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Cheap Modelling Materials Sources

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As I don't have much cash at the moment due to unemployment I thought I'd start a thread for austerity modelling tips :).

 

I noticed that the 2 euro shops are selling really long drinking straws at the moment. They may be useful for modelling street lamps, bollards and pipes.

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You can use scotch pads (green or brown colour works best) to make hedges. You can get them in different sizes too for large or small hedges. Cut them into strips and cover in foliage for well manicured hedges or for rougher hedges; cut wider strips, fold in half, and staple at the bottom again cover in the foliage of your choice. They're much cheaper than store-bought hedges and depending on what foliage you use they can look great.

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The wooden stirers you get in some coffee shops / fast food outlets, when trimmed, would make good cut timber loads for wagons. The could also be used for making fences.

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If you have any leftover baseboard from constructing your layout you could model it into a custom engine shed. Sure it may be a bit time consuming and you'd have to allow for painting but the satisfaction from doing a good job of it is great.

 

This is a great video too about how to create professional enough looking platforms cheaply:

 

Good thread idea by the way, hope that helped!

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I've copied, pasted, and added to a few of my replies to threads to put it all in one post here. I hope it's of some use, I've been modelling on the cheap for 25 years, and these are just some of the thoughts that spring to mind.

 

01 - Paintin and decorating shops have sandpaper sponges in a variety of grades, cut into 1inch squares are great for sanding curved roof profiles and tricky curves.

 

02 - hypodermic syringes - great for applying glues, plastic magic and poly cement.

 

03 - cocktail sticks - multiple uses, for pushing decals around and getting little blobs of glue into odd places, great for adjusting small items.

 

04 - clothes pegs - as cheap clamps for keeping small things together. Really cheap plastic ones have poor springs that wouldn't hold an underpants on a washing line, but will clamp small items without distorting them.

 

05 - rusty rulers from car boot sales. If they're still on the go after all this time they're good. Take the rust off with wire wool, and hold on to it for weathering locos.

 

05a - The best ones to use are about 150mm long and are the slightly cheaper model than found in eason etc. EuroWorld type places have them and the edges aren't fully refined so they grab plasticard stopping it from slipping. These are also have a duller finish than the expensive ones, so are much easier to read the markings. This rough edge is great to grip card, styrene, etc. Avoid the branded ones as cutting guides.

 

06 - Johnson's Klear Floor Polish - Cheap alternative for varnish, dries quick, and if it goes wrong, wash it off.

 

07 - Brake Fluid & 2 Litre fizzy drink/cider bottle :P - Cut the bottle in half, fill with brake fluid, small tub will do. Drop a badly painted model in, turn and marinate for 8 hours, and watch the paint peel away without damaging the plastic.

 

08 - Swann & Morton Scalpel Blades - Go to an old skool chemist and ask. They generally sell them in boxes for around €20 for about 100 blades. Much cheaper than Eason.

 

09 - Evans art in St. Mary's Abbey, off Capel Street, Dublin - The best value place to buy lollipop sticks, glues, paints, brushes, card in Ireland. To compare - Easons Spray Mount Glue - 24.95, Evans, 16.95. 12 branded Charcoal Sticks Easons, 2.99 - 11.99, Evans, 10c each. The generally supply to the schools, are open to the public, and you can get cheap poster paint by the gallon.

 

10 - Upholstery shops - Once you've got the poster paints, mix it up into a leafy green colour. Get a lump of old foam offcut from one of the shops, thoroughly get the paint into it. When dry, stick it in the wife's blender when she's not looking, tada, lumps of bushes and foliage. Let it blend for longer and mix different colours to make flock. Make sure wife doesn't find out.

 

11 - Cheap bottle washers in Euro Shops [3 for €2] - Cut to point to they resemble pine trees. Dip in PVA, and roll around in green foam at no 10. Like Heki, but not.

 

12 - Track Ballast & Dry Stone walls - No painting required. Tesco Cat Litter 5 Litre, around a fiver. Either get two cheap sieves, or find some that may not be missed. [cough] Scoop out 80% of the bag, and sieve the remaining 20% at the bottom. Tiny chippings are grey and there's a good amount comes out of it. The larger pieces can be sieved out to make scale dry stone walls or quarry backdrops/piles. The biggest bits can be used for the cat to poo in.

 

13 - Multipack of cheap tweezers - If these are out of the budget from a Euro shop, ask the significant other for any that she's done with.[ She may also have make up brushes that can be used for weathering] Careful with this one, she may get the wrong idea. Used tights also make fencing material. How do I know this stuff??? lol.

 

14 - Cotton Buds - Can be used to dry up around transfers and used to apply weathering powders. Can be used to put in ears if getting nagged about stealing her make up stuff.

 

15 - Cheap Weathering Powders - Charcoal sticks and kids chalk ground down, can be used to add subtle hints to objects. If you're unhappy with the results, wipe off and start again. If happy, proceed to no.16 . Pastel sets also work well if watered/oiled down.

 

16 - Cheap hairspray - If it smells really trampy, you're in luck. The worse smelling, the better it holds weathering powders in place. Some places do super size ones for a euro. Good for years. Not for hair though.

 

17 - Card for modelling - Avoid Cornflake boxes etc., unless it's to be glued on a backing piece. It will warp and fail. The best card can be found in Whiskas type boxes, Washing Up Powder boxes etc. Avoid Ikea corrugated stuff for buildings, but it's great to build up landscape shapes, to be covered with chicken wire and papier mache.

 

18 - Glues - avoid solvent based glues from Euro Shops, they smell like a dead rat in a tube, and have the same amount of sticking power as frog spawn. The PVA glues are bang on though, and great value. Be careful with the 8 for a Euro superglues. They tend to erupt when opened, and dry out when the lid goes back on. Best to have one tub of Roket or Loctite for emergencies.

 

19 - Coffee shops & fast food outlets. Whether you take coffee or fizzy pop, always take straws and stirrers. Take a heap of them. Straws once painted with lumpy acrylic or added pva, will dry giving a bit more rigidness to it. Can be ideal to put on roofs to make industrial/cement type buildings. Coffee stirrers have a bazillion uses. Both come in different sizes so a nice stockpile can be built up reasonably quickly.

 

20 - Brass Wire - Model shops sell this stuff at outrageous prices. Go to a music shop and get the cheapest set of guitar strings, steel and spanish. Steel strings come in a variety of gauges, and have all sorts of detailing uses, from refuelling hoses, to vacuum brake pipes. The spanish guitar type are plastic, and will happily do the same though easier to paint and glue, and make nice downpipes etc.

 

21 - Wire Hangers - Cut with a tough snips and the head bent over with a piece of card covering, can appear like modern street lamps. Drilling into the baseboard to accept them, a bit of glue, and though they might not be prototypical, they'll take a lot of abuse.

 

22 - British Eighth Army 1:72 - Nice soft plastic which can be easily cut, these guys can make nice additions as carriage occupants, cut at the waist, MKII helmet trimmed and a bit of paint. Not be done in front of the telly with beer though. Hands and legs all over the shop the following morning [Experience]

 

23 - A Walk in the Woods - Pick up conifer cones, dip in PVA, and cover in homemade flock, appears like trimmed formal shrubs. Bark off trees, can't remember the type that peels, but if glued along an embankment and covered in sloppy plaster, appears like rock walls. Lichen and moss at the bottom of tree trunks, can be peeled off and dried. Loses it's colour naturally, and looks great. Some hardy weeds have mini branch like structures that can be dipped in pva and flocked to make trees.

 

24 - Corrugate roofing - This has been done before, but I'll put it on again. Buy a sheet of Evergreen/wills roofing and press tinfoil into it. Turkey Foil is the heaviest, and should be bought in Tesco/Supervalue not a euroshop [that stuff is near see through] It can be folded over on itself, dull side out, and layered to make a fairly stiff sheet of metal. Spray mount glue or a coating of PVA will stick it together and give it long term durability. Press is into the sheet of plastic, and use a strip of the plastic as a press to form the corrugation. Also, Cling Film folded on itself 8 times with PVA, and doing the same process makes great roof glazing.

 

25 - bottle opener - bloody useless for modelling, excellent for opening a well earned beer.

 

Apologies if I have horrified any of the purists. If I think of/remember any more I'll post 'em up.

 

Richie.

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Hi Barl,

Thanks for that tip on the scotch pad/hedges. I find hedges, walls etc very prohibitive price.

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04 - clothes pegs - as cheap clamps for keeping small things together. Really cheap plastic ones have poor springs that wouldn't hold an underpants on a washing line, but will clamp small items without distorting them

 

Try washing the drawers before you put them on the line?

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26 - Cheap large plastic sieves - find of the year! - cut out the net/basket, trim in lengths to make ladders to stick to cement bubbles and semaphore signals.

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Alot of really great tips here

How does the cat litter react to being glued down, weathered ect. ? Does it disintegrate or anything ?

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I'll do a quick photo test later with a piece of track and post it up. It's a while since I did it.:eek:

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The pile up top is the dry stuff, bottom left - the pva is between the rails and the ballast tapped into the glue. appears to hold its shape. bottom right - diluted pva on top, total fail, turns to mush. It looks a lot more grey/tan in the daylight. I'll post again tomorrow when it dries.

 

R.

DSCF5556.jpg

DSCF5556.jpg

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26 - Cheap large plastic sieves - find of the year! - cut out the net/basket, trim in lengths to make ladders to stick to cement bubbles and semaphore signals.

 

great tips lads! richie this is your best tip! need a few walkways for bogied cements...any tips there?

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r

great tips lads! richie this is your best tip! need a few walkways for bogied cements...any tips there?

 

Took me awhile to find it but Yes, the flip side of a roll of veneer you'll find in a hardware shop. The glue on the reverse goes on in a diamond pattern, similar to walkways, so if you paint the veneer grey, and run some pencil dust over the ribs it will look like patterened metal and hopefully pass the two foot rule. Etched brass though, from weshty et al, would be better.

 

But, I was out in IKEA at the weekend - gotta pay for Raheny at some point - they have these brush and pan sets, 2.50 each. For the cheapest source of straight thin plastic, purchase one, grab a Stanley, cut the brushes off. Several thousand scale pipes for hundreds of uses. Also, avonmore milk produce a pint of milk in a styrene type container. Drink milk, rinse, and cut to size to replace that missing roof from the hornby weetabix wagon etc. Same curve. Add brush bristles that you made earlier, to create roof banding, for added detail. Will post this on my WB tomorrow.

 

Must be off. Yard brushes to be investigated for goodness...

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r

 

'took me awhile to find it but Yes, the flip side of a roll of veneer you'll find in a hardware shop. The glue on the reverse goes on in a diamond pattern, similar to walkways, so if you paint the veneer grey, and run some pencil dust over the ribs it will look like patterened metal and hopefully pass the two foot rule'.

 

thanks richie:tumbsup:

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http://www.modelrailwayscenery.com/building-kits/ Easy to build when printed off and can make as many as you want. I have posted photos of ones I have made from this site. Great Value and good detail.

An idoit can build this. lets face it I DID!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some of the other buildings on the website is good as well.

 

I am all for saving money. This can be an expensive hobby, but with a bit of thought you can save on accessories.

Track gang portacabin.jpg

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Nightshift.jpg

New Portacbin being placed.jpg

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Great tips, any ideas for empty beer cans? For ballast I use aquarium grit from pet shops, this tiny black fragments of gravel cost 8 euro for a decent size bag, it is fixed in the time honoured way, 50/50 pva, washing up liquid and I add artists grey acrylic paint to the mix. The beauty is, being gravel, it can be reused time and time again. Happy New Year.

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Great tips, any ideas for empty beer cans?

 

Best tip for empty beer cans

Put them in the green bin

Buy more beer

Simples!

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Was in the same boat with a Hornby 00 layout in my teens (1000 years ago) and to make overgrown scrubland (because nothing approaching realism for grass was then to be had) I just pulled lumps of moss out of the lawn and dried them. In time they fade a bit, so replacing the odd bit now and again made a 100% natural variety of shades. Terrible dust collector though.... when you lifted it all to replace or rearrange there was a layer of dust on the baseboard!

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Another good cheap ballast is canary grit. It is meant for the bottom of the birds cage, but it is small grey stone chippings (just like branded model ballast) and comes cheap in massive cartons from pet shops. I've never actually tried it myself, but I don't see why it wouldn't work

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Another good cheap ballast is canary grit. It is meant for the bottom of the birds cage, but it is small grey stone chippings (just like branded model ballast) and comes cheap in massive cartons from pet shops. I've never actually tried it myself, but I don't see why it wouldn't work

 

this is a very good idea

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Another good cheap ballast is canary grit. It is meant for the bottom of the birds cage, but it is small grey stone chippings (just like branded model ballast) and comes cheap in massive cartons from pet shops. I've never actually tried it myself, but I don't see why it wouldn't work

 

I thought you were going to say that you took it from the bottom of the bird cage when you were cleaning it out :SORRY:

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A good source of cheap metal mesh is from the splatter guards (for frying pans) that you can get in the pound/euro shops.

Being unemployed I'm always nosing around those shops looking for modellng stuff!

Might pick one up to do the grills on my C class diesel if the mesh is fine enough.

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Gentlemen - Aldi are selling A3 sized cutting mats for €4.99. They're decent quality so I got two. They are also doing a deal on a 56 piece hobby knife set, assorted files, G clamps, large toolboxes, and assorted measuring tools and carpenters squares. Enough to stock your workbench for around 40 euros. :tumbsup:

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