Saturday, 27 July 2013

Spot The Difference

Basing a layout on an actual place and time is fraught with danger in terms of colour matching where only black and white photographs prevail. It has been bugging me since 'familydesmond' commented that our 1925 station building colour scheme seems too dark. Going back over the source data again lead me to agree.

If the station building was clad in weather boarding then the Southern Railway colour would have been Stone 1A. Our building is corrugated iron. It appears a lighter colour in photographs than its wooden window frames so it too was probably the stone colour. I have therefore, remade the building appropriately.



The 1916 version is probably LSWR cream iron and brown woodwork when looking at period photographs of Herriard and Bentworth & Lasham but at Cliddesden the iron colour appears much darker in early photographs, perhaps it was LSWR brown iron with cream window frames, except a photo exists taken after the closure of 1917 and before tracks were relaid that shows the corrugated iron to be a lighter colour than the woodwork. So, hopefully our 1916 version is about right.


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Webbed Belt to Hurdle Fence

On a quest to make wagon loads typical of the freight carried on the line our reference book states that manufactured wooden products were dispatched from Cliddesden. What might that be exactly? We are two years into the first world war so it is hardly going to be fancy furniture. The answer could be a little more basic and rustic. There is a photo in the book showing a hurdle maker at his craft with stacks of  fence panels all around.

It was around this time (1916) that food was getting scarce and the populace were being encouraged to grow their own, keep chickens and fatten a pig. So, our wagon load could be hurdles being dispatched to a customer who is going to build a pig pen. Using the same raw materials (beech coppice) our crafty worker could also have been making bean poles for lawned gardens that were being turned over to vegetable growing.

What can be used to represent a hurdle in 'n' gauge? Initially, no idea. It is in this situation I find a steady stroll around the supermarket can reveal products suitable for adaptation. The first product found was a kitchen sieve with plastic mesh. Perhaps the interwoven weave could be created with a wool stitch? A little further on and a webbed luggage strap was found and on close examination I could not believe what I saw. It had the vertical stakes and interwoven weave of a 2mm scale hurdle! To avoid the expense I wondered if we had something similar at home.

Scouting around the garage, loft and cupboards some webbed belts were found with the same weave. Unfortunately, the belts were too thick. But then my wife said she had one and on inspection I found the thickness was acceptable.  She kindly exchanged the belt for a length of string and I went away happy.

I only needed about half an inch off the end for a stack of hurdles so it was a shame to destroy the belt. But I was careful and it is possible to repair it, although wifey may need to loose some weight around the waist to wear it again.

Once the hurdles are cut off  (to dimensions deduced from the photograph of the hurdle maker) the cut ends need to be sealed with PVA glue to stop the weave fraying. I guess for some people that would be job done, after a lick of brown paint. Not for me. Hurdles are made with extended poles for insertion into the ground. The extensions were represented by pushing and gluing very thin wire into the weave, difficult and frustrating task but worth it for the effect. The stack was made solid by gluing the individual hurdles together. Finally painted brown with a dry brush of white.

I think you'll agree the hurdles look right.

The bean poles are very small twigs tied into bundles with wire and soaked in diluted PVA glue with a spot of washing liquid to reduce surface tension..

I suppose I could make more hurdles from the belt and sell them on the web at £5 a stack. (Does anyone buy this stuff?). Trouble is, to do it properly with the pole extensions is time consuming. I'd be working for a lot less than the minimum wage!

If you have been following this mini series on wagon loads then this is the end.


Thursday, 4 July 2013

Crated Vegetables

These were fiddly to make. A printed graphic artwork was made up as one large block of multiple crates, wrapped around a block of card layers with a matrix of inner side walls added to the top layer of crates.

The outsides were given relief by pressing and running the blade of a small screwdriver between the slats.

The vegetable representations may be of more interest. On the left are crates of potatoes made from very small cork granules. The centre boxes are carrots made from very small dead petals of the yarrow flower painted orange. On the right are cabbages, which are scraps of Woodlands Scenics foam.

These crates will reside on the platform when scheduled for transport by a covered van. We will not load the van in practice as the large single block will not fit through the van door! It can be placed in an open wagon but I don't think that would be used in reality for perishables.


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

And then there was light...

I wanted to be a bit fancy with lighting... Ideas of potentially adding cloud movement, and simulate sunset and sunrise would have added additional interest to the layout, and I had a few ideas on how I might have produced such effects. Using DMX controlled DJ lights was the avenue I was going to go down. I found a few suitable lights but unfortunately they never gave the correct effect and were expensive. The "white" light produced from RGB LEDs is simply not white enough, producing an unnatural blue tinge, but on the other hand it had the advantage of creating an orange light for sunset and sunrise. However I could not control each LED so, producing moving clouds was out the question. The second DMX light I tried was a light bar with 10 individual warm white LEDs, now I could produce the cloud effect, but the down side was each LED produced a spot effect on the layout, not ideal. So to the compromise...

LEDs were the way to go forward, no heat, low power, and long life, but now I had to put aside my dreams of lighting effects and make do with a static light. After a quick search on ebay, I came across some LED rigid light bars (used for under cabinet lighting) - when buying on ebay be warned they may not always be what you expected. They come in various sizes and colours (RGB, warm white, cool white etc), we went for a 1 meter long warm white LED rigid bar, however testing the light out on the layout, we soon realised we needed another one as it was not bright enough at the distance we are hanging them, and it did not cover all of the layout.
The lights are screwed to 6ft wooden battens (painted black), with hand made aluminium ends to stop the bars slipping off  the overhead rigging. This means they can be placed at different distances to produce an even light over the layout. Both lights are powered from a 12v power adapter.

Overall It produces a convincing warm summers day light, over Cliddesden.


Monday, 1 July 2013

Bricks and Mortar

Founded in 1900 the Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers Ltd was an amalgamation of 24 cement companies. In 1978 it became Blue Circle Industries PLC. In this wagon is a stack of Portland cement bags bearing the circular APCM logo.

Each bag was individually made with FIMO clay by pushing a lump through a rectangular hole in a piece of rigid plastic. As the clay protrudes it takes on the bulbous shape of a filled bag. Each bag is 'stuck' to each other (being clay they naturally stick to each other) to form the stack and then heated to harden. The blue circle logo is enamel paint picked up on the end of a very small metal tube and dabbed carefully onto each bag of the top layer.

The bricks are an artwork created in graphic editing software, printed and stuck to card to form a large block. Each brick has the 'frog' formed by pressing the end of a small flat blade screwdriver to create the indentation - a surprisingly effective finish to the model.

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