Metcalfe card N

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Metcalfe card N


Post by AviatorAtHeart »

Signal box set. (Bought as present for me)

I thought I’d write a quick review on these kits.
Old hat to many but I’ve never built a card kit before this set. I did consider card, and even though I had not committed to any purchase yet, I had decided to stick with plastic as I am very familiar with plastic aviation kits.
My nephew decided I needed these, bless him.
It turns out he was absolutely correct!

The build;
Some care is needed! You can’t be as firm or forceful as you might with plastic. There are a few score lines that need encouragement to define but nothing is much of a problem to deal with. I was concerned with the staircase before I started building them, no issues that can’t be overcome by patience and thought, the smaller set was built first, they are passable, when building the larger set, I took some extra time to make sure the first and last steps were set and dried before finishing the run starting from the bottom and working up. The larger set went together easier, and looks slightly better.

The kits;
They are great! They are cheap. They go together well and look ok once complete.

I still have the painting phase to tidy up white score lines and exposed card on the exteriors.
The rooftops are still loose as are the access steps this is to make painting easier, though the lamp hut has been completely glued.
The only thing I felt necessary to add was a ridge beam? To hold the gables at the correct width.
In the small signal box I used an off cut of the green card folded into a U beam. For the larger box I used the same card and made an L beam reinforced with a cocktail stick.
This was less of an issue with the large box which I had taken good care in setting weighting panels to dry.
The smaller box was mostly a pegs/fingers and patience affair.

As for tools, I used a cutting mat, scalpel (new blade), metal rule, paintbrush, clothes pegs, tweezers and some tamiya tape for clamps!

And finally pva glue.
I used illbruck WD120 for no reason other than it was the first bottle I saw kicking around. It fully sets relatively quickly and dries clear. All joints were given extra glue after the first set up dried, this increased my build time but I managed to complete the small box in an evening (first ever card building and I had to find stuff, tools etc.)

I found it necessary to lay flat the bigger pieces, these were set with weights (mostly books with a protective layer) to ensure they dried flat. This made a big difference on multilayer panels.

I finished the rest of the set yesterday over the course of a casual day. Somehow I managed to kick the small table over (don’t ask as I still don’t really know how it happened?) both signal boxes flew along with the tools etc.

To my surprise, no damage! It would have been different if the last details were fixed on I’m sure, but that for me is a pass on the durability test.

Great fun and I am getting some more. I really thoroughly enjoyed getting to this point with this kit.
If like me, you were sceptical because of apparent cheapness and the word “card” overlook that!

These are fun, fast and look ok even if you simply build them.
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Large signal box
Large signal box
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Small signal box
Small signal box
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Re: Metcalfe card N


Post by Paul-H »

The do make some nice kits that do build up well.

My only gripe is that in N even though they model to 1:152 instead of the UK N Gauge scale of 1.144 which should mean the buildings are slightly too small, I find their Domestic Buildings, Houses etc to be a little oversize for UK N, their Railway buildings on the other hand appear fine. Even if they are a little on the large size, its not so obvious with the industrial buildings.

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Re: Metcalfe card N


Post by teedoubleudee »

I have praised the Metcalfe card buildings on here before, for their strength and durabilty. Also they are very easy to add internal lighting should you wish to do so. One thing that you might consider to make them look even better is to colour in the corners of buildings and roof edges etc with a matching colour to hide the white card beneath the printed surface. This can be with coloured pens, paint or weathering powder, whatever you have to hand. It only takes a few minutes but makes a much better model.
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Steve M
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Re: Metcalfe card N


Post by Steve M »

I used Metcalfe kits widely on my N gauge layout but after a while I became dissatisfied with the lack of texture that is a feature of many card kits.
Don’t misunderstand my criticism, I think their kits are excellent, but the flat panels became a bit of a turn off for me.
"Not very stable, but incredibly versatile." ;)
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Re: Metcalfe card N


Post by yelrow »

Artex them, steve.
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Re: Metcalfe card N


Post by Bandit Mick »

I replace the roof with ‘strips’ of tiles which gives some definition, followed by weathering. The brick or stone walls do look flat yet some people say that mortar courses in real life look flat from a distance.
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Re: Metcalfe card N


Post by bulleidboy »

I agree they are very good and cheap, and very easily constructed. I added a Redutex roof and ridge tiles to my station, and by adding drain pipes and guttering (where appropriate) can really enhance the kits.
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Re: Metcalfe card N


Post by Walkingthedog »

I had many Metcalfe and Superquick kits. They lived for years on my loft layout and never had any problems. A little detailing goes a long way.
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Little update, paint.


Post by AviatorAtHeart »

Wow! Lots of things to consider from you folks!
I’m having a blast with these.

The next thing on the list, paint.
I painted in the joins using airfix acrylics (the free gift set pots that accumulate over time) except the black which was revells version of the same free gift set pot.

A mix of 60, 62, 64 for the brickwork.
64 and Matt black for the grey/black.
29 from the pot (very very thin) for concrete.
30 for the green.

All mixes were about airbrush consistency and were thinned more for varying opacity. Odd streaks and blotches were added and smudged about with ye olde finger.

I used the same brush for assembly to paint this stage.
Revell Luxus 3.

Cutting in the windows was tedious! In hindsight, I would probably paint these in first but it wasn’t impossible.
What I notice after paint, the brickwork looks great in print, it really comes alive, the slates are a little bright, I may tone these down as I have with the ridge tiles, the timber looks like a line drawing? Though I haven’t painted it yet, it does appear flat.
This has been highlighted by some of you.
I think the brickwork looks convincing, the apparent flatness is only a bug bear in that I can’t retouch bricks with dry brushing.
I doubt in this scale you’d be able to feel the pointing, the timber and tiles would be worth improvement, maybe embossed card would be enough for the slates, though I’ve never seen or felt it. I’m sure I’ve seen interior kits too, certainly the larger box would benefit as it gets a lot of light in those windows! I half wish I’d blacked the room out now but hey ho, it’s done as is.

I found the large box needed reinforcement to the floor and ceiling, hamfistedness or constant handling manipulates the card, the ceiling would probably be ok if I fitted the roof before paint but now I guess it’s built tougher? The building is straight again.
One thing I forgot was the stove pipes.....

Something that annoyed me was after painting the joins, the cut corners although not now white, were still rather odd looking.
Experimental pva filler idea, tedious! But it works.
Apply pva, smooth with damp brush, allow to dry, repeat until filled, enough.....which took several passes to reach this point.
They look better but what a job.
In the near finished photo, I’ve done the huts but not the boxes, you can see the effect of filling.
You could expect similar problems with plastic, I built a brick wall from plastic stock embossed sheet, lining up the bond, and mitres in 1/72 was hard, I think this scale would be at least equally difficult, so I’m happy enough with this.

The plate layers hut roof, I used the piece of paper from the chimney pot print, but the black side, to represent lead roll of felt maybe? I think it looks ok.
If I built this set again I’d probably modify the signal box roof to match, loose the finials and come up to the edge of the roof with “lead” roll.

Not sure what I’m going to do with the timber representation, if anything?

These shots were taken Wednesday morning, before and after fitting the roof on the signal boxes. While these set I turned my attention towards finishing the huts and the remaining details on the roofs of the signal boxes.
Near finished.
Near finished.
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Floor reinforced
Floor reinforced
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Ceiling reinforced
Ceiling reinforced
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Re: lamp hut


Post by AviatorAtHeart »

Painting the lamp hut, after painting the edges with varying degrees of 64 and Matt black mixed and thinned almost all the way to water it was time to add age!

I used a different number 3 (for pigment fixer as it is enamel based)
A number 0 for streaks and a drydrush for powder then stippling rust with paint.
Paints and pigments were life colour series from the rust sets and smoke from the tenso chrome? Set.

I used the same piece of masking tape that formed my assembly jig to aid striping. By the end of the job, the tape was well passed use by date!

I really like my tin shack!

Shot Wednesday at 18:50, I spent the day pva filling and rusting a shed. Oh, I finished the ridge tiles and barge boards on the signal boxes too. Some time wasted finding things as it has been a while since I really made anything and it was a mess then too. (Note dust on paint pots!)

I have since ordered some more kits.
I have the country station building and platform set(s), two stone houses (gardners cottage & grange house) and similar looking tunnel mouth sets also in the post.
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