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October 1990 - Page 18


Saap Metal Loads in N 5 ale
Easy Ti ps to Improve Rea l ism
b y Scoff Seekins
Illustrations by the author



lthough very excellent commercial gondola and hopper loads are cur rently available in N scale, even more star tling effects can easily be attained by improving these existing loads with a mini mum of effort.

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F i g u re 1 - U se a h e ated b l u n t m e ta l i n st r u m e n t to ca refu l I y make the exterior surfaces o f the gondola protrude.

P re pari n g Carbody Most gondolas hauling scrap are only a step from being scrap themselves. Age steel cars by "denting" the inside surfaces. Heat a blunt, rounded metal instrument (such as a fork handle) to the point where one can push gently from the inside until the exte rior surface protrudes. This takes practice, as too much heat will ruin the car. Contin ual and repeated pressure of the heated tool along the interior of the model can distort the plastic surface in a very realistic way. And in some cases, the more protrusions the better, dent upon dent, until the sides buckle outward. Don ' t be concerned about how the gondola looks on the inside - it will be covered by the load - the appear ance of the exterior is what matters. Scrape and sand certain areas and weather as de sired, but you need not bother to paint the interior now. For wood composite cars, holes can be

scratched or gouged to represent decom posed areas . S anding lengthwise simulates wood grain. Don ' t worry about sanding off lettering. Often the only readable lettering on the prototype is the car ' s number, which has been restenciled.
I mprove Existing Loads Start with existing products, such as Chooch N Scale scraploads, and glue them in place after razor sawing them to fit. If you are finishing a number of cars, it might be advisable to vary their appearance by cutting the pre-formed loads into pieces, and reassembling each again. That way every load will have a unique look and avoid the unrealistic appearance of numer ous cars with identical scrap. Cast Metal Additions Now comes the fun part - adding extra junk in a way that achieves authenticity

(Continued on page 57)

Figure 2 - Cut silver decals, such as MicroScale #87-433 i nto the s h a pes of s h eet m e ta l , w i t h a n X-acto knife.

G ondolas filled with scrap made by im provi ng existing prod ucts. Second ca r from right contains a sheet metal Dave Engler photo load.
O ctober 1990

1B



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