Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Back to it !

So after the great Sunday modelling event, Model Railways for a Day convention, Scooter and I thought we'd complete a couple of the spare left over diorama modules. Scooter grabbed his and I'll play with the remaining two. So today I took them down to the club and started.

All I have done today on these two small modules is to carve them up with a box cutter knife a bit and glue a couple of small bits in place and a quick rasp over with my Surform tools. More on Saturday I think. Here are the before shots of the two small modules:

And here are the after shots from today of the small modules:

I will also fully complete the two large foam modules I used to show both Extruded foam and Expanded foam to the punters last Sunday. The Extruded foam is the yellow one here and the blue foam is the Expanded type. I have decided that the yellow Extruded foam module will be for a dual track mainline N Scale scene and the blue Expanded foam module will be a single track HO Scale line.

So the first of these modules worked on today was the Extruded foam one. Out with a box cutter and I shaped it up a lot as well as hoeing into it with the 150 mm and the 65 mm Surform tools. This gave me the rough shape I wanted. Here is the before and after shaping shots.

A quick check that 2 N scale tracks will fit properly in the right of way showed I was ready for the next step - putting up the gaps and making a few mounds to add to the shape of the hills. 

I mixed up my usual Vermiculite and Gap Filler mix with just enough brown kiddies acrylic paint for colour - Burnt Umber. 

With the help of  a paint scraper and my trusty artists spatula, the goop went into place and completed the hills nicely in my view. The module was then put aside for a while while I got into the Expanded foam module.

First up I used my rasps to shape the hills on this Expanded blue foam module to the way I wanted them. It is much easier shaping this Expanded foam compared to the Extruded which is a much tougher type of foam. 

So once the shape was right I then got out some cork for the base of the track and glued it down with Liquid Nails.

The Vermiculite goop was still viable, so a touch of water to keep it at the right texture and a pile of it got put to good use on this blue module. I didn't need too much patching, just enough to cover up any visible joins between sheets of foam and to add a smooth patch here and there as well as some small mounds. Filleting in the hills to the flats was also done.

With all the Vermiculite goop used up it was time to make another goop mix for use on both modules. This time it was the same mix but without any Vermiculite added. This will seal the foam yet leave a rubbery type film over it all that keeps it all together and can be modified with a knife later on if needed.

So in the end we have sealed modules in both cases, which were put aside to be worked on another day when they have dried - maybe Saturday I might be inclined to do some more work in between drinking coffee and gas-bagging with the fellas at the club..

Auf Wiedersehen.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Day of the Convention

After a partially sleepless night it was time. Time for the Model Railways for a Day convention.

So I loaded up the car with all the bits I needed for my talk and display as well as the modules Craig and I made the other day for all the punters heading to the convention. No room left for passengers, that's for sure.

We had all sorts of talks happening during the day as well as displays and discussions. Soldering, scenery, making trees, making dunnies (Scooter is good and making dunnies), research, spray painting, DCC, Ops, track laying, ballasting, static grass  and much more. It was a very full day for all.

Jim was there to show and talk about buildings and what great buildings he makes - master building this chappie.

Scooter, I mean Craig, was there showing building with styrene and ensuring everyone got a dunnie to build.

I was in the middle of the mix with baseboards for scenery and got to show off the various methods with my dioramas I built during the week.

Everyone got to take a diorama base of foam home with them to practice what they learnt.

Geoff was doing track laying and giving out some very good info - even I learnt something from him.

Kerrie was talking about making trees and wow, some of these the attendees were making after Kerrie show how, were great. Backdrops were also a specialty she was talking about.

Bob was there showing how to spray paint - he's good that fella is.

Ken was doing ballasting, always a wanted skill.

And you know what, I damn well forgot to get any shots of Martyn who was doing the DCC talks, Brendan who was doing Soldering as well as Arthur who did Operations as well as Making it Real and of course our Research King Mr Mewes.

I think I got everyone and I do know that the attendees did garner a great range of knowledge on the day and enjoyed themselves very much including we lecturers.

I'll leave you here with a view of Scooter yacking away in front of a rapt crowd.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sowing the Seeds and Working on the Railroad

Friday saw me down at the club again working on my modules for the convention, as time is a tickin'.

I found that the grass was still wet, so I placed the modules out into the direct sunshine so that over time the warm sunshine will dry them out.

So today was time to plant some trees and lay a bit of track. I used a variety of trees, some were just cheapies that you buy online from China for 20 or 30 cents each. Others were some nice Pine trees from I know not where (maybe Woodland Scenics I think). Then there was the Woodland Scenics Fine-Leaf Foliage which I'd never used before - it has potential. Also for small stuff around the place I used the Woodland scenics Bushes and Clump-Foliage. 

So I laid out all my tools and stuff and got into it with of course my radio blaring away on 4KQ

So after drilling holes into the plaster and using an awl for the foam (much easier than plaster I can tell you) and fixing various trees into position with white glue, I then used the coloured foam Bushes etc to add in small details all over the place. Then it was outside for the modules to take in more of the sunshine we had on Friday.

Next I got the track laying gang out and laid some rails. I used Liquid Nails applied nice and thin to the cork and then pressed the track onto this. It is only a thin layer of glue and hence it dries nice and fast. Once I pressed the track down into it I placed some long sandbags we have at the club onto the track to hold it for a while to make sure it sticks. The sandbags are just 2 cm diameter material hoses a good members' missus made up for us and then stuffed with sand - think of draft excluders.

Once all four modules were done I got out a selection of various ballasts I had made a while back out of various gravels and slates and shale found in the area - hence free. I sprinkled it down and then shaped it with a small brush before spritzing on some water and isopropyl alcohol mix to wet it all down and then I dropped on some 50/50 water and white glue mix to hold it all together. Then I placed it outside in the sun to bake some more. After an hour it was hardening up nicely.

Then it was time for home and a relax and maybe a beer... or two.

Growing a Lawn

So Thursday saw the need for me to start tending the lawn, the four lawns on the modules in fact.

So first up I used my medium sized Surform rasp to clear any debris from the right of way on each module. I am pretty much doing this between each step so that they are only small removals rather then whopping big ones which become awkward.

Then I got my tools and makings out and ready and of course my cuppa - black and strong (no comments Scooter, I know you got one in there somewhere). For the grass I use the Woodland Scenics Fine Turf in a couple of colours, the primary being of course Burnt Grass. I also use the Burn Grass colour from JTT Scenery Products as it is close but not the same as the Woodland Scenics and gives variety without hitting you in the face with a lime green or something.

So the first cab off the rank was the cardboard and plaster module and it got a good planting of grass with thinning patches here and there.

I then got into the swing of things and plowed the paddock on the other three modules for nice paddocks for the cows to eat. So by the end I had the four modules grassed and that was it for these modules for the day as they were quite moist and needed a lot of drying.

When I got home I decided to cut and glue up a couple of modules of foam for my part of the convention - I obviously need something to carve and such on the day. So I made up one of Extruded Foam and it took all of a single stubbie of beer to roughly carve and glue. My excuse - it was a hot day and I was dehydrated and needed liquid to sustain me.

So with the Extruded Foam module, I gave a rough shape to it and glued the parts together with Liquid Nails - the water based version. Before gluing, I roughed up the surfaces with a saw blade to make sure the glue had good purchase.

The second module I made of Expanded foam, the beaded stuff. It also was a one stubbie job due to the heat, not that I work slow (shut up Scooter).