Friday, 25 May 2012

Blackthorn, Parsley and Chickens

Mr. Bushnell's vegetable plot has been placed to the side of his house. Whether or not this existed for real is unknown but in 1916 food was becoming scarce (there is a war on you know!) and it seems likely that most households were growing vegetables.

The construction uses various scatter and flock materials but wherever possible I try to use real flora. There is nothing better to represent flora on the model railway than the real thing.

First up are rows of cauliflowers. These are in fact the flower buds of a blackthorn tree, dried in the airing cupboard for two days before gluing directly on the model without further treatment. The buds have outer green petals and a tightly enclosed apple green to white core. Caught early in the season just as flowers are opening the buds vary in size and are suitable for 2mm and 4mm scale.

First time I have tried this so don't know how they will stand the test of time. At the moment they are like hard little bullets. Maybe a coat of matt varnish would seal them from degradation due to moisture ingress and if the colour fades they could be painted over. I have been a bit over zealous with the planting. Two or three rows would be ideal.

Next are rows of potatoes. The earth is heaped up along each row but does not show with these plants fully grown. The core of each plant is a flower from yarrow, collected in autumn when the plant has died to brown. It is trimmed to 4mm tall and glued to the row. This approach gives bulk and height to the plant. The greenery is provided by Morrisons dried flat leaf parsley. It has a good green colour and shape to represent leaves. I also plan to use it on the tree line at the back of the model railway. The yarrow flowers are covered in neat PVA glue and the parsley laid on and sealed over with diluted PVA glue.

Once again, don't know how the parsley will age but since it was pre-dried by the supplier and still has a strong green colour it may last for ages and could be painted if it fades later.

Finally, the chicken coop and chickens. We know for sure that Mr. Bushnell kept chickens as there is a photo in our reference book. The coop is based on that in another photo from the early 1900s, scanned and enhanced on the computer for printing and forming. The chicken wire for the run is a fine plastic mesh. The chickens are made from cooked Fimo clay. A very small piece is formed into a fat U shape and thin wire pushed into the body for fixing to the model.


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Beatties cement glue

While searching through some boxes of odds and sods, in fact trying to find the rubber stamp characters for the Chalk Cliddesden sign created in the previous post. I came across some Beatties Cement Glue, still with some left in it (but not yet tried/ used). Anyway made me chuckle, and reminded me of my early modelling days. Surely this is an Antique? like the plastic bags reported else where in the blog-o-sphere: phils workbench. Sure it's probably not as old but still a contender...


Sunday, 6 May 2012

Chalk and Pens


The station name is picked out in chalk in the flower bed opposite the station building. Mr. Bushnell looks on contemplating when to plant his favourite cornflowers for the summer display.

The letters were cut from the blocks of a rubber stamp printing set, stuck down with superglue and over painted in white.


Due to lack of photos we cannot confirm the style of cattle pens used at Cliddesden. A Bentworth & Lasham photo shows a brief glimpse of what might be the side of the pens there and it is possibly round horizontal bars passing through vertical posts - a common arrangement. If we search in Google images for L&SWR cattle pens or dock the majority are model railways with only a few real railway pens and mostly in disrepair! One of these is a nice looking pen at Guildford made from wooden boards fixed to concrete posts. The boards are fixed from the inside of the pen to provide a smooth surface so that the cattle do not hurt themselves. Searching on Ebay revealed the Slater's n gauge line side fencing that would work well, with some minor modification, for our pens based on Guildford. The Slater's kit even comes with a bar gate.

As with the style of fence, the arrangement of fences at Cliddesden is also difficult to identify. A 1911 plan in our reference book is far from clear but an ordnance survey map from the same year suggests two pens with access from the adjoining road rather than the goods yard.

Having made the model it seemed entirely logical that the large pen accessible from the road is the main holding pen whilst the smaller funnel shaped pen would be an interim holding pen used just prior to loading. These two pens would make it easier to move individual cattle through the complex thus avoiding animal distress or stampede. Well, that's my theory anyway.

Inside the large pen is a water trough that is meant for 00 gauge but sized better for n gauge and a little wind blown straw on the ground. No cow pats yet though.


Saturday, 5 May 2012


Students of the Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway can do no better than obtain a copy of the definitive book 'The Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway' by Dean, Robertson and Simmonds (ISBN 0-0534197-0-3). It surveys the line and stations in some detail and covers significant events including the background to business decisions that lead to the opening and closing of the line (twice) during its short life.

Before that book was published another, smaller book of the same name existed, authored by Edward Griffith. This contains a subset of topics and photos reproduced in the later book. However, the difference is that there are more stories, some humorous, about railwaymen life and events along the line.

From a modelling aspect, if some of these real life scenarios can be reproduced in model form then this would really bring the layout to life. At least two events from the book that happened at Cliddesden I have in mind to reproduce on the layout - No, not 'Oh Mr. Porter'.

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