Monday, December 31, 2012

Boston & Maine layout

With what is my last post this year, I wanted to share the following layout that I found while browsing the net.
Perhaps it provides some inspiration for the coming modeling year.
It is located at another forum called the Whistle Post, and is being build by Australian modeler Mike C.
The link to the thread describing his layout is here, beware that it is already 47 pages long, be sure to browse through them to see how he does it, including where things didn't go quite right.  It's theme is Winter in New England, USA, the Boston and Maine area.
Go here to view:

Just in case you're wondering , the picture below is a model! Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Module rethink

Hi all, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Mine was the usual food and drink fest, spoiling the kids, and not many presents for myself, but that's okay. I wouldn't really know what to ask for and when it comes to trains, it is a bit awkward to ask for items that are not readily available in the local shop, but instead need to be ordered from specialist shops, and often it's pre-order/advanced reservation with no guarantee when it will get delivered.

anyway, I did purchase a set of Burlington Northern F9's, an A&B set, by Stewart Hobbies, these are used but in very good condition. I always wanted a good F unit set. These will need some super detailing, and weathering etc.
However getting these has caused me to rethink my Wolter Springs modules. Not that I will change their name, but instead change it's locale, to a more generic north-mid western theme.  This will be a better home for the CP GP38-2 and these BN F's .  My SP GP35 seen in the pictures when my module has featured here,  will then find service on my California themed home layout. So that's what I'll do.

Here are  the F9's.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas

I wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, and happy New Year. It's a time to be with your family , friends and loved ones, and hope you will have a wonderful time.
Recent tragic events in the USA have highlighted to me, how vulnerable those you love the most actually are, so hope you will spare a thought for the friends and family of those who perished, think about the unopened presents under the Christmas trees, maybe some of them model trains that will never be played with.

In the spirit of these festive times, I wanted to share this picture with you. It's Alaska railways Christmas train, on the approach to Seward , Alaska.  You can order the full size picture here:

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A bit more scenery

The cordelia tunnel area is slowly taking shape. I've now applied grass on a larger area, and planted some of the background trees. I've used some smaller (N scale) trees to make them appear further away, creating a bit of 'forced perspective'.

just on the foreground, a bit of tape can be seen, this is the outline of a road that will be made here. The tape is there to define the edge of the road. It will be made with a plaster mix, and I've got some Woodland Scenics 'Smooth it' to do this with, although any fine plaster will do.

Once the road is poured, I will sand it smooth, and then paint and weather it. hopefully creating the look of an older road.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Static grass

I've made my own static grass applicator, using an old electric fly swatter and a metal tea strainer.
simply because I can't (want to) afford the Noch Grassmaster,which is very good, but costs well over 100 pounds.  That's many bags of static grass.

My tea strainer version did quite well, but I also want to build a grass master clone at some stage.

Here is the result using the tea strainer version, and the tea strainer applicator, click for a larger picture:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ballast application

I've ballasted the first section of my module.
Here's a picture . It does instantly transform the area. I am far from finished, but the first impression is quite good IMHO.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Track weathering

I have spend some time weathering the track on my module. Here's how I did it.I first spray painted the entire track a dull green (yes that's green) Then I painted the rail a rust brown colour, for which I used an enamel paint, thinned with a suitable thinner, and let it run onto the spikes and other parts of the track that might be made of metal and turn rusty. 
I then used an ocre yellow , very much thinned into a wash and randomly applied it to several ties , and because it's a wash, it applies fast and thin. I used a similar wash to randomly stain grey enamel, and again a light pass with the brown over several ties. I got inspiration from this technique by Mike Confallone's Allgash scenery articles in MRH magazine, I just used different paints (he uses thinned artist colours). I didn't wait until each wash was dry, I deliberately let them run and blend, creating even more colour variations and no stark contrasts.The overal look creates that of heavily used, old track, with the occasional dab of moss growing through (hence the green), but showing age (grey), rust and brown creosote (brown) , and other stains and fungy (ocre yellow), but note that nothing jumps out, particularly the lighter washes I used very sparingly. The great thing is, if it doesn't look right, just go over it with another wash before it's dry and it'll blend in. Otherwise wait until dry (which isn't long ) and paint over it.
To illustrate the difference, notice the unpainted ties put in place to close the gap between the turnout, showing that it is worth the effort. Next up will be ballasting, and then an final coat with weathering powders to make it all 'blend'.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Silo kit

Looking around for a few small industries to place on my module, I came accross this silo kit by Faller.  Faller is a well established german manufacturer of model railroad scenery products, and other accessories. Most of their structures have a german/swiss feel to them, but occasionally you can find something that is useful for a North American layout too, or is easy to be 'americanised' . (This is true for other european scenery makers too , such as Pola, Kibri, Heljan and others).

One such item is this silo kit. Faller 120260 contains a pair of silos, which, although somewhat scaled down, would work as a small grain elevator, or even other types of pellets, and it's not that expensive either. I therefore bought it, and will attempt to make a nice 'north american' industry out of it, I'll keep you posted, here's a picture from both the front and rear, courtesy of Faller.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Woodland Scenics/Noch scenic sprayer

I got to the stage where I started to apply a base scenery to one of the module boards. When I bought the scenery material (Woodland scenics blended turf , earth T60, also marketed in europe by Noch), I also bought a small sprayer bottle.  It is much smaller than your average spray bottle you'd get for misting plants etc, but I thought that might be handy working on a layout. The bottle could easily be placed on a part of the layout where scenery is not present , or not easily damaged (road surface) while working on another section.
I am however immensely disappointed by it's performance. In stead of a nice fine mist to wet the area, it sprays relatively course droplets, which impact the just 'sprinkled' ground foam and creates craters and splashes, disturbing the way the scenery was put down before glue is applied. This thing being marketed as a 'scenic sprayer', I thought it would be well designed, but instead you get a small bottle with much too course action to be any good at all for this work. I'm back to my plant sprayer, which produces a nice fine, almost fog, and these droplets are not disturbing the surface at all.

Get yourself a plant sprayer, or even two, from the pound shop, and leave this expensive and much smaller scenic sprayer bottle where it is, spend the difference on scenery foam or whatever.