Time well spent

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by ezdays, Mar 5, 2003.

  1. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    As you might know from the N scale forum here, I have only been into this a short time. The pictures on this forum are priceless and have been a great help to me in formulating what I want to do with my layout. I only hope I can do what I want without embarrasing myself with amaturish attempts. I got lots of basic questions to keep that to a minimum.

    One qestion I have is: when building from a kit, is it best to paint before or after assembly? For example, I have a car repair shop that is gray plastic, including the floor. I want the floor to look like well used concrete but if I paint it before, will I have trouble with the glue holding or is there a way around this? Or...: if I have a brick building that I want to add mortered joints, do I do this before or after assembly?

    One more. The thread on bridges is amazing. My complements to all that submitted pictures. From my viewpoint, they are all superior structures. I want to build an N scale tressle bridge. Is balsa wood acceptable for this? What is the prototype thickness of the support beams? I have some square balsa wood that has a prototype thickness of from 12" to 36" which I'd like to use.

    It's still going to take me weeks to go through all the pictures on this forum, and that doesn't include going into the archives either.:rolleyes:

  2. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Hi Don,

    I did quite a lot of styrene kit building and I always followed the rule:
    When it's inside, paint before glueing - when it's outside, glue before painting.
    Of course there could be exeptions, but your two questions just are illustrating my rule:

    The garage floor can be best painted (and also detailed with cars, people, junk...) when the walls are not yet up. Test fit the walls to the floor and mark their 'footprint' on the floor with a sharp pencil. Then you have a guiding line for painting the floor. (When the walls are glued to the OUTSIDE edge of the floor, you even can omit this step.)
    Likewise you can do the same for painting/detailing the inner side walls of the repair shop. When you have finished your detailing, with a sharp knife scratch away any color drops that might have spilled onto the surfaces which will be cemented together.

    The mortar lines, on the other hand, should be painted after gluing the walls together. Often a small bead of plastic oozes out of the cemented joints and should be carefully scraped away after drying. At this time you can also restore the mortar groves around the corners, which are filled up by the oozed-out plastic goo.
    Now when you already painted/weathered that brick wall before, you might probably destroy the fine detail. However, when you paint the wall after gluing and cleaning up the joints, the color covering will be uniform around the whole building.

    To enhance the mortar lines I used to apply a thin, watery wash of the mortar color (e.g. light grey) over the basic brick color (e.g. boxcar red). Then - with paper tissue - I wiped off the excess color on the raised brick surface in vertical strokes. The result is a nicely weathered brick wall - both with light, dusty dirt on the brick surface, and darker, dirty spots in the mortared grooves.

    These techniques worked well for me - however I don't have any experience with cast epoxy or cast plaster kits! Because you use other glues there, there might be slightly different techniques for them.

    Re Wooden Trestles: I have no experience with trestles, but balsa wood works fine for bridge building. Look at my wooden Howe truss bridge on the bridge thread. (It's at the top of this page)
    It is also in N scale, and I colored it with 'old oak' wood stain. IMO it doesn't look too bad.

  3. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Splendid advice there Ron.

    I particularly agree with the use of Balsa wood for trestles in N. It's amazing how strong Balsa is when it's all braced in such a fashion.

    Don, I can e-mail you dimensioned drawing of trestle bents (supports).

  4. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    I agree, I don't know why it slipped by me to mask off the areas to be glued. :eek:
    Thans Errol, I sent you an email with a different address. Seems like my Yahoo address is locked up righ now.

  5. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    Hey, D:cool:N,

    Here is a handy link to a Rio Grande Southern technical page. Narrow gauge oriented, but you might find some interesting, or even helpful here.


    Hope this is handy.:)
  6. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    Don. My trestle is made of Balsa Wood. Poor picture quality with a cheap camara

    Attached Files:

  7. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    What scale is that? I've got that in my list of things to do, thanks to all the tips I've gotten.

  8. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    Don. Sorry it took so long to reply. I just got home from work.

    That is "N" scale.

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