Thursday, October 20, 2016

Zebrastreifen - Making an HO crosswalk

I considered various methods to make the crosswalk at Emsingen station, and was not sure at all which method would work. Standard German crosswalks are 3 - 4 meters wide, with 50 cm wide strips and gaps of 50 cm. The narrow style crosswalk uses 40 cm instead. Scaled down to HO, this works out to 5mm stripes every 1 cm.

My strong preference was dry transfers, but I couldn't find any in 5mm widths. The widest is 2mm in the Woodland Scenics stripes set. Tamiya stripe tape was another alternative, but I only had 2mm width in white and the local hobby shop only stocked yellow 5 mm width masking tape. The Train Shop has 5 mm width in stock, but I went with Karen's suggestion: 5 mm white correction tape.

Since I had no idea if and how this approach would work, I made a mock-up street on a scrap of plywood, spray painted gray, with cardboard sidewalks.

The application is not super easy. The applicator occasionally rips the tape and you have to start over, but eventually I applied the stripes ok. I couldn't get them 100% equal length, so I tried to trim them with a sharp razor blade along a strip of masking tape... only to realize that the primer didn't adhere to the laminated plywood that well. Ooops.

Ok, start over with a naked bit of hardboard. This time I used masking tape to mark both sides of the crosswalk and apply the correction tape between the masking tape strips. Then I carefully cut the correction tape along the edge of the masking tape, pulled the masking tape off, and burnished the correction tape into the street some more.

There you have it. A very nice and believable German crosswalk. This is only 3 meters wide, and appears a bit narrow, which is the correct impression.

Now I just need to replicate this in Emsingen to unblock further work and finish up the roads on the segment.