"Warping" Techniques

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Diesel Detail Freak
So I'm planning a "warp" the sides of my newly aquired ITC gondola, BEFORE I weather it, and I'd like some hints. Last time I attempted this, I used a cigarette lighter and a grill lighter.

1. Cigarette lighter has the dis advantage of making my finger a little, umm, warm?
2. Grill lighter is a tad expensive, but the long tip keeps from hurting the hand.
3. It was a Tyco box, so it got soft faster then I had expected
4. Some "soot damage" any way to avoid this?
5. Last up, I got antsy, and the car caught fire!!!

SO I'm looking for tips for doing this. How warm should I let it get, what should I use, lighter?

Also, how to replicate various warping, like single panel warping, warped roof on boxcars, bowed gondola sides, dent damage on the top of a gondola, fork cuts on boxcars... Anything you have to offer!

Lastly, I guess this can become a good starters thread, to learn better ways to accomplish warping.


Registered Member
Staff member
Cigarette lighter has the dis advantage of making my finger a little, umm, warm?
Hmmm! maybe you shouldn't be playing with fire. :D
Seriously If you have a heat gun or hairdryer and hold the model a little distance from the buisness end the hot air should soften the plastic enough to bend it a bit. Yep I'd stick with sources of heat not flames, worth a try and might even work. Just an idea



Been Nothin' Since Frisco
Simple: a 100 watt bulb in a desk lamp. Hold the model near the bulb until it gets soft and go to work, pushing from the inside out (just make sure you're pushing between the ribs).

Hair dryers and open flame tend to work way too quickly for me. Once you notice the plastic is softening, it's already started into a free-fall of deforming. The only thing I use an open flame for is stretching sprue into thin rod and hair dryers? They're good for getting a fire going in a freezing cabin's wood stove. Just don't tell my wife about that one...


Diesel Detail Freak
I'll try the 3 setting bulbs I got here on the lamps tonight. I was also thinking hot water... Thanks guys, we'll see how this turns out.

EDIT Ummmm, I dunno, maybe the sides are too thick? Even at 150W and 10 mines of sitting there I can't get anythign to happen! Here's my plan, Step 1, pull the sides outwards; step 2, individual panels; step 3, dent the top framing; step 4, weather s'more...
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Mmmm, turbos
If you use a BBQ lighter, you could just heat it for a while, then test it quickly. It won't drop temp that fast, so if it still needs more, keep applying.

Or, use a halogen bulb. Joe Fugate knows all about their heating properties! :rolleyes:


Diesel Detail Freak
I think I'm going to pick up the lighter, the water & bulb failed, the pastic on the car is a little to thick for the amount of heat.


Mmmm, turbos
The water takes too long. I've tried that approach before.

I'd say hold it outside up, and light the backside (inside) of the gon between the ribs. You might just want to do a little at a time. Sometimes if you keep something that delicate about timing up for a while you start getting tired of it and losing your attention span. Then woof! Buh-bye gon.

I'll prolly be undertaking a similar project in the future; the WPRR was big on gons, and I have a nice team track that could load a couple a month easy!


New Member
I used a nite lite and put the bulb on the car like a tool worked just fine. you can make the car look like it has many tons of steel dumped in it


Lazy Daydreamer
Hmmm, wonder why I never noticed this thread before!? I have a dozen or more scrap metal gons that are just 'crying out' to be dented!:D

I'm eagerly awaiting pics of successful 'dings' ...

Steve B

Same here Ken, i think i'll try the heat gun, if i make a metal funnel to guide the hot air into a narrow jet maybe this would be a good tool to use


Diesel Detail Freak
I tried the Grill Lighter, but it becomes a problem, with:
1. catching fire, well it was getting ready to but...
2. using up alot of the lighter fluid

Check out the WPF thread for a few early pics.

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