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Scale Modeling Tips & Tools Monthly, Issue #048-- "Year's-End
December 15, 2010
December 15, 2010

Making Your Own Rundown N Scale Shed

At the first glance, scratch building an N Scale dilapidated shed might be pretty straight forward , after all who among us naturally builds straight walls, a nearly collapsed shed should be pretty undemanding. but then again, that depends…

Years ago, my modeling activities included construction of just such a shed for an N-Scale layout and it was perched towards the back as it was grossly oversized. But it caught my wife’s attention and she snagged it for a living room knick-knack.

She really enjoyed pointing it out to visitors and explaining the shredded tarpaper roof was actually painted toilet paper. In our recent redecorating, the little shed seems to have lost its way back to its conversation piece status; in reality it is lost.

A perfect excuse to build another (this time more accurate in scale) using individual planks instead of scribed siding and share the build with readers. It is also an ideal small gift for my wife to cover some Pandora beads she can add to her bracelets.

The most difficult part of modeling a dilapidated shed is dealing with the sway-back roof. You don’t bend an N Scale 4X4 wooden ridge pole very far before it snaps. If you go to styrene, you end up with a lot of tension in a very short distance.

Instead of either, I opted for a small piece of styrene sheeting, cut the desired slope of the end-walls and then cut the swale I wanted.

These ‘build’ articles tend to get pretty lengthy for eZine reading , you will find the rest of it


Modeling Ocean Dioramas

I have had several questions recently on modeling water, specifically for shipping dioramas dealing with things you don’t often think about like wave colors, distance between swells and what color items take on after an extensive amount of time underwater.

A lot of this is detailed in a website article about ocean dioramas.

Ocean Diorama Making
I find Google Images to be a great resource for getting the look of an ocean-going vessel accurate. Just Google ‘ships at sea’ without the quotes and you will get back a gaggle of images of everything from futuristic cloud ships to a British man-of-war plying the ocean waves.

I copy/paste the ones that depict the scene I am attempting to model and place them in a folder for referral when I get to that stage of the modeling effort.

Another great source for images of your planned project is YouTube where you can capture some close-to-live views like these:

sea-going going under break-out

These images are captured by pausing the video, using a program called SnagIt to capture the image and save it to a file. Seldom does a day pass when I don’t use SnagIt.

Another way of using YouTube is to look up actual diorama building techniques. For instance, this one shows how to make use of a smashed model:

My Current eBay Offerings
Good Deals for Scale Modelers

You can often catch a real deal here where you get immediate access to my current eBay auctions where N Scale structure prices start at 99 cents. Of course, it is an auction and that means bidding. There are also multiple pictures of the subject project.

Get There First From Here

Scratch building in N Scale is not as lengthy a project as one might imagine, particularly if you can manage a couple 8 hour days in your build cycle. A lot of modelers can only manage to get in two-to-three hours a night and are lucky to get a couple of these per week.

My version of Shelby Marine in N Scale took a couple of weeks since I had to wait on building materials to be shipped from the opposite side of the map, but it was worth the wait.

Working with individual N Scale planks gives me the ability to vary the look of the same structure and to provide board-by-board weathering with relative ease. I also got a chance to shift away from the original fine scale miniature since I am not dealing with a precise number of planks. This tends to force builders to work from the kit plans

Pros and Cons of Snow Jobs

Living in northern New England, you’d think I would get enough of snow not to consider modeling it in N Scale, even for a Christmas Village.

It caused me to start thinking about the pros and cons of setting a specific time of year in modeling scenery for either a model railroad layout or a diorama.

Its The Low Activity Season

Winter, around here at least, tends to curb outside activity which tends to add interest for model railroad layouts when you can model fun activities like barbeques, fishing, boating, carnivals, lemonade stands, baseball games, bike riding, or even street hockey.

When winter sets in you are pretty much limited to downhill skiing and snow plowing, (the latter is really not all that much fun).

Flaky Creation

It has been said that snowflakes are one of a kind, like our fingerprints. Just imagine how many get packed into your average snowball and each is unique. Can you imagine the diversity possible with such a unique design? Only God could apply a unique identity to each snowflake. Modelers probably won’t get that realistic, but getting a snow scene to look real takes a lot more than just a quick white paint job or even packing the scene with white flocking.

How do you create detailed and realistic snow, snow drifts, slush, ice, mud and even a ‘cold’ look.

There are several products available at your local hobby shop and most craft stores which will emulate snow in pretty much a universal scale.

I highly recommend Woodland Scenics Soft Flake Snow. It works in any scale and make it snow at any level from a light dusting to snow drifts. You can even model your own slush by mixing in a little brown and PVA glue.

Seven ways To Motivate Your Modeling

I often find, specially now that I am beyond 60, my motivation to get going needs a good kick start to the flow of my modeling juices.

It's frustrating, isn't it? You define tasks that you need to accomplish, you gather the resources needed , and set the time and place to get it done. You notice it's not getting done. You wait some more. It still isn't getting done. What you need is: Motivational Help

1. Develop your own plan in outline form so you go through the same steps with each model you begin. Do it on your computer or PDA so changes and updates are easily executed.

2. Don’t model in silence. Provide your modeling area with music, a good source is the Cable TV music channel.

3. Movies, Photographs, Drawings -- What the eye takes in can be a stimulus to your motivation to pick up the knife, the brush or the tweezers. In addition they bring to life the detail you are trying to emulate. Do not get bogged down in research but knowing the history of your subject helps in its recreation. Google Images and model railroading forums are valuable resources I couldn’t be without.

4. Talk to get motivated. I know once I tell my wife about a phase of the layout I am going to build, I feel a sense of commitment to carry it out.

5. Seeing the finished project stimulates my desire. I imagine it finished. Here again, pictures of layouts I am emulating provide an inducement to get to work. Also, of the project will bring in money, it will take precedence.

6. How do you eat an elephant—One bite at a time. You will get more done more quickly by breaking your modeling project into modules. Then take any small step; you’ll want another.

7. Find your niche. You will be much more motivated if what you are modeling is something in which you have a sincere interest.

Share Your Successes and your problems Be an active participant in Internet forums which focus on your modeling subject. I currently have a dozen of them bookmarked in my favorites and check in with each weekly. They are valuable for a number of reasons:
• Relationships - good forums can be incredible communities with a lot of good personal interaction between members. Some of the people that I have worked with more closely over the years are people I have met in forums.
• Learning/Post Ideas - one of the best parts about participating in a forum is that as you use them you’ll find yourself with a lot of new knowledge and potential post ideas. Forums are full of threads from beginners in topics asking questions. Grab these questions and answer them on your blog. You can also get scoops on stories from forums if you monitor them well.

There are plenty of forums out there on most topics. Go on a forum hunt today and when you find one that has a similar topic to your modeling niche sign up and become an active member. To find them simply search Google for ‘your topic forum’ (try a few of your main keywords).

Learned Something New Today

I learn so much from my own website, engendered by modelers who add their own content.

For instance, in 72 years (well almost) I never heard of a Boat Mill until I read this article article by Brit, Vic Newey.

He is building a diorama of a river scene which shows a boat mill moored midstream where they typically operated. You know me, when something like this catches my attention, I immediately refer it to Google where I learned more than I would have ever learned in school about boat mills.

Strangely enough, there is no reference to such a power source being used in the United States.

But it makes a fascinating subject for a diorama.

Your Help and Ideas Needed
To Expand SMH Idea Base

Making daily decisions involving for the past 45 months has led to the creation of over 425 pages of articles on the various facets of scale modeling, this monthly e-zine and a host of modeling questions answered.

As we get ready to embark on our third year, I am hoping to open the site up to input from other scale modelers. You may have noticed the Navigation Bar has been sub-divided into the major hobbies covered.

Each of these sections now has one or two pages that invite participation with questions, tips and pictures regarding your various modeling endeavors.

We want to hear from you as do the other 25,000 modelers who log onto this site monthly.

As I get ready to roll into my 71st year, I can’t believe how much I have learned about hobby activities In the past two years. I have heard from other modelers with similar experiences.

To help me develop and maintain my website your comments on its content are essential. You can send me your comments by visiting the “Voice Your Opinion” feature at the top of the Navigation stack in the left column on each page.

It was never my intention to make this website a one way street as my knowledge is no where deep enough for me to be termed an “Authority”. I hunger for your feedback, comments, ideas, tutorials, plans, pictures and even your negative comments if considered constructive.

The Internet and that includes work best when they are interactive and that is collaboration only you can provide. It has been a pleasure serving as your guide for these past two years and by no means am I throwing in the towel, for I honestly believe the building and maintaining of this website are instrumental in keeping my mind active.

I want to open up this site in the fast lane. That is your part of the two-way street.

Its In Your Best Interest

If you have been giving some thought to launching your own home business in 2010, it is worth your time to take a look at what I found:

Steps To Success

Until Next Month

Make It Your Best Effort!

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