TTn3 and Shapeways

This is cool. There’s been so much great collaboration between different modellers lately on the development of model railway items and their production using various rapid prototyping technologies. It seems that discussions surrounding this technology always remark on how suitable this technology is for very small quantities of items. Last fall Roy Stevens started creating a beautiful line of Nn3 models based on Rio Grande prototypes and he started uploading them onto Shapeways.com to share with others. He’s been receiving some great feedback and I think we’ll be seeing more. At least I hope so. Just before Christmas he started to release a series of Nn3 passenger cars. They look gorgeous and it was, and remains, very tempting to consider ordering some for my own collection.

I’ve been drawing my way through the PEIR passenger car fleet lately and I’m eager to get some of them started as models. I’m really keen to get rolling on some of the clerestory roofed versions but I have never, ever been able to scratchbuild a decent clerestory roof…and I’ve tried, believe me I’ve tried. When I looked at what was being added to Shapeways I noticed that Roy’s coaches have the roofs as seperate items. I thought I’d ask if maybe he’d consider scaling up a roof to 1/120 and making it available. I know that increasing the size of something really isn’t as simply as just a couple of mouse clicks and I’ve ever so flattered that he was kind enough to respond with just what I asked for.

Check this out, proper narrow gauge roofs for the 1/120 narrow gauge modeller. I’m content with the price and I’ve already ordered my first set of three. I can’t find a way to share a screenshot from the Shapeways website, but click here and you can see the roofs. These should be fantastic. I’ve placed my order and the Shapeways folks have emailed to let me know that they should be in the mail before the end of the month. They only want to use UPS to ship and I can’t begin to politely explain how little I like using UPS. Frankly I’d rather the kind folks at Shapeways just put the roofs in a Ziploc bag and let the tide carry them across the ocean. But that’s a rant for another venue. I’ll relay back how the shipping process goes. On a more positive note I’ve heard very fantastic things about Shapeways themselves so I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished product.

I see Roy has also uploaded a Rio Grande gondola as a TTn3 model. I think I’ll include a set in my next roof order. Check out the gondolas – click here to visit their page.

This is really an exciting time.

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