Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lattice post home signal construction

Black Mountain signal post, just beaut! 

SSC has only a small yard, certainly busy, but limited in its size. Evans Gap relies on  the deliveries from Sydney and beyond to survive. Those deliveries were required on a fairly regularly cycle, so effective safe working was the order of the day. At either end of the yard were home signals, and further on a landmark for early warning of the yard ahead.

What seems like years ago I placed an order with Wizard Models in the UK for some signalling bits that I needed urgently. (yep two years ago I'd say!) I really liked the look of their lattice post, and thought I might be able to get away with a smaller OO sized post (it would be great to have a local supply of lattice posts). I also picked up a couple of detail bits at the May Show last year, a lamp holding staffer and some white metal lamps as well. The intention being to light the lamp with an LED and also light the lamp that is being carried.

I've shortened the post and added a new base, and the NSWGR finials by AM Models fit the top spot on! I've re-aquainted myself with Ian Millard's fine article in AJRM on signal post construction. The ladder construction was not difficult, but a little time consuming. The hardest part for me was not adding too much solder to each step so that there was little or no fillet between the steps and the stiles. I did cut two pieces of basswood to fit between the stiles against the steps. one against each side of the steps so that filing of the stiles was a little easier.
 The lattice post being OO means that the holes for mounting the moving parts of the signal are not perfect, however it will have to do. I've soldered a new support for the weight through the centre of the post, and added the signal arm support on the side of the post as in Ian's article.
 I used a block of timber with a centre line marked and a squared line to help aligning the signal arm support tube. Here's a close up of the top of the signal so far. 

Whilst out at my local hobby store the other day I mentioned to Chris at Daft Craft the fact that the figure I was using lacked detail and looked a little 2D. He showed me some figures he produces for wargamming, in a word outstanding! The level of detail left me a little in awe, of course I told him to have a crack at some HO stuff. During the conversation we spoke about modelling putties, so I've got some Milliput to bulk out my figure a little, and maybe add some detail...we'll see. 

Well it's not as easy as I thought it would be. I've managed to form some extra backbone that my 'bloke' really needed, but I'm going to have to wait till it's cured before adding any real shape. The putty I used is the yellow and grey all purpose one and I'm thinking that the finer one might be easier to work into another surface.

Well it's late and the coffee cup is empty, so that's it for a quick post,

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's Winter! So it must be time for snow...

Daily checks of the snow reports in the ski season are not an uncommon in our house during winter (H just loves it!). However it would seem that there's been a little bit of the white stuff falling about south of Brisbane.

Yep it's finally happening, the 'other side' of the layout is getting a bit of a makeover. The stress of falling rollingstock through the very large gaps between the ply was having a definite impact on those of us running on SSC. Then there is the issue of elbows and the like, mostly from obliging strangers who made it passed the barrier. I love their enthusiasm! I mean that, no sarcasm here! No, really! If the public are that keen to have a look then I'll make room, just not for their hands or elbows!

OK as I was saying, I've been doing some basic scenery work with the first layer of sculptamold going down a couple of weeks ago. Darren popped by last week and we had a bit of discussion about what goes where, and to that end we very definitely have a spot for a couple of buildings, timber mill, and even and old Shay. Daz suggested a road that linked the areas of the layout together, great idea! 
This end will be where the timber mill is located.

 With the ideas fresh in my mind I set about carving up the scenery to add a road. It adds a little bit more to the scene and gives the locals a way to get about town as well. I'll need to do a little more sculpting of the back scene to mask the roadway a little.

 I've added some rocks, not finished yet as there will be a few set into the area around the school, near the creek, hopefully tying the scenes together. I like rock work with defined edges as I find them easier to paint, giving a good contrast to the rest of the scenery. 

The second lever frame is together ready to be installed. The modratec kits go together easily, just a little fiddly with the ball bearings, but not hard work. There is a spot towards the town for it to go, same height as the other one which does seem to keep it out of the way, certainly it doesn't dominate the scene.
 A larger view of the immediate area, also shows the location of the derelict Shay  on the bottom left of the photo, with the timber mill behind.

Just adding some contours has changed the look entirely and made it safer to run a loco on as well! The scenery certainly is the easy part of layout construction and probably my favourite part also.
 This view at track height shows the location of the second lever frame in the foreground, looking towards the Mill.
Closer to the Mill with a look at the rock work to be painted. It's location screens the curve of the track when viewing from the creek end of the layout.

That'll do for a quick update, so you know I have been doing something!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tree modelling

The paste has dried, so on with the paint! I put on a light undercoat spray, then on with the tamiya and games workshop paint. Here they are listed in the order I painted them:

XF-22 rlm grey,           over the whole tree as a base, thin with a few drops of isocol
61-19 vermin brown    mix this,
61-81 graveyard earth  with this,  for an earthy tone for around the roots, and bark
XF-76 grey green         a lighter hand with this, bit of a dry brush to bring out the bark
61-54 skull white          just a light dry brush, highlights only though
61-75 black ink            let the rest cure overnight, just to highlight the deep, shadowed parts

(nb. as I've noted later, do the ink before the last white dry brush, confused?)

The paint I have has thickened a bit, so I do thin it to 'milky'. Something I didn't write in the last post. For a first go using the acrylic paste I'm pretty happy with  how it's come out, the paste can be worked a little as it dries so that you can add some texture if you like. The first coat of paste takes a bit of working to get it to stay where you want it. I found that if you put on a thin first coat, the second one will take a lot more on it to bulk it up.  

These photos show the trunk before I've added the foliage. I like the texture I was able to work into the bark. The paste makes it fairly simple to make it smooth also, it just depends on how much you brush it as it dries. I did add a little black ink, then I remembered from last time I used it, to make sure I did the white dry brush after the ink, not before...bugger!

Here it is with the foliage added.  It's pretty quick when you get to putting the 'leaves' on. Not too bad, just gotta get a spot on the layout to put it. That'll do for now,
Oorroo, Geoff.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tipped Tree, part 1

I've been busy squirrelling away some modelling efforts of late. One that I've enjoyed doing is a fallen tree for the layout. Ages ago whilst flicking through some railway books looking for inspiration I found a photo with a tree that had been partially uprooted but had continued to grow. That would be a great tree for SSC!

I built the tree out of florist wire, nice and stiff, and no soldering required. I wanted to try some acrylic artist texture paste to build up the trunk. There was a sample one somewhere that I tested it on, and it came up ok, with quite a solid feel to it.

Twisting up the florist wire took about a half hour for the basic shape, then onto a base and out with the acrylic paste. The first layer I did without any watering down, let it cure then out with a second coat that had been watered down a little, to hopefully show a few brush marks on the 'bark' that will come up in a dry brush later on.

I have built some trees using the twisted copper wire with a layer of solder on the top to keep them rigid, and yep they are certainly finer. This time I went with the florist wire as there will be less of the fine branches showing if all goes to plan.

So that I'm consistent here's some very ordinary photos for you to look at. The bark doesn't really show up that well.  It does look a whole lot better with some paint on it. I'll get some photos of the finished tree in the next few days.