Weekend Reading: Model Building with Brass by Kenneth C. Foran

modelbuildingwithbrassOne of the things all modelers should consider doing is looking outside their particular niche for methods and materials that might be bring something new to their repertoire. Model Building with Brass by Kenneth C. Foran was recommended to me by a modeler who knew of my beginning brass modeling pursuit. I second that recommendation.

As you can tell from the dust jacket, Kenneth Foran builds beautiful large scale models of various vehicles to a incredible level of detail and finish. The full-page and two-page colour photographs are a highlight of this book.

This is no coffee table decoration, however. Kenneth shares many of his methods in detail including tools, fabrication and finishing. Step by step examples give you an idea of what can be accomplished. Some techniques are not obviously applicable to model railroading. For instance I am not sure how I might use something like electroplating but I am ready if the occasion arises. On the other hand, Kenneth’s techniques for fabricating things like gas tanks and working brake pedals would easily translate into things such as tank car ends, brake rigging. diesel noses and cab interiors. If you want to model a prime mover right down to working pistons, this is definitely the book for you.

Model Building with Brass won’t tell you how to build railroad cars and locomotives but it can probably teach you are thing or two that will make things easier and improve your results. I consider the book a good buy for the sheet brass fabrication techniques alone.

Model Building with Brass is still in print and available through the usual online sources.

Weekend Reading: Scratchbuilding for Model Railroaders by Bob Walker

sb4mrrs.jpgI remember thinking some years ago that Bob Walker’s Scratchbuilder’s Corner column in Railroad Model Craftsman embodied a wealth of knowledge that should be turned into a book.  This was apparently not a special insight since not long after, along came Scratchbuild for Model Railroaders. If you ever intend to build a structure be it kit or from scratch, you would do well to own a copy of this book as a reference.  Note the dogeared corners on mine.

In the same self-deprecating conversational style he uses in his columns, Bob covers everything related to scratchbuilding structures from basic tools and materials all the way up to moulding and casting. Things are spelled out in straightforward fashion and include warnings on common mistakes.

We are fortunate that White River Productions has picked up and continued the Carsten books including this one so you can buy it new online right now. There is a lot of information packed into this volume and at $19.95 USD it is probably just about the best value for money available in the hobby today.

Shedding

The linear progress on a single modeling project described to this point might cause one to wonder about my choice of blog title. Wonder no longer! Here is the other project nearest completion.

Some time ago, I chanced to re-read an installment of Bob Walker’s excellent Scratchbuilder’s Corner column in Railroad Model Craftsman where he suggested on build a shed as start on scratchbuilding structures.  After a bit of thrashing around, I settled on a PRR handcar shed since plans were freely available on the internet at PRR Standard Plans.

I got the whole thing done except the roof and wandered off to other projects. I have recently started on the roof since that seems like a short step to done.  Never one to do things the easy way, I decided to try a technique for creating tarpaper roofing from kraft paper using an India ink and alcohol wash I read somewhere or other.

So, shed with insufficiently rigid 1/32″ plywood subroof:shed

And roofing in progress:roofingfactory

To do:

  • Resolve subroof rigidity issue.
  • Finish staining roofing.  Photo is two coats of stain, I think I need to add more ink to the mix.
  • Apply soffit.
  • Apply roof.
  • Door hardware, perhaps an exterior light and a stove pipe.
  • Affix shed to a minimal base.
  • Lighting?  The door is not openable and there is no interior.

Weekend Reading: Scratch-Building Model Railway Locomotives by Simon Bolton

Reading is the one hobby I have pursued longer than model railroading. Naturally, some of the former involves subject matter relevant to the latter. I thought I would share some titles that I have found interesting:

Scratch-Building Model Railway Locomotives by Simon Bolton is an accessible read covering the subject from a start useful to the beginner new to scratch-building in metal i.e. me.  This was an exciting find since the articles on the subject in such wonderful publications as Model Railway Journal tend to assume a basic level of knowledge and experience that many of us in North America lack.

Simon describes the construction of a simple British locomotive in a cheerful style illustrated with many colour photographs and hand drawn diagrams. Tools and techniques are introduced and explained in detail.  Neither is unachievable by the average intrepid modeler.  No lathe or milling machine required!

Even if I never actually scratch-build a locomotive, I learned several techniques that I have already put into use.  There is a sequel, Scratch-Building Model Railway Tank Locomotives that builds on the first book while tackling a more challenging modeling subject.  Both books are available through certain large online book sellers in North America which is how I found them when searching for books on the subject.