Monday, September 5, 2011

Currency at Last

Finally the blog is back up to date for a change! Last issue I mentioned artists spatulas. Here is a shot of the two I use. They are nice and thin like metal shims and hence nice and bendy (and sharp as bloody hell).
Saturday saw the railroad crossing finished for now and then left to dry overnight (except for those others who continue to play the “wet paint” scene and keep putting their big fingers into it!).
The bits left around between the tracks will be picked off after it is all dried, and the boxing then also removed. We can then ballast around it and start to finish the station platforms and station area.

Saturday saw Peter get his label maker out and label up the recently adjusted block switch board for the small yard.
The small yard being as in the pic below. The tracks are also labelled to match the panel, and when the scenicing of it is complete, then signposts along the tracks will number them and remove the need for the yellow stickers. But all in due time.
The foam has now been pretty much all covered with toilet paper, PVA and paint (PPP) in the back corner and on the mountain. Just a bit of gap filling needed and then we’ll be able to start spreading the soil and sowing the grass seed to get us a good paddock back there.
Here is the foam around the tunnel entrance on the back which was recently sealed over with the brown PPP stuff.
And the Miners dongas and hall area is also now PPP’d as of one week ago. Now for some dirt and some bushes and weeds and the odd spot of grass. Won’t be long now till the rail yard there can be worked on and used.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Honest, We are doing Something

A bit more work is being done on the permanent layout. The corner everyone tends to lean on has gotten some dirt and grass cover added to it and some short trees on the hill sides. A few large trees may yet sprout – hey Rob?!! We will also add a Perspex edge to help protect the corner as well. The concrete (plaster) abutments for the road bridge have also been painted with thinned down “Aged Concrete” Floquil paint.
Rob has been busy assembling the other bridge for the layout that will be the second back or back line bridge. This bridge will be made of 3 or so of the Central Valley N Scale 150ft. Pratt Truss Bridge Kits. He has also weathered it – and it is looking GOOD. Just a few more piers to be bought and feet for them.
The BIG mountain has been attacked with a big knife and hacksaw blade – this time to make a removable hatch so you can get to the track to retrieve loco’s and wagons if ever the case was needed.
The whole and also the sides of the plug have now also been painted with that awful fence paint that was bought a while back to paint the “ground” of layouts – shocking chalky stuff that it is, it is perfect to seal the foam and not stick to itself since it is so chalky. Some roadway is appearing near the town. When you leave town you cross the three mainlines near the railway station. So rather than dirt, asphalt is needed. Kevin and I got some stuff from our glue mate EFD Glue (Simply Glues) two AMRA shows back. It is a latex based product that is gritty and gives a good asphalt look. I also bought some Micro-balloons to mix in with it to make it finer again – just right for N scale. I use artists spatulas (the really really thin ones – the ones you get and can give yourself a serious paper cut with – ie loose half your finger!) to put it on and by wetting the spatula at the end I can finish the surface as you would when floating a concrete floor at the end.
So I got this piece in from the edge of the layout to the outer mainlines spur. Since it worked well, I’ve just put in the boxing across the other tracks to start laying in the roadway across the tracks.
Between the two rails of each track, I am not sure whether to put in timber decking or maybe give this product a go – time will tell.
The product can be purchased in a number of colours, I got the grey which I think gives a really good weathered asphalt look. Either a fine white paint pen or pinstripe white decals will finish it nicely. Oh, and the other day I was NOT sleeping under the layout – I was instead doing some wiring. Due to movement in timber and track, the electrical conductivity of the double track truss bridge became non-existent and showed up a design fault. Ie I’d forgotten to put enough droppers down that end of the layout. So under the layout with drills, chocolate blocks, dropper wire and a lot of swearing. Now it all works like a bought one. But it does show that in future we will have to also make sure to wire all points up with feeds to their blades as well since conductivity there was also playing up. I’d rather not rely on just pressure of the blade giving us conductivity on the point. A good feeder will make them work so much better.
The other week also saw Rob get into putting on the points on the outside mainline at the back where the timber yard will go. This will allow the passing loop to be installed from which a spur to the timber yard will be put in and from there a spur to the far right where the timber mill will be located. Paul Hucklebridge has finished building the Walthers timber yard which comprises of two buildings like below.
To this end I’ve also worked out the numbering on the track blocks to the small yard on that side of the layout and will number the switches for them. Rob and I also fixed all the blocks and actually made them work – they had not worked in ages by the look of it, and wasn’t noticed as only DCC locos had been parking over there. Well they all now work and there is room on the switchboard to cater for the timber mill and yard as well as the fuel depot near the river as well. As mentioned last time, that small mountain at the back right is gone – here’s the evidence below. We’ll put the timber mill into the corner there and maybe get a small pond in the front between the back and front mainlines.
While we’ve been at it, OK, it was me, I got into the paint cupboard again and attacked the curved plaster walls around the main loop at the end of the big yard. They at least now don’t look white. Maybe some grey might fix them up and give them a bit more of a granite look rather than the dirt look I managed to impart to them. Mind you, my shirt was more brown that the rock by the end of the day. So We’ve just got to get into the walls with a hacksaw blade and trim them down to size so we can then putty them into place and patch up with the hill. Then I can get the Grass Master out again and put in a paddock on the hill for the church or house to sit in.