Saturday, 28 June 2014

Palisade Fencing too expensive?

The boundary between the Thornycroft factory and Worting Road is a metal palisade (black railing) fence atop of a low brick wall backed by a manicured hedge.

N gauge palisade fences are available from the trade in plastic or brass etch but have you seen the price? We need about 700 mm, which requires two packs costing over £10 mail order. I felt this was too expensive for a bit of plastic or brass so set about making my own, which is surely what railway modelling is about if you have the ability.

To be honest the hedge backing helped make for an easy (albeit time consuming) job.

I started with a Sainsbury's green scouring pad for the hedge. (Got this idea from Barry Norman) and pressed it onto double sided sticky tape.

Peel off the backing and stick the low brick wall onto it, which was made from brick paper on card.

I used a brass coloured embroidery wire for the palisade railings but copper wire would do just as well. This was cut to length and pressed onto the sticky tape taking care to ensure each rail was as straight as possible.

Next I wiped black paint across the wires taking care not to flood the sticky tape.

To enhance the hedge texture I dabbed  2 mm static grass strands onto the tape and brush over to lay them flatter.

For the hedge top and rear I spread diluted PVA glue and dabbed more static grass onto that. That was less effective than the sticky tape because the wetness caused the grass to clump. I may use sticky tape next time (but where the tape is not covered it glistens a bit in the light).

Instead of static grass green scatter could be used.

The finished result is quite pleasing although at the normal N gauge viewing distance the palisade is hardly noticeable against the dominant hedge.


Sunday, 22 June 2014

Weathered Concrete

What we need to achieve is the markings that appear on the concrete in this photograph of the wood store and class A3 lorry at Thornycroft.

First task was to lay down a covering of black and when dry cover it completely with light grey. Matt household emulsion paint is used.

The joins between concrete sections that we marked into the DAS (ref: previous posting) are gently scribed with a scalpel to break through the grey and reveal the black, thus highlighting the joins.

The whole area is then gently scrubbed over with a very fine grade of emery paper to flatten brush marks and deepen the grey in places as the black begins to penetrate.

Blotches of black were created by rubbing the grey away with a fibreglass rubber.

Next a stiff brush was dipped in black, wiped almost dry and  lightly dabbed onto the concrete to represent dirt and grime caught in concrete imperfections.

Finally, scrapes from a black pastel stick were picked up on a dry brush and rubbed over  the concrete in places for more grime especially at door entrances.

This was our first attempt at this procedure. The idea of layered paint and cutting through I remembered from a magazine article years ago.


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Faux Concrete, tarmac and cobbles

This was the scenic part of the model we were dreading. How do we go about raising the level of the ground so that it is level with the top of the rails, which looks authentic and is easy to apply. Well as hinted in a few posts a go, we decided to use the method of flooding the raised areas with DAS Modelling clay.

A test piece was done to find out how we can realistically pattern the cobbles in the clay. The end of a Biro with the writing bit removed, is too big to make cobbles in n gauge, but would you believe it that the actual nib of the pen (non writing side), with the plastic ink tube removed, makes the perfect fit (if a little oversized) for n scaled cobbles. Luckily the area for cobbles at Thornycroft is relatively small, so all in all it took about 45mins of "prodding" the clay to lay the cobbles.

The clay was laid in handful chucks squished down onto a watered down PVA adhesive layer, and then levelled using a stainless steel metal ruler, block of smooth wood, and finger squishing. Although we could never get it perfectly flush and flat. Concrete slaps were scribed into the surface, and a sprinkling of fine sand to create the tarmac surfaces.

The clay was then squished down between the track and sleepers, making sure we kept the top of the rail clean, and the sides deep enough for the trains wheels. Although due to shrinkage the sleepers have left an imprint in the clay. Another thin layer should hopefully reduce this affect.

The buildings fit nicely in their holes, although a few required tweaking with a knife, to square of a few side. The cardboard formers with sticky-back-plastic edges worked pretty well.

It took 3 afternoons so far to get to this stage, and 2 Kg's of DAS clay. I think it was worth it, it has certainly brought the model together.

Painting up next, and working out how to apply the clay in the turn outs and still keep them working. Interesting conundrum.


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Behind The Scenes

One of the sidings on our Thornycroft layout goes through a large factory building but most of this building is 'off stage'. A small fiddle yard sticking out behind the back scene is needed to accommodate wagons sent into the factory.

For layout transportation (it is portable) this protrusion needs to be removed. The first idea was to put it on a hinge that folds flat to the baseboard frame. However, in practice the give in the hinge made the assembly too sloppy for accurate track alignment. A more rigid arrangement was needed and the method that worked best was a single stud screwed into the end with a wing nut and washer holding it firmly against the baseboard frame.

Some error of squareness crept in that lead to the assembly taking on a downward slope! This was compensated for by two small wood screws screwed into the end whose heads act as stoppers.

The wiring to the track should be on a plug and socket to facilitate complete removal of the assembly but for expediency it was permanently wired. For transportation the assembly is unscrewed and simply laid on the top of the baseboard in a non scenic area with a strap to hold it down.


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Track Laying For Thornycroft Sidings

Track laying is complete for the scenic side of the layout. Such a simple statement that hides a more complex exercise than expected.

Track is Peco SL300 (code 80) with insulfrog turnouts. The turnout to the yard is medium radius and those within the yard are small radius setrack. Ordinarily I would use at least medium but small radius is used in the yard to save on space.

Care was needed to ensure the relationship of track to buildings was correct because the track follows the outline of building profiles. A lot of fiddling and adjustment was needed to ensure locomotives traverse the turnouts without derailing, which is a particular problem with small radius turnouts and the Dapol M7 tank loco. (More about this here.) It is a bit of a worry because the track work is to be buried in faux tarmac and concrete, which will not allow us to make track adjustment later.

In the photo the footprint of buildings that are to be set below ground level are marked with temporary raised platforms of 4mm corrugated cardboard. This sets the boundaries for the roadways to be made from DAS modelling clay that will be laid between to a depth of 4mm.When the platforms are removed the buildings should slot into place.

We still need to do more locomotive trials through turnouts and adjust for smooth running before letting Ed loose with his DAS clay over this lot.

There is more track laying to do behind the back scene and loops laid for each end that make the oval circuit.

The next photo shows the business end underneath the baseboard. Five of the six Seep point motors were obtained cheaply second hand - a great deal, until I discovered that the operating pins had been cut for a lower baseboard height than ours! Several pins had to be hammered out and new pins made from straightened paper clips glued in place and cut to our height requirement. I used Seep motors rather than Peco as they are easier to mount on a baseboard.

In order to get the turnouts to switch effectively varying degrees of loose fitting of the motors helped. In other words they work better with a loose fit to the baseboard rather than being firmly screwed down, except for one turnout where I had to weaken the turnout spring. (More about this here.)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...