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Card modelling from scratch - Scratchbuilding. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Tue Dec 16th, 2008 05:40 pm
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Chubber
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In this thread I am trying to respond to a request to show how I model buildings in card. I use printed brick papers combined with photographic elements mounted on card.

First find a suitable photograph



. Working on the very crude principle that a brick is 9” long x 3 1/2” high including mortar, I produced a simple outline drawing of the subject using Microsoft ‘Photodraw’. This drawing I stuck to a piece of thick cardboard, in this case the 2mm thick back of a redundant calendar. 




I also produced a scale collection of various elements that will be incorporated, such as the doors, the ventilator and the windows saving the result as JPEGs. I cut and pasted from this reference onto other papers and thin cards to produce photo realistic elements.





Prior to cutting out openings in thick card I invariably pierce the material with a fine pointed awl tool held vertically. This gives me an accurate reference on both sides of the card should I need to turn it over to complete a cut. When beginning a cut, I place the tip of the knife in the pierced hole, and slide a steel straight edge up to the blade. This is repeated at the other end of the cut line, and again at the first point until I am certain that the straight edge aligns the blade exactly between the marked points before starting to cut. I cut lightly and repeatedly, always drawing the knife from the starting hole to as close as I can get to the other end of the line before turning the job around and working from the opposite end. Should I need to, I turn the job over and using the pierced holes as reference points repeat the process until I cut right through. In this way openings in card as thick as 3mm can be cut with ease using a Stanley 10-409 snap-off blade knife.




As soon as an opening was cut in the thick card, I smeared a little neat P.V.A. adhesive around the cut edges and allowed it to dry. This hardened and reinforced the cut edges so that they could be accurately sanded to a square sharp edge. It is these sharp edge, which viewed from scale distances that promote realism, and generates clean fold lines for the printed brick papers applied later. Suitably shaped sanding blocks, fine emery paper glued to lollipop sticks and nail files may all be used. Once finished satisfactorily, more P.V.A. was wiped round the opening. Any rough edges were sanded carefully, worked diagonally across the apertures to lessen the risk of delaminating the card.








I printed out a photograph of the chosen window on 190gm/m2 photographic paper, and then carefully cut out the glazed area to leave only the frames. The tool for this was a fine pointed scalpel blade that I honed as thin as possible on worn 1000 grit wet and dry paper. This diminution in the blade thickness minimises the distortion of the paper’s surface. I started by cutting each pane from one corner as far as I could before I started to cut into the next glazing bar, and went on to the next pane until all panes in one row were partly cut, then turned the whole thing around and started cutting from the other direction. With practice, very fine bars may be left. In this example, the vertical bars are about 0.75mm wide and the horizontal bars are about 0.5mm wide. I invariably make mistakes, cutting through a glazing bar and have to start again, so I always print more than one example.




The next step for this model is to add the sides. Using PVA glue, I ensured they were truly at right angles and reinforced them with square gussets. I never throw away any small square cut pieces of card; they will always come in handy for gussets. The corners, once dry, were sanded, again, sharp and square.







I tend to leave a newly glued structure overnight before covering them with my chosen texture papers, as some firm pressing action may be necessary. I prefer to use John Wiffen’s excellent Scalescenes papers (Scalescenes.com). By buying and downloading a PDF file, I can print out as many or as few sheets as I need for a project and don’t have to keep a stock. Living in SW France, I can save a great deal of money in postage charges. John also produces a growing range of downloadable card kits and his free Goods Store download contains clear instructions making it an excellent introduction to card modelling. I glue the paper, in this case Scalescenes brown brick TX02, to the building using Pritt-Stick as it allows you to slide the paper around a little to achieve perfect alignment. I apply the adhesive to the paper, not the building shell, as this decreases the likelihood of a build-up of adhesive in openings. A large piece of paper can take a minute or two to cover with a stick-type adhesive and if the adhesive starts to dry, I dip a finger in clean water and gently remoisten the dry areas. Prior to bending over corners, I always lightly score along the paper at the fold lines, to improve the sharpness of the corners. This small detail makes all the difference, but be cautious of scoring too deeply on the glue-damp paper and inadvertently cutting right through. A small wallpaper seam roller ensures no air bubbles are left, and that the all-important corners are firmly pressed without any danger of rounding them over. At the door and window, the paper is cut down the centre of each opening and along the top, and about 12mm of each flap folded back inside and stuck down well with P.V.A. It is essential to ensure this inside flap is securely glued down and the glue allowed to dry because the window frame cutout and glazing material are in turn glued inside to these flaps. I cut out a suitably sized piece of thinner card to form a windowsill and covered it with a soldier course of brick paper before I glued it in place, tilted slightly downwards on the outside to shed rainwater




 
I next used P.V.A. to glue the window frames cutout in place, allowing a 5mm overlap all around the inside. The glazing material followed. I am convinced that there is no better material than the clear plastic of C.D. boxes. Unlike most flexible glazing sheet, it glues readily with M.E.K., P.V.A. or Bostik and adds considerably to the strength of a model. I find it easy to cut to size with a junior hacksaw blade, or by scratching heavily along the desired line and snapping it over the edge of the bench. The edges clean up simply with a file or sandpaper.  Having cut a piece a little larger than the inside size of the glazing bar cut-out, I placed the building face downwards, laid the clear plastic over the photo paper glazing bars and placed a paintbrush, well loaded with M.E.K. against the edge of the two. The M.E.K. immediately flowed between the photo paper and the plastic sheet, confining itself as if by magic to the area under the paper. After 10-15 seconds the M.E.K. evaporated and left the paper firmly stuck to the plastic. If you don’t have any M.E.K., or you don’t want to use this highly volatile adhesive, then simply stick the piece of plastic to the glazing bar cut-out around its periphery with Bostik, being careful not to get the adhesive on the clear area of the glazing material. The bars won’t be stuck to the plastic, but I have a work-round for this.



If you are not going to use M.E.K., you can secure the glazing bars to the plastic sheet by turning the model face upwards, and applying well diluted matt acrylic varnish to the front surface of the ‘glass’. It will flow under the photo paper and when dry will hold the delicate bars in place. If it doesn’t flow well enough and looks too thick or clumsy, gently dilute it, in place, with a little clean water. It will also form a little fillet beside each bar which when dry gives the illusion that the glass has been puttied in. I did this as well as using M.E.K. to secure the plastic sheet. A few well-placed scratches in the dry varnish neatly represented cracked glass and the slight loss of opacity gave the realistic dirty weathered window effect you’d expect to find on an industrial building.



The upper double thickness of the reinforcing bricks courses I made from medium thickness card covered with brick paper cut to shape when the Pritt-stik was completely dry.  The upper edge of the horizontal element I cut at 45 degrees so as to shed rainwater. Having secured them to the face of the building with P.V.A. I carefully burnished the area of the joint lines with the shiny end of my scalpel handle. The burnishing action, gentle pressure with side-to-side friction, spreads the face of the paper to close up any tiny gaps to make the joint as neat as possible. The string course below this element I represented by sticking a piece of soldier course paper to a piece of thin card and cutting off a 3mm wide strip.






I printed out the door onto plain paper and stuck it to a piece of cereal packet before gluing it to the rear face of the front wall leaving a 5mm overlap. If you wished, you could cut it down the middle and leave one half drawn back as though open a couple of feet. The rolled steel joists over the window and door I made by sticking on pieces of a suitably butchered coffee stirrer. 




The roof was to be covered with corrugated asbestos sheeting. The real thing had corrugations approximately 6” wide, so I chose to represent it with material won from the finely corrugated cardboard that once contained my dishwasher tablets. I soaked a piece in cold water for approximately 5 minutes until it began to delaminate, then separated the smooth brown inner layer from the corrugated layer, leaving the corrugated material stuck to the stiffer printed outer card.   I let the pieces dry before use, on a piece of glass, covered with a dry tea towel and lightly weighed down with a flat weight to prevent them curling up.





At a scale 10ft (40mm) distances I carefully undercut the roof covering pieces at an angle to represent the individual sheets of asbestos. I imitated the overlap of the sheets by slightly opening up the cut with the awl point and bending the ‘sheet’ back and forth very slightly before gluing them in place on the square supporting gussets I had earlier fixed along the top of the wall. This is one of the few occasions I used super-glue, as the P.V.A. can take a little while to dry on glossy printed card and I didn’t want the springy roof coverings to dry crookedly. In real life the ridge capping was made in 5-6ft long moulded pieces of asbestos cement compound so I modelled it with a piece of good quality writing paper soaked in dilute P.V.A. until it would squash and deform over the joint between the two roof sections. I carefully and repeatedly pressed it with the points of a pair of appropriately adjusted school dividers. When dry I sprayed the roof with acrylic car primer using two different coloured sprays to give the illusion that one sheet has been recently replaced.







I next added the lower reinforcing wall, cut from medium card. The top of this was cut at 45 degrees to shed rainwater, and covered with a strip of brick paper that included a soldier course. Luckily, Scalescenes paper includes such an edge on each download. I burnished the edges of the brick paper to give a consistent sharp angle to the top edge before mitring it very carefully around the corners.

In the photo below you can see a weathered version of the building. The door in this case has been distressed by rubbing the matt photopaper VERY lightly with a medium sandpaper and scratching it with a scalpel. The lower wall has been scratched away to below the depth of the paper and 'dirty' colour brushed moistly on the scratched area. A corner brick has been cut away slightly and painted up.











I printed the ventilator detail on photo paper and carefully undercut the top layer, and teased up the cut edge to give the impression of individual louvered slats before cutting it out and gluing it in place. Don’t worry if it looks a little rough at first, the paint applied during weathering and the touching up will make it look a lot better.




More weathering detail





The whole structure was then subjected to a moderate amount of weathering treatment with watercolours, gutters and down pipes from the Peco range added and the whole finally sprayed with a matt acrylic varnish. I specifically did not neglect to treat the undersides of the walls, as if they are subsequently wetted during other scenic work, they could swell and delaminate, or allow the moisture to soak up the walls and spoil the brick paper finish.







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 Posted: Tue Dec 16th, 2008 06:13 pm
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Gwent Rail
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Thanks Doug, that's one hell of a "How to" :exclam:exclam  As I suspected, there's a lot more detail in that than was published in Hornby magazine. A real top quality addition to the forum archives. Knowing Bob, there'll soon be a reference to this one in the index :exclam

Thanks again for your response :thumbs:thumbs

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 Posted: Tue Dec 16th, 2008 07:16 pm
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sparky
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Doug ,That was marvelous . I  learned a lot there .:HappyVery many thanks



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 Posted: Tue Dec 16th, 2008 07:31 pm
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Kevr
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 An excellent "how to". :doublethumb



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 Posted: Tue Dec 16th, 2008 07:40 pm
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Sol
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For those who have not got the Hornby mag, this is really better as Jeff said, more info added. I suspect some editorial work was done by the magazine editor.

Saved this to my Modelling section on my PC as well.

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 Posted: Tue Dec 16th, 2008 08:10 pm
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rector
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:thumbs:thumbs:thumbs:thumbs:thumbs;-)

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 Posted: Tue Dec 16th, 2008 10:36 pm
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MikeC
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WOW What a great reference source this is. Many thanks, Doug.

Mike

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 Posted: Wed Dec 17th, 2008 12:16 am
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My thanks also for information clearly presented and easily understood.

I do use card outside though ttry to keep it to a minimum but in the absence of many other realistic options I now have a ready-reference I can come to when I need to build some structures not otherwise readily available.

 

:doublethumb

 

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 Posted: Wed Dec 17th, 2008 12:29 am
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MaxSouthOz
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and another WOW from me.  Great how to . . .



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 Posted: Wed Dec 17th, 2008 03:00 am
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Lawrence
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Brilliant, going to print that out and keep it :thumbs

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 Posted: Wed Dec 17th, 2008 03:08 am
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Perry
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Cheers, Doug.

Although I'm not really a card building 'fan' I am very impressed with the results your techniques produce.

Thank you for a really good, detailed and informative 'HowTo'. Just the sort of thing we like on this forum. :thumbs

Perry



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 Posted: Wed Dec 17th, 2008 04:34 am
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Yet another cracker for the Forum Index. Cheers Doug.



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 Posted: Wed Dec 17th, 2008 04:37 am
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Alan
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Thanks Doug

:doublethumb:doublethumb

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 Posted: Wed Dec 17th, 2008 12:44 pm
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Wonderful Doug, thank you very much.
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 Posted: Wed Dec 17th, 2008 02:12 pm
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:oops::oops::oops::oops::oops::oops::oops::oops:

I'm very grateful for your kind remarks.  I'll have to get a bigger door to my office to get my head out....:lol:



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 Posted: Wed Dec 17th, 2008 02:16 pm
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henryparrot
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Nice Thread Doug

On the strength of your thread i will now try and do my walling from card

cheers brian

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 Posted: Wed Dec 17th, 2008 02:23 pm
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georgejacksongenius
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Marvelous stuff!!!.......I'm in absolute awe! I'll have to try something like this...it looks amazing.Great work,Doug.

Cheers.John.B.:thumbs

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 Posted: Wed Dec 17th, 2008 03:48 pm
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Fabulous work .... this is worth keeping. Need to file it

Thanks again

Matt

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 Posted: Wed Dec 17th, 2008 03:55 pm
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Excellent - combined with the 'weathering' article they make a very useful reference - cheers!!:doublethumb

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 Posted: Wed Dec 17th, 2008 05:04 pm
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it must be good, it made me go out and spend my hard earned on
textured paper and some pastel paints!!!

:doublethumb:thumbs:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::cool:

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 Posted: Fri Dec 19th, 2008 10:00 am
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Informative, and nicely paced, Doug. A good reference to go back to when I get on with my buildings. Thanks.



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 Posted: Fri Dec 19th, 2008 12:19 pm
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Oh boy, oh boy DD !!!:doublethumb:doublethumb:doublethumb

Excellent stuff however, like our other skilled modellers, you do tend to make it seem "easy".  I'm sure those results can only be achieved after many years of practice - hope I've got the time left !!:roll::roll::roll:



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What can I say that everyone else hasn't already said?

I will say this, I will now consider card where before I would not!

It sure looks REAL to me!

Great thread Doug, thanks!

Wayne



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henryparrot
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Doug

That grey backing card you use is pretty thick stuff is that something that is sold at a craft shop in sheets or something?

cheers Brian

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Love it, brilliant, i reckon this shall be poped into my file for future reference thanks.

Phill

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 Posted: Mon Dec 22nd, 2008 06:23 am
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Chubber
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henryparrot wrote: Doug

That grey backing card you use is pretty thick stuff is that something that is sold at a craft shop in sheets or something?

cheers Brian


Brian, It is often the backing sheet for something like a calendar, as in this case. I can buy it here in 3mm in sheets at 'craft' shops. This is a handy thickness for OO as it scales up to 9", great for old fashioned kerb stone thickness, and for stretcher bond walls.

Doug



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 Posted: Wed May 13th, 2009 03:46 am
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:wowNow to liberate some calenders from the medical secretaries.



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If members want to refresh their memory or haven't read the article it's here, out of the Index :

http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=3290&forum_id=14



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 Posted: Wed May 13th, 2009 05:52 am
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Petermac
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If you watch out for the current issue of Hornby Mag, I think "our Doug" has done an article on card modelling - or so it said last month - my current issue hasn't arrived yet. :roll::roll:



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 Posted: Thu May 14th, 2009 05:36 am
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I must have missed this during the Christmas rush in the shops last year.... very glad that it has resurfaced again.
Wonderful stuff.
Many thanks.



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Cobber 55
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May I add my belated thanks for this very well explained thread. Most excellent modelling. Thanks Doug.

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 Posted: Sun Oct 31st, 2010 07:20 am
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Can I add a 'me too' to those other comments. That is an excellent article, I've still got so much to learn.



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 Posted: Sun Oct 31st, 2010 07:48 am
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Absolutely. Even though card modelling is not ideal for my outdoors situation there is no harm whatsoever in learning technique.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 18th, 2011 10:09 am
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Great work, fine workmanship. Applause!

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 Posted: Tue Feb 14th, 2012 09:05 am
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Following the replies posted at the end of John Dew's "Large station roof" thread, I'm bumping this thread again so that any comments/hints and tips regarding building Scalescenes kits, or indeed, card modelling in general,  can be made here.

This will hopefully keep John's excellent build thread "clean".



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 Posted: Tue Feb 14th, 2012 11:24 am
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Peter, do you want me to copy and paste the bit from the end of John's thread here?

Doug



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 Posted: Tue Feb 14th, 2012 11:59 am
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Petermac
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That would be very useful Doug, then we can delete the post on John's thread.  I'm not sure you can do that - I tried on the "Photos" thread although I tried "move" rather than copy/paste.



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 Posted: Tue Feb 14th, 2012 03:51 pm
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I have been asked by my chum Les to do a 'How-to' and thought it could go on to this thread to see if it helps someone else.

First, the construction of a loco shed carcase.......







In a model like this where there are a lot of folded/wrapped corners very prominently of display is to scribe the inside AND outside of every fold/wrap so that when they are pressed together they meet at true square corners........

 




Scribing the outside/face fold


 

 



Scribing the inside/back face fold
using one of my most important and valuable tools....a little square of MDF. I have a bigger one for bigger openings and find them invaluable for all sorts of things.

 

 



The resultant square, sharp corner. Bear in mind even in extreme close up, it still looks like a brick wall. From normal viewing distance the sharp straight lines reinforce the effect, and you can see that if another papered sheet were glued to the back of this one, there would be no wonky rounded edge to give away the fact that they are two pieces, see the the wall below.




 

 

 

Generally, I use 2mm pasteboard as a carcase, something cheap and strong, and plenty of 'bracing' with the same material, see here the back view of a warehouse and glue it with PVA. If I'm not happy with a brace, I'll add a fillet or two of card here and there. The chimney stacks are cut from pine, first covered, then glued into place on the outside walls before the adjacent bracing being added to sandwich them.





This is straight out of John Ahearn's book Chapter XIV 'Low Relief Modelling'.


Another of my favourite materials is Cornflake Packet card. Not all cornflake packets are created equal, the large U.K. [1kg] packets are of a white backed card, about 0.6mm thick and are my preference.



I have used it here, underneath the Scalescenes TX18 Grey Tiles paper on the model above so that the viewer doesn't see a 2mm thick tile edge.





I often refer to 'Cartridge' paper, this is just a good quality acid free paper, usually sold for sketching, about 100gm/m2 and I use it for false lintels, stuck onto the walls above windows, doors etc. It takes watercolour well for weathering, and its very slightly grainy surface takes weathering powder/pastel dust extremley well. It also is strong enough to take a bit of punishment without tearing, like this chimney wrapper which needed to be gently pressed and manipulated whilst wet with PVA to form around the angled chimney base which was carved from pine. Ordinary paper would have torn. I've  just printed off half a sheet of this for this sort of job. Careful scoring will allow all sorts of liberties with it.




In the same picture you can see another useful card, on top of the pillars. This is 3mm pasteboard, it scales up to 9" in 1/76th and so represent the length of a brick. Used by picture framers to make deep mount surrounds it is ideal for anything that needs to look 'one brick thick' like an average brick wall. !/8th Balsa wood does the same job quite well, too., that's what I used for the mill-yard walls above, and below, the real thing I used for reference.





I hope this latest addition to the thread helps!

Doug



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'You may share the labours of the great, but you will not share the spoil...' Aesop's Fables

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 Posted: Wed Feb 15th, 2012 12:17 am
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Khris
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This really is a GREAT presentation, and excellently presented.

Khris

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MaxSouthOz
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Don't say that, Khris.  He'll be expecting another you know what . . .  an ES   sshhhh   :roll:



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 Posted: Wed Feb 15th, 2012 02:35 am
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I am waiting for his forthcoming book ( well, he should put pen & pencil to paper !)



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 Posted: Wed Feb 15th, 2012 03:50 am
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Sol wrote: I am waiting for his forthcoming book ( well, he should put pen & pencil to paper !)
I definitely agree with that Sol and .................... it will proably be a hard backed edition..................................:roll::roll::roll::thumbs



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 Posted: Wed Feb 15th, 2012 12:19 pm
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Petermac
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A question Doug.................

In Photo 6 of your post 38 (your last post), the lead valleys between the main roof and gable roof appear to be below the tiles - as in the prototype.

How do you do this ?  Do you first cover the roof with a sub-base of thin card, then add the valleys then re-clad with the outer roof layer ?  I can't think of another way because the paper tiles themselves wouldn't be thick enough to create that "underneath" effect that the valleys have.

I'm asking now because my terraced houses/shops have similar valleys on the rear rooves.



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 Posted: Wed Feb 15th, 2012 01:03 pm
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Hi, Peter,

Is it this one you are refering to? If so, I get the 'flashing below the slates' effect by laying the slate paper onto a piece of cornoflako-paketo and gluing this to the 2mm under-roof. Anything with valleys I tend to do like this, because they are bu%%ers to paper, preferring to do them flat on the bench in front of me with a few guidelines drawn onto the card. I stick the paper to the plain, unprinted side. It also gives a realistic thin edge to the roof surface. The flashing is either grey paint or Scalescenes paper.





I used the same method with John's 'Country Pub', printing the tile paper separately and applying it as panels to the roof. It also gives you chance to fudge the join a little :). No flashing under this one, just black paint.



 

Hope that helps,

 

Doug



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 Posted: Wed Feb 15th, 2012 01:51 pm
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Petermac
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Thanks Doug - it does indeed help. :thumbs

One of my rooves will be "normal" but the rest will have "sunken" valleys.  Either that, or I scrap the roof I've just done although not fitted yet ..............:hmm



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 Posted: Wed Feb 15th, 2012 03:09 pm
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georgejacksongenius
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Doug,
        Regarding what Sol suggests about writing a book,how about some videos of you working?
I was rivetted with your talk at Carn Brea,and I  think you could make an extremely useful,watchable and COMMERCIAL dvd about your Cornflake Adventures.
        I'd definately go out and buy a copy,and I'm sure many others would.And the added bonus for you would be that it would keep you in cardboard for years to come!!!
        G'wan,g'wan,g'wan........

Cheers,John.B.:thumbs

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 Posted: Wed Feb 15th, 2012 03:34 pm
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Chubber
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Thank you, John, I'm sort of thinking about an 'E-Book'.......

 

Hhhm.....

 

Doug



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'You may share the labours of the great, but you will not share the spoil...' Aesop's Fables

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 Posted: Wed Feb 15th, 2012 03:45 pm
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Stubby47
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You should make a follow-up to John Ahern's book, in the same style but with your own twist.



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 Posted: Thu Feb 16th, 2012 12:17 am
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Khris
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Doug,
You haven't got time to be sort of thinking :It's a no no           ....start writing  :mutley

In all seriousness you do manage to explain things well via the written word.
Look forward to your e book.

Khris

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 Posted: Fri Feb 17th, 2012 06:20 pm
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Khris
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Damned if I could work out how the window openings were cut out.
Apart from another hiccup I have made on the model I am working on (cut paper to short) :brickwall

I have stripped and reglued the sides (window layer) and thought I would check on Doug drawing explanations.
When some dimwit :pathead had forgotten it would be covered by the sills so you cut them straight across and NOT on an angle to the corner like I did in the first disastrous instance.

Khris


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