Sunday, 28 September 2014

Private Siding Gates

Latest additions are another palisade fence, this time from N Brass Locos, and private siding gates made from balsa wood. The style of gate we adopted is of the Southern Railway cross braced level crossing type.

The only photo we have that shows the gates is from 'Britain From Above', which shows a blurry distant view. Nevertheless we are pretty sure from this that it was a double gate but whether it had a red target like level crossing gates we cannot be certain. From other accounts we understand there was no standard in this respect. We have seen a photo of another location that has no red target plate.

To clear the rails the model gates sit a lot higher than the surrounding ground level. They can be be opened and closed by hand with care.

David & Ed.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Small Trees and Shrubs

I use natural flora to create trees and shrubs, mostly dead stems and flower heads of Sedum or Yarrow. I had not considered delving beneath ground to utilise plant roots for tree construction until I saw this video. (advance the video to about 2 minutes).

Pulling the weed from gravel retains the open root structure well. I also found that if the weed is dug up from soil whilst retaining a clump of earth around the root and then gently ease it away in a bowl of water then this works too. The only weed I used is chick weed, which is very common. Care in selection is necessary to choose straight stem plants as some have contorted stems.

I followed the same technique as shown in the video to prepare the root but did not bother to beef up the trunk or use the elaborate method of making foliage. I simply used a mat of Woodland Scenics foliage. This was teased out finely to give a lace like structure, laid over the branches and prodded until a desirable tree shape was formed. The foliage end of the tree was dipped in 50/50 water/PVA glue solution to fix the foliage to branches. Neat PVA was applied to the trunk and the tree popped into a previously drilled hole in the scenery.

Unfortunately, the lace like foilage structure was too fine, making the whiskery hair of the matting too noticeable. This was corrected with judicious placing of foliage clumps, that fell off the mat during teasing, and then over sprayed with sticky hair spray to fix.

This method of tree construction is ideal for small N gauge trees but for large trees I prefer the more substantial form of Yarrow or Sedum flower heads.

The photo below shows some of the trees planted along the fence line behind the Wood Store. They are of similar size and position as appearing in a photo from 1928 of the real site.


Friday, 19 September 2014

Photography and Set Scenes

There was a photographic studio, or photograph store I'm not sure which, located near the main gate house of the factory. Photography at the factory was a prolific activity with hundreds of images taken of vehicles both in chassis form and complete custom liveried vehicles. A publicity film was also made in the late 1940s, as shown on our Thornycroft page.

A set scene I want to replicate was the Dunlop van being photographed outside the factory in Worting Road. For this scene a photographer had to be fabricated holding a camera pointed at the vehicle. In the 1930s single lens reflex cameras were available but fabricating a photographer in N scale holding a 35mm reflex camera would be quite insignificant. The larger format cameras were still used by the press so I decided to give him one of those. Next, I needed to understand how they were used so searched for a 1930s photographer and discovered a wonderful picture of the American photographer Rudy Arnold, who was famous for photographing aeroplanes. Seems entirely reasonable that his press style camera could also be used for photographing road vehicles. His pose was copied for our model, which was dressed smartly with waist coat like Rudy is wearing.

The method of making the figure is described here.

I had hoped to show the set scene of Dunlop van with photographer but the backdrop of trees and shrubs on the layout have yet to be modelled.

One scene we have finished is our recreation of this 1920s or 1930s view. It is an A3 6 wheeled lorry loaded with hay or straw that is being unloaded into the Wood Store. The lorry itself has no number plates fitted and no spare wheel so I think it is either a demonstration model or a production unit before dispatch to customer.

A3 photo by Ed.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Let Phase 3 Commence

Phase 3 is about populating our Thornycroft Sidings layout with flora, vehicles, people and factory materials about the yards.

First up is an A3 class, six wheeled, flat bed lorry (actually second up because an A1 class Dunlop van was made earlier). The A3 was introduced in 1926 and could carry loads up to 50cwt.

Here is an unkind photograph of this very small model (about 40mm x 12mm x 17mm). The roughness is less noticeable at normal viewing distance.

Designed using FreeCAD as a kit of parts and then 3D printed, like the A1.

As with the A1 Dunlop van it will be set into a cameo scene on the layout that reflects that shown in a period photograph of the full size lorry. This will be the subject of a future posting.


Friday, 12 September 2014

Farish N gauge 57xx Pannier tank to G6

As mentioned in the previous post, we need a 0-6-0 G6 to work the yard at Thornycroft. There are no n gauge R-T-R models of this locomotive on the market, but a search shows up a brass kit made by N Brass Locos - this requires a Farish 57xx chassis. So the next thing was to find the chassis. A search of the popular internet auction site brought up a few options, as we only wanted the chassis we waited for an auction which started with a low price (£0.99), and waited to see what the price would rise to just before the auction ended. I put a late bid in and won it for £27.99 + P&P, not a bad price as most appear to sell for over £30, and only wanting the chassis did not want to pay over the odds.

One of our main concerns was the height of the guides on the wheels, as previously mentioned. The sizes seem to change depending on age of model. To our delight when it arrived, the wheel guides were on the low side which meant it would roll over our faux concrete track without any problems. The loco is in pretty good shape, and ran around our board without problems. The only minor issue is a few paint dinks, which are hardly noticeable. It'll be a shame to to change it's body, but a Pannier 57xx never ventured down the B&ALR line as far as we can tell.

Just need to order the N Brass kit next...

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