Saturday, 3 November 2018

Signal cabin

Currently I'm working on the signal cabin for Corrieshalloch. This is the last major building planned for the layout. There would have been one of these at each end of the station, controlling each end of the crossing loop, but my layout only features one end of the station.

The cabin is based on drawings of one of the two cabins at Garve, albeit in mirror image. Here are a couple of photos of the present state of construction:

In building the model, I was strongly influenced by Jim Watt's recent build of a Caledonian Railway cabin, the construction of which he described in the October 2mm Magazine. I followed Jim's cunning strategy of making an etched jig for soldering up the steps (albeit on a smaller scale!), and I drew these up on an etch along with the windows, doors and barge-boards with their finials. I decided it would be quicker to model the rest in plasticard than to spend time drawing it on the computer.

The windows are more complicated than they look, with up to 6 layers of 10-thou etch in places, to accommodate the panes of "glass" which will be slotted in after painting. To allow this, the windows are all still removable, and indeed some of them are not present in the photo. There's also a rather vulnerable handrail still to be added - I will probably do this after painting along with the downpipes. To facilitate removing the windows, the whole construction is in three pieces, as you see in the next photo:

Putting this lot together out of Evergreen styrene sheet has kept me busy for a while, but it is very nearly at the painting stage now. The roof was made last night from home-corrugated aluminium, in my usual way. It still needs finishing along the ridge.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Progress update

Although it has been a year since I posted on this blog, I have made gradual progress with the layout during that time. While the layout was on show at the Darlington exhibition last week, I used the opportunity to take some photos. As the scenery progresses, it is starting to look more anachronistic when operating my 1970s stock!

The station area. As you can see, the station building is now painted and glazed, although it still awaits some final details like posters etc. The windows are made of clear styrene with glazing bars scribed and painted on. I'm quite proud of the lamp which was made up from brass and nickel silver, and glazed with Microsol Krystal Clear.
View of the station from the goods yard. The Farish Mark 1 RMB is the latest addition to my 1970s fleet. It is also significant as it is the first time I have turned down the wheels myself (on my Sherline lathe). This was much easier than expected, thanks to a tutorial from Edward Sissling at a NEAG meeting earlier this year. Basically, you just thin down the  back of the flange, and then take as much as you can get away with off the front of the tyre. I didn't have a collet large enough to hold the tyres, so I had to use the chuck, but I followed Edward's tip to use a piece of small-diameter brass tube in the tailstock to hold the other end of the axle. The coach is yet to receive a weathering treatment to blend it in with the rest of the stock.
A closer view of the cattle dock, which is a straightforward build from microstrip. I also had a go at building a raised section of platform for loading the iconic double-decker sheep wagons. At some point, I will work out how to mass produce sheep; current thinking is to use an etched skeleton but if anyone can suggest an affordable source of ready-made animals that might be simpler.
At the other end of the scene, I've made some progress with trees, although there are more to do. All are made of twisted wire (of varying fineness), with Woodland Scenics polyfibre teased out and stuck on with Spraymount. The leaves are the excellent scatter material from Treemendus.
This close-up of the river shows the water that is made from artist's acrylic gloss medium, poured on fairly thick. This was a bit hairy as it is right on the edge of the board, but it is viscous enough that it didn't spill over. The final effect is similar to PVA glue but a bit more transparent. I didn't try to form too many "waves" but rather left it mostly how it landed.
The railway workers' cottages have also reached the painted stage. In fact, since the photo was taken I've begun work on the doors and windows. These I always find tedious and have to be in the right frame of mind.
An overall view taken at the exhibition.
As always, there are many jobs still to be done. As well as finishing the cottages, I've just received an etch from PPD that includes platform fencing and the signal box windows, so those will probably be the next tasks, along with the signal. Highland Railway locomotives and stock are an ongoing project (if "going" is the right word), despite the fact that a number of visitors at Darlington expressed support for the blue-diesel era!