Cheap Tips for On30 Modelers


Tips for using inexpensive, commonly available materials for On30 modeling


A Compendium of "Cheap" Modeling Tips from Fellow Conspirators

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From: Tom Houle

1) Painting basswood structures - I use Delta Ceramcoat acrylic 
paints. Delta has tons of colors in many useful railroad hues. 
A 2 oz. bottle costs like 89 cents and brushes on beautifully right 
out of the bottle. It covers basswood, Bristol and Strathmore board,
and other porous mediums. It can be thinned to a wash for weathering
and staining. Its available at every craft store.
 
2) Spray Primers - I use cheapo spray cans of oxide red, gray, and
black primer, which I buy on sale for a buck or two at the big boxes
and Ace Hardware for spraying cars, structures, whatever. Finish 
ranges from flat to a slight sheen. Every can I've bought was 
compatible with Testors Dull Cote. But test first. Yes, you can get 
a nice even coat from these big cans but you gotta be careful.
 
3) Styrene For Sale Signs - Excellent material for larger Styrene 
sheet projects. Turn the printing in so you can't see it.
 
4) Sandpaper Asphault Shingles - 180 grit black or whatever. Cut 
into 3/8" strips, half of the strip is covered with next shingle 
layer. I slit mine every scale 9 -12", and attach with Goo or 
whatever. I have brush painted the sandpaper with thinned Floquil 
and simply drybrushed to get various weathered effects. Experiment 
with different grits and colors. Could also be used for asphault 
siding. 

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From: Felix (mainetraine)

Have had some fun using pasta. It comes in lots of shapes and sizes, 
softens for shaping then hardens as it dries, and is cheap and - 
should there by any left over - edible.

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From: Al Askerberg 
Hi all,
Here are some potentially useful bashing and scratching factoids:
One inch in 1/48 scale equals approximately 0.020" (12" = 0.24')
Manila folder material measures 0.010" or 1/2" in O scale.
Manila folder material takes rivet impressions very much like styrene.  It
also could be used as a spacer when building wood cars or structures using
0.010 clear styrene for windows as the manila will can be glued to the wood
while the styrene "floats" in a wood laminate sandwich.
Plastruct now has hexagonal rod available.  Used alone, or in combination
with smaller diameter rod, this material can be used to represent nuts and
bolts.
Corrugated mylar party streamers can be used for corrugated siding in the
larger scales.
This would be tedious, but one could cut soda straws to the correct length,
then split them with a razor blade, paint them orange, and you have Spanish
roof tiles in the larger scales.  Then one could lay them on a roof ala the
prototype (I said it would be tedious).
Some toys on the market contain sound chips.  Some of these might be useful
in layout scenery.
Can you add anything intereting to this list?
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From: KKL7002@aol.com
Re: Log source
        You don't need to buy logs. Just go out in your yard or local wooded
area and gather them up from dead fall. Go home and let them dry out, cut
them to lenght and you have cheap log loads for your cars. We do!
Kevin Kline
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From: Al Askerberg 
Another good source of logs is available in our area at Franks Nursery and,
I believe, at other craft stores such as Michaels.  I believe it is a type
of grape vine from China that is sold as decorations in various shapes such
as wreaths.  In cross-section they look very realistic, and they make
excellent split rail fences.  And the price is right.
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From: Al Askerberg 
You wrote:
>   Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999 09:01:33 EST
>   From: THoule1390@cs.com
>Subject: Re: FWIW Factoids
>
>Al,
>I have successfully used bond paper cut into into 1/4" strips and then
>randomly notched with a #11 X-Acto blade to simulate cedar shakes in O
scale.
>The strips are overlapped 1/16" leaving 3/16" or 9" exposed. Painted grimy
>black and then high-lited with dry-brushed streaks of dark brown and silver,
>the effect is quite good. In fact on my layout I can no longer tell the
paper
>shingles from the real cedar shakes on other parts of the layout. And paper
>is a lot less expensive.
>Tom Houle
>
>
That sounds like an excellent technique that I'm going to try on the little
flagstop station I'm planning to build.
It also reminds me a tip I was given for shingles.  Fiskar now makes a
variety of pinking shears, two of which are useful for cutting Victorian
shingles.  The diamond cut and scallop cut could both be useful.  The
shears sell in this area for about \$5 at discount stores.
It was suggested to me that I use 0.010" styrene for the shingles, cutting
strips with the shears and then overlapping the strips when laying them.
As I type this, however, it occured to me that the styrene lacks texture.
Perhaps fabric would work well.  The weave might be just about right for
texture, and the material would drape easily on the roof.  After painting
it with flat latex and weathering with chaulk, I bet it would look
terrific.  I'll have to give it a try.
Al Askerberg
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From: Al Askerberg 
You can make rivet strips rather easily by using a pounce wheel (pointed
gear wheel mounted on a handle) available from MicroMark and some notions
stores.  Use sheet styrene, .010" thickness works well, placed over a piece
of cardboard from a tablet and emboss the rivets with the pounce wheel
following a straight edge as a guide.  You could also use a french curve or
some other template as a guide for the pounce wheel.  After the rivets are
embossed, scribe and break the styrene on either side of the rivets.  After
a little practice, you will make perfect rivet strips - er, every other
time.  I make outside corner braces this way by scribing a double row of
rivets and carefully bending the strip between the two rivet rows.  This is
a bit tricky to get it even, so you might have to try several times to get
it right.  Don't worry about the waste of styrene.  Simply use the scraps
to make your own filler or heavy cement by dissolving cut up scraps in MEK.
Hey, anybody else got some neat bashing and scratching tips to share?
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From: Al Askerberg 
Source for Corrugated Siding:
I use a product I obtained in a party supply store called Sophisti-Crepe
metallic party streamer for about \$3.  It is 1.75 in. wide by 60 ft. long.
I surmise it is Mylar or some similar material.  The corrugations scale to
about 3" and it takes airbrushing with waterbased acrylics just fine.
According to the package, the material is also available in 1.75 in x 200
ft. rolls and 41"x25' although I have not seen them.
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From: THoule1390@cs.com
Al,
I have successfully used bond paper cut into into 1/4" strips and then
randomly notched with a #11 X-Acto blade to simulate cedar shakes in O scale.
The strips are overlapped 1/16" leaving 3/16" or 9" exposed. Painted grimy
black and then high-lited with dry-brushed streaks of dark brown and silver,
the effect is quite good. In fact on my layout I can no longer tell the paper
shingles from the real cedar shakes on other parts of the layout. And paper
is a lot less expensive.
Tom Houle
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From: Rick Perry 
>It was suggested to me that I use 0.010" styrene for the shingles, cutting
>strips with the shears and then overlapping the strips when laying them.
>As I type this, however, it occured to me that the styrene lacks texture.
>
>Al Askerberg
Al,
On styrene use a rather coarse sand paper(40-60 grit) and brush the styrene
in direction of grain desired. Then come back with some fine(400-600 grit)
sandpaper and lightly sand only the highest points. With practice this
makes for a good woodgrain in styrene. Try it and let me know how you like
it. I have also used a filecard(tool for cleaning files) to put in grain on
styrene and also wood. Both methods do not put in those horrible parrallel
grooves you get from xacto and other saw blades.
Rick Perry
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From: Larry Rickert 
Here are some 'quickies' from various sources:
Use wooden chopsticks for poles/pilings
Use wooden coffee stirrers for wood planks
Use aquarium gravel for ground cover, rock/ore loads, etc.
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Changes last made on: November 10, 2004

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