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Modeling Corrugated Metal Roofing and Siding

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Modeling Corrugated Roofing and Siding
metal siding

A styrene master can produce several different styles of corrugated metal siding for models using aluminum foil and a fingernail.

©2012 Ryan C Kunkle, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Corrugated metal roofing and siding is common on industrial and storage buildings. It is relatively inexpensive and durable, although not necessarily the best insulator of heat or noise. It is also a great choice for modelers who enjoy creating a run-down weathered look for a building.

This project can be completed with just a few basic materials:

  • Molded styrene sheets
  • Aluminum foil
  • Spray paint (gray)
  • Weathering Chalks

Only basic tools are required. A hobby knife, sand paper, glue and a paint brush. The weathering and detailing techniques shown here will work on plastic kits as well. You can make a custom roof or wall for any building for just a few dollars and a few minutes.

Getting Started

There are many commercial styrene sheets molded to resemble different types of corrugated and other siding. The roof shown here for this project came from a left-over scrap from a scratchbuilt coal unloading shed.

Begin by cutting the sheet to size. Cutting and gluing styrene is easy. After cutting to size, sand the edges for a smooth cut. For larger roofs, multiple panels can be joined by adding a splice in the back and gluing with styrene cement.

For a thinner profile, you can sand down the back of the sheet. For a roof like this, you only need to sand the edges. This will produce a scale profile at the edges but preserve the strength of the sheet in the center. A powered sander makes this work go much faster. By using a heavy grit and high speed, not only were the edges of this roof thinned, enough heat was created to add a few extra ripples and bows to the interior of the roof as well. This extra touch really helps eliminate the "plastic" look and errors will be easy to cover up with patches if necessary.

Creating Patches

Patches are a common feature on older metal roofs. The patches are often additional metal sheets, sometimes with different corrugation patterns which create a patchwork look on the roof.

These newer panels can be made by using the styrene sheet as a master. Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on top of the styrene and use your fingernail to press the foil into the corrugations. For more variety, skip a few ridges and create different patterns.

A single scrap of styrene can provide an unlimited supply of foil panels. In fact, you could build a building using conventional styrene, gatorboard, or balsa wood and line it with these panels for a low-cost but high-impact structure. The panels also make a great addition to scrap yards or loads. The thin foil is easy to bend into any shape, making great scrap.

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