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On Neils workbench

21102 Views 133 Replies 27 Participants Last post by  madon37s
I haven't bothered doing a workbench thread before as I intended putting most of this sort of thing in my blog. I'm not sure the blogs are that widely known about and some of the stuff I've been working on may be of interest to a wider audience so I thought I would also do a workbench thread.

One thing I have been doing quite a lot of is using plasterboard as a medium for cliffs, walls etc. It has the benefit of giving a more authetic appearance than paper or plastic and in my case, being free; sort of.

While renovating my garage I used a substantial amount of plasterboard and was left with a fair bit as I had over ordered which I had initially intended to chuck, but was advised strongly against doing at the time by my father in law who cited various DIY projects where it could be used. I had been doing a fair amount scenery building with plaster and it dawned on me that the same brick/rock effect would obviously be available from plaster on plaster board as it would on plaster. I had a fair amount of rock cuttings to do and thought that as many of them would be cuttings as opposed to cliffs that I could use the plasterboard to make these.

The plasterboard modelling process is pretty straightforward. I would recommend doing this outside and over a bin if you can. You may wish to use a mask and goggles as this is very messy.

The section of plasterboard cut to size.

Insert stanley knife or screwdriver between the card covers into the plasterboard.

Prise away the plaster on one side.
Continue to remove all of the paper from one side of the plasterboard leaving the other to maintain structural integrity. I initially used a screwdriver but this is incredibly slow and found a Stanley knife far quicker. By wedging the knife in the side and twisting a shattered rock effect can be gained while removing the paper. Once all the paper is removed from one side you can use a screwdriver to add more effects to make it look more like shattered rock.

Once the paper is removed, a series of coloured washes can then be applied to resemble the rock of your choice. For the first coat I used a matt enamel type paint diluted with turps to seal the plaster. The colour to choose depends on what type of rock you are after, white for chalk, grey for Oolitic Limestone, beige for Portland Limestone, red for Central Scottish sandstone. You really don't want any dust getting onto the tracks or into the inner workings of your locos. For subsequent coats you can weather the rock face or add other colouring to resemble the type of rock you are trying to represent, e.g. spots of pinks or whites for granites.

This is the sheet when placed in position on a slope. If you are using water based stains for the secondary coats it is best to do this on a warm day or in a heated room as you want the plaster to dry quickly and not absorb the water. I tend to use several layers of washes to build up the weathered look. I have a large container of stain wash which I apply every time I am out there to build up the layers.

And with a bit of scenicing.

Plasterboard would also be ideal for making brick walls too however once you have removed the surface paper lining you will have to level the surface again by sanding it flat. It may be easier to apply plaster to the surface you intend to look like wall than to do this however it does offer one major advantage; it is difficult to line and etch the plastered surface while it is attached to a structure on your layout. It is comparatively easy to work with a sheet of a foot or so of plasterboard and to etch lines into it with a modelling knife and steel rule. There is also the ability to "point" the brickwork which is best done on a flat surface.

As before the first step is to strip the paper from one side leaving the paper intact on the other to preserve structural integrity.
Having done a fair bit of this over the last month I have found that you now want to file the stripped surface flat if you want an even new build sort of finish. If you do not then leave it uneven and it will represent older crumbling brickwork. The next stage is to use a steel rule to etch the brick work effect into the plasterboard.

The vertical lines have to be done by hand and yes, this is very time consuming.

Next step is to give it a colour wash with your choice of brick colour thinned with turps. I then add subsequent layes of water based washes to weather.

These are added in the form of tiles one by one to make up the area required. Joins can be disguised, if not tight fitting, by buttresses or weeds.

These are all attached with PVA glue. The ends and buttresses can be easily made up from small offcuts.

Here are some pictures after scenicing has been applied to the brickwork.

In conclusion it is a lot of work but is worth it for the authentic effect. It's probably better for stone than brick as bricks are pretty small in HO/OO scales. Here are some more pictures of structures I have made using this technique.

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QUOTE Looks like I'll have to do a whats on my bench too (I'll have to find it first !).

That was my thought too

QUOTE Like the effect with the plasterboard, but I wish you'd stop showing that "item" of motive power - everytime I see it It make me want one even more Go on Brian, you know you want one and thy're in red now too.

QUOTE By the way, we now know where the missing Michelangelo's David is

and I thought I'd gotten away with it.

QUOTE Fantastic tip , thanks for showing us ,I think it may prove very handy on Wuppertal and save me a fortune in the wall boards I need to use .

David, using plasterboard has saved me a fortune. If I had bought Faller products for all the things I have made out of plasterboard it would have cost me 100's of euros. And all the stuff I have made is unique and custom made to the right size. No unsightly joins in the middle of walls; well not as many anyway.

It takes a little while to get used to working with it but once you get the hang of it the results are quite good. It's essentially the same substance as Townstreet buildings etc are made from so you get a more authentic stone finish.

I'm going to have a go at using it to make buildings. I need a half relief pub for the pier so I will see if I can get some photos of some from the East Neuk. The one in Elie springs to mind as I always go there when I go home.
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QUOTE (Sol @ 3 Jul 2008, 11:12) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Neil, I need 3.4ft x 4.6 inches high of off-brown wall please- you know where I live

No worries Ron,

I'll get a quote of in the mail to you.
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QUOTE (Brian Considine @ 3 Jul 2008, 16:14) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I do, I do - but now I have another excuse - black or red ?

Do I get the red to match the Olympic 05 or black so that it looks a little different ?
Given a choice Iwould have picked red. However when I bought mine it was black or green. The red looks fantastic.
QUOTE (BRITHO @ 3 Jul 2008, 22:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Excellent work Neil and another great idea - I've got to buy some plasterboard shortly (to replace the Kitchen ceiling after it fell down!) Now I know what to do with the offcuts.

Personally I think Brian should buy both versions of the loco!

I think so too Dave but will he?
QUOTE (5696Arethusa @ 5 Jul 2008, 05:00) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks alot for that tip Neil, I've a humped back road bridge to build for my new layout and now I think I know how to make it so it looks truely different to other peoples.

Also, I,like the West Highland Line mk1s you've got behind the Scot, very nice, I've got plans to build a set of Gresley Tourist stock a some stage whose colours were copied for those mk1s.

Cheers Andii, I've found this a good way to make unique structures.

I started some building fronts yesterday and am finding it a lot easier than I had thought it would be. I'll do an update once finished.

The West Highland coaches were a limited edition (Lima) set done by Harburn Hobbies a few years ago. They are an authentic livery as can be seen on the cab ride DVD Steam to Mallaig.
QUOTE (5696Arethusa @ 5 Jul 2008, 21:07) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Neil,
Over on my brothers layout thread you say you've been making some trees, OK lets see them

I have finished making some of the trees but haven't yet "planted" them. I should be able to get some time on Thursday to plant a couple and put some photos on. I am very impressed with the sea moss trees, I wouldn't buy ready made again.

QUOTE might also work if only small bits available, laid on edge with broken plaster edges,, to build up a rocky cutting

Yes, you can build up a variety of effects by using a flat piece or by using smaller bits depending on what type of rock strata you are trying to represent. I found the flattish bits best for blasted rock cuttings, however naturally occurring rock doesn't usually look like that and something more three dimensional is better. There are exceptions though like the cliffs at the South of England they are pretty vertical and sheer.

The Castelle wagon is a Trix one from a series they did on wineries. There were a couple of other ones with barrels and a slide door one. The one you asked about came with a nice vintage lorry

There was also an accessory set with a couple of guys unloading barrels with a small crane which I will set up near the bavarian station eventually.

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QUOTE (alastairq @ 8 Jul 2008, 06:17) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>VERY NICE BIT OF INFO RE WINE WAGONS....sorry for shouting.....have you got the 3 axle wagon?

[I liked the spoked wheels.....again, apologies for sidetracking the thread.....I'm sure you didn't set out to post a [useful and interesting] history, but it's amazing what one see's in the background?]
Unfortunately not. It's the only item above that I don't have yet. I wanted to get all of the above as I intended to do a small winery scene using the Busch vines. I have another of the wine barrel cars on the way at the moment although it will be from a different winery. I'm not sure if I still have space for the winery now but I'm sure I could get a few lines of vines in.
QUOTE (5696Arethusa @ 9 Jul 2008, 05:21) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>A couple of large glasses, some easy chairs and some sun then sit back and watch the trains go by

That's the ultimate aim.

QUOTE sorry to sidetrack again.......does anybody remember the occasional articles in the model press, last century, by a British person, [living in the US I think], who had [hand] built an O gauge French layout? [was it ''Clochemerle?]

No but I would be interested to find out if somebody does know. Sounds very interesting.

QUOTE MarTrix produce some really nice wagon sets, but I do sometimes wonder how accurate some of them are - does not deter me from buying then though
Same herer Brian. In fact I have to pick up a couple of these from the Post Office this afternoon. I will do a separate thread for those though.
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QUOTE (john woodall @ 9 Jul 2008, 08:25) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Guys,

The 3 barrel wine wagon is a great wagon.

However, if you can get hold of the original production ones, they had taps on one side of the barrels. The later versions do not have these. A real shame as it was a nice detail touch.


Has a couple
Yes mine didn't have the taps. They were just a transfer or drawing. I am on the lookout for some scale taps though so if anyone has seen any. I'd love to know. I also like the two barrel one they do too.
As requested here are some pics of the trees I made from the seamoss and Anita Decor foliage. At this point I have only used one colour of foliage. I have another darker Anita Decor one and some Busch stuff with a different texture. I will thicken this up a bit with different colours and textures to make it a bit more foliated. A lot of those track side dvd's show that there are loads of bushes and I have found that the seamoss is great for custom made bushes.

These are the freshly made trees.

Here they are in place.

And a couple of warts and all ones.

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QUOTE (pedromorgan @ 9 Jul 2008, 19:20) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>looking good neil. i love the trees.

I have always been a bit of a shoebox modeller because of my lack of space. i have never done any scenic work.

The first 2 panoramic pictures really do look fantastic. worthy of any magazine. out of interest, whats the loco?

Thanks Peter. It's a KPEV P8. This ones a Trix model although there is a Weinert kit which might be more up your street.

Had you thought of doing a small diorama in order to display and photograph your models? Baykal did a thread on this a while back I think.

QUOTE I think you got a better box of Sea Foam than me as you've got some nice height to some of those trees.
Yes Andii, some of them were a decent height. I would still like taller though.

The grass is a combination of types of Siliflor.

QUOTE The only thing that looks out of place in any of your pictures is the little knobs on the ends of the point tie bars, that shows what an excellent job you've made of everything that the only thing out of place is something most people overlook. I've been thinking of cutting them off on mine and I think that you're photos have swung it for me, thanks for posting them.

Yes you're right. I had been thinking that too. I will clip them off as most of my points are digitally controlled. There are only about six now that still need to be motorised three of which are in this area. I'll lose the ones that I don't need.

One thing I would do different this time is to paint the trunk and branches first before applying the foliage. It's a lot easier.

I started a new thread on interesting and unusual wagons here. I have some pictures of the new Maerklin wine car which is based on the same model as seen here. Looks a bit better though as it has been stained.
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Well I had a go at making a building from plasterboard. Here is how it went.

Fisrt step cut the front to size and mark out the windows and doors. Cut these out with a Stanley knife before taking the front paper of the plasterboard.

Plasterboard doesn't give you such fine edges as you'll need for door posts etc so I have used wood for these pasrts.

Here are some of the parts before painting. The roof is off a Hornby pub. I have painted the main facade however I tried tqwo methods to start with. The bottom has wooden edging which is easier to paint but a pain to do as you have wait on the glue drying before you can get cracking with the next bit. The top half I painted free hand.

Next I did two side pieces. This is only a half relief building as I wanted to see how it worked out before trying anything more substantial.

Here I have added windows taken from another structure. I have sorted out a chimney and some doors too.

I had to re do the sides as I noticed belatedly that the roof does not overhang the sides.

I started adding the drainpipes and pub sign etc as it's about finished now. The paint is still a bit wet. I will do some touch up once this coat dries. I'm quite happy with it for a first attempt. I have learnt a few things now to bear in mind next time.

This is what I am aiming to represent so judge for yourself how it turned out.

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QUOTE (Brian Considine @ 26 Jul 2008, 16:59) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Look good to me Neil - captures the look & feel of the original. I really like the texture of the walls too.

Thanks for showing us.
Thanks Brian. It was that painted stone texture I was trying to capture.
QUOTE (alastairq @ 27 Jul 2008, 22:00) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>excellent work.....couldn't have achieved such a good random wall texture if I tried!

the use of a sharply-moulded roof [tiles?] certainly enhances the model...providing that contrast between rough and tidy.

as in everything,it is the details that bring a model to life?

what about a seagull on the roof?

[and guano.....from the prototype pix I take it this is a seaside pub?]

It's very much a seaside pub. It overlooks Elie harbour. A seagull would be very appropriate. I will try and mesh it into my harbour scene. I am now regretting doing a partial structure as it harder to mesh in. I think I have sorted my long standing backdrop issues though.
QUOTE (Brian Considine @ 29 Jul 2008, 02:30) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Or outside if you smoke
Actually outside is great in summer. The benches overlook Elie harbour.

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QUOTE (alastairq @ 30 Jul 2008, 02:21) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

is it on the right?
Yes, third building in. Well spotted.

Dave this is in Fife which is not far north of Edinburgh.

Andii, I have to say I really did fancy a pint after making this.
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QUOTE (5696Arethusa @ 5 Aug 2008, 19:41) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Stunning Neil

The whole thing looks great, you've done one of the best jobs of blending the model and backscene I've ever seen. Did you paint that backscene or buy it some where? it's great!
You've got a lovely summers day at the coast with a nice calm sea, but where's the railway?

I love the RIBs though I wouldn't fancy dragging them up that slipway.

The backscene is a combination of painted sky and photograph. I wrote a bit about this in my blog this month.
The buildings etc are from Crail in Fife. The railway is just to the left. There's a large viaduct just to the left of the Railway Inn.

I've got a Unimog for towing the RIB's up the ramp.

Thanks for the kind comments guys.

I'm not sure if the car is a Morgan or an MG. I have lost the box a while back but I think it's a Morgan. Couldn't swear to it though.

You wouldn't believe what's been parked in that harbour at times Alastair, lighthouses, pubs as well as cars. It serves as my scnic dump when I am doing work on this part of the layout.
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QUOTE (BRITHO @ 7 Aug 2008, 01:20) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Is it the Wills one? I have to agree with Brian though it is something you rarely see modelled.

Cheers guys, it's the Langley one. It's quite a nice kit too.
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