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.
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.
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!
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.
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