Sunday, 15 July 2018

Backscenes part deux!

Well after the last semi disaster with the backscene, I ordered an ID models photographic backscene, which has self adhesive backing, and some 0.3mm foamex sheets.  I choose an overcast day, with some blackening skies, typical Devon in my years of living there!  I ordered the foamex boards slightly too big for the backscene, but in 3ft lengths (same as the baseboards) and set to work applying the backscene to the boards.  I undertook this on my own in 3ft strips, and it was just about manageable as a 1 person job.  I started in one corner and slowly worked my way over the foamex board.  I managed to stick all of the sheets down in about 4 hours or so, and managed not to get any air bubbles on the finish.

Backscene cut into 3ft sections and attached to the foamex sheet.

The backscene and foamex trimmed to size.

When I was reasonably happy with how this was shaping up, I tore off the old backscene and removed the terraced houses and signal box, which had been glued down.  This was a awkward job to do, and in the process I wrecked the yard lamp.  However, I was determined to make a better effort this time, so quite a bit of the original scenic work was sacrificed.

Finished backscene looking towards Ilfracombe.

Looking towards Barnstaple.

I then cut the boards to the size of the backscene and started to glue them onto the layout using PVA glue.  In typical Murphy's law I was about 1 inch short of backscene, so I had to fudge one corner together, I will let you work out where!  However, after a good day of fiddling around, I have pretty good backscene.  Like all my modelling it is not quite perfect, but it is a vast improvement on the first attempt.  It does not dominate the scene, but it does provide some context to the model.  As this layout is a test run (although it does seem to be dragging on a bit!) I am pretty happy with the overall effect.  So now onwards with finally getting some buildings (re)glued down and some proper scenery detailing!!  I can also say with confidence that I have found a way of making a satisfactory backdrop for my layouts and this is a big step forward for me.  I will certainly use this method from now on.

Backscene visible behind a class 25 in the sidings, it does not dominate the picture, which I like.

View of the layout, showing the backscene.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Backscene woes....and crinkles!

Well last week I felt I was making some real progress on the layout.  One  morning I was rummaging around a box in the railway room and found some old Gaugemaster backscenes I had long forgotten about.  I had originally decided on having a white painted backscene, but I had become increasingly unsatisfied with how this looked.  So I placed the Gaugemnaster backscene on the layout with blue tac to see how it looked.  It totally transformed the layout and it made me immediately decide to add a decent photographic backscene. The problem is I had already glued down the signal box and the house flush against the original painted backscene.  However, I purchased some Delux models Backscene glue and set to work to glue down the blue sky.

The Gaugemaster photographic backscene blue tacked down to see how it would look.

Same shot with just the painted white fibre board.  The difference between the two photographs is stark.

Well, the end result was a semi-disaster!!  Only semi - the sheets of the Gaugemaster photographic backscene I had must have come from separate batches.  Consequently, the colouring is slightly different between them and makes a terrible join behind the station!  The original painted wooden backscenee is a painted fibre board and the Delux models glue must have caused it to swell slightly.  Where I applied the glue there is swelling and crinkling on the photographic paper.  It is not too bad, but it is certainly noticeable.

Join between two of the sheets!

View back down the layout with the signal box removed.  The crinkles and join are far to distracting.

So two lessons learnt are 1) a better photographic backscene is needed, and 2) my skills in creating the backsence are limited!! I spent a bit of time thinking about it and came up with a plan.  I have ordered some 3mm foamex boards and an ID models self adhesive backscene.  The plan is to stick the photographic backscene to the foamex boards and then glue these onto the layout.  The only problem is I have to remove some of the detailing work already done, although this is not too onerous, but it means the signal box and terraced houses need to be moved.  The signal box came off easily enough.  However, I am summoning up the courage for the terraced houses.   

A few of the sort of effect I hope to be able to achieve.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Western on a parcels service at Charlton June 1970

Last weekend I set up the layout to test out the new fiddle yard, and then ended up playing trains a little!  So captured on an overcast day in June 1976 a BR Blue western is captured running a short parcels into Charlton. This truncated SR branchline in North Devon somehow escaped being a victim of the Beaching Axe, although the branchline was effectively halved in the length.  The remaining half into Barnstaple gained a late reprieve, with a healthy level of goods and parcels traffic on the short branchline still in the 1970s.  More work has recently progressed on the layout and I am feeling happy with how it is all progressing.  It really helps to see it all working and it provides some impetus to get it finished!

Evenings parcels service runs into Charlton.

The Western uncoupled moves over the points to run around the train.

Western running around around the short loop.

Buffering back up, ready to head back to Barnstaple and then onto Exeter.

And back to Barnstaple the parcels service heads.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Charlton layout - further progress

This week has seen some further progress on the layout.  As always there has been less time than I anticipated, but life always finds something to keep you busy!  Anyhow, a lot of those little jobs have been finished off.  The fiddle yard has been wired up so it is operational.  There is one more one more siding to add to the fiddle yard, but this is a relatively small job to solder this last one up.  The casing for the fiddle yard still needs to be finished, as this has only been partially completed.  However, the fiddle yard is now operation and can easily hold a 3 coach train plus locomotive in the longest siding, which will make operating the layout much easier.  The four roads in the fiddle yard will be able to hold a 3 coach plus locomotive formation, a 3 car DMU plus 1 car DMU, and two freight trains in the other two roads, a mixture of parcels, milk, china clay and of course an engineers working!

New fiddle yard, with three of the four sidings are now operational.

The fiddle yard can now easily hold a 3 coach train plus locomotive.

The tunnel entrance towards the fiddle yard has been glued down and the backscene partially painted.  The landscaping around the tunnel has been started using some paper mache, with the plaster bandage to be added over this today.  This new track has also been painted and ballasted, with the landscaping on this end of the layout starting today in earnest.

The tunnel entrance towards the fiddle yard is starting to take shape.

General view towards the fiddle yard.

The cobbled area around the provender store and old warehouse is taking a bit longer to finish.  I can't quite seem to get the balance right with the painting.  So attached are a couple of photos of how it looks at the moment.  An awful lot of mind numbing scribing went into this area, so I would like to get the balance of this right and really bring out the detail.  There are a couple more coats of paint to add to this today.   

Cobbled area, which still requires some more painting.

The cobbled area with a little bit of dry brushing across the bottom.  I am not happy with the appearance this at the moment.

Other jobs in progress are the scribing of a wall behind the signal box, which will eventually head towards the tunnel, and adding more static grass.  A lot of refining of this needs to happen around the trackwork and along the platforms.  The front of the layout needs some hedges and fences to be added as well.  However, there is a little bit of momentum with the layout detailing at the moment.  Maybe a June finish date was a little optimistic, however, it is all heading in the right direction.  

General shot of the layout as it currently is looking towards the fiddle yard.

The terminus end of the layout, showing the carpark and terraced houses.

View towards the terminus end during a test run.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

BR 22t plate wagon

A few weeks ago I managed to finished off another wagon - this time a 22t plate wagon.  Work has been a bit hectic recently, so the little snatches of modelling time I get have been used to add more scenery to the layout.  The layout is progressing nicely and I am confident I can finish it by the end of June, ready to (hopefully) visit some exhibitions.

Plate wagon on the Charlton layout!

So anyhow back to the wagon! This is the standard Parkside offering and I must say - (and this is being a big fan of Parkside) - it was a bit of a shambles of a kit!  I think it must be an older kit, but I found it very difficult to build the wagon square.  It must have been glued and then forced apart about four times, before regluing!  It has white metal buffers from Lanarkshire modelling supplies added and 3 link couplings.  It has been painted as per usual via the airbrush and had CCT transfers added, with the data panel from Modelmaster.

Looking back down towards Ilfracombe.  This section of the layout is almost finished! Almost....

This was another one of those builds that has languished around, so it is great to see it finally finished and ready to run on the layout.  I have kicked off a few other projects this week too - a coach, a DCC sound fitted class 25 and also a Dapol class 22 ready for detailing and DCC sound.  So I have been busy this weekend doing some actual modelling - and very nice it has been too! Layout report to follow next week sometime.... 

A couple more of the plate. wagon. 

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Hedge laying

This week I have been testing out some methods of constructing more realistic hedges.  I am certainly very limited when it comes to scenery detailing, so I spent a couple of evenings googling some videos on you tube and then having a go myself.  I must admit to feeling pretty pleased so far!

The hedge starting to progress.

A class 47 about to run light to Exeter.

I started off by teasing out some clumps of rubberised horse hair.  These were then sprayed with brownish shades, such as burnt umber and sleeper grime.  I then shaped some clumps into vaguely plant like shapes and super glued the stalks together.  I dipped these clumps in ballast bond and covered with Noch leaves.  I left these too dry, before giving them a good blast of cheap hairspray.  Quick and satisfying!  I have then started to drill some holes and place these into the based board.  It needs a little more colour and variation, but a hedge is starting to creep along the first of the baseboards.  Plans for this weekend are to extend this further and add a fence as well, to start to form the scene at the front of the layout. A few more pictures below.  

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Charlton non-micro layout update!

This week has finally witnessed a little bit of progress on the layout.  Previously I had become very unsatisfied with the original 3 ft fiddle yard and only 3 lines.  It was not big enough to accommodate a 2 coach train and locomotive.  So I purchased another baseboard (Tim Horn) and the original fiddle yard had a scenic break added to it, about one third of the way down.  This now gives me 5 ft fiddle yard, with four sidings (although these are not yet all laid down and wired up). 

New view of the layout with the extension added (right)

This redesign is much more satisfying.  Firstly, the head shunt at the end of the station is much bigger.  This is great, as originally the locomotive would disappear part away into the fiddle yard to run around its train.  Secondly, I can now run longer trains and more of them, significantly increasing the operational potential of the layout.  The downside is the layout is now 12ft long, so I can hardly call this a micro-layout any more!  It was meant to be a quick project, but has taken on a life of its own.  It is all good though, I am quite pleased with the way it is shaping up.

The new fiddle yard in progress!

View back towards the station from the new extension.

There is an awful lot of detailing working still be done on the baseboards and there has not be any progress on this!  I still need to build a few structures and add the scenery around this.  However, momentum and enthusiasm have both picked up a little recently, so I am hoping to achieve some more progress over the coming weeks.  The class 22 and 3 mk1 coaches plonked on the layout at the moment represent some projects for the coming weeks.  My normal enthusiasm for painting and detailing stock has disappeared over the last couple of months.  I have the Howes sound chip ready to go for this locomotive, so I hope to get this in the paintshop soon enough, although I have still to add the detailing pack to this locomotive.

The extended headshunt, with plenty of room to run around.

Class 22 ready to head back to Exeter via Barnstaple junction.

Hopefully some more progress to report this week!