Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday and the workers arrive for the morning shift.

Today Peter A started in on his mountain scene that will exist between two sets of portals which will frame the entry/exit to the helix from the lower deck level. This should end up being a really nice scene in my opinion. Peter is using the extruded polystyrene foam for the near vertical rock walls that will surround the scene. He will be using his newly acquired gouging method to make the rock faces in this particular type of foam as it takes the gouging so much better than the normal expanded polystyrene foam.

John B did some more foam work along the trackage that joins the area at the far left of the station up to the middle of the yard at the left of the station.

The other day after doing some timber work around the access hole at the base of the middle peninsula, Barry P started to glue in some fingers of 4 mm ply that will be used to hold up foam work between the top deck of the helix and the last turn of track beneath it. This foam will be shaped and sceniced to give some appeal to the helix besides it natural.... helixness. Since Barry wasn't there today I thought I'd help him out and get the last dozen glued in place. Later in the day I dummied up some foam to show what the starting point for the foam work will look like.

Above we see underneath the last loop of the helix at the top and the fingers of plywood glued on with Liquid Nails.

My main job today was to get the rail bridge back in place over the river so they could run trains in the afternoon - don't know why, as I was having plenty of fun building stuff on the layout!

Oh, you ask what the white think behind the rail bridge is. OK, I'll tell you.  It is a dummy I mocked up of a road bridge. It will be the main drag from the town on the left of the bridge and will disappear behind some trees at the right of the river, about where it meets the current top of the hill. From this main road a side road of class 3 of either dirt or perhaps very poorly maintained bitumen will venture across a wooden bridge to the front side of the mainlines and then head into the rural are at the right of the river. Craig M has volunteered to build the bridge for us.

Oh, and the last thing I did today was to start cutting a hole in the sky board to allow the wye to be laid once we get the points. Now to figure out how we will hide or scenic the entrance/exit in the sky board for the wye...

Till next time, have fun.

Friday, January 30, 2015

I Got Crook

Ok, so I wasn't too crook to not play trains. The tucker from my freezer last night should probably have been thrown out but... I can be cheap at times. So a few trips to a shiny white ceramic device and I was right to go. 

By that time I'd emailed the boss to say I wasn't coming in.

So a couple of cups of coffee and a slice of toast and I was ready to go... to the train club... I reckoned it was too late to call the boss - what a shame ;o)

No one else there today at the club, so it was on with the radio and switched to my favourite 4KQ and the volume turned up so I could hear it. Fresh cup of coffee and away I went. Foam beads would be a flying everywhere. But first I had to remove the railway bridge so as to access all the foam without damaging the bridge. 6 screws later and also the track joiners moved and out came the bridge. I better put it back before noon on Saturday so they can run trains I suppose!

I shaped both sides of the river with my Surform tools with a good vacuuming every ten minutes so that snow drifts didn't build up everywhere. Once I had the shape roughly the way I wanted on the hills, I got into the cuttings on either side of the mainline tracks. Craig M had advised me to keep the slope of the embankments to about 60 degrees. So I grabbed a bit of ply and spent 20 minutes making a nice wooden template to measure 30, 60 and 90 degrees. A bit of school geometry helped me here as I couldn't find any protractors at the club. So based on the long side (hypotenuse) being twice the length of the short side of the triangle (for one with a 60 degree, 30 degree and a 90 degree angle), I was able to cut a piece of ply that already had a right angle on it (90 degrees is a right angle as I remember) to suit the job. Some nikko markings of the angles of 30 and 60 degrees on both sides and a coat of clear paint and I put it aside for a while to dry.

While waiting for the template to dry I cut out a section of track on the reversing loop and got the area ready for the point to go in so we could progress the creation of a wye. It was fortuitous in that there was already a track join at about the right spot for the point. So a bit of cork was glued down and painted grey and then the tracks cut to length and all sharp edges filed away on the track and the set of points. I'll be able to glue the track down tomorrow I reckon and perhaps put the wiring in. The last point for the wye will be a while yet as we haven't purchased it yet.

The template was now dry enough to use and I continued on with the embankments. A pile of snow later and they were done. Next was to fill any and all holes in the foam from joins and where I hadn't added enough foam. I used my usual foam putty mix but this time with a twist - a twist of vermiculite. I had read that some people add vermiculite to their plaster mix to make it light. Well that's a good thing, so I thought I'd try it in lieu of using blended up foam beads in my mix. I also remember that vermiculite is also squash-able since it is sort of popped corn, well, it's popped and hence spongy and light. So I figured it might be able to formed better when used as my putty, as the beads do not compress - they stay round.

So the mix was a couple of tubes of No More Gaps and similar acrylic gap filling brands, and to this I added some acrylic cheap artists paint to make it all go brown like dirt in colour. I then added three or four handfuls of vermiculite and of course some foam beads. a tiny amount of water and I mixed it all up to a really think porridge consistency. This was then applied with a paint scrapper to all the holes and places needing some texture or adjustments. This included along the side of the track where the embankments meet the ground. This I was able to shape so as to look a bit like a drainage ditch along the side of the tracks.

Once I had applied about a liter or so of "putty", I made up a mix of just No More Gaps and coloured paint and a few drops of water. The consistency here is more runny, like wet toothpaste. This I painted on with a brush all over the foam and the filling I'd done. This will dry to the tough rubbery skin that will seal the foam.

It was now mid-afternoon, so time to cleanup and head home - I could hear a beer or three calling me, and boy was it a loud call!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It's all Greg's fault!

Before Christmas Greg B and I bought ourselves a little present - we got ourselves a logging loco each. There was a good price going on some Bachmann Spectrum HO scale 70-Ton Three-Truck Climax Locomotives. So we each ordered one. When they both arrived I buggered around with mine first and was having all sorts of problems running it in and testing it.

When talking to Greg a week later, he said he had no problem... yeh, right...  he had a nifty tool to help. He had gotten himself a "Rolling Road" from DCCconcepts. So after he brought it in for a show and tell at work the other week, I caved and ordered one myself. It arrived this arvo and was in use an hour later - neat!

These extra parts above, are so that I can use the Rolling Road with N scale locos, HO/OO, EM/P4 and also with HOn3½ and HOm.

Window into Wednesday

Busy day today. Darryl D was back in town, so the wharf area got some work done. Ralph had also done up some more dummy containers for the container ship - looking good indeed now.

Bruce Hagaman was into doing the square hole in the helix as well as more on the track work around that area.

Me, I got into the foam again and added a bit more to the river scene. Peter A and I where bandying around a few ideas on Saturday after I mentioned that some were asking where was the road bridge I'd mentioned many moons ago. So a bit more height was added on the right hand side so that we can get the minimum 100 mm clearance above the track. Then we can add an old fashioned wood bridge.

So you can imaging the main road coming from left to right on the yellowish bridge above. It will sort of veer off slightly to the left into the skyboard. The dirt road will then come from the top of the back foam block and jump over via a wooden bridge to the front block. From there it will meander down to the farms or grazing are at the right.

I also dummied up the main road bridge that goes over the river. I expect maybe a modernish concrete structure may be the shot for the cars and trucks to use. This bitumen highway or main road will cross the river and disappear into the skyboard pretty much as soon as it makes ground on the right hand side. From this main road a turnoff onto a dirt or maybe poor grade bitumen road that uses a wooden bridge to get to the front of the tracks is in order. This will allow the boys designing the rolling hills and farmland to have a country road through the area. This in turn can end up at the cattle yards that John H is working on.

I also added in some more foam for the base of the hill/mountain at the base of the peninsula, while Barry got in and added some timber to act as safety rails around the hole under the mountain and then got into arranging how to hold the foam around the tip of the helix so some scenery can be added. Some fingers of 4 mm ply will stick out of the last loop on the helix proper, and this will act as a ledge for the foam blocks to sit on.

The other day I'd cut some ply out of the deck to the left of where the rain silos will be near the mountain. Into it I had glued some foam, today I did a quick carve out of it. This will allow a drainage ditch to be modeled there.

Now, let's see.... what will I do on Saturday?  MORE FOAM WORK !!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Beads are a Flying

Today I was able to get an early start and actually finish my coffee before anyone else got down to the club.

So it was straight into some foam work. Table got setup outside and a slab of foam thrown on top of it, metre ruler, nikko pen and handsaw was all set out and made ready. Radio was turned on and switched back to 4KQ for some good classic rock music to listen too and of course a second cup of coffee made and placed ready to cool down a tad.

So I got into adding a bit more to the left hand side of the river to get up to the height I was thinking of. Most will be cut away, but the blue beaded foam is good to work with and we have plenty. While doing this I also cleared away all the collected crap that was sitting on top of the foam that is sitting in the area of the village that Keith S has been thinking about.

Between talking, drinking coffee and such, I was able to also get a start made to the hill/mountain that will be at the base of the peninsula. This of course backs onto the mountain on the other side of the divider along the peninsula. I didn't get more than cutting some base blocks of foam out, but spent most of the time taking accurate measurements of the trackwork that is affected by the new wye that will be installed. From these measurements I will draw up a diagram so we can work out exactly where the new section of track needs to go and where to place the two new points for this wye.

Of course while I was working, John B was also busy with the foam work he is doing between this hill of mine and the station area. This will also incorporate the stock yards and a siding. He is also thinking of a small creek or open drain/culvert - should look good.

Phil W got busy doing some plywood work at the end of the fiddle yard peninsula. By in-filling that area, we can get ready to do something in the scenery department down there too. After the ply work, Phil got onto the square hole at the top of the helix and working on turning it into a round hole.

Oh, and Bruce H made some comment about green thumbs or something, so I planted a few more trees just to green up the no more gapped area we are also working on.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Water gets Closer

Today at the club I got onto the left hand river bank of the river.

It took quite a while to add in the missing bits on the skyboard, but once done I was able to hack into a pile of foam to star layering up the left hand river bank. So over about 4 hours of goofing around at it here is what I ended up with.

Fellow carver John B kept at the hill he is building tot he left of the station and marking out some trackwork to cater for the small cattle yard down there as well.

That's all - more after Saturday I expect.