Denny Anspach wrote:
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!).
= = =
Bill's article on Strathmore was in the February 1959 Model Railroader, with the companion article on painting in the March 1959 issue. The material then came in five thicknesses, from .005 to .025, labeled from "1-ply" to 5-ply." But that was long ago. A check of Strathmore's web site shows the following available at art stores, in smooth (called "plate") surface 500 Series Bristol Board. Comes in 23" x 29" sheets.
235-072 2-Ply Plate Surface
235-073 3-Ply Plate Surface
235-074 4-Ply Plate Surface.
I guess the 5-ply ("075") didn't sell that well. There is a 1-ply Bristol available, I believe, although it's not listed under "071"); it's handy for rivet strips and overlays. As I remember, Testor's model airplane cement and Ambroid were the adhesives I used to build "layered" models.
The key to using Strathmore is completely sealing the model. I followed Bill's lead and used automobile gray body primer, which was then sanded and painted with lacquers. (It was a long time ago...) I recently had the good fortune to find some models I scratchbuilt from Strathmore using this method, (including my first, a CCT trolley freight motor built around 1962), and they had not warped or distorted in the intervening 35 - 45 (ouch!) years. They still look pretty good next to my scratchbuilt brass stuff, too.