Author Archives: Ian Millard

Coal hoppers arrive

Yesterday I received my order of CTS coal hoppers from Auscision Models.

These will form my empty 24 wagon coal train hauled by two 45 class locomotives.

I set the train up on the layout to get an idea of its length.

Once again, a very nice model from Auscision.

Click on the images for larger versions.

Recent arrivals

Some new models have recently been acquired.

The rivetted bogie ballast hopper (BBW) from IDR Models and bogie ballast plough van (BBP) from Stephen Johnson Models.

The BBW is a ready-to-run model available in 3-car packs. It is very nicely done, having some very fine detail.

The BBP is a composite kit comprising polyurethane castings, nickel silver and brass etchings and lost was brass castings. I believe all of the patterns for this kit were 3D printed then cast in polyurethane and brass. The detail in the kit is superb, right down to the rivets on the sides and hinges and padlock on the gas cylinder compartment doors.

Handrails on Kankool platform

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.

Scenery fun

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.

Here you can see I have embedded some plaster rock castings into the “mud”.
Some more plaster castings embedded into the face. Time will tell if these will look right.

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.

More work on Kankool platform

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!

Cropped section from original image by Warren Herbert and used with permission

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.

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.

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