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Sunday 26 February 2017

Project 17 - First Tree Grown

The land behind the retaining wall is Northbrook Cemetery with a few mature trees near the retaining wall. Whether or not I place grave head stones in the small area modelled will depend on how much of it is hidden by the row of trees.

The first tree is placed in the corner of the layout. It is shorter than those at Swanage because it is reclaimed from a previous model railway, and I have a second in waiting. It was in green leaf before I re-sprayed it to give the effect of leaves about to fall in Autumn. The smaller tree to the left is in the back scene.

The modelled tree is made from sprigs of yarrow glued together.

To Part 10.

To Part 1

Sunday 19 February 2017

Project 17 - Long Grass & A Miracle Glue

I return to the long grass issue cited in Part 6. Instead of trying to apply the hemp with a static grass applicator, which was unsuccessful, I simply pinched bunches, trimmed the ends square, dabbed in fast drying PVA glue and stuck in place. Then, whilst still wet, trimmed the height with scissors and  straightened the strands by gently brushing upwards with a toothbrush and from the suction of a vacuum cleaner, which also removed loose pieces.

The hemp is a bit too straw like in colour so I greened it up a bit by dry brushing with green acrylic paint.

The telegraph pole and gradient notice {inset) are also new additions to the scene.

Sticking the A4 back scene printed paper sheets to the back board posed the problem of what glue to use. I knew from experience that conventional glues can lead to air bubbles, creases and stick too fast to allow re-alignment.

My research lead me to Acrylic Matte Medium. This is a gel mainly used to alter the glossiness of acrylic paint. I learned that it can also be used as a paper glue that overcomes all of the issues stated above.

This area of the layout is quite awkward to fit the back scenes in place and I did have problems with the second piece resulting in air bubbles. But I was able to peel it off, apply more matte medium and stick it down smoothly without damage to the printed paper.

To Part 9.

To Part 1.

Saturday 11 February 2017

Newbury MRC Expo 2017


A railway is an object of length. Space for it is the biggest challenge for modellers. Where space is limited and you still want a railway of some expanse then you might choose one of the smaller gauges like 'N' or smaller still 'Z'. But, have you heard of 'T' (tiny)? The track gauge is just 3mm and the scale 1:450 I saw it for the first time at the Newbury show. Someone had modelled the Forth Railway Bridge (the prototype is about 8,000 feet long) in 'T' gauge and you know what - the layout was about 25 feet long! It seems even a ridiculously small scale still requires a lot of space.

'T' gauge is not for me and my companion had to turn away feeling ill at the thought of modelling trains and buildings that are hard to see.

My Best in Show goes to Lydgate (OO gauge, 1950s ex-L&Y), an industrial theme with detailed cameo scenes containing people in realistic, static poses. This photo shows one end of the layout, a micro layout in itself that is connected to, but visually separate, from the much larger vista beyond the bridge.

In the Trade

I have been wanting a Class 117 DMU for my own Misterton layout for some time. I had been holding off buying the obsolete Lima in preference for the expected higher detailed Bachmann that was announced a couple of years ago but still no forecast of its availability.

I started to reconsider the Lima offering but following auctions on eBay I was put off by the high demand and high price. Do people not know of the shortcomings, like the trailing car being woefully inaccurate to the prototype?

At the Newbury show a trader was offering a boxed Lima 3 car set for about £10-£20 cheaper than eBay sellers. I scrutinised the models carefully. The condition was excellent although the trader could not test run it for me. I took a chance and bought it. On getting it home I test ran and found it worked ok. I decided to open up the power car to check over the motor and give the cogs a light oiling and to my delight discovered that the previous owner had fitted working headlamps! The implementation was a bit crude being a filament pea bulb pointing at two plastic light tubes and the electrical connections held in place not with solder but with blu-tac!

I corrected the wiring and shrouded the lamp and tubes with black insulation tape but I'm afraid the bulb light is too strong and shines through the black tape giving the appearance of  a camp fire inside the passenger compartment! That will need more work at some point.

Due to the incorrect trailing car style I am thinking of getting a conversion kit to put it right and install flush glazing throughout.

Sunday 5 February 2017

Project 17 - Night Scene

I decided against magnets to hold the shed down as they would be visible inside this open structure. Instead I glued 1mm wire into each corner. These pass through the baseboard and are bent over in an arc at the rear to hold the shed tight to the baseboard. If I need to remove the shed I just bend the wires straight again.

Some fine looking green pendant lights were purchased from a Chinese supplier on eBay. Three inside the shed and one over the entrance and another inside the Staff Room. All are wired in parallel to two 1.5V batteries housed in a battery box with integral on/off switch. No resistors are necessary when powering from 3V total.

The night sky is an artwork stitched into the photograph. Later on the space behind the wall will be filled with tall trees in Autumn leaf.

Below is the scene in daylight.

To Part 8.

To Part 1.

Saturday 4 February 2017

Project 17 - Some Groundworks and a Hut

The hut against the back wall is labelled as a Staff Room on a track plan. This one existed until the Branch became a heritage line in the 1970s when it was either rebuilt or remodelled making it longer (I think) and placing the door in the end wall. Difficult to say from photographs what the original hut was made of. The white walls were probably white washed cement render on brick or stone.

The model hut is made from card and fixed in place by a magnet for easy removal. It stands on a raised platform of polystyrene foam packaging and is reached by three steps.

The bank next to it is quite a complex contour to carve from foam packaging so I used a can of expanding liquid foam. First time I used this for modelling and it was quite worrying as it starts as a sticky mess that gets everywhere and expands uncontrollably. It dried hard but with a sponginess to it. Excess was carved away and I covered it with Woodlands Scenics to represent the rough texture of the vegetation here, which may have been ivy in practise.

The grass beside the engine shed is a mix of short green static grass and longer strands of plumbers hemp applied with a static grass applicator. I used hemp as I had some to hand. Being a natural straw colour it  represents long dry grass of autumn. It was not very successful though so, I'll need to go over it again perhaps with proper static grass.

The hard standing by the turntable is a mix of sieved coal dust and ash - very effective.

To Part 7.

To Part 1.
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