Monday, September 27, 2010

Another cheap Ogre buildings project

In my seemingly endless pursuit of 1/300 scale (6mm) buildings for my Ogre and Battletech games, I have started yet another project using easily obtained materials.

I had been considering the construction of some "Quonset hut" looking buildings for a while, and during a trip to Lowe's I had an inspiration in the plumbing aisle. There was a display of PVC pipe, pre-cut in 2' lengths.

I picked one up and looked it over and thought "If I sliced this lengthwise and capped the ends, it would look like a Quonset hut/aircraft hangar".

So I bought some.

PVC pipe is sized by the internal diameter (for example, 2"), so the outside diameter is always somewhat larger. I bought three 2' sections in 3 different sizes: 2.5 (2.875")", 3" (3.5"), and 4" (4.5").

 I figure the largest size will be an Ogre factory/garage, since it scales out to be about 112' wide. I have an idea in the back of my head about an Ogre "assembly line" with multiple buildings in line with one another.

After getting them home I had a moment's hesitation about how I was going to cut them lengthwise, a bandsaw seemed like the best option, but I don't own one. Luckily a coworker of mine does have one, and he zipped them all in half for me. I used my power miter saw to chop them off into suitable lengths, and then sanded down the rough edges.

In my materials storage area I had a couple of large plastic sheets that I scrounged from somewhere, they were white and about 4' square and maybe 1/8" thick. I scored a line down one sheet and snapped off a piece for testing.

I knew from some past experiences that PVC pipe can be hard to glue, you can't glue it with epoxy, superglue, PVA, or anything else the average modeler has on his workbench. In plumbing they use a purple glue and a special cleaner to make the joints watertight.

I visited Lowe's again, and discovered they offer a glue for sticking PVC to almost all other plastics. The glue really stinks, be sure to use it in a well-ventilated area, but it stuck my test pieces together so well that the plastic failed before the glue joint.

I cut some appropriately sized rectangles out of the plastic and glued all of the ends on at once, to minimize the number of times I had to open the glue can. I was undecided on doors/windows, whether to cut them out or paint them on, so I left the ends solid for now.

After letting them dry for 24 hours or so, I used my Dremel tool with a cutoff disk to remove most of the excess plastic, then sanded the remainder using the Dremel and some sandpaper. You have to sand slowly to keep the plastic from heating up and melting though. I used some fine sandpaper to go over the pipe surfaces so the primer would hopefully adhere a bit better.

I used a light coat of gray primer to bring out any defects so I could sand them out, then primed them again when I was satisfied with the finish.

The next step will be to work out the door and window options, and then get them painted.

1 comment:

Reinwood99 said...

Another great idea I'll have to try. Thanks.