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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Tips For Scenery On Your Layout or Diorama

     Have you ever wondered how modellers of dioramas and railroad layouts get nice clean, carved lakes, water bodies and cool mountain scenery?  How its done without the heavy hassle of wood and plaster?
     The trick is to making your project lighter, easier and more fun to work with is the Insulating Styrofoam. You know the dense stuff that comes in Pink or Blue. Its easy to get from home improvement stores or somewhere that sells construction supplies. The foam usually comes in 4' x 8' sheets and doesn't flake away or create a huge mess like the pellet white Styrofoam can.

     Using a knife, hot wire foam cutter or other creative tools you can carve into it, cut it, and paint it (with acrylics). To create water bodies outline the area with a pencil line gently pressed into the foam (you can change or adjust it as needed). When you have the area lined out, carve it out with varying depths for realism. Make sure you seal the bottom with an acrylic sealer or a layer or two of white glue.

     The pink Styrofoam is very rigid and I have found it's also very easy to stack to make very realistic looking mountains, just stack, glue and carve. You can add small areas of hydrocal rock faces for extra effect and little added weight.

     So, the next time your stuck in a construction related traffic jam, don't get to frustrated you can spend the time looking around for bits of discarded foam and thinking of that new idea to add that extra fantastic look to your next project.

~ submitted by Jesse Millington

(This article is by one of our staff. He has had experience with model building, model railroading and collecting. This article is his opinion. There are many different ways to make and design water and if you have any tips you would like to share or an article you think our readers would enjoy, we invite you to share it in the comments on this blog, on our Facebook ( or on our website ( Thank you for following our blog Chinook Hobby Talk.)

Friday, 25 May 2012

I was on this morning checking out the latest news and found out that today is the 35th anniversary of Star Wars! Wow it sure doesn't seem that long ago. I remember I lived in Fort McMurray when Star Wars came out in theatres. My dad was going to take me, I was 5, and always drawing space ships. Then my mom went into labour with my youngest brother. The next time I was able to see that movie in the theatres I was... ahem... much older...

Now I am able to share the Star Wars Universe with my whole family! Yep, my husband and kids (age 6 & 9) are all into Star Wars and in different degrees. I enjoy the books and the movies and I'm pretty good at knowing most of the little known characters and have a greater knowledge of the popular ones. My husband was obsessed with the traditional trilogy (episodes 4, 5, & 6) to the point that he knows the alien languages and you can mute any of these movies at any time, and he will continue the dialog so when you unmute he is in sync with the movie. My 9 year old knows all the characters and loves to design and set up custom figures, envirnments and dioramas to act out different scenes. (ever see 50 battle droids lined up in formation on your living room floor?) My 6 year old chooses figures based on their colours and species and makes up scenes.

My husband loves to use his toys to make store displays mainly at the South store. Check out our Facebook page for his Hoth Battle last year for some great pictures! Our North store has a life size R2D2 that both little and big kids love to see.

Star Wars has got to be the best movie series to suck in so many generations and share so many memories.

For more great sources for Star Wars check out , and please share your favourite sites!

What is your first Star Wars memory? We would love to hear your stories!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Airbrush Terms

Hi all; Sorry Monday was supposed to be Trains, and the schedule got 'derailed'. Will do better, promise. So we are going to go right to Wednesday: Models. (Although today's post can be used for trains too)

Today as per our website, we are talking about Airbrush Terms. On our site we shared the difference between Single Action and Dual Action airbrushes. See our Hobby Talk page on our website if you haven't read it.

The MIX regarding airbrushes, refers to the way air and paint come together or 'atomize' while airbrushing. Airbrushes spray a series of dots (atomised material).
External Mix - air and paint mix outside the airbrush resulting in a coarse round spray pattern. This is preferred for larger surface coverage and volume spray applications.
Internal Mix - air and paint mix inside the airbrush creating a precisely atomised 'fine dot' spray pattern. This is preferred for precision finishing needs, like colour graduation, shading and fine lines.

The FEED refers to the place of entry and manner the paint enters the airbrush.
Bottom Feed - the paint enters through a syphon tube or colour cup attached to the bottom of the airbrush. This type of airbrush should have at least 18 PSI while spraying to operate properly.  This is best used for general purpose. It uses the paint without having to frequently fill the cup.  It also allows the artist to work at a faster pace when desired.
Gravity Feed - the paint enters at the top of the airbrush through a tip mounted colour reservoir.  Gravity draws the material in to airbrush.  This airbrush can be operated a as low as 8 PSI.  This one allows the artist to slow down as gravity pulls the paint into the airbrush to improve the control of the airbrush.  This makes it easier to do finer detail work as the finishing process can be done at a more deliberate pace.  This is best for detail airbrushing.
Side Feed - the paint enters at the side of the airbrush through a side attached colour cup. This airbrush operates best at about 12 PSI.  The swivel side cup allows more flexibility for airbrushing if difficult to reach areas or on contoured pieces.  This is great for detail work because the side feed cup eliminates any sight line obstruction to the needle tip when doing 'close in' intricate detailing.
Dual Feed - this airbrush can be used as either gravity feed or bottom feed depending on your varying application needs. This type of airbrush is exclusive to Badger Air-Brush Co.

PSI - Pressure per square inch, the measurement of the level of air pressure.

Nozzle Sizes - There are so many choices for spraying and each has some effect on the line an airbrush produces. Nozzle sizes (Fine, Medium, Heavy or 1, 3 and 5) refer more to the paint sprayed through the airbrush than the fineness of line produced.  The fineness of the line is determined by many factors - nozzle size, needle's linear air flow angel, pigment ratio of paint, pigment size, operating pressure, etc.  NOTE: you must have the correct nozzle/needle size with the right paint for optimum airbrush performance.

Fine/1: sprays thin, low viscosity inks, water colours, dyes, stains, etc.
Medium/3: The most popular; sprays airbrush ready paints, properly thinned acrylics, lacquers, enamels and special applications such as tanning solutions, body paints, food airbrushing colours, etc.
Heavy/5: Best for heavily pigmented and high viscosity mediums such as glazes, gesso, latex and varnish.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Lots of Changes

Wow! Everyone has so much on their plate these days. Errands, getting kids from school, work, dealing with renos.... the list goes on.

What about your downtime? Your Sanity (temporary as it may be - ha ha). It is so important to have a hobby, especially in today's busy world. Better yet, to share that hobby with your family. Building a model railroad layout together, putting together a model kit and then designing a diorama to display that model, perhaps Rocketry. Come down to either of our stores and we can help you find a hobby (even if we may not sell it).

Changing the subject slightly.... we have a NEW WEBSITE! Please check out and let us know what you think. Visit the Collectors Club page so you can get updates on what's happening in your favourite hobby, contests, and more.

Our Facebook link is
We are also on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Tumblr. Check out our websites Hobby Talk page for links to all of these. Please email Valerie if you would like to add a blogpost and we will give you credit.

We have a new logo to go with our new look. Our North Store (2604 - 4th St. NW has the completed look). We would love your opinion on how we are doing, so please email and share with us!

We are also going to have a regular blog. Mondays - Trains, Wednesdays - Models, Fridays - Toys and Collectibles. Feel free to contribute.

I hope you have a great day and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Our Diecast Dept. has Cars and Airplanes

Check out our Toys!

Our signature G scale train runs in both stores

Part of our Model Railroading Dept.