Tips on scratch building...

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Tips on scratch building...

Joined: April 18th, 2005, 8:54 pm

March 15th, 2012, 9:18 am #1

I've talked myself into scratch building a vehicle; have gathered together plans, photos and other references that I can find, what good tips are there that work for you when scratch building something? Good tools and lighting?

Basically I want to use the Legend Achzarit as a reference point to build a 1/16th one based on Hooben's 1/16 T55.

TIA,

K.
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Joined: July 16th, 2009, 11:00 pm

March 15th, 2012, 10:19 am #2

Good luck with the project, sounds great!

In my 'essential tool kit' I use for scratching I have:

Two good solid steel rules
scalpel with No10 blades and chisel blades
set of was sculpting tools
protratcor
OLFA P cutter
OLFA compass cutter
Hole punch with an integral wheel of punches from 2mm to 5mm which I use for punching discs
set of needle files, large
set of very small needles files
sanding sticks
pin vice and twist drill bits from .3mm up
razor saw
set squares
digital callipers/ vernier
pencil
thin nib permanent marker


In addition:

Milliput
tamiya quick setting putty in a tube
tamiya thin and humbrol polycement
gel type superglue
thin superglue
baking powder
talcum powder



I have various others, but these all see very regular use on my scratchbuilding bench


Check out George Moore's great site for scratchbuilding tips and inspiration too:
www.mooresmilitarymodels.co.uk

Hope that helps

Chris

PS I recently switched over to daylight bulbs for photos and started using the lamp on my bench and it hasd made a world of difference. Good lighting makes for good work and less strain on the old eyeballs
Last edited by ChrisDM on March 15th, 2012, 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: February 22nd, 2001, 4:07 am

March 15th, 2012, 11:06 am #3

I've talked myself into scratch building a vehicle; have gathered together plans, photos and other references that I can find, what good tips are there that work for you when scratch building something? Good tools and lighting?

Basically I want to use the Legend Achzarit as a reference point to build a 1/16th one based on Hooben's 1/16 T55.

TIA,

K.
Chris' list of tools is great. If I can offer two bits of advice:

1) if the sub-assembly is not right, don't be afraid to modify or if need be, toss it and start over.

2) If you're using thinner sytrene sheet for some assemblies, be mindful of slight warping/tugging as glue dries it to other parts. Use thicker sheet whenever practical.

Finally, Ben Jakobsen has an ongoing scratchbuilding tips pages. Have a look:

http://public.fotki.com/bendenna/scratc ... atutorial/

Roy Chow
AMPS President
http://www.amps-armor.org
Roy Chow
Join AMPS!
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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 1:37 pm

March 15th, 2012, 11:26 am #4

I've talked myself into scratch building a vehicle; have gathered together plans, photos and other references that I can find, what good tips are there that work for you when scratch building something? Good tools and lighting?

Basically I want to use the Legend Achzarit as a reference point to build a 1/16th one based on Hooben's 1/16 T55.

TIA,

K.
Firstly, thanks to Chris for the mention.
My website mooresmilitarymodelling.co.uk contains quite a bit of advice on techiniques.

The list of tools from Chris is about as complete as possible, without going over the top, avoid cheap tools.

I found the "chopper" very useful, a type of guillotene effort for cutting strip to length, however with a good vernier guage, use the bar that extends out as a depth guage, this helps when you need loads of strips the correct length.

Some great advice, on this site, I'm sure a load of us are only too willing to help and advise.

Best of luck.

George.
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Joined: July 16th, 2009, 11:00 pm

March 15th, 2012, 1:45 pm #5

Chris' list of tools is great. If I can offer two bits of advice:

1) if the sub-assembly is not right, don't be afraid to modify or if need be, toss it and start over.

2) If you're using thinner sytrene sheet for some assemblies, be mindful of slight warping/tugging as glue dries it to other parts. Use thicker sheet whenever practical.

Finally, Ben Jakobsen has an ongoing scratchbuilding tips pages. Have a look:

http://public.fotki.com/bendenna/scratc ... atutorial/

Roy Chow
AMPS President
http://www.amps-armor.org
I've learned the hard way about trying to 'make do' with a part that isn't perfect. Its far better in the long run to get it right as one small error can throw everything out and its not worth making do when you're going to the effort of building something from scratch

Also I tend to use the CA I lest a lot more than polycement for precisely the reason Roy mentions, the poly melts the plastic, the CA doesn't. In the wrong places this can deform thick styrene, let alone thin stuff, especially as the styrene used in Plastruct and Evergreen is softer than average kit styrene

Chris

Inside the Armour
www.insidethearmour.com
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Joined: January 4th, 2004, 2:26 am

March 15th, 2012, 3:47 pm #6

I've talked myself into scratch building a vehicle; have gathered together plans, photos and other references that I can find, what good tips are there that work for you when scratch building something? Good tools and lighting?

Basically I want to use the Legend Achzarit as a reference point to build a 1/16th one based on Hooben's 1/16 T55.

TIA,

K.
In addition to sheet styrene from .005" up to .080", I have pretty much a complete inventory of Evergreen and Plastruct strip, rod, tube and structural shapes. This sounds like a lot, but if you pick up a pack or two every time you hit the hobby shop it doesn't take too long to build up your selection. I find a block of hard wood with coarse one side/medium grit sandpaper on the other side quite useful too. Machinist square for keeping things straight. Chopper definitely helpful. With some small parts I glue them together on a piece of glass; when cured it can be popped off the glass with a razor blade.

Jim
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Joined: July 24th, 2005, 1:13 am

March 15th, 2012, 6:03 pm #7

I've learned the hard way about trying to 'make do' with a part that isn't perfect. Its far better in the long run to get it right as one small error can throw everything out and its not worth making do when you're going to the effort of building something from scratch

Also I tend to use the CA I lest a lot more than polycement for precisely the reason Roy mentions, the poly melts the plastic, the CA doesn't. In the wrong places this can deform thick styrene, let alone thin stuff, especially as the styrene used in Plastruct and Evergreen is softer than average kit styrene

Chris

Inside the Armour
www.insidethearmour.com
I've been scratchbuilding for quite a while and my biggest fault (among many) is assuming the first time I attempt an assembly it's going to be correct. As said previously, if your part's out of kilter, you can bet it'll only be magnified towards the end of your project. Much better to just bag the first attempt and try again, plastic's pretty cheap, compared to a kit. I started scratching a long time ago - even before resin came out and inundated the market with models people had never heard of...but you'll find that scratchbuilding is VERY rewarding (especially once you master the art of RTV molding), plus you have the satisfaction of knowing that you built that model and your buddy Joe at the model club doesn't have one just like it. Good Luck!
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Joined: April 19th, 2005, 4:32 am

March 15th, 2012, 7:05 pm #8

I've talked myself into scratch building a vehicle; have gathered together plans, photos and other references that I can find, what good tips are there that work for you when scratch building something? Good tools and lighting?

Basically I want to use the Legend Achzarit as a reference point to build a 1/16th one based on Hooben's 1/16 T55.

TIA,

K.
I dont subscribe to the view that the tool list is the place to start.

While it is nice to have a lot of shiny expensive tools it certainly is not necessary. A scalpel, steel rule, set of good dividers, and some abrasives/Swiss files will do a lot of work.

The hardest part to scratchbuilding is what I will loosely call 'visualising'. The skill of being able to look at the item you want to build and imagine it as a collection of bits. Then imagining how you can make those bits, or use exisiting bits.

To make those bits, you can either go out and buy every high tech modelling tool in the catalogues, or apply some cunning and work out how to use tools you already have, or how to improvise with materials to hand.

When fabricating a sheet item, say a turret, it can be a help to make one, or two, or three (or more!) out of thin card. This is much easier and cheaper than working with styrene and when you get it right it gives you a set of patterns that can be saved and used for any future builds. Making trial runs from card can also highlight possible problems or better ways before you start cutting styrene.

The construction of jigs will often help with cutting, shaping or assembly. These can be quite simple or quite complex, and may seem a waste of time when all you want to do is get on with the model. They will however make life much easier.

The old adage 'paractice makes perfect' is just as pertinent today as it ever was. Experience of what you can do with the tools you have, and how the materials you are working with behave, are paramount to success. You only learn those things by using the tools/materials.

Its a good idea to when making something to regard it is a practice run. Then if it does not work out the way you want it you are already in the right frame of mind to scrap it! Coversely if it turns out perfect you get a big lift.

Good luck and happy scratching.

Regards Dave
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Joined: April 18th, 2005, 8:54 pm

March 16th, 2012, 7:36 am #9

I've talked myself into scratch building a vehicle; have gathered together plans, photos and other references that I can find, what good tips are there that work for you when scratch building something? Good tools and lighting?

Basically I want to use the Legend Achzarit as a reference point to build a 1/16th one based on Hooben's 1/16 T55.

TIA,

K.
I appreciate the input, will post photos of progress... if it is up to scratch that is.

K.
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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 1:37 pm

March 18th, 2012, 11:30 am #10

I dont subscribe to the view that the tool list is the place to start.

While it is nice to have a lot of shiny expensive tools it certainly is not necessary. A scalpel, steel rule, set of good dividers, and some abrasives/Swiss files will do a lot of work.

The hardest part to scratchbuilding is what I will loosely call 'visualising'. The skill of being able to look at the item you want to build and imagine it as a collection of bits. Then imagining how you can make those bits, or use exisiting bits.

To make those bits, you can either go out and buy every high tech modelling tool in the catalogues, or apply some cunning and work out how to use tools you already have, or how to improvise with materials to hand.

When fabricating a sheet item, say a turret, it can be a help to make one, or two, or three (or more!) out of thin card. This is much easier and cheaper than working with styrene and when you get it right it gives you a set of patterns that can be saved and used for any future builds. Making trial runs from card can also highlight possible problems or better ways before you start cutting styrene.

The construction of jigs will often help with cutting, shaping or assembly. These can be quite simple or quite complex, and may seem a waste of time when all you want to do is get on with the model. They will however make life much easier.

The old adage 'paractice makes perfect' is just as pertinent today as it ever was. Experience of what you can do with the tools you have, and how the materials you are working with behave, are paramount to success. You only learn those things by using the tools/materials.

Its a good idea to when making something to regard it is a practice run. Then if it does not work out the way you want it you are already in the right frame of mind to scrap it! Coversely if it turns out perfect you get a big lift.

Good luck and happy scratching.

Regards Dave
Dave,
I agree, but I dont recall saying that it was necessary to but a load of tools, only buy good quality.
Cheap engineering squares are just that, cheap. Just do the simple check of scribing a line with the square in one direction then reverse it, see if they match.

Have a look at my website, www.mooresmilitarymodels.co.uk you will see I dont use a lot of shiny new tools, but a good vernier is very useful, as it is possible to measure accurate lengths of strip.

One thing I have found useful, those single edged razor blades, I often tack parts together so as to repeat the shape. Then seperate them.
Oh yes, a pack of sticking plasters, always handy, a master is not complete until a little blood has been shed !!!

But the challenge and reward as you say is "visualising" the shape, then creating it.

But whatever, do enjoy scratchbuilding, it is after all a hobby.

George.
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