Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Slow Progress

I know it doesn't look like I've done very much on the latest house since the last post about it but appearances can be deceptive.

Number 22 is a devilishly complicated design so there's been at lot to do to get all the pieces for the 'north wing' into a state where they're ready to be glued into a box.

Chief among the complications is the stone cladding around the garage door which has to be scraped onto the styrene - this is obviously much easier to do on a flat, single piece of styrene rather than when it's part of a bigger house shape.

As that part is one of the key components of the structure, however, I can't start assembling any of them until it's ready to join the fray.

You may also notice that the other end piece has acquired a strange protrusion at one side.

This is a small bit of the garage which extends beyond the side of the rest of the house and butts onto number 23.

I have also shaped the bottom of this end piece to reflect the change in the ground level between the front and the back of the house.

It will have 'foundations' added behind and below later on so that the whole structure sits flat and at the correct height.

It's going to a be while until I get to that stage though.

Stone scraping next. Can't wait......

Monday, 23 March 2015

Bogie Brainwave

I don't experience many moments of genius but I did the other day.

It came when a set of redesigned etches for the modern FR bogie arrived from Narrow Planet.

The first stage of completing these is to make a master for a resin cast of the running gear and suspension.

I'd already gone through this process with the first test piece, and although it only took me a single evening to make the pieces out of styrene and fix them into place on one of the brass bogie sides I was not overly enthusiastic about the prospect of having to repeat it.

And that's when I had my brilliant idea.

The styrene bits are were superglued onto the brass, but because of the properties of the bond between those materials it is often possible to slice them apart leaving them relatively unscathed.

I wondered whether it would be possible to get the axle box and suspension bits off the original master so I could simply glue them back in position on the new etch.

And it worked!

So now I have a new master to make a revised mould from.

The difference with this new etch is that everything above the axle boxes has been moved up by 1.5mm which will make it easier to use the bogies as a direct replacement for the old Parkside Dundas ones we currently use.

It also looks much more like the real thing, but since when has that been a major consideration?

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Water Works

The time has come to fill the Afon Cwm Cloch.

This is one of the major scenic features on Bron Hebog.

It runs the full depth of the layout with the railway crossing over it three times as it winds its way up / down the long S bend.

Himself has decided to use some gloop called Realistic Water and I'm given to understand it's been a venture into the unknown with a lot of trial and error involved.

Firstly it would appear the river bed is porous in places because some of the stuff is leaking out before it sets - destination unknown!

Then the actual cure time as been causing much consternation.

If it is poured to a depth of 1/8 of an inch it stubbornly refuses to set, so little and often appears to be the key.

Of course it's possible that the ambient temperature at this time of the year in the UK is a factor but having not used the stuff before it's hard to tell.

Hopefully it will all be dry / set for the next exhibition appearance in a few weeks time!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Angle Of Attack

As we progress down the cul de sac the houses of Oberon Wood get ever more complicated. and the next one I'm tackling, number 22, is the worst yet from a modeller's point of view.

Even with the benefit of the Artistic Director's patiently drawn plans it has caused me to indulge in an extensive session of head-scratching.

It took me the whole of one evening this week to cut out the first of the blank end pieces.

The difficulty I had was in transposing the measurements from the design to the styrene sheet.

Somehow the angles didn't turn out right when I drew them onto the plastic. The pitch of the roof was not equal and the step in the lower of the two pieces shown here wasn't right either.

I double checked - it all matched up on the plan, - so why couldn't I copy it correctly?

In the end I resorted to tracing over the drawing and cutting out a paper template to use on the styrene, because I don't want to destroy the drawings.

This time I got the result I wanted, but I fear its only the start of my struggle with this building.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Test Run Through The Forest

Our newest carriage 2046 was officially signed off as finished at the weekend and Himself sent me a couple of pictures of it posed in our forest scene at the back of the layout.

He also tells me that he's being doing a spot of tree surgery to remove some of the lower branches so that more of the trunks are visible.

Having stood and watched the real trains at this crossing I have to say I'm really pleased with how convincingly 'forresty' it looks.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Laying The Foundations

Model houses, like the real ones, should extend below the surface of the ground around them and I've been adding this foundation to my model of number 23 Oberon Wood which is nearing completion.

This foundation helps to ensure the house sits more securely in the scenery (as opposed to on top of it) and means there will be no obvious gaps around the bottom.

Because these houses are finished with a thick layer of render I've found it most effective to add and extra layer behind and below the main walls which is why I've left it towards the end of the build.

I've also added the ridge tiles now and all that remains is the gutters and downpipes, but I shall need to order in more supplies of the right size and shape of styrene for that.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Door To Door

While I'm not a rivet counter or a fetishist for extreme detailing I do sometimes take a certain satisfaction in knowing that I've got things on the model even when very few people are going to notice them.

The doors on our latest house are a case in point.

The front door is tucked away in a gully between the two wings of the building and hidden beneath a solid porch.

Its only really visible when you view it straight on like this, but that's only possible on the workbench.

Once it's in place on the layout people will be viewing it from a much higher angle.

Even so, I'm glad I made the effort to represent the style of door properly.

In the same way I've gone to the trouble of making a proper version of the slatted door which hides the bid cupboard outside the house.

The next step, I think, will be to add the foundations.

Yes, it is all a bit back-to-front.....