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Old 24-02-2017, 05:41 PM   #1
Batrapyr
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Default Metcalfe Kits - A Dummy's Guide

In my role as a dedicated 'newbie' I purchased a Metcalfe kit (Low Relief Terraced Houses) so that I could determine just how ham-fisted I was before I splashed out lots of cash on expensive kits (of buildings, etc.) for my proposed layout.

For those more experienced at model construction and/or scratch -building, what follows will appear to be so basic as not to warrant a thread in this forum. However, I suspect that there are others, like me, who have never constructed a model in their lives to date.

In no particular order, other than the order in which I realised the significance of any particular point.
  1. Don't think that you can get away with a Stanley knife, some Pritt Stick and the dining table as a worksurface.
  2. Get yourself a good craft knife with a blade that a surgeon would be happy with.
  3. You need glue, so use the best that you can buy at your hobby shop. I used 'Roket Card Glue' but other brands are available.
  4. Your partner will be delighted if you used one of those 'self-healing' craft mats. My wife had an 'Ansio Double Sided Self-Healing Cutting Mat', so I borrowed that. Other makes/brands are available and only cost 5 on Amazon.
  5. Read the instructions.
  6. Having done that, read them again.
  7. When working on a particular aspect of the model (e.g. glazing), don't just read the first instruction. Read through the whole lot and see if there are further references. The instructions may not always be as clear and concise as they should be and it can be very easy to glue pieces together incorrectly (okay, I did this).
  8. When gluing, take the minimalist approach. In most cases a pin-head of glue can be spread a long way when using a fine (artist's) paint brush.
  9. The glue will soak into the cardboard and, if you have used too much, it may weaken pieces at the fold. Net result - one piece becomes two! (Yep, I did that too).
  10. Some of the pieces are (deliberately) not laser cut all the way through. Use you craft knife and a metal ruler (on straight lines) to cut through. It may take more than once pass, with the knife. This is better than trying to force the knife all the way through in one go.
  11. Have small clips (that work like bulldog clips) handy. When you have to glue large surfaces together, these clips can be used to ensure that corners don't curl up.
  12. Although the quality of these kits is more than acceptable, don't expect everything to fit 100% perfectly everytime. Be prepared to trim when necessary.
  13. Allow plenty of time to complete the kit. They can't be finished in 5 minutes.
And finally, don't leave a half-completed model anywhere near a Pyrenean Mountain Dog, while you turn away to make a cup of coffee. Fortunately, I caught mine, with her front paws on the breakfast bar (where I was working), just about to grab her prize. I dread to think what a cardboard terraced house would like after spending even a few seconds clamped between the jaws of a 120 lb dog!

My first attempt at kit building isn't finished yet and whilst not 100% perfect, I am happy enough with progress. However, after completing the basic building I am already regretting following the instructions 'to the letter'. I have glued the back on and wished that I hadn't because it is going to make the addition of lighting, in the future, rather more difficult than it should be.
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Old 24-02-2017, 07:15 PM   #2
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Good list of tips Batrapyr. I'm good at instructions too, but you are right, it's also good to try to plan forward.

I only recently got a cutting mat. Yes, they are bloomin' good things. A Stanley type knife goes a long way, particularly with the bigger scenery stuff. And my top tip is the blades dull quickly with cardboard, but you can sharpen them easily with a kitchen knife sharpener
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Old 24-02-2017, 07:16 PM   #3
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Just about to build my first Metcalfe kit, so thanks for this.
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Old 24-02-2017, 07:51 PM   #4
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Some useful tips for a newcomer like myself.
I have a Labrador that will eat anything.
Socks are a current favourite, but I wouldn't put it past her to ingest cardboard, glue and sharp blades.
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Old 24-02-2017, 08:22 PM   #5
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Great tips and something that I will try and adhere to the next time I build one. I start out with all of those tips in my head somewhere and generally ignore or forget each one
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Old 24-02-2017, 09:28 PM   #6
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One thing you forgot(?)Batrapyr, dry fit parts before adding glue. This is not a "dig" at your very helpful list. I have found that putting parts together to see how the "fit" goes, before adding glue has saved the situation on more than one occasion. Also if your thinking of adding lighting to your buildings, work out where the wires are going to go, and punch holes in the card before assembly.
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Old 24-02-2017, 10:03 PM   #7
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By far the best way of gluing Metcalfe kits is to use their Fine Tip Glue Applicators - see http://www.metcalfemodels.com/ultra-...ue-applicators

I use UHU with mine and the kits are very easy to assemble this way. Keep the container topped up with glue - it becomes harder to squeeze glue out if the container drops below about half full.

Just writing this as I wait for some key components to dry!
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Old 25-02-2017, 12:26 AM   #8
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Thanks for the glue reference. On others I incorrectly used Gorilla glue! I also did not leave somewhere to put the lights in . You can add to the tips if the authories use clothes pegs.
Jim.
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Old 25-02-2017, 07:48 AM   #9
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I have not got that far yet with lights but it may pay to darken the interior to prevent the walls dissipating the light. Ie paint black / double up cardboard on walls / black craft paper etc at the build stage.

Rgds
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Old 25-02-2017, 08:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuffchuff View Post
I have not got that far yet with lights but it may pay to darken the interior to prevent the walls dissipating the light. Ie paint black / double up cardboard on walls / black craft paper etc at the build stage.

Rgds
If your going to use lights (LED's) don't glue the roof down......the brightness can be controlled simply with resistors or variable with a few electronic bits.....
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