Friday, 9 July 2021

Hitting the wall

I've been quite pre occupied with other things such as work, real life and clearing out all the music making equipment which the garage shared with the Isle of Stoner Railway, so actual layout progress has been rather limited. Planning and preparation for the last big push, completing the line back to the other terminus at Port Lucy, has been extensive.

I did clear out all the loose ballast and plaster and have a bit of a test/play and for the most part it worked as I'd hoped.

However, in a near disastrous shunting manoeuvre I stopped the loco in the nick of time with the rake of PQR carriage pointing very much down hill. It has been suggested than a buffer stop might be a good investment but I'm just going to build some more layout instead. 

I was looking at the couple of repainted and detailed PECO GVT coaches that I have and decided that what they needed was a brake van. I'm not mad keen on the matching van as it comes but have previously modified a red one which looks much nicer. (To my mind) It's a relatively simple conversion which is fundamentally blocking up the single window with styrene sheet. It makes more sense in terms of the way a van like this would be used.

Once that is done I removed the moulded hand rail and replaced it with brass rod and added the roof grab handle in similar vein to the coaches. Then it was repaint the ends black and the top half of the body in cream. All the unpainted PECO roofs look better for some grey paint, no steam hauled railway had roofs which stayed white for long.

With the addition of vac pies, job done. Probably need another coach now to fill out the set...

Meanwhile, back at Upper Bay with some testing I realised that my concern that the new wall was too close to the running line was right so some demolition and reconstruction was needed to move the wall back. I didn't take any pictures of the work as I was too cross with myself. It all results from fitting a third siding in and therefore not leaving enough room for the wall. I had to cut away a large part of the supporting foam core behind the scenic wall and even with that moved out of the way it's very tight and the wall has a slightly concave lean where it comes close to the track. This may all lead to a complete rebuild at some stage but it would involve too much work for now.

Before and after the wall surgery I have finally started to add colour, brown so far. Very much just a base coat for other colours and textures.

I painted the removeable section... removed.

The next section of railway is relatively simple and I think I've got all the bits of wood and track I need to get going on this. I'm on holiday for a couple of weeks now up in Scotland so the only modelling will be virtual but I hope to crack on with it as soon as I get back. 

The line leaves Upper Bay towards Port Lucy over a bridge over a minor road and then there is a section of road side tramway (to justify all the trams and tram locos I've acquired over the years). This will be a straight forward for a couple of feet and then it all gets very complicated. Port Lucy is not only the junction station where it meets the 'mainline'; it is also a port and has the loco sheds, carriage sheds and so on. I'm looking forward to having both ends of the line and a passing loop but there will be an awful lot of work to do to get that far. Tom Dauben has offered to do the water in the harbour which is great so that only leaves the rest of the layout to build.


Saturday, 19 June 2021

It's a wall...

Since my last post I've not made any spectacularly obvious progress but 'Lord Stoner' and the GVT Baldwin now have crew and look better for it even if it is hard to see them. I've also painted a little fat bald bloke and a Collie dog which look quite like me and my dog. Not decided where to plant them yet.

The footbridge is now plastered into the landscape and some trees were planted into the soft filler to give them a good solid root. I'm forever knocking trees over so these should stand a reasonable chance of survival.

I quite quickly came to the conclusion that the printed stone wall looked like wallpaper, which of course it actually was. To sort it out I bought a couple of packs of Wills finest random stone sheet and knocked out a much better wall.

My usual painting technique for this material is to individually paint each stone but life is short and this wall is quite large so a different approach was needed. Some while ago I bought a rattle can of textured stone effect paint in the hope of being able to use it for ballasting, it was useless for that but I thought I'd give it a go on this wall. It was horrible stuff to spray and went on quite thickly but in some ways that is quite good for disguising the ubiquitous nature of the Wills sheet. Once it had set it had a reasonable sandy texture but was virtually the same colour as the plastic so a quick squirt of very splatty track dirt was put on and wiped off; this gave a better overall colour. However it still looked too uniform so there was nothing for it but to get out the paints and to pick out about a third of the stones in a variety of virtually identical colours. After that a couple of washes of light brown and black on top and I'm satisfied that it looks enough like the fully hand painted areas to get away with it.

I've also finished off the filler work including the platform area; now I need to properly clean the track and give the whole thing a good hoover to remove all the loose bits and bobs then I can start adding colour and foliage.

The Station Master's Cottage has had interior lighting added including a hand lamp by the front door. It runs off a pair of AA batteries so that it can be easily removed from the layout to access the lift off section's handle. I'm proud of this little building, nothing remotely fancy but an archetype seen all over the world.

It's very hard to see during the all white plaster phase but I've built up an area to create a front garden and made a path to the footbridge which will all be much more obvious once the colour goes on.

Oh yes, I also made and installed the coal drop chute...


Sunday, 30 May 2021

A bridge, a cottage and some coaches

Once again work and appalling weather have kept me away from the garage but I have been quite busy on the trusty laptray. First thing to show you is the footbridge made from the kit from Fair Price Models. It went together very well and after a squirt of brown primer I started painting it and it looked good.

After some more painting of the coping stones I added some Wills embossed sheet to the outside of the bridge supports.

Final paint, might need a light wash with something dark to pick out the stone courses.

Here it is plonked more or less where it will end up. The wall has some textured printed rock paper on it. I'm not overly convinced by it but maybe some paint and greenery will eventually make it ok. The next stage is to glue the bridge in place and make up the ground with filler etc so that it looks deliberate, rather than the after thought that it was.

This is the bare shell of the cottage basically made as intended except I left out one of the internal walls and made a hole in the base so that it would fit over the lifting section handle.

The cottage, which will be the station Masters cottage at Upper Bay got a coating of Tesco's cheapest filler. I applied it with a craft knife and I'm very happy with the result.

Next came Wills sheet roof and guttering from Modelu which is superb and really looks good. The down pipe is brass pipe with 3D printed fittings. Up close it looks great which I'm not sure these phone pictures do justice to.

Here it is all painted up and pretty much finished. I've fitted an LED tail light by the front door which hopefully will work once a battery box arrives.

The other thing I've been working on is my train of Corrisalike vehicles. The bogie coach is nearly done but the roof is still lose as I want to add a few figures.

The van and the 4 wheel coach are pretty much finished, the roof on the 4 wheeler isn't all that brilliant and may get a remake at some stage.

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Stormtroopers, locos and mdf

On May the 4th Stoner had a visit from The Empire, a storm trooper had a browse at the brick a brack stall in the market at Rock Beach having parked his AT AT walker in the town square. No one seemed to take much notice.

Meanwhile back in the real world (?) Stoner has acquired yet more locomotives. The first of these came from eBay where it seemed to be largely ignored. Incorrectly listed as a Chilvers (lol) kit it is in fact a Paul Windle special which has a fairly illustrious history having been built for the Gairloch and Westeross Railway. I'm proud to add it to my fleet and have ordered 'Lord Stoner' name plates for it and a crew from Modelu. Other than a replacement front vacuum pipe and a couple of paint touch ups I will leave well alone.

Meanwhile back at Upper Bay the scenery has been making gradual progress with nearly all the filler work in place.

The first part of disguising the join of the lift off bit is in place with sections of stone wall glued down. This needs the addition of some filler and so on to disguise the joins but otherwise it looks promising. 

The goods shed siding and coal drops are all in place now, I just need to make a shoot for the coal.

I finally gave in and bought a GVT Bachmann Baldwin, the livery is so nice and I got it for a good price from work. It has had a subtle amount of weathering and will gain a Modelu crew.

I already had a few GVT PECO coaches so a whole train can be made up. I might make a version of the passenger van to go with it, it is basically a Dundas GVT van with a veranda.

On eBay I found a company called Fair Price Models selling very nice but quite basic laser cut MDF (?) kits and they have a small farm cottage which is ideal for the building to hide the handle which lift the hidden lid.

A pleasant evenings work on the lap tray saw the basic shell constructed. I love making buildings so am looking forward to finishing this off. I have guttering on order from Modelu which looked nice so hopefully that will finish it off nicely. A slate roof and then wiggly tin for the extension I think.

The same place saw a footbridge which will help to disguise the hidden sidings cutting. Very fine laser work. I stuck the kits together with superglue as I don't have the patience for pva, all seems fin so far.


Monday, 3 May 2021

Scenic progress

As predicted I didn't get much modelling time this week but when I've slipped out to the garage for the odd half hour I've cracked on with scenery at Upper Bay.

My usual technique has been applied, i.e creating a sub structure out of expanded polystyrene or strips of foam core. All stuck together with pva and hot glue gun.

Next phase is plaster bandage

I've added the last few bits of precast cast rock to the back of the station site, hopefully it will look like the site has been cut into rock.

After the plaster bandage has dried out I smooth out the contours using ready made filler. My theory is that in the real world there are rocks covered with soil. Both of these get eroded largely by water so I use a big wet paint brush to create the final shape of the landscape and to smooth out the surface.

The removable section has to be finished separately to its surrounding so that it will be easily removable. This has resulted in there being a bit of a difference at the joins, I'll sort this out next before the next stage.

All the main scenic areas are now complete so next is the remaining ballasting of the siding with filler and building up the platform area to just above rail level.

All a bit white but I like the road up to the station and the coal drop and yard are looking quite promising. I've ordered a kit for a small cottage to cover the removable section handle so hopefully that will arrive this week.

The cottage is from Fair Price Models and is laser cut from MDF I think. I'm looking forward to making this. I also bought a footbridge while I was at it.

Not sure where it will go but I liked the look of it.