Wood, Plastic or whatever. Favorite Materials.

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by Dan Vincent, Mar 31, 2004.

  1. Dan Vincent

    Dan Vincent Member

    I observed some like to build with wood, plastic or cardboard, many use a combination.

    Any comments on your favorite building materials for modifying locos and is there any source of cheap materials that are not often mentioned.

    Pictures are always appreciated.
  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    My favorite is sheet styrene used for making price sign in department stores. It comes in several different thicknesses and is usually free for the asking. Mine came from a store that remodeled and changed their basic price point colors. I used it to make the cab on this porter and any number of other projects on my layout. It scribes well and takes any paint.

  3. Dan Vincent

    Dan Vincent Member


    I like your ideas and your pictures.

    Now I have two more questions:

    1) What are you using for domes, small pill bottles?

    2) Did you cut your roof supports with a knife cuts or do you have a jig like a balsa stripper?
  4. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Thanks, the domes are made from the "clicker" button found on some ink pens. My well used, over-worked, underpaid but ever faithful Wesscott Scale ruler and an Xacto knife provide the scale "lumber", though I'm not above buying some Evergreen styrene strips. I draw the edge of a razor saw over it for any wood grain effects I might want.
  5. krokodil

    krokodil Member


    I prefer on locomotives brass and other metals (because of weight).

    On cars (did not build many) I use laminated paper or cardstock and styren.

    On buildings recently I prefer wood and with metal, stone and plastic accessories (like windows).

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  6. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Neat scene Krok!!!!!

    :thumb: Val
  7. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Generally, I use wood for wood, plastic or metal for metal. This is just because it's what's easier for me as the texture is right to begin with. I use hardwoods for wood and not balsa, as the grain in balsa is too large for my tastes. Generally, I'm using basswood. The choice between plastic and metal for me just depends on what I have on hand. I keep a good stock of brass sheet, tubing (round and square), and rods. In plastic I keep sheets and some structural components like I beams and angle iron. Also I can make better rivets in brass than plastic.

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  8. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    I usually use anything that looks like it will work with a minimum of processing. Today's glues will just about stick anything to anything so I use anything.:D That's half the fun for me, using odd materials to build something from scratch. Sometimes I even use parts from kits. :oops: But some things shouldn't be used for some things. I can't see building running locomotives from cerial boxes. If it could be done Robin would of done it by now.:) An N scale Pacific built from a Cinnamon Toast Crunch box. Anyone up to it? :D :D :D FRED
  9. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    This is an O gauge Toby the tram engine I built from cereal boxes years ago for my son. It has a drive built with a VCR motor and belt drive. He has seen better days.

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  10. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    That's cute Ray. :thumb: FRED
  11. Dan Vincent

    Dan Vincent Member


    Can you give any dimensions on the "Toby" body.

    I have a 2-yr old grandson just coming into wooden "Thomas"
    now and his 6-yr old big sister has a collection of most of the Ertl metal Thomas stuff.
  12. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Ask Ray:D :D :D :D FRED
  13. Dan Vincent

    Dan Vincent Member

    Sorry, I got so excited when I saw it I forgot who posted it.

    Ray, Can you tell me length, width and height of the sides?
  14. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    Hi dan,
    Most of the dimentions were taken from an Ertl Toby and scaled up to aproximately O scale.
    Its 6 3/8" long, 2 5/16" wide and 2 7/8" tall at the sides. The highth at the center of the roof is 3 1/4 ".
    It wouldn't be hard to power one with an old Lionel locomotive drive.
    I also built Duck the Great western engine, but he didn't survive. It was geared a little to high and suffered to many high speed derailments.
  15. Dan Vincent

    Dan Vincent Member


    Thanks for the dimensions. I bought the Ertl "Toby" for my grand-daughter, maybe she'll loan it to me for details.

    Say, you didn't happen to take a picture of the "Duck" before it's demise?

    I have some old AHM diesels laying around here someplace, most of them use a 4-wheel power truck so the front truck can end up at any length. I don't think "Toby" would need a lot of power.

    I'm really surprised there isn't more interest in Thomas the Train stuff because it sure gets the kids interested. To make your own loco would really appeal to them.

    When I was a kid, between trains and model airplane kits and engines I didn't have any spare money to blow on the bad influences of life.


  16. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    Unfortunately I didn't get a photo in time.
    I think the drive from one of those AHM locos would work. It would sure beat scratch-building a drive.
    I think I still have the Ertl Toby around here somewhere. I've wanted to put an HO drive in it just to see if I could.
    Thomas The Tank Engine was a big help getting my son interested in model railroading.
  17. Dan Vincent

    Dan Vincent Member


    I think Toby is about as big as you'll find in the Ertl diecast Thomas line. It's still pretty small for an HO truck.

    An N-scale chassis should fit a lot easier for HOn30.

    Bachmann took over the English Hornby HO-scale "Thomas" line and you can pick up a Thomas or Percy now for about twenty bucks. A set is about thirty-five bucks discount.

    Although I am into On30 I'm sure I could arrange for trackage rights for an HO Thomas when my grandson comes over.

    Truth be known, if I had the space I'd make a whole layout based on the Isle of Sodar, with all the funny little buildings and bridges.
  18. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    So far all I am going to tackle is structures.

    I will be using wood for wood and styrene/plastic for brick.

    KISS is my motto. :D
  19. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    I've been using Tin from Paint thinner cans, Sheet steel from VCR and computer cases, as well as the internal components from them.
    I've also built locomotives with plastic. It's definitly easier to work with, but I like the weight and ruggedness of metal locomotives.
  20. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Another overlooked freeby, if you can get it attached well, thin aluminum, from the beverage of your choice. Well, my choice beverage won't work, because it comes in bottles. But I can use a pop can. It's realistically thin, pliable, and would work great for tin roofs and such. Cuts easily. Trainclown and I have discussed making a jig to stamp out corregated roofing. Why use expensive and less pliable brass when it has to be glued in place anyway?

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