Notes on Detailing with Props – Part 4

1-beforeI like adding little embellishments to things, like the brake wheels discussed in part 3. Looking at the backwoods HLW flat car that I run with my logging consist, I felt that it needed something more. I decided to put hooks on the posts and run a chain along one side.

See Part 3 of this series here.

2-thechainFirst I tackled the hooks to which that I would be attaching the chain. I wanted to add a tiny hook to top of each of the four corner posts on the flat car. For this I use links from the largest chain I have on hand. In this case I have a 10 link per inch (lpi) purchased from my LHS.


3-separatinglinksSeparating one link from the chain requires some tools. For me, I’ve found that two small needle-nosed pliers work great.





A tug and the link opens and can be removed from the chain.





Using the needle-nose pliers the soft metal of the chain link can be reshaped into a hook.




7-inserthookSince the posts are made from basswood which is relatively soft, I’ve found you can just push the end of the hook into the wood. If you are dealing with a harder wood you may need to pre-drill a hole.




The chain I’m using is from some junk jewelry I purchased at a garage sale. It’s very shiny so I painted it with Dark Burnt Umber. Painting makes the chain somewhat inflexible so I just give a quick going over to get some paint stuck to it and finish it after it is in place on whatever I’m installing it on.


9-attachchaintohookEasier to purchase black chain from Ozark Miniatures or your LHS but I’m on a budget.

I slipped one end over the hook in one post.



10-finished-1Attached the other end to the second post and the chain is strung. Some touch up painting and the new prop is complete.




11-finished-2Last step was to add hooks to the remaining posts.





Small things like this have big impact on your models (and thankfully are easy to do and therefore are within my skillset). Let me know how you spiff up your rolling stock with props. -TJ

(Originally posted 11/25/2011, revised 5/11/2012)

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