Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tip of the week - cleaning brushes

I have of lot of expensive artists brushes that I use for model work. Some of these are over thirty years old. Over the years they've acquired a lot of dried paint build-up at the top of the bristles near the ferrel. The paint in the bristles has rendered many of the brushes useless for fine model work.

My solution to rejuvenate the brushes is to soak the bristles in 91% rubbing alcohol for several days. After the soak I scrub the brushes on paper towels to remove the softened paint and then I wash them in soap and water. The hardened paint is gone and the brushes, although not "new," are soft, pliable and ready to use.

Tip #2 - To prevent the paint from building up in the first place, always wet the bristles in water (or solvent, if you're using solvent-based paints) before sticking them into the paint. The wet brush will keep the paint from drying on the dry bristles in the middle of the brush.

I got this alcohol tip from an artist's magazine.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A cherry pie for charity

There's a charity in Maine that provides help to schools in the Freeport area. The name is "Painting for a Purpose." This year among other art projects the group is painting clock faces. The one I did is a cherry pie being invaded by ants. Mine is one of hundreds that will be sold at auction.
It's acrylic on a wood base.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fifty years and counting...

A friend is building a combination HO and HOn30 model railroad and he's decided to hand-lay the track. He has cut the wooden ties and was getting ready to color them when he noticed something was missing. It was the railroady smell you get when walking the tracks.

The smell is from creosote, the tie preservative. New wood ties are soaked in creosote under pressure to preserve them.

Over 50 years ago Tru-Scale offered real creosote tie preservative for model railroaders. I still have a can and remember using a little of it on a railroad I once built. 

Needless to say I gave the can to my friend so he can have a model railroad that smells like a real railroad.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mt Blue General Store

Bob Hayden built this Mt. Blue HO General Store kit. He substituted the Campbell shingles for the metal roofing provided. It'll fit right in on the new layout he's building.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

East Brewster, (Cape Cod) MA station on the New Haven

Check out the funky signal on the front of the station. I wonder how this worked? 

There doesn't seem to be anyway to change the color or location - there are no ropes or wires attached to the signal.

One of life's little mysteries...

Friday, July 4, 2014

The White Tower

Here's an O scale scene on a customer's High-Rail layout. All the structures are kit-built, and the people and details are off the hobby shop shelf. What I did to make this scene come alive was to add signs in the White Tower windows, a few posters, a weathered sidewalk, and the trash barrels. 

Now it's a place for your eye to stop and take-in all the details.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

O scale church with stained glass windows

Here's an O scale church I scratchbuilt for a customer in Massachusetts. I wanted the WOW factor and the only thing besides church bells ringing I could think of were illuminated stained glass windows. 

After a Google search I found the windows on-line in connection with the building plans for a protestant church yet to be built in the mid-west. I copied the file, resized it and then printed several copies on clear acetate. These were cut to fit and glued inside each window opening.

Next, I built a lighting grid so an LED would illuminate each window. I added a voltage regulator so I could power the lights with 16VAC.

The photos shows the illuminated windows as they would look at about dusk.