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.
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.
Over the last few weeks I have been working on applying scenery to a small diorama I initially made a few years ago. Up until now, it had just been sitting around with track ballasted but no scenery.
So out came the scenery dirt and static grasses. Still a work in progress as I am yet to finish the road. I was trialling different techniques to produce long grass. Basically, the first layer is 2mm fibres applied into Mod Podge glue. When that has dried, 3M Super 77 adhesive spray is applied over the top then a mixture of 4mm and 6mm fibres is applied over the top. Different colours are mixed together to get away from a uniform colour. Additional grass tufts, weeds etc are then added.
Well I can’t believe it’s 12 months since my last post. I just never seemed to get around to posting anything.
One of the biggest tasks undertaken was to re-glue the rails to the CV ties all the way from Kankool to Ardglen. I had discovered that the rail had started to lift in quite a few locations. I am still unsure what the cause was, but I’m putting it down to my initial glue mixture of contact cement and MEK.
I had been very apprehensive about doing it, but realised I had to just bite the bullet. Subsequently over about a six week period, I lifted 38 metres of rail, cleaned the old glue of the base and also off the CV ties, and using Pliobond straight from the tube, applied it to both rail and ties and re-laid the rail back in place. The process wasn’t too bad, as it was still all pre-curved.
During the process, I also increased the gap between lengths of rail from virtually nothing to around the thickness of a piece of paper.
The next biggest task had been to install more scenery foam nearly all the way to where Ardglen quarry is located. This was roughed in using previous techniques and is yet to be carved to shape.
More backscene board was installed, again, up to where the quarry is located.
An interesting article in this month’s (May) Model Railroad Hobbyist online magazine on keeping wheels and track clean.
Go to Page 9, “Publisher’s Musings”.
Some time ago, there was a thread on the MRH Forums on this same discussion, and I purchased a graphite stick and have been using it occasionally on the short section of track between Chilcott’s Creek and Kankool. I have yet to actually “clean” the track with a track rubber or similar since the initial application of graphite, and locos run perfectly on it every time, most often with months between runs.
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.
Preparing for ballasting
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.
Work on the bridge scene has ceased now that the bridge is in and the final ‘water’ pour done, so my attention has now returned to the first set of turnouts for Ardglen.
This complex of three turnouts plus catchpoint was started last year, and all that is required now is to fit the point blades and throwbars. The first of seven blades have been fitted this afternoon.
Bridge work continues
Another milestone for Chilcott’s Ck bridge today.
The guard rails have been fitted and weathered/blended to the rest of the bridge. The guard rails, which had been previously made up and pre painted, were superglued in position using spacers from the running rails.
This pretty much completes the bridge itself, however there is a lot more detailing to come for the overall scene.
I have started with some track weathering in preparation for ballasting the short section between the entrance “rat hole” and the bridge.
Pan Pastels were used with Neutral Grey Extra Dark applied to the sleepers and Red Iron Oxide Extra Dark applied to the rails. This is just a preliminary pastel application prior to the ballast, after which the sleepers and rail will be touched up again to blend into the ballast. I hope it is evident in the photos, as the close-up shows the difference.