30 July 2014

A row of cottages in the making….

It's been a while since my last post and things have been a bit all over the place as usual. A flurry of activity and then a major stall - maybe I'm losing interest, or maybe I'm just too taken up by other things at the moment to devote much time to modelling. Certainly the nice weather of late has meant more time out in the garden than indoors gluing small bits of plastic to other bits of plastic… :)

In terms of the layout, well I've decided to relay the track yet again, and have gone for a 4 track mainline layout that will cross a viaduct  - an unprototypical 4 track viaduct that has now been built and is in the mid-stages of being painted (but more of that in a later post (hopefully)

Now - back to the topic of the post…

Some time ago in my last post I mentioned the building of a row of cottages and I'm pleased to say that progress has been made

I tried a different technique for this: The elevations have all been plotted with the Roland vinyl cutter - all outlines, window and door openings and all stone courses cut with the plotter.

Following this the outlines and openings were trimmed with a scalpel and assembled with UHU.

With all the courses initially "Scribed" by the plotter's knife, all I had to do then is follow the lines with my trusty dart tip, distressing the rough stones and leaving the cills and lintels plain:

It took ages to draw out the elevations in Illustrator initially, especially the stone courses (it would be easier if it were regular, even blocks of stone as you could copy/paste, but saves a lot of painstaking effort with the set square and greatly reduces the "wonky verticals" I get when scribing the verticals freehand.

I tried to film myself left handed - hence the blurriness… It's also not too easy following the courses with the dart when you're looking through the view-finder….

Once over - scribed, I  then took to painting up the walls, using Wilkinsons "Safari Sand" as the base colour and then dry brushing with a brown emulsion and further weathering with Humbrol Weathered Black:

The Windows were constructed with my usual method of making drawings of the separate window elements - the outside frame, the lower sash and the upper sash with frame, plotting them all out on self adhesive vinyl and then laminating together onto clear plastic, then gluing from behind.



One of my young cats got into the garage where I'd left the model, jumped up onto a shelf where I've got some offcuts of wood stored and sent a heavy lump of oak skittering down to the terrace cottage below…


As you can see, I'd added all the windows, added net curtains and curtains to all the windows and made a start on the roof before this tragedy befell me…

*cue rather deep sigh*

I'm pretty sure this is salvageable, but unfortunately I just don't have the time or indeed the inclination right now, but rest assured, I WILL fix and finish this model - too much time has gone into it to dismiss it to the great dustbin of despair!

In the meantime - here's a hut it took me 2 years to make (and it's still not finished)


  1. I'd simply cut the end cottage off with a disc in the minidrill and make do with three!

  2. What interesting techniques you use Lee, those cottages look brilliant as does the millstone grit finish, as for the cat the less said the better !

    Never, ever give up, I'm sure you can work your way around the damage and as one well known modeller has been quoted as saying, "it's the journey that counts, not the destination", so never mind how much time it takes, just enjoy the hobby.

  3. That row of cottages looks excellent. Hopefully you'll find the time and enthusiasm to repair them.

  4. Cheers all. Your comments and enthusiasm inspired me to go into the garage with a tube of glue last night...

  5. You have been busy with that Roland plotter, and what fabulous results you get.I too get wonky verticals when hand scribing, it's very frustrating. I guess you could make some seamless tiles in Illustrator and change them around ad lib so as not to get too samey. Thanks to Martin I am the proud owner of some foamboard now, so I will be stealing your modus operandi soon :-))

    1. Thanks Iain. I look forward to seeing your experiments with the foam board

  6. Lee,

    I am still trying to get my head around the use of the Roland to do foamboard???...I have a 600mm Roland plotter that spends around 27 days out of 28 just sitting and watching...since the advent of digital print and cut machines... When I first read your post I figured you were using the pens to give the outline...but I have re-read and I am sure you are saying that you have completed the task with a blade???...Sooo my question is what thickness of board are you using and how do you compensate for the thickness so that the blade does not have an apoplexy???

    I will in the meantime trawl thru Youtube to see if I can find anything else out...

    This should give me some variation on always relying on the laser engraver to complete a job.

    BTW every post reveals another jaw dropping journey into modelling nirvana...thanks for sharing!!!


    Rod Kelly

  7. Thanks Rod

    Are you using a Roland vinyl plotter - i.e. one that cuts vinyl for vehicle livery etc. That's what I'm using - hence the blades..

    The thickest material it will deal with is 2mm and the blade setting is a trial and error thing, but it's set to something like 80. Since I'm only wanting an outline, it doesn't need to cut through, just gently scribe the surface, then I go over it all with the tip of a dart to improve the definition of the courses. It saves a heck of a lot of time in marking and measuring scribing lines.

    If you want to email me for further details - feel free - lee AT lnrgraphics DOT co DOT uk



    1. ps - it's not paper backed foam core board I'm using, it's the more solid compressed pvc foamex -search ebay for source. At Work. we use it to mount exhibition graphics.

  8. Lee,

    Yes it is a Roland Camm1 vinyl cutter or plotter. After posting my comment, I thought you may have informed me that it was a flatbed unit. I must admit that I have never entertained putting a semi rigid material thru the cutter...and will now give it some thought. I did however realise that you were not cutting out the material only scoring or embossing. We certainly utilise a fair quantity of foamboard for signage etc...and will now track some 2mm samples and give it a go. One last question...I am guessing you are just using the 30 or 45 degree common or garden blade in the holder and nothing exotic???

    Lastly, I thank you for taking the time to "walk" me through this...


    Rod Kelly

    1. Hi Rod - yes - same model as mine. and yes just a regular blade - you need to make sure you don't use too big a piece, otherwise the weight of the material makes the sheet press up against the blade as it's cutting, making unwanted "pass" cuts over your piece. It's also worth experimenting with your initial drawing to see how it's going to cut. 1mm stuff goes through easily, but is really too flimsy for large buildings. If you'd like I can email you the illustrator drawings to show you how I drew up the stone courses. Anything to help and promote this wonderful thing that is model-making :)

    2. Lee,

      As luck would have it, I have found around 30 pieces of 2mm material that was stored after a sign job. They are all around 300mm x 450mm and I have loaded one in the plotter to see how it all fits together. Now I will come up with a file and see how it works in the flesh so to speak. I can only imagine that you have lifted the blade holder to allow for the material thickness? Anyway I will give it a go when time permits and see if I end up with "neat" results or kill the plotter.


    3. Hi Rod. I usually just slide it in to place then pull the clamps down.
      Let me know how you get on - maybe just trial a couple of squares?

      BTW - don't know if you saw in an earlier thread, but I use the plotter to cut window frames - VERY effective and quick! Matt White Vinyl...