Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Hedgerow and Turnips

To the rear are two fields. Root crops were common, except a report from the 1930s cited the station "surrounded by bean fields".

This field is planted with turnips. The field has much less depth than the prototype. Ordinarily, we might have let the field run off the edge of the baseboard to give impression of it being deeper but a hedgerow was needed to further hide trains in the rear siding come fiddle yard.

The hedgerow was made following a technique used by Barry Norman on Petherick etc. and that is a green matted plate scourer about 5mm thick for the sturdy core and covered in Woodland Scenics matting for branches and leaves.

The tress (actually two there) are sprigs of dead sedum flower heads grouped into tree like form. The resulting tree is then upturned and dunked in a mix of green water based paint and PVA glue with a few drops of washing up liquid, shaken off and Morrisons dried flat leaf parsley sprinkled over - very effective, but will it hold its colour over time?

The field was first laid with my own mix of soil. The basis of this being scatter brown dust from Woodland Scenics I think, mixed with other finely sieved scatter materials including sawdust that gives a representation of flint stones common on a chalk landscape.

And so to the turnips. Rows of PVA glue and, yes you guessed it, Morrisons dried flat leaf parsley sprinkled over and left until the glue drys with the excess then being vacuumed off.


Saturday, 23 June 2012

Pipe Dream

The end is in sight of completing the scenic landscape of Cliddesden, albeit at least another couple of months spare time modelling. Thoughts turn to what next? In particular how to increase the operating potential and keep our creative minds busy with more modelling. There is scope for this sleepy backwater branch line.

Between Basingstoke and Cliddesden is the famous Thornycroft Motor Works. Railway traffic here gives us the opportunity to run freight trains of gleaming J class lorries destined for use on the battle front of WW1. A G6 locomotive worked between Basingstoke and the works giving us a second locomotive class to run on the line.

Then there are two other stations plus Alton Park for the Lord Mayor Treloar's Hospital at the Alton end of the line.

This plan (right) sets out how it might be done. It shows Thornycroft and two other stations built as modules the same as Cliddesden and arranged into a square with central operating well - and it is only 8' x 8'!

Alton Park could be accommodated by swapping out the Thornycroft module.

Each module can be set up and operated as a standalone model railway, as Cliddesden is today.

Thornycroft Works

The rear siding is hidden by low relief modelling of the Thornycroft workshops that exist beyond. At the Cliddesden end trains exit the model via the Worting Road bridge. At the Basingstoke end is Deep Lane underpass followed by King Georges playing field and the river Loddon. There can be no doubt that this model is a must have because the works give us a completely different landscape and operational variety.

The hidden siding represents Basingstoke.

Replacing this module with Alton Park gives another quite different scene and operation.


Unlike Cliddesden Herriard has a passing loop and semaphore signals for extra interest. Buildings and landscape pretty much mirror Cliddesden.

Bentworth & Lasham

A much longer track plan. The passing loop/head shunt has has had to be significantly shortened to fit. The A339 main road makes it onto the edge of the model.

The hidden siding represents Alton Park & Alton, when the Thornycroft module is used. When Alton Park is used then its hidden siding becomes Alton while Cliddesden's is Thornycroft and Basingstoke.

For us, all this represents about 4 or 5 years spare time modelling. For now it's just a pipe dream.


Saturday, 16 June 2012

Mr. Bushnell's Whirligig

Mr. Bushnell, Cliddesden Station Master, had a hobby making whirligigs.

This picture is not as clear as the one in our reference books but look closely (no not the wind pump!) and you will see in front of the tower ladder a tall post with a blob of something on top. In the book we can just make out a four blade propeller attached to the 'blob' but, the animated scene atop the post cannot be identified for sure. The post, by the way, is the trunk from a small tree with the branches cut off.

I spent ages trying to find a whirligig design that bore some resemblance but to no avail. A search for 'antique whirligig' on Google did throw up some interesting designs and I choose one from the period that was a fairly simple arrangement of objects to scale down to 2mm scale - and here it is on our model railway.

Can you see what it is? Well, it's a woodman sawing a log with a bow saw. Simply printed on two sides of paper. No attempt to cut out the blanks around the detail as the bow saw in particular has very fine lines that would be nigh on impossible to preserve. The white blanks are visible but not here photographed against a white sky.


Friday, 1 June 2012

Laying The Turf

Here is an update on the progress of laying down the grass around Cliddesden Station and surrounding area. As mentioned previously the turf is being applied using static grass, this produces a more authentic look. As our model has a lot of turf to lay, it's taking a little longer than other methods. In the end though it's going to look amazing - I'm sure you'll agree...

On the back fill behind the station building we used a mixture of spring and meadow grass from Noch, however we soon realised it was not going to be the right colour for the rest of the layout. As we are trying to model the prototype in the summer, we had to find some "summer grass" and different shades of burnt grass, in 3 different sizes, 2mm, 4mm and 6mm. So a search online revealed we found them via ebay, and quickly ordered up 20grams of each size. We first of all laid the bank in front of the platform, starting with 4mm and gradually working upto 6mm by the time we past the end of the platform. This took 5 hours in all just to do that bit, although it looked impressive the block of grass was a little unnatural, we had to find away to break it up  bit. As we are modelling a summer scene we felt it was missing some long straw coloured 'dried' grass. War-Worlds unfortunately, don't do long straw like grass. Luckily a visit to a local model railway exhibition sorted that problem. We sprayed some diluted PVA on top of the summer grass and added it in, not sure whether it would work, but were surprised by the great end result. On the bank behind the station we added it in with the summer grass as we went a long, this provided more densely packed 'dried' grass areas. The pictures below give you an overview as to how far we have got, and the different shadings involved. If you look closely you can make out some grass paths and a cricket pitch.

There's still a lot more to grass, but it's beginning to pull the model together. 


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