WHY DO YOU ONLY USE TOP QUALITY PLYWOOD IN YOUR KITS?
The microscopically textured surface of the plywood used on our kits lends itself to creating a much more realistic finish on models than can be obtained with plastic, card or paper. We only use the best quality plywood in our kits and, as can be seen from the photos of our finished models, the realism is second to none.
It is often said that nothing is better than real wood for modelling wooden parts; - reflecting this, our four bar fencing was recently awarded the "Best laser-cut fence" by Model Rail Magazine (Jan 2015, page 61).
Some kits do use card and paper for some of the parts where a smoother finish is required.
ARE YOUR KITS DIFFICULT TO BUILD?
All Ancorton Models’ kits are straight forward to assemble if you take your time and follow the instructions carefully. All the component parts have been pre-cut by laser and are held on the fret by tiny sections (less than 1 mm long) of uncut wood which are easily cut with modelling knife.
WHAT TOOLS DO I NEED TO BUILD YOUR KITS?
Our kits only require a range of basic modelling tools for assembly. The following list is a good starting point.
1. Any sharp modeling knife.
2. A self-healing cutting mat.
3. A wire glue spreading tool (see elsewhere in FAQ).
4. Fine point tweezers.
5. An Engineers’ square (or similar device) to ensure the parts are aligned at 90 degrees.
6. A good steel straight edge.
7. A magnifying lens and lamp (helpful, not essential).
8. Very fine Wet and Dry paper (or an emery board) to remove any wood fibre from the edges where you have cut through the Tabs on the fret.
9. Various grades of very fine paint brushes (down to OOOOO).
DO YOUR KITS INCLUDE ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS?
All of our kits contain detailed assembly instructions. These are step by step guides and contain colour photographs illustrating the important stages. All of our models are built in-house prior to release in kit form and the instructions are created from the final test assembly to ensure they are as accurate as possible.
WHAT IF I BREAK A PART IN A KIT?
All the wooden parts in our kits are laser cut from high quality, three-layer plywood. This is a strong material and even the very fine parts in some kits (hand rails etc.) are surprisingly strong. However, in the event that a part becomes broken it is a simple task to glue it back together using the gluing techniques described in the FAQ section. Usually this results in a part that is almost as good as new.
WHAT GLUE IS BEST?
Any good quality wood glue can be used. However, construction is MUCH simpler if the chosen glue has a quick “grab” time and sets reasonably quickly. We exclusively use a PVA-type glue called “Allenes’ Quick Dry Tacky glue for our display models. This glue is worth seeking out (available online) and a bottle will cost around £6 and last for ages. This glue will “grab” the parts within a minute or so, but still allows plenty of time for final adjustment of the parts. The parts can be handled with care after about five minutes and full cure takes about 30 minutes.
HOW DO I APPLY THE GLUE?
Glue should always be applied sparingly, just enough to join the parts securely. If excess glue spills out onto the wood or card surface, this will often show on the finished model when it comes to painting. Many of the parts are very fine, so the best way to apply the glue is with a short piece of wire, or a pin. We use a piece of wire that has been glued between two small pieces of cardboard which makes it easier to handle. Do not be tempted to apply glue directly from the bottle as this will always dispense far too much glue. Place a small blob of glue into a plastic container (an old food container is perfect) and then take up small amounts of glue with the wire applicator.
HOW DO I PAINT THE MODELS?
We use two methods, both described below.
Our preferred method is to use acrylic paints (Humbrol, Revel, etc) and a fine paint brush. Apply sparingly with several thin coats to avoid obscuring any etched detail. Matt or Gloss versions are both fine, depending on the finish needed. Sometimes a better top coat can be obtained if you first prime the wood with a thin primer coat (Plastikote Grey Primer, No.1148, in spray form). Detail is then picked out with a 00000 grade paint brush, working under a magnifier!
Enamel paints could also be used, but in our experience, these take a long time to dry.
We also use Woodstain a lot on our display models for both the card and wood components. Any good quality woodstain could be used; - we use a variety of woodstain colours from Chestnut Products called Spirit Stain (available online from Axminster). This method is very easy to use, quick and does not obscure the detail. However, if you want a gloss finish, best to use paint.
CAN I MODIFY YOUR KITS TO FIT MY NEEDS (KIT BASHING)?
It is easy to cut the plywood used in our kits with a sharp modelling knife, so kit bashing is generally very straight forward. Photos of several examples of models made by modifying our kits can be found in the Gallery section of the website (Platform Footbridge, OOST5 and the Cattle Dock, OOCD1).