1/160 Scale 3D Car Design - Removed from Raft

Being on a Budget, I'm Trying Some 3D DIY!

N Gauge Models Are Bloody Expensive!

I am on a budget, but there are so many things you might want to include on your model railway aside from the basic track and trains. Scenery is a big part of the hobby, you are essentially building a whopping great diorama!

Now, when I built military model vignettes and dioramas they didn't get too pricey. I only had a pretty small area to fill after all. Even if I did buy specialist accessories to make the scene look 'realistic' the overall cost wasn't anything to moan about... But, model railways - help! 😖

I am currently in the process of building a little Japanese gas station diorama which will eventually be placed on my railway layout, but part of the model will be the acquisition of a couple of little accessories. Things like vending machines, fuel pumps and - naturally - a car or two.

Looking around the online stores you soon realise that what seem like 'fluff' for your scene are - in fact - quite pricey. This is especially apparent when - as I have - built your main model yourself so can count the cost in pennies!

For example, my beautiful little Oxford Models MGB was £7 and I did find some N Gauge 3D printed vending machine on eBay but these were £4.50 (plus P&P) for just three!

N Gauge Cars
Above: Lovely commercial N Gauge model cars... But at a price!

Now I know this doesn't sound like big sums in isolation, but include this into your layout budget and take into consideration that you will need quite a few of these items - especially cars - and things soon start to tot up pretty darn quickly.  

Do It Yourself!

Then again, how good does a tiny piece of scenery embellishment need to be at this scale?

Take a look at my Oxford MGB - it's a tiny masterpiece, but it's likely that all this beauty and detail will be wasted as it will probably end up in some remote corner of a larger layout! This made me think - can I not make some cheap 'stand in' models for some of these secondary items?

I recently took my Flashforge Adventurer 3 3D FDM printer out of storage and although I am used to printing larger scale models on this - very happily - the idea of tiny N Gauge models (1/148-1/160 scale) gave me trepidations. I knew this small scale would be pushing the limits of what my printer was designed to do. And, in fact, the general consensus is that if you what to do 'miniatures' anywhere near this sort of size that the newer resin 3D printers are the way to go. 😕

But, I don't have a resin printer, I have a FDM printer... So, what can I do with it?

Hold on though, first, I had to design the darn things.....

£D Design for Vending Machine (TinkerCAD)
Above: Little designs for vending machines using TinkerCAD.

Ngauge (1/160) Car 3D Model
Above: A simplified generic hatchback car design!

It seemed sensible to do some judicious simplification and a bit of exaggeration of certain features in my designs as I was cognisant of the fact that at this tiny scale feature will need to be bigger than they should be to remain visible after printing.

Luckily for my 1970s car were very 'boxy' (I should have started with a Volvo 😂) so my generic hatchback design is a bit toyish, but I'm hoping they will look correct once printed.

Likewise, with my vending machines, I've overdone recess features beyond what is 'realistic to scale' in order that they be clearly defined during the print process... All good in theory, but will it actually work in practise???

3D Printing 1/160 Scale Model Car

Well, Blow Me, It Worked!

Now, nobody will be more surprised that I was to see that my little 3D prints actually came out OK! In fact, I'll go as far as to say I was very pleased with them and will be using them (after a little more tinkering).

1/160th Scale Vending Machines - WiP
Above: My vending machine prints, primed and ready to paint!

Yeah, they are a bit ropey - due to the limited resolution of my printer - and require a bit of a clean up. But, for what I set out to achieve - a lower detailed 'place holder' model - they will do nicely. I'll go as far as to say that the vending machines in particular are nearly as good as anything I've seen cast in white metal or 3D printed and put on sale on eBay. So, score!

The car meets my goals and isn't a replacement for commercially available models, but that wasn't the point. Vehicles of this lower resolution and detail will be very useful for filling out the corners of my layout where a pricey commercial model will be wasted.

1/160 Scale 3D Car Design - Printed, Still on Raft
Above: Still on it's print 'raft' but looking 'OK-ish', my little 
hatchback will do nicely once cleaned and painted!

In fact, I'll be using this car print straight away - as is - because I need a vehicle for the inside of my garage where it will only just be visible on the inspection elevation! Job done!

NOW...On with the painting!

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