Model Building and Super Detailing - Detailing Techniques Including 3D Printing

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
David Ashwood
Other Publication Information
Hardback (8.3”x 11.7”), 112 pages with 200 color photographs.
Product / Stock #
Company: Pen & Sword - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Casemate UK - Website: Visit Site
Cover Image

This is the third (of four) in this TrainCraft series. The other volumes are:

  • How to Build a Model Railway
  • Constructing Buildings for Model Railways
  • Euston – A History and Modelling the 1875 Station (available for preorder)

These intensive, informative, and well photographed books are written by David Ashwood (the Vice Charmain) with the Market Deeping MRC (Model Railroad Club), now located in Essendine, near Peterborough, England.

As a plastic scale modeler, I was pleasantly surprised that this is a book focused on model railroads. As most of us modelers are open-minded, I wanted to know what I could learn from another fun hobby I shared as a lad; I was not disappointed.

David Ashwood is a gifted author who is easy to follow, although I had to look a few words and phrases up as he writes in the King’s English. He is engaging, knows a lot about the subject, and best of all, is passionate about his hobby. From the provided book preview sheet is this description,

This book in the railway modelling series drills deeper into the tips and techniques that can be utilised by the modern modeller to produce a detailed and cohesive model railway. Through rich and varied imagery from the Market Deeping club, British and international examples, a number of different styles of scenery are covered. Subject chapters include locations from open country to heavy industry. Background and foreground tricks to draw the eye, that difficult to emulate water feature, and composing your scenes as independent units for later inclusion. Use is made of construction examples as varied as a tube station in OO to a farm in N gauge.

The basics of plastic stock kit building, adapting a model with a detailing kit, as well as scratch build from spare parts are demonstrated. Whilst 3D printing feels an impossible dream for many, practical ownership and operation of both thermal extrusion and resin based 3D printers is covered. With demonstration examples from the very basic, such as taking existing designs and scaling them for your own requirements on thermal extrusion, through to a worked CAD and highly detailed resin printer output.

The overall aim is to stimulate the modeller to commence that tricky project, to produce something that externalises that inner dream whilst providing some of the basics to build up both confidence and skills.

Between the covers of this (9.6”x7.4”) hardback book are 112 pages with 200 color photographs, composed of the following chapters:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Evolution of Detail
  3. Dressing the Stage
  4. Military Matters
  5. Fore- and Background
  6. Water Features: Seas, Rivers and Puddles
  7. Vignettes
  8. Railways Within a Scene
  9. Detailing Rolling Stock
  10. Building Your Own Rolling Stock
  11. Entry-level 3D Printing
  12. 3D Resin Printing
  13. Computer-aided Design

Why we ‘Do’ Model Railways

The book grabs your attention right away in the Introduction as Mr Ashwood describes the events of 17 May 2019 when the Annual Model Railway Show was held in Stamford, Lincolnshire. The show was set up with displays and layouts on Friday night. On Saturday morning it was discovered vandals had destroyed everything (see the accompanying photograph on page 8). Some of the layouts were 25 years’ worth of work were “reduced to matchwood”.

Out of the tragedy, the club was reborn, and donations poured in from around the world once the news was spread. The Market Deeping MRC used the opportunity to build a mini movie set, build more railways, and salvage what they could.Some of the results of which are in this book.

This book is great for model railroaders, beginning modelers, and those who just want a great book to enjoy. Some of the topics are basic for modelers who have been building for a few years, but it is a great refresher. It is also a nice break to enjoy another sub-group’s passion for their hobby. While reading, I learned that the world’s second largest model railway museum is in Greeley, Colorado; it has a 20.5-mile-long HO layout through the Rockies with 300 locomotives and 2,500 freight cars, along with 28,000 trees.

The Building Your Own Rolling Stock chapter has a sub-chapter “To start at the very beginning” which gives a great overview of the basics of modeling tools. The 3D printing chapters focus on filament and resin printers and go through the basics of each. As a modeler who has just purchased a 3D resin printer and yet to plug it in, this is useful information to get me started. The Computer Aided Design (CAD) chapter is also useful on the basics of rendering an object to print.

While this is a fantastic book, there are a few points to note. As mentioned above, this is written in British English, so American readers may scratch their heads from time to time. The subjects are a little basic, but it serves as a great primer for new modelers and a refresher for more experienced modelers. The only other complaint is the transition from Chapter 13 to ‘Why we ‘Do’ Model Railways as the former ends on page 105, the latter begins on page 106 with no transition (it looks like a caption and an afterthought).I had to read it a few times, turning the page, to figure out they were different sections with photos of the MRC displays, and a segway to the fourth book.

The author enjoys his topic and is a good writer.

David Ashwood first visited a model railway show at the Central Hall Westminster in 1974 and has been through many iterations of layout type and scale through the years. At one time being a part time die cast and kits trader at model shows and exhibitions. He is now an active member of the Market Deeping Model Railway Club and Gauge O Guild. He is enjoying a personal model railway renaissance.

I recommend this book for anyone with even a passing interest in model railroads, beginner modelers, or more experienced modelers looking for a change of pace or break from their usual modeling. It is a pleasing book that is worth looking at for the photographs alone.

Profuse thanks to Casemate and IPMS/USA for providing the review sample.


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