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4mm slate roofing

Posted by Mikkel , in The Depot, Construction 07 November 2011 · 4,047 views

Depot buildings
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[above] I've been looking at options for modelling the slate roof on the goods depot at Farthing. For what it's worth, here's a quick overview of the options considered. Above is one way of doing it: Lengths of thin card strips scribed vertically, and overlaid. I think this can give good results - in 4mm at least.



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[above] But thin card also has its drawbacks! I recently noticed that the roof on the parcels office at Farthing has buckled. Either the glue has simply let go, or it was caused by a repaint I did a while back. Using the same method but with plasticard might have been better, as convincingly demonstrated in this blog entryby 45584 (albeit in Gauge 1!).



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[above] An alternative to scribing things yourself are these "ready-scribed" slate sheets from Slaters (ref no. 0427). The idea (I think!) is that you cut out each length and overlay them.



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[above] I may have failed to grasp the concept here, but my experiments with the Slater's sheets suggest a significant overscale thickness of the slates (according to the Slaters catalogue, the plasticard thickness is 0.015'). Or have I misunderstood something? Until someone tells me differently, I've decided not to continue down this road.



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[above] A third main option is of course the ready-to-fit embossed sheets, available in various guises. There seems to be two main types here: Those that are printed "flat", and those where the slates actually appear to "overlap". The flat-printed ones can sometimes work well: This roof on a (rather careworn) Coopercraft platelayer's hut gives a reasonable representation, I think.



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[above] However, the Wills slate sheets seem to me the best of the ready-embossed solutions I've seen yet. The shingles actually give the impression of overlapping....



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[above] ...and they have an ever so slight irregularity that can be further accentuated during painting and weathering, as on the right.



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[above] But of course, nothing is perfect. One well-known issue with the Wills sheets is their limited size, which means several have to be joined for larger rooves...



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[above] ....and another issue is their thickness. I don't think the individual shingles look overly thick, but at the edges it becomes more of a problem, as seen on this canopy on the goods depot.

Nevertheless, so far I think I'll go ahead with the Wills sheets as the preferred choice. There is also the option of cutting individual shingles of course, but I don't think I have the stomach for that right now...
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Mikkel.That canopy roof using the Wills sheets looks superb to my eyes and I could live with those edges myself.
york models do some nice sticky backed slates
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Western Stalwart
Nov 07 2011 19:34
I agree with nigelb. I bought some of their slate sheets at the scaleforum. Again though lifting problems may occour. Also have you looked at scalescenes buy and print papers?
I think the flat version on the hut looks good despite the lack of overlap, the painting and weathering have disguised the lack of that.
As for the Wills sheets could you not bevel the exposed edge to reduce the effect.
BTW whatever method you use your modelling skills will make the result look tremendous.
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brightspark
Nov 07 2011 20:19
I have used Wills sheets. I feather the edge by thinning it on the underside at the edge that can be seen.
Yes there is a problem with the short lengths but, with a little care, they can be spliced together.
Hi Mikkel

On one of the only two buildings I have ever attempted (a canalside warehouse based on one on Bude canal), I used watercolour paper cut into individual tiles and coloured individually. It worked well, I think. No photos... it was a Gloucester Model Railway Club layout - Emford (guess the gauge!) before the digital dawn. Of course, being Cornish, the slate was Delabole, and therefore slightly green. The good thing about individual slates is that you can replicate the changes in size sometimes seen on older buildings.

I used Wills tiles on the other building (shed offices and signing on room for Brinkley, the layout of the Glevum Group of the Scalefour Society - fine folk!). You're right when you say the drawback with these is their limitation of sheet size. I did try to marry two sheets together by thinning the backs of the matching edges with a chamfer, but never quite managed to lose the join. The other drawback - to my mind - (and also one of the reasons I don't like horizontal strips of tiles) is their uniformity.
Lots of good advice, many thanks gents!  I haven’t tried the paper based options from York Modelmaking, but it seems a real bonus that they allow for different styles and even provide ridge tiles [download catalogue]. The grey Scalescenes tiles look very slate-like (problem is I don’t have access to a good colour printer at the moment). Jan, I can definetely see the point about individual paper tiles. I guess they also solve the problem of lifting as individual tiles wouldn’t do that?

On balance I’ll see how the Wills sheets turn out. One advantage of the current project is that the skylights will take up much of the roof surface. This means there will not be a large uniform expanse, and I hope this can help hide/divert attention from the joined up Wills sheets. Splicing the sheets and bevelling the edges is a challenge though – there’s something about the Wills sheets that does not take well to filing and cutting. But I suppose their strength is also their advantage in other respects.
I gave up using slaters embossed sheets quite a while ago, I wasn't very happy with the embossing and felt that not only were the edges between slates not sharp enough but thickness was a problem.

Over the years I've tried several methods from individual cut card slates (made from my old collection of train postcards), to sheets of slates made from card with the gaps between the slates cut by hand (both very labour intensive and likely to result in me losing the will to live before finishing the roof.

I tend to use the wills slates now but of course it is almost impossible to succesfull hide the joion in the slates and so on a bigger roof were a join was unavoidable I tried to line it up with a chimney breast so at least the area of the join was minimised.

Another method I've tried with I think some success is using the Greenscene sheets that are intended for planking. Theses come in a variety of plank widths and are very sharply incised. I cut them into 5mm strips and overlay them on the roof. There are still over thick - but I don't think as overthick as slaters embossed plasticard. I also take the view that often if you go for a near scale thickness it becomes very difficult to see the individual slates and I do like to see that. I think its a case of the model looking right rather than being right.

Great models by the way

Jan, I can definetely see the point about individual paper tiles. I guess they also solve the problem of lifting as individual tiles wouldn’t do that?


Hi Mikkel,

Yes.. it' my experience that individual tiles follow the lumps and bumps of the roof. They can also be rendered 'off kilter' (as long as its not overdone) to replicate the odd one or two that are maybe threatening to slip their bonds on an older roof.

On balance I’ll see how the Wills sheets turn out. One advantage of the current project is that the skylights will take up much of the roof surface. This means there will not be a large uniform expanse, and I hope this can help hide/divert attention from the joined up Wills sheets. Splicing the sheets and bevelling the edges is a challenge though – there’s something about the Wills sheets that does not take well to filing and cutting. But I suppose their strength is also their advantage in other respects.


You know, this might seem a bit 'out there' for this, but I but-jointed a number of Wills brick sheets together with reasonable success by paring down the edge at 45 degrees using a HSS 45 degree lathe tool (12mm square stock). I found it easier than keeping my file at the correct angle across the whole width of the sheet. Of course, it helps if you just happen to have one of these lying around, but I place it here as an idea to encourage you in the continuance of your excellent work.
Mikkel, hi

Good to see you posting again.

This really is an excellent and informative read. Although 4mm isn't my first choice scale, there are some great techniques and examples demonstrated here, with some excellent modelling.

Thanks for sharing this and look forward to see the individual shingles ;)
Very interesting to hear these experiences. Rovex, I assume this building uses the Wills sheets? Very impressive! http://www.rmweb.co....himneys-galore/

Glad to hear I hadn't misunderstood the Slaters concept. I have some of those Greenscenes sheets somewhere. Will try out that and the individual shingles on the next building (a stable block I think).

On the depot, I'll try paring down the edges of the Wills sheets with a file and see how that works out - but thanks for the tip on the lathe tool and the individual shingles, Jan. I suppose an additional benefit is that you can colour them individually beforehand.

Pete: Thanks, but we can't allow you to linger here - you have 5 layouts to finish :lol:

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