Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sweet Bridge

111008_cornish_int_IMG_1410_WEB by nevardmedia
111008_cornish_int_IMG_1410_WEB, a photo by nevardmedia on Flickr.

A very kind Mr Sweet mailed me this rather nice bridge casting for the Cornish project last week. I'm sure you'll agree that it is a wonderful piece of work, with nice deep rendering which would be quite tricky to achieve by scratchbuilding.

When it arrived, I expected it to be resin or plaster, but much to my surprise it is fibreglass! The stone being moulded into the gel coat. The joy being that it is very tough and very light - ideal for a portable layout.

The shot above shows it in primer in preparation for dry brushed top coats of various pale greys, beige, browns, creams and so on. Real stone is a fascinating mix of subtle different colours and shades, and certainly nothing like the painting-by-numbers approach often used which feature large blocks of solid colour - that approach suits engines and carriages just fine, but not hacked up materials straight from the ground which will have been exposed to the elements for decades.

I'd be very interested to know more about this stone effect beauty, because fibreglass is not a material we normally associate with toy chuff chuffs, it being more a material of yachts, dingies,  kit-cars and the aeroplane industry.


  1. The detail is moulded in the gel coat? I guess we have to rethink what you can use fiberglass for. Mind you I'm allergic to the dust so I won't be able to use it. But that really is impressive.

  2. IIRC, the scenery of the Ouse Valley Viaduct project is all being done from glassfibre. As you say, ideal for a lightweight layout, and easier to work with than some may think. As for durability, my car is 12 years old and hardly shows a mark on it :-)

  3. Some model boat hulls are made from Gel coat. It's only a resin of sorts and you can do a heck of a lot with that.


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