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wright model works
Kit #6 Rico Engine House - O Scale
Custom Built Kits
Future Kits
Kit #5 Brett Preston's Reading Room
Kit #4 Stamping Mill
Kit #3 Hainey and Longboard
Kit #2 Victorian Firestation
Kit #1 The Laifong Store
Custom Model Building/Painting/Weathering

How To Do Things

I prefer acrylics as they are far safer health wise than solvent based paints, some of which make me sick to my stomach. Acrylics range in quality from cheap artist grade acrylics up to expensive artist quality acrylics, up to the expensive Polly Scale Acrylics for hobbyists. Artists paints lack the covering qualitys of polly scale., but when it comes to covering large areas, like a hydracal building, an artist grade paint of better quality is in order. Their life is very long, fade proof. Many craft store paints, although very cheap, have no guarantee of safety, nor of long term light fastness. Another consideration is the thickness of paint, if paint is too thick, it will plug up detail, always pretest paint for color and thickness, often better thin than thick.

For paint mixing-The most handy gadget I have ever found, is the battery powered mixer that micromark sells, fits easily in the hand, zips up a bottle of pollyscale nothing flat, I even use it to mix the hydracal for casting.

Glue-Wood should be pre-stained prior to glueing. My favorite glue is thick odorless CA glue, somewhat expensive, but in speed, well worth it. Carpenter grade wood glues will work, but not a good choice if painting with acrylics, that can dissolve them. If using glue on surfaces like hydracal walls, pre-coat and let dry the area first, go back and recoat, align and press together.

Wood-Bending-use ammonia to soak wood, bend, let dry.

Wood-Ageing-To bring out grain, use a small metal brush, micro mark sells a small paint brush sized metal brush, welding supply shops sell a tooth brush sized brush. Basswood has a lot of grain, but it will take a little effort. In some cases, passing the wood thru a small flame will pronounce the grain, it can also catch fire. A small wire wheel on a foredom tool will also help remove material between the grain.

Metal Softening-Brass and copper can be made as soft as lead, by placing it on a charcoal block, heat until dull read using either a propane torch, or even using a tongs and carefully using your gas with a soft flame.

Thin Steel-If you want real rustable steel, there is very thin material available either thru vendors on the net, or try Brownells Gunsmith Supply, who lists it in their catalog. It is also used by clock makers-look up clock and watch-s.larose on google.

Decals-These are fun and easy to make if you have a good color photo printer, I have a 6 and an 8 color epson inkjet printer-these print water based inks that must be sealed, and use inkjet decal sheets, i also have a alps-5000 thermal printer, that prints any color from white, gold, silver, etc., as a water proff decal and uses a special decal sheet. Many of my decals are done this way-either setting type, or using an actual photograph of an old wall painting, or using an ad from an old magazine, modifying it using adobe photoshop, and or corel draw, I generally use both. In the old days, the color paints of the time were not very bright and were generally painted onto a white background painted on the bricks. I do the same thing, paint the bricks or wall and off white, print an inkjet decal, let it dry, then seal it with a matt or flat clear lacquer or varnish and let dry. Using 'decal set' by walthers, or the decal setting solution by micromark, it will shrink right down into the brick detail. A thermal decal, because it is underprinted with white, can be applied directly over the bricks or wall. I make decals for all situations, and custom ones, just contact me. Testors makes both flat and glossy lacquer, the flat works very nice on anything needing it.

Ageing Powders-Some of these look real nice when applied properly, the downside is, that things eventuall get dirty, and must be cleaned. vacuuming the dust off many objects will remove much of the powders. Setting them with matt sprays does not necessarily set them, and often the result isn't as desired

Air Brushing-Having been an illustrator and painter, the airbrush offers magic when it comes to making things look old. I use a tank of CO2, as it tends to speed dry the paint. airbrushes are like women, you like some and not others. They have to be tried and used to develop a feel. many that have a lot of ad puff, beware. a multipurpose one is hard to arrive at, about like combining a race car with a truck. My favorite is one that uses an air engine to move a needle back and forth thru a reservoir of paint, one can dot a needle with it. My thayer/chandler illustrator brush is exceptional. my micromark gold plated does everything, well, be careful. Watercolors, high quality ones, airbrush well. pollyscale acrylics if filtered do well. micromark sells a filter to go into the bottles of the universal types, and a fine funnel filter for the others, well worth it. If you have questions about air brushes-just ask.

Brushes-If you are not painting a $50,000 fine art painting, go to walmarts craft section. Each trip has a different selection, look around a little, I buy the acrylic brushes, generally an assortment of 7-10 for $4-5. When they finally start to get plugged with acrylics, and they are dry, just soak them in automotive lacquer thinner, or model airplane dope thinner, guess what?, after some hours, clean them carefully, trim their tips, and they are new again!

Bending Wood-
When firearms were invented, the rulers had to have them, being grossly stupid, no one was going to tell them how to shoot, and often they wanted to use the wrong eye, which necessitated the 'Bending of the Stock'-In straight grain wood, grain when properly lubed, slips like a sponge on soap. Household Ammonia is the key-Simply soak your wood in it for a period, will require experimentation, then bend, clamp in place, and when its dry-its benHow not to warp those Laser cut pieces-
A lot of laser cut wood pieces are bass wood, and little consideration is given as to grain direction, meaning, pier supports, trestles, rafters, can snap off if the grain goes cross rather than length. Even alcohol based stains will tend to warp wood-why? contains water. water causes wood cells to expand as its is painted on-partial solution?-paint one side with water, the other side with stain, if possible, put a weight on it and make it flat, until dry. Lacquer based stains help prevent warping, especially if air brushed on-I use lacquer thinner-dope, stock makers stains from brownells, mix, air brush, and there you go!

Coffee, Teas, Oak Balls from the tree branches, various herbs and spices-all make stains. Google has plenty with making infusions, stains. One consideration is light fastness. Flourescent lights fade items, Sunshine causes fading, consider where you are using the item to be stained.

As an easy start, under new products, sells church style windows. These use a mylar insert in the back side. Find an appropriate picture of stained glass, search stained glass windows under google, visit a glass shop, look thru past issues of books and magazines-once you find your favorite, then either photograph it, scan it, save it, use a photo processing program to jazz it up, if you don't have one, get an early issue of coreldraw off ebay, a very early model is very cheap, and does not crash your computer, I paid $10 for the never registered cd and books for coreldraw9, you only need a 2-5. coreldraw allows you to shrink and stretch pictures in a variety of ways. then print it on either decal film, transparency like mylar or acetate, when dry, seal it, cut it out and apply it to the insert for the window, and you'll have real looking glass.

Sealing Hydracal and Plaster-

Get clear FLAT Dope and thinner at the hobby shop. To stop these materials from sucking up endless paint, they must be sealed. Start by thinning about 50/50, 60/40 might be better, test it first. You do not want to plug up detail, yet you want to use just one coat. Use a large enough brush to cover large areas quickly, being careful not to make bubbles. Once dry, try painting a small area, it should not bead up, but paint flat, if it beads up, thin it more. I thin with automotive lacquer thinner as I have it, they are the same thing as thinner for dope. I have tried the spray lacquer primer sold by several spray can companys like rustoleum, they plug up detail areas, and the primer comes off if you use mortar and wipe off the mortar.

Stencils for Brick and Stucco Walls-

Early Billboards were the walls of buildings, a sign painter would come to town with a buyer of space, and they'd paint their sign, no sooner did they leave than a new one was painted over it. Some were painted over the bricks, some were painted over an area painted white. The reasons were many, colored paints were primitive. To make a stencil that you can airbrush thru is simpler today than yesterday. I used to use stencil paper, cut elaborate stencils and airbrush thru them. Now, you can use your home printer to print out the lettering on the thinnest paper you have. let dry, then spray with a clear sealer, then use a swivel knife from the hobby shop, a clever axacto with a swivel built in, The blade will follow any lettering after a little practice. cut it out on a cutting matt. Tape it in place, and protect around it, and airbrush thru it. outside of this a laser cut stencil is nice, if you own a laser, we do, maybe we'll offer that service.

Making A Glass Enamel Sign

From the earliest posters, banners, and crude signs, the need for a more permanent sign came about-Sign companys turned to melting powdered glass of various colors onto a havy metal backing. It is easy to achieve this look-Get some .010 brass at the hobby shop, I cut it with fiskars issors. Print yourself a color sign of the size you need, coreldraw, and early version helps make this possible in fine detail. 1-cut out your sign printed on matt paper. 2-cut out the brass to the exact shape, 3-paint the brass white. 4-coat the brass with a coat or two of clear-hard as nails, 5-glue your printed sign to the brass, and let dry., 6-clear coat your color sign with several coats of clear-hard as nails, let dry between coats. When dry, it is ready to apply to the building, sign post, etc.

Glueing on Cedar Shingles-

I learned long ago that glue drys hard, except for 'goo', and ge silicone silastic. I cut opals and make high end jewelry to support the model business, opals crack easy despite the setting, but when I set them in clear, or black silicone silastic, they never cracked, it remains flexible for 35 years and available at lowes and automotive paint shops. Wood absorbs moisture in the air, called humidity and drys just as quickly. The glue point starts to act like a minuature hinge, which eventually fails. Silicone will attach forever these beautiful minuature cedar shingles. another material, extremely tacky, is 3m mac tac, used to make the rock covered 3 tab and rolled roofing for models. It is a double sticky material, you can cut, fit, and stick things on. I do not know of a source except 3m, and their minimum order is $1500-yipes! we laser cut it for roofing.

Deluxe Kits and Professional Model Building