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The Harbour Office - Scratchbuilding. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Fri Jul 30th, 2010 09:30 pm
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Chubber
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I have started this thread to illustrate the building of a classic piece of railway modelling, namely the Harbour Office shown in John Ahern’s ‘Miniature Building Construction’* first published by Percival Marshall in 1939. It is to be built in three-quarter relief in 4mm-1/76th scale and I intend to include production of a working drawing, drawing a development of the hipped roof, applying texture sheets and forming cornices together with scratch-building Georgian arch-topped and square sash windows mainly in card and paper with some wooden components.
I thank Mrs Celia V Russell and Mrs Eunice Fells for their permission to reproduce material from the book, and Mr Gerald Russell for his biographical assistance.
John Henry ‘Jack’ Ahern lived with his wife Gladys in the 1930s in St John’s Wood London behind the Lords Cricket ground and worked in the insurance business. They were members of the Fabian Society, and associates of H.G. Wells, and Gladys produced illustrations for some of his books. Taking early retirement, he set about building a model railway in the basement. Madder Valley now on permanent exhibition at Pendon ^ following his death in 1961. 
That a book first published in 1939 was re-printed in 1979 speaks volumes for its value to modellers. Printed in a pre-plastic age, before the inception of ‘Hobby Shops’ and ‘Craft Centres’ the illustration below detailing the use and sharpening of the principal cutting tool, a razor blade, brings home how well served modellers are today.


 
Copyright CV Russell and E Fells                                                                                                         Copyright CV Russell and E Fells

The use of a computer drawing system alone saves hours of drawing and scaling of components although ‘brick’ papers were available for a short while until the stringencies introduced by WW2 and which lasted for years afterwards made sourcing modelling material difficult. The majority of materials were household items, sourced from stationers and hardware shops. It makes the building of the wonderful street scene below even more remarkable, especially in the ‘newfangled’ 4mm/1ft scale, as model railways until then had been in large gauges and strictly the preserve of the wealthy.



Copyright CV Russell and E Fells

Failing to plan is, as everyone knows, planning to fail, so the first thing needed is a plan. Comparing the original drawing with another scaled drawing in the book, in this case a small stone-built warehouse, I drew several pictures of the Harbour Office on graph paper next to one of the warehouse which I knew to be 50 foot long until it 'looked' right. Then, on fine graph paper I drew a full size picture from which I could size the various elements both with dividers and by reference to the 40mm/10ft scale proportion. 

Y.M.R. members are very welcome to make any non-profit use of any of my own drawings but I earnestly ask you not to reproduce any of the original drawings or illustrations.


Copyright D Dickson

Suitable ready made plastic window frames are not to be found for the upper storey so I drew a series of pictures to help me understand their geometry, eventually discovering that by dividing them into thirds vertically gives the right impression. Having printed them out on satin photo-paper I set to and cut out the first set. I need to cut out 7 before I managed three presentable specimens, only to find that with glazing bars of 0.5mm they looked too clumsy so repeated the exercise at approximately 0.3mm and this time did it after 4 attempts. The use of satin paper is recommended as gloss papers tend to de-laminate whilst being cut. As they fit an opening only 20mm high they were quite fiddly and I needed to hone the scalpel blade down to half thickness on fine wet-and-dry paper to achieve this modest level of success.
A couple of useful tips here is to align and then multi-print the drawings before using a steel rule along several windows. Start to cut from the left-hand corner of every pane with the ruler covering the glazing bars across the sheet, then up to the next row of panes, before turning the sheet 90 degrees and repeating the exercise until all four sides of each pane are cut almost to their right-hand extremities. Then, turn the whole sheet over and extend the cut lines into the corners. Do not 'pull' out any pieces reluctant to come out, you will left with a little feather of paper which you will be tempted to cut out and in so doing cut through a glazing bar.
Once you have one you are happy with, give it a coat of matt acrylic varnish to seal the cut edges of the paper to prevent weathering paints from de-laminating them and to strengthen the paper.





Here they are, mounted in a piece of card as a mock-up.  They will later be stuck to CD case material using MEK, which will evaporate leaving the plastic clear, before being glued to the inside of the building.




My next task will be the '6 over 6' Georgian sash window for the ground floor. I shall try to cut separate upper and lower sashes, glazing each with doubled over Sellotape so that it can be modelled partly open.




*Miniature Building Construction: an Architectural Guide for Modellers  by John Henry Ahern ISBN: 0852426860 / ISBN-13: 9780852426869.]
 
^http://www.pendonmuseum.com/about/madder.php
















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 Posted: Fri Jul 30th, 2010 09:47 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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This going to be very interesting, doofer.  Thank you.  :thumbs



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 Posted: Fri Jul 30th, 2010 09:55 pm
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Wheeltapper
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Doof

In my mind John Ahern was probably one of the greatest modellers of all time and the Madder Valley decades ahead of its time.

With your model buildings skill you are probably the very best person on this forum to produce a model that will do justice to his memory.

I am really looking forward to following this thread.



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 Posted: Fri Jul 30th, 2010 09:55 pm
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ddolfelin
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Well done as always.



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 Posted: Fri Jul 30th, 2010 09:55 pm
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Gwent Rail
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Here's one that's going to be well worth following!

I'll be very interested to see this develop, Doug. Please go in to as much detail as you can manage, this is one plasticard scratchbuilder who's going to have a go in card after the show - just for fun. :thumbs:thumbs

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 Posted: Fri Jul 30th, 2010 11:05 pm
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Petermac
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If this one turns out half as good as those I saw, and I'm sure it will, it will be some building !!

Looking at those windows Doug and your description of how you did them, I'd be wishing they would bring the window tax back !!!

Even honing a scalpel blade to half it's normal width is like talking quantum physics to me - I can hardly see them fresh from the packet :shock::shock::shock:

I know I'm not going to be the only one glued to this thread. :cheers



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 Posted: Fri Jul 30th, 2010 11:32 pm
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rector
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Another great thread to follow. Yet that old photo of a "temperance hotel" makes my hands shake.



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 Posted: Sat Jul 31st, 2010 08:41 am
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owen69
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will follow with great interest, i have some old modelling books and have always been fascinated wth the techniques
they used .

:hmm:lol::lol::cool:

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 Posted: Sat Jul 31st, 2010 08:57 am
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ddolfelin
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Don't forget the sixteen Georgian windows around the back, Doofer.
The panes are mounted in rows of 5 x 10.
Each pane measures 5" x 4" and the window bars are 0.125" actual size to view.

Actually, I suppose I'm being a pain myself - this is a joke.

Do you have rear detail?



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 Posted: Sat Jul 31st, 2010 09:59 am
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Chubber
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ddolfelin wrote:

Do you have rear detail?


How dare you Sir, we hardly know one another!!!!



Rear-guarding Doofer



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 Posted: Sat Jul 31st, 2010 10:03 am
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ddolfelin
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:It's a no no


I was waiting for that!



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 Posted: Sat Jul 31st, 2010 05:01 pm
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Chubber
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Thank you for your encouragement, after several false starts I've achieved a passable window for the ground floor. Again, printed onto satin photo paper and cut out carefully, one with the lower sash cut out, one with the upper sash cut out and one with both sashes cut out to leave the 'frame'. The fourth was saved for the almost inevitable slip-up. The background colour is deliberately pale grey, so that any slight errors in cutting out don't show up too glaringly as they would if they were printed in black ink.




Then I cut some pieces of Sellotape to fit behind the panes, covered them 'sticky to sticky' face with other pieces, leaving just enough overlap to stick them to the back of the cut-outs and sandwiched them together holding them along the top edge with a bulldog clip whilst I applied PVA between the lower edges where needed, then gluing the top edges once the top had stuck fast.


Shown here in the cardboard mock-up wall, covered roughly with some Scalescenes brick paper. A 'stone' window sill would be fitted in the lower part of the square opening.





I'm off to the beach at Royan for a few days camping, I'm meeting up with old chums and their kids, otherwise I wouldn't contemplate going near the coast during the French holiday season! More 'Harbour Office' when I get back.

Doug









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 Posted: Sat Jul 31st, 2010 07:26 pm
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Petermac
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Lovely modelling - those sashes are incredible !!!

Have a great trip to Royan Doug.  Just chill out for a few days whilst honing your next batch of blades. :cheers



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 Posted: Sat Jul 31st, 2010 08:34 pm
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georgejacksongenius
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Superb stuff,Doug.I can see you making a few converts to card modelling with this thread!
(Me included!)

Cheers,John.B.:thumbs

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 Posted: Sat Jul 31st, 2010 11:37 pm
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I like the Sellotape idea, Doug.  It will look like the older type of glass.  :thumbs



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 Posted: Sun Aug 8th, 2010 03:39 pm
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Chubber
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Well, having had time to do a little more research into prototypical building construction, Mr Ahern’s drawing is a little ambiguous. The building as drawn was possibly pre-Georgian, of brick construction in the lower storey and timber above and the lower front elevation rendered in two thicknesses.  The front overhang was probably clad with ‘mechanical tiles’ later to ‘modernise’ it or to render it less vulnerable to the weather. In order to do so, the original [Georgian?] windows would have needed shipping further out-board or replaced entirely, perhaps explaining why they differ from the other two sash windows shown. The hipped roof, too, raises concerns because the upper cornice needs a system of draining the rainwater and I can find no satisfactory example in my Vols. 1-3 of McKay’s ‘Building Construction’.
 
Accordingly, I shall attribute the result to the local builder, Mister Daveth Reckly!
 
 
Hipped roof construction.
 
Here is a method of drawing the development for a simple hipped roof, from a scale drawing of the side and end elevations. With those two drawings, and a pair of compasses you will be able to measure the length of the ridge, [D-A], the length of the lower sides and ends, [E-C, C-B] and the distance down the slope of the roof to the lower edge, [A-B]. Notice that the distance G-F, the height of the roof is much less than the length of the slope, A-C.







Start by drawing three parallel lines, slightly longer than E-C and the distance A-C apart. In the middle of the middle line mark the length of the ridge D-A and divide it by two, marking the point G.
 
Using a set square [or by construction] draw a line at right angles from point G such that it cuts the two outer lines.
 
From the point where this line cuts the upper and lower line mark out half the distance E-C on either side to give points V,W,Y and Z and join them as shown, D-V,D-W,A-Y and A-Z.
 
From A scribe an arc of length A-Y and from Z an arc of length B-C.
 
Where they cross is point X. Join points A-X.
 
Repeat this exercise at the other end and you will have a pattern, which when folded up will look exactly like the side and end elevations of your building.

In constructing a hipped roof, I prefer to paste the pattern to 2mm card, and when dry cut it out as four separate parts of which I lay out three pieces and fasten them together from the inside with old-fashioned brown parcel tape [The licky-sticky type....yech...] ensuring they are firmly pressed together as the tape is applied. Then I cut the fourth strip, stick it carefully to one side of the remaining joint and allow to dry before folding up into a 3-D shape and sticking the last joint as shown below.



I hope that I have explained that well enough, if not please shout out!


Doug



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 Posted: Sun Aug 8th, 2010 06:01 pm
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Gwent Rail
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As part of my planning for the show, I've been involved with getting the necessary speakers for our seminars.

One of the concerning things has been how we could replace any speaker that became ill or otherwise unavailable before his presentation.

This thread has given me what could well be the answer - perhaps Doug could be prepaired to step in with a short presentation on card modelling (maybe including a short demo) :exclam:exclam  Perhaps if nobody cries off, we could get Doug to do his pitch on Sunday afternoon instead / as well as the question & answer session.

Up for it Doof :question:question:question

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 Posted: Sun Aug 8th, 2010 07:58 pm
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Chubber
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:shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock::shock:

Jeff, I'm flattered!

That said, for 'Lifeboats' and 'H4H' I'd do anything within my scope that's honest, decent and legal, but for the life of me I can't think  of much to say or demonstrate that lots of folks already do/know?

If you think the idea has legs then I'm up for it, I just need some inspiration and a 'game plan'......


Amazed Doofer



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 Posted: Sun Aug 8th, 2010 10:22 pm
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Sol
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Doof', demonstrating to people in front of their eyes is sure to sink in far better than what one reads & will in most cases, help what they have read be understood better.

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 Posted: Mon Aug 9th, 2010 08:00 am
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ddolfelin
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That's a great idea.
Will there be a backing group?

Back to the roof:
How do you deal with the edges topside, Doof?



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