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Cwm Bach - A South Wales Branch Line

Cwm Bach Abersoch Chris Klein Ixion Wales Fowler Hudswell Clarke Cambrian




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#1 81A Oldoak

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 10:42

I have long been attracted to the railways of Wales, particularly those in the coalfields of South Wales and the Cambrian Railways, which, I suppose, pretty much much covers the principality apart from a narrow strip along the north coast. For many years I have modelled a 4mm scale fictional extension of the coast line of the Cambrian line from Pwllehli to Abersoch via a junction at Boduan with a branch to  Morfa Nefyn. The layout has been well documented in the Railway Modeller since my maiden article appeared in 1992. Concurrently, I have been constructing 7mm scale rolling stock following the puchase of a Slater's 7 plank wagon for experimental ad medicinal purposes at the annual show of the Southampton MRS in January 1994. I had the kernel of an idea for a South Wales branch line in 0 Gauge in the 1950s. The main attractions of South Wales, especially for 0 Gauge, were the almost exclusive use of tank locomotives on most of the Valleys' lines, the survival of a surprising number of pre-Grouping locomotives into the mid and even late 1950s, the very dense network of lines, cramped locations in narrow valleys and ample scope for industrial railway operations.

 

To date, my modelling efforts on the 7mm side have been restricted by the very limited time that my busy job in London permitted, especially the almost 2 hour of commuting each way. By the way, I travel by train between Winchester and Waterloo and the modern railway scene is very boring to the extent that the sight of even one rarely used siding at Surbiton station excites interest. But that is to digress. With effect from today, I have reduced my working time to the annual equivalent of two days per week so that I now have more time to pursue  my many other interests.  More importantly, it means I can start major projects without the fear that thery will never be finished.

 

So where does the 0 Gauge layout start?  I have always been attracted to the small GWR station at Abergwynfi that served the erstwhile Avon Colliery ever since I saw the photograph (reproduced with permission) by Michael Hale in Volume 1 of his seminal work "Steam in South Wales". On the front cover of the same book there is also a very inspiring colour photo of a GWR pannier tank shunting the very decrepit Glyncorrwg collieryin 1962. Abergwynfi station itself was built onto a narrow ledge carved out of the valley's side with the colliery line continuing its ascent behind the station. My idea is to reverse the colliery branch via an elevated kick-back siding behind the station and to add a couple of sidings in front of the station for general goods. The baseboards excluding the fiddle-yard have actually been built, but I need to dismantle the 4mm scale Boduan Junction, which is now life expired, to make space. I will draw and post a sketch later on.

 

Some general features of the intended layout:

 

  • Dimensions approximately 15' x 2'.
  • DCC for locomotive control. I am still unconvinced about steam sounds for DCC so often operate with them switched off. Diesel sounds are much more convincing.
  • Point and signals will be actuated by Tortoises that I accumulated during business trips to the USA when the pound/dollar exchange rate was 1:2. I won't fuss about with DCC for their control.
  • Pointwork has been constructed from C&L and Peco components.
  • Couplings are currently 3-link and cosmetic screw, but I will install Lincs if they ever return to the market (or if anyone by any chance has some they are willing to sell to me).

 

Stay tuned for further installments.

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#2 81A Oldoak

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 14:27

Thanks Paul. I already have the signalling diagram.

 

The Glyncorrwg miners' paddy train auto conversions are in volume 2 of the work cited, which I own. The four-wheelers lasted until 1952 when they were replaced by 3 clerestory coaches of Diagrams C10 and C19. The clerestories were in turn replaced by three short steel top-light all thirds. Of the last, two are preserved at Didcot so I may go up there to take some photos. The clerestories would make an interesting conversion of the Slater's kit. However, for the time being passenger services on the "main line" will be provided by a B set 57XX or 8750 pannier and a Lionheart 64XX and auto-coach. I also have a GWR railcar and a bubble car that could be pressed into service. 

 

The Cambrian goods is being finished in inter-War GWR livery and Chris Basten, proprietor of Dragon Models, is convinced they reached Newport via the Brecon and Merthyr and is sure he has seen a photo of one at Gear Junction. Meanwhile, I fancy an ex-LNWR Coal Tank particularly as a few were on hire to the NCB and shedded at Abercynon in the early 1950s as well as running on the LNWR's Ebbw Vale branch that closed in 1958. 


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#3 The Stationmaster

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 17:32

Another interesting 7mm thread to follow.  The GWR in South Wales is a much negelected area with interesting workings. In one of the two volumes of GWR Auto Trailers / John Lewis / Wild Swan, there are photos of Glyncorrwg (If my memory serves me correctly).  The miners' trains were old 4 wheelers operated in a push-pull mode, but without a driver in the front!.  I will find the page / volume number later for you if you do not have the book(s).  Anyway, plenty of photos of auto workings in the valleys in those books.

 

Have you seen this Chris?: http://www.s-r-s.org...l/gwl/S1894.htm

 

I know you have a Cambrian 0-6-0, but if you fancy 'bending history', you can also have ex LMS types i.e. LNWR or MR if that takes you fancy by modelling a joint line or one with running powers.  

 

I have the complete set of BR(W) 1960 Sectional Appendices for the whole region, so if you ever need any prototypical instructions, just ask.  I expect Stationmaster Mike would advise that things did not change too much from GW days, but I do not think he looks at 7mm pages, so you may have to post in the Prototype section.

 

With a title like Cwm Bach (like it, clever) I most certainly am watching this one Paul - I think I was the first watcher to click like on Chris's first post - and will definitely be keeping an eye on it even if it is a bit big for me;)



#4 81A Oldoak

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 18:45

Here is a rough sketch of the layout that is not to scale and carries a string of health warnings and caveats that would embarrass even the most ardent Elf n' Safety officer. However, I hope it conveys the general idea of what I hope to achieve.

 

The colliery kick-back siding behind signal box exits the layout about 2 1/2" above the datum. The basic concept of operation is that in-bound empties hauled by a 56XX or Rhymney R 0-6-2T (Dragon Models kit waiting to be built) run into the platform road. The train engine then runs round, picks up the brake van and deposits it in the short siding at the end of the loop line.  The train engine the reverses to the signal box to await the arrival of full wagons from the colliery.  These will be brought down the branch by an industrial loco - I have quite a few - which will stop at the end of the spur. The points will be reversed and the 56Xx will advance to collect the full wagons and then park them on the loop against the brake-van after which it will pick up the empties and shunt them onto to the industrial loco waiting on the colliery spur. The main-line engine then returns to the loaded wagons on the loop, couples up and waits for the road down the valley. The industrial loco will then propel the empties up the branch.

 

Paul's reminder about the miners' trains on the Glyncorrwg branch suggest an opportunity for some interesting and rarely seen models and operations. Meanwhile, the scratchbuilt signal box, station building and goods lock-up, points (including a 3-way) and most of the signals, but not dummies, are complete. I'll start posting photos over the coming weeks.

 

I am considering extending the head-shunt on the main loop to a second industrial facility that would mask the fiddle yard and provide extra play value operational potenial. I have in mind something pertaining to the steel industry that would provide suitable habitat for one of our Ixion Fowler diesel locos. There are a couple of fantastic photos of a Fowler diesel standing in front of a low brick industrial structure that has a 1930s look, but I can't remember the name of it or find the pictures. Entry to the casette fiddle yard will probably be masked by either a footbridge or pipebridge; I'm afraid - actually I'm not - that I am one of those modellers who tends to make things up as I go along having been cured of any enthusiasm for detailed plans, project management, deadlines, useless IT and all of the other ghastly impedimenta of modern working by the last 17 years in The City of London. 

Regards,

 

Chris

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Cwm Bach sketch plan 1 Jan 14.jpg

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#5 hartleymartin

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 22:45

It appears that the point for the loco-release is going to be a Wye point. This is a good idea, as it does save a bit of length and also breaks up the straight lines otherwise seen on the layout. I find that a greater realism is achieved if one avoids having too much straight track and if it is not parallel with the front edge of the baseboard.


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#6 81A Oldoak

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 09:17

It appears that the point for the loco-release is going to be a Wye point. This is a good idea, as it does save a bit of length and also breaks up the straight lines otherwise seen on the layout. I find that a greater realism is achieved if one avoids having too much straight track and if it is not parallel with the front edge of the baseboard.

 

You are correct, the loco release is a Y-point. The motive was more to break up the parallel tracks rather than to save a little space.  I agree completely that a layout of parallel tracks does not look pleasing unless one is modelling a marshalling yard. Consequently, I may still try to tweak the layout in order to get some more subtle curvature into the design.



#7 Fordson

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 09:28

Chris,

 

I think the pictures you are looking for show a Fowler diesel along side the Rylands Brothers works in Warrington.

I have copies of the pictures saved to my PC but I cannot find the link to them.

Since I don't know who holds the copyright I cannot repost them but if you send me a PM I will forward them to you.

 

Regards

chris



#8 81A Oldoak

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:23

Chris,

 

I think the pictures you are looking for show a Fowler diesel along side the Rylands Brothers works in Warrington.

I have copies of the pictures saved to my PC but I cannot find the link to them.

Since I don't know who holds the copyright I cannot repost them but if you send me a PM I will forward them to you.

 

Regards

chris

 

Chris,

PM sent, but I have found them and here is the Flickr links:

http://www.flickr.co...in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.co...in/photostream/

 

They provide great inspiration for a very low or flat relief backscene to a couple of sidings to screen the fiddle yard. As an aside, we have included the Fowler loco's worksplate and "LANCE"  nameplate shown in the photos in the etched brass fret on the Ixion Fowler diesel.



#9 Andrew Young

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:38

This is an idea that I like a lot and should give a layout with plenty of play value operational interest and a nice contrast between the mainline and industrial railways. I also like the fact that in Abergwynfi you've found a layout that's not dissimilar to the Iain Rice plan of the exchange sidings from 'Virtue in Industria' which you posted in the Shunters & Shunting Layouts thread.

 

Cheers,

Andrew



#10 The Stationmaster

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:52

 

Chris,

 

Interesting plan with good potential, both operationally and scenically.  Some thoughts that I have had:

  1. I like the idea of a second industrial facility masking the fiddle yard.  On small layouts, there is much more interest in freight operations than passenger. A 'B' set or Auto train do not require much operationally.  That is why on my Kelly Bray, there is quarry, market garden and meat traffic for additional interest.
  2. I am a novice on colliery working, but would the colliery company have allowed their shunter to become trapped behind a rake of loaded wagons waiting for the 'Big' railway to turn up?  I know it means propelling down hill from the colliery, but the industrial is free to return off scene to shunt up by the pit head.
  3. Do you have room for two sidings behind the station, with a double slip to provide the link to BR(W)?  That would increase flexibility, with more interchange capacity.  This could be achieved by slewing the whole of the platform line on a curve towards the front.  A second exchange siding would give another reason for my observation in 2. above, as the industrial loco could return hauling empties up the hill.

 

 

Very sensible thoughts in there Paul.  I doubt anyone would like their engine to be trapped especially if it is also meant to be working empties under the screens!  So - and we're not on the big railway of course - the colliery engine might well have propelled the loaded down the bank, but only a few at a time in case they 'got away' on the gradient.

 

Ideally engine leading/downhill end and a release loop would be best but there might not be room to readily achieve that in Chris's planned site?

 

Incidentally I would expect a slightly more 'robust' trap arrangement where the colliery line joins the running line and there would  (should) of course also be a gate at the railway/colliery boundary - which in all likelihood has never been shut since a 56XX slightly modified it one dark night.


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#11 alant

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 13:04

Hi Chris,

 

Looks like an interesting project, will watch with interest.

 

I too hope Lincs eventually return to the market although I have sufficient for my immediate requirements.

 

Alan.


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#12 David Siddall

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 14:00

If you're going for more curves you might be able to recreate a bit more of that 'clinging to the side of the hill' look that is so much a part of the upper and cross-valley lines character and is perfectly illustrated in the photo you initially posted?

 

You've been saying you wanted to do something from around this part of the world in 'O' for ages so shall be watching developments with interest.

 

D


Edited by David Siddall, 02 January 2014 - 14:14 .


#13 81A Oldoak

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 15:19

Lots of interesting comments and ideas. 

 

The main issue seems to be the problem of the colliery loco being trapped while it waits for the main-line engine to clear the out-bound full wagons and replace them with the in-bound empties. This is caused entirely by my wish to have a steeply graded branch with locos prudently positioned at the down-hill end of the train.  As the main boards are already built, they would require modification to accommodate Paul's suggestion of a double slip and extra siding.  I'll do some moving around if the weather permits me to set up the boards outside this weekend (such is the arrangement until I clear away Boduan Junction). Of course, were the colliery branch level I would have no problem with the full wagons being pushed into the exchange siding and the empties pulled out as may well have been the case for the single-siding access to Oakmount Colliery from Nantyfyllon South ( http://www.s-r-s.org...l/gwl/S1653.htm ).  However, that would eliminate the steeply graded line that I feel is essential to create the Valleys effect.

 

Please remember that the sketch is very rough and so excludes details such as gates, fencing, signalling etc. I suspect that the gate will not be a "56XX modified" version as I may want to make it operational in order to add interest. We shall see because as I stated previously, I do have a tendency to make things up as I go along. Thus, the signal box may need to be moved along a bit in order to allow a more robust trapping arrangement. I could move the signal box to the other side of the line, but that would leave a rather boring brick wall to look at instead of the detailed and illuminated interior through the windows, as we shall see in due course.



#14 tomparryharry

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 15:53

Would that be a full set of points with a short, i.e. 30ft lenght of plain track, and either a set of buffers or a sand drag?
 
I rather like the idea of a model of a "56xx modified" gate!!


I reckon that trap point would either be a 'full' trap, that is a complete point lead out, with frog, or a 3/4 trap, where the convergence to the frog (not included) is elevated, and allows the errant vehicle to pass over the opposite rail.

Maesaraul Junction (Taff Vale) was protected like this.

Ian

Edited by tomparryharry, 02 January 2014 - 15:57 .

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#15 tomparryharry

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 16:06

Hello Chris,

The 'Big Pit' miners trains ran until quite late in the day. I can't find any photos at the moment, but I'm sure there is some film archived onto Youtube.

Regards,
Ian
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#16 ianwales

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 17:38

Hi Chris

Just a thought, one way of working the loaded wagons would be for the colliery loco to pull the wagons down the gradient but stop short of the m/l connection, the loco would be uncoupled and stand clear then the wagons would come down to the buffer stops using gravity. Not sure how practical this will be in 7mm scale though.

Ian
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#17 81A Oldoak

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 21:57

OK folks, let's take a break from theory and, hopefully, enjoy some actual modelling. An article describing the construction of Cwm Bach's station building appeared in the May 2008 edition of the Railway Modeller. I am surprised how long ago that is, but in between then and now we formed Ixion and produced five RTR locos, four in 7mm scale so I was distracted. Anyway, some photos of the model are attached and here is some of the text from the article; apologies if it seems somewhat "Janet and John".  I'll post my working drawings just as soon as I can track down the file.

 

"The base material for the walls is 40 thou plasticard. The upper parts of the walls were scribed to represent horizontal planking. After scribing, the walls were gently sanded with fine wet-and-dry paper to remove the raised edges to the planks. A gentle run with the scriber then removed the detritus from the gaps. Plank embossed plasticard may be used as an alternative to scribing. The walls were then assembled around a base of 60 thou plasticard. Internal walls were fitted and a strong structure resulted. The wall between the waiting room and ticket office was detailed with cabinets on the non-public side with a view to installing interior detail and illumination in the future. When all was set, brick-embossed plasticard was cut to size and attached per the drawings. The wooden framework was built from suitably dimensioned Evergreen strips.

 

The windows are Ratio, which are not the same size as those in the drawing, but they provided a quick, consistent and neat solution. A master door was drawn on postcard and copied on my printer. The panels were then cut out and backed with clear plasticard, though the lower panels were subsequently painted over. The door knobs are short 7mm scale locomotive handrails with the holes filled with solder.

 

The roof was a simple rectangle of 60 thou plasticard. I made another departure from the prototype by finishing the roof as a felt and batten affair rather than corrugated iron. The valence was carefully drawn on to 15thou plasticard. The holes were then drilled using a small Proxxon pillar drill that is mounted on my workbench. This allowed accurate drilling after which the saw-tooth edging was cut out with a sharp new blade. Although the task seems tedious, the valence took only about 50 minutes to draw, drill and cut. The chimney cowls are nice castings from the S&D range.   The woodwork was painted in the British Railways Western Region chocolate brown and cream colour scheme. I always tone down the cream with white and I use Humbrol 98 “Track Colour” to represented faded chocolate brown.  The roof was painted with a dark grey enamel paint mixed with copious amounts of talcum powder to give the felt texture I was seeking; this is also a good technique for cement rendered walls,  aged concrete and tarmac. Poster boards and door signs (both Tiny Signs) and fire buckets (Springside) were fitted.

 

The building was then weathered with a gentle wash of diluted black enamel paint on the woodwork and weathering powders on the brickwork.  When dry, undiluted cellulose thinners was applied with a brush to much of the painted woodwork including the valence. This causes the enamel paint to craze and give the effect of old, cracking paint that is about to flake off. Finally, a very gentle dry brushing with Humbrol “Mid Stone” helps to highlight the framing.

 

The totem sign was created using Microsoft Paintbox software. Several copies were then printed on to high quality glossy digital photographic paper. One was cut out and attached to brass wire and suspended from the underside of the canopy. Some of the other totem signs will be attached to the platform lamp standards when the layout is eventually built."

 

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Cwm Bach Station parts small file.jpg
  • Cwm Bach Station carcass small file.jpg
  • Cwm Bach Station unpainted small file.jpg
  • Cwm Bach Station 02 small file.jpg
  • Cwm Bach Station 01 small file.jpg
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#18 steve fay

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 00:08

Stunning
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#19 philip-griffiths

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 00:54

A way of giving the impression of South Wales would be (1) an absence of trees, (2) high retaining wall behind station with screens well below pit head gear, (3) and a good drop at the front of the board to create Z. Of course Z is much easier to achieve in N/2mm (eg Chee Tor), but if you can find a way of getting a steep slope front to back you'll get that impression. If you don't warn pit head gear then a line of the ubiquitous terraced houses.

I was only once in that area. We were visiting family in Neath and decided to travel home via Blaengwynfi and over into the Rhondda. Daft way to travel from the Cimla to Abergavenny but the Afan valley has always fascinated me and even though I'd grown up in South Wales I had never been in the Rhondda. It was summer. Blaengwynfi was passed through in the rain and the road over the mountain to Treorchy was in the cloud. So maybe some clever staging could give you that South Wales 'raining upwards' feeling I so remember.

Looking forward to your further postings. Regards.

Edited by philip-griffiths, 03 January 2014 - 00:55 .


#20 81A Oldoak

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 08:48

A way of giving the impression of South Wales would be (1) an absence of trees, (2) high retaining wall behind station with screens well below pit head gear, (3) and a good drop at the front of the board to create Z. Of course Z is much easier to achieve in N/2mm (eg Chee Tor), but if you can find a way of getting a steep slope front to back you'll get that impression. If you don't warn pit head gear then a line of the ubiquitous terraced houses.

I was only once in that area. We were visiting family in Neath and decided to travel home via Blaengwynfi and over into the Rhondda. Daft way to travel from the Cimla to Abergavenny but the Afan valley has always fascinated me and even though I'd grown up in South Wales I had never been in the Rhondda. It was summer. Blaengwynfi was passed through in the rain and the road over the mountain to Treorchy was in the cloud. So maybe some clever staging could give you that South Wales 'raining upwards' feeling I so remember.

Looking forward to your further postings. Regards.

 

Philip,

The pit head gear will be off-scene, so the rear will be a retaining wall, terraced houses and perhaps some steep hillside. I have always been impressed by the high retaining arches on which the B4771 descends into Aberbeeg on the Ebbw Vale line. Simon Thompson has done a splendid job of them on his S7 model of Aberbeeg, but they are probably too over-powering for Cwm Bach. 

 

I don't think there will be much arboreal vegetation, perhaps a few very short and scrubby, wind-carved trees. I also need to investigate ferns. Some trespassing sheep will also add to the South Wales atmosphere. Although I have constructed the two main baseboards, they are heavy and built to dreadnought standards so I may start again once I am happy with the track layout. Two reception lines or a short loop on the colliery branch would solve a lot of operational problems.

 

Regards,

 

Chris



#21 br2975

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 08:51

The 'Big Pit' miners trains ran until quite late in the day. I can't find any photos at the moment, but I'm sure there is some film archived onto Youtube.

 

 

Could this actually be the Talywain 'paddy train' that ran from Big Arch - employing ex-GWR and ex-LMS 12 ton vans ?

 

Which, along with the similar Pontardulais - Graig Merthyr working further west, were the last two such trains to operate in the South Wales coalfield.

 

Brian R


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#22 81A Oldoak

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 09:02

Beautifully executed, but understated building, as befits a remote GW outpost in the valleys.  The use of Humbrol 98 track colour for the faded brown is inspirational. I never thought it was a good colour for track, far too dark and red in tone for old rust and dirt.  It is just how I remember St. Austell in the 60s.

 

How dilute is the black wash for weathering?  I assume it is matt black.

 

 

 

We forgive you!!  It's a very legitimate reason.

 

 

Phew!


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#23 81A Oldoak

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 09:09

Beautifully executed, but understated building, as befits a remote GW outpost in the valleys.  The use of Humbrol 98 track colour for the faded brown is inspirational. I never thought it was a good colour for track, far too dark and red in tone for old rust and dirt.  It is just how I remember St. Austell in the 60s.

 

How dilute is the black wash for weathering?  I assume it is matt black.

 

 

 

We forgive you!!  It's a very legitimate reason.

 

 

Paul,

The black wash is much diluted, good old-fashioned Humbrol Matt Black 33 enamel paint. I bought a few of the new Humbrol enamel washes to try out, but frankly I think they are a waste of money, do no better a job than thinned enamel paints and are just another way to extract even more hard-earned cash from the faithful.

 

Chris


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#24 hartleymartin

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 11:22

Another weathering technique I had heard of was to use watercolour paints. If you stuff it up, you can just wash it off! If you've managed to get it right, spray with matt clear finish and hope that it doesn't change.


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#25 tomparryharry

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 19:12

Could this actually be the Talywain 'paddy train' that ran from Big Arch - employing ex-GWR and ex-LMS 12 ton vans ?
 
Which, along with the similar Pontardulais - Graig Merthyr working further west, were the last two such trains to operate in the South Wales coalfield.
 
Brian R


Most likely, Brian. Chuck in one of those big Barclays, and you're on the mark.

Ian












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