Apr 242013

Obviously something that has to be thought of at an early stage! At least the sky should be installed before working any features at the back of the layout. My sky was Wilko’s ‘Turquoise’ matt emulsion paint sprayed onto primed 6ft x 2ft sheets of hardboard courtesy of Wickes. Despite the name this colour is a very pleasant summer blue. I simply used an electric spray gun with slighty thinned matt emulsion and the operation performed in the garden on a nice warm spring day. Many preliminary photos were taken so that some authentic sky effects could be portrayed. This was not difficult as I always record striking cloud scenes to keep in my ‘sky bank’ as part of my landscape sketchbook. On the backscenes individual clouds are painted with acrylics and the same blue emulsion and here it is important to keep the tones as subtle as possible. If mixing a shadow grey in a cloud it needs to be only a shade darker than the surrounding sky otherwise it might look like the proverbial sore thumb!

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Apr 182013

The cottage at Greatford crossing is quite a dominant feature and clearly needs to be treated as accurately as possible. Whilst Noel Ingram’s photos reveal a lot of detail there are areas visible to the spectator of the layout that his work does not show or at least only gives a tantalising glimpse of. One major asset is that a similar building still exists at Hurn road crossing just a few miles south of Tallington. The design is to the Italian Villa pattern used by the GNR at the start of the last century and seems to have some strange characteristics. For instance, as a semi it only has one door to each side and that is at the front. The Hurn road house is now converted to one property and a rear door has been added. this puzzled me to begin with but on one of Noel’s images there is clearly just a window at the rear with a short fence between the two halves of the house. The other ‘just visible’ feature is the shed at the back. I am given to understand that this shared building housed an outside privy and a coal place but it is arranged as separated halves with a path between them each covered by a sloping slated roof. Something of a similar pattern is to be seen in photos at Tuxford beyond Grantham further north.

Construction of the model began with a shell made from laminated card about the same thickness as art mounting board. I developed a technique of interlocking sides and roof using the chimney stack as a locking key. This enables me to take off the whole roof section so that interior lighting and detail can be added or removed. The walls are covered in embossed plasticard and hand painted to yield variations in individual brick tones whilst all windows are hand cut from thin plain plasticard and glazed from behind. At present there are gutters to add and water butts with downpipes to complete the scene.

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Apr 172013

There are always those parts of a layout that require some additional features beyond the railway infrastructure. Often these will be placed to fill gaps or create an atmospheric reminder of a particular scene and sometimes it is a bit of both. On one end of my layout around a generous curve there was one such place and I decided to make a feature here of a typical row of railway workers terrace cottages. Using Metcalfe terrace house rears the row was treated to loads of additional detail. Of note was the extra framing for the sash windows, rainwater piping, washing lines, garden features and figures. The most effective enhancement was the painting of various different colours on the brickwork. This omission has always been a noticeable failure of many printed card kits and with a steady hand and careful colour mixing the brickwork can be dramatically improved. I also constructed my own television aerials (H type) to give a true 1960′s look to the chimney stacks. Finally, some cheap lighting courtesy of Christmas LED decorations powered by AA batteries was installed to enable a night time scene to be created.  This was a time consuming project but quite easy and rewarding to complete. Many of my other buildings have been scratch built especially those based on real structures.

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Apr 112013

This four road structure is made using the  Scalescenes download of a northlight loco shed.  Most of the model is strengthened with art mounting board and custom made vents have been installed. The offices at the rear are scratch built from photographs of  buildings seen at New England. The experience of building from Scalescenes material was a positive one but it is important to print with quality matt archive paper and colour fast inks. (I use Canon Chromalife.)

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Apr 032013

On my layout the far end was going to be a hidden area of storage sidings (sort of fiddle yard ) but it seemed to develop a mind of its own and soon became a scenic space. As the track, of course, curves around here there were inevitably two corners to fill. The first which was beyond the occupation bridge was easy enough. This was a continuation of the Lincolnshire landscape but with diminishing perspective created by blending in ‘N’ scale features and figures. The opposite side was more of a problem but as the general flavour of the project is based on my experiences around Peterborough I could not ignore the presence of the brick making industry. The following photos chart my attempt to capture the atmosphere of a brickyard (albeit in a small space) and as far as possible detail the structures. The latter was not as straight forward as one might expect because I could find very little visual evidence to help with the modelling. For instance what happened on top ( coal loading) was hardly ever visible but on a model we see these things. Perhaps no one took many pictures of the workings of such places as they may not not have been considered glamorous enough. The model is built on a separate base which meant I could work on it indoors during the winter months. It was then installed on the layout and further detail such as piles of new bricks, lorries, workmen etc added in situ. It will be noticed that the rear of the kilns was made with reducing dimensions to help with the perception of decreasing perspective. There is still plenty to do as I intend to complete the interior of the wheel house and create a working conveyor so often seen crossing over roads in the Yaxley area.

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Jul 062012

CRESCENT BRIDGE PETERBOROUGH

Although the layout does not depict Peterborough in the sixties it does contain some of the iconic features of the area. The most obvious of these is the bow string bridge across the mainline linking the city centre with the west of the region. Having spent much of my trainspotting time under the span in the parcels yard it was only natural to want to include this in my East Coast flavoured layout. The structure is as accurate as one can get using cut card but two compromises were made. firstly it is shorter in scale to suit the width of the layout. Secondly, to simplify the modelling it does not have the subtle curvature over the tracks that exists on the real thing. A later compromise will have to be made for the fencing on the bridge as the real version involved a  complex system of spikes along the decorative top edge. All trusses are painstakingly fretted out of the card with a fine craft knife with UHU being the preferred adhesive. However, there were times when dealing with intricate parts that it was less ‘stringy’ to use PVA glue. Hundreds of spots of the latter were used to represent the large rivets which are a characteristic feature of the bridge. The final structure was painted in grey acrylic primer from a spray can. All buttresses were constructed with thick card (art mounting board) and clad in  brick embossed plasticard before the bricks were painted with some picked put in individual colours.

 

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Jul 062012

The part of the layout that gives it its title is essentially a four track section bounded by two girder bridges with Greatford level crossing in between. One of these is an occupational bridge (Banthorpe ) and the other is a road bridge. The latter (Casewick) carries the road from Barholm to Uffington just to the north of the A16 at Tallington. Both were extensively photographed prior to the models being constructed out of white card. They are still the same as they were at the time the layout is designed to represent but ,of course, the roads and girders were elevated slightly when the ECML was electrified. Some old fences still exist around the ends of the spans and recently vehicle safety barriers have been installed no doubt to comply with current H&S regulations. The card is the type that is used in packing and is useful in that it is smooth white on one side and is easy to cut with a craft knife to give fine detail.  Further photos of the sequence of construction will follow.

 

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