Sunday, September 27, 2009

Progress Continues

I know a few of the Tuesday Nighters check here every Sunday night and are waiting for me to falter on my promise of a weekly update, so lets give them something to wait at least another week for!

Yesterday, I was working around the second tunnel portal on the layout north of Grafton and finally completed the plastering in this area. This is the start of the Rocla Sleeper Siding the first industry north of Grafton. A few short trains can load sleepers here -both the wooden and concrete varieties. All the sleeper carrying wagons bar one wooden sleeper wagon in use here are scratch built. That is 5 wooden sleeper wagons and 8 concrete sleeper wagons. You will notice in the photo below that there is a tunnel at the start of the siding as well as the track is covered by paper towel. Well in reality there is not a tunnel in that area - but modeller's license allows me to put one in here to lengthen the track distance between the staging at Grafton Yard and the first crossing loop north at Rappville. Rappville can be seen on the small shelf just visible (middle right) in the photo below.

The first bit of scenery that I started on the layout many months ago also moved closer towards completion today as I added a bit of greenery to an otherwise brown base. As previously mentioned a farm goes in here along with a windmill and water tank. A few cows will also be seen grazing the paddocks near the road into the Rocla Sleeper siding.

After the initial coat of scenery, I have also placed the road overbridge back onto the layout and with a road crossing staright off the bridge over the top track, will allow access for the locals to the farm and to the Rocla Sleeper establishment. Of course road signs, fencing, lots of trees, weeds, long grass, and telegraph lines will eventually detail this area as well.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Little by Little

The earlier part of the week was spent gathering the various issues of magazines that show photos and plans of the station buildings and signal boxes at Border Loop, Fairy Hill and The Risk. The Risk had a 10" Concrete Slab Pc3 building and a Signal Box. I think the Signal Box was made from fibro. Border Loop and Fairy Hill also had 10" Concrete Slab Signal boxes. Plans are under way to complete these buildings over the next month or so. The walls have been cut out already. I just need to cut the door and windows in and assemble them with a roof and base.

I also installed point control in both Border Loop and Fairy Hill Loop. I use the piano wire controlled connected to the point and actuated by the old fashion push pull mechanism. The Border Loop points are operated from one side of the base board only, while the Fairy Hill Loop opoints are operable from both sides of the baseboard. For these I use some Modratec components. They are just great. This manual operation is to mimic the operation by the train driver or his offsider when entering the un-attended loops as per the North Coast on weekends back in the era that I model.

(Above is a Photo of Fairy Hill Farm, backing onto Fairy Hill Loop. To the front right of the shed you can see the sophisicated point control lever sticking out of the baseboard. You will also note that this farmer is well off as he has a boat in his shed and a roll of wire next to the shed, ready for when he installs his fence. - I think he is waiting for a working bee - Notice that the seat is up in the Dunny! And there is no paper left!)

I also bit the bullet and installed a very small trestle bridge under the railway line between the Running Creek Tunnels. This involved a bit of cutting of the track base board away, plastering of the creek opening, installing a couple of wooden trestles that I had lying around and Voila - The bridge over Running Creek is complete.

(Above the photo showing the Trestle and the currently dry creek bed)

I also finished the base scenery at Border Loop, and the section between Border Loop, past Running Creek to the first of the Running Creek Tunnels. I still have hundred of hours of super detailing to go.

(Above a photo of Border Loop completed except for ballasting, buildings and hundreds of trees)
(Above a photo looking north of Running Creek to one of the Running Creek Tunnels. This area will have a camping area for the local naturalists enjoying the vibrant waters of the creek as well as a few mountain climbers and train spotters - or are they?)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Man the Pumps, All hands on Deck!

At the Train Club on Saturday afternoon it was confirmed that the Club will be visiting my place on Saturday 14th November for an away meeting. This is rare now-a-days as we do have our own purpose built clubrooms. Hmmm! I might need to do a tidy up. I might just have enough time. While the members have been following my Cassino Capers article each month in the Club Magazine - The Semaphore, I don't think many really appreciate the extent of 'The Shed'.

I will continue to go full throttle trying to get a lot of basic scenery down. But I will try and complete a few areas to a further level of completeness before the meeting. These more complete areas will be Rocla Farm, the area between the Running Creek Tunnels and Fairy Hill Loop. If my work of this afternoon is also any yardstick, I might even finish Border Loop.

In preparation for the big event (the meeting at my place) on Thursday afternoon I got the artline whiteboard marker out and hit the track at Fairy Hill Loop. As this area is visible from both sides of the peninsular, I needed to do both sides of the rail. On friday afternoon I checked it out and the pen had dried and the once shiny rail is now well rusted.

I then thought that I might put a bit of ballast on the main line through Fairy Hill. On Saturday morning before heading to two hobby shops and a Dick Smiths' on the way to the club on the other side of Brisbane (actually it is in Moreton Bay Regional Council outside of Brisbane), I put down a bit of ballast in the loop.

Today I put down some on the siding as well. So far I'm quite happy with my efforts to complete Fairy Hill Loop. I also started to throw around a bit of the detail items to see what it might look like. I will actually build another house for this farm, but the farm shed, the water tanks, the outhouse with the door open and lid up, and the fences will all be keepers.

Fairy Hill Farm

Last Sunday I purchased a few items, (i.e. wire and thread to be used as fence wire around Fairy Hill Farm). Yesterday I picked up some styrene sheet to build the signal cabin at Fairy Hill Loop. So with the deadline set I will need to spend time every weekend of the remaining 8 available to complete the scheduled work. I might even have to clean the track in preparation of running a train or two. So its all hands on deck!

Border Loop with a touch of green!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Scenicing Solutions

The last few weekends I have been scenicing the area around my Fairy Hill Loop area. This involved putting polystyrene down, contouring it, and then throwing around a bit of plaster. As documented in this blog I went one further and also threw a fair bit of sand and dirt down and various shades of green scatter. If I don't say myself, I'm very happy with the results achieved. They will only get better as more detail is added.
So to answer a question posed to me, I will elaborate on how and what I did.
Normally I paint the ground a base colour and then sprinkle various tile grouts down to create the initial dirt layer so the white plaster does not shine through. However, friend of mine, Mike Boyde, gave me many packets of various colours of dirt and sand that he collected from the side of the road around the Toowoomba region a while back. So I thought I might give these a try. So I used the various black and brown soils then the creams and whites. Then over the top I used various types of scatters. The complete list is Testuff Scenimat Scenic Scatter, various Oz Flock colours - 101, 105 and 116. Some Heki Green Scatter and Woodland Scenics Fine Grasss T44. I prefer the really fine ground foam in preference to the hundred and thousand shape - elongated stuff. I also prefer the packets with all the same colour and not those that have a variety of colours in the same packet as they look very toy like. So to answer the question posed to me by Wayne Oliver, I start with the Yellow colour, and then mix the various shades of greens mid, light and dark. I just keep adding the various colours until it looks nice. Every now and again I spray over a mix of whiteglue and wet water from a spray bottle.

Side Note:- While in the shed yesterday with my two kids, I had to laugh as I had completed scattering the sand and soil around, I moved onto the yellow Oz Flock scatter on the other side of the tracks at Fairy Hill Loop when my 4-year old said to me, "That yellow is for dead grass isn't it Daddy?" It certainly was. Oh - the Joys of Model Railways!