Category Archives: Scenery
Since the last post, I have continued with the laying of rail from Kankool towards the bridge at Chilcott’s Creek and also for a couple of metres towards Ardglen.
This had come to a bit of a standstill due to me running out of the 3D printed fishplates a couple of months ago, but I have since come up with a new plan to allow tracklaying to progress independent of my stocks of fishplates.
I have started to paint the non-viewable side of each rail with the Krylon camo brown prior to fixing to the CV ties. There is no need to have fishplates on the non-visible side of the rail. That being said, I did fix them to both sides of the rail on the main and loop roads at Kankool, but only realised it was a waste after the fact! Once the half-painted rail is fixed down, I will then go along and glue the fishplates to the viewable side of the rail and then spray the whole track, including the CV ties, with the Krylon. I think this will aid in colouring and weathering the CV ties later on.
Over the last few months, in between other jobs, I started to glue down copious amounts of the XPS yellow foam in readiness to begin shaping the landform in the section from Chilcott’s Creek and through Kankool.
A brief update on some more progress on the Chilcott’s Creek bridge scene.
The bridge abutments are now fixed in position, and most of the foam is also fixed down.
I also did some more weathering to the bridge piers. Following on from the previous Part V post, the rust streaking was done using oil paints and turps to drag the colours down the piers.
I’m quite happy with the results with some more work to be done.
I have recently been redoing the weathering on the Chilcott’s Ck bridge abutments and piers. I wasn’t happy with my first attempt using the acrylic crayon powders quite a while ago. So, this time using oil paints, I applied an all over light grey colour using a stippling brush and I think it has produced a neat effect. Then using other colours like black, white and more grey, I have again stippled over the top for a random effect. For the rust staining, I used the oils again but washed them down with turps. Again pretty happy with the results so far.
I have also finished the “base” grey coat on the piers and will let that dry before moving onto the rust staining.
I have also made some more progress on the Chilcott’s Ck bridge scene over the last few days. A slight change of plans to what I mentioned previously, in that I have decided to fix the timber sub-module base in place then add the scenery foam around and on top of it. The abutments will then be fixed in place, along with the piers. Scenery including dirts and grasses will then be applied, and hopefully some ‘water’ in the creek! The bridge span will then be fixed in place once all this has been completed. Pictures show all the foam pieces and the sub-module base temporarily in place.
A plywood base was fixed in place to provide support for the foam.
With the bridge sub-module sitting in place, a jigsaw of various pieces of foam were cut to fit. First off were two pieces front and back to continue the creek bed, which was drawn in and then routed out to the same depth as on the timber sub-module.
Then other pieces of foam were cut and shaped to fit the previously made pieces under the bridge.
The last two pictures show the bridge span and piers temporarily in place to give an idea of how the scene will look. Final shaping of the foam will be done when the pieces are fixed down.
Recently I have continued work on the Chilcott’s Creek bridge scene.
Back in December 2014, I made a post where I had started to weather the bridge piers and abutments.
I was never really happy with how the colour on the abutments had turned out, so I decided to redo them.
Using some new oil based paints and some new techniques, I mixed up a new lighter colour of grey and applied to the abutments. I am happy so far with the result. The paint was stippled on and has given a rougher surface appearance. I’ll redo the rust stains as well. I think I will also redo the piers.
I also added the small extensions to the wingwalls.
The plan was always to build the bridge on a sub-assembly and then slot it into place. As the base of the sub-module needed to be near to perfectly flat, I decided to laminate a piece of 3-ply to another piece of hardwood. I roughly marked out the future riverbed and removed the first layer of ply using a router. My idea is to eventually try my hand at some model water.
I have also started on forming the scenery around the bridge. The idea is to form up the base scenery foam, add the dirts, grasses etc then assemble the bridge, fix the sub-assembly into the layout, levelling up as I go. Anyway, we’ll soon see if that plan works!!
The last photo shows the bridge & piers temporarily in place. You get the idea!!
Some months ago I started laying tieplates on the bridge and have fixed one rail in place. I had been thinking of ways to do it easily, including making a jig, but Andrew suggested I just line them up against a straight edge.
The frets of the tieplates were masked off where the base of the rail sits, painted with some Krylon flat brown paint, then dusted a ‘rusty’ colour with some powders.
The underside of the tieplates were then coated with Pliobond glue.
The individual tieplates were then cut out and located on the transoms, one at the end and the other about 40 transoms away. Using a soldering iron, the tieplates are bonded to the transoms. The heat activates the Pliobond. This then gave me two points to line the straight edge against. The straight edge was clamped to the bridge. More tieplates were then bonded to the transoms. The process was repeated along the bridge.
The next step was to fix one length of rail to this first run of tieplates. This was done by applying the Pliobond to the underside of the rail as well as the tops of the tieplates, then locating the rail in position and carefully applying heat to the top of the rail using an old clothes iron and gradually moving along the length of the bridge. The bond appears to be OK so far.
The plan is to then, using gauges, locate more tieplates underneath the second rail and repeat the above process.
I have completed installation of the foam roadbed all the way from Chilcott’s Ck almost to Ardglen. I have also laid quite a bit more CV track base from Chilcott’s Ck through Kankool to just before the first peninsula.
The process was the same as outlined here when I did the Temple Court section.
Under where the turnouts are located at Kankool, I laid 3mm cork down instead of the foam. This was done to make it easier cutting out a hole for the future throwbar rather than trying to cut it out of the soft foam. In hindsight, I probably only needed a small section of cork directly under the toe of each turnout rather than under the whole turnout. That is what I will do on future turnouts.
Taking on board an idea from Andrew, I also commenced installing strips of the high density yellow foam to the sides of the spline. The idea here is to lay continuous foam strips along the spline to not only allow for shaping the trackbed, ballast profile and drainage, but to also make it easier to install the main scenery foam later on, rather than trying to cut many small irregularly shaped foam pieces to try and fit against the spline.
Apologies for the lack of updates since early Dec last year. I have been busy with some scenery in the Temple Court section as well as some more benchwork and spline construction.
Temple Court scenery
I’ve made a start on some static grass application but have not done much since Christmas. It’s been tricky getting the look and colours right, but I think it will look OK as it progresses.
Some pics below of the progress so far.
I still haven’t done any more with the rocky outcrop, but you can see lots of plaster castings sitting around for inspiration.
Lower level backscene, upper deck benchwork and spline
I also started installing the backscene from staging through Kankool, including the entry from staging onto the Chilcott’s Ck bridge scene.
The last picture above shows the new supports installed for the upper deck above Kankool as well for backscene support. As mentioned previously, I am using 3mm MDF as the backscene and this will be painted with the sky colour.
I had always planned to work on the lower deck scenery and trackwork from Chilcott’s Ck bridge to Ardglen first before the upper deck, mainly due to thinking I would have access issues on the lower deck for scenery work if I built the upper deck benchwork. In the last few weeks I have since decided to progress with upper deck benchwork, spline and scenery from Ardglen through to Pangela as the next stage.
This all came about after I had started to think about getting the bridge in place and laying track from staging through Kankool. But I realised that this may not be such a good idea as once the bridge was installed, and I had scenery in place, I would be working above all this with the ever present danger of things falling on the scene below.
So, the decision was made to continue with upper deck benchwork above Kankool and around to Pangela as well with spline construction from Ardglen to Pangela.
As I had already built the benchwork for Ardglen and the section above Chilcott’s Ck to Kankool some time ago (see previous post), I started to lay out the spline in this area.
As mentioned above, the plan is to continue with upper deck benchwork all the way from Kankool through Pangela and to build the spline from Ardglen to Pangela, then start on basic scenery formation. Once all the messy stuff with plaster is done on the upper deck, I’ll probably then look at getting the Chilcott’s Ck bridge installed and continuing with scenery through Kankool and beyond towards Ardglen.
Cheers for now.
Over the last couple of days, I started weathering the Chilcott’s Ck bridge girders and piers.
To refresh the memory, this is the bridge and the weathering effect I am trying to achieve. Even though the photo was taken in the last few years, and I am modelling 30+ years ago, I don’t think the weathering would be much less.
Following on from the previous post on the subject, the completed bridge spans had been painted with Krylon camouflage brown spray paint. The plaster piers were also painted with the Krylon. It is a dead flat matte paint that gives a good surface for the weathering powders to adhere to.
First, a bit of background on the Krylon paint and weathering powders.
At a local model railway exhibition that was held in Sydney earlier this year, a good mate was demonstrating his latest technique for weathering rollingstock.
Rather than me repeating it verbatim, have a read of this PDF as it outlines the technique in detail. For those readers in Australia, I obtained my Conte crayons from an online art supplier, The Art Shop.
How Aaron sprayed the Krylon over a perfectly good model comes across as a bit drastic, but you can see the results. The Krylon is purely there to provide a “keying” surface for the crayon powders.
So, both the bridge girders and piers were painted with the Krylon. The bridge girders then got a good coating of a blue/grey colour then a light hint of various shades of browns to simulate the dirt on the bottom half of the girders.
The plaster piers were then attacked with a light grey colour as a base to get that weathered concrete colour. Some white was also applied to lighten the grey in certain areas. Then it was just a matter of using various shades of browns and black to get the streaking effect.
Below is the result so far.
Still have a bit to do, but probably not far off from being finished. I’ve also been working on the abutments using the same techniques. Below is a photo of progress so far.
Last weekend saw me attend the 5th bi-annual New England Convention hosted by the New England Model Railway Club in Armidale NSW.
Andrew and I drove up on Friday afternoon and upon arrival, met up with a lot of familiar faces along with some new ones.
The event was held in the Armidale Bowling Club, utilising a large function room along with another three smaller rooms for the lectures and clinics.
There were three layouts on display, but my favourite was “Bullenbung Creek” by Alan Tarrant. I had seen this layout before, but am always impressed when I see it.
Below are a couple of pics I took.
I also took a short video to demonstrate the DCC sound from a typical branchline goods train.
Click here to watch it on YouTube.
I also had the opportunity to play with the NCE DCC system which was in use on Bullenbung Creek. I had always planned to use the EasyDCC system, but just recently discovered a limitation in how consists are handled. With EasyDCC, consists cannot be made or broken up from the handheld throttle, they must be done at the command station.
Some months ago, a mate showed me a photo of a triple 48 class working at Pangela (see below). Photo courtesy of Phil Collins.
In the photo, the single 48 class (the bank engine), has detached from the train and waits in the loop. The remaining 48’s will continue with their train. The single 48 will run light engine back to Willow Tree or Werris Creek.
I thought this operation would be cool to replicate on the layout. The idea is to have the three 48’s marshalled on the train in staging and when they reach Pangela, the lead engine will detach from the train and run light engine back to staging and wait for the rest of the train to also return to staging, where it will be reattached.
In replicating this operation, the detaching of the single 48 ideally should be done with the handheld throttle, but with EasyDCC, the operator would have to go to the Command station, break the consist, and then continue. With the NCE system, this can all be done from the throttle, which will be much easier. Admittedly, I only need to do this with this one train, but I think it will be better.
So, the upshot is, I have decided to change DCC systems. I won’t be rushing out to buy the NCE just yet, but at least I can now plan what I need to buy in the way of hardware.
I have also been quite busy with work continuing on the scenery in Temple Court.
The base scenery with the Sculpt-it has been 95% completed, and is nearly ready to start applying dirts and static grasses.
I have also been playing around with making plaster rock castings to try and replicate the large rocky outcrop as shown below. Photo by Mick Morahan.
More on the rock castings in a future post.
Compare the shot below with where it was up to on August 29.
Scenery is progressing slowly at Temple Court. Lots more cutting and carving of the foam has happened, creating even more mess!!
It was time to think about applying the final coating over the foam to fill in the gaps and finalise the landform.
Now, I could have gone the plaster and paper towel route, but this to me is very messy and you only have a short working time with the plaster before it starts to set.
About two years ago, I purchased a series of online DVD’s from Model Trains Video which is an arm of Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine. The two DVD’s were produced by Mike Confalone and documented how he had gone about making the scenery and specific scenes on his HO scale Allagash Railway. Click the image below to go to the site. Google is your friend if you wish to find out more about the Allagash.
Whilst the series is ultimately how Mike did the scenery on his own layout, and the content is based on US prototype railroads, the techniques can be applied to any layout modelling.
In one of the DVD segments, Mike demonstrates how he makes a “mud” concoction to use as a ground cover base. It’s a mix of a product called “Celluclay”, water and latex (acrylic) paint. The Celluclay is a papier mache product which sets hard once dry and can then be sanded, filed etc to shape.
After watching the videos, I tried to find this Celluclay. It’s certainly available here in Australia, but it’s quite pricey, and being a dense product, quite heavy to post.
Again, Google was my friend, and I came across what appears to be an identical product called EC Sculpt-it. Well, after more searching, I came across a 10kg bag of the stuff being sold by Officeworks. It was only available as an online order, but I was able to have it delivered to my local store for free pickup. Here it is on the Officeworks website. At $55 for 10kg, it’s certainly cheaper than the equivalent quantity of Celluclay.
Below are some shots of the area prior to applying the “mud”.
I decided to mix up a small, initial batch of the “mud” as a test, but just used water only with the Sculp-it. Well this didn’t turn out so well, and I probably made it too wet, and wasn’t all that easy to apply. It did however harden in about 45 minutes.
For the second attempt, I decided to mix some acrylic paint with the Sculp-it. I found some very old paving paint in the garden shed and decided to try that. It certainly mixed better and made into a nice paste, but again, I probably made it too wet, as it seemed to take overnight to dry.
I then decided to look at Mike’s video once again. I discovered that he adds some water to the dry stuff first, then adds the paint. There is no hard and fast mixing ratio, but after having a third attempt, I came up with a good mix.
I use three good handfuls of the Sculpt-it, probably about 100ml of water, then add the paint until a thick consistency is achieved. It needs to be thoroughly mixed so no dry product remains.
The photo on the left below shows the dry product and the right hand photo shows the resultant “mud”.
Prior to starting with this third batch of the mud, I decided to attach the first section of fascia so I could bring the mud right up to the fascia edge. I used an offcut of 1/8” masonite that was left over from cutting the spline material. It was 2400mm long by about 230mm wide. This was temporarily held in place and a rough line drawn on the inside following the foam contours. It was then cut out with a jigsaw, placed back in position and screwed to the joists. The screw heads will be filled and sanded later.
Then came the fun part. The mud was worked into the foam with one or two fingers, smoothing out regularly with a light spray of water on top. The photo below shows my stepson, Connor, helping me out!
The mud was brought right up to the fascia edge and also up to the roadbed and shaped appropriately. By now I think I had the right mixture and technique happening. It was dry to the touch after a couple of hours.
The photo below shows the first section complete.
I’m still not sure whether to continue covering all the foam, or just use it to fill the gaps and make contours where needed. It’s certainly going to use up a lot of mud if I am to completely cover the foam. What you see above has used 2kg of the dry Sculpt-it. I have read that either sawdust or Vermiculite can be used 50/50 with the Sculpt-it to make it go further. I might try this with the next batch of mud.
I have also been making some rock castings from plaster in some borrowed moulds. These are planned for a short section just to the left of the printed picture in the photo above. The image below shows what I hope to achieve in the scene. More on this in the next post.
Now that I have this first section of scenery done and the fascia in place, I really like how the scene is progressing. I will now continue with the mud behind the track, probably up to where the rock castings will go. Stay tuned!