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very Poor man's P.E.?

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  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Sunday, February 19, 2023 9:15 AM


      Shame on you! Blowing up your creations. It was fun though weren't it? I got the whole Pacific Fleet in plastic by salvaging Revell and Lindberg Ships from a fountain at a neighborhood gas station. But there others, If I couldn't fix them properly that got the "Boom " treatment! Lindberg had an Aircraft Carrier that was motorized. Gee, It blew up nice!

       In my world nothing escapes my eye. There is a whole collection of things out there, Doesn't look like it but If you look carefully you will find say, and experimental Aircraft or Submarine in the most unexpected products! Last time this happened to me a 2"x6" block of wood contained five life sized Hummingbird carvings! It had been thrown  away at a homebuilding site! Sometimes a dish or bottle will speak to me as well!. Once did a Korean "Turtle Ship" Model out of a discarded Malamine Soup tureen!

  • Member since
    January 2021
Posted by JoeSMG on Saturday, February 18, 2023 9:57 AM

Great tips TB, I particularly like the ladders from zip ties.

I appreciate the way your brain works! I enjoy walking through dollar stores, looking at everything and asking myself: What could I make out of that or use from this?

This pattern of thought all started when I was a kid (and even into my twenties...), my friends and I would spend weeks building models from scrap items and things lying about the house (things like pens would suddenly go missing - they make great turret barrels) After we finished our masterpieces we'd have a "Snipe day" where we would spend the afternoon blasting our creations with BB guns and firecrackers....

- Joe the SMG

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
very Poor man's P.E.?
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, February 18, 2023 7:25 AM


      I was thinking about something the other day and said" Self, Why don't you share this, I think you did once, but it wasn't clear to some folks". Okay, so I will take the chance that I already mentioned this. It started for me with a model of the  Attack Transport(WW 2 ) U.S.S. Randall, By Revell. She's about 1/400 scale, Maybe a little above maybe a little below the target scale. (It's called Box scale, Now").

     Anywhoo, here it is. Do you want to really detail her, but you cannot afford such extras as P.E. for rails and ladders? Well, here's What I tried and it surprised me. It actually didn't look bad either, Gosh, here's where I wish I could do the picture thing.

        I have an extensive parts and discard box. In there I found some model Railroad stuff and some  Bagged tiny Zip Ties from an R.C. Production. The model Rail was a regular product from "Tichy Train Group" (That's the company's name, Look it up!) It's NOT Rail folks! It's actually finely molded Steel grated walkways for H.O. scale Boxcars.( Roof-Walks). They were common after the H.O.B.O. boom of the late 1800 till the late 60s.

         They were indeed Roofwalks to enable train crews out bound and during travel to check the train for Free-Riders and a way to get to the car needed to start braking or go to the Caboose. They are still seen on the Bulk Carriers with slightly curved sides labeled for either ArcherDanielsMidland Agriculture products company. Or some plastic Granule or Pellet company such as Monsanto or 3M.

         These things are so well molded that you can see right through the puppies. Just like the real thing! So how can these help you create rails? First, carefully separate them from the sprue. Be careful, they are very delicate! Next, take a strip of 320 grit sandpaper and glue or tape it to your Work-Surface, Rough side up of course, Silly! I know someone that did this with the the rough side down!

         Now take the Tichy product and put it on a flat piece of Acrylic at least a 1/8" thick or even attach it to a Hand Sanding Block. Very carefully sand it down on the bottom side till all the support detail is removed from the bottom. It  should still have some molded between the longitudals.

 Now flip it over and sand the other side till you get close to the remnant of the supports. Don't sand till you hit them though, just back off a little. Now hold them up to the ship's molded on rails. You'll see that if you cut them lengthwise at three longitutidinal runs You will have a decent looking rail substitute. Remove the rail from the Randall being careful to keep the deck edge flat and true. Cut  your new rail from  the Modified Tichy stuff, to fit, Glue and done. 

       This applies in all areas. Now for Ladders, Remember those tiny Zip ties? Now they come into play and this can be simpler. Sometimes, when you remove those molded on Ladders( INCA Stairs) you will have holes and if you are lucky sometimes not. Make sure either way you have a clean, finished and painted area. Measure the length of Zip tie needed at the angle of the stair. Cut and make sure both ends are cut at the same angle

       Test fit. Now take the Tichy material and create a  single right or left side rail for the stair or rails or Both Sides,(Whatever is needed), Super Glue the rails to the Zip tie Ladders and paint.Then glue in place. Not perfect, BUT now you have solved the P.E. Problem.This method can be used anywhere and the Tichy rail after sanding can be safely bent to fit with extremely hot water and will fit anywhere, Ever on the tops of the Kingpost Bridges on freighters or above deck walkways on Revell's Tanker Model(Or any other for that matter ). The best part for you beginners, It does NOT look bad when Done,


 After sanding with the 320, gently wet sand with 600 grit to remove the sanding fuzzies between the rail run and the supports that run sideways(Stanchions). Concerning the extensive Parts Box. I go to Toy, Train and Model Car shows as well as I.P.M.S. events.Specifically admire all the colorful models and buy bagged parts of all kinds from vendors. Why? well that's how I wound up with the Tichy stuff! Six packages of these for TwoBucks! (They are normally at least Eight bucks for a Single package, I think,) I haven't bought a single NEW package yet





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