Saturday, 9 November 2013

Of greasers and caffs

Following on from my last post about model buildings, I thought I'd show progress on an old model I started years ago, in one end of a 10ft. caravan in which we lived whilst restoring our historic boat, Heather Bell.
Some evenings, it was just too foul to work outside, so I had a bash at a building that I wanted to site opposite Tony Moss's office, shown on the last post.
I was told by Tony all about the wonderful old cafe that used to share his garage site. It was a popular hang-out of the local bikers.  It seemed reasonable to assume that the lads had to get their bikes somewhere, so why not locally?

Being in a tiny caravan with no model equipment or materials and few tools I started this building using a fine-ish corrugated cardboard.  Later that week, I got my son to bring up some Slater's brick sheet that he had amongst all my modelmaking gear and glued it on with Evo-Stik.

Well, the boat work had to take precedence and the bike shop never got any further than a box, which was then stored in a damp shed and got stuff left on it.  I only found it last week whilst looking for something else and decided it was deserving of a resurrection.
Here it is as found, all bent and bowed with damp and failed solvent glue (a common problem with solvent, I have found).

Bowed to Hell,cobwebs, flies and a dead snail inside it, photographed as found.
The showroom window was bowed and the frame coming apart.  The carefully edged corners were splitting from the stress of the damp card.
Some serious coaxing and repairs needed here....enter a new material for me, foamboard!
My son had shown me some he uses at work and gave me a load to bring home.  It included some 1/8" which is my preferred thickness for model structures.  I used to use CS10 line board, because when I was technical illustrating it was de rigeur and very plentiful, but now it's almost a collectors' item thanks to the miserable march towards computerisation of the old arts.
It became clear that with a new vertical brace in wood inside the side wall and a carefully cut top and base in foamboard, I could get the warps out of this baby.
Add some gables and ridge boards and we were getting somewhere.
Old card window cills removed in favour of styrene, brickwork splits repaired and refilled with cellulose putty and we seem to be there shape-wise.
So, what's the 1mm foamboard like?
Absolutely fine!  Perfect for the roof, so on it went, leaving space for the overlap of the slates which will be done in my favourite way of thin card cut in strips and overlapped to make rows of slates.  That's for later.
The cills are replaced, windows repaired with new styrene trip and some new "glass".  Wall brace plates added, too.  The remaining warp in the walls is actually spot-on for the Fens. Anything put up 50 years ago or more is busy trying to come down again, anyway!  The showroom window is repaired, new glass put in and new framing added, just the Norton needs repainting, but the Triumph one was fine.

Having remade some of the windows with styrene strip, cut from sheet (I'm too mean to buy Microstrip!) I remembered that years ago, I had had some etches made of suitable stuff for buildings....window frames, doors, hinges, letter boxes and latch plates.  Along with some loco nameplates and numbers and four petrol pump sets of parts, measured from one lonely old pump in my village at that time.  The pumps will be used outside Tony's office building and the other bits will be used on this building where appropriate.

Here's all I have left of that etch as far as I can find.  In those much better days, I could draw all this with a pen four times bigger on said CS10 lineboard, crisp as you like, get two negs made, emulsion side down, right-reading, by my local printer for the price of a couple of pints in the Crown at lunchtime,and have them home in the afternoon to modify with Rubilith tape into one artwork for the front and one for the back of a sheet of etched brass (or stainless steel for my car and boat models) and get them off to the etchers, who, because I had given them camera-ready artwork, would just charge me about £18 for the etched fret of 10 thou brass, etc.  It was so easy and cheap. They'd get that back to me in around a week to 10 days.  Now, that same company wouldn't touch it, because it isn't a computer file, I don't want 100 done and even if I did, it would be 6 weeks.  You tell me where that nonsense is progress of any kind at all.

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