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Thread: Builder's Railroad Project: in the Beginning...

  1. #1336
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    What I think you should try, and I will try this on Thursday or Friday is this. Get the clay on the armature, smooth it out into a general torso with legs. Then use whatever tools you have on hand in the shop, essentially carve and shape the clay into the figure with clothes. Don’t try the layer method you have been doing. Use the tools to take away clay to get to the general shape. Once you’re close, keep carving to create the edges of the suit, pants, dress or whatever.

    Since I have been saying to myself for years I need to do this myself, now is the time since it can possibly help someone else. I’d say I’m no pro at this so I have a learning curve as well. How tall are your figures so I can do what you are doing? I’ll post pics of my progress.

  2. #1337
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    the man is 1.5" (6 feet). I'm thinking you're right since Sculpey really doesn't hold together in thin sections and 1:48 is nothing but thin sections. Give it a shot and let me know how it works out.

  3. #1338
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    I started on it Wednesday night. I found a gent wearing a suit and fedora online so I referenced that and this one figure I had on hand. From the blob, I use the razor and exacto and started slicing off clay. You can see the excess I sliced off in some of the pictures. Sliced off very tiny sections at a time. You can also use the tools to smoosh the clay into a different spot or blend bumps together. I used the razor at a near horizontal position to the clay to smoosh the clay around. For the underarms and between the legs, just carefully sliced away ever so little. I used another pick (not pictured) to blend the underarms. This is as far as I got tonight, will continue on Thursday daytime.
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  4. #1339
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    More pics. I used Romex wire again, soldered 2 pieces together as you can see. Works great but for this small of a figure need to use something smaller. This took close to an hour and a half to get to this point.
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    Last edited by Ken_NJ; 06 Sep 18, at 06:09.

  5. #1340
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    Good start. Smaller will definitely be harder since every piece you slice off represents so much more of the figure.

  6. #1341
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    New day new tactic. Made a new armature ‘guy sitting at bar’. Bulking it up now, pics later today. Found out there is something called Sculpey Firm, have to look into it. Also found something called Procreate clay, another look into.

    http://sculpt.com/catalog_98/clay/ProCreate.htm

  7. #1342
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    New armature for a person sitting at a bar.
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  8. #1343
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    Bulking up the clay. Used a nail head and the side of the nail to mush the added clay into the mass. Rolling the nail on the clay smooths it out.

    I have to reduce the picture pixel size. Not going to bother correcting the orientantion.
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  9. #1344
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    Making progress. Does not look to good now but its getting better.
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  10. #1345
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    NH: Outside Steps Completed

    The reason for using the layer technique is that you can stabilize each part before you go on. I find that every time I touch something I've finished I misshape it and ruin what I've already done. I'm interested to see how you're going to do on this score. Also, anything you do won't help me unless you do it in 1:48. As soon as you get bigger and have more clay to move around, it seems to get easier.

    I got the word that my Sculpey liquid products are shipped so it won't be long till I can attempt to use them.

    Got the exterior steps completed today. Glued them all together, painted concrete color and painted the stone.

    After cutting and gluing the left step unit, I measured and glued up the top concrete platform. I made it a two-layer affair out of 0.040" sytrene, sanded the edges to match the layers (which were glued with tube cement) and then slightly rounded the edges as concrete often is. The top pad needs one back corner notched to wrap around the window box. I did this with a razor saw. I glued the steps starting with the top riser which also needed a notch to conform to the top platform sticking out a few scale inches from the stone foundation.

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    Each riser and tread had to be custom cut since there is some small deviation between the step cuts. After gluing (and reinforcing with thin CA) all the treads and risers I went back and files all of the ends flush front and back. The treads all have rounded edges and protrude a bit over the step below.

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    I mixed up some concrete color as before using a mixture of Tamiya Wood Deck Tan and Medium Gray. It came out a little darker than the mix that I used on the rest of the building's mortar. You can see this difference. I didn't realize that I had save that previous mix and could have used that. It wasn't until I went to save the new mix that I found the older bottle. Oh well...

    The effect of the stone and concrete is what I was looking for.

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    Here's the building with the steps in their place (not glued).

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    I was thinking about making the railing out of soldered brass, but I'm rethinking that since the slats would have to be soldered into holes drilled on an angle. I'm not looking forward to that, so I'm probably going to build them out of styrene. It will be a simple affair with a rectangular top rail and sound supports. Brass will be much stronger, but much more challenging to build.

    I can't install the steps until the window assembly is in. Can't put the window in until the interior is fitted out, and I can't do the interior until the (%Y()_(5-^3@%)* little people are in place. Those people are now smack dab in the middle of the critical path. I may fill the time waiting for the people problem (hmmm… sounds like a job for HR) to be solved by building some nice small exterior LED lighting fixtures which are needed too. I also need a plumbing stack vent on the roof and can start crafting the down spouts. Still stuff to do...

  11. #1346
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    NH: Organization!!

    Happy Monday, and Happy New Year to all of my Jewish followers. It's 5779 (which is interpreted as the time from Creation, not from the Convenant with Abraham which is understood as the beginning of the Jewish faith). Since I am not a 6,000 year old Earth person, that date is only symbolic to me. Understanding that it takes up to 800,000 years just to create a Hawaiian island, and we're watching one being created right now, my technical understanding prevents me from accepting the literal interpretation of Creation. All I know is Judaism has been around a heck of a long time.

    It was an exercise day so I got to the shop late. I am entertaining Gary Poole on Wednesday and the shop needed so serious organizing. Nothing like a visitor to light a fire under you butt to get into action. Gary saw an article about me in a Louisville publication (he has relatives here) and asked about me at the train store and we got connected. He owns a massive (100' X 30') layout in a warehouse that he purchased in Wayne County, NY.

    I did do some work first. I repainted the concrete on the steps to lighten it up a bit. I placed the steps on the sidewalk it was to sit on the layout and the contrast was too sharp. I just brushed painted it since it had a nice base coat and the colors were similar. I then measured and laid out the design for the simple railing that I'm going to scratch-build out of styrene. The top rail will be 0.040" X .100", bottom rail will be 0.030" X 0.080", vertical supports 0.060" X 0.060" and the bars 0.040" round rod (all Evergreen).

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    I use an old Bar Mills wooden model box to hold all my Evergreen strip stock, and it was an utter mess. A long time ago, I had sorted it all by type, but it was getting more and more random. I was spending a lot of time shuffling through this box looking for a specific size. THOSE DAYS ARE OVER (at least for now). I stopped working on the steps and decided to organize this mess. I cut up some cardboard 3 X 3" pieces and called out the widths on them. On the Evergreen rack at the hobby shop, they're sorted by thickness. I'm more concerned about width as my first consideration so that's how I'm indexing it. Then I stacked the stock from the thinnest to thickest. It took about 1/2 hour to do this, but it will be worth it.

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    That got me started. I saw, in either a Facebook page or in one of Fine Scale Modelers' Tips pages, that a fellow made a simple set of tool holders by just taking some scrap wood and drilling some holes in it. I can do that! So I first made one for the pliers and cutters. The largest hole I can drill without a spade bit is 1/2". For the mechanics pliers I had to use a smaller (29/64ths) drill so they wouldn't flop over. This was a chunk of the first iteration of my layout's control panel and that flange that was still glued on worked to my advantage so it would tip forward. That's German dimensional lumber and ply on that piece. Also shown is the holder for the needle files using a slightly-bigger-than-1/8" drill.

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    I then quickly made one for the tweezers. This is not all the tweezers, but it's the ones that get used the most. For this I drilled clear through and then glued a piece of ply to the back to keep them from falling through. Have to be careful reaching for them to keep myself from being impaled on them.

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    I then did more general cleanup with some more to go. When Gary gets here on Wednesday, at least I won't embarrass myself.

    Lastly, Gerry's little people came today and I believe they will solve the little people problem. They are in multiple pieces and the arms are positionable. The man has a Fedora hat and could fill in for Hopper and there are some women too. And they're seated figures as well as standing. Even if they're not perfect, (scale seems slightly undersize) they are a great start! I'd rather have them a little slight than oversized. Thank you Gerry!

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    Tomorrow, I'll finish the cleanup and then get to work fabricating the railing and the little people. My wife commented about my new found organization, "Now all you have to do is remember to put the tools back in their new holders…" After 50+ years of marriage, she knows me well… way too well.

  12. #1347
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    NH: Outside Step Rails Right Side

    Today I built one of the two outside step railings that I need. It took all afternoon to build one. I started by cutting the pieces to length, and laying out the spindle spacing with a machinist dividers. I then tack glued the top and bottom rails together by just a drop of solvent cement at the ends of the bottom rail to hold it in place so I could drill both sets of holes in exactly the same places. The bottom rail sits between the end posts and is therefore shorter than the top rail. I had to pay attention to this setback when I glued them together.

    I drilled the ends of the posts and CA'd a short piece of 0.021" brass so It will have some mounting strength on both top and bottom. One of the holes was out of line, but it's not noticeable in the final assembly.

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    I assembled the spindles into the bottom rail first flush with the bottom and then inserted into the top rail letting the excess protrude out the top for later trimming. The top rail, as I noted, has holes corresponding to the brass pins in the end posts and these were glued with solvent and then CA cement. I then glued the bottom rail in place. I quickly found that I positioned the post too close to the end and had to glue a styrene spacer to fill the gap.

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    After the glue dried I filed all the protruding spindles and rods so it was ready for painting. The right angle rail was next and only had one end post since it shares the corner one. That led to a challenge since I was measuring from a 45 degree angle cut since I mitered the top rails at the corner. As I'm writing this, I think that was overkill and greatly increased complexity of the build since the hole for the corner posts brass pin came way to close to the miter cut. For the left side's railing I'm going to make the corner a butt joint. I located and drill the brass pin holes into the "cement" pad and temporarily fit the rail onto the step.

    I custom measured the side rail for this particular step since the left and right steps are slightly different widths. I then had to build the angle rail. I first tried to do this on my drawing. Everything was going well until I tried to assemble the parts and found that my holes were not drilled at the correct angle (too close to vertical) and the assembled rail just didn't fit and I couldn't bend it enough to make it work. So I went to plan B which was to build it in place.

    I drilled and glued in the corner post at the bottom step. I probably could have had this post at the pavement level, but I realized that it would just waving around in the breeze until the building was planted, so I terminated the rail at the bottom step so the entire step could be a complete assembly. I then measured, cut and sanding the 45° angle on the top end, and noted where the brass pin hole would be on the bottom end. I drilled that hole and glued the top rail in place.

    I measured the distance for the bottom rail in situ and worked the cutting/sanding in stages to creep up to the final fit. Holding the lower rail on top of the upper rail, I sighted straight down to find the center of the steps and made a mark where that point would be on the bottom rail. I drilled the 45° holes with the starter drill (a carbide 0.021" drill) and then marked this position with the drill using the bottom rail as a template on the top rail. I then drilled the starter holes in the top rail. I opened up both sets of holes with the 0.040" again at 45°. It was a tricky drilling job since the top rail was not that securely held in place.

    Again, I put the pins through the top rail and bottom with the pins roughly flush with bottom rail's underside. After positioning the bottom rail I added solvent cement to all the joints and let it dry.

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    At this point I was at the end of the session, but I was a bit concerned that the steps might extend to far into the existing sidewalk next to the building, so I stuck the building on the layout to ease my concerns.

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    As you can see, there's plenty of sidewalk next to the steps so that worry was without cause. It looks nice in that corner and the curve of the window follows the curve of the street corner nicely. You can also see the utter destruction of the streets due to the moisture that was present from the dishwasher leak. Even though there was no direct flooding—the plastic sheeting prevented that—it still did some damage. I'm going to have to remove all the structures (luckily I didn't glue any of them down) remove the Strathmore upper layer as carefully as I can so I use them as patterns to cut new laminates, and then cut and glue down the new surface. In this case, It's going to be Masonite since my curbs are way too high and a thicker top layer will work. I hate doing work over!! Some things on this layout are already five years old and will start requiring maintenance just from being there.

  13. #1348
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    NH: Second Railing

    Well… it's Monday and I'm back from my Detroit trip. It was definitely a trip fraught with mixed emotions. On the unhappy side I was visiting a very old and dear friend (the drummer in my band) who suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was suffering from paralysis on his left side. He's in a re-had facility trying to recover. On the happier side I visited with another very old friend (55 years) who had recovered from some serious complications from a knee replacement and his daughter made him a 75th birthday party which I was able to attend. I know many of his family members so it was a reunion of sorts for me. My other very old friend and bass player in the band was planning on coming up from New Mexico to attend his high school 55th reunion on the same weekend and we were able to have time together and he saw the drummer too. So we covered a lot of bases. It's a 5.5 hour drive from Louisville to Northern Detroit metro area.

    I brought back with me my friend's MTH PS-1 Premiere Cab-forward which got some maltreatment from some of his younger grandkids and needs some desperate work. The side rods were bent, the valve gear is also, and one of the four return-crank die casting fractured. He had left it at a hobby shop in Troy, MI for many months, but they were unable to fix it since they said the parts were no longer available. He gave it to me to see if I could do anything with it. Roundhouse Trains here in Da Ville may have more skill in repairing it. I might try myself also. The other problem is the hobby shop seems to have misplaced the tender. Without it, that engine doesn't do anything. If they can't find it, I don't know what the remedy is.

    I got back to "work" today. First of all Costco had LED shop lights on sale again so I bought one more. This one replaces the florescent one over the ravine area. I also illuminates the chop saw on that wall. I also attempted to peel up the strathmore paper layer on the streets to see how easy this will be (as a test) and I was able to pull it up in one piece. This way, I'll be able to use the entire strathmore layer as a pattern for any new streets material I'm going to use. Illustration board might work, or I can us thin Masonite.

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    I could use one more light directly over the ravine area and the back of the layout in that area since there is a dark area there and the new one doesn't reach in there.

    I completed the railing assembly for the other set of front steps. This one went considerably faster than the first, but almost had a catastrophe. I had it all finished and wanted to put some medium CA at the base of the posts to lock them into the holes in the pad, but mistakenly picked up the thin CA. To make matters worse, the extension nozzle I have on this bottle has a larger bore than one would like with thin CA. So when I tipped the bottle a giant squirt came out and soaked part of the steps, my fingers and made a royal mess. I scraped the excess off of the pad and attempted to put the railing into the holes since I had removed some of the posts to scrape the CA. When attempting to put the post pin back into the hole (which had now had cured CA in it) I put too much pressure on the post which fractured, the bottom rail was destroyed, but the spindles remained attached to the upper rail. I was able to build a new post and new bottom rail without taking apart the rest of the railing and got it all back together.

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    So I'll have to touch up the concrete color and mask and paint the railings the BN Green like the rest of the trim. And then it's time to build the little people.

  14. #1349
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    NH: People Problem Solved

    Today, before working on the "people problem", I put two brush coats of green on the railings. They have to dry overnight and I'll finish them tomorrow. I chose not to mask since I was concerned the the masking tape would pull off the base paint.

    Next I solved the people problem by using those O'scale people kits that were gifted to me by one of my many post readers. I was able to cobble together (a la Dr. Frankenstein) figures in reasonable postures to take their place in the vignette. The first person (Hopper himself) was already in a sitting position so I had to add arms that would clear the bar top and slightly modify the hat he was already wearing. It's not an exact copy of the hat, but it will give the right impression. I removed the left hand and turned it 90 degrees so it was more in line with the picture. In the picture, that arm was flat on the counter top, I tried heating an arm and bending it downward, but that only resulted in a ruined arm, so I left it alone.

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    The other guy (I'm calling him "the other guy") was a different situation since, although I had other seated male figures, I didn't have any more that were wearing a suit. There was one figure with his arms behind his back in a standing position that could work if I could give him new sitting legs and remove the arms to put on others in the kit that were separate. I cut his lower body off and removed the legs from one of the other sitting figures and glued them together. I used a carbide router to remove the arms and put on another set of separate arms, again making sure that they would clear the counter.

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    Here's the finished "other guy" seated at the bar. His hat was on one of the female figures. I narrowed the top and thinned the brim a bit, cut the top of his head off and glued the hat on.

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    The lady presented less of a challenge since she's not wearing a hat. The hair won't be as long, but again, this will be viewed from almost 5 feet away and she's sitting behind the man, so as long as it's a nice shade of red hair, it should be believable.

    The last thing was the counterman. The picture shows him leaning over, but I didn't have any people in this position. The very formal man was standing straight up. I made a hat out of Super Sculpey. I've found that for these small Sculpey jobs, I can harden them quickly by just using the heat gun for a couple of minutes.

    So here's the whole entourage in their positions. I need to get another batch of stools cut since I seem only have five workable ones. I need about a dozen. They all need to dry solidly so I can go back and add some strategic filler in some various ejector pin holes and clean up the joinery a bit. Then I'll paint them. If I'm going to get more stools, I better get cracking since this will again be a bottleneck on the critical path. I'm also going to put a brass foot rail at the bottom of the counter base.

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  15. #1350
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    NH: Hopper's Gang is Finished

    First I put the third coat of green on the railings and then let it set up. Then I filled the humongous injector pin holes on the backs of the characters. Since their backs are readily visible, this had to be fixed. I also filled the shoulder joints and any other things that didn't look right. Other Guy wasn't sitting squarely on his stool and I thought it was how I sliced him in half, but after closer inspection I found that his butt was out of square, so I filed/sanded his bottom until it was square with his shoulders. He's now sitting without looking like he's going to keel over.

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    I mixed up some flesh using Vallejo Shadow Flesh and Vallejo White. Shadow flesh is also the color I used for the bricks. It's a very good brown/red mix. I painted their clothing. For Hopper I used a dark gray and some of the same color with a little white to highlight it. For the Other Guy, I used Tamiya Field Blue and again some lighter shade for highlights. For the Mrs. Hopper I made a darker shade of the flesh mix, but it was too brown so I added some Vallejo Insignia Red and it came out reasonably well. For the Counter Guy I painted his suit Tamiya Flat White. For the hats, I first painted a black blotch around the hat which would be the black hat band.

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    I then went back with a Tamiya Sky Gray and painted the top and rim leaving the black stripe exposed.

    Here's all the people painted. I did Hopper's shirt in a Tamiya Blue/Green mix and painted his tie Tamiya Flat Blue. For the other guy, I painted his shirt white, painted his tie Vallejo Red and then stripes with Tamiya Blue. The stripes could be better, but they'll never be seen since his back is to the window and there's no way to view him from the front.

    Ms. Hopper's hair is a mixture of Vallejo Red, Yellow and a little Shadow Flesh. Her shoes are red with bare legs. The guys have Flat Black socks and Brown shoes on Mr. Hopper and Gloss Black on Other Guy, all being Tamiya.

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    And here they are again, posed at the counter. I'm thinking I may cut the Counter Man at the waist and have hime leaning forward like in the Hopper picture… or… maybe not.

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    I think these people will work just fine and I'm ready to finish up installing the interior. I've contacted the laser cutter who did the stools to order more of them, but haven't received any confirmation.

    The last thing I did today was add another coat (4th) on the railings and touch up the concrete. I want to shoot them with some Dullcoat tomorrow since the thin CA on the stones is glossy as well as the green paint and needs to be toned down a bit. I should have used some new green paint. That bottle of Model Flex BN Green has almost kicked. I revived it by added Testor's Acrylic Thinner, but I don't think the paint was fully functional so it covered poorly…especially over pure white styrene.

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    Even though today was an exercise day, I got such an early start that I was also able to do a full shop day. Tomorrow should be a good day also.

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