Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Leeds Model Railway Exhibition

We spent last weekend in Leeds visiting my mother in-law. Strangely enough (?) it was also the weekend of two shows. One being the Leeds Model Railway Society's Exhibition, the other being Fiasco at the Royal Armouries. Now I knew I couldn't really vanish for two days and as I'd previously visited the wargaming show at least a couple of times but not been to the Model Railway show, the Model Railway show had to be the priority.

Not knowing what to expect, I was impressed. The venue was excellent with plenty of free parking, plenty of space for layouts and traders along with good catering. Amongst the normal numerous trade stalls selling Bachman and Hornby products there were a few modelling accessory stalls. One which was new to me was Unit Models,, who manufacture resin castings similar to Ten Commandments range.

There were many layouts on display covering most gauges. Kilbrandon, an Irish S gauge layout was a nice surprise, unfortunately non of my photos of this layout are worth posting. I'd borrowed the boss's SLR and was experimenting with settings, trying to avoid using the auto setting. I live and learn....

The O gauge Milford made an impression on me and one of the operators took time out to explain some of its finer points. This layout has been around for a number of years but it was the first time I'd seen it.




Another layout that I kept gravitating to was Colyer Street. A small Modern Image OO gauge layout based in Tyneside that was well presented and operated with a couple of friendly guys in front at the controls.

 Colyer Street

Colyer Street

Along with the British outline models there was a good selection of continental and American layouts. Unfortunately, due to my photographic experiments, only one photo is worth posting of these layouts. This little diorama is part of an Sn3 Scale American Narrow Gauge layout based in Colorado called Dolores.


Other layouts that I enjoyed viewing for the first time were Calderwood, a fictitious Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway layout based in the Calder Valley and Bannochbrae, a small layout based in the Highlands of Scotland, both OO gauge.

Did I come away without spending any money? Well Bill Hudson Books were there so it was a no brainer that I'd part with some money. Gordon Gravett's book on Modelling Trees - part 2 Conifers was sitting on the passenger seat as I left the car park along with some Slater's plastic sprue purchased from Squires stall.

For me it was a surprise event, after checking out the web site I went along only expecting to be there for a couple of hours, instead I ended up stay for four hours, having to leave before I was really ready. I'll have to look out for this show next year and plan a visit to my mother in-law on the same weekend...

Monday, 29 October 2012

GWR Clay wagons dia 013 (Part 5)

I'm gradually getting there with my first eight clay wagons especially as I've found more evidence of single V hangers on GWR diagram 013 clay wagons.

On page 54 of 'Great Western Steam in Cornwall' by Bradford Barton there is a photograph of a Pannier Tank 7714 hauling a rake of GWR diagram 013 clay wagons from the Burngullow branch. The first has a double V hanger but the second has a single V hanger with no tie bar. The rest are difficult to make out for certain.

Then on page 91 in the same book there is a photo of  Pannier 7709 hauling two clay wagons nearing Fowey. The first wagon has a single V hanger and looks to be a diagram 013. I think the second wagon is a BR diagram 1/51 as it has square ended buffer beams and looks to have a single v hanger but I'm not certain.

In discovering these photographs I'm more confident that there were a number of these GWR wagons refurbished during the 1950s with independent brake gear removed and replaced with standard 4 shoe Morton brake gear. This has encourged me to build four with independent brake gear and four with standard 4 shoe brake gear, more as a mistake than planed, as I'd installed a couple of brake gear castings the wrong way round.

The wagon front left in the photograph above is the first one which was converted from my EM days and shows the door stop straps in the wrong place. On the others I've scraped off the original mouldings and replaced them with stripes of Evergreen .010 x .030" strip, added small slices of Evergreen .010 x 0.20" strip to represent the bolts. The buffer beams have also had the ends cut at an angle, possibly not that accurate but at least the buffer beams don't have square ends anymore. All eight wagons need door stops, tie bars and couplings adding, plus some lead and then they should then be ready for the paint shop.

Bearing in mind that most of these eight wagons where originally EM gauge wagons, that have been ripped apart and rebuilt, I feel they are coming on nicely. The next challenge will be to achieve the correct finish.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The two foot rule.

I would not count myself as a 'rivet counter' just someone who would like to build wagons to represent the real item as close as my modelling skills will allow. My foray into P4 modelling standards is because I felt if I didn't have a go I would always regret it.

I met up with some old modelling friends recently and in an ensuing conversion I mentioned the time it is taking me to build a few clay wagons along with the amount of wagons I intend to build. Questions were raised about my sanity before I was reminded of the old phrase about applying the 'two foot rule'. If the detail cannot be seen from a viewing distance of two foot then why spend time adding the detail. I then made the connection with painting 15mm wargaming figures. When I paint battalions of 12 to 24 figures which are going to be seen on the table on-mass I paint them to be seen as whole units. Paint the figures so they give a visual impact when seen together as part of each battalion on the table. I don't necessarily cut too many corners with the painting but possibly don't put too much effort in, picking out buttons on tunics, adding shading on facial features, or any other small detail. Whereas I do put effort painting the personalities/command figures, picking out buttons, adding extra shading and trying to pick out facial features.

With this in mind and as most of the clay wagons will be part of a rake (battalion) of 8 or more wagons, I will be turning a blind eye to some aspects of the Ian Kirk kits, and taking a few liberties in building them. This may go a little against the grain of modelling in P4 but I feel I have to cut myself some slack otherwise I'll struggle to get all the wagons I will need built in my lifetime. When seen on-mass I'm hoping they will create the right picture that can be appreciated from two foot away when viewed side on. They might not stand up to the scrutiny of a close-up camera shot but then they are not being built for a diorama containing just a few wagons.

Does that sound like a cop out for some poor modelling skills? Hmmm could be...

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Lighting pelmet takes shape

I'd been hoping to get all major construction work on the baseboards finished before the cooler evenings set in but I seem to be gradually running out of time. That said the lighting pelmet is coming together quite nicely.

When I started building Tredethy Wharf I had no real intention of exhibiting the layout, it was only intended as a test track, however I have been persuaded. As it will be making its first outing in May next year, thought has been focused as to how it would be best to present it. Having constructed the scenic baseboards without ends to hide the off stage sidings I've added  these to the fiddle yard baseboards. This gave me the idea that if these were strong enough I could use these end pieces to support a lighting pelmet, rather then hang the pelmet off L shaped supports from the back of the layout.

The pelmet has been constructed in two halves to follow the curve of the baseboard front. They are both longer then each scenic board so that they can be bolted to the end supports on the fiddle yard baseboards.

At the moment it is only clamped to the fiddle yard ends with no joint/connection in the middle. I'm surprised that there is no sag in the centre which might mean I could use a couple of Toggle Catches to hold the two halves together at the join.

I not sure if my construction techniques are up to much but so far I'm pleased with the result.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Scenic test

I've been mulling over how to represent the ground cover on Tredethy Wharf. One member of the local group has been recommending teddy bear fur, dyed and then cut to shape and length. While it can give good results I have been using static grass for for my war-gaming bases for many years and wondered how I might use this material in larger areas.

Above is a 15mm (1:100) British Napoleonic command stand that uses static grass. I use a substance called Basetex as ground cover on my wargaming bases, dribbled with some brown ballast to give added texture. A wash of Raw Umber is roughly applied and the brown ballast highlighted by dry brushing, after which the static grass is applied. This procedure was the starting point of my thoughts about how I could use these techniques on Tredethy Wharf.

In my opinion field grass is not uniform length nor is the ground flat on which it grows. Thoughts about applying a layer of 2mm static grass onto a flat surface would only achieve a uniform covering so this made me decide to construct a test block to do some trials.

A block was created using offcuts of Styrene which was then covered with Mod-Roc.  I then applied a thin layer of Basetex to one section but when dry it cracked and was easily chipped. Hmmm... Next thought was to use Artex plaster with a little PVA and some sand added for texture. I mixed three different batches of plaster, each with a different ratio of builders sand. These mixtures were then applied in three bands separated by a band of uncovered ModRoc and stippled to give a rough ground cover. A wash of Raw Umber was then applied and allowed to dry.

I applied 2mm and 4mm lengths of static grass along with a small section of flock on the uncoated ModRoc as a control to help me appreciate the difference between the types of ground cover. Then, in an attempt to represent tufts and different grasses, I applied different lengths of static grass (2mm, 4mm and 6mm) onto previous coverings.

The above photograph does not show the result very well but I think I'm starting to achieve the result I'm after. Although, I'll probably have a little more practice before starting on the layout.