in question seems to have been from the July 2008 MR...

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Posted by zstripe on Thursday, July 11, 2013 7:05 PM

Chutton01,

LOL,,LOL,,I never heard that one before,,,''Holy Crud''......

Cheers,

Frank

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, July 11, 2013 10:05 PM

The tarp on the gondola behind my critter was done with aluminum foil:

Sorry the pictures aren't quite clear.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Steven S on Thursday, July 11, 2013 10:48 PM

I just want to say ditto to Don's comments about the tissue and glue/water mixture.  When I was in high school I built quite a few dioramas for my WWII airplanes and armor and I used the tissue technique for tarps.  I used a 50/50 mixture, and the tissue didn't dissolve.  Just make sure that it doesn't have any kind of pattern embossed onto it.   I painted it with flat olive green paint, although these days it seems like tarps are often blue plastic, so gloss blue would work.

Steve S

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