Saturday, February 19, 2011

I'm Not Dead - Just Got Sidetracked!

Sorry to let you guys down over the past few days!  I've taken on the job of Region Editor of the Rocky Mountain Region of the NMRA and had to get an issue out right away.

I should be back to blogging today or tomorrow.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!  Normally I stay about a week ahead on blogs, so I'm quite a bit behind.

Scott Perry

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Your First Laser Kit 09 - Basic Barn Kit - Wall Assembly Part 3

Now that we have the barn glued on the right sides we can put her together...

 We'll leave one side in the gluing jig and remove the other.  Make sure the joints are strong and straight.

 Test fit the barn sides and if they look good and square, apply glue to the corner braces and put the barn sides together.  Use the magnets to gently hold the barn square and tight.

 The lean-to can be removed and moved to another corner.  Next we'll add the other side.

 Mount the other wall in the jig against the back wall and secure with magnets.  Using another toothpick, break off a piece, coat it in glue and stick it in the corner.  Thanks go out to legendary editor and NMRA photo contest chairman Paul Voelker for teaching me how to use round dowels to support corners.  They work great!

The roof boards curled up again!  We'll fix them!  A little water and two of Popsicle Rick's weights and we'll flatten them!

Tune in again for more barn storming!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Product Review - Scratch Building Structures Volume 1

Scratch Building Structures Volume 1 by Green Frog

Ok, if I watch it twice back to back and plant to watch it again tomorrow, its a good DVD.  This is an older one but still very valid for today.  I've seen John Koch's tremendous On3 layout in real life and it was amazing to say the least.  Sadly it is gone now.

If you model in O scale this is perfect for you!  In O we have a few more issues with size than do the HO or N guys.  You have to dig the saws out and you run out of workbench fast due to the size.  Green Frog shows you how to build some really massive structures and they don't spare the details.

They build several models from Blazek plans and the results are awesome.  The depot, which I remember being about four feet long, is really incredible.

Buy this one!!!

Hey, wait a minute.  What happened to Volume 2?  It must not have been produced because I can't find it in their catalog.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Your First Laser Kit 08 - Basic Barn Kit - Wall Assembly Part 2

Ok, being on baby duty and modeling don't always work.

"You must focus!  Concentrate!"
- Mr. Miagi, The Kung Fu Kid

 Um, what's wrong with this picture?  A side and a front, and a side and a back?  Ok, now put them into a rectangle.  NOT!  !!@$!@$!@%@#$%

 Like I say all the time, being a good modeler is not about being able to build perfectly but being able to remedy your mistakes.  Here's where the balsa comes in.  It slices "like budda" and comes right off.

 There is only a little wood residue so we'll hit that with a sanding sponge and start over.

 We put it on the correct side this time, lock it down with magnets, and glue a new corner board in place.  We'll park it and let it dry.

Another problem; the corner had been dinged and is no longer square.  Time to retire this tool.

Ok, bad things happen in threes....where is number three?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Your First Laser Kit 07 - Basic Barn Kit - Wall Assembly

Nothing like hanging around the house on a Sunday.  Wife and oldest daughter gone and I'm on baby duty.  Luckily she's having a sleeping day!

 Cut of iced tea on the desk.  Playing the latest DVD added to my collection featuring Dean Freytag the master of styrene and steel.  Playing how-to videos while model building is great fun!

 First, let's get the backs of the doors painting.  We masked them from the black, so we'll take the Dr. Ben's Chicago Brick Red and paint them.

 We need to mask off the unpainted area.  You can see that I've already gotten some red on the back, but it blows off easily.

 With the area masked off, we'll load up the brush with red pigment.

 The inside door is probably in pretty good shape, so we'll make it dark and even.
Using my faithful can of Testor's Dull Coat, we'll spray a light coating to seal in the pigments.

 Here is a good example of spraying on too much.  I soaked it and the colors ran on to the tape.  Go easy on the Dull Coat!

 Now, back to the assembly instructions.  The instructions are a bit week in that they just say cut out the walls and put them together.  They do mention that the side walls go inside of the front and back walls, though this might be hard for some to understand without a drawing.

So here is what it means.  The front wall is the most likely to be seen.  The side wall attaches behind the front wall and the trim pieces will go over the joint to hide it.

 Again I tried to use a hobby knife for these parts and had to switch to a razor blade.  Take your time and make several passes at each fret.

 Use a straight edge for long pieces like these so that you don't slip and cut the boards.

 Cut out around a big piece and then cut out the smaller pieces.  Remember, your fingerprints will show up in detail shots!

 So hold the boards with a towel or rubber gloves.

 There!  All the pieces have been removed.  After reading the directions again I just realized that the door will have to be painted.  Oh well.

 Each of the boards that you cut out will have a small about of the fret remaining.  This must be sanded flat.  Also, laser cutting does not make a 90 degree angle at the cut.  It is at a slight angle.  Thus, a cut side and a flat side really don't meet perfectly.  So when I sand I try to flatten out the cut.

 You don't need to sand much, but just enough to remove any burrs.

 Normally I use a small sandpaper tool to do this, but I've lost it.  So I'll make do with the pointed edge of the sanding sponge.

 I tried to leave the front doors in to give this piece added strength, but they fell out so I'll go ahead and sand the inside of the doorway.

 When all are sanded check for dust and damage.  This is the time to repair any board that you broke with a little glue.

 Next we want to assemble the walls of the barn.  I'm going to use my hand dandy squaring jig.  It has four 90 degree sides and several magnetic fixtures that hold the parts in place.

 What we'll do is mate the two pieces in the corner, and fasten them down with the magnets so that we can glue a corner board (not included with the kit) into place.

 Going to the wood shed (no, not in trouble with the wife today for a change) I picked up a 1/4" square piece of balsa wood.  I like balsa for corners because it is cheap, easy to cut and if you make a mistake you can remove it and sand off the area.  But hey, I don't make mistakes.

 We'll dig out the Zona saw and the X-acto miter box for cutting the corner boards.  You can use a Dremel or a mini chop saw, whatever works for you.

 I measure the first cut, making it a bit short of the top and bottom.  All I want it to do is to reinforce the corners and help keep them square.

 A few hits with the saw and its done.

 Then I take the corner board that I just cut, set it aside of the stock board, and cut three more.

 There!  Four corner boards.

 I put one front and one side in the jig and locked them down with magnets.

 My jig is a little old and is not perfectly straight, so I use a toothpick to force the front wall into the back wall to make a tight connection.

 Using a little full strength Elmer's glue, I put a light coat of glue on two adjacent sides, the ones that go into the corner.

 Here you can see the corner board drying in place.

 Oops!  Left the hayloft door in.  We'll take a second and cut that out.  Sometimes I'm tired or distracted by baby duty or the TV and make mistakes.  This does take some focus.

 We press this into the corner and also lock it down with magnets.

 Glue and mount the corner board.

 The baby is about to wake up so I need to hurry....

 Both large assemblies are drying so let's see what is next.  Looks like the lean-to needs to be assembled.

 Just like the others I put two of the three pieces in the jig.

 Instead of a square, I'll just use a round toothpick for the corner support.  I like using round corner supports because they are just as strong, but don't have to be perfectly at a 90 degree angle.

We'll let that dry....and go feed the baby.