Modelling On A Shoestring.

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Mountain Goat
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Modelling On A Shoestring.

#1

Post by Mountain Goat » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:57 pm

I am concerned that as the hobby moves on to ever increasing standards of detail with ever increasing prices needed to achieve this, that the prices of modelling have gone beyond the reach of many would be modellers and even some current modellers are thinking twice about buying.
This thread is written to give ideas to help would be modellers (Along with those already in the hobby) in how to build and make a model railway when one does not have a lot of money to spend.
Unless we have a rich friends, most of us with a restrictive income will find that we will need to spend a little, especially to begin with, but wize decisions made on how to make a start will ensure that we can enjoy the hobby without it being a burdonsome expense.

Here are my recommendations that I have personally found to be a good direction to head in. There are other ways so don't worry if my thoughts and ideas don't match your plans.

Consider the possibilities of a freelnce model railway rather then trying to copy a prototype. Why? Well. Freelancing can greatly reduce prices as one can buy bargains (Especially secondhand) and repaint/modify them to develop your own individual little railway company.

Consider using either 00 gauge or preferably 7mm narrow scale. There is a reason for this. As 00 gauge has been and is the most popular gauge to model in and thus will offer the possibility of a bargain, especially on the secondhand market. I realize while I say this that new 00 gauge is often heading into the realms of fantacy in regards to pricing stratergies, but bear me out here one minute. 00 gauge can still be found on the secondhand market at very reasonable to even very little money.
Why 7mm narrow gauge? (Also known as 0-16.5, 0e, 0n30). One of the main reasons is that one can buy cheap 00 gauge locos to use as donor locos to convert into 7mm narrow gauge locos. the chassis and wheels use the same gauge width as 00 gauge so one can take advantage of 00 gauge secondhand bargains. Now read on as here is where 7mm narrow gauge starts to really make sense. Many 00 gauge modellers lo e to use lengthy trains and to do this they want to change their stock to nice metal wheels. This means one can find plastic wheels on the secondhand market at give away prices. Now even if one buys new metal wheels, it still makes sense as if one has a little patience one can start to build a collection of little waggons at very little cost compared to ready made wagons. I can make at least two waggons for the same price of a typical 00 gauge wagon. Usually I can make more. (I make my own couplings from drawing pins (Thumb tacks) which almost halves the cost of making a narrow gauge waggon).

Basic modelling tools are a wize investment. Probably the best of the more expensive investments here is to buy a decent minidrill with accessories. Yes, it does go against the term "Budget" but my Minicraft minidrill is still going and it is around 25 to 30 years old. Most other tools are cheaply purchased like a junior hacksaw, cheap mini files, cheap mini pliers etc. Also to note. With 7mm narrow gauge one can get away with brush painting using exterior metal paint which can double up for other uses. Those mini tins of modelling paint are very expensive, hence savings can be made. I tend to paint locos and coaches in gloss and waggons in matt paints to make them look right. Gloss represents well looked after polished stock and matt represents the ordinary stock.

It would be good if other modellers can give more advice on this thread on hints and tips on how to save money. Go for it!
Here is a pic of one of my 7mm narrow gauge locos built from a little Hornby shunter. It hasn't had buffer couplings fitted yet.
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Enjoying freelance modelling in 7mm narrow gauge Feel free to ask questions relating to the Mountain Goats Waggon & Carriage Works thread.

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GWR
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Re: Modelling On A Shoestring.

#2

Post by GWR » Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:54 pm

Hi Mountain Goat. A really good write up and a valid point. The hobby is becoming increasingly expensive and this is why I stick to oo gauge. With oo gauge you transform and old Hornby loco or wagon into something special and not spend a lot of money.
With tools I tend to pick them up from car boot sales and modelling meets.
I think this is a great thread and I expect other will help bring the discussion along. :D
Kevin Bland.

Mountain Goat
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Re: Modelling On A Shoestring.

#3

Post by Mountain Goat » Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:12 pm

Hi GWR. Thanks.
Enjoying freelance modelling in 7mm narrow gauge Feel free to ask questions relating to the Mountain Goats Waggon & Carriage Works thread.

Bandit Mick
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Re: Modelling On A Shoestring.

#4

Post by Bandit Mick » Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:58 pm

Very good points MG. In many ways, modelling to a budget is a challenge and therefore often pleasurable. I do the usual savings e.g cardboard boxes, beach sand for roads/paths (only a small amount is needed), a piece of dropped coal crushed goes a long way too. I never buy tree armatures or kits - I make my own tree trees by collecting twigs, trimming them and gluing together with superglue gel. Climbing into open builders skips usually reveals timber and especially hardboard for backscenes - it may embarrass my wife but its all money saved and basic recycling. 'I love a bargain me -and I love it even more if its free!'

Mountain Goat
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Re: Modelling On A Shoestring.

#5

Post by Mountain Goat » Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:30 pm

Also, taking things out of skips (Best get permission) allows more room for the ones who've hired the skips to put more in. Also, as builders have to pay to dump things, if they have a lot of old wood they will often be pleased to give it away.
Enjoying freelance modelling in 7mm narrow gauge Feel free to ask questions relating to the Mountain Goats Waggon & Carriage Works thread.

Bandit Mick
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Re: Modelling On A Shoestring.

#6

Post by Bandit Mick » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:09 pm

I forgot - emulsion match pots when 'old' colours are updated or old tins of paint 'borrowed' from the local tip. Matchsticks with single thread wire from old appliances to make fences. Newspaper and/or polystyrene packing for landscapes and wooden coffee stirrers 'liberated' from national chains for all manner of building projects including barrow crossings (top tip - sus out the cameras first or get your son's girlfriend to liberate them - young people drink loads of coffee at these places). What about non-running locos for static displays/dioramas? I'm getting carried away!

glencairn
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Re: Modelling On A Shoestring.

#7

Post by glencairn » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:15 pm

Dry tea makes great ground cover in scenery. -- and you have a cuppa before hand. :lol:

Glencairn
To the world you are someone. To someone you are the world

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GWR
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Re: Modelling On A Shoestring.

#8

Post by GWR » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:30 pm

I like wooden coffee stirrers as you can get them for nowt. Great for building wooden platforms and crossings. ;)
Kevin Bland.

Malcolm 0-6-0
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Re: Modelling On A Shoestring.

#9

Post by Malcolm 0-6-0 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:17 am

I am quite parsimonious when it comes to modelling - if I can scratch build something I will, or update the detail on an older model I will.

footplate1947
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Re: Modelling On A Shoestring.

#10

Post by footplate1947 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:14 am

A fine well written post MG which makes a lot of sense and is also very accurate. Love way you described OO pricing moving into the realms fantasy. Spot on that description I think. illustrated very well by WTDs OO gauge cement wagon at £42.. Ridiculous.
The way prices are going up in the hobby it must turn some folks away thinking things are just too expensive. That does not seem to be a way to encourage people into the hobby.
Your post MG points out that there ways of building a lay out without spending a fortune. Wise words, instead of excuses as to why things are getting expensive that you get from some people when you mention the subject of prices............. :?: ;)
If only there was enough hours in the day..................John

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