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Baggage Car - Daily Chat / A canopy glue question
« on: March 24, 2020, 06:26:08 PM »
I have used Pacer Formula '560' canopy glue in the red and white bottle for some time and been very happy with it.   A while back I went to a local R/C shop to get more glue and was sold a green labeled bottle of Zap brand canopy glue with the assurance that it was the "same thing".  My experience though was that the Zap labeled product had less tac and a different working feel than the red labeled Pacer product.

Today I received an order for Pacer canopy glue and was sent Zap.  I was not happy.

When I go to the website listed on the packaging ( the only item listed for canopy glue is the red labeled Pacer product.  The green label product isn't even on the site.

Does anyone know what is going on with this product and why I might be seeing a difference in them?  I've seen the difference in several bottles of the green Zap product so I don't think it was just a bad bottle.


Scratchbuilding / Odd Manufacturing
« on: April 05, 2019, 04:21:49 PM »
This will be a structure kitbash for the Two Cities layout.  That thread is getting rather large so I've decided to break individual structures out and update that thread when they are installed.

There is an odd, essentially triangular shaped, area to the right of the station that needs a multi-story brick structure to house a manufacturing business. 

This photo is from the back of the scene.

In order to work on the design at the work bench I made a simple template of the space.

I went though my supply of brick structure kits and after some pondering settled on these two.  The kit on the left is now sold by Woodland Scenics and the kit on the right is from Lunde Studios.

If you're not familiar with Lunde Studios, these structures are designed by Bob Lunde who brought us DPM (now woodland scenics) and Magnuson structures.

As luck would have it, the brick sizes on these two kits are essential identical and the windows are very similar.  This statement may strike you as odd from the photos above but for this structure I will not be using the fronts of the buildings, but only the back and sides.

Using the back and one side from the Lunde Studios kit, two sets from the DPM kit, and a bit of painters tape I worked up a pleasing general layout for the building.  The DMP walls will need to be spliced to make them taller.

I did a little more playing and decided to add another angle to the track side wall of the building. 

I'll need a couple more of the DMP kits to move forward but its off to a good start.


Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Selecting Signs
« on: February 05, 2019, 04:06:29 PM »
The old adage is that we model what we grew up around. 

But, not being afflicted by that bit of wisdom, I have a question on signs. 

How do you determine what advertising brands are appropriate for your modeling location?  Era seems much easier to nail down.


Scenery: Rock & Landforms / Molding and casting very a very large rock.
« on: August 15, 2018, 11:08:00 PM »
This is a rock which I found about 35 years ago in the middle of a dried up lake northwest of Austin, Texas.  I have used it over the years to make rock molds by layering latex rubber and then casting in plaster. 

I have had the (possibly harebrained) idea to copy this rock... twice, once in a vertical orientation and once in a horizontal orientation, for the basis for a large rock standing above a small port.  I was thinking that expanding foam would be the best way to cast this to keep the weight to a reasonable level for a portable module.  Do you think it would be practical to create a "full body" mold with latex and then fill that mold with expanding foam to copy it?  Is there a better approach?   If anyone has done something like this I would appreciate some your feedback.


Scratchbuilding / Zephyr Diner
« on: June 10, 2018, 10:08:21 PM »
On Wednesday 6/6 2018 Tom Boyd posted a picture of the Zephyr Diner in the daily chat.  I thought the building would make a fun build and set out to do it as quickly as possible (within reason) in HO scale. 

Here is a link to Tom's photo:;attach=42902;image

My goal was to capture the look and feel based on the single photo provided.  I started by going though my Tichy door assortment and found a good stand in.  Using this door I scaled the rest of the building to give a reasonable balance.  I laid out the building directly on a sheet of basswood.  I decided on a 2 inch deep structure with a false back made from black heavy card stock. 

Here is the building core with the sides already attached.   I used 1/4 inch square strip would to create the recessed doorway and some smaller strip wood to stiffen the building.  The overall length is about 11 inches.

I used various widths of scale lumber to frame the windows, create trim, and cap the walls.  I prepared a supply of strips pre-painted with titanium white with just a touch of maples yellow deep to give it a little warmth.

The external "roman" window shades are very distinctive and prominent to the look of the diner.   I made mine from striped scrapbooking paper.  I have a supply of it in different colors.  This particular paper came from Hobby Lobby.  I cut the paper the actual size of the window openings and trimmed the bottom edge with pinking sheers to give it the sawtooth edge.  Then I used a small bit of strip wood as a folding block to fold the blind into an accordion shape, making sure it would be narrower than the trim piece extending out from the building above the window.  I added a small amount of canopy glue into the folds on the back side and then placed the shades under weights to dry.  The bottom fold was not glued so that the edge would hang down.

The doors appear to be the same green as the awnings to I gave them a coat of the green I planned to use for the awning.

Dioramas / Two cities layout.
« on: April 08, 2018, 12:23:30 AM »
I've been a fan of the FSM for years and have always wanted to do some city modeling.  I have space right now for what amounts to a glorified around the room oval which will let me model two city areas.  The first will be inspired by the South Manchester station area of the FSM.  My intention is to model the station and the core surrounding area close to George's originals and then expand out working more on my own ideas.

This is all being built on modules that can fit though a bedroom door, around a corner and down stairs.  Hopefully one day they will move into a larger space that will let this become the core of a larger layout.

Here's is a shot of the area's design being worked out full size.

The core module is about 28" deep by 56" wide.  There is another module behind it that is 25" deep and 48" wide.   The station building (being detailed here: will be located to the left of the module.  Because the station is built on a plywood base I had to raise the surrounding sidewalks.  The wood strips you can see are two layers os 3/32 thick basswood.  The streets in between are poured using Durham's water putty. I'm using woodland scenics risers to lift the roadbed to the right.

Because of the depth of the road I built it up in several pours.  The first was a fairly thick mix (about like cake icing) that I worked in as best I could to fill the area.  After it set but before it was rock hard I used a straight edge to scrape down any high spots.  I then went back and filled in the low areas.  During each pour I taped off the wood frames and then pealed that away as soon as I was done spreading putty.  I lightly sanded with course paper once it was set and then filled again, each time being sure to keep the edges down even with the wooden bits.  If you look closely you can see some wood inserts in the roadway to the left and right of the station area.  This is were the footings for the railroad bridge support beams will be placed.  Finally, I sanded the roadway smooth with find sand paper.  You can see an area where I tested paint color in the upper left.

Here you can see the raised mainline turning off to the left and a riser for a siding.  The finished sidewalks will be installed on top of the wood strips.

The area to the right will be lifted with a combination of florist foam and woodland scenics sheet foam to create the base for the Railway Express building.

For the stone retaining wall to the right of the station I used 3 castings made from Sterling Models molds.  I had a supply of these castings on hand.  They were cast in standard plaster of paris and wow are they delicate. I backed them with card stock to try to give them some strength but I still have to be very carful handling them.

Here is the retaining wall set in place to test the fit.  This was the moment I realized that I had not made the notch for the bridge wide enough. 

The railway express building is one of 3 large buildings around the station that I plan to match as closely as possible.  This will be made from two Magnuson Burndout's Fireproof Warehouse kits.  I will also be modeling the two buildings directly behind the station from Magnuson kits per George's original.

I will need another retaining wall to the right of the stone.  This will be concrete.  The end wall will be reworked to remove the doors on the first floor.

While other bits and bobs have been drying I have also been working on the yellow freight building that will go on the raised station platform.  As its not part of the stone station itself I decided to move it's build to this thread.

I also plan to model the diner built from a rail car as well as the red and white auto repair building.  After these buildings I plan to vary from the original to create my own city area around the station.


Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Driftwood Stain
« on: January 21, 2018, 01:23:48 PM »
I don't know if anyone else has posted about this but I discovered a new product that I wanted to share.   

Testors Driftwood STAIN.   This is an enamel stain that penetrates and gives the look that I've been after.  Yes, you do need good ventilation but I think its worth it.  Here is a sample using some strip wood. The upper piece was stained using a bit of the stain on a paper towel and drawing the piece though.  The lower piece is unstained.  For color balance, the background on the left is black Canson Pastel paper and the right is cheep white printer paper.

The other thing notice is that this stain doesn't cause swelling and hair-like fibers to separate from the wood like every waters based "replacement" I've found.
I'm curious as to your thoughts.


Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Driftwood Wash
« on: August 10, 2017, 09:31:54 AM »
I realize that driftwood stain is almost as big a controversy as nail holes but I ran across this product from Testors and as I've not see it discussed before I thought I'd share.  This is an acrylic wash that comes in several colors.  This is the Driftwood Wash.

I tried it out on some basswood framing members for the shed roof of my station build. 

On some boards I applied the wash and then wiped, others I just spread it with the brush.  There are no warnings on the bottles but it does have a pretty strong smell from the bottle.  I applied it outdoors but but I did not notice an odor on the boards when I brought them in a few minutes later.

I picked up my bottle from Michael's.  They were in the locked case with the spray paint.


Scratchbuilding / Stone Buildings
« on: April 21, 2017, 04:53:21 PM »
I mentioned in my Hotel and Grill thread that I had been distracted by another project.  Well, this is that project. 

I have decided to build a couple of "modules" that can later be incorporated into a layout and I want one of them to center around a stone station similar to the South Manchester station on George's F&SM.  This module will focus more on masonry buildings.  I am also planning a second module that will focus on wood structures.

So I know that George used his own stone castings to build many structures but as I do not have access to those I started figuring out how to make my own.  I settled on some Tichy windows and doors that I like.  I plan to make 2 windowed wall sections, a freight door section and a double door pedestrian section.  I want be able to intermingle all of these so that they can for the building blocks for other structures in addition to the station. 

Calling back to an image in my memory of how to make individual stone blocks from plaster "sticks" I set about designing the walls.  I settled on using 5/32" square strip wood to make forms to cast the stone sticks.  I built up the halves of each form and then glued them to a thin styrene backing sheet.  The halves are not glued to each other so that the entire form can flex to remove the stone sticks.

The Northwest Shortline Chopper was very helpful in preparing this, along with a bottle of canopy glue.  After I assembled the form I realized that I needed some wider stones for the lintels so I added on to the form.

Once this had dried for a couple of days I mixed up some plaster, filled the mold and waited.  I tried to keep the mold flat with the blue weights along the edge but the water swelled the wood enough for the entire thing to curve.  Fortunately this didn't harm anything.  I used a razor saw to score the blocks and then some spring tweezers to hold and pop them apart.

Making the blocks was a bit slow and tedious, or relaxing and therapeutic depending on your point of view.  I made a few of them.

I then set about testing a dry stack to see how things fit.  The original plan was to have the wall sections 1 - 3/4" wide. 

I wasn't entirely happy with the results and left it for a day to think about.  I realized that what I didn't like was the flat edge showing on the blocks.  They were not even and very wide.  I decided to start again and cast a new set of stone sticks.  This time instead of the razor saw I just used an X-acto knife to score the blocks.   They were a little harder to snap and resulted in more block failures but the results were worth it to me.

Some of the block failure is probably due to using regular plaster of paris which is pretty soft.  I have since acquired some hydrocal which I will use to cast finished walls.  I want to try making blocks with it as well to see if the edge texture is different.   I think the standard plaster gave a nice marble texture in HO scale.

So with the new blocks made I was ready to get serious.  While doing the dry fit I had used some metal squares to frame the stack.  These had a tendency to shift regularly so I wanted something more stable.  My local mall has a Lego store which sells standard blocks in bulk.  So I headed off and returned with a bucket of bricks to build a frame.  This tub cost $8.99 for all I could squeeze in and that was more than enough for the frames.  The lower left picture shows the original dry fit in the new frame.  You'll note that the frame is a little wider.  One eight of an inch to be exact.  This was close enough for me, yielding a wall width of 1 - 7/8".

My original wall section had the square lintel over the window but I wanted to work with the arched window so I made a frame that is one lego-bump-thing taller than the other frame.  In the 3 pictures on the right above you can see the progress of this wall.  After a quick fit I started gluing blocks starting from the lower left.  The extra width of the frame turned out to make everything work better with my block size.  I also added some wood trim around the window which I will glue in and include with the casting.  The bits of strip wood ensure that the wall sections will fit together both flat and on a corner.  At this point I have the wall build up to where I need to make the stone arch.  I wanted the rest of the wall to be dry and stable before I start the arch.

Here is a close up of the wall to this point.  I think its looking rather nice.


Scenery: Vegetation & Trees / Large scale Tree
« on: December 23, 2016, 10:19:42 AM »
I've put too much work into this to not share it.  Its way outside my normal modeling area but has presented interesting challenges. 

I present to you, a 1:12 scale young maple tree.  (HO figure for scale.  See the red arrow.)

The trunk is carved balsa textured with a stiff wire brush.  The branches are natural dried material from Michaels.  The leaves are paper cut with one of those crafting cutter machines and were provided by the client.  Each leaf is attached with canopy glue.

The figure is standing on a leaf.

Scratchbuilding / Hotel and Grill
« on: December 02, 2016, 09:58:37 AM »
So, I spent a few days not feeling well and many hours flipping thought pictures from the FSM thread and got really attached to the Leroy's Grill building.  I had a couple of store fronts left over from a chopped up DMP kit (I think) and had been pondering using them in a build for a while.  After playing in the parts box to find windows and doors I devised a plan.

I don't believe these are the exact windows used.  I suspect those may be some of George's on castings but the feel is there.  I'm looking for inspired by rather than copied anyway.

So here goes:

I have two of the store fronts.  So I made copies of them to work with.

I cut paper store fronts to use as design templates.

I marked up a master for cutting positions. 

I went though several iterations until I found the design I liked best.

And here is the final design.  There will be much filing involved in getting all of the sections together cleanly.

Scratchbuilding / Working name - Frary's Fish Head Fertilizer
« on: November 16, 2016, 12:37:42 PM »
A while back I was very pressed for space and decided to play around with HOn30.  I've always been a fan of Dave Frary's work and as a result, I decided to build a small layout in the vein of Thatcher's Inlet.  That layout passed with the old house but some of the projects remain.  With my newly found free time I decided to move one of them forward.  I call this Frary's Fish-head Fertilizer.

So here is the inspiration from Thatcher's Inlet

I worked up a plan using windows i had on hand and by eyeballing the various building dimensions

I scratch built the warehouse addition from milled siding.  The industry will be against the backdrop so the backs are not modeled.  Additionally, the industry will have cars spotted inside the large structure to the right.  The implication is that the cars move back into the building perpendicular to the front but the track actually sneaks inside the adjoining buildings.  Thus the odd openings on the back of the warehouse addition.

Here is the warehouse (left) and the office (front) positioned against the core brick structure (in primer gray). 

The goal is to create the look of structures that have been added on and cobbled together over time.  For this portion there is an older brick building with the warehouse addition to the left and a small office addition in front.  I envision a dim light in the upstairs window of the office addition with the company accountant up late at night doing the books.

More to come.

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / New to this forum
« on: November 15, 2016, 02:40:07 PM »
Hello all,

I finally got around to joining this forum although I've been in the wings for ages.  I was also about on the old forum but never posted much.  Work ate too much of my time.  Fortunately a layoff took care of that.  I have all kinds of time now.  (hoping that doesn't last too long)

Anyway, I know how everyone likes pictures here so here are a couple of shots of a fish dealer I've been working on that is based on Dave Frary's Preston's Fish House from Thatchers Inlet.  I really like the old Campbell kits for ease of build and modification.

This actually survived a tornado taking the roof off of my old house.  I was amazed.  It still needs details and porch roofs and the like.  I'm also not sold on that freezer casting.

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