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Scratch-building or 'assemblage'? - Scratchbuilding. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2014 05:36 pm
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Chubber
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I'd like start another thread unless members here believe I am in danger of upsetting the long-established YMR tradition of not introducing controversy but rather choosing not to say anything in which case I'll make no further similar comment should this thread remain response free.

When is scratch-building really scratch-building? [here I speak only of structure building, my particular enthusiasm..]

Without wishing to suggest that card scratch building is not real unless you mash your Esparto grass and china clay and press your own card, or, plastic scratch-building is not real unless you mix and mould your own polymers....

Is it really scratch-building if you buy complete white metal cast chimneys with pots, etched brass windows, pre-moulded plastic sheets or pre-designed texture papers or plastic moulded doors and assemble them to form a structure?


The question - 'Where do you draw the line'?

On another forum, after a very interesting explanation of the means by which a partly open OO sash window was made at the expense of 3 hours work, I read a comment by a contributor to this forum '....No thank you, three hours? I'd rather buy them ready made...' together with an assertion that the modeller was lacking in mental processes. That was the catalyst for my current train of thought.

If you have already tidied your sock drawer, or have watched your recording of the Farrage/Clegg debate for the fourteenth time and have completed your detailed notes on syntax and hanging prepositions, then I invite you to join this debate.

You may of course have more pressing matters at hand like re-filling the cat's litter tray or joining the dots on your print of Seurat's 'Bathers at Asniers'...


Respectfully,


Doug

[currently grinding lapiz lazuli and gum arabic to paint a blue sky back-scene.....]



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 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2014 05:57 pm
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jimmy styles
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I think I would have to agree with you, although it does pain me to say so.

So I would have to say the structures I design and build or partly scratch built using off the shelf products heavily adapted to produce a truly one off structure.

I have to show the respect to the modellers you build said sash windows and only wish my modelling was up to that sort of level.

I will enjoy to read the rest of this debate as it comes in.

Why would anyone wish to put down a modeller who intends to spend three hours building a tiny master piece. If I had the skill then I would to spend the time.

This does lead to people like me who will spend months building a structure at a high cost of time and components when you can purchase a ready to place building. In my opinion the enjoyment is in producing the best structure your level of skill will allow. Anyone can purchase a ready to place model.

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 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2014 06:18 pm
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Petermac
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It's a difficult one Doug - and you've hit the nail on the head - where do you draw the line ?

 How does using ready-printed paper or ready embossed plastic sheeting differ from using ready made windows ?  One can paint brick (or stone) coloured paper and then mark on the mortar lines.  In days gone by an excellent modeller - I can't remember who but I wonder if it was Allan Downes himself - used the old computer chads for 4mm bricks - almost perfect !!  He laid them brick by brick then painted it in much the same way as painting embossed plastic today.  The result was truly stunning but took forever and I suspect even an episode of watching Ena Sharples on "Coronation Street"  would have staved off the inevitable insanity.

Good sash windows are very difficult to make, particularly in the smaller scales and to me, using etched ones wouldn't put the model into the "kit built" category.  You could even etch your own - would that then be "proper" scratch building ?

Peter - "Wizmacnz" of this manor, is having some excellent resin "parts" run off by Shapeways.  Is that "kit built" or, if he had his own home 3D printer, would that then be "scratchbuilt" ?

My definition would be that if one buys all the ready made parts in a bag from a single supplier and simply glues them together, that's "kit building" - Scalescenes or Metcalf for example, although those two suppliers already differ in that Scalescenes offer the printable design and you source your own materials whereas Metcalfe offer the full monty. 

If one designs a structure and sources the necessary components elsewhere, or makes them in the workshop, that's "scratchbuilding" - the sort of thing Perry is currently doing with his engine shed.



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 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2014 06:30 pm
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jimmy styles
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I agree with what you guys are saying, Allan is truly amazing?

My question is, using my gate house as an example. Designed on paper then drawn on card transferred to plastic card cut out and built, molds produced for windows, doors and windows made. Glazing designed on a computer then printed. White metal items purchased cut down changed and used, to make a one off building. Is this kit or semi scratch building?

Would people prefer if I sat and cut each stone by hand?

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 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2014 06:49 pm
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Petermac
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Having read your gatehouse thread Jimmy - that's definitely "scratchbuilding" - and pretty good too. :thumbs



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 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2014 06:52 pm
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jimmy styles
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Thank you peter but I think I will class it as semi scratch!

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 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2014 07:27 pm
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vulcanbomber
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From my own perspective, before scratch building I always try and work out what windows I can use and where I can get them from. Either plastic or etched brass
eg

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 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2014 07:29 pm
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Wikipedia defines scratchbuilding as making a model from raw materials.  So anything that uses bought in components (like window frames or cast chimney pots) is not strictly a scratchbuild.  I say "so what". 
Surely the goal is to produce a credible model and IMO, it would be foolish to ignore the excellent pre made components available just to be able to claim "scratchbuild".  I have made window frames and doors from raw materials but only because I couldn't find a similar item elsewhere.

So, Doug, don't worry about it, your buildings are something that all of us mortals should aspire to.






John




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 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2014 08:03 pm
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Spurno
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Could it be as simple as,providing it's not a kit,that anything not manufactured is scratchbuilt.If you modify items, it's a type of scratchbuilding.Total scratchbuilding you build everything yourself,that goes without saying but even Allan Downes uses etched windows at times and you can't argue with the results of his work.



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 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2014 10:30 pm
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60019Bittern
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Brossard wrote: Wikipedia defines scratchbuilding as making a model from raw materials.  So anything that uses bought in components (like window frames or cast chimney pots) is not strictly a scratchbuild.  I say "so what". 




John




I am inclined to agree. I think the answer really is use what you have to hand or can source without it being the predominate part of whatever you are building. This would be my reasoning. Personally, if I start of with a drawing or photo then cut out the material by hand then construct it then to me it is scratch built.



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 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2014 12:13 am
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MaxSouthOz
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The NMRA (who have a definition for everything), :lol: define scratch building here:-

http://www.nmra.org/education/achievement/

There's a bit of reading to do.

I know that the NMRA is an anathema to British Modellers, but for what it's worth . . .



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 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2014 01:16 am
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col.stephens
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 My response to Doug's question is "What does it matter whether you use a manufactured chimney pot or door?"  I agree with John above.  If I can buy windows or doors which will look good and speed-up construction of the model, then my cheque is on the way. I certainly don't lose sleep over it.  Enjoyment of the hobby is the name of the game, not self-flagelllation just to appease someone else's definition of what constitutes the perfect model.

Now, where's my flail...

Terry

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 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2014 01:31 am
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Petermac
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MaxSouthOz wrote: The NMRA (who have a definition for everything), :lol: define scratch building here:-

http://www.nmra.org/education/achievement/

There's a bit of reading to do.

I know that the NMRA is an anathema to British Modellers, but for what it's worth . . .

Interesting reading Max. :thumbs

It still doesn't clearly define what "scratch building" is. :hmm  It says "if you go to the store and purchase the necessary materials" - I think those "materials" could easily include window frames and chimney pots etc...................:roll::roll::roll:



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 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2014 01:39 am
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Chubber
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I am reading the above with interest, I did pose the question to stimulate debate and not to cause rancour. So far an interesting spread of opinions.

Doug



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 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2014 01:40 am
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There's quite a bit of linking to do, Peter, to drill down, to get to the definition but my interpretation is that you can't use any commercial items for the model to be considered scratchbuilt.  Unless you're going for the NMRA badge, I wouldn't be too bothered.






John



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 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2014 02:08 am
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allan downes
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Building a model railway is like painting a picture with hard materials.

Now if you buy all the components but not necessaraly make any of those components does that rule it out as being scratchbuilt ?

Well if it does, and unless the builder has the use of a foundry and possibly a blast furnace, then there's no such thing as a scratchbuilt loco or items of rolling stock.

There was a time of course when painters mixed their own paint and builders made their own bricks and carpenters felled their own trees. Well of course no body does that anymore but they're all still painters, builders and carpenters.

So I would say that scratchbuilding is when someone takes a sheet of raw material, the odd casting or two and brass etched components and then with glue that he didn't have to melt a dead horse's bones down to make, he then builds a model that no longer looks like a sheet of card or a dead horses bones but something that still needed a certan ammount of fore thought and a lot of integrity. 

Strange logic I know, so if you good gentlemen have a  better one, or even a stranger one still, I'm sure we'd all be happy to hear about it !

Allan (who doesn't own a papermill no more than he does a blast furnace - or come to that, a knacker's yard ! )

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 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2014 02:19 am
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allan downes
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Petermac wrote: .  ..... I can't remember who but I wonder if it was Allan Downes himself - used the old computer chads for 4mm bricks - almost perfect !! 

Yes Peter, the only thing I didn't make was the computer to supply the chads ! nor come to that the knife to pick them up with, the glue to stick them down with and the dye with which to colour them with.

Come to think of it, I did bxxxer all !

Chers.

Allan.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2014 03:30 am
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As Doug asked in his introductory post do we have to make our own paper, card, acetate etc My amswer would be a very loud NO.

As far as I'm concerned a kit is a collection of parts put together by Langley, Kibri, Metcalfe or any of the many other companies or cottage industries and sold as a kit, it may be necessary to provide glue, paint, solder etc but the majority of the parts come from one suplier.

I would not expect a scratch loco builder to make his own nuts and bolts, make the brass or other metal from ores.

If we modify a kit to suit our purpose then we are kit bashing or hacking, which I consider a sort of half way stage. Is there anybody out there who started in scratch building at the very beginning of their modelling carrer, my own path was first of all making minor changes, adding vac pipes, lamp irons and similar detailing, I progressed to more "adventurous" activities by working on non runners, if I could make it run, that was a bonus, otherwise it got hacked, say smoke box door open and parked on a shed road with a crewman shovelling out ash, next came fairly simple kit bashes, altering the cab roof or tender to make a different version of the kit  (changing the Langley S15 kit from a Urie version to a later Maunsell one.

The same path applies equally to buildings, the Metcalfe corner pub  I hacked such that it was straight, not going round a corner, moved on to etched windows and doors where necessary altering the openings if the etches were a different size. Having hacked a few more Metcalfes and Scalescenes, I then read the Plotter cutter thread and was hooked, an easy way to build models different to the existing kits, or if necessary close matches, maybe just moving door and window positions but using matching brick r stone colours. I will use whatever is available Scale link do some nu=ice White metal bay and dormer windows so why spend time making them.

Ive also figured a way to make windows that look very much like Metcalfe ones usingh a paint marker on Acetate, print doors similar to Metcalfe or Scalescenes  or Peedie etched. These mainly get used further back on the model, items at the front get the etched and cast items. Same with chimneys, cast ones near the front plastic tube fiurther back.

I've nothing against kit models, for the most part they at least give us the assembly skills to base future hacking or scratching. I personally like to make sufficient changes so I don't have models the same as everybody else!




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 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2014 04:31 am
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I'll be interested to see how many more shots there are at the NMRA.

I wasn't promoting the NMRA.  I just submitted the link to add to the discussion.



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 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2014 06:19 am
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I have nothing but admiration for people that can make a stunning model from the most basic level of materials. To them it is probably a highly satisfying process and is rewarded by the feeling of a "job well done" and the plaudits of others. For me though, I don't end up with a stunning model, the process can be frustrating and in many instances boring. I am therefore into assemblage. 



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