Friday, 20 October 2017

More Green Grass... and Trees Too!

I thought I would share a few more pictures of progress with scenery on my (whisper it) 009 project. When this was last seen on the blog I had added hanging basket grass to the cutting side and some basic ground cover elsewhere.

After some thought about whether to change tack and go for a ground foam based approach, I continued on with a few changes to approach, notably using my 'gunk' mix - emulsion paint/PVA/filler - as the basis for ground cover, quickly adding a sieved on layer of Woodland Scenics 'Fine Turf' whilst wet to give a good mix of colour and texture. This finish can be seen in the picture below, with the addition of a representation of tree roots made using string and covered in more gunk. This makes up for the lack of any roots on the Hornby Skale Scenics trees.


Dead leaves, in the form of tea leaves and a sprinkle of sawdust, were added to the ground and held in place with PVA and matt medium. The Peco flexible fencing was left over from my 4mm 'Inglenook' project years ago. I had sprayed this with matt varnish for that project but the stuff is so damn flexible the paint falls off it! It was weathered with acrylics prior to installation and touched back in again afterwards where the paint was chipped during installation. The trees were fixed in place using 'Gorilla' PVA and once set the roots were joined to the trunks using more gunk and colour blended in with acrylic paints.


These images also illustrate my experiments with scrubby bushes. These were made as a batch on the workbench using Green Scene meadow grass mat, torn into random shapes, scrunched up and sprayed with hairspray then sprinkled in various foams. They are PVA'd in place once left overnight for the hairspray to dry. Some of these growths have appeared in the cutting at the top of the rock face.


This is the present state of the project. The tree at the right is another Skale Scenics example treated in the same manner as the smaller ones, including a waft of matt varnish over the branch structure; a few bald patches given extra density using offcuts of hanging basket liner and the whole thing covered in hairspray and given extra foliage coverage. This is good practice for the next trees which will be newer growths made using sea foam.
 

Colin

Friday, 6 October 2017

Box it Up

Not directly O9 related but the main focus of recent modelling time, I have now completed construction of a protective/display box for my 009 project. This is a miniature version of that used under 'Shifting Sands' and based on those used by Steve Bennett under his various micro layouts.

Construction is simple, 5 hardboard panels and 12 x 21mm pine section. Each side panel is framed top and sides with the pine section, then left for the PVA to set. After some tidying up of edges I paired each side and end and joined, the picture below was taken at this point. At this point the volume occupied by a very small layout seems to increase dramatically...


Having assembled the two halves I added the top and once everything was together all the edges were sanded smooth and the timber was given a couple of coats of varnish with a rub down in between. On the top four triangular pieces of plywood are in place to hold the layout in place whilst in use.


Bolting the layout inside is achieved with four M4 machine screws locating in captive bolts underneath the baseboard, located within blocks of wood. On the left you can see that there is an additional length of stripwood within the box edge. Whilst I would like to say that this is intentional to accommodate the plug sockets that extend beyond the board edge on this side, it is more a case that I was a little too generous in the clearances within the box!


Colin

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Not Quite DA1

Over the summer I received a couple of test etches from A1 Models for new O9 kits designed to fit the Tomytec 4w chassis. The first that I have tackled is very much based on the shape of 'DA1', the ex-Bush Mills Railway diesel at the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway.


The kit is very much an 'inspired by' rather than an accurate model. There are compromises to the width of both bonnet and cab, the arrangement of grilles etc. When I first assembled everything I found that the chassis etch seemed to work against usual convention by having very wide etch lines on the outside of the fold and I wasn't too happy with how this looked. 


There is just room in the cab for a suitable figure, although tall, whitemetal 1/43rd scale figures may need to reconsider their application the drive...

After discussing the chassis etch with John Flower at A1 he indicated that it was intended to be built with the fold on the inside, despite this loosing the etched axlebox detail to the inside. As he had included some spare chassis frame etches I was able to build up another inside out and apply a degree of customisation . Having built up the width of the model to a scale 3ft by adding a 10 thou styrene footplate and added new buffer beams from 20 thou styrene, I opted to cut the axleboxes off the first frame, fit them in place and add some very basic detail around them. 


Just visible is that I have also started work on some very basic cab interior detail including a driver's seat, but this may be subject to change as I may have not left quite enough space for a driver... Ooops!

More as time permits.

Colin




Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Green, Green Grass....

I have finally started to add some colour and texture to the landscape of my 009 project. At this stage the process is very much the same as I would do in 7mm scale so I thought I would share some images here. When I first started the project I always had it in mind to start on the cutting side, so it was about time that I made a start...


Progress has been made using the following methods and materials:
  • Ground mix around the edges of the track made from Woodlands Scenics fine turf, a little (very) fine sand and dried tea leaves. This is laid over a PVA bed and then has matt medium dropped on the top to secure material in places such as where it lays over the ballast and darken the mix nicely.
  • Other ground areas get the Woodlands Scenics fine turf over PVA as a base for the grass.
  • Grass starts with hanging basket liner. I had a few bad patches on the first attempt at this and I nearly threw in the towel in favour of ground foam. I persisted and got better results once back in the swing of it.
  • In places where the hanging basket liner left bald patches I used pieces of Green Scene 'meadow grass' teased out and stuck down with PVA. This gives nice variety in texture and colour.
As an experiment I used some material from Javis (I think this is it) which is gummed and just needs wetting. to be honest it looked awful at first but with hanging basket and Green Scene materials around it it blends in quite well. There isn't really any visible in the picture above but a patch is just visible in the one below.

I've annotated the next couple of pictures to illustrate the variety of materials used. Here the light green oval is the Green Scene 'meadow grass', the dark green is a similar material in a lighter shade:


Here the Javis material can just be spotted as a yellow patch in the grass:


Having got to the next area of land I concluded that it needed to be more than just a patch of grass and that ideally I wanted something growing there. The hunt was on for a tree or two and whilst I have supplies of sea foam ('Forest in a box') I wanted something a bit more substantial in this location. A visit to a local model shop found a pack of two Hornby Skale Scenics 'eco' trees that with a little extra work will do the job quite well:


Ironically using these trees sits nicely in my aim to be able to use materials on this project that are available to 4mm scale modellers that I might miss out on working in 7mm scale. At least that is what I tell myself...

Colin

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

An Inspirational Estate

A recent trip to the National Trust's Belton House in Lincolnshire has found a few little inspirational thought for modelling projects, especially for anyone planning on modelling an estate railway in O9.

Whilst many visit these locations to admire the grandeur of the stately home and it's immediate surroundings, I often find that it is in the odd corners of a property that the really useful scenes can be found. Take this corrugated barn, a listed structure, that would make an interesting prototype for a model:


This was apparently once open-sided and it is thought the side panels were re-use of materials left on the estate by the army in war time.

Close by is this garage structure. Not only would it make a great miniature railway shed, but it also appears to be a full size kit-bash of the Wills 4mm scale garage kit!


This gateway caught my eye, not least because it was freshly restored, but also the layout of the hinges and just how useful it and the wall either side would be on a layout:


Those with the space for an estate railway may wish to include a folly of some sort (by the way I am aware of a 1/24th scale layout on just these lines):


I must admit that on previous visits to Belton as a child I cannot remember the folly being there. This may be due to it's proximity to the entrance to something that would be a big distraction, the adventure play area and miniature railway. In what must be one of my first miniature railway photos, here is the Mardyke 'Deltic' in the early 1980s:


Happily both play area and railway are still going strong, both having seen much investment in recent years. In fact, the miniature railway has gone through complete renewal over the years, new locomotives, followed by new coaching stock and trackwork. The old shuttle out and back layout has been replaced with a new station mid-way along the line and balloon loops either end. Sadly the charming original station area is now grassed over with little to hint at the past. The new station, incorporating the stock shed, is impressive in itself and quite model-able:


I'm not about to model an estate railway but one very useful piece of inspiration I did get was about ground surfacing. This acted as both confirmation that the work I have completed so far on my 009 project is right, and a reminder that in some areas brown scatter is just not enough, there are factors such as leaf litter to consider. On which point I have now dried out and opened up some tea bags...

Colin

Friday, 30 June 2017

Wither Photobucket

Alternative title: Where has that image gone?

Readers of this blog may notice that the photographs are missing from several of the pages and posts. Thus is because until relatively recently I used Photobucket to host the images used on this blog and various forums. I started to host images on the blog itself when Photobucket's interface became more and more difficult to use and ad-heavy.

Today Photobucket have informed me that they no longer allow third party websites to access my images unless I pay them $399 per year for the privilege, until I do I cannot access my account. Well no way.... that isn't happening and I view this as nothing less than extortion.

All the photos are backed up elsewhere so nothing is lost, however the process of uploading and replacing them on individual pages and posts on the blog will inevitably take some time to achieve. Forum posts will unfortunately be almost impossible to trace and replace. 

Reaction elsewhere on the Internet to this new development is of a similar level of annoyance. I don't give Photobucket very long to live with this business model.

Colin.

 

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Take a Fence, a Ratty Fence - Take Two

First posted Tuesday 02/05/2017: I was lucky enough to receive the latest Graham Whistler DVD of the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway for my birthday and I couldn't help notice some seemingly portable fencing between the platform lines at Ravenglass station. Further research finds pictures of this fencing in use at both Ravenglass and Irton Road stations.

This picture proved particularly useful as it clearly shows how the posts are separate to the panels, the details of the posts and how it fits together.


I figured that I could quickly put together a couple of panels from a leftover piece of the Parkside Dundas fencing used on both 'Shifting Sands' and in cut-down form on the diorama 'The Path to...'. The length used here was destined for that project but had unfortunately snapped during construction.


The posts are simply constructed from Evergreen styrene strip and as an added detail I split Grandt Line rail joiners in two to create a representation of the metalwork.

I have assembled one panel with two legs, the other with one. To aid holding during painting and to strengthen the future central joint 0.5mm wire has been inserted in the top and bottom rails - so at this stage it cannot be fully assembled as the wires are over-length!


This has proved a very quick Bank Holiday project. The paintshop awaits...

Take Two - update 25/06/2017: The paintshop finally did it's stuff almost two months later, the method of painting something of a trial. Over grey primer I have applied a dark grey wash, followed by a mid-brown wash. Once dry this was dry brushed in a wood shade, a further wash in the light wood shade, then a touch of green dry brushed up from the bottom, and a final lighter dry brush to highlight the edges.


I am happy with the result as un-cared for timber, without the fun and games of using full thickness acrylic paint to paint all the slats and edges!

Colin