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 (

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 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.