More ballasting & Kankool signal box platform takes shape

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 applied some Pan Pastels to the timbers as well as a trial. You can see the difference where I have applied them to the right hand end. More weathering will be done at a later stage.
Handrail posts temporarily fitted in the notched timbers.

Ballasting at Kankool

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.

Kankool Signal Box & platform

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.

Transfer of posts from Facebook complete

Apologies to all my email subscribers for the barrage of posts over the last few days.

Normal posting will resume now!

More scenery at Chilcott’s Ck

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.

Lighting

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.

https://www.sal.net.au/…/slimline-tc-linkable-sl9706

More scenery work at Chilcott’s Ck

Have been doing more scenery work lately between Chilcotts Ck bridge and Kankool.

Getting some scenery dirt down and more long grass.

3d printer assembled & working

Well, the printer is finally assembled and now working through some test prints.

Very pleased with it so far. Build quality is excellent, with some very complex 3D printed parts involved.

3D printer arrives

Let the 3D printing adventure begin! 😀

Long grass

Following on from the diorama, I have applied the same techniques to the layout, starting with the area around the bridge.

Some time ago, I had initially applied the 2mm grass layer, but had gone no further, as I didn’t know how I was going to produce long, rough and woody grass. I had been experimenting with fake fur and similar materials, but could never get it to look right.

I think it’s starting to look pretty good. There is lots more to be done, even in this small area with weeds, trees, scrub etc.

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