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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to find some styrene or other type of plastic that has wood planking/decking or similar pattern on it for use as a flat car deck.

Looking at the molded on decking on one of my Hartland flatcars, the boards are about 3/32 thick, by 1/4 wide. I like the molded deck sizing on these cars and it looks pretty realistic to me based on the scale of the rest of our rolling stock.


So I'd like to do something similar on a flat car that doesn't have a deck. The preferred material being plastic since I want the decking to match the paint colors I used on the Hartland cars and I really like working with plastics over wood.


The flat car deck I'm trying to simulate looks like this:




Notice how the decking just sits on top of the steel frame. So the deck board ends have to be thick enough to see. That's why I've been having trouble finding any material to use. Most molded siding in plastic are for wall veneers where you don't see the ends. Also the orientation (horizontal) is more for walls and not decking meaning I'd have to cut and splice pieces to make a full deck (which on the model is 16 7/8" long by 4 1/4" wide).


I even thought about getting strip styrene and laying the deck plank by plank, but that will take some time to do.


Because I've never done anything like this in G scale before, I might be missing something so easy. That's why I thought to post a question here hoping someone knows what to use.


Any ideas on what to use, remembering that plastic is highly preferable?
 

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Matt,
Personally I use wood for my flat car decking,usually balsa because it has a good grain,cutting a sheet the full size of the deck and scribing the planks.Once the scribing is done I run a razor saw lightly down the thickness at the ends of the planks.Job done.That said there is no reason why you shouldn't substitute a sheet of plastic of the desired thickness for the wood and when the scribing is done put the grain on with the edge of a saw blade run sideways across the deck finishing off with a light sanding.IMHO that would solve your dilema.
Regards,
Bunny
 

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I prefer to use the AMS wood planking kits offered by Jonathan Bliese at EMW (RC Trains in Chino, CA). It has a nice bleached weathered look to it.

 
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RE: Plastic "wood" decking material?

as jerry mentioned, if you don't need an entire sheet for stability, go wooden!
coffeestirrers from mcdonalds do it.
if you brush them lengthwise with an old wirebrush the natural grain stands out very good.
 

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RE: Plastic "wood" decking material?

where you don't see the ends


Matt,
The usual suggestion is to get out your thin saw blade and cut detail in the 'ends'. One of my flatcars (don't recall whether it was the Bachmann or the Accucraft) came with a plastic deck but without clear end detail so I had to cut vertical slots to designate the separate planks. Varying them helps make it more natural.

The saw blade can be dragged around on the ends to give them a bit of texture, but don't do wavy grain - these are the ends of planks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the suggestions.

I guess using individual plastic boards wouldn't be all that different from the wood ideas, like popsicle/stir sticks, etc...

After measuring it looks like I can use evergreen or plastruct styrene strips (.100 x .250) for most of the boards, and then on the two ends a slightly larger (.100 x .312) board.


I'm hesitant to use thin wood strips since this car will be completely exposed to the environment. And real wood doesn't do too well in our elements, even if it's treated.
 

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RE: Plastic "wood" decking material?

I think that's going to be your best bet. I'd go over each board with some 60-grit sandpaper first to give the boards some light grain. Do this before you cut the planks to length, it's easier to sand the entire strip. Once you cut them to length, a quick twist of the end on the same sandpaper will give them some end grain.

Later,

K
 

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I used to use only wood for my decks, and then started building complete cars in wood, but they are not great outside in the damp of So Cal either. Besides I can just go out now and buy the Spectrum flat cars and then paint their decks. Cheaper and a lot faster by the time I factor in the wood, paint, decals, couplers, trucks, steel wheels and Ozark parts.




I like the idea of using the strip styrene, but every once in while, use a fine toothed X-Acto saw blade to make grain variations from the rough sanded boards. Bugger up the ends too, that always helps make things look more realistic. Having a NWSL Chopper is a must for a program like this.





Bachmann Spectrum flat car with a painted deck and KD's.
 
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