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Tuesday
Feb162010

A different approach to the Flag Stop by Marc Witten

Marc chose a different route when he built this months freebie.  Abandoned, but not forgotten.  Goes to show the versatility of the kit and the creativity of the builder.  Thanks for sharing Marc, great job.

 

Saturday
Feb132010

Highlights of one customer's first card modeling experience

I had promised Dave Miecznikowski that I would relate my first time experiences with Clever Models and cardstock models in general, because we have been exchanging emails and he has been real helpful.  I am starting to model in S Scale trains since I had American Flyer trains as a kid (still have them) and would like to build a hi-rail semi-scale small shelf layout for them.  Since I am in the planning stages, I looked at various structures and came across Clever Models.  I had never done a card stock model before so I was a bit leery in attempting one.  I saw the O gauge flag stop in the “freebies” section so decided to give it a shot (especially since the maximum cost on my part would be some cardstock and time (thanks for that C.M.)).  I first read all the hints on the web page and started in.  The first thing I did was to scale for S scale by reducing 75%.  Tips that I found useful were:
 
1) use SHARP exacto blades and use a “self-healing” cutting surface.  I used a piece of emory paper to “strop” the blade to extend its usefullness.
2) for inside corner cuts, poke a hole in the corner with a pin.  When cutting, put the tip of the knife and cut AWAY from the hole.  Of course use a metal straight edge for the cuts.
3) I had a lot of problems coloring the cut edges of the cardstock.  I had purchased cheap colored felt tip markers to do this.  DON’T!  using them forced some new printouts on fresh cardstock.  I still don’t have the hang of doing this, so I ended up painting the edges, and the finer cut pieces, like the window moulding.   In modeling, as in real life, paint can hide construction flaws. 
4) Don’t rush!  I did, and ended up marring some wall surfaces with paint.  Obviously, the painter who was hired by the RR to paint the flagstop was not a perfectionist.  This is true in all modeling.
5) I mounted the roof and some wall surfaces on thin styrene sheet for strength.  Of course this creates a laminate and using a marker probably wouldn’t work for the styrene edges.  That is one for me to try.  I also used plastic structure pieces to strengthen the corners.
6) I had at first tried 60 weight paper and this seemed flimsy to me, so I switched to 120 weight.  My printer has no problem with this so I found that easier.  For the roof I used regular printer paper since I laminated it to sheet styrene.
7) When creating folds, use a metal rule as a “brake” to make clean folds.
8) The finished model is certainly not up to “John Allen” standards but will be placed at the “back” of the layout so the many flaws won’t be seen, but the model more importantly served as a learning experience.  As with all things, the more you practice, the better you get. 
Dave M.
 

Saturday
Feb132010

What next? (Rant warning) not really

I’m going over the inventory of unreleased kits (there are always kits that don’t have a home) to see what I might post as the next free download.  There are a few possible contenders but nothing that gets me excited.  What I’d really like to do is put up a brand new kit that I think is great.  I get a warm fuzzy feeling when I put up a cool kit and give somthing  to the community.  The problem is I was hoping for a bit more support for our efforts.  The $1 donate button is not doin it.  ( I hope this doesen’t come off as too passive agressive)  Maybe it was a silly idea in the first place.  After all it’s not free if it’s a dollar.  The idea was, hay, folks are downloading thousands of kits each month, if we got 1% of those folks to push the button, we could do this full time and put up more and better models.  Seriously that was the idea.  Well, guess I need to rethink things.  (To the good folks who have shown support, some times multiple times. we appreciate it.)

As most folks know, our volume one disks are packed to the edges with cool stuff.  But some people don’t need or want all of that.  They just want a kit or two.  We are trying to figure out a way to meet that need.  The free or almost free down loads are a small step in that direction.  I’d like to make it so you can buy and download a kit instantly.  So far the software to do exactly that has eluded us but we are working on it.

In the mean time, I’m going to keep putting up kits for free download.  If the donations improve to say 1/2 of 1%, I’ll be able to justify putting up better kits.

OK, lets get possitive here.  What kind of kits would you like to see as a freebie?

Thom

Sunday
Feb072010

Customer question about some of our bigger, newer kits

Hi everyone, this is Dave.  A customer asked me a question the other day that I thought I’d better address so everyone could see it.

On our STEEL and BRICK & MORTAR discs are some physically large kits, namely Big Steel and Akron Tool.  The instructions on the sheets say they should be printed on 8-1/2 x 14 cardstock.  Apparently folks are having trouble finding this size.  (Elsewhere we state that out kits are designed for 8-1/2 x 11, but these buildings are really big and we had to break our own rules to make them practical.)

If you can’t find 8-1/2 x 14 cardstock, you can make it by taking two sheets of 8-1/2 x 11 and taping them together.  What I do is use clear, packaging tape. (available in office supply stores)  Cut a piece about 12” long and place it on the back of one of the sheets, on the 8-1/2” edge so about half of it is exposed.  It helps to work on a surface that the tape can be easily removed from.  Flip this sheet over so the sticky side is up.  CAREFULLY, you get one shot at this, take a second sheet and aligning the two edges, press the second sheet onto the tape.  You really want the joint to be tight.  It might take a bit of practice, but it is not as hard as it sounds.  Trim the tape that is sticking out from the sides and you have an 8-1/2 x 22 sheet of cardstock.  (you don’t have to cut it down to 14”, your printer will automatically feed out the whole sheet)  Make sure to feed the paper into your printer with the tape on the non-printed side.  You may also have to provide a bit of support for the joint as the paper feeds.  You will be amazed that the joint disappears once printed.

This works so well, that I don’t even try to buy 8-1/2 x 14paper anymore.