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Okay, How do you make HO figures? FOLLOW-UP: How to I alter figures to work.

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Okay, How do you make HO figures? FOLLOW-UP: How to I alter figures to work.
Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, April 18, 2005 11:53 AM
I just read where John Allen made 60% of his rolling stock, 90% of his structures, and 100% of his figures.

Just how in the heck do you do that? Make figures.

I'm still trying to figure out how to get hte little green and red jewels glued into the half BB sized lights that go on sides of the 4-6-0 kit. I can't even hold them with tweezers. And you have to file the crud off first.

See Alter Question Below

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by orsonroy on Monday, April 18, 2005 12:04 PM
John Allen made his figures by adding candle wax over a wire armature and then carving it to shape. Wirks well, but is really too fragile and time-consuming for me.

Most military modelers (NOT wargamers!) use Milliput (now available from Micro Mark) to make some of the best miniatures I've ever seen. I've heard that the low-temp clay found in craft stores works well too.

I'll stick with buying Preiser & Musket Miniature figs!

Ray Breyer

Modeling the NKP's Peoria Division, circa 1943

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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, April 18, 2005 1:21 PM
"Hey SpaceMouse".

My uncle use to make his own figures too by pouring molten soft metal into molds. A lot of people don't like fooling with it because it contains lead and it's easy to get burned if you're not careful. If and after the casting process the figures are detail painted, they look factory made.

As for working with small items. I take masking tape and double it backwards to make a ring with the sticky side out. I then stick the ring to the surface of my work table, get a little spit on the tip of my finger which I use to pick the item up, stick it to the tape and use a razor blade to carefully trim it with. I then use the razor to get underneath the item and work it loose from the tape, again using a little spit on the tip of my finger to pick the object up and put it in place. You can also use a tooth pick and a little white glue to pick items up and set them in place, then wipe the glue off with a wet paper towel before it dries.

Hope I didn't gross you out with the spit part...

trainluver1

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, April 18, 2005 1:30 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by trainluver1

"Hey SpaceMouse".

My uncle use to make his own figures too by pouring molten soft metal into molds. A lot of people don't like fooling with it because it contains lead and it's easy to get burned if you're not careful. If and after the casting process the figures are detail painted, they look factory made.

As for working with small items. I take masking tape and double it backwards to make a ring with the sticky side out. I then stick the ring to the surface of my work table, get a little spit on the tip of my finger which I use to pick the item up, stick it to the tape and use a razor blade to carefully trim it with. I then use the razor to get underneath the item and work it loose from the tape, again using a little spit on the tip of my finger to pick the object up and put it in place. You can also use a tooth pick and a little white glue to pick items up and set them in place, then wipe the glue off with a wet paper towel before it dries.

Hope I didn't gross you out with the spit part...

trainluver1




Good tip.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by MidlandPacific on Monday, April 18, 2005 2:35 PM
John Allen wrote an excellent piece on making figures from wax and published it in MR in 1949; if you contact MR, they can probably send you a Xeroxed reprint. Even if you have a John Allen level of skill, it's probably not possible to make them look as good as most commercially available figures, so you would probably want to use his method to populate those areas of your layout that will be a few feet away from the viewer.

http://mprailway.blogspot.com

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Posted by jddav1 on Monday, April 18, 2005 5:19 PM
I can see how making figures by wire and wax can be time consuming and require good artist skills. I would like to try it sometime. From an article I read years ago do not use wax figures if your railroad area gets warm, the wax melts. Has anyone learned how to soften comercial figures to reshape them to a more desired position?
Jeff
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Posted by Jetrock on Monday, April 18, 2005 7:10 PM
John Allen also had the advantage of a fine arts degree and an art background, not to mention lots of free time (he got an inheritance that he parlayed into a permanent income) for modeling. Good eyes, lots of patience and no kids helps too.

I suppose one could create miniatures using the lost-wax method: carve a figure out of wax, then cast it in a mold, melt out the wax, and add molten metal. There are several low-temperature metals that can be used for casting--the Micro-Mark carries several that can be melted on a conventional stove.

But, really, the only reason to make your own figures is because you have a dire need to occupy your time. Miniatures aren't cheap, but unpainted ones aren't that expensive, and even if you need to modify and paint a miniature, it's a lot less work and eyestrain than making your own from scratch.

Besides--in the 1940's, you pretty much had to scratchbuild EVERYTHING.
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Posted by tatans on Monday, April 18, 2005 10:05 PM
Making figures would be a daunting task at least, even some very skilled modellers have ended up with figures that looked like they were made at playschool, I have seen 2 figures handmade and could hardly keep from bursting out loud, luckily the makers agreed how bad they were. I would proceed with purchasing good figures and spend time on painting them PROPERLY, that is, the right colors ,not shiny glistening gumbys all over the layout, check out proper painting tips.
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 8:12 AM
The problem I'm having is that I haven't found the right figures to go with my layout.

For instance, If I find women that fit the frontier, they are heavily dressed. I need ladies of the night for miners and loggers.

I have found frontier people playing checkers, but none that will sit a horse. I've found only a couple with cowboy hats. Now I can buy cowboy hats, but they are $3 a piece.

I've found two horses with saddles, but they are running and I need standing horses with saddles for the front of saloons. I need horses with harnesses for my wagons. All the horses that come with wagons are standing still looking like statues. Horses never stand like that.

So how do I alter figures to work?

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by cwclark on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 8:31 AM
you can make small v-notches in the arms, torsos, and legs of the figures with razor saws and hobby knives and then glue them into a new position to reposition their bodies...there was an article in MRR explaining how to do it...i just don't remember which issue...Chuck

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Posted by MidlandPacific on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 8:35 AM
MR did a great series in the Sixties on building an 1890s layout called the "Portage Hill and Communipaw," and they devoted an article to modifying modern figures so they'd look Victorian - the article was later included in one of their '70s-era books - I can't remember the name (I have it at home, but I'm not there right now), but somebody on the MR staff could probably find you the article.

http://mprailway.blogspot.com

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 8:39 AM
Thanks guys. Postiioning legs and arms I don't see as an issue as much as clothes and saddles and hats.

And stupid question. How do I ask the staff? (Then how do I get the article from the sixties?)

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by MidlandPacific on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 10:41 AM
Try looking here. Alternatively, go to the MR page and look up back issues.

http://store.kalmbach.com/kalmbachcatalog/css/css.asp

http://mprailway.blogspot.com

"The first transition era - wood to steel!"

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 11:24 AM
I came up blank on the search so I emailed them. They only seem to have magazines going back to 1973.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by jrbarney on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 11:32 AM
Chip,
The Scale Structures Ltd. division of Jaks Industries has a western saddle:
http://66.241.223.134/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=SS2225&Category_Code=SS2000&Product_Count=219
as well as bridles, horse collars, pitchforks, etc. Possibly they can be modified to fit other brands (unintentional pun) of horses. Don't forget to buy some Sculpey acrylic clay of the appropriate color at a craft store to make the finishing detail - piles of horse manure !
Bob
NMRA Life 0543
"Time flies like an arrow - fruit flies like a banana." "In wine there is wisdom. In beer there is strength. In water there is bacteria." --German proverb
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 2:56 PM
SpaceMouse,

Have you tried finding Civil War period people ?. They would be dressed about like you would like them. All you'd have to do is paint them...

trainluver1
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 2:57 PM
Thanks Bob,

They also have cowboy hats, 6 for $3 which is a lot better than what I was getting.

Now for the soiled doves.

It's funny how the old west had so many euphemisms for hookers.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by orsonroy on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 3:31 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by SpaceMouse

The problem I'm having is that I haven't found the right figures to go with my layout.


Mouse,

You're not looking hard enough. Grab a copy of the Walthers catalog and flip to the figures section, and you'll find almost everything you're looking for. Hit a couple other websites, and you'll definitely find everything you need. Per your message:

women that fit the frontier
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/160-42335
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/590-12045

ladies of the night
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/590-10346
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/590-10106 (you'll need to do a bit of painting, but they'l work)

miners: http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/120-9809

loggers
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/590-10042
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/590-10495
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/785-1876

frontier people sit a horse
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/675-160
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/590-10500 ("western" saddles were NOT the only saddle in the "frontier". Plantation, Jennifer, Hope, Grimsley, and McClellan saddles were as common, and didn't look much like "western" saddles)
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/590-10501

with cowboy hats
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/675-160

horses with saddles standing
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/260-15011

horses with harnesses
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/528-11504
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/528-11950
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/528-11980

After looking through the Walthers catalog, go to the Musket Miniatures/Rustic Rails website:
http://www.musketminiatures.com/
Look both in the Rustic Rails HO section, and in all of the 15mm wargaming sections for a LOT of what you'll need, from cowboys & indians, to townsfolk, wagons, cavalry, etc. (15mm is a bti smaller than HO, almost TT scale. But wargaming figs area almost always a bit oversized, and will look fine so long as you don't mix the two scales together)

There are LOTS of other wargaming companies out there, most of which will have at least something useful to your search. Check out EVERY time period; you never know what you'll find that will be useful, especially seperate harnessed horses (remember: collar harnesses are "heavy trucking", breastcollar harnesses (the little strap that goes on the horse's chest, not around their neck) is "car harness")
http://www.speartorifle.com/~wargames/catalog.html
http://www.dixon-minis.com/
http://www.minifigs.com/catalog/
http://www.historicalminiatures.com/smm.htm

QUOTE:
Horses never stand like that.

Good ones do...for hours on end. Mine all will when they're working. Remember, before Henry Ford came along and destroyed man's relationship with the horse, a horse was IT for transportation for anyone who wanted mobility. Even by 1900, more people had ridden on or behind a horse than had ever ridden a train. Horses were WELL trained, and people knew how to use them properly. Most horses today are badly trained, their riders are worse trained, and all horses appear to be flaky messes. Tell that to the horses I've jousted off of, or elk hunted with, or done movies with, or have lived with on the road in the rodeo circuit for four years of my youth!

I'd rather have a horse like this:
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/260-15011
rather than nes like this:
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/590-20382

Ray Breyer

Modeling the NKP's Peoria Division, circa 1943

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Posted by jrbarney on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 4:06 PM
Chip,
I'm not sure they are still in business, since they don't have a Web site, but you might also want to send a SASE for a catalog to K and L Company, they have the former Thomas Model Products line. It's a primarily Civil War era line, and their catalog has few photos, but worth investing $0.37. Don't think they have any "camp followers." Their address is:

K and L Company
P. O. Box 52281
Tulsa, OK 74152

Good luck.
Bob
NMRA Life 0543
"Time flies like an arrow - fruit flies like a banana." "In wine there is wisdom. In beer there is strength. In water there is bacteria." --German proverb
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 4:07 PM
Ray,

Breat joke at the end. I have to admit the Walther's online catalog is much better than the print version although I really can't say that because I have not picked up a 2005 version.

I have seen all but one of the Walther's selections that you pointed out withthe exception of one. Maybe the reason I worked so hard at ignoring them was the price. I can see dropping a couple hundred on populating a town (and it is hard to weight that against great engine with sound.) The link to Jaks industries was good one.

I need to balance cost with availbility. Thanks to you guys I'm much closer.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by tatans on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 5:05 PM
Yikes. let me rephrase my previous statement re; Buying figures and painting them, I think $9.00 U.S. for 1 horse is a little steep, if any population was needed on your layout it would cost $8.000.00 for a small town. I don't know what to recommend unless you are a millionaire.
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Posted by Jetrock on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 8:05 PM
Actually, the term "hooker" itself was also an euphemism:

http://www.swcivilwar.com/hooker.html

Try looking for stores that specialize in military models and miniatures wargaming--they might have a "cowboys & indians" set.

Airfix has several such sets: www.airfix.com

01715 Wagon Train
01722 US Cavalry
01707 Cowboys
01708 American Indians

I know, the box says they're 1:72. You'll never notice the difference.
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Posted by orsonroy on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 10:41 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by tatans

Yikes. let me rephrase my previous statement re; Buying figures and painting them, I think $9.00 U.S. for 1 horse is a little steep, if any population was needed on your layout it would cost $8.000.00 for a small town. I don't know what to recommend unless you are a millionaire.


Yeah, populating a model RR can get pricey fast. I almost always either buy unpainted figs (Preiser & Atlas, mostly) or bag 'em when someplace is having a 1/2 off sale (Hobby Lobby is great for them at least twice a year). If I were to switch to a golden age period (1860-1910), I'd definitely get as much stuff from the 15mm wargaming sections as I could. Bags of 100 white metal figures cost $25, and freight wagons, with a four mule team cost $10, MUCH better than Preiser or Merten, and I wouldn't have to Americanize them!

Ray Breyer

Modeling the NKP's Peoria Division, circa 1943

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Posted by leighant on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 11:30 PM
My handy-dandy file says: article on custom-made figures Mod RRer Nov91 p.113.
I am too lazy to go hunt it up and check.

Instead of wax, I would suggest some kind of artist's acrylic modeling paste to build up figures on wire armatures. I once used thread armatures and dabbed on little bits of acylics artists colors to build up tiny figures. Although they weren't exactly figures. I built an N-scale Design Preservation Minatures "Otto's Parts" kit as "Dollie's Dollys" doll store, and I had to put something in the display window. The N scale models of dollhouses weren't too hard but it was a challenge to make the dolls. I made a bride doll and a couple of baby dolls and some folk costume dolls. Layout period was too early for Barbie dolls.
Does this come under the category of making something because you can't buy just exactly what you want?

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