Saturday, 1 December 2012

Coming along nicely

After a few attempts I'm now happy with the way the scenery profile at the rear of the station board looks.  The goods yard access road flows nicely behind the cattle dock.  The siding for the end loading dock has been cut back further enabling the roadway to reach it comfortably.  The basic profile for the scenery was made from heavy card with a card lattice formed over it.  This was then topped with Mod-roc plaster bandage.   The flat brown paint is obviously the basic ground cover and until any greenery is added certainly looks better than the white plaster.  I'm looking forward to getting on with the scenery especially as I have a static grass applicator which I'm just itching to get using!
On the far left I've added a station-masters house loosely based on a prototype at Adlestrop.  On the right the land behind the platform has also been built up.  I'm quite pleased with how things are progressing.  I just wish it was easier to set up both scenic boards to work on together but doing so prevents access to the cupboards holding my modelling materials. 

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Back at last

Apologies for the long break in updates but various other things have got in the way of blogging.  What modelling time I've had has been taken up with yet another re-think about Chipping Compton.  Only a minor one this time and no track has been ripped up or anything drastic!  It involved the area opposite the platform where the road down to the goods yard is going to be.  The way it ended up with quite an incline up to the imagined main road involved an earth slope down to the line which was way too steep.  I just wasn't happy with it so one Sunday I set to with a knife and demolished the honeycomb of card acting as the sub-structure for the scenery.  The road is now slightly raised above track level at the same height as the cattle dock which has been re sited opposite the platform.

Below we can see the cattle dock taking shape.  The earlier standard Great Western cattle pens made use of redundant Barlow rail held by uprights of early Vignoles flat-bottomed rail and I thought this was a non-starter to model until I saw my fellow 3mm modeller and avid blogger Steve Fackrell's blog where he used plastic "T" section to represent the Barlow rail.  I think this is a brilliant solution and whilst the pedant would point out the lack of recess on the rail base Steve and I both have other things to do so we'll put up with it!
I felt more comfortable using brass section than plastic (having half-demolished a previous cattle pen on an earlier layout) and actually enjoy soldering.  The "T" section used is from Eileen's Emporium and being milled is not cheap but well worth it.  This layout will hopefully last me a good many years so it's built to last.  The rail uprights are from rail meant for 14.2 gauge in 3mm scale and is a finer section that used on the running line.

The next picture shows my results with the method of ash ballasting as pioneered by Chris Nevard.  I'm more than happy with it and the rather poor picture doesn't faithfully show the subtle tones used.
The rails were already painted when the clay was put into place and some touching-up is required.  Likewise some use will be made of static grass etc to give it a bit more realism.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Progress on Chipping Compton

Despite a lack of photographic evidence there has been some progress on Chipping Compton.  A recent post mentioned the re-ballasting of the goods yard area with air-drying clay.  This has almost been completed and the issue of painting it convincingly has been tackled.  Unfortunately I've not had the opportunity to photograph the layout as a combination of other things and dreadful natural lighting conditions have prevented me from making an attempt. 


Camrail 2012

The excellent "Camrail" exhibition in Bradford-on-Avon is a firm favourite and this year found my brother Richard and I once again doing a modelling demo.  The show is always enjoyable and even more so from the exhibitors perspective as it is a very friendly one and involves far more chatting than demonstrating!  Richard was once again showing how he builds his superb wagons from Plasticard and I was building a couple of wagons from 3mm Society kits.  Some excellent layouts in attendance with an impromptu appearance on the Saturday of Chris Nevard's Polbrock as a static exhibit.

A 57XX pannier enters Polbrock passing the public house "The Pedant and Armchair". 

The entire scenic section.

The station board from my Chipping Compton layout.  The buildings on the left are not in their final positions and were simply plonked there for display purposes.  In the siding is a part-completed Lowmac wagon, the result of my labours on the Saturday. 

Valencia Harbour was the most westerly railhead in Europe and was the terminus of a long branch in the southwest of Ireland.  Andy Cundick's splendid 4mm scale portrayal captures the windswept location perfectly.

John Greenwood's 2mm masterpiece portraying the goods station at Wenfordbridge in Cornwall has been on the exhibition circuit for a fair number of years but is still a firm favourite.  The consistently high standard of modelling throughout all aspects of the layout is truly remarkable.      


Saturday, 23 June 2012

Ash ballast for sidings

Over the last few months I have tried several methods of ballasting in siding areas.  All too often you see layouts where sidings have been ballasted almost to mainline standards when this simply did not happen on the prototype.  I have tried various products marketed as either ash or cinder ballast but all are way too course for 3mm scale modelling (and 4mm scale too come to that).  This process of trial and error even led me a few months ago to rip up and relay a couple of sidings on the layout.
I then saw an article on Chris Nevard's blog  which has saved the day.  I could not get hold of the exact same make of clay that Chris used but found a Korean product called "Mungyo" in my local branch of Hobbycraft.
You can even cover over existing conventional ballast (provided it's not been done to sleeper height).
In fact the old ballast really provides a good key for the plaster.
So thanks for posting that Chris, saved me ripping the darned track up again! 

Railex 2012

Way back at the end of May found me at the annual Risborough & District MRC show in Aylesbury.  Known as "Railex" it is in my humble opinion, one of the top 3 shows in the country with the emphasis on quality modelling.  I've not room on here for all the photos I took and anyway, you'll have seen other people's shots ages ago on the web or in online forums.
One layout does warrant special mention though.  I was delighted to see the layout built many years ago by the late Geoff Williams portraying the old LNWR Aylesbury terminus.  It was shown as a static exhibit but deservedly attracted much attention.  The following couple of views of this iconic layout only hint at the fine standard of this wonderful model.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

3mm Society AGM

Yesterday was the day of the Annual General Meeting of the 3mm Society and the high point in the 3mm modeller's year.  Most of the traders specialising in the scale were there as well as the Society's various stands selling the countless items available solely to members. 
Several competitions are held in a variety of categories and I entered my model of the William Clarke station building from Barber's Bridge which you will have seen under construction in previous Blog entries.  The category I entered was for lineside buildings and structures and is called The Ralph Murfitt Trophy after a late Society member.

This building has taken up all of my modelling (and Blog) time over the last couple of months and I'm rather pleased with the result.  I am glad I've made this and some of the other buildings for Chipping Compton as "plug in" structures therefore enabling their removal from the layout for maintenance etc.

It was up against some stiff competition as we can see here with all 6 entries in The Ralph Murfitt Trophy.  At the rear on the left is the winning entry from Howard Love with some street corner shops from the Manchester area.  I wish I'd taken some close-up views of this as Howard is a retired art teacher and this shows in the sheer artistry of his buildings.  I regard him as being on a par with the late George Iliffe Stokes and his handiwork deserves attention in the mainstream model press.  This competition is always decided by a guest judge and this year we were honoured with the presence of Steve Flint, editor of Railway Modeller magazine.

The category covering steam outline locomotives is called The Tony Birch Trophy in memory of another deceased member.  This year it was won by Nick Salzman with this delightful LSWR 0-6-0 "Ilfracombe Goods" loco.  This competition is decided by member's votes.

Here we see two Society members, both accomplished modellers (Mike Davey and Richard Preece), examining the entries for The Market Drayton Trophy.  This category covers goods vehicles or non-passenger coaching stock.  This was won this year by Andrew Thomas who's 3 tank wagons are on the far left at the far side of the table.  Again this competition is judged on member's votes and this was a runaway winner.  The entries on the right-hand table are in the Modern-Image Trophy and demonstrates the vast diversity of subjects members portray, the multi-coloured diesel loco edging into view is from the Thai State Railways! 

Well, AGM day would not be AGM day without parting with some of the folding stuff!  I just had to get one of the latest kits for the LNER Lowmac (Low Machinery) wagon.  Moulded exclusively for the Society by Parkside, these kits are excellent value for money and the same high level of quality enjoyed by modellers in 4mm and 7mm is present in their 3mm scale mouldings.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

A new post at last!

Following some hounding from fellow 3mm Society members to update this blog (no names mentioned), I had best recount how my modelling time has been spent since January.  Having ballasted the sidings with a certain brand of ash ballast and then decided it just wasn't right I lifted the 3 sidings concerned and relaid them.  Drastic measures perhaps but I just had to put it right there and then or live with it.  The ballasting is all done now with the sidings suitably ballasted in ash and I'm really glad I went to the trouble to improve things.  So, not an enjoyable thing to do and having taken a break from working on the layout I have returned to the platform area.  This is now surfaced with card as a basic surface and about half of it is covered with individual paper paving slabs.  The remainder will be surfaced to represent tarmac or gravel.  The upper picture shows the hole into which the station building will slot whilst the lower view shows virtually the whole platform length.  Updating this blog I was shocked to realise that it was last June that I started to lay the track and this is the progress to date!  Then again, wiring the layout up took time and as for the track painting and ballasting....well let's forget that bit and concentrate on the future.  It has its first booking in October 2013.  Will it be ready in time? we shall have to see...............

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Layout progress

The Christmas break enabled me to spend a fair few hours on Chipping Compton.  Concentrating on the main station board I managed to do most of the ballasting and even start on the platform.  The basis of this is a framework of good quality card to which the surface will be attached.  This is both light and surprisingly strong.  The buildings simply plug-in to the card framework for accurate location and to eliminate any unsightly gaps between the walls and the platform surface.  

To enable the buildings to locate into the framework the inner layer of the walling extends below the surface level as seen here with the pagoda shed.

Once "planted" there is no gap visible although obviously the platform surface needs to be fitted.