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Proper use of Styrene
HILBERT
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Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Joined: August 07, 2004
KitMaker: 4,808 posts
RailRoad Modeling: 0 posts
Posted: Monday, October 05, 2020 - 11:09 PM UTC
Hi,

Lately I have been modelling a lot with styrene. I am building the interior for a M41 Walker Bulldog (engine bay).

For this purpose I wondered how people who are sctrachbuilding with styrene are able to make them proper. The more experienced ones are able to make the styrene very white, without any imperfections. How should I manage this?

Furthermore, is there any available tips, tricks, step by steps (online or in books) or videos?

Are there any tips and tricks about measuring? Even from photographs?

I like scratchbuilding a lot so is there anyone who can help me out and direct me in the right way?

Thanks a lot!

Hilbert
barkingdigger
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
ARMORAMA
#013
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England - East Anglia, United Kingdom
Joined: June 20, 2008
KitMaker: 3,976 posts
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Posted: Monday, October 05, 2020 - 11:21 PM UTC
I've been doing this for decades, and can safely say the only way to ensure a clean white surface is to paint it after you build it! Scratches, corner joints, filler etc all mar the finish, and raw plastic will discolour over time just by exposure to light.

As for getting good size info to guide your build, it's all down to research and luck. One restriction comes from the kit you are fitting it into, but the rest is a matter of finding good drawings or descriptions that include measurements. I browse the internet a LOT, and I collect as many free-to-download Tech Manuals as I can. There's no shortcut. And sometimes I just can't get the info I need, and have to take a guess - the missing info sometimes surfaces when others criticise my choices!

Good luck on that M41!
varanusk
Staff MemberManaging Editor
ARMORAMA
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Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain / EspaŮa
Joined: July 04, 2013
KitMaker: 1,287 posts
RailRoad Modeling: 2 posts
Posted: Tuesday, October 06, 2020 - 01:49 AM UTC
As far as I know there is only one (recent) book dealing with scratchbuilding:

https://www.insidethearmour.com/product-page/more-scratchbuilding-masterclass

It is the second part of this one, in fact, but seems it is OOP:

https://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=21429&mode=thread&order=0
18Bravo
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Colorado, United States
Joined: January 20, 2005
KitMaker: 7,219 posts
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Posted: Tuesday, October 06, 2020 - 03:01 AM UTC
I rarely measure when scratch building. I generally enlarge an image on my screen, and compare what I'm scratching to the image, making sure the proportions are correct. For instance, I might look at a gusset and determine it's about one third of the way between two other details. After tacking it in place, I compare it to the photo and adjust if necessary. I often do this for sizing parts as well.

As for avoiding imperfections, the biggest tip I can give you is to use an OptiVisor. You'll see a lot that you wouldn't normally see.
One thing is not always obvious when scratch building: The raised lip on styrene after you cut it. I almost always sand each part after cutting to avoid this lip. It's often hard to see, but once you paint (or prime if that's you're thing) it's often too late to fix it. The exception is if that edge ig getting cemented to something else. Then it can be helpful giving the tiniest hint of weld between the two parts.

These are a couple of images I happened to have posted on M-L just last week:




It isn't rocket science. Just takes patience more than skill.
RobinNilsson
Staff MemberDirector of Member Services
KITMAKER NETWORK
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Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: November 29, 2006
KitMaker: 6,687 posts
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Posted: Tuesday, October 06, 2020 - 03:51 AM UTC
In addition to the other answers:
Be careful and handle the styrene surfaces with care.
Scribing measurement lines in the same way as when working with metal in a mechanics workshop is the wrong way.
Learn to use calipers to position things.
Use solvent glue to avoid smearing thick glue all over.
Use fine sandpaper to avoid scratches. If you use files -> consider getting good quality tools. The cheap ones can be uneven and leave deep scratches.
Solvent glue can sometimes smooth out fine scratches.
RLlockie
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United Kingdom
Joined: September 06, 2013
KitMaker: 1,111 posts
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Posted: Tuesday, October 06, 2020 - 06:46 AM UTC
Bear in mind that the images you see of peopleís work are of the version of the parts that they elected to show you. We all have other parts that didnít make the cut and ended up being discarded or cut up into smaller parts.

Measure twice, cut once but itís not always enough. I grew up on the Airfix Magazine guides [1970s) which had handy practical advice on drawing plans, cutting to allow for plate thickness etc... The rest I picked up by trial and error and picking the brains of other scratchbuilders.

I started with building simple shapes like boxes - if itís not square and with precisely cut parts, it will show up in wonky angles or gaps. Once you can do that, move onto more complex shapes.

In recent months Iíve started messing about with free CAD tools (I use Fusion 360) for designing parts, which I can then print out as flat drawings or use a plotter to cut them directly. CAD is less prone to allowing me to make some stoopid error like drawing one view a different size to the others and it allows faces which slope in two directions to be rendered in true size so that I can cut them out from sheet. Thatís always a bit tricky with paper, I found.
HILBERT
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Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Joined: August 07, 2004
KitMaker: 4,808 posts
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Posted: Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 04:24 AM UTC
Hi all, thanks for the usefull comments.
I wanted to share some pictures of my work but the gallery from the website is not working anymore (server is busy).

I have to look for a substitute. Thanks anyhow for all the comments.. I suppose as I did the same thing I am on the right path.

Thx!
barkingdigger
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
ARMORAMA
#013
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England - East Anglia, United Kingdom
Joined: June 20, 2008
KitMaker: 3,976 posts
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Posted: Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 10:26 AM UTC
Try using Imagur. It's free and easy, and you can copy the BB link for a photo and simply paste it in to your text here and the image magically appears!
HILBERT
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Joined: August 07, 2004
KitMaker: 4,808 posts
RailRoad Modeling: 0 posts
Posted: Sunday, October 18, 2020 - 09:16 PM UTC
Hi, I checked Imgur and it's working nicely.
Hereby my first attempt to scratchbuild something large.





If there are any comments then please let me know!

Grtz, Hilbert
barkingdigger
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
ARMORAMA
#013
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England - East Anglia, United Kingdom
Joined: June 20, 2008
KitMaker: 3,976 posts
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Posted: Monday, October 19, 2020 - 06:52 AM UTC
Wow - that hull looks impressive! Cutting those oval plates must have been tricky, even if you had scale drawings. (As mentioned earlier in the thread, for every "good" part that gets in the photo there's usually a few unsatisfactory attempts that end up in the bin. That's the joy of scratch-building...)