Dirt, Details & Dioramas... Karl. A



  • Thanks Karl - well it's more that I really like when the sashes match the frames and trims. With the chalk AI method described in the manuals I find that it is hard to "cover" the natural colour of the laser board ( this was just more noticeable with the Railroad Camp kit I started because of the number of windows and because I stain the wood as opposed to using the chalk AI method). The laser board colour is not necessarily a negative as the colour works well as a natural wood base. And sashes were of course often painted separate from frames and trims. ...

    One could airbrush them (laser board) I believe but I'd be a bit concerned about over saturating and warping them, and the colour would still not necessarily match. But I'd love to try scratch building windows from basswood too although mullions really need a narrow profile to be convincing ... And of course if there are allot of windows one has think of the logistics
  • Actually, looking at ones I've installed already, I think when one sees them on the carrier sheets there is more concern, but once installed the difference is really not that noticeable. It would be more of an issue if one was doing weathered painted sashes and trims as you did here...
  • Always can tone / blend with the chalks.
  • Hi Alan. I do the chalking - the chalk doesn't always "stick" that well even with a light sanding. Or is a bit blotchy. But as noted above, once they are off the carrier sheet this really isn't that noticeable.
  • I like what you are doing James.
  • Thanks Alan - I tend to obsess on the little things sometimes. I guess it's in my nature...
  • BTW I've seen modellers recommend Durham's Water Putty for forming things like roads and creek beds and such. I've used it for patching window trims and sills (in real life). Worth a try. Drying time can be lengthened by adding a bit of vinegar:
  • one bonus is colour nearly matches the Polyblend "Karl's Mix" people are using…
  • Karl, I know you posted this quite some time ago, but I still find it very useful in planning my layout. I have created a "Sierra West Techniques" folder and have all the really cool tips and tricks in it. I use a "Snipping Tool" computer application to copy and paste it for printing. I love all the comments, but this lets me print only the instructional parts. Of course, this thread is now in the binder.
  • Thanks for the kind comments. I'm glad that you got some help from the thread.
    Your SierraWest folder is the only one you'll ever need, Bretts techniques are the best.

  • My other folders deal with rail cars and locomotives, scenery, and the Kansas City Southern. Don't worry, when it comes to craftsman building and weathering, I have all that I need.
  • Great work!

    A couple ways to get a finer grade to granular scenery material including grout, is to sift it through either or a cone paint filter or a piece of panty hose. You can get the cone filters at Sherwin Williams or most paint stores. The panty hose from your girl friend/ wife or Target.
  • Fantastic work!!.
    Two questions.
    Where did you find the wood Axes. Have look everywhere for those type of axes.
    Also, what glue is suggested to glue the foam pieces together as there are many glue types.
    Thanks for any help,
  • Thanks Pappy,

    The axes are SierraWest castings, as are all of the other castings. The axes may be available shortly from Brett as I know he is working through re-releasing the detail parts and updating the website as to what is becoming available, so keep your eyes open on that.

    My method for gluing the foam layers together is described on page one of this thread.

  • Thanks Karl,
    Would have never thought of using Painters Caulk to glue Foam pieces together.
    I will try that method.
    Talked to Brett over the holiday about which foam to use.
    I stated that I had bought 1" thick formular by Owens Corning at Home depot. He said that's what he uses.
    Looking forward for Brett re-releasing not only detail parts but kits sold out as well.
    I have two of his kits so far..Ho scale O'neills Fabrication and Brass & Iron Foundry that I have not started yet due to building many other kits from others to get better and better....Practice...Practice..Practice!

    Again Karl, your detailed builds are beautiful and please keep up the great work!!

  • edited November 2018
    Thanks for the kind words Pappy, you're welcome.
    (Don't forget the toothpicks on random 45s to hold the layers together and solid if you want to work on it right away..)

    My one piece of advice for you, (and anyone else), don't try to use the 'other' kits to 'get better'/'improve'...…. Jump into one of Bretts SierraWest kits first if you want to learn and improve your modeling.

    Grab the dueling shacks (I think they are available, I haven't checked).
    Regardless of which scale you model in you will learn so much from that kit and be able to apply those lessons/methods to anything you decide to build. You wont look back !

    Of course, all of the SierraWest kits are an education in modeling and techniques and improvement, for anyone...... beginner or seasoned.
    From there you will be able to understand and use what you have learned from Brett and apply it to the 'other' kits...… I'm sure at that point you will find that 'you' are improving those 'other' kits rather than them improving you.

    Most of all have fun and enjoy !!!


  • I couldn’t agree more with karl’s Comment about SierraWest kits.... I built another well known brand of kit for many years that I always considered the best there is....and then I began building Brett’s HO Railroad Camp kit....a Sierra West pushed me to try many new techniques....I still have many of the other brand which I will get to but eventually but will be using many techniques I’ve learned from Brett’s manuals and hanging out on this forum
  • I have been working on the Dueling Shacks kit. I have been modeling in HO for many years, and this kit is O Scale, but I have learned quite a bit from this kit that can be applied to any kit in any scale. I agree with Karl that SW kits are the best. They have the best materials and instructions of any kit by far.
  • Thanks Guys for the advice. I just checked and the Dueling Shacks is available. Now to get the wife to buy it for me!
  • Great news Pappy, you're going to enjoy that kit, and learn a lot.
    Keep us posted...


  • Pappy
    Christmas is coming! I order SW kits and my wife gives them to me for Christmas. If they arrive before Christmas, well then I guess Christmas has come early! Working on the Dueling Shacks kit now and it has been a great learning tool and a lot of fun to build.
  • Guys, Christmas came early!!!
    After a little bit of explaining to the wife the details on improving my skills on Dioramas/Weathering/Building..etc.......
    My better half just ordered the Dueling Shack. Will get next week.

    Thanks guys,
    Will keep you posted


  • Ya think if I explained to her my desire to improve my skills she would Order the O scale sawmill kit for me??? ;-))
  • She sounds like a wonderful, understanding and supportive wife Pappy, (and she obviously has good taste) we look forward to following along in your new build thread.

    I'd be happy to order it for you Terry...
    (just pm me your credit card info and you're good to go.... haha)

  • It was a bit of convincing to the wife due to me an HO builder..all good
  • Thanks Karl and All,
    Used to have a HO layout but leaning towards Diorama's due to space. Who knows maybe I'll build another Train layout and add all the Dioramas I have built so far.
    Agree with Karl, Terry my wife said sure..whats your card number?
  • edited December 2018
    You guys are way too sharp fer me ;-))...Just be sure and post progress photos as you work your way thru the kit.
  • karl,

    i’m working on my first kits (the loco shop & donky repair).

    i’ve watched as many diorama videos on youtube as i care to... I also recently bought a diorama book as well in hopes of getting additional guidance....

    I was wondering; why dont you use a clay base? that seems very popular on youtube. is it too brittle to last?

    i have a 12”x57” base and was wanting to do a stream with some rock formations. i did like you mentioned earlier and used two layers of 3/4” foam on a 3/4” playwood base.

    any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
  • Want to bump this up to the top for our newest members to enjoy!
Sign In or Register to comment.