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Friday 26 May 2017

Project 17 - People

I thought about flooding the scene with people but in the end felt it would be unrealistic for this small loco yard. First photo shows a man (Airfix) watching yard activity from Northbrook Road railway bridge. This is becoming a bit of a trade mark for me since a similar scene appears on my Misterton layout.

I am surprised how well the bridge stone texture appears considering it is flat stone paper decoration.

Next photo depicts the shed foreman (Airfix) at night surveying his empire from a vantage point at the top of the staff room steps.

The sloping building walls are less noticeable on the model itself.

I tend to use people that are in a natural, static pose but I could not resist this action scene of the loco fireman shovelling coal as he is nearly identical to this photograph of the prototype.

The fireman is actually a 'Marine Worker' by Montys Models, lent over and probably meant to be pulling a chain or rope. I gave him a shovel instead. From this angle he passes very well as a loco fireman.

I'd like to include a couple of loco men standing near the turntable. Had I been more alert I could have picked up suitable models from Modelu and Montys Models on my recent visit to EM spring expo. That will have to wait for another day.

To Part 18.

To Part 1

Friday 19 May 2017

Project 17 - Ash Heap

There was a substantial ash heap in Swanage loco yard circa 1960. What to use to model it? Coal ash of course, with a little ground up clinker mixed in.

The modelled heap is shaped polystyrene packaging with the ash PVA glued over it.

Something else you'll see alongside the heap in photographs of the period is a forlorn white wheel barrow. Either painted white or white from ash.

ToPart 17.

To Part 1.

Saturday 13 May 2017

Expo EM Spring 2017 Review

If you are a scratch builder seeking some obscure and rare component then this is the place you are likely to find it because small, specialist traders out number the model railway layouts on display. I have not been to any other exhibition where such a number of specialist traders can be found. I for one picked up all the components I needed for my current modelling project.

For the novice scratch builder there are many stands giving demonstrations of modelling techniques from which you can learn.

And so to the layouts, all of which are modelled to finescale standards, which basically means accurate to prototype, where modelled as such, and attention to detail. The ones that stood out for me were London Road, for the nicely decorated Edwardian people and Sandford and Banwell, where I spied operating ground disc signals (I believe). Swaynton struck a cord as it depicted an LSWR line - my territory.

My best in show goes to Pwllheli. Its soft lighting, well modelled buildings in unusual architectural styles that run into the backscene were of note.

It is not easy to merge 3 dimensional foreground to 2 dimensional backscene, especially where buildings and roads pass between. What we see on Pwllheli is the best one can expect to achieve in my view.

Friday 5 May 2017

Project 17 - Embankment

Layers of polystyrene foam packaging was used to create the embankment behind the water tower. These were shaped with a hot wire cutter before fixing in place with PVA glue.

Wickes medium wood filler was spread over to fill cracks and holes in and around the polystyrene and to give a firm base upon which to grow grass and trees. The medium wood filler comes in a useful brown earth colour.

An imposing line of trees existed on the embankment  at Swanage around 1960. I used sprigs of dead Sedum to represent these. Sedum has a great texture that almost emulates leaves obviating the need for overlaying with flock or scatter. The 'leaves' were very lightly sprayed green and dabs of yellow and orange acrylic paint applied on top to give an early autumn colour.

The sprigs mostly have an undesirable flattish dome shape. For a free standing tree an array of sprigs need to be glued together to form the tree shape. This cannot be the solution for this installation where the trees and shrubs form a contiguous line and their branches touch the ground.

For the lower branches the sprigs were glued individually flat to the ground, as shown in the photo. Another layer was laid onto these and as the height increases individual sprigs planted vertically. It is quite a lengthy process as time must be given to carefully select suitable sprigs to fit the scene and to allow time for the glue to set as each group is placed.

I wanted the grass embankment to represent tall dry grass of early autumn. Whilst the top is a straw colour lower down near the ground should be green.

Old carpet underlay, being a jute/hair/wool/string mix, was used. First I cut a piece to fit and sprayed one side grass green. This side was PVA glued to the embankment and when dry pulled away to leave a hairy, straw colour surface with green base. Further plucking was done to get the desired effect. Next, the hairs were lifted and straightened by combing with a nail brush and finally long strands cut to size with scissors. The grass looks windswept in the photo. I may reposition the blades with the brush to be more vertical.

A few bare areas where the mat did not stick properly were covered in Woodland Scenics flock to give the impression of other plants.

This tranquil, rural scene of 1960 is very different today where the trees have been replaced by an upper coal yard, the area cluttered with mechanical plant and machinery and an austere water tower replaces the original.

To Part 16.

To Part 1
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