Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Bendy Bits

One of the challenges of modelling in stryene is representing the bendy bits. The material has a natural spring and will resist being formed into a curve. (That's until you glue it, of course, when something you need to stay straight will inevitably warp into the shape of a banana!)

The challenge in question this time is the hinges on the doors of the ex-SAR DZ wagons which are bent 90 degrees at the top.

Plan A was to try and make a piece of 20" x 40" thou strip take on a curved shape. This is easy if you're bending the wider, flat side of the rectangle, but much trickier the other way when the plastic is a lot thicker, less pliable and quite brittle.

The usual trick is to heat your piece over the spout of a boiling kettle to soften the styene, bend it and then let it cool. That wasn't practicable with such a small item, so instead I tried dipping it in hot water. It wasn't a complete success. The styene didn't really get soft enough and it would take the bend to about 70 degrees but a facture opened up and it would snap as I tried to pull it towards the full 90.

So I hit on Plan B, which was to use stryene that's already formed into a circle. I cut thin slivers off a piece of tube, file them down to about "20 thickness, then cut into quarter segments. I glued the quarters on the wagon door to represent the bendy bit at the top of the hinge, and then placed a short piece of straight strip below it. If you get them spot on you can hardly see the join.

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