I also did some more work on the recently completed handrails for the platform at Kankool.
They were given an initial spot of weathering then attached to the platform using superglue.
Weathering was done using thinned Vallejo acrylic washes as well as some spot application of rust colours.
I’ll probably do some further blending using the pan pastels.
The edge of the platform timbers on the rail side were also given a dry brush of white paint.
I have been doing some more scenery “mud” application using the Sculpt-it around the hill on the main peninsular. I had previously shaped the foam to what I was happy with and had started applying the “mud”.
I continued with a method I had experimented with some time ago, in applying the “mud” to the foam and using a stiff brush, stippling it to achieve a rough surface. My idea is to then colour the “mud” using acrylic paint washes. I’m hoping I don’t actually have to apply dirt/soil to the face.
I had covered quite a bit of the foam with the “mud” but after it had dried, it just seemed too uniform, especially along the top edge.
So I took to the foam with a knife and saw blade and started carving more random shapes out of the face, as well as trying to simulate a deep section of erosion on the top of the hill.
I think I’m getting it close to what I want now.
The good thing about using the “mud” over the foam, is if I don’t like the result, I just carve it away and start again, or add more to the face.
The last few weeks has seen more progress on the platform for the Kankool signal box.
I started building the handrails from 4″ x 3″ Northeastern timber strip, using a jig I knocked up from styrene.
To get the correct spacing for the posts, I laid the platform on its side with the posts in place and glued small styrene blocks in the appropriate locations.
The posts had already been cut to length, so they were placed in the jig and glued to the top rail, which was left slightly overlength to be trimmed later.
The mid rail was made from 2″ x 3″ and glued in place to the posts.
The process was repeated for the road side railing and the angled rail side one.
Looking at photos of the prototype, I noticed there were steel straps that held the top rail to the posts as well as bolts for the mid rail.
I thought about how to reproduce these and came up with flattening some 8 thou phosphor bronze wire, cutting to length and bending to suit, then supergluing to the top rail. Brass wire was also used to simulate the bolt heads on the mid rail.
It was at this time I found some of the glued joints were coming apart, and when drilling the timber for the brass wire, it was splitting.
I then decided to make new handrails from styrene strip.
The styrene was “roughed” up slightly and sharp edges rounded off.
The posts and top rail are 4″ x 3″, but as I didn’t have this size in styrene, I just laminated two 2″ x 3″ strips together.
I used the same jig as before, but to prevent the new handrails being glued to the styrene jig, I cut small pieces of tape and applied them under where any joints would be.
The whole process above was repeated for the other handrails.
I decided to make the bolt heads and straps from 10 thou styrene rod this time to make it easier to attach to the handrails instead of using superglue.
Again, the straps were made by flattening the styrene rod and bending to shape.
To enable the fitting and cutting to length of the angled handrail, both it and the other rail side one were temporarily fitted to the platform and held in place with some Blu-tak.
This allow me to cut the angled top rail to length and glue to the main rail, as well as fitting the angled mid rail.
As you can see in the picture above, it may look like I’ve stuffed up and not made the angled mid rail parallel to the top rail, but this is how the prototype was!
The completed rail and road side handrails ready for an undercoat.
Both handrails are temporarily in place here.
I have also been making windows for the Kankool signal box.
There was an article in the Australian Journal of Railway Modelling Issue #5 on scratchbuilding windows in styrene.
The process allows accurate windows (and doors) to be made to any size using strip styrene. You generally end up with a better representation than the commercially available products.
When the article first came out many years ago, I built a double hung sash window, but never used it anywhere. Well, I found it laying around the workbench, and to my surprise, it happened to fit straight into the opening in the Shapeways printed signal box. So another one was made, along with the large sliding one for the front.
The photos below shows the windows prior to and after being undercoated. The “glass” in the window is just clear styrene, and has been masked off with Micro Mask solution. This will be peeled off after they are painted in white.
The last few months has seen more progress on ballasting from Kankool through to where the main peninsular starts.
I generally work on around 2 feet worth of ballast per day.
The process starts with Pan Pastels applied to the sleepers and rail as a start on the weathering. Then glue is applied to the formation shoulder and dry ballast sprinkled on. More ballast is applied over the sleepers and brushed into position.
Then a diluted mixture of Matte Mod Podge and water is dripped onto the ballast, after liberally spraying with isopropyl alcohol to aid in penetration of the glue into the ballast.
This is left to dry for 24 hours, and the process is repeated. The line of ballast seen to the right of the track is just loose stuff that has been brushed clear of the shoulder prior to glue being applied. This will be vacuumed up later and reused.
Further to my post on April 6 showing the start of the Kankool signal box platform, more work has been completed with timbers stained and glued to the frame.
Kappler 3″ x 9″ stripwood was cut into 8 foot lengths. These were then ‘distressed’ by dragging a wire brush across the top, as well as removing the sharp edges in places with a scalpel blade. They were then stained with some Vallejo acrylic paint thinned with isopropyl alcohol. The first pass was done with burnt umber, then when dry, a black wash was applied.
Working from photos, I also had to cut small notches in the ends of a few timbers to accommodate the vertical posts for the handrails, which will be added later.
I have recently started applying dirt and ballast around the turnouts at the Werris Creek end of Kankool. The picture below shows the initial application prior to gluing. The ballast tends to darken once glued, but I have been going over it again, once dry, with either pastels, grouts or dirt to lighten up again.
The section of track curving away in the upper right hand corner is the “run-off” from the loop on the falling grade. It is essentially a catchpoint protecting the main line. This short section will be modelled as overgrown with grasses and not much ballast.
Sleepers and rail have been weathered using pan pastels. The track has previously been sprayed with Krylon Camo Brown, and the pastels take to it nicely. In the picture below, you can see the difference between the weathered and non weathered section of track. You can see the difference in the rail colour at the extreme left.
A few weeks ago I made a start on the platform for the signal box at Kankool.
I have a few reasonable photos of the structure, but was always unsure of its construction
From what I can work out, the main frame is made up of large C-channel section supported on a frame constructed from rail.
So after scaling of some dimensions from photos, I started on a jig to aid in assembly. It didn’t take me long to knock up the structure using brass C-channel and some code 70 rail.
The cross bracing between the two main girders is most likely not prototypical, but as it will all be hidden under the timber platform, I wasn’t worried.
The structure was then temporarily located in position on the layout, the locations for the posts marked, and holes drilled into the foam.
I also designed and 3D printed a support base for the signal box itself. This will be clad in corrugated iron below floor level. The signal box is a 3D print from Ray Pilgrim’s Signals Branch shop on Shapeways.
Apologies to all my email subscribers for the barrage of posts over the last few days.
Normal posting will resume now!
More scenery work lately between Chilcotts Creek and Kankool.
Base application done with Woodland Scenics Fine Turf, then 2mm grass applied in random patterns.
Further application of longer grass will follow.
For quite some time now, I had planned on using 12V LED strip lights for the layout lighting.
Some years ago, I purchased some 5 metre rolls of LED strips on eBay. I had temporarily fitted these above the Chilcott’s Ck to Kankool section, primarily to provide lighting to be able to work on the layout.
Over the years, I realised that the strip lights were not going to be suitable for a number of reasons.
a) they ran very hot;
b) they used a lot of power;
c) to get the correct colour temperature of the lights, I found I had to use a strip of cool white AND warm white together. I soon realised I would need a hell of a lot of strips for this to achieve the desired result.
Ever since starting work on scenery, especially applying static grasses, I knew that I needed to sort the lighting out once and for all.
Yesterday I finally went into a local lighting shop to ask about “slimline” type fluorescent tubes. I was told “they are old technology now and are difficult to source”. The guy then showed me some LED slimline “linkable” LED lights that came in various lengths; 280mm, 540mm, 840mm, 1140mm & 1440mm. I decided to get a few different lengths to try out.
The other great thing about them is they can be switched between three different colour temperatures; 3000K (warm white), 4000K (cool white) and 5500K (daylight).
The 1440mm was $55, 1140mm was $44 and the 540mm was $29. I proceeded to install them above the Chilcott’s Ck bridge scene as a test.
The lights are supported by small plastic clips and can be daisy-chained together, either with a solid connector, or a short flexible connector that spaces each fitting approximately 130mm apart. This was the method I chose. The fittings were mounted behind the valance that was already in place.
I was pleasantly surprised by the effect once turned on. I have settled on the 5500K “daylight” temperature as it just looks the best compared to the other two. There is a nice, even spread of light.
The other plus is these draw far less load than the equivalent 12V strip lights. They also run very cool.
So to sum up, I think I am on a winner here. I have already done some local shopping around and it looks like I’ll be able to get some quite good discounts on the different length fittings if I buy in bulk. The plan is to use the longest fittings where possible, and short ones for going around curves/corners.
Below are some shots of the fittings in situ, the connector piece, and an overall view of the layout and the specs of the fittings. One thing to note is that they recommend a maximum run loading of 240W, which if you calculate off the figures in the picture, approximate run lengths of 22m, 16.7m, 16.5m 15.2m & 15.7m can be achieved for each different fitting length.
Here is a link to the product page.