Saturday, 11 May 2019

Marbelup Models FAQ

Are the 3D-Printed Models Long Lasting?

Because the "Prime Gray" material which is used for most of the 3D-printed parts has only been available for only four or five years, the long term durability and stability of the material is unknown. The manufacturer (3D Systems) claims that the material is "tough" and "durable".   Marbleup Models has 2-year old printed parts which are in perfect condition.

i.Materialise suggest avoiding exposure of models to sunlight or other UV light sources, which can cause discolouration.  The material does soften at temperatures of 47C or above, so also avoid leaving models in hot cars and other places where high temperatures may be experienced.  If interested, you can read more about the Prime Gray material (trade name Xtreme) at or 3D Systems web sites.

Do you sell "Ready to Run" models or complete kits?

No, Marbelup Models DOES NOT offer an assembly service, nor do we offer a complete "kit" of parts.  We just sell the 3D printed parts.  It will be up to the individual modeller to obtain the other parts required to complete the model, and to research prototype plans and photos to ascertain placement of detail parts, colour schemes, etc.

What level of modelling skill is required?

A degree of modelling skill is required to produce a finished model.  Typically, the modeller must remove support structures from the 3D printed parts, assemble the major parts, fit wheels/bogies, couplers, and detail parts, and apply paint and decals.  Online instructions are available for each model with more information on construction and what other parts and materials are required.

Are special paints or glues required for the 3D-printed models

No, normal hobby paints, both enamels and acrylics work fine.  Some modellers have reported that some brands of superglue don't work well with the 3D-printed material.  Selleys Quick Fix Single Shot works well.  It is available in packs of five small tubes from hardware stores.

Why are the models in S scale when HO is more popular?

Since about 1980, railway modellers in Western Australia have been using Sn3½ scale to model the local narrow gauge rail system and there is now an active community of over 50 modellers.  Initially, Sn3½ was chosen because it allowed the use of many HO parts such as wheels, locomotive mechanisms and track.  Sn3½ was and still is popular in New Zealand and many parts can be obtained from there.

The 1:64 scale means that the models are about 30% larger than HO models, giving the correct "narrow gauge" look.  The larger scale also allows more detail to be included in the models as many of the models were and still are made by hand or from basic cast resin kits.

Although HOn3½ has become more popular in recent years, particularly for modelling the Queensland narrow gauge rail system, Sn3½ remains the most popular scale in Western Australia for modellers of WAGR narrow gauge.

From mid-2015 to early 2019, Marbelup Models has produced some models of WAGR/Westrail standard gauge rolling stock in HO scale to allow modellers to obtain some authentic HO scale model to run with the L class diesel locos being produced by both Haskell Co and Southern Rail Models.  The HO scale range is no longer available and no new HO models are being contemplated.

Where can I find more information about modelling Western Australian railways?

The WASn3½ Blog is a good starting point.  It has links to many other sites with relevant prototype and modelling information, photographs, etc.  

The Australian Model Railway Association (AMRA) WA Branch also has an active S Scale Special Interest Group which meets monthly at the AMRA clubrooms in Bayswater, WA.

There is also a "Western Australian Model Railways" group on Facebook.

Where is Marbelup?  Are you based there?

No, Marbelup Models is based in Perth.  Marbelup is a townsite near the south coast of Western Australia about 16 km west of Albany.  It lies at the intersection of the South Coast Highway and the Perth-Albany railway line.  Although designated as a townsite, it never developed into a town so the name remains for the locality.  I chose the name for my Model Railway around 1997 and decided to use the same name in 2013 when I started Marbelup Models.

Why is the date on the Marbelup Models Home Page up to several months in the future?  Is this a mistake?

No.  Blogspot always displays the most recently-changed page when someone "visits" the address.  Manually setting the publication date a couple of months ahead ensures that the Home Page displays by default.