Monday, 31 December 2012

2000 sleepers laid!

Happy new year! Over the past couple of days ive laid over 2000 sleepers mostly all in the sidings. All the sidings are done expect where this is a turnout. Ive also done a little section of main line at the up end (melbourne end). It has a up grade of 1:126 which i have started at the road bridge.  Im off to bendigo tomorrow see family and also to make a trip to the old A box site to get some photos. Im hoping this will help me out to form the landscape and also take some measurement of the brick road bridge. I hope 2013 brings great happiness to you all. Sorry for the gaps between pics i was having trouble placing the pics in the blog

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Main line
Main Line at the bottom

Friday, 28 December 2012

Track laying starts!!

Foam Scenery

Before i could lay the first sleepers i got to lay the foam. Im using extruded polystyrene foam (XPS) This type of foam is perfect for cutting up into bits to make the scenery it is very dense but very light in weight.  Make sure you don't use the common white expanded foam. It does not work. It comes off in little white balls and will only cause trouble.  The XPS foam is a little bit hard to get as there are not many shops in Melbourne that sell it. It comes in many thickness as well, the colour does not matter as long its not white.  To glue it down onto the layout i used a Polyurethane glue. This glue will not melt the foam but the foam has to be clamp down as the glue does expand when drying. The colour of foam is the two different thickness ive used. 30mm on the top (trackbed) and 50mm under the 30mm foam out to the side. This will help form the drop off on the side of A box. Ive also glued down my track plan in position using pva glue.  The track plan was printed on one long piece of paper. The plan was drawn up in corel using my track templates. It all to 1:160 scale

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Track Laying
With the foam and track plan down and dried came the moment of truth time to lay the first lot of sleepers. I started to lay in the area of the two B grade sidings. These to sidings would have been hardly used, both have dead ends. These sidings would have just been kept in service not much repair work would have been done to them as traffic would have been very slow when shutting into these sidings. Keep that in mind i wanted to get a little bit of a rough look to them. It doest matter if its not straight and perfect. Its hard to see now but when it comes to colour it will stand out a bit more against the main line and other sidings. Down below is the process of laying the track.
1. Placed the sleepers in the jig.
2. Masking tape is than put onto and pressed down onto the sleepers in the jig.
3. The tape is than lifted out of the jig pulling the sleepers out holding them in position.
4. A test fit is done on the track plan to where they are going.
5. PVA glue is than applied to the area and move around with a brush.
6. The sleepers are laid into position and press down. Some areas may need a little bit of weight.
7. Once glue is dried the tape is removed.

1. Sleeper placed in jig
2. Tape placed on sleepers

3.Sleepers being pulled out
6. Glued and weighed down
Drying with tape on
No Tape

There gaps left for the pc sleepers to go when the rail is laid. The pc sleepers will help hold the rail in gauge. Once all the sleepers are laid i will them colour them and than the rail can be laid. Its a easy process to do and im really looking forward to how its going to look when all the sleepers are laid. As always any questions or remarks email me at Stay tuned for more.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Painting a backdrop Part Two

Well after a great Christmas day, boxing day was set aside to finally get around to painting the backdrop. After many chats with people and watching youtube videos i felt i was ready to give it a another go.  The end result was good. I was very happy with it, not perfect but im more than happy the way it turned out. Now im looking really forward to it all blending in together once the scenery is done. Down below is what i did.

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1. I gave the whole backdrop a undercoat in Gesso.
2. I than gave it a quick sand with 320grit  paper.
3.Now came the colour i used all acrylic based paint.  For the base i mixed Chromacryl white made by Chroma and i added Primary Blue made by Liquitex. I kept adding more blue until i got the darkest tint i wanted. Once this was done i than added a drying retarder made by Jo sonja's.
4. Using a 75mm brush that had been soaked in water for two hours i than started to paint the very top of the backdrop working all the way down to half way on the arch.
(when painting put on a medium amount of paint onto the backdrop)
5. I thank added more white to the base, mixed it in and than painted 1 1/2 brush widths across the back drop with the top part just touching the darker paint. This was repeated until i got down to the bottom.
6. I than painted a 1/2 brush width a straight white paint along the bottom.

Paint colours across the backdrop before blending

7. With a new clean brush, that also had been soaked in water (make sure you pat dry with a towel) i than lightly begin to blend in the colours. After a short time i found it best to give the brush a quick wipe to get rid of the excess paint. Keep doing this until you are happy with the blend. I than used some straight white and very lightly went over some areas. Gives the appearances of light clouds.

When painting you do have to work quickly as you dont want the paint to dry out before blending. The drying retarder does help but you still have to be quick. If it does start to dry give it a light misting of water. Its good to take a step back and have a overall look at the backdrop but dont over think it. Having some random white bits looks great. For me having a long module the colour is a little bit different from end to end but it adds more realism to the layout and also makes it look even bigger. Choosing how dark you want to go with the blue is really up to you, but i feel going lighter is better as it will bring out the trains, scenery and houses better. A good backdrop is a backdrop that brings out the models not draws the main focus onto itself.

Next its going to gluing down the foam and track plan. I than can start track laying and forming the contours of the land onto the foam. I hope this gives you something to think about next time you do a backdrop, it only one way of many on how to paint a backdrop.

Please email me at if you have questions or thoughts on this or if you have pictures or plans of bendigo in the 60-70's you are willing to share.