Friday, 16 March 2018

DA1 Another Day

It was October that I last posted about this A1 Models etch to build something based on the ex-Bush Mill diesel 'DA1'. After that post there was a little adjustment work to my cab interior set-up to allow a small 1/48th figure to sit in there (I hesitate to say comfortably!)

As can be seen I raised the floor level and reducing the height of the checker plate. A piece cut from the cab interior of a Dapol Drewery shunter forms the control desk. Rather than create a seat over the gear tower as previously, I created it around it, once the driver is in place the deception isn't noticed.

Work on the 009 project then took over and the Tomytec chassis unit went on a diet to fit into an 009 Ruston Hornsby 3D print. After much thought about this project I was left wondering whether I could overcome what is the main issue to me, the underframe area. Having put this off for months, seeing the kit on sale at Narrow Gauge North and conversations about future O9 projects gave me a nudge to do something about it.

The idea is that this will be a locomotive under repair with no wheels and engine, so I have been able to put together a simple frame of 20thou styrene with a little re-enforcement from 40thou strip around the top of the frame. Making the whole underframe 2mm lower in height, the frames a lot narrower (15mm opposed to 20mm) and some shape to the buffer beams, has a dramatic effect.

Some further work added a 30 thou strip under the running plate, created a simple cab interior and added details on the bufferbeams, note the usual assortment of Dapol Drewery shunter and railbus parts!

I feel that in this form the model is much better balanced visually and I did wonder if I ought to make yet another version of the chassis to make it run again by getting a slimmed down Tomytec chassis underneath. This is possible without modifying the cut-out in the cab front, indeed there is allowance for the running plate to be another millimetre lower, the real loco is very low slung with the footplate about a foot from rail height.

The next job will be to apply a suitable paint job...


Sunday, 11 March 2018

In Search of Tiny Flowers

The scenic test piece I displayed last week has progressed a little, with the Silfor tufts dry-brushed to loose their sheen and some weathering powders added to the ground colouring.

At a recent exhibition I made a purchase of what on first inspection was a very random bag of coloured scatter. However, it has proved possible to make a newspaper mask to fit over a Silfor tuft, spray on hairspray and gently scatter on this mix to give a little bit of colour to represent flowers. This ought to work in 4mm scale but maybe not in 7mm...

Of course this little test piece is currently a little ambiguous in scale but I am really pleased with how it looks, so much so that I have started work on another to test the greener version of the Javis grass mat and some other ideas. This uses more recycled pieces including the very bit of MDF this scene started life attached to. At least they will be matching sizes...


Friday, 2 March 2018

Scenic Experimentation

Whilst packing the 009 layout into it's box the other day I reflected on the production of grass areas and wondered if some of the learning from the project could be used towards a technique that did not use hanging basket liner (shock horror!). 

I decided to carry out an experiment using a diorama base that I had started some time ago with the intention of displaying a Black Dog mine tub on it. A change of heart saw it abandoned and I removed the polystyrene layer (itself an experiment) from the MDF base, although I did then use it in experimentation for the layout. 

Cleaned up and with the carved polystyrene stuck to mounting card I re-purposed it as a test piece.

The layers of scenery added are:
  • Paint/plaster/PVA mix with a mix of brown scatters over the top.
  • Patches of the Javis autumn grass mat
  • Green Scene meadow grass, torn into patches, trimmed and sprayed with hairspray then ground foam sprinkled over - then glued into place
  • Silfor grass tufts in two shades
  • Mossy areas made using ground foam
The next step will be to dry brush the Silfor tufts and use weathering powders to add extra tones to the ground colour, rail sides and trackbed.


Monday, 26 February 2018


It's a "big" birthday today, one of those with a zero at the end.... the one where tradition has it life begins!

It also marks a year since my 009 project started in earnest, with the "well directed" gift of the Peco V-skips, and the purchase the previous day of a Wills 'Station Garage' kit at the Newark exhibition. I gave myself a year to get the project to a satisfactory point and that point has now been reached.

Ironically, those Peco V-skips are still box fresh whilst the Wills garage kit was transformed into the buildings seen above. The focus is now on getting the motive power and rolling stock up the scratch to match the scenic work, and hereby hangs my current dilemma...

In a fit of temptation I bought a MiniTrains Bagnall wing tank at a favourable price and whilst a beautiful runner it didn't really fit my intention of the skips being pulled by an authentic looking internal combustion locomotive! That need may well be met a 3D printed Ruston destined for a Tomytec drive unit. Experimentation shows it is (just) possible to cram enough weight in there to make it run well and a degree of subterfuge employed to hide the lack of cab interior detail and motor occupying part of the space.

This is a milestone model in itself as it is my first 3D printed item as I have always been very cautious about this technique until now. So far I'm impressed and there was something for a future O9 model in the package too...


Saturday, 23 December 2017

Weathered Wood

What follows uses a 4mm scale building for my 009 project but as with many things, the technique is transferable to larger scales so I have shared it here. Indeed, I actually first experimented with colour washes on some 7mm scale 'Ratty' fencing earlier in the year to get an idea of how the technique might work.

The base layer is Halfords grey primer, applied earlier in the year, progress being delayed by scenic work taking priority. The first stage was to apply an overall wash of Vallejo 'Black Grey' over all of the structure, woodwork, corrugated iron and the board and batten roofing. The paint was mixed about 50/50 with Vallejo matt medium before thinning with water. Once dry this was followed with a wash in a mid-brown colour (a hoarded pre-made product from the defunct Penhaven range) over the wooded walls and corrugated iron. A third wash was made using Citadel 'Baneblade Brown' (a bare wood sort of shade) and a spot of Vallejo 'Green Brown', again with matt medium before dilution, was applied over the walls. Lastly a diluted mix of rusty red acrylic was applied over the corrugated iron areas.

You may wonder why I chose to use washes to build up the colour rather than just paint a solid green/grey over the woodwork. My feeling is that this method actually gives more control over the colour and seems to give more colour depth without clogging the detail.

The next step (two days later) was another wash of Vallejo black grey concentrated into the joins in the timber and dabbed off in other areas. This was followed by the beginning of dry-brushing, using a mix of Vallejo 'Green Grey' and 'Light Grey' over the woodwork. I then added some suitable rusty dry-brushing to the corrugated iron areas.

The next day another wash was created, a blend of Citadel 'Baneblade Brown' and Vallejo 'Green Grey', plus matt medium, used to add some damper looking patches along the bottom of the wooden walls. Next a slightly thicker mix of 'Baneblade Brown' and Vellejo 'London Grey' was washed over the board and batten roof of the office building. The remnants of both washes were then combined and the inside of the workshop given a coat to hide the primer grey.

Work then concentrated on the corrugated iron. I added a darker rust colour to the corrugated areas but not as a consistent coat. Once this was dried I added various rust tones using weathering powders, plus some colouring towards the back of the roof to represent the fact that is sits under the trees.

As I suspect this is the last post before the big day - a very Merry Christmas to all O9 Modeller readers.


Friday, 1 December 2017

Hedging your bets

In the ethos of scenic modelling being applicable in all scales I felt I ought to elaborate on the scene presented recently in black and white.

The hedgerow itself is strips of rubberised horsehair teased out and used with the strands vertically. This was then treated a la Gordon Gravett - sprayed with matt brown and grey primer aerosols. Once dry the usual methodology followed of hairspray and foliage fibre mat. To add to the colour variation and the effect of being different bushes three colours were used from the Skale Scenics, Woodland Scenics and Green Scene ranges. This was followed by more hairspray and additional scatter.

After planting the bottom edge looked rather too straight so I added some small sprigs of sea moss to break up the edge and provide some more variety. I must get some concrete paint on that culvert outlet...

The overall view now of the project now looks like this. The eagle eyed will spot an extra tree to the rear left, a sea moss based silver birch (which was an experiment with a strengthened and textured trunk) has taken root at the back of the layout.

Another look at that view up the lane... there will be a short length of fence on the right hand side of the lane between the growths. I wonder if I will be able to pose O9 stock here for photography to and really fool the eye?


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Forest in a box

Having teased you with a black and white glimpse of my 009 project the other day made me realise that I haven't covered a couple of scenic aspects that appear in that picture, so this is the first of two posts to rectify that omission.

Five sea moss trees were created to go across the centre of the layout. This was relatively quick process, these are 'background' trees after all. The stems were firstly soaked in warm water to re-shape any bent and squashed bits and then left to dry out. Once dry they were reduced to the desired height, well actually they were a bit bigger than planned, but with sea moss that just means lopping off the lower branches making ready made bushes in the process... With hindsight i would have painted the stems with a mix of Halfords matt brown and grey primer aerosols). After that it's just ultra hold hairspray and foliage.

The five new trees and their associated growths form an effective break across the centre of the layout, almost hiding the bridge behind the workshop building. From another view point it can be seen that this is partially achieved by having some growths coming out of the join between the rock face and bridge abutment behind the shed, effectively screening the abutment from view.

From the other side the screening is equally effective, you can hardly see the buildings on the other side. I have added all sorts of extra growths along the path and around the bridge from the stash of smaller branches I had treated alongside the trees.

More soon...