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About this blog

What I'm working on or have worked on.

Entries in this blog

 

A truck for Tanis

Opel Blitz by Will Vale, on Flickr   While I've fallen into the usual post-exhibition-leads-into-Christmas-holidays modelling lull, it's only been a railway modellling lull and I've actually got several non-train projects on the go at the moment. Thankfully I managed to steer my enthusiasm in the direction of railways again by building an Opel Blitz to use on a possible airfield extension to Tanis 1937.   (If you haven't seen Tanis, it's an A3 diorama/mini-layout combining Tamiya 1:48 models

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Railex 2011

This is a week late, but I spent a couple of hours today going through my images from Railex, adding captions, and picking some to show off. We had a good show, packing and setup were both painless, and I opted to put the layout up on plastic crates (weighted with bricks) on top of the supplied table to improve the viewing height. I think this worked quite well, but I need to give a bit more thought to display next time: The pelmet made conversations with punters a bit tricky at times, and witho

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Sunshine and steam

Ballast empties by Will Vale, on Flickr   I thought I'd try and be like the cool kids and attempt some smoke effects with Photoshop. This is a white mask with a lot of dodge + burn + smudge, then some filters, unsharp mask and selective re-blurring. I still don't think it's detailed enough compared to the reference I was looking at, but in fairness I was using a trackpad. I'll have to try this again with a tablet when I'm at my desk. Here's a crop (if you click through you can see it at 100%)

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Setting-up time

Unteren Hirschsprung Tunnel by Will Vale, on Flickr   Well, it's showtime tomorrow! I've been finishing things off as best as possible this week - as ever there's an awful lot which could be done that hasn't been done, but I think the overall result has the right kind of consistency. The deciduous forest also failed to materialise - I made and planted a lot of trees, but they weren't really good enough to they ended up getting yanked out agian. The bog brush firs are a cliche but they're one I

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

On the home stretch?

Looking a bit tidier now by Will Vale, on Flickr   I forgot to pose a train! Rats... But I thought it was worth posting the picture anyway since it shows quite clearly what's done and what's to do. The key thing I've done today is sand down the baseboard, round all the corners, prime and paint it. I also sanded down the brush marks on the pelmet and brackets, dusted them off, and gave them two more coats of black with a roller. The fascias have had one of primer, three of semi-gloss acrylic "e

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

When scenery attacks

Zombie Hands by Will Vale, on Flickr   Just a quick update to say that I'm still plugging away at the layout despite work, distractions, and minor disasters. No decent pics yet but I have done the following:   * Melted some track and distorted the track bed. * Painted all the rocks * Made a lighting pelmet (which works) plus brackets to fix it to the layout, and primed and sanded it. * Added ground cover to most of the layout. * Weathered and installed the bridge (more-or-less, it still

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Dear Diary, today I wired my layout.

Spaghetti Monster by Will Vale, on Flickr   It started out a bit messy, but it turned out alright in the end.   This morning I started on some odd jobs on the railway, finishing shaping the front proflle board which had been glued overnight, puttying the joins, painting rocks, and doing more weathering on the track. At about 4 o'clock my wife brought me a parcel left by the courier with switches and wire, so all excited I thought I would make a start with them.   I'd already installed feed

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Road markings

IR2217 by Will Vale, on Flickr   I've been dreading this particular job but I at least figured out a way to do it, so yesterday and today I've been gritting my teeth and getting down to marking out the B31 through the Höllental. From photos I think the markings are between 100 and 150mm wide, which is roughly 0.5-0.75mm in 1:220 - ouch. Thankfully they're almost all solid lines - this is a dangerous road so no passing on the stretch I've depicted. On the prototype there's a passing lane just o

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Quickie rock painting

Rock painting experiment by Will Vale, on Flickr   The plain brown undercoat has finally reached the right side of the layout, so I've been putting some (maybe) final paint on the rocks on the left. It's not too bad, it looks a bit frosty and overdone under my worklight, but nice in daylight and it seems to photograph OK. The green bits are just stood there to get a feel for the colour balance - it's going to be very green which I think will reduce the contrast in the rocks and make them appea

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Three weeks to go

Three weeks to go by Will Vale, on Flickr   As requested, a few photos of progress in a sort of "where are we now" sort of way. Afraid I didn't pose any stock on them. Above you can see the whole layout, with two big jobs remaining - the rockwork in the right foreground (from where the stag is alleged to have leaped) and the groundwork around the bridge.       The big things I've been doing this week were carving the rocks at the right, and making the road. The pavements are thin styrene

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

"If you guys are really us, what number are we thinking of?"

What number am I thinking of? by Will Vale, on Flickr   "Sixty-nine, dudes!"   These are the profile boards for the ends of the layout. Over an hour's sweaty work to measure and cut out with a Stanley knife, no new scratches on the kitchen table though! The cut-outs are hand-holds for lifting rather than tunnel access - it's easier to reach in from behind the layout since the openings are bigger. The sticky-out top bits are a possible lighting pelmet mounting strategy, if it doesn't work out

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

If that's bird poo, I'd hate to meet the bird!

Hirschsprung retaining wall by Will Vale, on Flickr   I think it's salt deposits from water running down the face of the retaining wall. If it was a bird it must have been a legendary beast.   As you can see the retaining wall is painted up now - I used a similar method to the tunnel in the last post, although without the pink tones. After doing the basic drybrushing I added a 'mortar' mix of MIG Concrete with a little Industrial City Dirt, made into a heavy wash with their pigment fixer. A

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Painting blockwork

Step 1 by Will Vale, on Flickr   I thought I'd try and put a step-by-step up for this, because when I went back to the earlier entry on this tunnel portal to try and duplicate the painting onto the second wall, I found I hadn't listed the paint colours. So this is partly for my benefit. But maybe it'll be useful. It's always tricky to remember to put the brushes down and take pictures between steps. Usual disclaimer - I don't think this is an exemplary result - it looks good from six inches aw

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Light at the end of the...? No, let's not go there.

Bricks scribed by Will Vale, on Flickr   Yet another tunnel portal post I'm afraid, but this is nearly the last one! I've carved the retaining wall and attached portal, as seen above. It wasn't entirely straightforward owing to the shape, so I thought given that and the different course heights on the different sections of stonework I'd better draw some guides before starting. I used a propelling pencil and a small styrene square as a ruler, tipping it carefully over the angle between the wall

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Why was the tunnel in mid-air?

Retaining wall and tunnel by Will Vale, on Flickr   For the Flying Kipper, obviously   Not much to report last week - I slowly layered up some more foam for carving the Hirschsprung itself, but didn't get much more done than that until Sunday, when i had a blitz on the remaining structural engineering works. I built the retaining wall and east tunnel portal for the Unterer Hirschsprung Tunnel, as seen above. Then I knocked together some 2mm section to make the rock shed which was added rath

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Nicht nur für E-loks!

Br. 85 zwischen Falkensteig und Hirschprung by Will Vale, on Flickr   Br.85 no. 85005 brings a short train down towards Freiburg some time in the early '50s. It's nice to see a bit of steam power on the line, especially when it's such an attractive loco.   This weekend I managed to spend a fair bit of time working on the layout. The landscape around the left-hand end has been built up to about the right height, and I've been carving away at the rock faces. This is an interesting pass-time -

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Filling cracks (and carving new ones)

Smoothing the hills by Will Vale, on Flickr   The next step after the foam carving and sticking is filling in all the rubbish bits. I tend to stuff the cracks with offcuts to save on filler, and then spread a coat of "lightweight spackle" over the landforms. I think this is made with tiny glass bubbles in an acrylic carrier. It's really really light, flexible, and clean to use - if you drop some on finished scenery it won't stick - you have to spread it onto surfaces before it grips. And this

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Iceberg wrangling

Falkenstein Tunnel by Will Vale, on Flickr   I'm afraid these entries are a little dull, but it's nice to have a record of things as they happen. I've been piecing together the landscape at the left-hand end of the layout, which is a pastiche of two real locations - the Falkenstein tunnel (see the gallery at the lower right here) and the bridge over the Engenbachdobel. In real life they're the other way around.   I'm trying to use cheaper, lighter expanded polystyrene for the smoothly-contou

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

What to do when reality doesn't fit?

Train to Freiburg by Will Vale, on Flickr   I thought I'd take all the junk (well, most of it) off the layout so I could see how things were going. The ballast has worked out well, the tunnels are boxed in at long last, and I like the sweep of the track at the left hand end. Still no bridge though, as you can see:     The problem I've come across is that with the tunnel through the Hirschsprung in place, and the Oberen Hirschsrpung Tunnel which hides the exit to the fiddle yard, there isn

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Warming up cold ballast

Tinted ballast comparison by Will Vale, on Flickr   Cold as in colour temperature. The finer ballast I'm using (as seen on the right in the above picture) is a bit too blue-grey and not buff enough, so it needs to be coloured.   I poured some onto a bit of MDF and set it as I had on the layout, using alcohol and Klear (stay off the floor polish!) Once that was dry I tried various colouring options:       From left to right, MIG Ashes White, lightly then heavily applied. MIG Beach Sand,

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

More tunnel portals

Unteren Hirschsprung Tunnel (West) by Will Vale, on Flickr   I dunno, you wait ages for a blog entry, then two come along at once! With two months to go until the exhibition, my progress really needs to make the leap from "glacial" to "avalanche".   My current focus is the track bed (see previous entry) and civil engineering - once those jobs are out of the way I can finish the basic landforms and get the profile boards on. The main things required are four tunnel portals, some retaining wal

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Track and ballast

Ballast by Will Vale, on Flickr   This always feels like a make-or-break point for layout building. You've got to do it, but once you have going back is impossible, or at least wildly unpleasant. I have ballasted Z track before, as seen here on Igelfeld, but the ballast I used was pretty coarse. I was happy with it at the time, but given that the new layout has closer-to-scale rail profile, I felt it needed closer-to-scale ballast as well.     Before getting into that, I laid the track wi

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Unterer Hirschsprung Tunnel

I laid the fine-ish track last week and did some minimal wiring, and have run some trains successfully. The code 40-code 60 joints were reasonably trouble free, the most I had to do was tweak the end of a rail with pliers to smooth a bend. I'll try and take some pictures of those since there are some details I wouldn't mind getting an opinion on.   I've been quietly wondering whether I'd get my modelling (as opposed to construction) mojo back, and it appears to have happened last night. Almost

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

Larger than life?

I think this code 40 lark is going to be pretty good - pantograph and dodgy focus aside, I don't think the picture screams "this loco is 3 inches long"   In terms of layout progress, I've spread a tub of lightweight filler over some of the elevations previously built up from scraps of foam card and styrofoam.   I also made a code 40/code 60 join by soldering the thinner section on top of flattened fishplates on the code 60, which I'm sure I read somewhere years ago as a suggestion for cod

Will Vale

Will Vale

 

0.5mm @ 1:220...

...works out as 110mm life size. It's the difference in height between code 40 and code 60 rail.     I blame thank James for starting me down this particular dark path. The further of the two parallel tracks in the picture is standard Märklin track using code 60 rail. The nearer is code 40 rail threaded into Märklin sleeper bases, with the tops of the chairs/spikes/clips dressed with a sanding stick afterwards. And it works! The rails are held in gauge, and the trains run along it without

Will Vale

Will Vale

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