A Canvas Roof (or Two)

Traditionally, a timber railway carriage roof would be covered in canvas. Chris Ford describes how to model canvas roofs in his book on Modelling Narrow Gauge Railways. I fancied some canvas roofs on my Victorian coaches and I thought I’d use his technique.

Step one is to cut some tissue paper to roughly the same size as the roof.

Place one or two layers of tissue on top of the plastic roof.

Brush a solvent-based plastic cement over the surface. I used Humbrol Liquid Poly simply because that’s what I have in my toolbox. To avoid wrinkles start in the middle and work towards the edges. You will use a lot of solvent, please do this in a well ventilated room or, better still, do it outdoors.

When the solvent dries the tissue paper will be bonded to the plastic roof.

Fold the edges of the tissue on to the underside of the roof. Again, apply lots of solvent to bond the tissue to the plastic.

Let everything dry and you should have a couple of roofs with a textured surface and some reasonably neat edges.

It’s a simple technique and I can’t wait to see what the roofs look like when they’re painted.


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