Sunday, 29 June 2014

Level Crossings

This is a busy section of track we're working on.

As well as crossing the river twice there are two occupational crossings of the same farm road to build.

This is the lower one, Cwm Cloch.

This was basically as far as the layout ran when we showed it at Super Power 2013 at Dinas. We had put down a basic covering of undergrowth but there were still details such as the crossing to be completed.

And once the trains have climbed around the big U bend, through the deep Cutting Mawr and passed over the river (again) they come to Bron Hebog crossing.

I like this next picture a lot because it really demonstrates how far the trains climb on their journey around the layout.

The shot is taken from 'behind' the layout. In fact the camera is sitting just at the entrance to the fiddle yard so this is not a view you're ever likely to enjoy at exhibitions.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Bridge Test Run

Himself has finished off the final river bridge at the back of the layout and, almost as an afterthought, decided to check that the stock would fit through without fouling...

One of our Garratts and the obs carr Glaslyn doing the honours there.

The bridge model has been completed with stone wall capping glued on top of the embossed plasticard side walls.

The irony is this is right at the very back on the layout and facing away from the public - you'll probably never see the bridge from this angle again, but at least we've proved it's there.

This is the side the punters get to see which has had the plaster filling added now.

The safety railings and the mesh walkway will be added at a later date.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

More Walls & Track Down

The 'head of steel' has finally reached the top end of the layout with the final big loop into the fiddle yard laid at the Rhyd Ddu end.

As well as pinning down the PECO Himself has been fixing many feet of cast stone walls into place with this run along the south bank of the Afon Cwm Cloch...

And also around the farmhouse of the same name...

The actual farmhouse is still a glint in the eye of the Artistic Director (and even that may be overstating the case) but the walls are in place now so we'll just have to hope that it fits in the space Himself has left for it.

I suppose it will just have to....

Monday, 23 June 2014

Last River Crossing

Back at the other end of the layout Himself has been busy making the last of the river bridges which is next to the top level crossing called 'Bron Hebog'.

These were replaced during the reconstruction of the line and cast in concrete with a cosmetic slate facing.

Himself tells me it was quite complicated to make.

This first photo looks as if it's finished but in fact it is just a snap of the dry run to ensure the pieces all fitted.

Here we can see the component parts laid out.

They are made from 3mm ply which is then faced with styrene sheet to replicate the concrete.

Here you can see the wing walls have been covered with Wills coarse stone sheet to represent the cut slate facing.

It'll look very effective once the Artistic Director has done this thing.

There is still a walkway to build on one side of the bridge and the railings will go on much later.

It will also need a little bit of stone walling to finish off the retaining walls at the back.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Kit Development Again

If you follow my Boston Largs Works blog then you'll already know that I'm planning on releasing a fourth SAR freight kit - this time it's not a wagon but a van.

A client asked me to make him a model of the WHR V-16 brake van in its current condition with the windows at one end and the window on the doors covered over

I reasoned that it would make sense, as I was scratch building the parts anyway to make them as masters so I could produce a kit if there proved to be demand for it.

John at the FR shop has confirmed that he would like to have a batch and that was enough for me to commit.

The sides are not symmetrical and so I am having to make two. There will have to be two masters made for the ends as well because only one end has windows.

A new floor / chassis unit will need to be designed as well because the vacuum reservoir is in a different place and the van is wider than the B & DZ wagons, although it is the same length.

You can see in the picture above that one side is more advanced that the other with the L section frame detail added on.

I was unable to get hold of my preferred Evergreen styrene strip for the L section and was up sold a Plastruct alternative at twice the price! Ho hum.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

At The Other End

I've been telling you a little fib for all these weeks when I've been describing the boards at the back right corner of the layout - the Rhyd Ddu end - as the last ones we've got to build. In fact there is one more, at the other end beyond Goat Tunnel and heading for the Aberglaslyn Pass.

It wasn't a complete lie because this board has been in use on the layout - it was at the show at Dinas last year - but that's only because it was being used as the temporary southern fiddle yard.

Now the track and the plywood sheet has been pulled off and its ready to be transformed into the final scenic board.

This one will have a simpler 90 degree bend into the fiddle yard rather than the 180 degree U turn at the other end.

When this one's done the basic structure of the layout really will be completed.


Would I lie to you, dear reader?

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Double Garage

The fourth of our Oberon Wood houses can now be declared complete with the double garage for number 24 completed.

The Artistic Director specified that this very much attached garage should be made as a separate structure. I'm not entirely sure why but I just do as I'm told.

It was very straightforward to assemble apart from the stone cladding on the end which required an evening scratching away with a dental implement.

Here you can see it posed in position next to the house.

Because the ground slopes away in front of the building there is a lot more wall visible at the bottom of the garage compared to the house which is why the house is balanced on a plastic drill box.

The plywood base for this house will be a split-level affair and there will be steps built up in front of the entrance porch and a sloping driveway up to the garage doors which extend well below ground level on the model.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Plaster & Paint

There's been more work done on the northern end of the layout in recent days.

The river bridge board has just been given a coat of plaster. The next job here will be to complete the bridge which at the moment is just a deck of plywod.

The other board which sits in the back right hand corner and includes the exit to the top fiddle yards has had it first coat of paint, and now Himself is working out where the wall have to go.  The big square area in the foreground is where the farm house will go.

Friday, 13 June 2014

The Final Bend

We've decided on a strategy of getting the trackbed and the scenic base of Bron Hebog finished first rather than doing each board in turn.

Hopefully this means we can guarantee we'll have a full run to show off at the exhibitions we're attending in the autumn.

It seems a long way away but once you take into account summer holidays and Himself's regular trips to volunteer on the FR it suddenly seems a lot sooner!

As a result Himself has been pressing on with the back right hand board where the track curves around into what will become the fiddle yard.

The first of today's pictures shows the plywood base of the fiddle yard being glued into place - that old iron chair coming in handy again.....

Quite what we'll do with the fiddle yard is still up for discussion. The track will enter at each end at different levels and so the question is whether to have two completely separate yards or to have a linking track - in the style of the Nantmor 'ski jump' - to connect them and enable continuous run operation?

This is not prototypical, of course, but it is quite practical when one considers that Himself and the Artistic Director are, quite frankly, a pair of old women and like nothing better than to spend a considerable amount of exhibition time gossipping with the punters. Consequently there can be long periods where there is nothing moving on the layout until I give them a metaphorical, and sometimes even a literal, jab in the ribs.

Our next picture shows all the chicken wire in place. This is a new batch and Himself tells me it is not as good as the old stuff because the wire is only twisted together as opposed to being soldered on the stuff he was using previously.

Once the wire was all in place Mod Roc was spread across. I guess you know how this works by now...

The flat square area in the foreground is where the farm house model will sit.

You may also notice, on the far right hand edge of the board, a small dip which is our representation of where the unused PB&SSR trackbed heads off, at a fearsome gradient, in a cutting towards Rhyd Ddu.

The next stage will be to brush on a coat of plaster followed by our 'interesting' shade of brown emulsion.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Incy Wincy Spider

So, that's the house part of number 24 finished with the addition of the downpipes from the guttering.

The other part of the building, of course, is the double garage which is built onto the front of the property at a right angle and that's what I'm going to move onto building next.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Chimney Pot & Porch

I'm ticking off the remaining jobs on the new house one by one.

The chimney has been added now. The trickiest bit is getting the angles cut correctly so it stands perpendicular on the sloping roof and to ensure the chimney pot is not squinty.

And then round at the front I've made up the entrance porch. This is supposed to represent a sliding patio door arrangement. The blank space below will be sunk into the ground and will have steps leading up to it.

The angled markings in pencil are the results of me working out the dimensions for the double garage which is being made as a separate structure although they will be attached when in place on the layout.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Super Barn Portrait

I've just realised that I forgot to post a picture of the fleet of resin Super Barns I've been building over the last few months, so let's put that right.

This is one of the three which were delivered to the client a few weeks back. I do hope he's happy with them.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

On With The Roof

It's been a while since I've posted anything about progress with the latest Oberon Wood house.

The roof is on now and the dormers have been finished off.

The major item missing from the front is the porch, and the garage of course.

At the rear now you get the full effect of the recessed gallery window on the first floor which is a very distinctive feature of this house and another further down the street.

Unfortunately most of this detail will be hidden from the view of most people watching the layout at exhibitions. Only the operators will regularly see the houses from this angle.

Still on the list of small, but time-consuming jobs to finish it off are the ridge tiles and the guttering.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Looking Down The Track

A little more of the trackbed has been fixed in place over the weekend.

Here's a view of the latest progress seen from the viewpoint of Bron Hebog crossing as we look down the road towards the farm.

The flat area on the left is for farm house with the lorry park on the right.

This is one of the parts of the layout where we're having to cheat a little to fit everything into a nice, exhibition-friendly rectangle.

We have had to bring the crossing much closer to the farm house to squeeze it in and so the track can swing around to the left into the fiddle yard.

This view from above shows how the scenic break will run at an angle and also note that the first of the wooden supports for the chicken wire are in place - drilled aerospace-style for lightness. (It's one of Himself's little jokes....)

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Onwards And Upwards

The top right hand corner has progressed in the last couple of days.

The upper section of track bed is now in place, teetering on its stilts. It climbs just as the real railway does all around the S bend.

The roadway has been added and the base for the continuation of the river bed has been cut out and placed in position but its height has not been set yet.

A flat area has also been set aside for Cwm Cloch farmhouse.

If you look closely in to top right of the shot at the edge you can just make out a cutaway which is where the abandoned PBSSR trackbed came in on the original proposed steep route into Beddgelert.

Stepping back to take this shot from the front of the layout gives a good impression of the depth of scene we're creating as well as the gain in height from the station.

I can't wait to see the first Garratt snaking its way all around the layout.