Tuesday, 26 February 2019

More stock - Wasp

Although the layout is set in the early days of the WLLR I have been looking at the kit stash with a view to increasing the available stock. I have the 3 coaches to do but they invoke a level of trepidation. I've never built a Worsley Works scratch aid kit and don't really want the coaches to be first. Then I spotted the etch of Wasp. It's far too modern for the layout but, so far, there is nothing on the layout that screams a particular era. It fits on a Kato tram chassis and I just happened to have one of those as well.

It took a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon to solder up the pieces. The hardest part was deciding where two particular pieces went. In the end I realised they were bottom bracing for the cab unit. After that it was relatively quick to glue two pieces of plasticard together and then stick them to the roof with contact adhesive. I'm slightly concerned the fumes might attack the plastic but I used the glue sparingly. A file and several grades of sandpaper have been used to shape the roof. It doesn't have to be perfect.

There are several photos to be found on the internet but there is an excellent photo on flickr which is taken from above the railcar which shows the roof detail - the only photo I found of this.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Detailing commences

A relatively productive few days. First up was the boards that allow people to cross the race. These were simply done with coffee shop stirrers, scored, stained and painted. I did take care to add some cross rods to represent the supports that would have existed for the timbers. Presumably these might well have had a bracing effect for the girders in real life. A touch of the same paint used on the girders and track and you wouldn't know they were only glued to the underside of the coffee stirrer.

The second piece of work was the telegraph poles. These had been made by Andy from the 009 Wilts Group and were surplus from his layout so he kindly gave them to me. It took a while to go over the pictures and determine where they might have been in real life but I believe they are close. While wondering what to use as wire my wide reminded me we had bought some invisible thread for hanging bats in a church (don't ask...). Needless to say we couldn't find it - well it's invisible isn't it... Once it was found I strung it up, just wrapped round the insulators for now and taped through the opening at each side. I also ran a paintbrush down the thread, much like dry brushing and that has helped it stand out a bit. Currently it is taught because off the reel the thread is slightly twisted. I am wondering if over time it will lose the twistedness and I can reduce the taughtness and have it sag like in the real world.

With my wife's help the front drape was hemmed and tested. No photo of that as the light had started to go off. I also turned the black material I had bought into a dust cover so it wasn't wasted. This all took place in the lounge so it dawned on me that as the layout was downstairs I should probably check if it fitted in the car. Thankfully it does and I have a good idea how I will pack the car on future outings.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Ready to go?

This last week I have been finishing off the fascia. I had been putting it off for a couple of months whilst work and Christmas got in the way. What I also could not work out was exactly how the fascia should fit together. I had the idea that the front lighting beam should be removable for maintenance but it had already started to come loose from having manoeuvred the layout holding onto it.

Then the question was how to handle the 'wings' of the layout. The main board was designed to fit into the back of the car and to ensure there was no join in the visible part. Would these line up with the front or just be flat behind? Eventually I started cutting wood and it came together. The sides of the main fascia were glued on and braced with balsa. The bracing does not carry any load but is there to limit flexing.

The wings were cut and I selected a trapezium shape to try and limit the amount of flat surface the public would see and to help it stand out from the traditional square blob. I realised that I could effectively fix the wings to the sides of the main fascia by gluing strips of wood to the back of both boards and have then stick out. Imagine alternate pegs that push together by a lattice.

I then tried some velcro on the edge but it came away so a block of timber on the face of the wing provides the main weight support.

The next task was the front curtain. I went and bought some black material but it clashes with the muted green of the fascia so I will have to go out and buy another colour, probably grey.

The other task done is I have filled in the roof of the layout with mounting board. A layout like this is best viewed from just under eye level. My personal preference, however, is to set the layout height so people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters can see it. It means the majority of people have to stoop for the best view but many lean on barriers anyway. There isn't a good solution to this situation.

What I realised when standing up was that you could see down through the roof and that distracted from looking through the front s I filled it in.

Is it ready to go out now? Yes, I believe it is. I'll sort the curtain this week then there will be no bare boards visible and it runs. There is plenty to do on detailing and I need to build up enough stock but it can now go to exhibitions. I've contacted a couple of local shows and offered it as a fill-in should someone drop out at the last minute. A couple of shows should iron out anything I've missed!

A look back through this blog showed that I started this in Jan 2017 so a little over 2 years for a layout that has one track on it! I confess thought I had taken longer and wonder if I didn't start blogging until much later - who knows!

If you are interested then pop across to the Melin Dolryhd page on my website where there are details and an exhibition flyer you can download.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Static Grass

Eventually it had to be done - a first foray into static grass. However, there were a couple of steps to finish off first.

The first job was to finish the landscape round the mill. In the last post I was laying polyfilla mixed with brown acrylic paint and water to bed in the mill and raise the land. All went well but I needed to raise it a little more. No problem except that I used a new box of own brand filler from a value store and instead of drying solid it dried to powder so all needed to be scraped out and replaced with a more reputable filler.

The second job was to finish the river. I'd done it in two parts, left and right and just needed to put one last coat of Deluxe water. As in a previous post, this stuff dried way thinner than expected so one last coast was all it needed.Well blow me down, this coat went and dried all thick with a curved edge to it. There are definitely times when railway modelling can drive you to drink. There's no going back short of ripping up the whole river. It isn't bad but I know that before this last coat it looked better.

Anyway, time to try the static grass device. I'd bought a sieve version as recommended by the war gaming fraternity and after a bit of play I chucked down a layer of 2mm green over the whole area which made a huge difference.

After a trip to ExpoNG it was time to take the bull by the horns, throw caution to the winds and make more progress. I'd found Kathy Millatt's videos several months ago and saw her recommendation for War World Scenics Layering spray so I had a can along with many different sizes and colours of their range. I have to say I really like them and they were easy to use. Here's some photo's of what has been achieved so far. I hope you like them.

Monday, 30 July 2018

No going back

There is progress to report. The mill has finally been put in place and glued down. There is still work to do on the front openings and providing some chimneys but enough has been done to justify committing the building to the ground. A significant amount of multi purpose filler has been used to complete the burying and bring the ground up to the height of the front door. I always mix acrylic paint, burnt umber, into the filler so that if scraped, it doesn't show white. I could have added some black as well as this batch is drying lighter than before.

The mill wheel motor has been glued down but the housing is still loose.

Other work done includes the ballasting. The sleepers and rails were painted and then the ballast done. I've also added the stones to the right hand side of the river. Still some fettling to happen there before I can add the water on top. I do need to think how the side openings are going to be disguised!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018


With the walls painted it was time to turn attention to the roof. It's not too complicated, three basic rectangles but the fourth piece has what might be considered an extension piece with a section of corrugated roofing over the window. Who knows why that is there. It's in all the photos I have but I have no way of telling when it was added. I have to presume it was not part of the original mill building but was added when a window was changed or when a leak occurred.

Anyway, onto my usual material of Wills sheets. The wheel housing and right hand extension were quick and easy to do and I moved onto the rear section which I got slightly wrong but, no problem, I have lots of Wills sheets, so I went to my stash and found that I didn't - what I had were plenty of corrugated sheets but no spare roofing sheets! I am fortunate, living in Reading, to have a couple of model shops within 30 minutes but both of them keep only a random selection so the chances were not good that they would have what I wanted in stock.

In the end I decided to go back to that old faithful of modelling materials, card, and not just any card, but card from a cereal packet (Shredded Wheat in case you wanted to know). The actual roof shape is very quick and easy to generate. I drew lines on the card at 2mm intervals to give me a datum for adding the tiles.

Onto the tiles themselves. I first used paper onto which I had drawn a pattern but when I glued it down it went soft and lost all detail. I used a wet glue which was a mistake and I had used cheap paper, forgetting how it would behave.

I needed some card that would be thicker with paper and I also needed some glue that was not so wet. My wife had some 200gsm card (paper is often 80gsm) and it was black so that looked ideal. There wasn't any way to print a pattern onto black so I printed a sheet of squares on A4 and, with the card sideways on to the sheet, was able to score the card sufficiently. Hopefully the picture below gives the idea.

The grid was made of 4mm squares which is probably a little large but I didn't want to spend the next year doing this. Once each strip was separated I then created the edge of the tiles by cutting through the strip, again using the paper as a template. You only need to cut through half the strip so it all holds together.
Once you have sufficient of these (I did them in small batches alternating with gluing) I set to stick them down. I went out to the local DIY store looking for glues and saw Bostik. I know that some people detest this glue simply because it is stringy but it does have two advantages, first it isn't water based so doesn't turn the paper/card to mush. Secondly it dries relatively quickly. I found I could only work on two rows at a time before the glue dried. It also doesn't matter if you get some glue on the outside as it is going to be painted.
What I did find was that the strips of card were very curved after being cut but with the glue drying quickly I would use the ruler, as above, to give a straight edge against which I pushed the strips I had just laid. The ruler needs to be removed with a twisting motion to prevent the tiles lifting but it is relatively easy.

The other advantage of this glue is that the thickness of it has created a very stiff shape. I had expected to need to brace the roof but now I don't intend to and if it sags then it will just be doing what all old roofs do.

The roof was then added to the building using Deluxe Materials Super Phatic and a ridge tile added, made from 6mm with card suitably scored at 6mm intervals. This was done by guesswork off the grid. I doubt anyone can see that a  couple of the lines are wonky.

And here is the end result ready for painting. The mill wheel roof has already had paint. The section on the right is unpainted Wills and the black is card. I'm pleased with the look and I have to confess I enjoyed going back to a much older modelling material.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Paint and Water

It's starting to come together. At this point it really is a case of working on several items at once. The Mill needs painting but also needs to blend into the wall beneath it. The wall beneath it needs painting but it needs to blend into the bottom of the Mill Race. This morning's first job was, therefore, to fill in the 'floor' of the mill race while listening to the Chinese GP. After that it was a case of making sure there were no gaps at the edge. I alternated between filler and Deluxe Materials Super Phatic glue which is good at bridging holes.

Once the base was in and reasonably dry I painted the floor with a dark brown/black/green colour and then set to painting the walls. This was again a mixture of browns and greens but applied with a sponge and a finger. Effectively it was dry brushing but with a sponge and where I put the paint on too thick I just used a damp finger to spread it the paint out a bit. When it came to the wall under the Mill I also used the sponge on the Mill itself to blend it all in.

There is still the need for some washes of reds, greens and browns but generally it's best to not overdo it, in my opinion, by trying to cover every stone.

The next task is going to be to add the water into the race. This is going to be a serious exercise as there is a lot to fill but hopefully the four bottles of Deluxe Materials Aqua Magic will suffice otherwise I'll be buying 4 more!

More stock - Wasp

Although the layout is set in the early days of the WLLR I have been looking at the kit stash with a view to increasing the available stock....