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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Scratch building is defined in Wikipedia as “The process of building a scale model "from scratch", ie. from raw materials, rather than building it from a commercial kit, kit bashing or buying it pre-assembled.”

Wikipedia further explains the motives as “The reasons hobbyists scratchbuild may vary. Often a desired model is unavailable in kit form in the desired scale, or entirely non-existent. Sometimes the hobbyist may be dissatisfied with the accuracy or detail of kits that are available. Other times a hobbyist will opt to scratchbuild simply for the challenge. Less frequently a hobbyist will scratchbuild out of economy, as sometimes the raw materials cost less than a packaged commercial kit.”

From here I would like to introduce Evergreen Scale Models. I am sure many Z scale modelers have a small arsenal of their products stashed away for current or future projects.

I emailed Evergreen Scale Models recently with some questions, and I would like to share their response with you.

Hello John, Thanks for your interest, and  for using Evergreen styrene products.   Happy to answer your  questions:

What are your recommendations for proper storage of your products? Store styrene away from heat sources to prevent warping, and keep it out of  sunlight.  UV light slowly breaks down unpainted styrene.   However, paint on the model will provide the necessary protection  to prevent breakdown.  Weak UV from indoor sources are not a significant  problem.

What type of glue(s) or bonding material would  you recommend for your sheet and shape products?  Styrene  is best bonded with a liquid styrene solvent, which chemically welds the  styrene parts.  Common brands are:  Testors Liquid Cement, Tenax 7R,  and Ambroid Pro-Weld.  Methyl-Ethyl-Ketone (MEK), found at most hardware  stores, is also suitable. Whichever solvent you use, the styrene surface  must be unpainted, as solvents won't bond painted styrene.  CA (Superglue)  and epoxy can also be used, but they are not as strong as a solvent  bond.

Of all of the mistakes one can make during  scratch building, what is the most common mistake, and what would you recommend  to correct it or prepare for it?  For this  question, I yield the floor to an experienced scratch builder  and longtime friend to the founder of Evergreen Scale  Models:
        "The most  common mistake I see is a new scratchbuilder taking on too big a project for   his or her first attempt. To avoid this mistake, I'd recommend someone new to   scratchbuilding start with a simple project, like a small yard office. A   new scratchbuilder will make mistakes, but they'll learn by their mistakes.   Once they are pleased with their results, then they can consider moving on to   bigger and/or more complicated scratchbuilding projects. One of the best   things a new person can do is use all resources available to learn about   scratchbuilding. There are many books in the hobby press, including   Evergreen's how-to book, "Styrene Modeling".   Don't limit the search to just model railroad titles, look at what other   hobbyist are doing. The plastic kit modelers have developed innovative   ways to build models with styrene and exciting ways to finish their   models. Bottom line; mistakes will happen. Use them as a learning tool   and keep trying. Eventually the results of learning will be their own   reward!
    A second common mistake   is using the wrong adhesive to bond materials. Some glues will warp   or distort the plastic's surface, particularly if excess glue is applied to   the parts (a common mistake for beginners). Clear styrene is very susceptible   to marring from using too much or the wrong adhesive. Canopy cement or   Future acrylic floor finish works well for affixing clear styrene to   other parts (even a small amount of white glue will work if there is no stress   on the parts being joined). At some point, a new start to the   project may the only cure for too many mistakes. But the new scratchbuilder   will learn and eventually become proficient in their  efforts."
What would you recommend to bond wood pieces to Evergreen  styrene?  Styrene solvents have no effect on wood, metal, ceramics,  painted styrene, or even some other types of plastics (nylon, delrin,  polyurethane, polyethylene, So use superglue (CA), and where a  strong bond is needed, use a 2-part, 5 minute epoxy.
What method(s) would you recommend to bend shape and sheet  styrene.  In most cases, thin styrene can be formed into slight curves  and bends without heat, and once it is glued in place it will retain its  shape.  But thicker parts may need to be heated up to the softening  point to make them pliable.  Styrene can be thermoformed by  heating it up to about 212 °F, so immersing it in boiling water  is a common method.  A heat gun can be used as well, but you  must be very cautious, as the heat gun can very quickly and efficiently  reduce the styrene to a molten mass.  Once the styrene is heated to  the necessary temperature, it can be formed to the desired shape, and must be  held in place until it cools.  Once cool, it will retain it's new permanent  shape.
Evergreen Scale Models Inc.,
18620-F  141st Ave. NE
Woodinville, WA  98072
Phone (425) 402-4918
Toll-Free (877) 376-9099
E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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