Monday, 18 March 2019

Evolution of a Micro Diorama

Despite some progress on the mk2 version of the 'Beck Bridge' scene I still wasn't overly happy. So officially that project is on hold for a while - unofficially I have a 'cunning plan' but that will have to wait...

What has appeared is a 70 x 140mm 'micro' diorama to fit in my display cabinet in its place that is a lot more suited to the purpose - less is more.

The track came from from the bridge scene cut to length, I wasn't too sure about the fencing, feeling it might overpower such a small scene so after a little thought I tried some fencing along the back edge  that I made up 18 months ago based on some portable wooden fencing used by the Ravenglass & Eskdale railway, as described here

As much as I liked the 'Ratty' fence the more I looked at it the more it didn't look right - two long sections seemed to shorten the scene. The three panels of the concrete fence made it look longer. I therefore looked at other low options, and mocked up on this typical low wooden barrier.

The uprights are 7mm NGA wooden sleepers, a pack I picked up from 7mm NGA sales for 50p. Each was cut in half and notched at the top. The rail is basswood, it was 1/8" square but I opted to reduce it by about a quarter to reduce the visible impact, then sanding down the sides of the uprights to reduce them too. 

Deciding this was the way to go the wooden fence was given a wash of brown, followed by dry brushing in natural wood, darker brown and dirt colours. The metal plates securing the rail to the uprights were made from foil cut from a Mr Kipling style tray, probably from a Christmas treat! 

Further progress has seen the track ballasted using a blend of colours, laid dry, sprayed with water and secured with 'Kleer'. Scenic work can now begin using tried and tested techniques and hopefully a few new ideas.


Thursday, 7 March 2019

Progress without movement

Before Christmas I demonstrated progress with my 4-wheel coach conversion to a PW crew coach. After a few delays caused by the weather and illness, the end result is now this:

The yellow areas are sprayed using Halfords 'Broome Yellow' over a white primer, whilst everything else is brush painted in acrylics. Matt Humbrol varnish was sprayed over the completed modelling and weathering applied in the form of washes and dry-brushing.

Inside the figures are cheap Chinese ones sprayed with grey primer and then given a dark grey wash. Dry brushing highlighted the skin colour on hands and faces and orange on their jackets to look like hi-vis (but low-vis, if you catch my drift...). Windows are the Dapol originals and door handles are 7mm NGA ones chemically blackened and weathered.

A couple of other pre-primed items are now awaiting workshop attention, but don't get too excited...

In other news, despite some progress on the mk2 version of the 'Beck Bridge' scene I still wasn't overly happy. So officially the project is on hold for a while - unofficially I have a 'cunning plan'... 

In the mean time the bridge itself has been painted and weathered, which is a good encouragement to actually use it...


Saturday, 16 February 2019

New Season, New Shop

Today was the first day of the season for my local 15" line, the Sherwood Forest Railway. It only seems like 5 minutes since the end of the 2018 season, but even in that short time there are notable changes, including this very smart new shop building.

If you are looking for a suitable building for a small O9 station you do a lot worse than copy this....

On an unusually sunny February day the sun was in the wrong place at the bottom of the line, I had to mess around with this picture and make it black and white to make it look anything like "normal"!


Sunday, 27 January 2019

The Beck Bridge II - Rethink!

Something was bugging me about the 'Beck Bridge' cat food box diorama... I liked the concept but what wasn't working was the practicalities of what the diorama would be useful for, or how it could be stored. It wasn't going to be much use for photography as the bridge handrails were central and got in the way, and it couldn't be displayed anywhere as it would be too vulnerable to being knocked etc.

So I had a rethink and vanished off into the workshop....

Apart from the bridge it is all new material. Well, I say new, leftover 3mm MDF forms the base, with a frame of 12 x 21mm timber leftover from the box build for the 'Old Quarry Line' along the back and supporting the bridge/trackbed (more 3mm MDF). More offcuts of polystyrene form the landscape with a healthy dose of DAS modelling clay to blend it all together. The concrete bridge abutments are from 'Fab foam'.

The track is Peco, when I laid the Pizza layout at new year I ended up with a lot of individual sleepers due to the way I cut up and manipulated the sleeper base, so I have used these sleepers with all the webbing trimmed off and the ends squared off. The ones on the bridge had extra treatment to further neaten their edges as there will be no ballast at this point, in the manner of the bridges on the (now closed) Markeaton Park Light Railway.

This new version of the scene will both fit in my display cabinet and allow stock to be displayed without the bridge slap bang in the middle!


Thursday, 17 January 2019

The Beck Bridge - a new diorama

Before Christmas I posted about a diorama built using a cat food box and polystyrene. I had a vision of using similar methods to create a scene of a 15" gauge line crossing a beck on a girder bridge and I started work on this on New Year's morning. As I didn't have as much polystyrene to hand, but plenty of cardboard boxes to dispose of, I actually filled the bottom of the box with layers of card cut to be a snug fit.

I actually sellotaped the layers together and then glued the whole block to the base and sides of the box, making it quite strong. I used some chunky clamps and a piece of plywood to make sure the box sides didn't bow out and actually stuck to the inner card layers.

The following day I inserted the polystyrene layers and blocks built to allow a valley to be carved out. The clamps and plywood were used again to make sure everything stuck all around.

I added some 3.5mm foam core into the gap at the bottom of the box as a potential future watercourse, and carved the basic shape of the landform into the polystyrene using the existing opening as a guide.

However, something didn't look right and I mused over this for a day or so. I then removed 1/2" of polystyrene from the top of the box, re-shaped the slopes to a more gentle grade and slightly reduced the angle (and size) of the bridge abutment supports. I think this improves the overall balance of the scene.

The bridge is a modified Wills SS28, with the lower handrails removed from the girders to look like a lightweight 7mm scale bridge suitable for a 15" gauge railway. I will make new abutments representing cast concrete, as the basis of this I added cardboard uprights to the abutments to make the bridge deck fit snugly.

DAS modelling clay has been used to shape the bottom of the embankments as they were not easy to carve from the polystyrene. Once this is dry the ground cover can be started... watch this space...


Sunday, 6 January 2019

Did anyone order.... Pizza?!

Over the Christmas and New Year break I had set up my 009 layout 'The Old Quarry Line' on the workbench as something to sneak away and run a train on if time allowed. Which it did, and would often lead to a request from the smaller members of the household to see a "choo choo" running.

Imagine my surprise when the requests continued after the layout went away, so I hatched a cunning plan and rang the local take-away....

...who couldn't help so I retrieved a pre-prepared base from the workshop and added Peco 009 'crazy track' as a topping...

In what is probably a micro-layout first the basis of this is a 250mm disc of 6mm MDF that first saw use as a canon wheel (the barrel of which was 3" downpipe!). During one of my periods of doubt over the 009 project this was given a square frame of 12 x 21mm timber underneath and a ring of cork on top, before being left to mature.

The rails were removed from a yard of Peco track and bent using a home-made rail bender made from three screws and a piece of wood, as advised on the Gnatterbox many moons ago. The sleeper base was cut up and reassembled with all the joins between sleepers on the inside of the curve. This was then laid using a home-made 4" 'tracksetta' style template following a pencil line drawn using a compass, with a slither of card under the outer rail to provide basic superelevation. The whole layout is just one piece of track, wires were pre-soldered to the last two rail joiners I had in stock - luckily everything went to plan!

Extra toppings will be decided in due course....

Happy New Year!


Sunday, 23 December 2018

'Taz' in time for Christmas

I have to admit that I've not really been too enthusiastic about completing this model, but having had a few bursts of activity on it I have now completed the reaming post-paint jobs. I've added sufficient weight (25cm of self-adhesive window leading strip) to allow the Tomytec chassis to perform reasonably well, MicroTrains couplers, cab glazing and finally some light weathering and the all-important driver.

The tiny nature of this model means that from most angles the driver is not really visible, he is a combination of a Preiser 1/50th head/upper body (and feet) and Slaters seated legs. I did wonder if he might need a drastic haircut to make the cab sit down on the chassis frame properly but it made little difference...

I think that's about it, I just need to decide what to use 'Taz' for in the longer term, in the meantime I now have an O9 loco that can make it around an 009 layout. Clearly that man "is far away" (to misquote Father Ted).

And finally, I'd like to wish all readers of O9 Modeller a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.