G Scale Model Train Forum banner
1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
759 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those out there who kitbash and/or scratchbuild, do you have a favorite philosophy or method?

Some like to follow plans, design things before hand, have everything figured out ahead of time. I see this as doing your thinking and your building separately.

Some like to design on the fly, build parts to fit, solve problems as they crop up. I see this as thinking and building at the same time.


I much prefer the latter aproach. Every time I've tried to design something up front, I end up forgetting things and revert to editing the design on the fly. My father tells me that I'm blessed with an ability to "see" things in my head in 3 dimensions without having to put anything on paper. The down side to this is that I never know for sure how things will turn out until they're done, even when I have a basic idea of where I want to go. The benefit is that I don't let a problem on the last 1% keep me from doing the other 99% of the project.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts
I am most definately of the design and draw first type... I like to know where everything is going to be sourced from, how it will be built and how it will all fit together before even a penny leaves my pocket. I know that I have been "burned" on a couple of occassions by this method -but on the whole I have got it to work to my satisfaction. So, yes I have to agree the planning and the building phase for me are entirely seperate. This allows me to examine the comcept of building a locomotive and accepting or rejecting it on the "to build list".

regards

ralph
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
759 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ralph,

I would be curious to know what, if any, models you've rejected as impractical projects.

Another aspect of this subject which I forgot to mention initially is the choice of model. To me, the plan first method seems to work well with a scale modeling project, while the design a s you go methoud would seem to work better with a freelanced model. Of course, there are no black and white delineations, but I'm curious how other people's minds work.


I find that I hesitate to tackle a scale model, because of the need to make everything "perfect", whereas a freelance project just has to be reasonable. You can't tell me my wheels are 2" too large because there is no prototype to compare them to.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,297 Posts
I'm the polar opposite from Ralph, I build by eye, to no or very little plan often using only a photogragh as a guide. A scale is a great cutting edge to me.

Once I have amassed a certain critical mass of parts I will play with trying diffferent combinations, I like to let the part I have guide me, essentialy letting the parts "tell me" what they want to be. I have worked from plans, my AG Price 16 wheeler and my Class A Climaxes being good examples there, but my Whadahellizits, are pure stream of conscience models, I just do a rough (very rough) sketch and then I let the parts take me where they wanted to go.


Rough sketch



Finish model
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
926 Posts
K-Rick,

I'm usually drawn to a structure by its appearance--in real life or in a photo--or occasionally by plans in a magazine such as Gazette or old issues of Model Railroader. In any case, I don't draw up any of my own plans, but I do build a cardboard mockup to assess size and shape of various elements (for example, roof pitch). In other words, I fiddle with it until it looks right. Then I either trace the dimensions onto sheet styrene or transfer the measurements from cardboard to styrene. Then I start cutting and pasting. My styrene station was freelanced, based on dozens of photos and plans of typical small stations gleaned from magazine articles and real subject photos, while my Riders Crossing store used photos, sketches and measurements of the actual store taken by me on a field trip to its location. My latest quickie project, a wooden gas station, is based on a calendar rendering of a typical, down South gas station. In this case--and because I wanted to use standard-size Grandt line windows, I eyeballed the calendar picture, made a sketch that allowed me to see how the windows fit, then picked some suitable dimensions and made my cardboard mockup. Because the station has a carport out front, I fiddled with that to determine how big it should be and how far it should protrude from the front wall of the station. Finally, I literally traced the dimensions onto the styrene sheet and started cutting. The dang thing would be finished by now (the walls are all cut and covered with Precision Plastic clapboard siding) except that after reading an article in Gazette, I decided to superdetail the siding by gluing individual, distressed planks on top of the existing stamped siding. Which brings me to where I am now, distressing about 200 individual pieces of 0.030 x .250 inch styrene strip. But I got nowhere to go and it's kinda fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,167 Posts
I do drawings/plans for my scratch built buildings. No plans except for maybe some printed out reference photos for rolling stock.

-Brian
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,510 Posts
Sometimes I find something that reminds me of something I want to build: I found some bookcase shelf brackets/standards that reminded me of steel girders and that reminded be I wanted a bridge so I decided on an arch suspension bridge. I about went nuts trying to find long enough straight rods to use as the suspensoin cables (I didn't think wire would be stretched straight enough to look right). Once I found cheap welding rod it went together quickly. Unfortunately, it also rusted quickly and I am not real pleased with the result.

Sometimes I buy something that "needs" something else to work the way I want: I bought an LGB "Peanuts Football Team rail motorcycle" and since I do not have track power I needed a trailing car to hold batteries. I decided a dog house for Snoopy on a single truck would do. I about went nuts trying to find the appropriate parts to make the dog house on a "parade Float" and then "furnish it" (it has a pool table, a bar [for quaffing rootbeers], an entertainment center and a crystal chandelier inside, with a bar-b-que grill outside). I spent WEEKS looking for things that fit the image in my head of what it was to be, going into stores I had never been to, buying things that I didn't otherwise want or need just to get a small part from it that I could use.

Sometimes I buy something to get just a part for something else I want and the "left overs" prove more useful than the part I thought I wanted: I wanted a chain on my engines for the uncoupling lever. I found a jewelrry package on the floor of the Grocery store that had been stepped on, the earrings were missing but the necklace was intact and looked like a standard loop chain. I bought it for about half price, thinking I could blacken the chain. The chain is 14Karet gold plated and wont blacken... the jewel (Amethyst?, I think) that hung from the chain fit perfectly in the headlight casting on my engine and sparkles beautifully in the sunlight. Fools most people into thinking there is a light in it.

Unfortunately, I have spent (wasted) an awful lot of money buying things that a part of which might become something I want, that are stacked in boxes and boxes of other stuff I will never get around to turning into whatever it was I thought they could become. Often the project hits a wall of, "Need something else that I can't find", and the project is forgotten and never completed.
 
G

·
structures and rolling stock:
sometime a picture, i accidently see, sets me off. sometimes i wish something and look for pics.
first i make a crude freehand ballpen sketch (sometimes with alterations). if still interested, i make a (still crude) sketch using a ruler and measurements too, or just a scanned copy.
then i look for usable material in my junk-corners.
actual building of the basic rawproduct goes quick.
then i normally put the things aside.
later (sometimes years later) when the actual layout reaches the stage, where it could use the building or car, i put on the details to fit the location.

landscaping:
i normally got a picture of the desired landscape before my inner eyes.
toying around with avaiable materials, it is shape and smash, untill i have the desired look.

when a move or boredom dictate a new layout, at breaking down, i salvage those things entirely, that might fit the vision for the next layout. (not necessaryly the best made things)
from everything else i only save reusable material.

my latest picture based housefront:


















 

·
Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts
Kenneth,

What I term as an impractical project has to do with this simple fact -"can I build it?". The Price 16 wheeler was initially an impractical project. The Klose was impractical until I found the one picture of the mechanism that was not subject to "engineering artistry" and thus I could reverse engineer the formulae required to make it work. The EE-1 was always going to be impractical without a lathe and mill, and to be honest -I still have nightmares about getting the wheels to work...

What I now consider to be borderline impractical are : LEADER , the FELL locomotive, and GT3.

GT3 is starting to become clear, LEADER is still subject to despair (but then so was the original), and the FELL locomotive gearbox is "an extremely unique challenge"....

regards

ralph
 
G

·
Matt,
i planned to call it "Elklodge"
should i think about "Matt's trough"?
(but with my bad english, i'm afraid, the signs will say "cold meals" and "hot beer")
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
983 Posts
Im new at kitbashing and building things. My way of appraoching things is I find a picture of something I like. Then I look for more similiar pictures. Once I have a few in my head I just start building with materials I have around. I try to keep the cost down as much as possible. I was never one for drawing plans. For One I cant draw and two I am terrible with math. It seems whenever I measure something and then cut the wood. It comes to short or too long. Thats why I chose to model a railroad that was planned but never actually built. It allows me to play with things more. Plus I like to term my RR as backwoods. Then nothing has to be perfect. To me backwoods means things were thrown together. They were not ment to be pretty but rather functional.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,716 Posts
Philosophy?

1. Trust God.
2. Be flexible.
3. Maintain a sense of humor.
4. Wear no unnecessary shoes.

Modeling?

Being dyslexic, sometimes the drawn plans aren't any more correct than the initial idea in my head :D
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,297 Posts
Kormsen
Love the cardboard, I use foamcore and balsa. We Innies get to cheat soooo badly dont we..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
I like to make the plans first and if I could complete. But I found out that making plans roughly, then starting to build and refine the plans while building works better. Live steam without any plans is -for me- imposible.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
526 Posts
I'm kind'a in the same league as kormsen. I see a structure I really like and if I think I can find a logical, and photogenic, location on the layout I take pictures, do rough measurements and build a cardboard stand-in. After a few weeks - or months - I can pretty much tell if the outline is going to work in the proposed location. After that I build for effect using characteristic material and colours following the 10 foot rule. Well, indoors - the three foot rule.
But the reality is there just isn't any more room down here....

Dave
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,071 Posts
I like to start with a plan of some kind. But the plan usually starts to degrade because of error on the plans or my inability to measure and cut. The concept I end up following is to start at the bottom, work toward the top and fit one part to the next. One thing I really try to work out is the sequence of construction. It is easy to get out of order and have a real problem down the road.

Great question and great input from everyone

Thanks Bob
 

·
Senior JOAT
Joined
·
736 Posts
I do a mix. I may make a preliminary plan, a mock-up, or even a detailed drawing, or I may just go right to it. Either way, It seems as if there's always some problems to solve.

I do find that my time away from a project allows me to think of the next steps. Often, this will help to prevent a future mistake in the assembly sequence.

Right now, I'm doing a building from an old Model Railroader article from 1974. I think this is how I learned to scratch build: the article provides details of construction as well as some great drawings. I use my HO ruler to get the dimensions, and my 1:20 ruler to scale the parts to the right size.

It's quite fun, because I originally made this model in HO. Seeing it in 1:20 is really neat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,500 Posts
My grandfather and father could build ANYTHING, and did. Even a 15" gauge locomotive and riding cars. The ONLY time I ever saw them use plans of ANY sort was when they built the turnout for the railroad. That they freehand sketched with soapstone on the garage floor and proceeded to bend and weld the parts to this "template". I grew up thinking this was more or less "normal", even though I'd always heard comments from other people saying how Pap could "half-a$$" stuff together better than others could do it "right"

I have some castings here for a large (3" bore x 4" stroke) steam engine. But no drawings. Nobody wants to buy it because I don't have those. In fact I may have insulted a couple guys by suggesting that any machinist worth his salt should be able to build it into a running engine based solely upon measuring what is already there and knowing a bit of how other typical engines were made... Seems this kind of building is becoming a lost art. Maybe much like the difference between "mechanics" and "parts changers"?




FWIW almost every time I've tried to build something from someone ELSE'S plans, I managed to make a hash of some critical part.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top