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> Sopa New Line Schalthaus review, Swiss Railway building kits
neil_s_wood
post 5 Feb 2008, 05:12
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Sopa New Line

Bausatz Schalthaus Preda 842 600

Price 60 Euros

A few months ago I was alerted to the existence of this company by an article in Continental Modeller. The station depicted looked very good so I had a look at their website. The buildings depicted were all from the Swiss Rhatische Bahn or other Swiss railways and appeared to be of a very high quality. Having already purchased a station by Faller I had no room for another one so I left it there. However, after reading many articles on the Rhatische Bahn I noticed that there were other station buildings which I would need and was not able to find kits for. I then had another look at Sopa Models kits and found just the one I wanted, the Schalthaus. This is a kind of electric substation which provides power for the railway and is to be found at many stations on the Rhatische Bahn and elsewhere. So I ordered the kit and awaited its arrival.

The kit arrived well packed accompanied by a couple of Swiss Rhatische Bahn magazines and a couple of flyers for other items. I also got a pen from the model shop which Iím sure will come in handy. This is what you get in the box.



There is a gyprock cast of the main building and detailing parts made from copper, plastic, metal and wood. Roughly we are talking about a Townstreet style building with additional detail. You also get full instructions (in German), an illustration showing assembly and a sheet with colour photographs of the prototype which is very useful for reference when painting. You will require cyanoacrylate glue as well as PVA to attach the metal parts.

The instruction are only in German so you may want to think about this before buying. The instructions are good but for one of the more complex kits you are going to spend some significant time typing the text into Bablefish or somewhere similar to understand what you need to do. This kit was pretty straight forward and the diagram is pretty clear but there are a few things I would have missed if I had not taken the trouble to translate this.

First step is to paint and stain the main building block. This is the same as Townstreet, stains are better and use pure paint only where necessary. The casting is not bad. The top half is very good and has the correct pebble dash effect but I feel the lines around some if the stones in the building could be a lot finer.



The next stage is to add the electricity isolators. This is done by panting the wooden strip black and gluing it to the inside of the structure. You then drill holes in three of the power outlet windows. The actual isolators are made by threading wire through the plastic part provided and then threading this through the predrilled hole. You can later superdetail this by adding the wires carrying electricity.



The windows were made from scoring ‚Äúplexi-glas‚ÄĚ This gives white lines which come up well against the black background. Iím not so sure about these as they look a lot like greaseproof paper. I may remove these later and replace them with something else.

The roof is made from combining a plastic preformed roof sheet with a wooden slatted undersheet and a copper gutter. The roof parts have to be pre-scored and bent to make the characteristic Swiss roof shape. The edges of the roof are made from the wooden strips provided. The wood can be stained or painted.



The top of the roof is finished by adding an adhesive copper strip. This is a good idea and would be ideal for use in replicating lead sheeting on roofs. It is easily applied but you want to get this right first time! There is also a third copper gutter provided for the turret bit. This requires some cutting and shaping but is not too hard.




Having done that we are now ready to do a second round of touch up painting and then some weathering.



The finished item is good and looks excellent on the layout. Although I do not have the space for one of their stations, if I have another layout in future with a Swiss section I will certainly be coming here first.





The entire range can be viewed here. The proprieter is very helpful and I found him very easy to deal with. Although the website is German language only they speak English too. You can also buy these as ready made models however the price is considerably higher.


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Doug
post 5 Feb 2008, 08:08
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It looks great.

I was going to say that you should now just wait a few years for the copper to turn green, but it looks as though you painted it.


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Brian Considine
post 5 Feb 2008, 10:57
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Excellent looking kit Neil - thanks for the review.

Some of these plaster cast buildings really do look the part.
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7113
post 5 Feb 2008, 13:40
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Great review Neil, amd the other products look good as well.

Regards


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neil_s_wood
post 5 Feb 2008, 21:18
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QUOTE (Doug @ 5 Feb 2008, 19:08) *
It looks great.

I was going to say that you should now just wait a few years for the copper to turn green, but it looks as though you painted it.


This was a lovely kit to build. They are recommended, they take the Townstreet model that bit further with the extra details. I like the materials they use too.

This is the first time I have seen or used copper foil with an adhesive back as a modelling medium and I think it offers great potential. As you suggested city buildings with tarnished copper roofs. This would take time but its is the only way to get a really authentic tarnished copper finish.


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Basil
post 31 May 2008, 16:40
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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 5 Feb 2008, 22:18) *
This was a lovely kit to build. They are recommended, they take the Townstreet model that bit further with the extra details. I like the materials they use too.

This is the first time I have seen or used copper foil with an adhesive back as a modelling medium and I think it offers great potential. As you suggested city buildings with tarnished copper roofs. This would take time but its is the only way to get a really authentic tarnished copper finish.


The greening of copper is due to oxidisation. Having worked with some artists in the past (once or twice on railway), a patina can be done on copper which 'ages' it quickly and produces an authentic looking green. It must be copper oxide (CuO) which is formed and not other oxidised forms . From memory Nitric acid (weak solution) can be used but with great care as even in a weak solution it is almost lethal. The technique is explained in a few of the art books hanging round my house (as my better half is an artist) and I will try to get a 'recipe'.


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neil_s_wood
post 1 Jun 2008, 22:05
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Yes Basil, Nitric acid is pretty strong stuff. I'm not sure how available that would be to the public?


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Basil
post 2 Jun 2008, 21:52
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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 1 Jun 2008, 22:05) *
Yes Basil, Nitric acid is pretty strong stuff. I'm not sure how available that would be to the public?

Quite right and would not be from the main street.

Phosphoric acid is usually available from camera or photography supplies and may have the same effect (good oxidiser). Also Hydrogen peroxide used for making hair blonde etc would help. The nitric acid would only be available at specialist chemical suppliers (suppliers to labs etc) and of course needs to be used very wisely and very carefully. You could ask your friendly industrial chemist.

Must do a few experiments on 'patina of copper' and post some photos (as soon as I fine the cameral lead for my compuee , d*** thing)

Obviously you would have to test the effect on some small pieces of copper before destroying a quite nice modell.


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andrew
post 2 Jun 2008, 22:29
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These are lovely models. If only the Highland Railway had electrified and used Crocodiles, I would be a very happy multi era modeller...

A useful form of phosphoric acid can be found at car parts shops as a liquid or gel for removing rust, and it works quite nicely for putting an artificial patina on brass and copper. It stains your fingers green too, so use rubber gloves with it. (If I remember my school chemistry aright, it's the copper carbonate formed by the action of atmospheric carbon dioxide and moisture that eventually gives the characteristic green finish called verdigris).


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neil_s_wood
post 2 Jun 2008, 22:42
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QUOTE (andrew @ 3 Jun 2008, 08:29) *
These are lovely models. If only the Highland Railway had electrified and used Crocodiles, I would be a very happy multi era modeller...

A useful form of phosphoric acid can be found at car parts shops as a liquid or gel for removing rust, and it works quite nicely for putting an artificial patina on brass and copper. It stains your fingers green too, so use rubber gloves with it. (If I remember my school chemistry aright, it's the copper carbonate formed by the action of atmospheric carbon dioxide and moisture that eventually gives the characteristic green finish called verdigris).

It would be nice to be able to replicate this effect for some city buildings. Much better than just painting them the appropriate shade of green.


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