Sunday, October 25, 2009

My way to make a tarp

I was asked by shelton on how I did a tarp for my E wagon and I thought why not share it for all to see and have ago if you wish.
I built a couple of AMK engineering E wagon kits that are availible from Vic Hobby Centre in swanston street melbourne that need a tarp to complete them. After searching all over the forums and having a million ideas trown at me I thought about a model plane I built as a kid and wondered if you could still get the tissue paper and dope to skin the plane. Off to the local hobby shop and asked the question and hey presto they had it in stock. I purchased a metre and a can of dope and returned home. Then it was back on the net to find the size of the tarps. I did have it written down some where but I seamed to have missed placed that for now so I will continue. Whilst I was at the hobby shop I got a single peice of balsa which was about 2 mm thick 100mm wide and about a metre long.
First thing to do is work out the height of the support arm at the end of the wagon and I found that answer on a recently purchased ELX wagon from powerline. Once I had determined the height I made a former for the wagon as the next photo shows

Once the former had been fitted I cut out the tissue paper to suit the wagon. I honestly cannot find those dimensions so what i suggest is measure from the highest point of the rib to where you want the tarp to finish. I would also suggest to over lap the two tarps as you must keep in mind these tarps were made a standard size which fitted the GY's and other similar four wheeler's.
Once your happy with the size draw a line down the middle of the tarp to align it to the rib. Glue the tissue to the rib first then once the glue has dried begin on the sides. If you use super glue be careful as the wagon can become part of your finger in no time.

Once your happy with the side you can finish of on the ends. All the photo's I could find had the tarp's wrapped around from the sides to the ends. Once the glueing is finished you can apply the dope. Please use it a well ventilated room. You can use multipal coats and heavy brush strokes can create a pulling effect on the tissue to simulate a stretched tarp. Set the model aside for the time suggested on the dope instructions then paint the tarp to the desired colour.

And there you have it, a realistic looking tarp that you can say " I did it myself ".

All the best

Wayne ( Ollie )


  1. Nice work Ollie

    You may find the following of some interest in relation to VR tarps.

    The Victorian Railways Wagons in General 8177 Standard Tarpaulin drawings tell an interesting tale. The shrunk size of the canvas tarpaulins used on GYs etc was 29'-0" by 14'-4 1/2". For HO scale modellers this is almost exactly 4" by 2" (10cm by 5cm aprox).

    W in G 8177.1 was amended in May 1971 to include branding with the VR symbol in five rows. The VR symbol was 2'-11' over the arrows and 10 5/8" tall on a 4'3" pitch.

    Synthetic tarps 29'-0" by 14'-4 1/2" were adopted from June 1970 (or that's the date on W in G 8177.2!) and these were to be similarly branded.

    The drawings make no reference to colour but the Hansa Yellow livery for GYs was adopted about this time and it is presumed that the tarps changed colour about this time too. A review of the illustrations in the Train Hobby books suggests that ,might be right – the earliest illustration of a yellow trap is April 1972.

    A new drawing W in G 8177.8 was signed off in September 1985 showing three V/LINE brands on a tarp 8840 mm by 4380 mm.

    I found the information using the following link, and there may well be more info hiding on that web site about tarps as well.


  2. Your spot on darren, now I remember where I had it written down, the Railpage forum. Thanks for the info darren.

  3. Thanks Darren for the information.