Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Scaleforum 2016

Well another year goes by and another excellent show in Aylesbury. Scaleforum 2016 celebrated 40 years of finescale modelling and certainly did it in style. On show was a wide selection of models from the very beginning of the society to some of the most recent innovations. These exhibits were supported by a good selection of traders who, over the years, have helped the society bring P4 format to a wider audience. 40 years ago I could not see myself having the ability to build a P4 layout. I now count myself lucky to have come back to the hobby, with all that the society and trade now offer, and be able to possibly achieve something that might pass muster as an acceptable P4 layout... Many thanks must go to the dedicated band of modellers that 40 years ago decided P4 was an achievable discipline and have driven the format forward.

So on to some of the layouts that were at the show...

Being a relative newcomer to P4 there were a number of layouts that I was able to view for the first time: Shelvington, Sidmouth, Ferring, Pwllheli and Cirencester.






Best at show...? Well I could not really decide as I felt all layouts on display showed P4 at its best and were an inspiration. Shelvington, however, opened my eyes to different lighting techniques along with computer control, so as far as the most technically advanced Shelvington should get my vote. But... all in all being able to watch and admire all layouts along with the ability to make a few purchases for my test plank made the 6 hour round trip well worth it.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

It's slowly coming together

The cottage and barn are almost finished but I've still to decide on the cottage garden. Is it to be a pretty cottage garden or more of a plain garden suitable for a working farm cottage?  At the moment I'm thinking more towards the latter.

I've also been trying to get the right finish for the hard standing around the wharf sidings. I've only seen one picture in colour of one wharf, the rest have been black and white. All pictures give the impression that the ground cover was compacted earth while the colour photo indicates a light brown colour. Getting an acceptable texture and colour has proved to be a bit tricky. After deciding on using Gordon Gravett's method for the road surface I thought I'd continue the theme and use his method for the ground cover.  I spent some time trialling different mixes of Humbrol Gloss paint, 40 (Pale Grey), 10 (Service Brown) & 6 (Tan) covered in Talcum Powder. Once I'd decided on a mix I had great difficulty in reproducing the trials on the layout. The results were awful, possibly due to the trials being on plasticard but on the layout I was applying the paint to DAS.  More trials continued using DAS as a base, but again when applied to the layout I was still not getting the correct finish. Hmmm... back to the drawing board...

So a change of tack was required, I thought about treating the hard standing like ballasting track. A little research on the web threw up Polak's ballast dust. I quickly purchased three different colours, with the view to mixing them together in different proportions to acheive the desired colour. Again, after I'd finally decided on what I thought was the correct colouring, when applying the mixture to the layout it looked different. It doesn't look too bad but not totally what I was aiming for, texture good colouring not quite right, a little too brown not enough grey I feel.

I think it is time to move on and come back to this once more scenic work has been completed. It will probably look different when all the grass, weeds, trees & bushes have been added.

Monday, 19 September 2016

How close can trees be to the track bed?

I've had more than one comment that the two skeleton trees seen in my previous post are too close to the track bed. I agree. In what might be deemed to be normal circumstances both trees are too close, but on this line there was more than one instance of trees being very close to the track bed. Maybe what makes the trees look closer than they will be when finished is they're not fixed, and one is leaning at jaunty angle towards the track.

I have a number of photos of this line and I am indebted to Chris Knowles-Thomas who took all the photographs below in July 1964.

The tree in the distance looks really close to the track bed.
I feel that the feature of trees being so close to the track bed helps to mark this line out to be a little different to most. From the start of building this "test plank" it has been my intenstion to somehow include some trees close to the track. The problem has been how many and where to place them on the layout without affecting the operation when using three link couplings....