Saturday 15 February 2020

Shed on the move

It's been a busy week down in Underhill with the track relaying and the engine shed on the move.

As I've just done a larger area of cobbles I knew what to do paint wise to the new bit in the goods yard and I'm pleased with how it has blended into the area as it was before.

The rest of the area needed to look like a grubby loco preparation area so black was the main colour but I've noticed that where you get oil and water mixed together it produces a whiteish scum so I've tried to emulate that a little.

To cover the point motor I built the free little hut that was stuck on the Railway Modeller the other month. It was too long so I chopped it back to size. It does the job perfectly and looks the part.

Meanwhile, I decided that it was time to solve a little logic problem that had been pointed out at several exhibitions. Namely that the flower pots perched on the side of the florists flat roof must have levitated up there and never get watered. I constructed a wooden (styrene) balcony round the back and added a door to the rear of the upper floor. I liked it so much I even added a couple more flower pots.

With the paint dry it all looked a bit stark so I decided to add some more greenery between the tracks.
Some more planting of bushes and scrub and a top up of coal

Still a little more detail work to do but all in all a much better look than previously and the points now work as they should. I now only have one slightly dodgy point to sort out but after the mess that this 'half hour job' made I'm reluctant to start messing about. Hmm.

Saturday 8 February 2020

Pointless activity

I'm pleased with the new cobbles in Rock Beach square, they were a bit of shock after the previous bluey/grey effort. I've fiddled with the colours somewhat and added a couple of drain covers. The main change is to the water fountain which now has a paving stone area around it which I have given a kerb stone of styrene strip painted in black and white stripes. I suspect it might need a little toning down but for now it's fine.

For a while now the point motor on the turnout at the end of the platform at Underhill Town has only worked in one direction. I don't know why it died but it did, I've tried wiggling and poking it but came to the conclusion that the motor needed replacing. Quite tricky to get under the layout now so I put it off. However, in the spirit of making the layout work properly I decide that I'd bite the bullet.

I unclipped the point motor from the point so that it would just slip downwards... Nope. I gave it a wiggle and a pull and voila it came away. Unfortunately I hadn't figured on the motor's pin which protrudes into the turnout tiebar being stuck; this caused the whole mechanism to explode into its constituent parts thereby rendering the pair of points knackered. Bugger.

There was nothing for it but to go indoors and sulk. After I got over that idea and went back out to the garage I knew I had to replace the points. Fortunately I had a spare pair that would fit however previously there was a right hand pair meaning that the headshunt turned towards the wall. Originally I had a vague idea about making an extension to make the exhibition layout into an oval. 

So, with no need to turn left anymore a left handed turnout makes more sense and gives a longer straight on headshunt.

I decided that the replacement point motor would need to be mounted above the baseboard as I couldn't face buggering about making the hole in the baseboard bigger so it was in the right place. I had some 2 part epoxy wood filler left over from mending a window frame on the house so I filled the hole with that. It sets like stone but you can file and sand it.

Having left it to set for a day it was a relatively simple job to install the points and the longer headshunt. I've taken the chance to add another isolating section so I can park a loco at the end of the line, maybe the station pilot?

All done, wired in and working. Phew.

The first loco to test the new layout with buildings in place in a slightly reorganised arrangement. Some scenic repair to do now and a new switch to add to the control panel.

One thing about not being able to run trains into the terminus was that to play trains I could use the quarry sidings and the lighthouse siding. Nearly the whole layout works now.

Saturday 1 February 2020


I finally decided that the printed road surface of Rock Beach Square didn't really blend in with the other scenery, I'd tried to weather it but it just looked flat... because it was. So I ordered a pack of DAS modelling clay and made myself a stamper to press a cobbles/sett stone pattern with. It is made from Evergreen styrene square tube cut into short lengths and stuck together.

The first spot of DAS where it joins onto the plaster road surface

Adding the clay, bit by bit then smoothing it over with my fingers and a wet paint brush.

A bit brown but a promising texture

A first coat of light brown acrylic

The surface finished off with a few different greys dry brushed and then swept over with weathering powders. I find they take off any painty sheen and add a scale size texture too.

I had to paint the pavement after staining it with DAS so it is now a bit uniform in colour so I suspect it will be out with the paints to vary the paving stones.