Category Archives: Temple Court
Spline now 80% complete …
Over the last few months, I have completed all spline work within the Ardglen area, including the ballast sidings, and also to a point about halfway between Ardglen and Pangela.
This now means I have completed construction of 80% of total spline, which equates to 292 feet (88.5 metres) with just 74 feet (22.5 metres) of spline left to build through Pangela and to connect up to the helix.
The two images below are views of Ardglen from either end, showing the storage and goods sidings.
The next image is a shot further down the grade from Ardglen, looking back towards the ballast sidings coming off the quarry road.
The next image shows the shunting neck at the end of the quarry road.
The next image shows a general view of the section above Temple Court. I have yet to finalise setting the grade in this section. Temple Court has been covered with drop sheets to protect the scenery from dust and dirt whilst working above.
The next series of images show the spline from Ardglen tunnel through to a point about halfway to Pangela.
Layout progress update …
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.
Enthusiasm reinvigorated …
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.
Temple Court scenery – Part III …
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!
Temple Court scenery – Part II …
Since the last post, I have been busy making more mess with styrofoam!!
I started applying layers of the foam to build up where I wanted hills, cuttings and embankments. This was a pretty slow process actually, as it’s very tricky to fit square foam pieces into a curved area. There is a lot of cutting!!
Below is a series of photos showing progress so far.
The section above includes the formation of the old line to the shale oil works at Murrurundi which I described here.
The two photos above show some of the high density XPS foam I purchased from Bunnings. For those of you that follow Railpage, there is a thread on the stuff here. It was easy to cut into strips and then kerf to allow it to follow the roadbed easily. The bamboo skewers help hold the foam in place while the adhesive sets.
Here I have started to carve an embankment into the foam. This is only a rough formation as the final shape will occur with plaster sculpting.
An overall shot showing the formations.
I am certainly enjoying this part, and the scene is taking shape, but it is difficult to visualise what the scene will look like, as well as trying to copy what I see in the photos.
Temple Court scenery – Part I …
This week has seen me make a start on forming the scenery in the Temple Court section.
So I dragged out some polystyrene foam I had been collecting over the years and worked out what I could use.
I had some 30mm thick sheets about a metre square that would do the trick, along with an assortment of various shapes and sizes.
The foam is cut to shape and glued to the joists with water based construction adhesive, with additional timber supports installed where required. The next stage is to use some high density XPS foam to build up the areas that will require carving away.
The section on the far left will probably end up being a low cutting to help disguise the ‘rat-hole’ in the backscene.
The section near the centre of the photo will be a rocky outcrop based on the prototype as shown below.
4538+4512+4497+48138 with Up No.606 freight, make their way past
a granite outcrop near Temple Court on 19 May 1982.
Photo by Mick Morahan
4854+44224+4483+44211 with an Up wheat near Temple Court in 1980.
Photo by Chris Nelson
And then there was sky …
Well, I took the plunge today and painted the Temple Court backdrop a “sky” blue.
Since the last post where I showed the completed backdrop installed, I have finished the task of filling and sanding the joins in the MDF. I used a final finish topping compound from Gyprock. A couple of layers were done to ensure a smooth transition over the join. Some mesh jointing tape was also used to help prevent cracking of the join.
Once sanded smooth, an undercoat was applied.
I had recently been pondering the option of a painted backdrop or a photographic backdrop in this section. There are a number of products available with Australian scenes, but I just couldn’t decide on one that I thought would look right. In the end, I have decided to have a go at a painted backdrop. It will most likely end up just being the sky with some painted clouds.
Below is the result of one coat of sky paint this morning.
The colour is Dulux ‘Shimmer Half’ A339. I used a foam type roller which hopefully won’t leave much of an ‘eggshell’ type surface.
Next step is to try painting some clouds using a technique shown on Trainmasters TV. I recently subscribed to this paid service. I signed up for the two year option. It’s not bad value at $3.50 per month. I have found that not many episodes interest me, but the ones on weathering etc have been interesting. I’ll explain about the cloud painting in the next post. Hopefully they will turn out OK!!
Cab ride …
Back in 2013, a mate who is a driver for Pacific National, took some video for me of a trip over the area I am modelling.
Work continues on Temple Court section …
Since my last post on Temple Court, I have been busy continuing with benchwork for the backdrop in this section as well as installing some upper deck supports.
I also added extra bracing back to the walls to strengthen the whole thing.
I have had to do quite a lot of thinking about the deck separation and depth of scenes around Temple Court, as, for me to continue with spline construction up into Ardglen, I needed to have some supports in place. This meant working out a bracket design that would support the spline and scenery, as well as maximising deck separation below to Temple Court.
I always had the idea of making the upper deck brackets out of 20mm square steel tube, mainly to maximise deck separation, but also because I had heaps of the stuff left over from an old balustrade system from around our outdoor deck.
As it turns out, at least in this section, I decided to use only a few steel brackets, as I could see issues with fixing future timber risers to the steel tube. Anyway, these ones will be a test for future supports under Pangela.
I ended up making the rest of the supports from 2×1 DAR pine screwed together in an inverted L shape. A 6mm ply brace was also glued and screwed to these supports.
These supports are placed at roughly the elevation of the spline at each location. I was going to make them exactly at the elevation, but thought it wouldn’t leave any room for adjustment to the correct height. This will be achieved with timber shims. The supports are just long enough so the spline will be attached close to the end. Another piece of 2×1 will be attached later to extend out for the fascia support. This design was done to ensure maximum scenery depth below track level but also to maintain maximum deck separation.
I wasn’t concerned about the angled brace being high at the back, as in this part of the upper deck scene, there will be hills pretty much the full height of the backdrop.
The above two photos show the section ready for backdrop installation. I have chosen to use 3mm MDF. In this section, the backdrop is about 400mm high, so out of a 2440 x 1220mm sheet, I was able to get three sections of backdrop for the full length of this scene. Prior to installing the MDF, the rear of each sheet was painted in an undercoat to seal the MDF, so as to prevent any possible ingress of moisture. I was unsure whether I would have to worry about it, but better to do it now than later.
The above two pictures show the curved backdrop at either end of the section. The left hand shot is at the Down staging yards and the right hand shot is leading to the helix.
The shot above shows the second section of backdrop being held in place with clamps and pieces of 2×1 whilst the adhesive sets. The clamps were left in place for 24 hours. I used construction adhesive, and was planning on using only that, but have since decided to also screw the MDF to the supports at the top and bottom. These screws will pretty much be hidden behind scenery and the upper deck pelmet.
The shot above is a panorama view of the Temple Court backdrop as it is now. I have started to fill and sand the joins in the MDF. Next stage will be to paint this in a “sky” blue.
Cheers for now.
Backdrop & upper deck supports for Temple Court section …
Since my last post, I have completed the painting of the CV track in the Temple Court section. I pretty much continued with the same colours and techniques as described in the previous post, and am pretty happy with it all. The section is now ready for ballasting but this won’t happen until I have the scenery in place.
I had also started fitting some styrofoam in place for the scenery base, but realised I couldn’t do much more until I had the backdrop supports installed. At this point I was unsure of how much scene depth I was going to have in this area.
The upper deck that will carry the track coming into Ardglen will be fully supported on the main benchwork in this area. There will be no anchoring of benchwork to the ceiling. Supports were made from 70×19 DAR pine and cantilevered off the existing joists supporting the Temple Court roadbed.
Even though the cantilevered joist length was short, I decided to install angle braces back to the main beams. The whole weight of the upper deck and fascias will be supported by these timbers.
Yes, it’s probably over-engineered, but better to do it now than have problems later on.
To finish off, a couple of shots of the section with some masonite temporarily clamped in place so I could get an idea of how it will look.
I am thinking the next stage will be to actually fit the backdrop sheeting in place so I will have something to fill with foam to begin scenery shaping.