Monday 21 May 2012

Saving money building scenery and structures in model making

One of my many hobbies is building up the model railway, especially the scenery. I have always been into model railways - my train set when I was a child was on an 8ft * 5ft board on a spare bed in my bedroom and myself and my Dad had further boards on trestles going round the room!

Anyway, model railway construction materials are often really quite expensive, as is the rolling stock. Luckily all  my stock from when I was a child was still stored underneath my old bed. One of my daughters said one day that we could get the model railway going again - I think she had been playing with my Dad's n gauge layout - and had worked out that if we cleared the spare bed, and got a board , we could have them running again.
So, I set to and cleaned and oiled the engines - although one of them ran straightaway despite being stored for about 15-20 years! I had to get some track - especially points as they were rusting, but other than that we had a basic layout without too much effort.

Now, my daughter is very into making models - she has a friend who is into Airfix and war gaming and she has made tanks and painted soldiers and we have had battles on the living room floor! My father-in-law let her have his Linka-Brick set.

Now, Linka-powder is not available any more, but there was still some left for starters. The idea is that you mix up the powder, pour into moulds - which are brickwork, bridge arches, roof tiles etc and leave to set.
Once dry, pop them out and then glue together into buildings or whatever you wish to construct.

The modern replacement for Linka-powder is Heraculite-3, available at craft shops and online. Pretty cheap as well, and it goes a long way. My daughter made the church below

We have also made our own moulds from polystyrene packaging to make rocks and bankings for scenery

 We popped the moulds out
 We then painted them
And then finally covered them with lichen (bought from a model shop - you get a lot of lichen for about £6 - used for trees and vegetation)

Ebay is also a good source for second-hand rolling stock and other people's leftover scenery, track etc, although competition is pretty stiff for it. Still, I got a "corridor" coach for £10, which is about half price compared to new.

However, I like the build-your-own or "scratchbuilt" as it is known, and if I was starting from cold the idea of building all my own rolling stock would be great - but with a lot of stock already I have only built a few fruit vans and mineral wagons from kits as I needed some more of these to produce typical trains for the period I have set the layout as - which is early 70's.

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