Question Advice

jshglass Jun 10, 2019

  1. jshglass

    jshglass TrainBoard Member

    Hey everyone,

    Longtime no post. Been getting back into the layout slowly, but surely.

    Next big task is to create an Ann Arbor style caboose in Z by modifying a Märklin caboose I snagged at a local hobby shop for cheap because it was broken (what?!). Obviously, none exist in Z, so I figured I’d try my hand scratch building the distinctive cupola out of styrene.

    The mock-up I made tonight out of card-stock was, well, not *terrible,* but it left little room for excitement.

    Short of 3D printing a shell, what recommendations can anyone give about constructing something this tiny? Any and all advice is appreciated.

    Tools I’m using are an Xacto knife, straight edge, and glue. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

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  2. woodworker19

    woodworker19 TrainBoard Member

    You've already mentioned sheet styrene so I'll assume you've thought of sheet wood also. Both cut easily with the tools you have. A different tack would be to carve it from a chunk of balsa or basswood like balsa wood model builders do for prop spinners and engine cowls. A few coats of sanding sealer will give it the "no grain" metal look you'll be after. If you have a drawing you can make contour templates to check the shape and use sandpaper and files can do a lot of the shaping. The windows would be painted on and blacked out or you could hollow out the block.

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  3. markm

    markm TrainBoard Supporter

    You're setting out on quite a first challenge. I can't think of much you could use for kit bashing except maybe the cabs of a couple of F7 locomotives. Probably not very cost effective.

    It looks like you may want to add a protractor straightedge to your tool collection for all the "unique" angles on the cupola you need to cut.

    You might want to print out the panels to scale from a drawing. I ran across this one:

    The hard part are the rounded corners. You'll want to reinforce all the joints with small square stock.

    Hope this helps,

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  4. jshglass

    jshglass TrainBoard Member

    Thanks, Mark. I’m not going to worry so much about the rounded corners at this point. I figured I could sand them down enough that the small size will be sufficient enough to mask any lack of detail.

    Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out!

    Just out of curiosity, you don’t know anyone on Shapeways that has already designed a caboose in this style, do you? I’m guessing it would be pretty expensive to commission one.


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  5. rvn2001

    rvn2001 TrainBoard Member

    Walt's trains & things on Shapeways has what you're looking for.
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  6. JimJ

    JimJ Staff Member

    For scratchbuilding I would make templates from card stock until the four walls are just right and use them to cut out parts from styrene.
    Or utilize Shapeways.

    ZFRANK TrainBoard Member

    Hi Jim,

    Building cabeese from styrene got me in Z-scale scratchbuilding.
    I don't use glue but a solvent to weld the styrene together. That works much better and cleaner than glue for styrene. (mind toxid fumes!) the chemical is called over here thinner, don't know how it is called in English. Is is here used to thin paint etc.




    See next links for the details:

    Hope this helps you.
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  8. markm

    markm TrainBoard Supporter


    I think you got your answer regarding 3D printing.

    After my post last night I was giving your cupola a bit more thought. It could be done with a single piece of brass, carefully shaped and folded:

    cupola.jpg It would take some effort to get all the angles right (high school trig) but it's something you could practice with card stock.
    If you want to go this way, it would be worth looking into getting a bending jig. Sorry about the drawing, I didn't have time to build it to scale.

  9. jshglass

    jshglass TrainBoard Member

    Thanks for the tips, everyone! I fiddled with a bunch of different things, even plaster, but a few weeks ago I found that CMR 3D prints the C18 caboose and is able to scale it down for me. I know that's not as "legit" as making your own, but everything I came up with just didn't cut the mustard.

    Relocated a couple of weeks ago to Boston, but once I settle down I'll get things going again and post pictures.
  10. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Supporter

  11. Curn

    Curn TrainBoard Member

    Paint thinners can be a wide array of chemicals. You would have to look at the SDS of the one you bought to see what's in it. To glue styrene or acrylic, the primary chemicals you should look for are methyl ethyl keytone (MEK) or acetone; both very similar chemically. Mineral spirits and toluene will also do the trick, but are not as fast drying. Toluene has a stronger oder.

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