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Wills plastic card & scratchbuilds

4343 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  7113
Hi there and this is my first post - wonder if you can help?

Have recently returned to Railways modelling under the familiar and thin guise of buidling some decent layouts for my kids. Having made a few Dapol etc kits have really enjoyed some scratchbuilding and am trying different materials/methods etc. Have bought myself a few packs of Wills brickwork/roofing/boardings etc. plus the accessory packs (windows/doors/drainpipes etc) and have started some basic buildings etc. Can anyone point me in the direction of any plans, outlines etc online. plus have found that chopping out sections of the card to fit windows/doors to be a pretty tricky task using a craft knife and straight edge as the card is just slightly too thick for an easy cut and push-out the waste - any advice here?

many thanks
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Hi Dave and Welcome.
I have built a few buildings using the materials you describe. look at my website under "My Layout" or "On my work bench" to see some of them.
Can I just give you one tip. Don't try to cut your window/door openings in one cut. Use several lighter cuts, it will be easier and more acurate if you do.
Also cut along the diagonals of openings, it makes it easier to remove the waste material.
Not doubt others will add to your thread soon.
Many thanks for your comments and it does make perfect sense - I will try your cutting advice later this week.

Also ta for the links to your site, looks really good and probably not relevant and a bit too South but Pembrokeshire is a place close to my heart although not for railway reasons - but it seesm to capture the light and space of the West Coast railways.

Any other tips appeciated.


For the rapid method of cutting window/door opening try a hot screw driver and then finish off with a file or knife. Obviously you use an old/cheap screw driver and one of those nice gas burners. I have a Proxxon table saw for cutting to size. Wills plastic sheets, while very useful, appear produced from low grade plastic from regrinds ( recycled plastic ), because they exhibit all these characteristics, brittle, if over worked they can shatter.
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I would agree with MMAD on his comments re Wills sheets Dave, that's why I use Slaters plasticard instead. Bigger sheets, more variety of patterns and easier to cut. The only thing I would recommend if you are constructing a full building with Slaters, would be to use a 40thou sheet of plain plasticard bonded inside the patterned one to give extra strength.
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Whilst I agree with the tip about not cutting out a window shape in on go, here is a tip that may help you do just that in anything up to 2mm card...

You need my favourite tool, a long strong heavy gauge sewing needle held in a pin vice or similar. At a push (tee hee), you could use the point of a pair of school compasses, though they are a little 'coarse'.

Having marked out your window/door opening on one side of the card, use the 'pointy thingy' to pierce the card at each corner intersection of you drawn lines. Ensure you hold the 'pointy thingy' quite vertical to that the same point is marked on both sides of your card.

Turn over the card, and, using a pointed (not round edged) scalpel, put the point in one of the holes, and line up a metal straight edge with the blade. NOT THE OTHERWAY ROUND. Then align the straight edge similarly with the next hole, and cut halfway through the card. Then turn it over and cut as normal fom the front.

I promise this will make matters a lot easier, it must do, it works for me and I'm no Einstien!!
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Some excellent advice there Dooferdog, I can always sccronge a needle from my mother, who, thinking about it also has a selection of lace bobbins, I wonder if they would do the job?


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Hi Britho!

I don't know what a lace bobbin is like? My device is simply a big sharp pointed needle (1.5 mm?) held in a hobby knife handle (the aluminium pencil sized sort) which screws up to tighten the blades. Use it a lot to re-position things etc.

A lace bobbin, amazingly enough used in lace making, is a sort of nnedle in a small wooden handle, a bit like the kit you describe. It's amazing what rubbish you discover on here isn't it!


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