Re: Shaping/bending styrene.

Denny Anspach <danspach@...>

I'd be worried that any paper/wood product would absorb moisture from the
air over time and 'deform itself' - especially the single sheet of thick paper
that is not impregnated with white glue.
For an untreated single sheet of unsupported shaped thick paper, this would be the probable eventuality; but providing the required support (carlines or a shaped "plug") is a presumption, and sealing is, of course an eventuality- but it has not yet been addressed.

Paper is a time honored model railroad construction material, the most common type being Strathmore, the brand of a type of Bristol board, a high, or even pure, rag content paper of archival quality that is very dense, quick stiff, and has a variety of surfaces. It is sold in art stores in several thicknesses, the most common being about .008" - .010" (you will have to measure this yourself inasmuch as the art store will have no idea what you are talking about). The great pioneering modeler Bill Clouser was a great promoter of Strathmore, and many of his models were constructed of this material (he later became an enthusiast -the first?-- of resin casting!).

Unlike styrene, the surface of Strathmore remains relatively, though not visibly porous, and in this regard gluing/cementing is best undertaken with white glue- one of the easiest-to-use of all glues. This same relative porosity also requires that all surfaces eventually be sealed against the effects of moisture. This can be done quiet satisfactorily with any sanding sealer (usually a clear lacquer or similar containing a filler- commonly talc). I use Testor's Sanding Sealer Dope (a large bottle purchased ??? years ago!). (When I need more, I will head for the R-C store to purchase whatever that side of the hobby now uses). I lightly sand the surface with 400-600 grit before submitting it to final finishing.

Impregnating/sealing the surface with white glue itself would work, of course, but you would have the devil to pay in finally getting to a smooth-enough surface for a good finish. Stick to the products designed specially for such sealing. Infinitely easier.

I have two HO paper model cars made in 1936-7 (in Palo Alto, CA) that are very much intact with no warping or disintegration, and my own experience over 60 years of modeling supports my views (recognizing, or course, that experience is not the same as wisdom!). My other day job :-) as a long-time traditional boat re-builder and restorer also has served to give me considerable understanding of how wood and wood products work with and react to moisture and glues.

Although in my scratch-modeling I do most commonly use styrene these days, I still also commonly and easily turn to and use paper and wood when these provide easier pathways toward the goals I am seeking. They all use differing modeling disciplines and methods, and knowing, learning, and applying these is for me a significant part of the pleasurable modeling process that we all engage in.

BTW, I use the same cold molded laminating methods described with the paper to lay up with wood very strong molded inner boat bottoms.


Denny S. Anspach, MD

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