Hazel Mine Tipple - Construction: External Sheathing
10/09/2020
I had previously saved six sheets of some sort of tin material, corrugated perfectly for S-scale. I had set them aside for this project. However, when I cut them to the scale 4'x8' sheets for the individual application to the exterior of the structure, their edges curled quite a bit. At the time I didn't think much of it, but it turned out to be a real pain to try to flatten them out again. I was unable to do so. So, I have decided to go back to my default standard for S-scale corrugated metal sheets, and that is "heavy-duty" aluminum foil, which I get at the grocery store. This photo shows the tools I use to prepare and attach the aluminum foil corrugated metal sheets.
Hazel Mine Tipple
To start this project, I made a simple jig with two pieces of strip wood glued to a piece of plywood. I made sure that they are exactly 90-degrees to each other. The long edge is 8-1/2' and the short one is 4-1/2'. I then used a knife to cut two grooves into the plywood for the opposite edges. I can then place a section of aluminum foil into this jig, and use a toothpick to gently press the grooves into the foil. This then allows me to cut, with a razor blade, along the grooves in the foil to create the rectangular shape. I use the metal square to make that cut. Cutting the foil requires a sharp blade to keep it from ripping the foil. I do two passes; the first one is very light, and the final one makes the separation. That seems to work reliably.
Hazel Mine Tipple
The black/dark-gray parts in the photo are the two dies that shape the foil to have the S-scale corrugations. They were made by Tom Fassett, who sold them in various scales. Unfortunately, Tom passed away several years ago, but you might be able to find similar ones on the Web.
Hazel Mine Tipple
So, when I have cut a piece of foil, I put it in the die jig, and then gently slide the two parts over each other. To get the corrugations to be vertical, you will want to try to get the sheet to be as square in the jig as possible. It does still shift from time to time. No worry, just re-position it, and try it again. Usually the foil will re-shape itself just fine. Note also that sometimes the foil will tear a bit at an end. I'm not too worried about that, because it makes the individual sheets appear to be aged a bit. The building is about 24 years old in the time period I model, so I would imagine that some of the sheets have taken a beating, or have been replaced over time.
Hazel Mine Tipple
These are the results of using that die jig. Their width is just a bit over 4 scale feet, so that they can be overlapped. Similarly, the extra length allows me to overlap the top/bottom of the sheets.
Hazel Mine Tipple
Here are the first set of sheets attached to the building. I am using Aleene's Tacky glue to attach the foil sheets to the plywood sub-frame. I place the sheet in the position that I want, and then put a pencil mark on the plywood to indicate to where the glue should be spread. I then use a small, stiff paint brush to apply the glue to the plywood and to the surrounding sheets where the new one will overlap the existing ones. Next, I place the new sheet in its position, and then lightly use my finger to tap it into the glue. Sometimes the foil will pop up again at a corner, so I just keep working on at it until it sticks. Be careful about not getting glue on your finger, otherwise you'll make glue "finger prints" all over the foil.
Hazel Mine Tipple
I thought this view was quite nice as it clearly shows the scale size of the thickness of the aluminum foil. The corrugations look very real.
Hazel Mine Tipple
Another week's worth of progress. There are four rows worth of sheets. I staggered them, once I got started, so that I can place one sheet at each row. This is because I only want to work in the areas where the previous sheets are firmly in place to avoid moving them. In reality, I usually only do four sheets per day, with 8 sheets on weekend days. It takes a while to prepare the sheets, and then the gluing and installation can be a bit stressful. Also, I have to work around the windows and deal with smaller sections above the windows, so that all takes time. To keep it fun, I limit myself to just doing 4 or 8 sheets per day, i.e. one or two per row. This will take some time, but, after all, it is supposed to be a hobby.
Hazel Mine Tipple
I carefully marked on the white styrene where the holes were under the foil sheets for where the two chimneys are to be placed in the roof. I used an awl to carefully poke the holes through the foil (after the glue had thoroughly dried). When the sheathing is finished, I'll need to enlarge these holes for the final chimneys. Total sheets installed so far: 33.
Hazel Mine Tipple