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  • Member since
    August 2008
Posted by tankerbuilder on Thursday, May 30, 2013 9:13 AM


   I was reading over all the posts I like to delve into .I see a common thread here . You know what ? That's what this hobby is all about . When I go to a place that injection molds or Vac forms something I think of the folks who devised our models at the inception of the industry . Just think .Someone actually had to sit down and say " lets manufacture little plane kits - in plastic '. Ah ! that was the day .Then years later someone said " bet I could do that in resin " The cottage industry was just coming of age then .Now there's one more I won't forget to mention .Photo-Etching for the hobby .This was a case of folks learning the techniques and creating  model parts .Well , we know how that turned out , " Don't we " ?

    I bring this up because of something I started years ago .I wanted a ship from the age of " DREADNOUGHTS " The  model in question was a model I had in my " PAPER model stash " I carefully took CARBON paper and copied every little piece on that model and started building the " KRONPRINZ " in plastic and wood .This project , on and off has yielded a ship almost two and a half feet long .It's far from even ready for a deck anywhere . It did make me think of those out here who build every frame of a sailing ship model and then cover it all up with planking .Some don't and these fall into a teaching type category . ADMIRALTY models were probably the first  " salesman's samples " .

      Now , in that same vein .The first injection molded model was probably devised through much trial and error .The molds had to be cut . I have to ask ", how many can visualize a plane or ship basically backwards  "? Then the first one was produced and popped out of the mold and assembled .AHA ! the first ALL plastic airplane kit .The list goes on . Have any of you seen how photo-etched parts are made ? I got my opportunity last year in DALLAS at a friends fathers place .They had a friend that was etching something for CAMERAS . Now the technique is the same .Do you think the creator of P.E. is a draftsman , or an engineer ? I ask that because someone has to create the drawings of those parts ,  reduce them in size and then apply the process to brass sheet .

     Fascinating isn't it .Can you even imagine how the first decals were made .We all know now but , when we were kids the thought of how much work went into creating those neat markings never entered our brains .They were just neat , right ? Going back to the beginning in the model hobby is very fascinating and perplexing too . Why would someone spend the time cutting out wood and brass parts to provide you with a kit (this is back in the dawn of model time ) unless they loved what they built so much it was imperative they share and they could make money doing it . Now , there's the rub . Since computers came on scene everything has changed .The company gets plans , adjusts them for molding ,  sets up the program and runs thousands a day . I would be willing to bet that in some of these companies , you best NOT be a model builder if you work on the line . You know why , I ain't saying it .

 I have actually seen companies balk at hiring someone because he owned a plane and the company had a large stash of aircraft aluminum in the warehouse that could be used outside the plant . The same applies to plastic and such in this world of ours .BUT , All said , sit down , close your eyes and imagine you're back sixty years and you want to share your ship model with friends .AHA ! the company starts ,right there .Thank goodness for those visionaries .I am seventy and the stuff coming out now just amazes me .Back then found materials were the norm . You know , build it a little better and more accurate .There you have it . I am very grateful for ALL those who had a vision wether just for profit or the LOVE of the hobby of making things in miniature . Thanks  Tanker-builder

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 8:55 PM

I always love these kinds of posts because they bring back lots of memories.

My dad's dad build 1/48 scale (not "O") model railroad rolling stock for use on club layouts. I inherited quite a bit of it, and dad has the rest. I really marvel at the stuff he did, and get many chuckles when I discover how he made simple little things like grab irons out of wire etc. He whittled his little seatbox heroes out of pine in a single piece, and they looked great through the cab window.

The other night I was playing with a neat little 2-6-0 and the smoke box front popped off. It turns out to be a casting that he probably bought, tightly fit into the end of the boiler. Inside was a regular flashlight bulb in a little brass clip with leads soldered to it. The headlight and marker lights are little glass crystals, and by lighting the inside of the smoke box the things all shine brightly.

I have a newspaper clipping of him from a story that ran about him and his hobby. He's posed in front of his collection, holding a brass SP Cab Forward 4-8-8-2 that must be three feet long. What I would give for that one.

Modeling is an excuse to buy books


  • Member since
    August 2008
Posted by tankerbuilder on Sunday, June 16, 2013 9:31 AM

Hey :

      You are someone who understands then . When I do my docent days at our local train museum , I am constantly amazed .Would you believe that at one time H.O. (1/87 scale ) trains were painstakingly built of wood and brass ? Now how's that for dedication to a hobby . I still marvel at the OLD stuff wether it be trains , but , everything ,  that is a hobby to us .

    How about the old man (then to me ) who did his " LIVE STEAM " R.C. Shipmodel ,using brass for the sheeting and " O " scale brass rails for the carefully bent frames and keel ? See there are many who had a dream and made it real .There are those who do it with kits and " SUPER  "super detail parts . My hat is off to everyone who has a vision . Now , MODEL IT !  Thanks .    Tanker-builder


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