Monday, 17 March 2014

Getting the 'sandwich' right

Despite being very busy I have still tried to make time to continue to develop a satisfactory method for modelling L-shaped built-up areas ... and I think that I have now cracked it.

The buildings are made from a 'sandwich' of basswood between two outer layers (or 'skins') of thin plywood. The door and window detail is cut into the thin plywood, and then one of the plywood layers is glued to the basswood 'filling' using PVA-based wood glue. The plywood and basswood are clamped together using bulldog clips, any excess glue is wiped off, and the clips are not removed until the glue has dried. The other plywood layer is then glued onto the reverse side of the basswood.

Once the glue has dried the basswood is trimmed so that it is the same size as the plywood layer or 'skin'.

The advantages of this method are:
  • The plywood is stiffer than thin basswood or balsa wood, and is less prone to warping ... although holding the components in place with bulldog clips until the glue has dried is still essential.
  • The plywood is stronger than thin basswood and balsa wood, and is much less likely to split when the windows and doors are being cut out.
  • Finer detail (i.e. smaller windows and doors) can be cut into the plywood than can be cut into the thin basswood or balsa wood.
  • The PVA-based wood glue is easier to use than superglue or UHU. The former cures very quickly and allows no time to correct any errors whilst the latter is prone to 'stringing'.
The disadvantages of this method are:
  • The PVA-based wood glue takes longer to dry than superglue or UHU, thus increasing the time it takes to produce a single L-shaped built-up area.
  • Plywood is much harder to cut into with a craft knife than thin basswood or balsa wood.
The advantages outweigh the disadvantages, and I think that this will be my preferred method for modelling my L-shaped built-up areas from now on.

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