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








Friday, 9 June 2017

When the mainstream met modelling miniature railways

I received a couple of messages last Friday night to the effect that the new edition of ModelRail magazine (no. 236) contained an article by Paul Lunn suggesting the modelling of 15" (or thereabouts) railways.
 

Having purchased a copy the article within has ideas based on Dungeness, Cleethorpes (Lakeside) and a room-filling Fairbourne. As is usual with Paul's plans, the presentation of them is well thought through with an equal dose of compromise and practicality. 

Looking closely at the plans there are a few pieces of artistic license, but that is typical of many plans published in the mainstream press, with track spacing, turnout length and curve radii the usual suspects.


Naturally I am quite taken with the Cleethorpes plan, despite it being a solid 8' x 3' lump. It could certainly be made to work, I recall making a plan for this part of the railway (in terminus form) myself in a length only slightly shorter.

One of my contacts did make the comment that no attempt is made to identify what locomotives or rolling stock could be used, maybe in part 2 we shall get some suggestions, though based on previous content in the magazine I suspect we may see a Farish diesel with a hole cut in the roof at some point.

I was only observing to someone at the Hull Summer Show last weekend that it was probably easier now to recreate a miniature railway in O9 now than ever before. Take your pick of quality N gauge steam loco, open up a driver's seat in the tender and build up some of Roger Chiver's plastic coach kits...

Colin 

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Ravenglass Visitors

Just a few pictures of 'Shifting Sands' from the Hull club's Summer Show in their HQ building. We were lined up with the two other narrow gauge layouts, 'Moorton Bottom Yard' and 'Mill Lane', giving the public a taste of O9, 009 and O-16.5.

We entertained a couple of visiting locomotives from Peter Leadley of the Clee Valley Railway. Here the N-Drive 'Katie' gives a demonstration of Estate railway motive power past and future with my own 'St Edwin':


The eagle eyed will see that 'Katie' is posed with something suitably Ratty....one of Roger Chivers' Theakston wagons:

 

'Bonnie Dundee' had a good run around the layout too, but due to coupling compatibility issues couldn't actually pull anything.


The opportunity was taken to recreate an image that I took of the real 'Bonnie Dundee' and 'Flower of the Forest' at Cleethorpes last year:



The club sales stand wielded a couple of 50p bargains that may find their way onto future projects and I picked up a scenic detail for the "other scale" from the trader present, Caistor Loco.

My thanks to the Hull club for the invite, I understand it is the first time they have invited a layout from outside the club to the Summer Show, we're honoured!

Colin

Sunday, 28 May 2017

The Road to Hull (alternative title: Keep You Motor Runnin')

With less than a week to go until Shifting Sands appears at the Hull club's Summer Show, I thought it worth showing off a few new details that I have added to the layout for this appearance.

The first is a Harley Davidson 'Heritage Softail' motor cycle. This is from a range being sold at shows by A1 Models, moulded in plastic and if I recall correctly are left-overs from a promotional collection. With a little work to lessen the appearance of mould lines on the chrome parts, some touching-in of paint, a coat of matt varnish and a gentle touch of dry-brushing it is ready to go on the layout:


I have added the pins underneath to enable it to locate on the layout, you may also just see that I have flattened off the base of the tyres so that it sits more easily on the ground. On the rear I have added a licence plate from Tower Models 4mm scale bus decals, with a little tinkering a 1970s mark becomes something that the DVLA has made a little money from:


This isn't the only scenic addition. I have also added and moved around some of the items in the shed area, a bit like real life really! In the workshop can be glimpsed some new items in the form of the wheelsets and pillar drill I made last year, plus a coat hung from the shelf bracket that dates from the same time (the drill sits on wooden blocks awaiting further use, they aren't using it on the floor!):


Another item created last year was a locomotive cab, which has been added to the area of junk near the front of the caravan, along with one of the containers displaced by the new items in the shed:


I look forward to meeting O9 Modeller readers at the show on Saturday 3rd June.

Colin