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Remember cardstock structures?
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 Posted: Sun Aug 2nd, 2015 08:45 am
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Mr Stumpy
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A brief topic on another forum got me thinking about those old structure kits for model railroading. These were cardstock and/or cardboard walls which you braced with balsa or strip wood. The card had "siding" printed on the walls and "shingles" or "roll roofing" printed on the roof.

Often door and window frames were cardstock strips which you assembled, or sometimes the frames were "punched out" of sheet cardstock. A small sheet of Cellophane was included to cut window "glass" from. "Details" sometimes had to be carved by the builder from small pieces of wood which were supplied.

These were not to be confused with what later were called "Craftsman Kits" with bunches of cast details and other parts included. Craftsman kits of that era were a box of enough "raw materials" that you cut and shaped as needed and a set of plans with dimensions. Those were REAL "craftsman kits" because you were actually "scratch building" the "kit" from plans!

White glue (Elmer's) or Ambroid Cement were the adhesives of choice, mainly because there was nothing else then. Putting Elmer's glue on heavily warped the printed card stock or cardboard, and drying time was long if you did it right anyway. Ambroid was smelly stuff that stuck to everything, including fingers and was stringy. It was similar to Walther's GOO today.

Painting these where needed, you used 410M or Floquil "Railroad Colors," both equipped with plenty of toulene to breathe and absorb.

My professional model builder Dad started me on Plasticville and then these card and balsa models at age six. It was a good way to learn and I got pretty good with them, building a Suydam six stall roundhouse as a teen.

Anyone else out there old enough to remember these?

Stumpy in Ahia :old dude:

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 Posted: Sun Aug 2nd, 2015 09:56 am
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Herb Kephart
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Ah Yes. Stumpy.

I well remember 410M. Was the only thing with ready mixed colors to use. The only alternative for a kid on a dollar a week ''allowance'' was Testors airplane dope, which, since I was into building trolleys, wasn't too much of a hardship, as many of the prototype used orange and cream colors. This was just about the time Floquil came on the market. Some of Walthers kits--they made their own kits in both O and HO back then- that had been put out right after WW2 and had sat on a dealers shelf too long had a dried up bottle of their brand enamel included, which they sold separately--but no one at the hobby shop that I infested used it. My mentor was Stewart Laurent--who had a combined hobby shop and candy store at 49th and Baltimore, in Philadelphia PA. This man had the patience to answer all my questions, bless him.

Elmers wasn't even around when I started. Woodworkers used some kind of (urea, I think ) powder, that had to be mixed with water to make a paste. Testors airplane glue was what I used. My father ate shredded wheat for breakfast every day, so the boxes were my endless supply of cardboard. I still have some models that I made back then-- terribly crude, but they haven't warped. Stewart told me that they wouldn't, if I painted both sides of the card.

Every HO layout back then had building kits made by Ideal, a Philadelphia manufacturer of model airplane kits. You could pretty much count on seeing the same buildings over and over again. The few O layouts were pretty much devoid of buildings, and were lucky to have some plaster hills to break up the table top. HO autos were made from plaster--don't remember the ''manufacturer''. A few crude ''details'' were made by Selley from some lead alloy.

HO ''layouts'' were almost exclusively built on a 4 X 8 sheet of plywood, and if they had any deviation at all from flat and level, it was to provide an opportunity for a bridge--in what was a basic figure eight track plan.
 Laurent, and a couple of other modelers, somewhat unique in that they were scratchbuilders, had a massive layout in the basement of his store. It had both passenger and freight yards, but they were only for storage of made up trains, awaiting their turn to parade around the multi level double track mainline. All hand laid brass rail, and #10 switches. Once a month it was open to customers for operation after 9 PM when the store closed. Joe Dorazio, later a custom builder of O scale locos, was building in HO back then, and would sometimes show up with a loco that he had built under commission. Very smooth running mechanisms were Joe's trademark.

There was a group that had a large O scale layout--outside third rail--in what was once the waiting room of the old B&O passenger station. It had a trolley line that wandered up around and under the railroad trackage. This was where I caught the bug to build trolleys in O scale. I have a couple cars that were built by members and lettered for the trolley line. Every Fall they would have an open house, where the public was invited.

That Kiddies, it what was called at the start of one of the popular radio (AM back then) programs the ''Thrilling Days of Yesteryear''.

Herb



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 Posted: Sun Aug 2nd, 2015 01:10 pm
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pipopak
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Ah, the good old days!. We did the best possible with whatever we could lay our little paws on. Did my share of cardboard and paper also. Jose.



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 Posted: Mon Aug 3rd, 2015 01:45 pm
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Lee B
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I had a tiny HO layout and no money as a teen. I found that the 'quick' brand chocolate milk mix had containers made from pressed paper and if you turned then inside-out and scribed them, they made decent (to me at the time, anyway) wood siding. I took a cheap structure kit I'd been given and cut the windows and door out of it, and made a depot structure. I'm sure I have photos of it somewhere, but that's as close as I came...

Last edited on Mon Aug 3rd, 2015 04:01 pm by Lee B



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 Posted: Mon Aug 3rd, 2015 03:27 pm
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hminky
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Duco glue!

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 Posted: Tue Aug 4th, 2015 08:35 am
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Mr Stumpy
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Obviously, building models of paper and wood with slow drying glue is a product of another age. Although there are a number of paper modelers today and the printing technology is far better, few today would take the time to build such a model, or accept the level of detail or realism of the old kits. In an era of DCC and super detailed HO locomotives costing hundreds of dollars, the old card and wood structures just don't cut it.

Another area of card and wood modeling was rolling stock kits. The floor and roof were usually wood (for house cars) with wooden blocks "inside" the car to hold it together. Sides were printed cardboard many times with details printed on as well. Better kits had stamped or cast metal ends and a variety of cast or formed metal details. Tank car "tanks" were often a dowel or cardboard tube with a printed paper "wrapper" to go around them.

Of course such modeling was not limited to model trains, but was used in airplanes, boats, and cars as well in the days before injection molding of plastic became financially feasible for the kit makers. There was far more scratch building back then, with it's own set of skills to be learned. I remember my father building a miniature english wheel to form compound curves in card stock or thin metal for model airplanes and cars and for models he did as a model maker for an architecture firm.

The key to it all was patience, having little money for hobbies, and bring willing to learn skills. Just about all of this is lacking in today's world! They'll never realize what they missed.

Stumpy in Ahia:old dude:

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 Posted: Tue Aug 4th, 2015 11:07 am
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Herb Kephart
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''They will never realized what they missed''

For certain. But what did we fossils miss that the generations before us endured to create a model for personal enjoyment?

Herb



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 Posted: Tue Aug 4th, 2015 11:59 am
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Lee B
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Mr Stumpy wrote:
The key to it all was patience, having little money for hobbies, and bring willing to learn skills. Just about all of this is lacking in today's world! They'll never realize what they missed.I think people realized they missed not-all-that-great models that took forever to build and really never looked right, no matter how good your skills were.
I'll never understand why people wax nostalgic about the 'good old days' of the hobby when the models weren't nearly as good, took forever to build, and were nowhere near the quality and authenticity of what you can find today.



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 Posted: Tue Aug 4th, 2015 01:00 pm
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pipopak
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I'll never understand why people wax nostalgic about the 'good old days' of the hobby when the models weren't nearly as good, took forever to build, and were nowhere near the quality and authenticity of what you can find today.

Take a piece of cereal box cardboard, cut yourself some wood strips from a balsa sheet, get some white glue and, using razors, a steel ruler and sandpaper make the best replica of something you can achieve because that model is totally unavailable. Time is irrelevant, let it take as much as you want/need. Once you finish it let us know how it feels. Jose.



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 Posted: Tue Aug 4th, 2015 01:09 pm
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pipopak
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Mr Stumpy:
this is a paper model:
http://i-am-modelist.com/2015/03/17/teak-sleeping-car/
but I agree, this is an almost forgotten art within model railroaders. Jose.



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As I have grown older, I've learned that pleasing everybody is impossible, but pissing everybody off is a piece of cake.
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