Author Archives: Ian Millard
The final panel was installed yesterday. I have also temporarily installed the lighting to finalise their locations.
The next step is to remove the lights, fill the joins, undercoat the ceiling then paint with the sky colour. The lights will then be re-installed. I am very pleased with how it’s all come together. There is now plenty of light to continue trackwork and scenery in this section.
The top valance/pelmet will most likely be installed after the majority of scenery is complete.
I have started on the ceiling install as mentioned the other day.
I decided to make a panel for each segment based on the framework as it goes around the curved part of the peninsula.
The first two went up nice and easy as there is no backscene at this point. This will be installed later.
When I did the ceiling for the upper deck above Kankool, I had secured the ceiling panels using screws, but this was a lot of work and used up a lot of screws.
I had intended to keep going with this method so screws were used on the first two panels above.
Again, a lot of screws were used and I thought there had to be another way to do this.
So I looked into using small nails (brads) and looked around for a small nailing gun.
I found one for $40 and also bought a box of 2000 15mm brads for $3.95.
So, the first two panels had their screws removed, panels removed and woodworking glue applied to the joining surfaces, refitted in place and nailed. Much easier and quicker!!
The next panel was a bit trickier as it is starting to go around the curve. Once a piece was roughly cut to size, it was test fitted and the rear curve traced and cut. Because the backscene board is already installed at this location, I had to come up with a way of supporting the back edge of the ceiling panel, so I decided to cut a notch into the rear edge of the ceiling panel and a corresponding cut-out in the top edge of the backscene panel. This worked quite well.
At the same time, the front edge of the ceiling panel is also cut to the shape that the valance will follow.
I have got a bit of a system going now, so the rest of the panels should go up with ease.
I recently came across a fantastic YouTube channel. Check out Boomer Diorama; The Immersive Model Railroad.
There are lots of fantastic tutorials on his weathering and scenery techniques as well as commentary on why he does what he does.
I’ll be definitely trying out some of his techniques.
It’s been a while between posts!
However, I have been busy. I have been installing more scenery ‘mud’ on the large embankment and partly around the next peninsula towards Ardglen. The track has also been ballasted up to there as well.
I had come to a point where I realised to progress further, I needed to install more lighting.
I had always just moved around temporary fluro lights to where I was working, but this was becoming tiresome.
So the decision was made to install framework for the ceiling and valance from midway above the large embankment all the way through to Ardglen. This will enable me to permanently install the lighting for this section, so that I can continue to work in a well lit area. The same framework was also installed for the future top deck section back to Kankool.
Most of the layout timber work is from DAR pine, 70 x 19mm and 42 x 19mm. However, I was looking to save some money from this point onwards, so I decided to purchase large sheets of 19mm plywood and rip these down into 70mm and 42mm wide strips. The cost of the plywood is about half that of the equivalent DAR pine.
The ceiling will be made from 3mm MDF and painted the sky blue colour. The lighting will then be installed along with the valance up to Ardglen.
More photos will be added as the ceiling installation progresses.
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.
Some new models have recently been acquired.
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.
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.