Friday 19 July 2024

A Cozy Office - Completed

I'm not sure how a month has gone by since anything was reported from the world of 'odsock Corner, things are progressing quite slowly due to a combination of factors but are at least progressing... we'll return to what has become the saga of the wall and gates in due course, but for now the little office is complete.

Wanting to totally contrast with the example on Shifting Sands this one is painted in a dark colour with red brick base. The base and the main part of the building were painted as separate units and only brought together at the varnishing stage. Even with this split I had to carry out a fair bit of masking of the wooden cross-pieces under the floor and brickwork to achieve a neat finish.

The main part of the structure saw masking to allow the window frames to be sprayed with white primer, after which the masking was reversed and the walls painted in Vallejo Dark Olive Drab. A wash-over in a darker shade enhanced the plank lines, then dry brushed with lighter shades to enhance the plank edges. Window frames were treated to a top coat of off-white and a lot of weathering to reduce their brightness. In contrast the roof is largely washes of greys over the original primer.

The interior details were painted up and added into the hut, the desk squeezing in along one end wall. The chair was located in place into two pre-drilled holes with two short pieces of 0.5mm brass wire in the rear legs, cut down from their longer length as used to hold the object whilst painting. The stove was positioned as closely as possible under the chimney on the roof using a length of brass wire as a guide.

The Titfield Thunderbolt poster was added to the wall as a little extra detail, coming from a sheet free with a magazine years ago. It covers a couple of air holes in the casting and a mark I made on the wall fitting the seat... 

At this stage I realised that there was perhaps a little too much detail painting on the interior as you cannot really see them with the roof in place! I have made passive provision for lighting via a hole in the base and floor around the door frame area to thread a wire through, although I have no plans to add this at this stage.


Sunday 16 June 2024

Birdhouses and Brick Walls

The office building for 'Odsock Corner was last seen a a month or so ago. I'd like to say that there has been progress since then but in reality there has been very little. However, I have added one little feature which takes two forms of inspiration. Firstly a few weeks ago at the Immingham exhibition I was observing the 7mm layout 'Invermire' and spotted that the signal box featured a bird nesting box, something you rarely see modelled.

This coincided with my youngest daughter bringing home bird box designs for a school project, so the end result was the construction of a box for the gable end of the office building. Front and back are 20 thou black styrene, the sides are 40 x 100 Evergreen strip and two offcuts of 20 thou for the roof. The 0.7mm brass wire perch actually runs all the way though and doubles up as a mounting point and something to secure during painting.

The office and all it's accessories then had a scrub down to prepare for primer and painting, and attention turned to creating the basic structure of the brick 'estate wall' that forms part of the scenic divide between the sides of the pizza. I had envisaged this being foam core with embossed styrene brickwork and planned to (perhaps) draw some inspiration from this wall and gateway at Belton House, Lincs.

However whilst mocking up the wall on the baseboard I happened to use some strips of 5mm ply that had originally been cut for the baseboard edging before I chose to substitute stripwood. At 36mm high these were great for a wall about 5 feet tall. So after a bit of cutting I had pieces the right size, with some 3mm ply used to add depth to the gateposts and as an additional support pillar where the angle of the wall changed (this pillar may change in development). The gaps at the top of the gateposts were filled with more ply by gluing in oversize pieces and trimming them down once set!

Now comes the thing that has caused the most angst... the brick bond. By rights the wall should be garden wall bond, three rows of stretchers, then a row of headers, repeat... Whilst South Eastern Finecast do make this in embossed styrene, my stocks are offcuts of Slaters plain bond (all stretchers) and Flemish bond (alternating stretchers and headers in each row), and SEF plain bond. The Slaters Flemish bond is a very off-square sheet and I think I had the best bits for the wall on 'The Headshunt'. 

I am trying to keep costs to a minimum and the postage on single sheets of styrene is almost as much as the sheet. Luckily it appears that through the power of the internet a kind hearted 7mm narrow gauge modeller may have some offcuts for me... 


Saturday 8 June 2024

'Odsock Corner, Introducing an O9 Pizza

I first introduced my O9 pizza layout project a few months ago and it finally has a name, 'Odsock Corner.  For anyone thinking of looking it up on a map, they may be disappointed, it's that spot in the house where the unpaired socks go awaiting rediscovery of their pal... The last time we saw the baseboard was as a mock-up, although the hut is well on the way to being constructed as seen  recently.

With the plan finalised and track tested, I took my plunge-cutter to the edge of the board where I had built in provision for a dropped baseboard edge, cutting into both the edge and the board surface. Underneath a support holds everything in place. This will later be filled in and landscaped.

The track was then painted. I had removed all traces of old paint from the rails before laying to ensure I was starting from a clean sheet. A waft of grey primer was applied first, then Humbrol 64 spray. Rail heads were cleaned and at a later stage the sleepers were dry brushed with varying grey shades and the rails washed over with red/brown to give a hint of rust.

My intention was then to add a layer of thin corrugated card around the trackbed and then ballast, in a similar fashion to how I have treated other layouts. However, I got a bit carried away and eventually opted to get a large degree of the basic landform in place before the ballasting was started. Along the back edge of the scene, up against the higher side, polystyrene was used to build up the land, and where sloped of the land was too steep, some home made rock castings were used to mask the steeper edge.

More rock castings were added around the front of the scene to break up what will otherwise be a complex series of slopes. In this view they are only placed loose and a few changes were made before gluing in place. These casting were made some time ago from plaster of Paris in baking foil moulds, literally using up spare material from a craft the kids were doing! They are not perfect but are adaptable to remove any unwanted features. A fillet of polystyrene was added in the gap between the baseboard surface and the edge of the board.

The rock castings were tinted with Citadel 'Nuln Oil' and I then got a little carried away with the modelling clay, filling in gaps around the polystyrene, the front edge, and around the roadway I created from mounting card, which has various ruts and potholes, especially towards the back of the board. The two crossing differ, the one near the front has planks made from basswood (the central strip is currently laid in loose), whereas the rear one has guide rails and will get an infill once ballasting is carried out.

I had wondered how much I would be able to fit in the area behind the hut, given that the tree takes up a chunk of it. Another hut was envisaged at one time but there isn't room, however I have been able to add in a siding at right-angles to the main line to allow a wagon to moved over using a portable turntable or even man-handled. This line uses another offcut from a previous project, in a cut-out in the cardboard, blended in with modelling clay, still drying when the photograph was taken!

More soon...



Monday 13 May 2024

A Cosy Office

Over the last week or so the workbench has been host to the Port Wynnstay office building for the O9 pizza layout. This is a simple resin kit that goes together easily although I did have to flatten the sides and ends before assembly as they had warped in storage. This was achieved by submerging them in a Pyrex dish of boiling water and then removing them with tongs and laying on a glass worktop protector weighted down with weights from old OO gauge Lima diesels. 

I assembled the walls and floor of the kit using a combination of superglue and epoxy resin (but not at the same time) - the superglue to hold parts quickly as there were still some slight curves in the parts and the epoxy to strengthen from the inside and to fix the final wall in place.

For the roof I built an inner roof from mounting card and fixed the kit parts to this, making a removeable unit to allow access to the interior. As can be guessed from the angle between the two parts, the main section of the building is not yet fixed to the foundations in order to make painting a little easier when the time comes.

The chimney in the roof is a length of copper tube let into a hole drilled in the roof. I have filled around this but when painted I will add some flashing from Creme Egg wrapper. The chimney gives a clue to what might be inside and anyone peering through the windows will hopefully not be (too) disappointed by what is within... 

The version of this building on 'Shifting Sands' has an interior with a desk and modern chairs, this version is a little more old fashioned. The desk is a Highland Castings example, however it had drawers at either side so I shortened the top and made a new side from styrene. The chair is from a 7mm scale coach seat moulding, with the base and headrest cut away and narrowed. Legs nearly troubled me but in the end the legs from the card table in the Prieser Luftwaffe ground crew set were used, slightly shortened and with some styrene and wire additions. 

Finally the stove again raids the ground crew set and started life as a radio or speaker. I have made it deeper with 80 thou styrene and sat it on a scratchbuilt base. The light grey legs are snippets of Dapol railbus step mouldings. Some Evergreen tube completes the illusion, you'll not be able to see it too closely once complete but at least it is there, and I'm left wondering where I should have drawn the line!


Sunday 28 April 2024

Back to the 422 Wagons

Whilst work progresses on the pizza layout, I have finally got the two 422 Modelmaking wagons painted and attached to their Peco chassis. 

Painting followed my usual path of a spray of grey primer followed by painting the interiors in a bare wood colour. A black-grey wash and brown wash followed to highlight the plank and grain lines. Dry-brushing then followed, lighter colours in the interior and a semblance of paint on the outside. Ironwork was picked out in black-grey and some some light dry-brushing highlighted edges and gunmetal was dry-brushed onto the bolt heads etc. Everything was sealed in place with a spray of  Humbrol acrylic matt varnish.

The one-plank wagon has a brown (ish) tinge outside and is weathered with weathering powders to look as if it has carried a sand load recently, including runs outside the body where the top has been lifted off Heywood-style.

The drop-side has a grey tinge to the exterior although one plank has no paint at all. The interior load weathering is more of a brown tinge and again this has been extended to the exterior where the load has spilled during unloading.

Jumping back a stage, prior to fitting the chassis I decided to add a little extra weight to the wagons alongside the Peco weight. I used self-adhesive lead window strip in the under-side voids that would surround the Peco weight to use the space effectively, as demonstrated below.

I then placed the Peco weights into the spaces, mixed up some epoxy and filled the two smaller holes, sitting the Peco chassis into the weight and securing chassis to weight and wagon all in one go. 

Couplings are still required, I need to find a spare evening to tackle some Greenwich assembly...


Monday 15 April 2024

Pizza CAD - Cardboard Aided Design

With the basic woodwork completed on my O9 pizza project I have started to think about how the scenic treatment might work. I have therefore worked through a series of cereal packet cardboard mock-ups to explore a few ideas. Luckily I had a few bits retained from previous exercises to help with this.

The first has a distinct theme, backstory and to a degree, a sprinkling of whimsey, something it inherits from my other pizza 'Christmas Tree Halt'. When I built my O9 Railcar a year or so ago, I had visions of it running on a layout depicting some sort of tramway leading to a small hotel or resort. To the rear of the scene is a small station at the non-business end of the line, this would have a slightly rustic look, think Groudle Glen or Eaton Hall. Next to this is the ominpresent Port Wynnstay hut and behind both trees on the left give way to more non-descript shrubbery that extends behind the station building.

Around the other side of the trees the land rises, there is a tunnel but this may be a miniature railway folly built for effect rather than burrowing fully under higher ground. More bushes hide a bit of a perspective trick, the hotel/resort represented in the background at a smaller scale.

Next I mocked-up something based on the original sketch I made that started this project, a simple scheme featuring a garage-style building and large tree, adding in some additional trees to the back right corner for balance. The Motor Rail looks quite at home, borrowing the railcar's luggage trailer for this posed shot. It ought to be possible for it to have a couple of suitable 8-seater passenger carriages to haul in this scenario...

An observer commented that this was like a mini 'Bellfield Hall' (a pioneering circular O9 estate railway layout). That led me to develop a third mock-up, based on a plan I published here on the blog back in 2021 (Pizza Ponderings - Fresh Toppings) which is even closer to the estate theme. The main deviation from the original is to mirror-image the plan it to better suit the baseboard. 

The high baseboard edge at the back-right corner would have to be lowered to accommodate the road but this does seem to fit. The original concept was to fit a road vehicle in parked against the wall, I subsequently tried this and there was room to spare. Nothing would be able to get past, but I suspect this is not a frequently used roadway.

The area of ground that was cut away inside the circle would be lost to the platform but there is still scope to drop the scenery on the outside a little below the board surface. The plan had another hut/shed behind the Port Wynnstay office (but no big tree) and there should still be space for something here and a good pile of junk. 

Plenty of food for thought...


Sunday 7 April 2024

Pizza Ponderings - A Freshly Rolled Base

It started with a sketch... a very small sketch in fact, literally doodled the size of a postage stamp on a scrap of paper. In fact I'm amazed it has scanned and cleaned up so well! It was initially drawn for a circular base but then squared off into an Octagon when I realised the cake board I had to hand was a little warped. It doesn't represent anything in particular, just some narrow gauge track, a building that may have a disconnected track emerging from it, and a tree.

Having procrastinated for a couple of weeks, it was soon getting towards the Easter Weekend. With family visits pushed back into the week after the bank holidays, and various other factors taken into account, I realised I had a window of opportunity to do something practical. 

What follows may be seen by many as over-engineering for a simple pizza, but I wanted to build something robust and without any tendency to warp, and to use materials to hand wherever possible. Construction largely follows the method used for my 009 layout 'The Old Quarry Line', with a 5mm ply base, 13" square as the starting point. 2.5" triangles were cut from each corner to avoid hard corners and bracing is in the form of some timber from stock, about 1" x 0.75", the sort of thing that some appliances come packed with.

Having glued and clamped the basic frame together I added an edging strip all the way around. On the two sides where there isn't a continuous strip across the board underneath this is part of the basic load-bearing structure. I had cut more 5mm ply for this job but this was not satisfactory, so in the end had an  Saturday afternoon dash to Wickes to buy 4 x 36mm pine strip to avoid grinding to a halt on Easter Sunday! 

The pine strip is used on three long and two short sides, the other sides are some 3mm ply that I had to hand, profiled to allow a raise in the scenery.

A layer of 5mm foam core board topped the ply, with cut-outs to allow scenery to dip below the trackbed level, and a layer of cork tile over that to add more depth and provide a good surface for pinning and adjustment whilst laying the track. Both layers were glued down with PVA and weighted whilst drying.

Regular readers may recall that several Easter weekends ago, in the isolated days of 2020, I laid out what was going to be my next O9 project, a now stalled and lifted interpretation of the Julian Andrews/Howard Martin 'Avalon Brickworks' plan. Two thirds of the trackwork laid on this pizza is recovered from the curves on that project, with rail sides cleaned up and broken sleepers removed. It was laid with my home-made 5" radius curve and lightly pinned into place.

Two of the rail joiners were pre-wired and some very simple wiring under the board allowed test running on Tuesday morning, with the Motor Rail doing the honours. There is scope to remove a small part of the board on the left hand side to drop the scenery even further but that will wait for another day.  

Whether or not the original plan will be followed remains to be seen, there are a few other options in the archives: Pizza Ponderings - Fresh Toppings and I need to decide if this project is to use the 18" gauge stock currently under development or maybe provide a home for the railcar and luggage trailer.

More soon...