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.

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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First Train of the Day

Ok, the bleak whiteness does make it look like it’s still been snowing up their since Christmas!

The bufferstop has now been made, and the siding partially laid.

At 7.17am, 4645 passes the former loop, now siding….with the 6.45am off Bala, due at Blaenau Ffestiniog, 8.36am.

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Mineral Wagons – Part 2 ‘BR 16T’

Over the past week, my hobby time has been spent working on the Bachmann BR 16T I repainted in my last update. This was a project I had initially been dreading, as steel bodied 16Ts have a particular look, and many models I’ve seen just do not look right.

When it came to adding the ‘rust effect’ I did keep going back to  Ian (windcutter) Fleming to see what he thought, who offered suggestions and advice which I appreciate. On something like this, I think it’s always good to have another set of eyes on the project.

Several days later, and here are the results.

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The chassis was treated with a mix of Revell 84 and Matt Black (another tip picked up from Ian’s blog). Further treatment with powders made the finishing touches to the chassis. The interior was painted with the same paint mix as the chassis, before being finished with powders which has given a rather pleasing effect. I didn’t feel the need for the airbrush and I feel it’s always good to broaden ones techniques.

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I am aware that the Brake push rods have been fitted the wrong way around, something Bachmann seem to have a habit of doing. It’s not the only Bachmann model I’ve seen in my fleet that has also been fitted the wrong way around. I had looked to swopping them around, but sadly they are only detailed on one side. For the moment they will stay and will be possibly be replaced at a later date.

As a conclusion, I think the most important aspect of this weathering project was preparation. I’d spent some time thinking how I was going to approach this wagon, consulted modelling friends, prototype photographs and Geoff Kent’s excellent volumes on 4mm wagons.

I also took the opportunity of good sun light (yes I know…don’t fall off your chair at that prospect) to photograph 7428 outdoors, still very pleased with the finish on her.

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I’m near to finishing work for Easter, so I’m looking forward to starting work on a 1950’s ex PO. York Show next weekend where I will be stewarding and a trip down to the Llangollen for their Spring Gala. Plenty to look forward to!

Cheers for now!

Prysor for Christmas

Good tidings to all at this festive time of year. In the last couple of days I’ve been preparing the work room for the arrival of the layout. Tim Horn has worked exceptionally hard to bring my rough ideas into reality. From here, the real work can begin on turing this into an operational layout, with the eventual goal of having the layout on the exhibition circuit, however I intend to take my time with this, I see no need to rush this project.

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In the meantime, I’ve been working on another 74XX. This one is somewhat special in that 7428 retained her GWR livery until withdrawal on the 31/10/1962. Although she retained the livery, the photos I have show her in typical Croes Newydd condition (filthy), although the Great Western Railway initials are still very prominent (I read that shed staff highlighted it with chalk over the years).  As this started life as a Bachmann GWR 64XX, it didn’t have a smokebox numberplate, so I made one from some 10thou plasticard.

Weathering was done using several reference colour photographs, and the effect I feel works well, with the green livery slightly hinted at ‘just’ under the grime.

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To finish the scene, Modelu‘s figures bring the whole thing to life. You may notice the lamp missing from along the running plate, the reason for this is I will testing some prototypes of Modelu’s 3D printed lamps in the next few weeks.

Those that follow this blog and are interested in these Pannier tanks, may like to know that the Railway Modeller article on the subject of my 74XX conversion, will be in (I believe) the February issue.

Finally I’d just like to wish the followers of tfmodelling, a Very Merry Christmas, and all the best for the New Year.

Best Wishes

Tom

Rochdale Model Railway Exhibition 2015

Today, I crossed over to that dark forbidden county….LANCASHIRE! (I say this in jest of course, I was born and raised in Lancashire for 19 years) and spent an enjoyable day in the company of good friends, at the Rochdale 2015 Model Railway Exhibition.

It was probably one of the best Shows I have been to in recent years….not a box shifter in sight! Several layouts of superb modelling and excellent trade in the form of Todmorden Model Supplies ( I picked up a couple of drill bits….0.4 and 0.5 have a tendency to break on me!).

Below you will find a selection of photos of several of the layouts present.

Culm – Dai Davies (EM) – GWR/Western Region (Transition)

I had an enjoyable chat with Dai regarding Railways in North Wales, and told him of my own North Wales plans regarding Cwm Prysor and Trawsfynydd.

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Angelbank – Liverpool MRS EM) – Clee Hill Incline 1950s

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Polbrook Gurney – Chris Nevard (OO) – Somerset C.1960

It was a pleasure to see Chris once again. Chris manages to make his layouts really draw you in, they are almost like a small theatre, drawing the audience into the past.

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Glaisden – Ian Worthington (EM) – BR(NE) 1960s

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Great job Rochdale Group, for creating a thoroughly enjoyable show….and the ice buns were rather nice!

…..finally…..

STOP PRESS, Andy Cooper spotted holding GWR loco!
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