Some Scratch Building Part 3


I was going through my paints to see if I had anything on hand to use for my speeder shed (not that it’s done by any means, just had a few minutes). I settled on Vallejo Model Air 71.105 Brown, it looked pretty good brushing it on a test piece so I thought to myself “once I get my airbrush working I’ll have to start painting it”


Then I realized, that’s how I tend to not get things done so I pulled out a brush and started on one side. Being fairly thin airbrush paint it takes several coats to brush it on but it’s something I’ve been able to spread out over short painting sessions with good results so far.


I still haven’t figured out what I’m going to do for shingles yet though I’m open to any suggestions.

Some Scratch Building Part 2


When we last left our scratch building project I’d gotten the basic shell built up. I ordered some smaller styrene to trim wood and this weekend got a chance to continue work.

I think I should have gone a little smaller on the trim, especially on the small window but it’s what I had it and just went with it. I was able to straighten out the windows and doors with the trim pieces which does make it look quite a bit nicer so that’s a plus.

I’ve got some scraps in my styrene stockpile that should work for the roof and doors so I’ll have to try them next. I’m also going to take some of the cutoffs of the siding to test paint colors and see what looks good.

Trying Some Scratch Building Part 1


I realize I’ve done scratch building before but I’ve never built a building before. Since my layout will require almost entirely scratch built buildings I thought I’d start with something simple.


This is not something I scratch built, this is a card stock building I made a couple years ago. I like it, it looks awesome… but keeping things straight is a hassle and it weighs nothing so it doesn’t like to stay put. But most importantly it’s a simple building so it seemed like a good thing to try replicating (and it’s handy not having to convert any measurements).

I started with some clapboard siding styrene, once I got the walls all cut out I went to glue the walls together. I had even gotten some Plastruct specifically for styrene and that’s when things went wrong. I used some magnets to try and hold the first two pieces and ended ruining the siding.


After that I switched to CA glue because it works reasonably fast and doesn’t melt the plastic.


Overall I’m pretty happy with how it’s turning out so far, I need to dig through my styrene to find some pieces for the doors, roof, and trim pieces for part 2. I also need to determine how dilapidated I want to make it look once painted. I didn’t really have a choice with the card stock version as that’s how it printed out. I’ll probably go with a better maintained look as my diorama’s era is more contemporary to when the building would be well maintained.

I’ll also note this progress has been the result of small bits over several weeks. It’s been a nice project where i can come spend a couple minutes on something and put it away until I have time again (so don’t necessarily expect part 2 to be published tomorrow 🙂 )

Weekend Update 26

Trains, Weekend Update

It’s been a slow couple weeks for modeling, just a variety of other things taking up my time. I did get some time last night to work on some painting projects. I’ve been painting the Fairmont Speeder (again… long story) and that’s starting to come together but I’ve realized I lost the wheels. I imagine I’ll find them a week after I finally give up and order replacements.

I’ve also been painting some of the woodwork and pretty happy with how things turned out. I’ve also started working on the little track into the shed and starting to strategize how I want to paint the ties, tie plates, and rail. Easiest option would be to rattle can spray it all brown and try to highlight bits of it later for more color variation. I might also try hand painting it, a lot more time intensive and fiddly but know I can get some pretty good aged wood effects if I do it that way.

Speeder Shed Track Update



Yesterday while I had my photo box out I took some pictures of the current state of the speeder shed track. I’ve recently finished the main line of track aside from most of the spiking and a couple joint bars. I need to finish the last bit of track perpendicular to the main running into the shed itself.

Speaking of spikes and joint bars I took another stab at close ups of the spikes and this is as close as I could get with my 18-55mm lens before it would refuse to take pictures. Also got a couple of the PDC joint bars in the shot. I’ve switched to a Xuron 450S for the Proto87 spikes over the 450BN. The serrated jaws (the S part of the name) made the difference in having more purchase on the spike. It’s still quite a bit harder than normal spikes but a little easier.



The one on the left might not be all the way in but you can’t really tell with the naked eye


I also pulled the speeder project box and was surprised to find I had started priming it as I thought it was in pieces… again. This thing has been built and disassembled many times usually because of disappointment with the painting or the most recent time too difficult to paint. This time I’m going for partially assembled, paint, then final assembly removing paint where I need to for glue but this way I can easily get those awkward nooks and crannies.

More speeder shed track



I glued down my stretch of track from Now that’s what I call track and used tie alignment jig to line up some ties to finish it out. Then I took my jewelers saw and trimmed them down to follow the angle of the edge.

Next up I started working on the end rail and applying some of the PDC joint bars.


They are really hard to take a picture of and get the detail. Hopefully they’ll be easier to photograph once painted.

Now that’s what I call track


As I mentioned previously I was waiting for some warmer weather to pliobond some more rail down on the Proto87 track. Well today was that day, it hit a balmy 20F/-6.6C and I needed to change the oil in my truck so I put my shorts on and headed out to the garage.


This time I was able to use the fine tip Fast Tracks sells with their pliobond to get precision application on the tie plates themselves rather than a bead along the rail. The idea here was to avoid any glooping on the jig. The moment of truth was when I successfully lifted it straight up and placed it on the diorama for a test fit.


It not running to the end is intentional, I have some PDC joint bars to show off! I plan to put down ties to each end and very carefully cut them to match the edge of the diorama. I’m also going to do the P87 spikes after I glue the ties down just so I’ve got some extra rigidity as I’m pushing them in.

Tie Plates Everywhere!




Was going to use a Dime for scale but the color similarities made it hard to get a good and clear shot


Last night I had a good opportunity to work on some tie plate gluing, the kids were in bed my lovely wife was out with friends and I have today off work so I could work late into the night.

Since the last time I’d done tie plates I’d emailed Andy from Proto87 Stores to ask him about using the syringes for gluing. I’d tried a couple glues but had never been able to draw it into the syringe. It turns out the way to do it is pull out the plunger and load it from the top. I will just say using a 0.008″ syringe needle to apply CA is possibly the best thing ever.

My initial goal was to get the 9″ stretch I’d already started done for tie plates and call it a night, but I really found my groove so to speak. Apply the right amount of glue to the right spot (made way easier with the syringe), drop it in and probably the biggest time saver is do minimal adjustments. I found the more I tried to adjust it the more likely I was to push it out of alignment. Before I knew it I’d not only finished that section I also had a back stock of ties (and several episodes of Dr Who had played in the background).


That may not look like much but it’s good for another 9 inches of track and should be enough with extras for the Speeder Shed diorama.

More Tie Plates


I was able to get some time to work on tie plates this afternoon and managed to get a 9″ section done on one side. My plan is to try glue down one rail before I finish the other side to make sure tie plates are in gauge when I glue them down (or at least that’s the plan)


I was working under my new desk lamp which you might recognize if you read Jeremy Dummler’s 78 Miles to Yosemite blog as he mentioned it in a Modeling Tools post back in October. It’s a LAMPAT Dimmable LED Desk Lamp which sounds like something you might find at Ikea but is actually available on Amazon.

Tie some plates down



I was able to restart my Proto87 track work for my speeder shed diorama tonight. I had ordered some new supplies so I’d have un-painted materials to work with. I’m not sure yet if my pre-painting last time was causing problems with the glue but for sure having things un painted made it way easier to see what I was doing. I only got one row from the fret done (which is why I stopped at an odd number) and don’t think I’ve quite got a good rhythm to it yet but I feel like it’s going better than last time.

I get asked a lot why I torture myself like this, which is a good question… I usually joke that I’m nuts or a gluton for punishment. Those might be true but I think a better answer might be in my day job. The new fancy general term is “knowledge worker” (or so I’ve been told) so I usually spend an inordinate amount of time sitting in an “open workspace” (which is just code for a hard place to concenrate) trying to concentrate and solve problems (that are mostly caused by bad decisions out of my control) and at the end of the work day all I’ve done is shifted some 1s and 0s around and probably given myself a headache.

Model building on the other hand I generally don’t have to think too hard and at the end have something tangible to show for it. This is why I like hand spiking track, I can just sit there and perform a repetitive task. I just look tie plates, scale spikes, and joint bars as taking things to the next level. Doing it isn’t neccesarily fun, but very satisfying.