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Wednesday 28 September 2016

Project 16 - Crewkerne Tunnel Pt. 1

Visitors to my main website may have seen there the portal of Crewkerne Tunnel that is built into my Hewish Gates layout. Now I am creating the other end on what was previously the non-scenic bridging baseboard between the two layouts.

I can not be sure the portal architecture and construction is accurate to prototype from old monochrome photographs I have seen. When I built the portal on Hewish Gates it seemed to me that the portal was stone work with brick capping. Subsequently I saw a glimpse of one portal in the Clemens colour film 'The Withered Arm'  (incorrectly identified by the film narrator as Hewish tunnel). That portal is clearly brick construction with a rough stone arch. That is what I have modelled here on the approach to Misterton Station.

The portal is made from plywood covered in old English brick bond paper that I created on the computer, taking care to include the white mineral leeching from the brick, as the prototype.

The stone arch is Miliput standard grade epoxy putty. I have a love/hate relationship with this product. I find that the initial adhesion is weak but once set hard (after several hours) stays firmly in place. During application excess can be scraped off the brick paper without any marks or damage due to the putty not being wet, like clay products.

The track work through the model tunnel is on a curve. It is not necessary to make a complex tunnel interior that follows the curve because the viewing angle for the portal is quite acute, as seen in the first photo.

The tunnel interior is built at right angles to the portal, which makes for a simple construction, and the part where interference with trains arises is cut away.

This is exactly what I did for the other portal. From the normal viewing position you would never see that it is not a full fabrication.

Landscape is to be created above this and the side will be a removable panel for access.

The first and third photo show part of the back scene I created from photographing a real location, printing out on multiple A4 sheets and sticking together on a hardboard backing.

The back scene is reused from the previous incarnation of this layout where it formed a front scene on this non-scenic bridging baseboard, which is now being landscaped. It has added another dimension to the model giving an impression of more depth than actually exists on the layout.

To Part 41.

To Series Part 1.

Friday 23 September 2016

Project 16 - Return to Cattle Dock

'Followers' may recall I had an issue sourcing 00 gauge calves for the cattle dock pens. Well, I found some that are about the right height for 6 month old fresian male calves. Purchased from Pendukemodels (at a show) I believe they are the same as that manufactured by Dorspring. Pendukemodels supplied me one cow and two calves in a pack. The problem is the calves have the same pose of head down grazing. A herd of these in a cattle pen would not be suitable so, I looked into moulding replicas and adapting them for an upright head posture.

Searching YouTube tutorials on 'moulding miniatures' I came across this one. I adopted that technique simply because I had all the required materials to hand. I find it is a very effective method of replicating small 4 legged critters and at mininal cost.

Photograph on the right is two halves of the mould tool made from a hot glue stick with a moulded calf in situ.

Photo left shows the stages of adaptation. Left to right is the master Pendukemodels calf, then the moulded replica, then repositioned head on milliput standard putty neck and finally the painted model.

The hot glue stick mould tool captures the fine details of the master but care is needed. The calf head in particular is not so well defined as the master having lost much of the ear profile. More care would probably have overcome this but the final result here is OK for me - they are quite small being about 11mm high so deficiences are not too noticeable.

Below is the scene on the model railway. The mould tool is good for creating more calves so I could go mad and fill both pens if I wanted to.This will do for now.

To Part 40.

To Part 1.

Friday 16 September 2016

Project 16 - More Ballasting

This round of track ballasting takes us to the end of the buffer stops. I ran out of builders decorative granite chips so this was substituted with Woodland Scenics medium grey granules, which has two shades of grey. Included in my mix is brown cork granules and for areas between the sleepers coal granules to represent dirty ballast. To the mix is added dry wallpaper paste granules for adhesion. The mix is spread between the sleepers and the lot sprayed with water containing a few drops of washing up liquid to reduce surface tension.

Left to Right: down head shunt, down main, up main, up head shunt.

Next up is the final push for this project as I create the approach to Crewkerne Tunnel and its portal.

To Part 39.

To Part 1.

Friday 9 September 2016

Project 16 - East Field Pt. 4 Fin.

And so to East Field itself. The field is populated with horses, which is inspired from the area where I live as there are half a dozen fields round about occupied by horses from the local livery stable and riding school.

Unfortunately all but one of the model horses (made in Hong Kong) have the same pose. I tried to differentiate through colour and position so that it is not obvious. There are dark bays, chestnut, grey/white and a palomino in there.

This end of the field is open and the far end has a clump of trees midway between the hedges.

The hedge in the right foreground is somewhat lower than that alongside Clark's lane and is kept nicely trimmed by the railway because it is alongside the crane yard. Further along, where the yard peters out, the hedge has been allowed to go wild with distinctive shrubs commanding the ground.

The field is made from two shades of static grass.

The hedge construction is described here.

The large trees are sprigs of Yarrow glued together.

Small trees/shrubs are mainly Woodland Scenics armatures and matting spread over. When I ran out I made some myself surprising quickly from 7 pieces of twisted wire in two tiers with Woodland Scenics matting spread over.

Since these photos were snapped a back scene has been installed - more on that later.

To Part 38.

To Series Part 1.

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Andover Modelex 2016

16 layouts on show from N to 0 gauge.

I find myself being drawn to model railroads of the USA, as modelled by residents of that land. Many of them have the knack of creating vast, very realistic looking railroads, judging by YouTube videos I have watched.

There was a USA model railroad (called Sutton Summit) on show at Andover Modelex created by Brits. of the Gosport Railroad Group. It held my attention due to its enormous size. It is the longest N gauge layout I have ever seen at 100 ft  (3 scale miles of scenery) and growing, although some sections had to be left out for this exhibition.

It is a modular dumb bell scheme with some modules owned by their club and others by individual members, all built to a common standard for interconnection.

The baseboards are very narrow at 30cm or so, which can make viewing and photography disrupted by all the real world objects of the room and people that are in eye shot too.

These two photos show some of the more dramatic Sutton Summit landscapes. Other scenes included various industrial sites, town, farm and station. Quite a variety are accommodated without looking cluttered and that is made possible by its great length.

The range of Traders was very good and welcome allowing me to obtain all I wanted. One characteristic of many small traders is the boxes of untidy, mixed up small parts. Great rewards can be had by spending time rummaging through these. Often you'll find rare, specialist or inexpensive bits and bobs for your models or layout.

One case in point was an item I bought from a very tidy Trader's stand with all their products neatly displayed and visible. Later on, whilst rummaging through another trader's untidy box, I came across similar items that I could have purchased for half the price!

Saturday 3 September 2016

Project 16 - East Field Part 3

In front of Station Cottage is Clark's Lane. In reality, and on this side of the railway, it is a green lane between two fields with high hedges but no buildings alongside. I have upgraded it to a tarmacadam lane to serve the cottage and field. But it gets little use, indicated by the spoil of gravel and dirt washed from the verge by rain. Vehicle movement to the cottage and field have driven a path through this.

The width of the tarmacadam was determined from me pacing a real lane and when I got home measured my boot multiplied by the number of steps. It calculated to nine and a half feet.

Beyond the cottage, with even less vehicle use of the road, grass has started to invade the road surface.

With high hedges little of the cottage environs are visible. The field gate serves as a portal to catch a glimpse of it.
The field is to be used by grazing horses and their hooves have churned up the ground at the gate leaving it peppered with hoof impressions. Some of the soil has spilled onto the road surface.

To photograph the views down either end of the road proved very difficult due to limited access on the layout here. My compact camera could not cope with the close proximity to the model and the long depth of field required. I borrowed a Go-Pro Hero 4 miniature camera for the shots, which did the job admirably.

To Part 37.

To Series Part 1.
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