Jump to content

Recommended Posts

The current issue (May 2021) of Model Rail contains a short article on building a layout baseboard out of cardboard. While I can’t post the article, it does have a link to the Hazel Grove & District Model Railway Society, which experimented with this technique.

 

http://hgdmrs.org.uk/hazel-grove-district-model-railway-society/cardboard-baseboard/

 

While I get this is a proof of concept, I’m not sold on it. I like the idea of building a lightweight baseboard out of junk, but to me, it looks sloppy, especially at the exposed cardboard edges. 
 

What do you think?

Link to post

Well you can make quite nice things from good quality corrugated cardboard that can bee very sturdy. Use to make huge exhibit mock-ups from 1:4 to 1:1 out of corrugated cardboard. It can be very clean and if engineered right very strong. But we used new nice big flat sheets of corrugated cardboard to build from. That being said, I would probably go for foamcore instead of corrugated cardboard for something like a module or mini layout as it would be a bit more sturdy. 
 

Any exposed edges and faces could be faced with wood veneer or matte board to make them clean.

 

if I didn’t have a wood shop I would not hesitate to go this direction as you can really do a lot quickly with a matte knife, good straightedge and some glue with good corrugated cardboard.

 

Corrugated cardboard is great for prototyping things. One of our clubmembers is interested in doing a daring set of Ttrak modules with a large depression hung between tables and it had a number of variables to figure out what would work visually. Took an hour or so to mock it all up with corrugated cardboard and hot glue gun and was great to help him visualize how he wanted to do the scene and the dimensions we needed.

 

cheers

 

jeff

CB08E682-B24F-4FAB-834C-D02A0384C890.jpeg

72622DF7-DAA8-43AB-9B06-4BA03754007E.jpeg

D3E62833-42EE-4D82-9578-64745ED432B2.jpeg

6107B3CF-E4DD-4DD7-B8AB-1E787C536CA2.jpeg

87282E65-039E-4330-AEC7-7B22E157524A.jpeg

  • Like 2
Link to post

If you used foam core for the baseboard, would you use the cheap stuff from the Dollar Store, or something that was higher quality? 
 
How would you prevent warping with foam core and cardboard? How would you brace it?

Link to post

I wouldn’t use the dollar store stuff. I’ve bought a sheet twice just to experiment with it and it’s warped really fast both times before I got to playing with it. Also the foam core was much softer than regular foam core. Yes you could make it work, but like using a beat up cardboard box you are starting out behind the eight ball some, but if funds are really short!

 

bracing is done with strips glued perpendicular to the big flat surfaces that attach to the sides. For larger areas I use to make a grid out of strips using interlocking cross half lap joints (think the cardboard matrix insert in a case of wine). You cut a small slot halfway thru the strips to allow two strips to interlock perpendicularly. They are a little tedious to cut but not hard. It creates a waffle support that is really structurally solid, why it’s used in parking garage floors and floors that need to carry heavy weights, but don’t want to get super heavy themselves getting thick, waffle/cell design does this well.

 

http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/images/crossededgehalflap.jpg

 

another trick you can do with corrugated cardboard is to cut thru most of the board but not the bottom face layer of cardboard, then you can bend making an attached joint. Use to deign the boxy elements of exhibit models like this to sort of fold up. you can run a bead of hot glue along the L formed by a fold like this and it really makes the corner strong. Fillets of hot glue on the inside of butt joints also really strengthens the joint and overall stiffness.
 

Paper tape (basically craft paper that is the same as the cardboard with moisture activated glue in one side) is also a trick to assemble cardboard stuff as it can hide edges and if the tape is well matched in color it really does disappear well and keeps the eye of joint issues well. If applied evenly and aligned well it almost looks like an on purpose detail and if applied well it’s really strong. Folks would end up leaning on 1:1 models putting a lot of their weight on them as they sort of forgot they were made out of corrugated cardboard and looked like more solid wood.

 

one day mr Packard (of hp) was leaning forward weight on one cardboard piece looking at another and I was locked up for a little bit, do I go over and tell him not to lean on cardboard (not the sort of guy a 17 year old kid tells what to do) or not say anything and risk it collapsing and him on the floor! After a few seconds of back and forth in my head I walked over and just said “isn’t it amazing how strong corrugated cardboard can be when you brace it properly!” Was great as avoided me telling him what to do and he was an engineer thru and thru and use to love coming over every time he was in to look at what I was building. Always asking why I was making things this way or that or using this material or that and always got the grunt of approval (man of very few words or back slapping praise) when I would explain my thinking. It made me really lock in the loop of thinking things thru well as I loved those grunts of approval from him.

 

jeff

  • Like 1
Link to post

Thanks! I’m looking at building sone sort of micro layout this summer (I ordered one of those cheap, basic Kato sets) and this will be something I will consider.

Link to post

if you dont have access to some woodworking tools, its an option. you can look at getting some wood veneer tape (they have PSA backed stuff) to put on the exposed edges. adding some extra bracing underneight helps. biggest issue is moisture from scenery stuff. you could prevent this by laying down a thin piece of 020 styrene on the top. all this stuff stays within what you can do with a matte knife and a straight edge!

 

experiment some, corrugated cardboard is cheap or free! hot glue gun is a good friend for rapid assembly.

 

another trick is you can do butt joints with PVA glue on the joint and then just do some fillet tacks of hot glue on the backside corner to hold things in place while the PVA glue dries. you can start at one corner tack and once harndened do the next tack and go down the piece like this if you need to straighten the piece a little down the joint.

 

Play! its fun. 

 

cheers,

 

jeff

 

ps also might look at this topic. there are wood canvases available that make nice ready made modules that can be like $10 ea or so.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, cteno4 said:

if you dont have access to some woodworking tools, its an option. you can look at getting some wood veneer tape (they have PSA backed stuff) to put on the exposed edges. adding some extra bracing underneight helps. biggest issue is moisture from scenery stuff. you could prevent this by laying down a thin piece of 020 styrene on the top. all this stuff stays within what you can do with a matte knife and a straight edge!

 

experiment some, corrugated cardboard is cheap or free! hot glue gun is a good friend for rapid assembly.

 

another trick is you can do butt joints with PVA glue on the joint and then just do some fillet tacks of hot glue on the backside corner to hold things in place while the PVA glue dries. you can start at one corner tack and once harndened do the next tack and go down the piece like this if you need to straighten the piece a little down the joint.

 

Play! its fun. 

 

cheers,

 

jeff

 

ps also might look at this topic. there are wood canvases available that make nice ready made modules that can be like $10 ea or so.

 

 

I’m debating whether to build something modular or in an Iain Rice cameo type of box. Both approaches have their advantages. Putting a layout in a self-contained box would help protect it in storage and with dust. I live in a poorly insulated house on the high plains of Colorado where the wind blows and dust is an issue.

 

I also like the idea of approaching the layout like a box diorama.

Edited by Szdfan
Link to post

Corrugated cardboard is well suited to make dust cover boxes for what ever you do for modules. Doesn’t matter if the pucker a little just build a simple box that can go over the module and a few little stops to keep the module from traveling too far into the box. You can even make an upside down lid you can plop the module in (few little stops on the lid to center and hold the module from sliding) and then fit the dust box over it.

 

ive never been a fan of box dioramas. It’s a big thing in the art world, but something just really throws me with the large box around it and limiting views. I get the art desire to frame the diorama and you can also control lighting and viewing angles, but the box always ends up really distracting my eye. I like being able to view from all angles and even individual modules just sit there as nice little displays. It just becomes more alive, probably why I don’t like sky boards on Ttrak as unless done spectacularly well they really can distract from the scene and just drag the viewer’s impression way down below what the scene quality is.
 

I guess it’s all the time with exhibits where we go thru a lot of pains to make case work and such disappear as much as possible do the artifacts and content are the thing that the eye and mind totally focus on. Why we use natural finished wood when ever possible as it’s the easiest for the eye to just accept and move on, painting it or metal just hangs the eye. 
 

might look at the wood canvases for modules, simple and all done for you except finishing the edges, but that’s just a bit of stain/oil, done.

 

jeff

  • Like 1
Link to post

I’m going to have to experiment with what I like and what is feasible for me. I’ve been cursed with too much reading and not enough modeling — along with Iain Rice, I’ve also been heavily influenced by Shep Paine. What I like about box dioramas is the sense of a self-contained world, which helps with my suspension of disbelief.

 

One of the elementary schools I attended in suburban Chicago featured a box diorama in one of its hallways of the “Pioneer” — the first locomotive in Illinois. As a kid, that diorama was magical and special for me and I’d love to recapture that feel.

Link to post

Yes I love dioramas for the same reason, they are their own little world. It’s just the box, for me, does a hard “this world ends here” that is jarring to my mind’s eye. Without the walls my mind’s eye stays on the scene more and kind of just lets me blur the rest of the world out without any hard walls to run into. Why I like Ttrak when done well as a concentrated little scene can really keep the eye focused in and not wandering off so frames, walls, and sky boards then are not needed. Artificial walls around an outdoor rr scene just also do an odd flip that this is not interior scene to my mind’s eye, and thus a model and scene illusion is ruined.
 

Again my exhibit background just reinforces this for me as there is was all about the casework disappearing (and we would fight to not even have them when we could).

 

Shep Paine is a master at having the walls of the box be part of the scene! Even outside scenes he has ways of creating scenery fade outs that become the walls to hide the box, a true artist with the eye! But many model train scenes can’t do this as usually outdoor scenes and fading out the scenes with the walls is really tough to do. Why I hate ttrak skyboards as I’ve seen only a handful done decently all all the rest have usually really ruined the scene on the modules.

 

I have some miniaturist friends that do 1/144 miniatures and these discussions always come up! 

 

cheers

 

jeff

Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...