Sunday, 24 January 2010

What is a Cornish Hedge

This is all a little advanced to where I am with this project but as you may have noticed my mind does race ahead of me at times. Anyway I do feel I need to plan ahead a little before I embark on any baseboard construction. I've been considering some of my planned scenic items and how they might affect the baseboards, thoughts have wandered to the lane at the right on the Tredethy Wharf layout.

Last time I was at Hellandbridge I remember the approach down Tredethy Road from Helland being a narrow Cornish lane. Each side of the lane being bordered by typical Cornish hedges and, in places, trees hanging over the road giving a secluded valley feel. But three questions come to mind;
What is a Cornish Hedge?
How is it constructed?
Are the lanes slightly below the surrounding landscape or are they just high hedges?
Hopefully know the answers to the above will help me model one.

While driving along these lanes I've never been that observant, I've probably just been concentrating on not hitting them while avoiding any oncoming traffic. A little research found a couple of interesting web sites that I hope will help me. Nothing will replace good photos (dear partner this is a gentle hint, can we get down there this year?) but these do give details on how the hedges are constructed.

Cornish Hedges Library

Practical Conservation Online

After looking at the above sites I think I can say that, in brief, a typical Cornish hedge is a hybrid between a stone wall and an earth bank. The hedge sides are typically built tapered with an inward curve from the base to half-way up. The top of the hedge is normally about half the width of the bottom. The base is created by placing large stone blocks into the earth and packing them in with sub-soil. The sides are then built using smaller rocks that interlock randomly. When the hedge reachs the required height, the random laying of stones turns into neat rows of square stones called "edgers". To finish, grass is sliced from the ground and stuck on top of the structure with sticks. The internal core of the hedge is earth.

There is a good cross sectional diagram of a Cornish hedge here.

What we see, as we travel along Cornwall's lanes, as a green hedge is the result of years of vegetation growing on/over the base structure.

Well you learn something everyday.........This is what I like about this hobby, it's not just about the railway with its track, locos and rolling stock, it gets you looking at and understanding your surroundings.........

Saturday, 16 January 2010

RCH 7 Plank Open Wagon (Pt.2)

Unfortunately, due to problems at work, I was not able to get to this month's Scalefour Area Group meeting (Sorry guys). When I eventually arrived home I thought I'd to try and make the best of a bad day.

The RCH open wagon was still out on my bench so I drilled out the buffers and glued then in place. While the glue was setting on the buffers I fixed the solebars in place (these had been prepared a previous evening). Finally, with a little filing off the ends of the floor and solebars, I glued the sides onto the wagon floor. I felt I made a bit of a meal putting the sides together as I was dry run testing different methods to get the sides true. Eventually I think they look OK.

I then started to prepare the axleboxes and springs for fitting onto the W irons but realised the ones I was using had 5 leaf springs and pressed shoes. The plastic moulding supplied with the kit are only 4 leaf springs with shoes that possibly represent cast shoes. the kit correct? Out came my wagon reference books only to realise I don't have a reference photo of a fixed end RCH wagon!!! D'oh....That should have been my first thought when starting this kit.........have I any references that I can base this kit on?

It was getting late so I stopped at that point. Only a small amount of progress but it was a bit of good therapy at the end of a bad day.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Figures and big wave of nostalgia

After the success of the Bachmann Pannier tank conversion, my thoughts have been turning to detailing and adding that personal touch to the model, adding a loco crew and other bits like fire irons, lamps etc. I'll probably use Springside Models (still available after all these years) for lamps and Fire Irons but I was not sure where to go for the loco crew until I remembered seeing a guy called Aiden (couldn't re-call his surname) at one of the York shows a couple of years ago. He was demonstrating painting techniques and selling white metal figures.

While searching for "Aiden miniature figures" in Google I came across Brian William Knott Fayle's web site. He has painted some very nice figures in O Gauge which compare favourably with a good standard of wargaming figure. I do agree with what he says about figures on layouts and he has also posted a useful page showing his technique. With my other hobby I paint 1:100 scale (TT Gauge) wargaming figures and do try to pick out face detail. Above all else I feel a well painted face on a figure does give it character and bring it to life. Adding shadow detail whether it be just black outlining or shading in darker colours gives a figure depth.

My interpretation of General Major Johann Graf Frimont,
one of my Napoleonic Austrian command figures.

I'm looking forward to upping my painting skills when tackling figures at the slightly larger 1:76 scale.

Though more to the point of this posting ...........While browsing though Brian's site I was firstly impressed by the amount Brian has contributed to the hobby over the years, but when I open the Harlyn Junction page I was hit with a huge wave of nostalgia. I was just thirteen years old when Harlyn Junction appeared in the Railway Modeller. I remember it being one of the first layouts that started to make me think about modelling rather than playing with my train set. The layout oozed atmosphere, being based on Coaley Junction, with attention to detail taken from the actual location, and well worked scenics made the layout really come to life. I think I may still have that well thumbed copy of the Railway Modeller up in the roof..... where's my torch........?

In the end, I did find Aiden's site and eventually his figure catalogue and hope to be placing an order for some of his loco crew figures very soon.........

Monday, 4 January 2010

RCH 7 Plank open wagon (PC73)

To start the year off I've opened a wagon kit, dug out some old D&S compensation units along with Kean Maygib sprung buffers and made a start. This is a Parkside PC73 RCH 7 plank wagon with fixed ends. I'm sure one of these would have turned up at some point on the Wenford branch.

The mouldings are very crisp and the kit is supplied with w-irons and springs separate to the solebars which is a nice touch. I've soldered up the D&S W-iron compensation units, soldered the wheel bearings into the w-irons and popped in some Alan Gibson P4 8 spoke wagon wheels. I've also cut out and filed down some of the webbing from the underneath of the wagon floor. The aim is to have this as an empty wagon so I need to try to keep the internal planking detail. Then using the excellent Brassmasters Axle Spacing gauge, which I picked up at Scalefour North last year, I fixed the w-irons onto the wagon and ......... hey-presto ......... one nicely running wagon, well ...... a nicely running wagon floor.

This is the first wagon I've built for nearly 20 years so I'm taking it steady but I've started to prepare the sides and solebars. Hopefully another evening will see these in place along with the buffers.

I'm just trying to decide whether to use plastic axleboxes and springs or use some MJT castings ....... May well use the MJT castings as they should add a little more weight to the wagon and could be less hassle to fit.......Hmmmm...........?

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Happy New Year

I've been having a few Internet connection issues and been battling through an ISP support line for the last two days but eventually it looks like I'm back on line so may I wish everybody a belated Happy New Year.

My resolution for this year? just to enjoy the hobby. I'm just going to try and pace myself with doing something each week, whether it is one hour or more, with the aim of enjoying what I'm doing and gradually working towards building the Tredethy Wharf layout. No pressure, no time limit, just a bit of escapism.

Onwards and upwards.............