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Posts posted by chris

  1. On 16/01/2020 at 23:51, mick said:

    Really good Chris. The sections across the viaducts have been done for a few years now and they've been no problem at all.

    Aerated blocks it is. I've got several bucketloads of pebbles lined up in the garden which should mean I can make a start in the spring.

    I'm continuing to improve my buildings. With the Bank's relocation it's left side is now very prominent so a re-skin was required and I cracked on with that yesterday, putting it all together today once glues and paints had dried.

    Here's a photo to compare with last weeks post.


    Several things have changed. "In Boutique" has finally got its name and the Church and "667 Dark Avenue" (the tall building in the back scene) have both received new steps leading up to their doors.

    A closer look at the side of the Bank shows that the plotter cutter has been hards at work.


    The shelves are now in place at the bookstore and it has received a chimney breast (see first photo).


    All these improvements are causing a problem. The plotter cutter has enabled me to work at a much finer level of detail. The style of the buildings were determined by bird feeders I purchased form Lidl. I've tried to follow this chunky style, but I'm now finding that I'm making details a lot less chunky. At some point I will have to make a decision on how detailed I want to make things. I'm not going to switch to fully realistic, the cartoon like feel is key, but I foresee some reworking of several of the buildings. Especially they ones I'm not happy with.

    For the Bank and the Book Store I've developed a new way of working. I'm creating a new skin for a wall from cereal box card and putting on all the paint and detail before attaching the new skin to the building. It is a lot less frustrating working with a flat surface rather than a 3D building.

  2. You could reenforce them with copper wires.

    Drill holes in vertically through the parapet wall into the structure. Insert in a solid core wire. Seal over the top with what every you are using as an adhesive.

    If you are anything like me you will have metres of earth wire coiled up, striped form twin and earth.  Cocktail sticks will probably survive OK if you seal them in.

  3. One day all of this will make it outside and join up to a garden railway.  The construction of that railway has taken a step forward this week. A friend is having her driveway relayed and is happy for the pebbles that are the current top surface to find a new home in my garden. I've been on the lookout for some pebbles to repurpose since last summer. 

    I plan to build a small raised border down one side of the garden using aerated blocks as the retaining walls front and back. Seeing how Mick has used them so effectively I thought I'd copy. The bed will be 60cm deep by 400cm long and the top surface will be dressed with pebbles. I may build the trackbed out of blocks as well.

    Mick, how has your technique of mounting roofing felt directly on the blocks held together with time? I like the idea of working that way.

  4. When I bought the plotter-cutter a year ago I planned to do a lot of print and cut. But what I've found is that I've basically given up on cutting out stuff I've printed and I'm cutting from coloured card or painting the card I've cut.

    I think this is because I'm finding that the stuff I print is fading, even when it kept in the dark loft. I may need to get a friend to do some printing for me to see how that holds up.

    The stacking up of 3 layers of card to create relief is particularly effective and it feels more like you are modelling when you have to build up layers rather than simply stick some thing down that the computer has made.

  5. Last week I worked on the church. I'd had two attempts at building spire for it but wasn't;t happy with either.  I redesigned the spire I'd made with the plotter cutter and created the effect of a tower up the front of the building. Again the plotter cutter was put to work to make larger arched windows to replace the one I'd cut by hand. The overall effect it much better.

    The Church has been relocated from the front run through the middle of the scene to the left hand side. Along with the Bank and the fountain they create a a better feel of a plaza with the trolley cars weaving through.


    The unintended consequence of this is that the smaller buildings that now fill the gaps left by the bank and church allow a view between them to the back scene. The trollies can be glimpsed as the pass behind the buildings. 


    Those buildings that have been thrust front and centre need to be tarted up to fit their new found prominence. Work on the Akhmatova Book Store has already begun


    • Like 1

  6. On 06/01/2020 at 19:21, ba14eagle said:

    Nothing at all Mick

    Im disappointed they arent going to branch out into 7mm (clockwork novelty nonsense aside) - after all, it is where they started.

    For the life of me, I cant understand the decision to re-tool the class 91 - unless they are trying to gazump Cavalex (which would be pretty low imho). Why not re-release the 91 & mk4's into the Railroad range, rather than go head to head with another manufacturer? Im sure there would be quite a few, who dont have massive budgets, who would love to see these trains in a whole range of liveries.

    The Railroad Plus range doesnt do anything for me - keep Railroad in its target market and keep the main range in its market - dont muddy the waters inbetween - it will bite you in the ar#e!

    As the owner of a Class 91 I can assure you that it needs a retooling. It's a very basic model. The Mk 4 coaches are no better. It looks the part outside, but I can't think of a time I've seen one running at a show.


    Not much in there for me. Which is probably a good thing. I have enough rolling stock and don't need the temptation.


  7. Hi Martin,

    Welcome. I have three pieces of advice.

    First, find a railway on here that you like the look of and shamelessly copy it. If the member is still active, ask them questions on how they went about things. That will save you a lot of time as you try and workout how to waterproof, power etc.

    Second. Start with a shed, as big as you can get away with. Having somewhere to run trains out of is very convenient.

    Third. Recognise that nearly every thing you build in the first year will probably be ripped up and rebuilt by the end of year 4. Even copying others you will still be learning a huge amount as you go. Your techniques will improve with experience and you figure out what survives outside and what doesn't. Don't worry about this. In fact try and use it as motivation to crack on and get it done rather than procrastinating over getting it perfect. You can't do perfect outside.

    Anyway. Here's a photo of the network rail train on Amblethorpe the day the track was lifted to allow original baseboard to be totally replaced. That board lasted 3 years. The boards I installed in year 2 are still strong and sturdy 8 years later.





  8. The buildings the cars and the people can all be rearranged which means that the look of the scene can be changed each time it is setup and at any time. We are still moving buildings around experimenting to find the best look.

    The back scene with its 7cm deep baseboard is nearly all fixed down but even those structures could be swapped out.

  9. Just remembered why I have nothing attached to the Baseboards. They are meant to be part of a On30 garden railway, but I've yet to build the outside bit which these will join up to.

    However, it has been operated outside. We set it up infront of our coffee shop during the local street fair and allowed children to run the street cars. This was in May before the people arrived.


    • Like 1

  10. I spent the second half of the year making very slow progress on a third baseboard for the Snicket Way. It's a beach which extends  the scene by 40 cm. Because the track on the original baseboard is only a couple of centimetre away form the edge, the beach board didn't need to have any track on it. This allowed me to take a risk and construct it out of Kingspan insulation board. It's very light weight and I cantilever it off the main baseboard without the need for support legs. The Kingspan, with it's sliver foil peeled away, looks very sand like, but I will add a sand layer. I've purchased some sand coloured grout powder to do this with, but haven't perfected a way of laying and glueing it yet. Thus it's taken a long time.  The boats will appear on it. (photos another time, it's in the loft at the mo.)

    The other addition has been people. I found some at Shildon Show. O scale figures are very impressive, but about £4 each painted. I got lucky and found some people who really fit the scene and cost less than a couple of quid each. Plus my wife was with me, she loved them and encouraged me to but lots. They really bring things to life.


    I set it up (without the beach) in December as part of the Christmas decorations.


    The fire hydrants were made from unused columns from the Peco Overall Roof Kit I built for Amblethorpe.


    The fountain was another plotter-cutter creation. The water jets are thin tubes I've used for routing point motor rodding. There is jewellery wire inside to maintain the shape.

    The figures remain standing thanks to inspiration from this forum. Serval of us played around using tiny magnets in couplings. I never got round to buying the magnets and giving it a go, but thought of another potential for them. With O Scale figures being a bit larger I realised that I could drill a shallow 2mm hole in the sole of a foot and supper glue a magnet in. Then hammer some track pins into the baseboard and the figure would stand happily in place.


    This means my people are not in fixed locations. They can be moved about to create a different look. 

    The main reason I've done this is because I don't have anything attached to my main baseboard and this is a great way to have people (and fire hydrants) all over the place.

  11. Using the plotter cutter means that all the parts are very accurate fits. This means that the hull, the deck and the cabin push together and don't need to be glued. The slight wedge shape of the cabin, although a pain to build, has really helped as it can slide into place from the rear rather than pushed in from above.


    I have glued the roofs onto the cabins, but used Pitt rather than Roket so they should be able to be removed if required. A couple of the cabins were built without the rear panel in place. One has an open Cabin and another has one of the doors ajar.

    Once assembled they look the part, especially when placed on a deep blue towel.



    The remaining challenge is to get them home. We've been staying at a friend's house in Pickering this week. I don't think they will survive the journey home to York if they travel with me on my bike. I'll probably leave them for my friend to transport in her car. This means it could be a while before one of them makes it on to my layout.

  12. More painting. But save time I came up with a cunning idea to reduce the amount of painting. I want a white stripe along the top of the hull and this would have taken many coasts of paint and careful masking. I decided that with would be better around if I cut strips of paper, paper those and stuck them on. The strips were tricky to cut because I don't have a guillotine, a steel rule or  cutting mat with me. I had to improvise.


    I attached them with Pritt Stick and they look the part.

    Next job was glazing. Clear plastic packaging was re purposed and again stuck Pritt Stick. It will be interesting to see how this holds up long term. It was a lot easier to keep the glue off the glazing area rather than a liquid glue.


    Next up was construction. The prototype build of a cabin showed that I needed to make an alteration. I had cut tabs which would fold to 90º and create a surface to glue the roof to. These tabs lifted the roof half a mill higher that the walls and I didn't like the gap. I trimmed the tabs back and folded them the full 180º glueing them to the walls. This is an effective solution which doubles the width of the gluing edge. It's another feature to include in future designs.

    With the cabin built I trimmed back the floor (mentioned earlier). Heres and before and after photo.


    Now on to the final stage, assembly.


    • Like 1

  13. The first job was to give some of the shiny surfaces a quick prime. The boats only needed an external coat and not all the cereal boxes required the attention of the aerosol, just the bits that will end up visible.



    The next stage was to start construction. The deck is a tight fit and pops in. Close inspection showed that one of the fold down flaps was fouling the sides and required a small trim of the corners, just visible here.


    The lower deck attaches to the main deck to create a well effect. The cabin will sit in the front of this well.


    Making 6 of these meant taking before and after photo's a real breeze. I often forget to take photos during construction. On this build, I could snap an important stage while making the next kit.

    I designed the cab to be unnecessarily complicated. I should have made it rectilinear, with simple 90º angles. But I made the back a couple of millimetres wider than the front which was a pain to design and tricky to construct.


    Once the glue had set hard I needed to trim off the base which was protruding out on both sides. This was a design error, but proved to be handy as it was a lot easier to glue than two edges meeting on a flush corner. I may start to design glue and then trim into my structures in the future to make assembly easier.

    The roof was a very simple square. I decided to add some offcuts of card to build up the gluing edges. Rather than my usual Deluxe Materials Roket Card Glue I used a Pritt Glue Stick. This allowed me to slide the offcuts around to get the edges aligned before the glue set. I did have to leave them a few hours to make sure they had stuck properly.


    The roofs only took a couple of minutes to Roket glue together. 

    With the main four elements of one boat complete, today I'll repeat the process for the others. I have 5 boat hulls, but I've made 6 kits. One is a reserve. I'm away on holiday this week and don't have access to the paper-plotter so thought an extra was wise precaution. 



    • Like 1

  14. I've been looking for a small boat to sit in the scene on my On30 layout. I searched for a kit, doable but not a cheap option. Then twigged on that a child bath toy could do the trick but nothing really worked. Eventually I came across a children's craft kit for making your own boats. They're very basic, but provided me with the shape I needed.


    I bought them, dismantled them into their three parts, confirmed they were what I needed and then did nothing with them as while procrastinated for a few months.

    I mucked around with my plotter-cutter to get the shape of the deck sorted. Then struggled to work out what I wanted to go above deck. One morning I was staring at the Jim Edwards painting that hangs in our living room and received inspiration. I've always loved the simplistic, blocky way that Jim paints boats and realised that the structures on my On30 layout are simplistic and blocky. I now had something to copy.


    Several plotter-cutter prototypes later and I had a boat structure that fitted together and a few lessons on working in 3D had been learnt. I chopped up some cereal boxes and set the cutter to work producing 6 boat kits. IMG_8006.thumb.JPG.4b724f76df8512f5201a4f3e83838e3b.JPG

    All I have to do is build them...

  15. Quote

    My New Hornby class 66 “Golden Jubilee” on my layout today. One of the most quietest smooth locos I have used.

    I've got a couple of these 66 from when they were manufactured by Lima. Quiet and smooth they are not. I re-motored one as an experiment, but it didn't improve things much.

    By the looks of things the new 66s have the same motor as the Class 91 I bought a few years back and that can haul a 10 coach train with just two powered axels, so I guess that the new 66's will be equally as impressive.

  16. Cheers Andrew.


    I've become too reliant on having my scenic bits on boards that live in the shed and are only plonked by the railway when I'm running. I'm going to have to face the challenge of weatherproof modelling and create a few more areas that are permanently out there. With that in mind I've spent the afternoon making planters to go on station platforms out of pan scrubs and off-cut correx. I'm going to hot glue gun them in place. They will be up against the fence which should stop the fence falling over!


  17. Thanks Mick.

    Just spent another hour sorting out track power to all the rails in all the points. It never ceases to amaze me that every single type electrical connection I use on my railway will fail. Had to replace a crimp-on connector to allow power to flow to a frog.

    Also got my JMRI software working again ever since one feature had started crashing it after I had upgraded to the latest version. One day I'll do this kind of snagging before my mates come round for a running session, rather than the day after...

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