Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Goods shed progress

The goods shed was actually the first structure that I started, a few years back now. I recently decided to progress it further, which basically meant adding the roof, doors and windows. It is entirely modelled in styrene, except for the paper strip roof tiles (printed by computer), the brick paper covering the chimney (from the http://scalescenes.com free demo kit), and the chimney pot (a white metal casting of unknown provenance).

You can see that I've made a start on painting, although there is definitely more weathering to do. I'm going to leave this for the moment and try to blend it into the whole scene at a later stage. Missing also at present are the interior crane and the enamel advertising signs which seemed to grace most of these sheds in photographs of the period. According to Highland Railway Liveries, the shed walls were creosoted, while the doors and windows were painted burnt sienna. I've not found much guidance on how dark or light a shade of burnt sienna was used. so I opted for a reasonably light one as seems to be suggested by the black-and-white photos. Perhaps someone will correct me.

Another couple of problems to be fixed are (1) the gap around the bottom of the building, and (2) the lack of lighting on its front face. I cheated for these photos and used an extra lamp pointed at the layout, but in the long run I think I will need to add another strip of LEDs right at the bottom of the layout fascia.

Also in the top photo are some trees - I made a start on these a while back and need to make many more. They use traditional twisted copper wire, covered in solder. The foliage is represented by various products held on teased out Woodland Scenics poly fibre.

Evident also are the spaces where the station building and waiting shelter will go - these are on my to-do list!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

4-wheel passenger brake van

This is the first major item put together from my recent etch. It is modelled on Highland Railway passenger brake van No. 5, as preserved at the SRPS in Bo'ness, and drawn on p.101 of Peter Tatlow's book. Pete Armstrong has also modelled this van in 7mm scale, in his case from the Lochgorm Models kit (see his blog here).

Still missing are vacuum pipes and handwheels, which I will add after painting because I need to make sure that I don't foul the couplings. Glazing will be added simply by slotting into the sides. The white bits are Milliput that I used to fill in some gaps where the parts join together.

Like my previous attempt at a Jones 6-wheel coach, the sides fold up from several layers. This time, I included fold-out footsteps on the inner layer of the end, which fit through slots in the outer layer. I'm very pleased with how it has turned out. The only errors were that I forgot quite a lot of the handrail holes on the inner-most layers. These were easily drilled out, however. Also, I included the handrails on the etch, but these proved too fragile and I replaced them with 0.3mm nickel silver wire.

The photo below shows that there are three main pieces. A 12BA nut is soldered on the inside of the floor (see bottom photo), and this will be used to screw on the chassis. Notice the etched tab on the chassis that locates through a corresponding slot in the floor of the body, to make sure that the two mate together squarely. I'm also showing you the roof here. Following problems trying to bend the full 10 thou thickness for my previous coach, I half-etched much of the material away, just leaving a strip around the edge and a series of longitudinal ribs. This made it much easier to get the curve parallel along the length of the roof, and bending was quite straightforward. I've modelled the lamp-holders in "day time" condition, i.e. no lamps. The covers (and the holes into which the covers fit when lamps are fitted) are made from lengths of brass tube. This was a bit labour intensive so I would quite like to find a quicker method in future.

How exactly I will attach the roof remains to be seen - you can see that it locates on a tab sticking up from the interior spacer. I should probably have included one at the other end. I might even solder in a 12BA nut and use the same fixing screw to attach it, but I don't know whether this will hold the roof down sufficiently around the edges. I may need to glue it. It can't be fixed until after painting because the glazing needs to slot down from the top of the sides - you can just about see the slots in the photo below.

Friday, 3 March 2017

On the bench

This little project was conceived to fill a corner of an etched sheet that I just got back from the etchers. (Of the rest of this sheet, more anon!) It is a Highland Railway bench of the type shown in Plate 178 of Peter Tatlow's Highland Miscellany. Some photos of a similar bench are available on the HR chat group.

The etch went together OK. Although these are cruel enlargements, I do wonder whether it was necessary to double-up the ends. They seem a bit chunky and were awkward to laminate, so on the second (identical) etch I may try a single layer. The twiddly details are rather impressionistic, but hopefully are vaguely reminiscent of the pattern of leaves on the real metalwork. I certainly don't see that I could have produced them by any means other than etching. Next question: what colour to paint it?

Monday, 31 October 2016

The gatehouse

I've made some progress with the estate gatehouse on Corrieshalloch. This was designed to add a bit of interest to the background where it stretches up above the railway. Rather than model it on one of the real Braemore Estate buildings, I wanted something that was quite small but a little bit distinctive. The model I've made is inspired by the gate lodge at Ardkinglas in Argyll (https://canmore.org.uk/collection/1298177).

This building has a distinctive octagonal footprint which challenged my abilities, particularly on the roof. These photos show the model which is basically a plasticard shell with some reinforcing bits. The walls are covered with cartridge paper to mimic the rendered texture, and the roof uses overlapping strips of slates printed and cut from standard copier paper. I embossed the vertical joints between the tiles first, although I'm not sure they show through much after painting. The small sections of dressed stone (chimney stack and gateposts) are also cartridge paper, with the mortar lines embossed. The chimney pots are some whitemetal castings from my scrap drawer.

The next photo shows the windows, which were the trickiest bit (with a few failed attempts). The glazing bars are just painted on clear plasticard, but to try and get them neat I first scored parallel lines for the straight ones with a knife. I had to wing it for the curved bits. After painting, a cocktail stick was used to scrape off any stray paint up to the hard scribed line. I glued pieces of microstrip around the outside to give a raised frame (made over-thick then sanded down afterwards). The bit of wall here is the second gatepost, on the opposite side to the building.

Here are some pictures of the gatehouse in position on the layout, after some initial coats of paint.  More work will be needed to weather and blend it in with the surrounding scene, but I'm quite happy so far.

You can just about see the gate itself below: this is from a Scale-Link etch and soldered to brass posts which sit in holes in the road. It is yet to be painted.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Perth supermeet

Rather belatedly, here are a selection of photos I took during the layout's appearance at the 2mm Perth supermeet in April. The first two shots show my own stock.

All buildings except for the signal cabin are now plasticard shells, although the station building is missing its roof. I'm trying to progress the layout as a whole, rather than completely finishing one building before starting the next.

The next three shots were staged with some of Alisdair Campbell's fantastic Highland locos and stock (along with my four wagons mixed in...). This is what I am ultimately aiming for, although it will be some time before I manage to build up my own fleet.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Bank holiday engineering work

The civil engineers had been a tad unhappy with the road overbridge at Corrieshalloch; probably something to do with a number of non-finescale diesel locomotives getting wedged under it. A quick check of the gauge confirmed what I had suspected: when it was glued down it was somehow pushed down too much, and there was insufficient clearance even for scale rolling stock. There was no option but to rip it up again, so on Monday I finally plucked up the courage to do so. (There is definitely something of the "two steps forward, one step back" about my modelling.)

First is a photo with the bridge removed. I took the opportunity to widen the hole in the sky, in an effort to make its edges less prominent. I also painted these black rather than white, although I will probably settle for a shade of grey as melding into the background better. Unfortunately, I had plastered in around where the bridge joined the landscape, so some cutting and chipping away of plaster was necessary.

Next picture shows the modified bridge back in place (though not fixed down yet). It was a simple matter to raise it up a bit, although I will need to touch up the paint on the bottom edges. I took the opportunity to add the other parapet, which I had been too lazy to do at the outset. This will need painting too, and I will also have to touch up the joins in the (polyfilla + PVA) road surface. However, I can now run converted N-gauge locos without them getting stuck!

The backscene at this end of the layout may also receive some more attention - it has been suggested that it would be more aesthetically pleasing if the hills here had a little more height, so I will ponder it. There is also a bit of a join between road and sky that will need disguising better.

Friday, 1 January 2016

New Year update

Since another year is upon us, I decided to take some new photos of the layout. Comparing with those in the blog from a year ago, I realize that I have made some progress after all, although perhaps not as much as I would have liked.

First off, here are three photos of the layout itself. Little work has been done on the buildings since the Nottingham exhibition in March - only construction of the small waiting shelter on the down platform. However, the overall scenery has progressed rather more. Track is now ballasted and painted. I've made a start on the basic ground cover, although there is much to do. I had a go at painting the backscene (in acrylics) and I'm reasonably happy with it, although it will probably need some modification once the final colouring of the actual scenery is set. The lighting has also advanced since the Nottingham show, although it is not obvious here - in fact, an LED strip from https://www.led-lighthouse.co.uk/ has now replaced the IKEA fluorescent strip.

The next two photos show four Highland wagons that I finished off during 2015. I was surprised but happy that they won the John Barker trophy at the 2mm AGM in October. The top two are diagram 6 opens while the bottom two are diagram 23 drop-side ballast wagons. All of the bodies were scratchbuilt in styrene (and I have an accompanying box of failed attempts!) The chassis were cobbled together from 2mm Association parts and don't bear close inspection. For future wagons, I am experimenting with etching more accurate chassis, so watch this space.