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Member Since 28 Dec 2010
Offline Last Active Feb 26 2014 03:05 AM

Topics I've Started

Laminating thin styrene instead of molding

16 February 2014 - 05:41 AM

I wound up with a bunch of very thin, almost transparent, styrene that I'd saved, but didn't know what I would use it for.

Well, in the midst of building/modifying a Mack CF pumper project, I decided to start over. I bought another kit and began the modifications. 

All the while working on it, I wondered about what to do with the first one.

It finally dawned on me that I could further modify it into a Mack C model, possibly my favorite truck.

This would mean that I would have to scratch-build the cab.


I made a simple mold/form, by gluing three disposable lighters together, side by side, and filling the gaps with putty. I then sanded it flat on the side that I'd filled. This gave me something to form the laminated styrene to.


I found that certain yogurt containers are also made of styrene; polystyrene, to be exact.

Look for the recycle triangle with the number 6 and the letters P S (poly styrene).

Cassette tape and CD cases are also styrene, but they're thicker, flat and rigid. I use them for flat body panels, doors, etc.


I started with a rectangular piece from the yogurt container and glued a sheet of the thin styrene to it and formed them to the lighter 'mold', using rubber bands to hold it overnight.

After that, it was just a matter of adding layers of the thin, red styrene and re-forming it onto the lighters.

When the thickness was getting close to what I wanted, I set some folded cardboard between the styrene and the mold, creating a slight arch, which was needed to achieve the appropriate shape for both the roof and the nose panel for the cab.


Both pieces are coming along quite nicely, actually better than I'd expected. When they're closer to being finished, I'll post some photos. That is, if the sun ever shines again.

Basic decal question

03 January 2014 - 04:51 AM

I've been told by various graphic/printer types that if you can photograph it, you can turn it into a decal.

I have yet to find anyone local who can actually produce the decals I need for a 1:32 scale model fire truck I'm building/modifying.


What is needed to actually produce the decals I need? My son has a printer, but I don't know what type, although I can find out.


The problem I see is that it's difficult (impossible?) to reproduce the real gold leaf that is used on the real thing. I've done actual gold leafing and i can't imagine doing it in scale. The sizing (adhesive) is too thick, for starters.


Any advice greatly appreciated.

"Bulged" tires?

20 December 2013 - 04:21 AM

I'm doing up a plastic fire truck model and I'd like to make the tires look more authentic by re-shaping the bottoms, sort of slightly "bulged", like they do when they have weight on them.

Any tricks?

I was thinking of sitting the bottom portion in some hot water to soften them, then pushing them against a hard surface for a bit.


The wheels will be glued in place, so it won't roll.

"Textured" aluminum replica

11 December 2013 - 04:24 PM

Hi gang, been away a while.


I'm modding/ improving a boxed kit fire truck.

1/32 plastic.


I'm going by closeups from my cell phone cam pics of the real truck.

I found myself wondering how I was going to mimic the aluminum under the door

that has a pattern of 'lines' across it that form series of tiny diamonds. Life-size, it's small.


My wife is a smoker. I went past the dining table this morning and looked at the pack

and the lightbulb went on.

Sure enough, the foil has the exact pattern in miniature.

Under the magnifying glass it looks like what I'm seeing in the photos.

The scale is perfect, as is the amount of sheen.


Thought I'd pass in along. Sometimes, it helps to be resourceful (and lucky).  :o