Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Plastic noodling

Box on black

Roof complete, I took the September 2014 issue of Model Rail as my guide for finishing off the Downes box. Looking at the photos of a very similar box he'd built, I took my cues from this - the plan is to produce an "Alan Downes" box, not necessarily a prefect scale replica of a real one.

According to the magazine, ornate bargeboards were fitted but these looked horribly complicated to cut out of plasticard so I opted for much simpler versions based on a prototype photo. Strips of 40 thou plasticard did the job. A little microstrip along the top added a touch of detail.

Finials were carved from 2mm square plastic rod. I know castings would be nicer, or at least look exactly the same, but I was enjoying this noodling around with plastic bits, something very much on the style of Downes.

Incidentally, I did most of this while watching the film Battleship, not the greatest film in the world but who knew you could handbrake turn a full sized vessel just by dropping the anchor at speed?

Anyway, along the front we have what I take to be a safety bar to protect signalmen hanging out of the windows. A 1mm diameter plastic rod with slices of tune stuck to small rectangles of 40 thou did this. I think the magazine shows real handrail knobs but I didn't have enough in stock and wasn't keen to buy a load in for this job. I suppose the handrail is 0.3mm too fat but my feeling is that these bars are often on the chunky side in real life. Possibly you need plenty of metal to retain a rotund signalman leaning out to exchange a token with a passing engine driver.

The drainpipe is more tube, cut and glued to shape. I love working in plastic for this sort of job as using solvent, joints are pretty much instant and after a light sanding, any imperfections can be smoothed away with the same liquid.

All in all, a very pleasant way to spend a few hours. Little worry about perfect prototype fidelity and lots of impressionistic modelling.


James said...

The window bars aren't normally "chunky", they're quite slender traditionally on North Eastern boxes. And occasionally, aren't as strong as you'd like -

Phil Parker said...

That photo looks like a standard handrail so should be 0.7mm in 7mm scale. At 1mm, mines a little stouter but I put that down to the GWR hiring chubbier signalmen.

And it was easier/more fun to work all in plastic for this model.