This week…. Ballasting!

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Yep, it’s that mundane task that we all have to go through at some point. Maybe it’s because I’ve only got a smallish single track layout, but I’ve actually enjoyed it. I tried out a couple of methods on a test piece but in the end went with the old and tested method of applying the ballast dry, wetting with water and fairy liquid before fixing with 50/50 water/pva. The first results were seen a month or so ago when I ballasted the area in front of the platform. I suppose although ballasting was the main focus, it is also the start of the scenic modelling on the layout, something I’m genuinely excited about.

I suppose my approach, was similar to how I would approach weathering a wagon or locomotive. For several days before hand I studied photos of the area around Cwm Prysor and although these were black and white, it gave me a good idea of how things should look, in particular the trackbed of the loop.

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The overall finish I’m really pleased with, but it took several hours to get the desired effect. The basis of the loop trackbed was Treemendus Earth Powder. Geoff Taylor had recommended this to me, and it’s a great substance to work with. I’m not sure what it’s made up of, but ‘Earth Powder’ really sums up the results. This was sprinkled on top of diluted PVA, before then adding the odd sprinkle of fine ballast. I then turned to Busch fine black ballast, a black sand substance which works well to represent ash ballast. This was also used as the basis for the the siding. Once applied though it didn’t look quite right, so after some further thought I decided to add some powder. This had the desired effect I was after, giving a textured feel. To create slight discolouration to the ballast, I added a dirty wash through a pipette which I found soaks evenly into the ballast giving a natural look as it seeps outward.

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The buffer stop has come out rather well I think. It’s the standard GWR design produced by Lanarkshire Models and has been on the layout for several months. It had been sprayed brown when the track  work was done. However yesterday it was brush painted (along with the rail edges) with Revell 84. Once dry this was given a wash with AK interactive rust streaks. This same method was applied to the rail edges and  I think has created the desired effect.

A rather productive weekend I think and it’s one less thing to do. Next week I’m going to Das the bridge buttresses in preparation for carving the stone work, the results have been quite successful on the culvert portal, and with some advice on painting the stone work from Geoff Taylor. Once that is in place I can mod rock the surrounding area and begin making the lake.

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So we are getting there I think and the target for summer is still looking favourable. I’m still learning, but the important thing is I’m still enjoying this strange, crazy yet wonderful hobby we share in.

Cwm Prysor – Fully Wired!

Good Morning all!
Very brief update. The layout is now fully operational!

I’m extremely pleased I’ve managed to do it (wiring was something I didn’t think I’d be able to do) and with some advice from Ken Gibbons and Andy Jones, the process wasn’t as difficult as I thought. Below is a quick video I made last night, just to show locos and stock moving over the new area. The point is operated with a DPDT switch, which switches the polarity, and manually switches the point.

 

Just the fiddle yards to go, and we can start thinking about scenic work! 🙂

Enjoying the Hobby

Apologies for the rather ‘basic’ title of this blog, but it sums up how I’m feeling at the point.

I have now finished the landscaping on the other board that runs behind the railway. I’m rather pleased with the results from this, which was probably the hardest task landscape wise.

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The landscaping in front of the layout will be catered for once the electrics are done, the priority with the rear being finished was because of the painting of the backscene.

Today I was demonstrating wagon building and weathering at ‘Thirsk Model Railway Exhibition’. It was an enjoyable day meeting new people and seeing friends. Good banter was had all around with Ian Fleming, Ken Gibbons and Jonathan Wealleans, who was showing his beautiful LNER coaches and wagons.

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Jonathan also had a couple of items for me, two corridor Collett Coaches he had built and painted for me as a part of some ‘horse trading’. One is an E152 Brake Composite which will be permanently coupled to a Hornby all 3rd. I’ve a photo of these two seen at Trawsfynydd and Blaenau Ffestiniog in 1951, with the all 3rd still in Chocolate and Cream, a nice contrast!

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The E128 will be run on it’s own, as a mixed train or possibly joined to another Hornby all 3rd (in crimson and cream).

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In the meantime, I really better look into making a start on wiring the layout, just so I can run something up and down. Once happy with this, I will complete the points and get those wired too. I also have the fiddle yard boards on the way, so hopefully in the not to distant future (by late October I hope) I will be able to run the layout properly.

 

Back on Track

‘Schools out for summer!’ the lyrics go, and my start to the Summer has been a nasty stomach bug. One week on, and I’m still not quite over it, but I’m getting there. It’s funny the psychological effect something like this can have on you. Last weekend I felt like giving up the whole hobby, and seriously wondered how I could possibly feel positive about the layout again. Thankfully, those feelings have passed and today I began fixing the landscape to the boards.

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Insulation polystyrene two pieces thick glued with PVA, was shaped with a woodlands scenics polystyrene cutter. Some work with a bread knife was required to cut out the area of the moorland road.

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I will now need to do some work in the foreground, but it’s the area along the back scene I wish to get done before Tony Wright comes up to paint the back scene. The polystyrene will covered with modrock before scenic work.

9793 approaches Cwm Prysor with a Bala bound pick up goods.

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Vintage LMS

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I’ve said it before, but I do have a thing for LMS Vans. The high sides and shallow roof profile make for a distinctive looking van. These two are both kits from  Cambrian Models.

Both of these van’s represent slightly older variants of rolling stock, than the more common ratio van diagram.

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First up is a D1676. These vans were built from 1924-1928, with 2956 examples being built. The vans were built as fitted and unfitted, but after finding a nice early 50’s photo in Geoff Kent’s 4mm Wagon Book 2, I went with unfitted. As I mentioned at the beginning, this is a good example of an older van, but it’s heritage is undeniable.

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The second van is a D1832A which are from a slightly later period than the previous van, batches being being built in 1929-1930 and 1930-1931. The actual sides (other than the corrugation) are pretty similar to D1676 and the same as unventilated D1663, which makes commercial sense as production models (I’ve a D1676 to also finish, but in bauxite).

Both caused a little bit of a headache after building, with both developing a wobble. Thankfully I found out it wasn’t something I had done, but down to a case of a poor batch of markits wheels. The vans suffered from roofs too short for the model (they only just reached the ends) so I added microstrip to give the vans their overhang.

They have been finished with Lanarkshire Models buffers and torpedo vents. The coupling hook and links are from AMBIS Engineering.

Regarding painting, I took a different route after talking to Geoff Kent at Scale Four North. A number of Geoff’s unfitted wagons are painted a lighter shade of grey which I found  to be Railmatch’s ‘late grey’. I did discover however that the grey came off with white spirits very easily, even with a coat of Klear on top and after 3 weeks drying time, therefore both vans had two spray coats of Gameworkshop ‘purity seal’ once the transfers were in place.

Prior to weathering I painted over a couple of planks with the same grey, but it has given a nice change of tone on several of the planks. Weathering was done in my usual way, several washes over the body, building up and taking away in places. The chassis is a mix of Matt Black and Revell 84 which was finished off with a touch of powder work. Roofs were painted a mix of Matt Black, Metalcote Gunmetal and a touch of Revell 76 Grey. They were finished with powders to give a good textural finish.

My attention now turns to a couple of Parkside exLNER  vans to finish, which with the two LMS vans will form part of my demonstration at Thirsk Model Railway Exhibition at Thirsk Town Hall, 31st July.

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She’s home!

With the weather finally dry last night, and with the help of a friend, Cwm Prysor was transported from my workroom, along a narrow landing and down a narrow flight of stairs. I’d forgotten how light the boards are, even at 5ft each so the moving through the house wasn’t as bad as I had envisioned.

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I tried to explain the branch goods workings to two onlookers. I don’t think they were very interested though.

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Next task will be to begin wiring (I’m hanging off finishing the points) just so I can have something running up and down and get use to working the Lenz system.

Only 16 months until it’s first show….. I better crack on! 🙂