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chris

Something in On30

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The figures look great Chris and that's a novel way of fixing them to the baseboard. I suppose it allows you to vary their positioning too so that you're not always looking at the same scene.

It looks a smashing little layout in the photo above. You've spent a lot of work on those buildings.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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

 

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scratch build some bookcases from junk to go outside the book store.

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I'm now working on the the scenes front and centre, which can now have a different look after the relocation of the Bank and Church.

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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.

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3 hours ago, chris said:

...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.

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

It's best done using a good quality roofing felt. I cut it into strips just a little wider than the sleeper base and glued it down with roofing felt adhesive. I find the roofing felt also helps grip any track pins you insert into the aerated blocks.

I also ballasted some of the track afterwards using granite ballast held in place by exterior varnish (thinned slightly using white spirit) and this has adhered to both the felt and the bare face of the aerated blocks.

It's why I decided to relay my ground level section using a similar technique, albeit with slices of aerated block cemented on top of the concrete footings replacing the original plywood base. It would definitely be my first choice for any future construction.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Another building got a re-skin today. I've put the more detailed features on the rear while keeping the front as was, so it makes for an easy comparison. 

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I'm reasonably happy with the result. It's much better than before.

 

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I've completed another building upgrade. This one is on the back scene, but this actually the centre point for the layout. The simple cartoon like facade wasn't working anymore and an art deco restyle was in order. Searching for inspiration was tricky until I was on the front in Blackpool last week and saw the old Woolworths building. I snapped a photo and knew I had structure I was after.

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My construction technique was inverted. So far I have been adding windows on top of the walls. This time the facade would go on after the windows. Design was unusually swift, having something to copy really speeds up my workflow. The plotter cutter sprung into life over the weekend.

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I tried to work with coloured card to minimise painting. But running out of dark brown card did mean some painting was required. A gloss varnish was required over some of the cardboard to give it more of a glazed tile effect.

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With the building largely completed on Monday the detailing bits were added yesterday. Truth be told I made thse far too fine scale for this model but it is easy to get carried away when you zoom in on the plotter cutter design software and fail to notice just how small something is going to be. Remember, this is On30, 1/48th scale on 16.5mm track.

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I'm very pleased with the result. And to finished the thing in less than a week is very unusual for me. I have a pile of half finished jobs spread around my various layouts. 

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This level of detail raises the bar for the layout. Lots more building will now need a reskin. A mate dropped round a pile of old cereal boxes last night so I have plenty of raw matter to be getting on with. Finally here is a picture showing the scene a couple of weeks ago. They are plenty of places that progress has been made.

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Edited by chris
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That's really great work again Chris and there's some nice added detailing. Seeing what you've achieved gives me the confidence I need to make a start on my bridge - the only structure I currently have planned for the layout. If I could do that in a week I'd be absolutely over the moon!

The trouble, as you say, is that now you've improved that one you're going to feel the need to do some of the others but really they don't look too bad as they are. I guess it's something you can do over time as there's no hurry to do anything from how it appears right now.

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Actually ran the trolley cars this evening. Had the DCC plugged in to test a Network South East EMU I'm DCCing for a mate. I'm giving it a full lighting upgrade while the chips go in. Not done lights for a few years, it was good to get back to it.

Anyway, here's a shot of the Snicketway at dusk. illuminated by the trolley cars.

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Mr Poe's house has received an upgrade. Handily I took a photo before so here's the comparison.

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the building to the right is next in line for a new facade.

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2 hours ago, chris said:

Mr Poe's house has received an upgrade....

That's great Chris, I like it...do all your buildings have residents names?

I notice that the weight has become too much to bear on one guys shoulder and that the lady outside Mr Poe's appears to have grown! 

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Well spotted Mick.

The fallen chap is missing the magnet in his foot. The hole was drilled in his shoe, but I think he was hiding when the the magnets and superglue turned up.

Mrs Poe has not grown, the door has shrunk.

Yes, most of the buildings have been named after buildings in the books. Actually that's not quite right. Some of them have been constructed to be buildings in the books. Mr Poe's house was built after close examination of its appearance in the Netflix TV series. It's far too close a copy, bearing in mind that this is meant to be a fantasy layout to allow me to freestyle an get away from the temptation to "rivet count".

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It's that time of year. Spring is around the corner and we hope to get outside and attend to our garden railways. But, then we realise that it'll be May before that becomes a reality.

However for me the season brings another treat. Aldi and Lidl stock their shelves with novelty bird feeders and birdhouses. So far Aldi have let me down, but Lidl have delivered. I picked up a large birdhouse over the weekend.

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I don't like the design or colour scheme, but it gives me a frame to work with. We were away in Pickering, but that didn't stop me starting work on the conversion. The first job was to cut the wire off and then strip the detailing.

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I like the build out and the able roof, but the gable doesn't protrude far enough. The solution to this was to remove the small green step below the build out.

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this helped, but I wanted a more pronounced effect. I cut 10mm off the bottom of the build out to allow the roof to sit lower and prouder.

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I like the roofline. It has revealed a gap at the top of the build out. I'll cover the whole side with card which will cover this. I've slapped a coat of very dark brown paint over the roof, but another couple of coats will be required to cover that blue.

Work on this has now halted. I've left it in Pickering because I couldn't bring it back to York on my bike. My friend, who's house we stay at will bring it back next time she visits.

I've been doing a lot of fiddly little detailing recently. It was nice to get back to working on something chunky.

 

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Posted (edited)

I've been working on one of my back scene buildings. Had a couple of goes with the new facade before I got something I was happy with. Was further delayed when I realised I need to reskin the sides.

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The windows are of a new design for me. More like a Metcalfe with a plastic film.

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I also added a corner stone effect.

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Edited by chris
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I've finally started work on the outdoor element of this railway. Aerated Blocks have been delivered and work has begun on building the raised bed. I may have to start a topic in the Garden Railway  section.

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2 minutes ago, chris said:

I've finally started work on the outdoor element of this railway. Aerated Blocks have been delivered and work has begun on building the raised bed. I may have to start a topic in the Garden Railway  section.

Looking forward to seeing it Chris. Just take some time to get those blocks nice and level as it will save so much time later but they do sand/file down easily if needs be.

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