Saturday 18 June 2016

'A tongue that tastes like tin, a static charge...'

I've been intrigued by static grass planting for a while now and have seen some very nice work. I've also seen some strange green fur growing on layouts. I decided to give it a try but I didn't want to spend a fortune on a posh machine so I got a cheapy one from Evilbay. I already had some appropriate flock which I've been using as part of my ever changing grass mix. I have a Tupperware tub into which I constantly add different shades and thickness of green flock from whatever bag I've bought at an exhibition, this gives a variety of shades even over a small area.

Old technique to the right and new to the left
Anyway I tried a couple of different ways of doing the gluing, (poetry) firstly I just smeared some neat PVA onto an area and stuck my pin into it and staticked away. The results were ok but mostly it looked like a blob of glue with a bit of flock sticking in it. version two changed the method slightly to using some Deluxe materials scenic glue which comes in a spray pump dispenser. I suspect it is watered down PVA actually but whatever it is it worked better than the neat PVA. In both cases I was adding the static fluff on top of my ordinary flock mix applied when I built the layout which had always been a bit thin on the ground having been in a hurry at the time.

Shaved cows

Version two worked much better and I will use this technique in the future, I only had a couple of packs of Noch fibres which were a little vivid and a pack of brown so I mixed some brown in to the mix in later batches and it helped tone it down a bit. It is a technique I shall persevere with, having just ordered some darker shades of fibre from the interweb. Watch this space for further experiments.

One thing I learned was the fibre also sticks to cows if you don't move them out of the way. For a while I had hairy green cattle. Makes a change.

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Hedging my bets

I've really been concentrating on the L&B layout this last week or so but I'm very conscious that I finished off the new middle bit of Underhill in a great rush and there were quite a lot of things I didn't get round too. The major one is the backscene but that will have to wait for a while until I can borrow a suitable camera and snap the right picture. 

What I have now done is add a fence and a hedge along the middle section of line which was previously open to the cows in the field and the public on the beach.

I'm pleased with the fencing as this is a Noch product that I just came across by chance on eBay. It has just the right air of dilapidation and weather beateness that a wooden fence on a beach would have. I was going to use post and wire fencing on the 'inland' side but it occurred to me that a hedge might be nicer and easier to achieve. A variety of clumping foam, left over sea foam tree bits and some bits of twigs and leaves were PVA'd down and there we have it. I might add a bit more greenery and maybe a little floral colour but essentially done.

Nettie on a mixed train threads past 'The Burning Bush'

On the way back at Rocky Beach

Gloria on a similar train

Would you believe it, Oberon in the same place with the same train
I added some more greenery here and there and fiddled with the beach colours and seaweed a bit, I'm not really happy with the beach but I have a few ideas to try to improve it. The other major missing element is the telegraph pole route which stops and starts again with a gap on the new board. I trimmed some Airfix/Dapol poles and started their painting yesterday too so they can be installed and painted later.

This extra work and finishing covering up the damage from the great dropping the layout incident has cheered me up about this section, it looks better now and blends in with it's surrounding sections better.

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Descisions, descisions

It occurred to me that Underhill has an exhibition booked in August, Borth y Gest show and then in September, Great & Small III and the new station isn't even started yet!
First things first thinks I so I took the fiddle yard board to the workshop and added a lip all round so that stray rolling stock doesn't do the lemming dive off the edge, I also tidied up the wiring underneath. I need to test it to make sure it all still works as one of the staples I used to tidy the wiring clipped one of the wires and may have chopped it, hopefully not.

Finished fiddle yard.
 My grand plan for the new station looks a bit cramped so will need to be moderated slightly (as usual). I laid out a couple of variations with odds and sods of track to see what it looks like. I may need to extend the size of the board slightly as I was hoping to fit more town on and a valley side on each side. On the other hand it still needs to be portable and storable.

Plan A

Plan B
I think plan B overall is my favourite, siding wise but it has lost the bay platform of A so I might reinstall that. I have numerous railcars and this was for them to use so it doesn't need to be hugely long. If I remove the head shunt from the goods sidings it would allow the station site to be smaller but would leave less parking and shunting space. ????
Great & Small III is coming together nicely and will feature some cracking layouts in addition to mine. I'm off to Dinas with my new tape measure tomorrow so it should all fit nicely this time. 9th to 11th September are the dates for your diary.

Monday 6 June 2016

Making an exhibition of myself...again

In advance of the Bala Lake Railway gala model railway show I was in a great rush of all sorts of things some railway related, some not. I packed the work transit with lots of lovely things to sell and the big TV etc. and came home to collect my layout on the Friday night. There was just room.

Some of the work things occupying my time at the moment.

The exhibition at Bala wasn't at the railway itself but in the school in the town, we had lots of space and were very well looked after but sadly there were very few people coming through the door. It is a shame as it was a nice show with good trade support and some nice layouts and mine.

We had loads of space and so made the most of it.

Arnold Lane Wharf behaved very well all weekend and the new point motor proved to be time well spent as it worked as intended without fault. I also took along the office test track which is just an oval of KATO track and a Minitrains controller, the idea being that we could test run any locos we sold. We did do that but mostly I used it to run in the troublesome Hunslets, Gloria and Britomart. Britomart in particular has benefitted immensely from this treatment.


The best thing about the show was finding that the rather splendid pizza layout, Lancey Brook was on sale. If I had had some spare cash I would have bought it for myself, however I spoke to the trader who was selling it and swapped it for some shop stock meaning that the F&WHR now has a rather better test track and display layout.

Britomart and some of my stock on Lancey Brook

It is a little tired and dusty and there are a couple of broken bits which will be easy to mend. Once it is restored to it's original glory I will be exhibiting it where ever we have space with the F&WHR marketing stand or either of my two layouts. Just needs a Heljan Manning Wardle now...