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Plastikard Modelling - Low Relief Warehouse - Scratchbuilding. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:02 pm
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Robert
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This is one of Perry's plastikard scratchbuilds that I have copied and pasted, not my work.


I was going to entitle this posting "The Best Little Warehouse In Texas" but seeing as my railway is set in East Anglia I decided against it. :lol:

As I got such an excellent response to my previous low-relief model I have decided to build another. This one will be a fairly large low-relief warehouse-type building. It will back onto the railway line not too far from the station and really will be seriously low-relief. I don't plan on letting it be much more than 6mm deep. Because of the proposed location I will be constructing what would actually be the back of the building. The design is freelance but is based upon all those big old industrial-type buildings that (used to) flank the railway in more urban areas.

It will be three storeys high and have 18 windows! [shot]

Work started this evening with the basic design being worked out and the cutting out of all those windows begun.

I will try to take some photographs soon and then post some 'how to' tips as the build progresses.

Perry                                                                                                                                                              B                                                                                                



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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:03 pm
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The height of the main wall is 147mm and it's 237mm long, so it should provide a fair bit of coverage. Of course, being freelance, anyone wishing to build a similar one can choose their own dimensions. I roughed this one out on paper, and made up a quick test wall from cereal packet cardboard, just to see how the proportions looked. A few minor adjustments were made before the final size was arrived at. I won't be making 18 windows using the PVC tape and clear plastikard method this time. (Not flippin' likely!) One of the reasons for making this model is that I rediscovered in my spares box a bunch of window frames of a suitable type already printed out on clear plastic. I acquired them many years ago - so long ago in fact that I can't remember where from. They may have been sold by Linka Systems but I'm not certain.

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:05 pm
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The building is to be clad in embossed brickwork plastikard, mainly because I have some in stock. It's 25 thou. thick and will therefore require a little bit of support.

As I said previously, I made a card mock-up to see if it 'looked right'.





As the building was to have 18 visible windows, all of which have arched tops and have to be cut out, it was decided to make the main wall in three sections. The thinking behind this is that if one window is ruined by accident, the most I'll have to remake will be 6, not 18!

The embossed plastikard was prepared by cutting along one of the cement course along the long side of the sheet. One end of the sheet was then trimmed at 90 degrees to this edge. Sloping courses of brick looks awful, so it's worth starting off all square.

The wall was cut out as one piece, then cut into three sections. The joins will be hidden by brick piers.

Marking out was done of the back of the wall sections simply because it's flat. Make sure that you mark out in mirror image though.





The windows to be used were measured to provide the dimensions of the window openings and the radius of the arched tops worked out.




The window openings were cut along the three straight sides with the usual craft knife, but the arches were cut using a pair of dividers. Don't put too much pressure on the pivot point as you will pierce the plastikard. The arch can be gently scribed with the other end of the dividers, making several passes until the material is almost cut through. It will then be easy to break out.

The three wall sections have all had their window openings cut out and have been laid up with the overlaying brick piers. These will need some more plastikard behind them to give a decent thickness, but more of that later.





I think that will do for this instalment. There should be enough there to get you thinking, at least. :wink:

To be continued.

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:05 pm
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Three manufacturers of 'plastikard' products spring to mind immediately, although I'm sure there are others:

Slaters Plastikard, Evergreen Scale Models and Plastruct all have a useful range of sizes and types. These and others have websites and some model shops stock a selection too.

I like using these materials because it is quick and easy to work with and joins easily using a liquid solvent. No messy stringy glue to mess around with! :grin:

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:06 pm
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When working with plastikard sheets don't assume they are cut square, even if they are fresh from the packet you bought them in. In my experience some of them are quite a long way out of square and need trimming before marking out starts. They may look square, but it's worth a check. When I have trimmed a sheet along one side and one edge, I mark the corner as 90 degrees, just so I know which edges to take my measurements from.

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:07 pm
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The brick piers that reinforce the front wall and join the three pieces together were started next.

The four embossed brick facings were cut 10mm wide and left overlength for trimming later.
Eight strips of 040" (1mm) plain plastikard were cut, each one 8mm wide. These were then stuck together in pairs giving a total thickness of 2mm, the desired thickness of the piers.

Strips of brick embossed plastikard 2mm wide were cut for the edges.




Working on a sheet of glass, primarily for flatness, but also to prevent the strips sticking to anything other than each other, I held an edge strip against one of the pairs of plain strips by pressing it up against a steel ruler. Solvent was brushed along the length of the join to secure it in place. After it had dried for a few moments, the strips were turned over and the procedure repeated on the other edge.




The reason for doing the edges first is that if an edge strip hasn't been cut quite wide enough it can be seen immediately and therefore remade. If it's slightly too wide then it's easy to sand or file off the excess before the facing strip is added.

There are quite a lot of repetitive tasks to do at the moment, so I will continue this when I reach the next stage.

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:07 pm
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Once the piers have been clad in brick plastikard they can be set aside to dry. Some trimming will be necessary with a craft knife, small file or sandpaper. It doesn't matter if the bricks look a little irregular in some places. This is all to the good as this is not supposed to be a pristine newly-built warehouse.

I needed to make 16 brick arches, one to go over the top of each window. I set about this by cutting strips of brick plastikard that were one and a half 'bricks' wide. Then using a new knife blade, I cut between each brick for about two-thirds of the width of the strip, like this:





The strip took on an arched shape as I did this, so it didn't need much more bending to get the curve I wanted. The gaps created by the cuts will fill with paint and look like mortar when they are finished. The individual arches were cut to length and glued in place with solvent.





When all 16 had been completed (I said it was repetitive!) I made up three plinths for the base of the wall. All were made over length to allow trimming when the piers have been fixed in place.

The whole thing, with the plinths below, looks like this:





I now need to add some more brick stringers and details to give the wall a more three dimensional appearance. This will need to be done so that painting can be carried out before the window transparencies are fitted.

To be continued.

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:08 pm
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The main construction of the wall is now complete.




I have added stringers of brick three courses wide to indicate where the internal floors would perhaps be. I chose three courses simply because two looked too narrow and four looked too wide. :shock:

Each of the window openings received a window sill made from short lengths of .040" x .080" styrene strip.

At the top of the wall I glued a sandwich of .040" plain plastikard followed by a piece of embossed brick plastikard. On top of these two layers I glued another piece of brick card into to which I had cut crenelations - purely for decoration. These will be highlighted when they are painted to accentuate the shadows, etc.





I won't make the side walls or the roof until the main painting and glazing has been done.

To be continued.

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:10 pm
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Perry gave this advice while doing this project.


I hope you will have a try at modelling with plastikard. There is whole range of rod, tube, strip, H-section, etc., available apart from all the plain and embossed sheets. You can even get plain sheets in different colours.

It's quick and easy to use and isn't expensive. I always keep a box handy to throw any offcuts into as I work; even the small bits are retained as they can come in handy for packing pieces, reinforcing brackets and the like. My previous scratchbuild on this forum was made entirely from left-over scraps.

Get yourself a bottle of 'Plasic Weld' or a similar solvent-type adhesive, a brush to put it on with, a sharp craft knife and a steel ruler, and as they say in the movies, you're good to go! :grin:

You don't have to cut all the way through plastikard; just score it along the line you want to cut and it will snap cleanly with very little effort. Having said that, it is remarkably strong when it hasn't been scored. You can bend it with the application of a little bit of heat. It can be drilled, filed, in fact pretty much anything you might want to do to it isn't a problem.

If you decide to try it out don't hesitate to contact me either publicly through this forum or by private message if I can be of any assistance.

Cheers, [smilie=ahgg_beer.gif]

Best wishes,

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:11 pm
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Robert
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I designed this project to represent a freelance warehouse-type building, the sort of thing that can often be seen from railway lines in many urban areas. As it is meant to be used as part of the background it can be given as much or as little detailing as you wish. The dimensions are up to the builder and can be adjusted to fit a given site. I wanted something fairly tall but not so much that it would overshadow the railway. I drew a freehand rough design on paper and when the proportions looked about right I made a cardboard mock up, cutting out the window openings, etc, just to see if it still looked right. When I was happy with that I started working on the plastikard.

The building is currently in the painting stage. The base coat of thinned brick red has been applied with an even thinner wash of darkened colour on the parts that would normally be more in shadow. When all this is thoroughly dry I will start the process of washing in the mortar between the bricks. I gave details of how to do this in the previous low-relief postings.

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:12 pm
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Robert
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Gwent Rail wrote:Perhaps it should be mentioned at this point that there is sometimes confusion when "plastic sheet" is spoken about.

What Perry is using (I also use the same stuff) is the "plasticard" sheet made in the UK by a company called Slaters and also made in the USA by Evergreen & Plastruct (see Bob's links earlier in this thread).

In some model shops, you may be offered Wills plastic sheets as an alternative. Made by Peco under the Wills brandname, my advice would be to steer well clear. Wills sheets are smaller (Require more joining), thicker (Much harder to cut) and made of a harder plastic (Harder to "weld" together).

Most of the modellers I know who have tried plastic sheet scratchbuilding and given it up as a bad job, have bought the wrong stuff to begin with. Inevitably they struggle, produce a bad job and never use plastic sheet again. Get the right stuff and it's far, far easier.


Thanks for the timely good advice, Jeff. It was something I had not thought to mention. :oops:

The embossed brick plastikard I use is .025" (25 thou or just over half a millimetre) thick. The Wills stuff is .080" (80 thou or two millimetres) thick and the bricks are much coarser. This material has it's uses, but perhaps not for a project like this.

Users of the .025" material should be aware that it is not really thick enough or rigid enough to be self supporting except in very small pieces. I tend to use it as a cladding over .040" (1mm) plain sheet for basic wall units.

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:12 pm
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Before the window transparencies can be fitted the main paint job needs to be done.

First, I gave the whole thing a coat of Humbrol Brick Red (70), thinned just enough to allow it to flow properly.





Five of the bays shown in this image have just the brick red base coat on. The other four have had the 'mortar mixture' applied and wiped off again. The 'mortar-mix' is matt white mixed with a touch of matt black to give a nice pale grey shade. The important thing here are to make certain that the base coat is thoroughly dry. If you don't do this, you will end up with a building that is a lovely shade of pink all over! Now the 'mortar mix' is thinned to a very runny weak consistency. The reason for this is that you want it to run into the mortar courses but to be easy to wipe off the faces of the bricks. Brush it quickly over a small area of the model at a time; I did one bay at a time and dealt with the framework of piers etc seperately. Don't try to do too big an area or it will dry and you won't be able to wipe it off. Using a paper towel or something similar, gently wipe the mixture off the faces of the bricks. I find that wiping down across the courses works better than along them. Don't worry that it looks all patchy and horrible at this stage. It'll get a lot worse yet! :twisted:

The next photo shows the left-hand three bays still in the 'mortar-mix applied and wiped off' stage.




The other six bays have begun to have the brickwork reinstated to it's former glory. (Well, almost.) To get to this stage, let the 'mortar-mix' dry thoroughly. It shouldn't take too long as the high thinner content will evaporate quickly. Then using a small stiffish brush, dry-brush some plain brick red gently over the surface so that it picks up the raised faces of the bricks. Notice how it has brought out the detail on the window arches, for example.

For those unfamiliar with the dry-brushing technique, all you do it put a small amount of paint on your brush, then wipe as much of it off again as you can onto a paper towel before applying it to the model. It takes a little bit of practice, but it isn't difficult.

Don't worry about the finish looking patchy. We still have to apply some more dry brushing with darker and lighter shades to the model. This will help bring out the details and make the whole thing look more three-dimensional (I hope!) And anyway, I would think if you stood beside a steam railway for donkey's years you would look a bit patchy too! :shock:

To be continued.

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:13 pm
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The paint job has now reached Stage 3 and is virtually complete.




Various shades of paint were mixed and applied mainly by dry-brushing. Remember when painting stains caused by years of standing by the railway that they are all carried downwards by rainwater, etc. The only time they go in other direction is when they meet a barrier that forces them to change direction temporarily. Think of how stuff would run down the walls, how it would run off the window-sills, where the stains would end up, and you won't go far wrong. Try to vary the colours as much as possible, but be subtle. This building is going to be sited at the rear of the layout and is therefore part of the 'middle-distance'. For that reason I have made the colours fairly pale. If they are too intense the building will seem to 'leap forward' too much and will also detract from the objects in the foreground.

The project will now be allowed to dry thoroughly before a final assesment of the paintwork is made. After any final touch up work, (best checked for in daylight), the window transparencies can be fitted.

By the time you see this building again, I hope to have all the windows installed as well as the roof and side walls. In fact, apart from one or two little details yet to be added, it will be just about complete. :grin:

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:14 pm
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All 18 window transparencies have been fitted, initially using strips of tape to position them, then reinforcing with glue.




As the main wall was made from three sections and is only held together by the overlapping brick piers some reinforcing strips 10mm wide cut from 1mm thick plastikard were fixed to the back of the model.




These will serve not only to strengthen the whole structure but will also allow a sheet of plastikard to be glued on the back. This will stop the 'interior' being hard up against the window transparency and give a little impression of depth. They will also serve as supports for the side walls and roof. The strips were fixed in place with polystyrene cement from a tube; something I don't use very often, but I wanted the strength that this will give. I spread it fairly evenly with my finger along the strips before mounting them on the back of wall. Remember not to touch the model with glue on your fingers; it can make a dreadful mess of things.

I will paint the side of the rear sheet that faces the windows because the plain white of the plastikard looks too bright and stark. Matt black won't work this time because the printed window frames are dark grey and would be lost against it. I will need to do a couple of experiments to see what colour works before I do the painting.

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:15 pm
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As there is obviously a lot of interest on the forum about Perry's buildings using plastic embossed sheets here is a link to Slaters web site where you can download two pages of the entire range. The pages are in full colour and if printed on A4 paper are correct to scale so you can see exactly what you are getting, a good idea I think. The download is in PDF format and worth waiting a few minutes for if you have a dialup connection.

Slaters Embossed Sheets



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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:16 pm
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Robert
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Thomas had asked about the arch shapes.


Hi Thomas,

You only need dividers to cut the arched shape at the top of the window openings. The brick arches that go over the top are made from straight pieces of plastikard cut partly through with a craft knife as I have shown in a picture in a previous posting above.

Dividers are like compasses, the sort of thing you use for drawing circles, except that instead of having a metal point on one leg and a pencil-holder on the other, it has a metal point on both. It is made up of two legs, each about 75mm long, that are pivoted at one end, allowing you to set the distance between the metal points. You can get cheap ones in school geometry sets. I find it useful to keep one point really sharp for the scribing but to have the other point slightly blunt so it doesn't pierce the piece of plastikard I'm working on. Basically you gently scribe back and forth over the piece you want to cut until you are able to snap the plastikard out in the usual way.

The beauty of using dividers is that once you have set the size of the arch you want to cut, you can make as many as you want in the knowledge that they will all be the same. On the warehouse model I marked all the arches for the ground floor windows first as those windows are slightly larger than the others. All I had to do then was adjust the dividers a little and I was able to mark and cut the other twelve smaller windows, again all identical.

I hope this helps and you are able to try this technique for yourself. I have only used it on plastikard; never on cardboard. Perhaps one of our card modellers can comment on whether it works on card or not?

Best wishes,

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2007 03:17 pm
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Completion:

The low-relief warehouse model has now been completed.

After a little experimentation I decided to paint the 'inside' a medium matt green. It looks OK bearing in mind this is part of the background and doesn't need to be 'super-detailed'.

I finished off construction by gluing on the backplate, then cutting two thin strips of brick plastikard to represent the side walls. These got a dab of paint just to take the 'plastic' look off. They can't really be seen when the model is in situ on the layout, so all together now: (chorus) If you can't see it, don't bother modelling it!

Three sign boards were designed and printed on the computer, before being cut out and fixed in place with PVA adhesive. They were 'dirtied up' using washes of watercolour paint, not fogetting the stains where soot runs from the ends of the window sills when it rains.

Two narrow strips of plastikard glued together make the roof which was painted a mucky dark greyish colour.




To take the bareness off I decided to add a little detail in the form of some industrial-type lamps. These were made from long-shanked map pins with white heads. A paper punch cut out some little disks from some 5 thou plastikard to make the shades. Holes were drilled in the brick piers to allow the lamps to be fixed in place with epoxy glue. The metal work and the tops and edges of the shades were then painted matt black.




I promised that this model would be seriously low-relief when I started it. I think this has been achieved. The main wall is only 5mm thick. The roof extends a millimetre or so beyond that. The only thing that gives it any more depth is the lamps - and you can always leave them off if you're stuck for space.

By the way, distortion on the photo of the main wall makes the floor and roof lines look curved. They're not; it's just that I'm a rubbish photographer. :oops:

I hope you enjoyed watching this project from start to finish. Maybe there'll be something else soon. Maybe...just maybe.... :grin:

Perry                                                                                                                                                               ✓      B                     



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