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Got PSP? Cheap Marston Matting from The Frugal Modeler, Hans von Cheapskate...

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  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Iowa
Got PSP? Cheap Marston Matting from The Frugal Modeler, Hans von Cheapskate...
Posted by Hans von Hammer on Monday, November 3, 2008 9:34 PM

Wanting to do a "Marston Matting" or PSP hardstand for a Tigercat diorama based in Korea in 1950-51, I looked around the 'net for some and was shocked at the prices for what I'd need.  I blew off the photo-etched almost immediately, then looked at the 1/48th Eduard PSP base and decided to get it.  I looked around and found one on Ebay and won it for 6.00 with shipping...  When it arrived, I found it was black styrene and the matting was nicely done, but I was rather disappointed as the courses were molded parallel to the long side, a mortal sin in diorama-building, and it was too small for even a P-51 at 9-1/4" x 6-3/8", much less a Tigercat... One COULD buy several sections and glue them together to make any size you want, but you need at least 3 for a Tigercat (or 6 for about any twin-engined bomber you care to name) in order to keep the entire plane within the "frame" of the diorama... At about 12-16.00 a pop retail, these aren't the best buy.

So I decided to do it better... I used aluminum foil, taping a sheet over the entire base as a "female" mold, and burnished the foil down with a piece of 3/16 squared wood dowel...  I made three full-sized pieces and glued them down at an angle on a 12" x 12" piece of plywood that I had covered in a thin layer of sheetrock mud and sanded smooth.  I sprayed the mud with clear acryllic varnish to seal it, then when dry, I used a spray adhesive to start glueing down the foil.

After I glued it all down, over-lapping a single course to keep the runs straight, I then painted it with Krylon "Moss Green".  This gave it a good surface for washes and also more or less matched the color of the stuff as it comes off the truck.

I then started to wash it in black acryllic and rubbing alcohol, going heavier and darker than I usually do, and wiping off the wash from the high-points, letting it sink into the low areas and drain holes.  After the wash dried, I shot it with more clear varnish, which darkened the wash even more for better contrast, then did a heavy dry-brushing of tan, rust and whitened Testor's Rust.  Another coat of varnish and I added pastels, grey, brown, black, and tan, letting the chalk build up in the holes here and there to represent the places where the water would "puddle" and darker pastels in the "drier" areas.

And there you have it.  A PSP'd hardstand, ready for the model and whatever extra weathering you want to do to it, and, with an initial investment of under 10 dollars, as big as you want to do it...

  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: Buffalo NY
Posted by Thehannaman2 on Monday, November 3, 2008 10:05 PM
Looks good.  But I'm a little confused.  The finished product is the burnished aluminum foil?  Will the shape hold up?

Justen

"The distance between genius and insanity is measured only by success."

Member IPMS Niagara Frontier. "The BuffCon Boys."

IPMSUSA Member 45680 

  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Iowa
Posted by Hans von Hammer on Monday, November 3, 2008 10:24 PM

Roger that, the foil's the finished product... As for holding up, you need to be careful when you're pressing it down into the glue, but it seems to be holding up well...  Because of its fragility, I used the spray glue.  If you use a liquid like Elmer's or something, you run the risk of finding a spot where the glue is thicker and you'll lose the detail when you press it in, so you want a surface that's flat, hard, and smooth... If you want, you can also go with a heavier foil than I did... It'll just take a bit more to burnish it, and may not take the relief as well as the thin stuff does.  I used a bit more foil than usual, since I played with it at first to see how well it would hold up, especially during the burnishing... But even the thin stuff didn't tear then...

 

 

  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: Buffalo NY
Posted by Thehannaman2 on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 9:19 AM
Thanks for the info, Hans.  I'm gonna give this one a try.

Justen

"The distance between genius and insanity is measured only by success."

Member IPMS Niagara Frontier. "The BuffCon Boys."

IPMSUSA Member 45680 

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Indiana
Posted by hkshooter on Tuesday, November 11, 2008 11:02 PM
That is an awesome idea, HVH. now I need to get a section of that stuff so I can make my own too.
  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Iowa
Posted by Hans von Hammer on Wednesday, November 12, 2008 5:58 AM

Lemme know how it turns out for ya...

I also have another idea for casting PSP sections in plaster...

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: South Central Wisconsin
Posted by Daywalker on Wednesday, November 12, 2008 6:25 AM
Great idea Hans!  I have wanted to model a section of the airbase on Adak in the Aleutians for some time, but didn't want to spend the $$$ on the PE matting.  Thanks for the photos along with the info, really helps. Thumbs Up [tup]

Frank 

 

  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Iowa
Posted by Hans von Hammer on Wednesday, November 12, 2008 11:09 AM
Thanks fer the kudos, fellers... Anything to help save a buck, ya know...

  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: Reno, Nevada, USA
Posted by Silverback on Wednesday, November 12, 2008 12:46 PM

To strengthen the foil: before prying the foil off of the plastic base, brush on a coat of finishing resin.  Then, layup a layer or two of 1/2 oz. extra-light weight fibreglas cloth.  That will give you a much less fragile PSP base.

I love the idea of using aluminum foil as a top layer.  I may just try that on my next scratchbuilt aircraft project.

 

Phil

  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: Buffalo NY
Posted by Thehannaman2 on Wednesday, November 12, 2008 5:24 PM
Phil, that sounds like it would work nicely.  Almost like making a laminate.  I'm going to have to try these techniques very soon as I have newly finished P-47 sitting "barefoot" on my shelf.. :)

Justen

"The distance between genius and insanity is measured only by success."

Member IPMS Niagara Frontier. "The BuffCon Boys."

IPMSUSA Member 45680 

  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Iowa
Posted by Hans von Hammer on Wednesday, November 12, 2008 6:38 PM

Then, layup a layer or two of 1/2 oz. extra-light weight fibreglas cloth. 

I think you'd lose a lot of the surface detail that way... Anything thicker than a couple of mils is going to look like a buncha dimples laid down in a grid, I think..  Once the foil is down on the prepped base and secured, it's pretty robust provided you don't "scrub" on it during painting and weathering. The finishing resin idea might be worth a shot though, although it'd have to remain pretty thin... 

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Colorado
Posted by psstoff995 on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 1:19 AM
IMHO the only time I’d ever bother with a PE kit of the stuff was if I wanted to build up a pile of them or if I were to hang one or two off a vehicle...

 Hans von Hammer wrote:
I also have another idea for casting PSP sections in plaster...


As far as rigidity for the base goes, I think this is a best bet assuming it would turn out detailed enough, if you do make a plaster copy I'd love to hear how that turned out as well, I think that'd be more up my alley as anything thinner than lead foil is a pain for me to get a hold on...

 

Guess I'm a scrubber Blush [:I]

-Chris

US Army Infantryman

  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Iowa
Posted by Hans von Hammer on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 4:28 AM
I'll let ya know...  I wanted to do it in foil first so the master didn't get ruined if my other experiments fail...  I may do it with Hydrocal if the plaster of paris works.  Hydrocal is a much harder plaster.. Gotta see if it works first...

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: California
Posted by rabbiteatsnake on Tuesday, December 9, 2008 5:23 PM
Ya see Hans this is precisely why the allies won the war yankee ingenuity. For you guys trying to reinvent Von cheapskate's wheel, PSP's job was to take a beating, some damage is mandatory. But if those  bratwursts you call fingers still mutilate the stuff, try a product I use, it's called finesse get some.Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg]
The devil is in the details...and somtimes he's in my sock drawer. On the bench. Airfix 1/24 bf109E scratch conv to 109 G14AS MPC1/24 ju87B conv to 87G Rev 1/48 B17G toF Trump 1/32 f4u-1D and staying a1D Scratch 1/16 TigerII.
  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Colorado
Posted by psstoff995 on Tuesday, December 9, 2008 5:48 PM

WHERE DO I BUY THIS PRODUCT YOU SPEAK OF?!

haha that was funny and worth the revival of the ol post IMO
Thanks for the tip Wink [;)]

-Chris

US Army Infantryman

  • Member since
    January 2005
  • From: Portland, Oregon
Posted by fantacmet on Wednesday, December 10, 2008 3:13 PM
What about flipping the foil over and flowing some light hydrocal into it?  It would definately make it more durable.  You could in theory remove the foil after that as well since hydrocal is nice and fine.  It would definately eliminate the need to be forever feather fingered with the surface.

    

  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Iowa
Posted by Hans von Hammer on Thursday, December 11, 2008 3:04 AM
Been workin' on using Bondo Auto Body Filler to make a male mold of the PSP, then use the hydrocal.  Having some trouble with getting all the bubbles out of the Bondo...

  • Member since
    January 2005
  • From: Portland, Oregon
Posted by fantacmet on Thursday, December 11, 2008 2:04 PM
The problem with bondo is it sets up too fast.  If you can find some kind of retarder for it, you could set it on anything that vibrates really good like perhaps the washer on spin cycle, or make a vibration board for just such a chore.  That's how I get the bubbles out of my RTV molds for my resin.

    

  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Iowa
Posted by Hans von Hammer on Thursday, December 11, 2008 4:03 PM
I think I may have solved the issue... Stay turned..

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Colorado
Posted by psstoff995 on Thursday, December 11, 2008 4:11 PM
Smile [:)]

-Chris

US Army Infantryman

  • Member since
    November 2006
  • From: Massachusetts
Posted by jadgpanther302 on Thursday, December 11, 2008 5:04 PM
Smile [:)]
  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Friday, February 27, 2009 11:23 AM

 Hans von Hammer wrote:
I think I may have solved the issue... Stay turned..

Hi, Hans, how are the experiments coming along?

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Iowa
Posted by Hans von Hammer on Friday, February 27, 2009 11:13 PM
So far, bust... Think I'll stick with the foil...

  • Member since
    March 2007
  • From: Carmel, CA
Posted by bondoman on Friday, October 15, 2010 5:36 PM

Good idea, Hans. Makes great wrecked airplane skin too.

 

  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Iowa
Posted by Hans von Hammer on Saturday, October 16, 2010 6:21 AM

I like using the foil cups from "tea lights" for that... 

  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Hancock, Me USA
Posted by p38jl on Friday, November 19, 2010 12:00 PM

cool idea..

did you try pouring fiberglass resin on the back side after you burnished it ? a thin layer can set up nice n firm for handling..and it should flow into all the dimples and such.. U can buy it at auto parts stores.. using less hardener slows the curing if your worried about flow...

 

Whistling

and Fragility ?? is that Italian?? was it a major award ?? ..

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