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.
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.
Have been doing more scenery work lately between Chilcotts Ck bridge and Kankool.
Getting some scenery dirt down and more 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.
Tried out some weathering on the ballast today.
As mentioned previously, the glued ballast dries a bit too dark, so I’ve gone over it with some grey pan pastels. More rust colour has been re-applied to the rail and onto the ballast to get that rust stained look. Some black also applied between the rails for the oil stains that occur from bogies and traction motors.
A work in progress.
First section of ballast glued down this afternoon.
I am using Chuck’s Ardglen Fine (how appropriate!).
Ballast applied using a spoon, then carefully shaped and spread with a soft brush, being careful to remove any that adheres to the web of the rail. When happy, isopropyl alcohol is sprayed on the ballast, doing a short section at a time. This helps break down the surface tension and aids in the capillary action of the glue.
A mixture of Matte Mod Podge, water and a few drops of detergent is then applied using a small squeeze bottle. It is now left to dry.
The ballast normally dries darker, but it can be lightened up using Pan Pastels. I will also go over the rail colour again with the pastels to blend the rust staining into the ballast. Other weathering will be added later.
Some ballasting work this morning.
PVA glue was brushed onto the shoulders of the roadbed first so following applications of ballast wouldn’t just slide down the slope!
Using a spoon and tapping it, ballast was applied to the shoulders.
The next stage will be to apply ballast to the track and glue in position.
I have started back on some scenery work from Chilcott’s Ck bridge towards Kankool.
This has involved preparing the track for ballasting. I recently reshaped the roadbed profile as I wasn’t happy with how it looked. Using a grinding bit in the Dremel, I carefully ground more of an angled shoulder from the end of the sleepers down to the surrounding formation. Once this was complete, I glued some base ‘dirt’ down on the profile shoulders. I then added some colour to the sleepers and rail using Pan Pastels.
In the last photo, you can see the difference where the track has not been coloured.
I am after some help from my knowledgeable audience.
Referring to the photo below, it shows a section of the New England Highway at Doughboy Hollow between Kankool and Ardglen.
At this location on Google Maps, a small creek/watershed is shown to flow underneath the railway embankment and also pass under the highway where the ARMCO barrier is. My question is how would the highway have crossed this waterway? Concrete pipes, box culverts or what? I am also presuming there would have been some sort of culvert in the embankment.
Is this likely to have been brick or concrete?
Well, after two successful ‘water’ pours, and with a final one to come when some more Envirotex arrives, I decided to fix the bridge in position this afternoon.
The second pour still didn’t have quite enough tint to it, but that will be corrected with the final pour.
I used some grey caulk to fix the bridge to the piers and abutments; just the smallest of dabs so it didn’t squeeze out.
Overall I’m very happy with how the Envirotex has worked. More photos to come.