Nail hole making tool for scratch building

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by XavierJ123, May 5, 2007.

  1. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    It is definitely an interesting debate, and like much else in model railroading, there seems to be more than one right answer.

    I guess I see things in 4 different ways:

    1) Toy: lots of low end products fall into this category. There are oversized or missing details, garish colours, shiny plastic, etc.

    2) Believable - a lot of model scenery falls into this category. (Almost) no one can make a full forest to scale, but you can make a forested area believable. Some people apply the "three (or four) foot rule" when judging if something is believable. Others might argue that the "characatured" work fits here too - its believable, but not necessarily realistic or prototypical.

    3) Realistic - while the model may not have a prototypical equivalent, the building (for example) is plausible. You get the feeling you've seen it somewhere before. Also, lots of guys have "fictional" roads with company paint schemes and so on, and I would say that type of modelling falls here.

    4) Prototypical. A faithful, exact scale model of the real thing. Achieving this level almost always means that the result is also believable and realistic, but not always...! sign1

    My $0.02

  2. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Errrgghhh...not that again. BLACK IS BLACK and That's That! "Scale Light" is a falacy like "Scale Time" of the main reasons I wish John Allen were still alive, btw, so I could argue it with him. Since he's not around, I'll just have to duke it out with y'all.

    A second is a second just like a photon is a photon. They are unavoidable constants. However, we do have more control over the photons. We can outshine the sun, or at least reproduce its characteristics pretty well, thanks to full-spectrum bulbs and a whole host of lighting techniques acquired in the past century and still developing today.

    I believe the techniques for mimicking the effects of the sun by using painted-in shading and highlights were developed in a hobby that began primarily around Christmas trees (garishly painted trains to match the garish lighting above them?) and migrated to garages and basements and attics (other dimly lit places).

    Painting a loco gray to highlight the detail is a great way to do just that, highlight the detail. It may have more to do with the modelers desire to show-off (and rightfully so) some fine modeling skill. I think this is an acceptable practice not to be discouraged but rather disclosed and discussed in forums like this for the edification of all modelers.

    A problem occurs when you add weathering on top of the already lighter loco. How do you match the prototype when you've already strayed away from it? You have to adapt the weathering now to match your paint choice, to maintain the illusion you're creating with the lighter black/gray. This is perhaps why some weathering looks over-the-top, because the modeler is weathering as if the loco were black.

    BUT, the other side of the coin needs to be shared as well. I like black locos (and shiny ones too) because more often than not they were absolutely black and very shiny and that's what I want to see as the starting place, a shiny black loco. Then weathering is applied as it would have happened. Even the most decrepit hunks of iron and steel still had a few places that were shiny due to use and the occasional cleaning. Railroads didn't like rust because it hurt the bottom line. Crud buildup led to corrosion which led to rust which meant time off the road in the shop being repaired. So many railroaders got their start as engine wipers (heck, I've even done it!) because that's how the railroad wanted their engines to be - clean.

    So while one solution is to paint the loco to match the lighting, I prefer to paint the engine like it's full size counterpart and let the light do what it will, or adjust the lighting accordingly. If you can't see the details, so be it. That just means you wouldn't have been able to in real life either, from that 'scale' distance.

    This became all too clear as part of a modular club. We set up in so many different venues...from indoors in dimly lit spaces to big show halls with high halogen lights to outdoors under a tent. How the engines were painted really became noticable in the different settings, especially if they had been painted to show best under the owner's home lighting. They looked odd, to me at least, when taken out of that environment and placed somewhere else.

    This applies to structures and scenery colors/shades as well. In a controlled environment we can make the choices that are right for us and our own eyes. We can adjust our cameras to capture the scene or model just as we'd like it to be seen. So we really do have flexibility as modelers now, that many of our forefathers may not have had in their dank, dark basements.

    Okay...down off the soap box...for now. I appreciate hearing from you, Art, and your perspective from the card modeler contingent. Good comments as usual, Andrew.
  3. jimmybeersa

    jimmybeersa Member

    Ponce wheel

    This wheel is used by the ladies transfering paterns to material in dress making so I stole one from my wifes sewing room. I posted just recently a picture of it on General talk ( More of the Challenge ) and also what I have used it for. I have made one of my own to conform to scale useing a gear wheel from an old alarm clock ,just fit a handle I tried to attach a picture of it with no success Suggest you look at my previous post any holes left by the points can be filled with white glue
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Jimmy -

    The alarm clock gear idea is great! I never thought to look in my scraps to find a wheel with better tooth spacing. That could definitely work!

    Thanks for getting us back on track too - XavierJ123, if you'd like, I'll move the "debate" to another thread so you get the info you need without wading through all the tangents...!


    PS Galen - thanks for the kind words!
  5. SB7

    SB7 New Member

    Want To See Nail Holes

    Don't know if the aforementioned link will work or not.

    If not type in the following The On30 Information and Resource Center in google search, when the page opens up continue typing the string with the following continuation.....on30/gallery/Structures/Structures.html
    as its written above.

    then click enter. This will take you to the page in question.

    Click on the photo of the Building in Gardiner NY

    :wave:Study the pictures closely You'll see nail holes,.:wave:

    wall1 (see for yourself if you don't believe me). wall1

  6. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I'm not a fan of nail holes myself. Having grown up in an economic era where I had to remove lots of nails from used lumber, I can't remember seeing uniform lines of neat nail holes. Most of the ones that I've seen on model structures are oversize and too definite for the scale of the building. When you consider that a 8 penny nail (I'm showing my age there)/2 inch nail is less than 1/8 inch in diameter, that would be a darn small hole in HO scale.
  7. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Uhhh...I see more nail HEADS than HOLES. For instance, the very last picture shows several pairs of holes along one single plank, apparantly where there had been some bracing to hold up the fabulously weathered rusty roof overhang. But in the same picture there are also other 'hole' marks that appear rusty, if you look real close.

    The peeling paint, the aged wood, the rust, the modifications and additions to the overall structure...these are far more intersting than the nail holes. What a cool building! And I love the aged green paint, and the decrepit foundation, and the shake shingled cupola (just crying out for the addition of a patina'd weather vane). Loads of character.

    But if the nail holes are really important, well, to me it makes a stronger argument for modeling wood with styrene. A smaller nail hole there (pin prick at most) would show up better with less competition from any wood grain. I still say wood is best for wood, but then again I'm more picky about nail holes...thanks in part to the good thoughts already expressed on this thread.
  8. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Thanks for the replies!

    Ocalicreek, I think you may have overlooked something. A photon is a photon, for sure, but the number of them that reaches your eye is definitely affected by distance.

    Because of moisture, dust and other particles suspended in the air, some of the light reflecting from an object is deflected before it reaches your eye. This affects contrast, brightness and also color "saturation" ("intensity"), and the effects accumulate with distance. As they become more distant, colors lose intensity, lose contrast, and become lighter (thus "scale black"). That's not a fallacy, that's basic physics.

    If you take this affect into account when you color a miniature, you can make it look more convincingly like a large object seen at a distance. Over-saturated, over-contrasty colors cue your brain that you are looking at a small object at close range.

    I'll attach example photos below. When the orange shipping containers are seen from a greater distance, the orange color seems lighter or "greyed out".

    Addendum: Dang it, I can't upload the image (ongoing forum issue), so instead here are a couple of links:

    From an online photography guide:
    The effects of this scattering of light are additive, but vary with atmospheric conditions. In atmospheric perspective several factors must be considered:
    Brightness – The particles in air that scatter light are also illuminated by the sun. This causes an increase in the overall brightness of the objects seen. This increase in luminance, coupled with a loss of contrast, causes objects in the distance to be seen and photographed as lighter in color than they would be at a closer distance.

    Color saturation–The scattering of light not only affects contrast and brightness but also color saturation.

    From an online painting tutorial:
    "A shadow on a tree, on a house, on a road, or on any object isn't merely darker than the rest; it's darker according to the nearness or distance!"
  9. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    This may be true for objects or images we intend to portray or make the viewer believe are really at a distance, like forced perspective used in painting the backdrop or trees or anything to be at a 'distance' on the layout.

    However, I think foreground models (trains included...unless they are part of the intended forced-distance effect) are exempt from this because we who have our hand on the throttle want to believe that we are in the scene with the train, either on the train or maybe trackside 'railfanning' as it were.

    I don't really want to be 'at a distance' from the train, I want to be right there on the footplate or station platform. So almost anywhere the train would travel in the viewing area would be under the color 'rules' for foreground objects whereas anything the modeler intends to be at a distance would be portrayed using the color theories you mentioned to create the illusion of distance.

    Hence, to keep it on the nail hole thread, details like nail holes and other fine-scale touches draw the viewer into the scene and make us feel as if we are right there in scale with it...not in a helicopter hovering high above, subject to the laws of physics within a different scale realm.

    I suppose a modeler could intentionally wash out or dull down the colors on everything; foreground, background, wherever, to emphasize distance...this is a hobby and we can do it however we please. And I'd honestly be curious to see how that would look in person. It's an intriguing concept, to be sure. Thanks for the interesting links.
  10. CNJ999

    CNJ999 Member

    Indeed, in some of the close-up pictures you can see evidence of nail holes. However, they are mainly at the very end of each board, certainly not in a multitude of long vertical rows covering the sides of the structure, as so often depicted on models. Quite honestly, if viewed from the same scaled distance as we usually see our models, I very much doubt any of those nails/nail holes would even be detectable!

  11. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    That sounds like a sensible policy. I agree that dulling/fading/lightening colors is just another technique, along with forced perspective, flats, low relief buildings, using a smaller scale for "distant" objects, etc. - all can be very effective if implemented well in the right situation (lighting, viewing angle and distance, etc). Likewise, any of these techniques can look jarring or bizarre if misapplied or overdone.

    Thanks for the informative reply!

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