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Paving the way...

Paul Robertson



Another new experience today using DAS clay. Never used it before so took a few tips from some entries on the forums here as well as some YouTube instructional videos before setting off. 


I've seen lots of US railroading videos using woodlands scenic liquid plaster material to create roads in n gauge. Looked a bit messy and fiddly to me having to mix up the right amount mask off areas and make sure everything was dead level to prevent leakages. The effect of the plaster was effective as a surface so I thought I could try using DAS clay to give a similar smooth finish but without pouring lots of liquid gunk everywhere and probably ending up in a right mess! 


I started by cutting out some balsa wood strips that would act as my depth gauge for rolling out the clay. 



(strips of balsa cut out for rolling the clay out against) 


These strips were stuck down to the work surface with masking tape at the width of the road deck and the DAS clay rolled in between. 



Clay rolled out between balsa strips


Having rolled out the clay I then marked out the positions of the ironmongery on the clay before removing the balsa and cutting out inserts to allow for the ironmongery. 


Getting the clay off the work surface was a little tricky but with my metal rule and craft knife I managed to prize it away. I placed PVA glue down first (a tip picked up on one of the forums) which was brushed into all the corners to bond the clay onto the ply base and help prevent cracking. 



(PVA applied to the bridge deck) 


Having laid the clay onto the deck my calculations for the ironmongery was out in a couple of places so I had to do a bit of chopping about with a craft knife. Next was a lot of smoothing with modelling clay tools to take off the rough edges around the ironmongery and smooth out finger marks and wrinkles in the clay. 


The end result was not quite what I had hoped. The ironmongery didn't appreciate lots of water being sloshed around it and some bits of the detail either came off or got gunked up with clay (note to self. Next time only put the ironmongery risers in first and then put the laser cut finishing touches in after the clay had gone down). The clay looks a little rough around the gullies and manholes (I'm thinking of maybe taking a few off and replacing them as I have spares) but considering it's a first attempt with this stuff it was a good learning process to go through. 


The upper linkspan didn't pose as many challenges as there was no ironmongery to worry about and that went on much better. I will now let it all fully dry before trying some watered down Indian ink on it to try and cover up the rough edges and give it that asphalt look. 



(the final product. The camera flatters the detail around the drains!) IMG_20201021_205004.jpg.024035ebc5b5cce874a00ffcb84c72c8.jpg

(the roughness a bit more obvious on a close up) 



(the Linkspan looks alot neater) 


And finally some shots insitu:






(View across the viaduct) 


One thing I do like is that the clay goes a weight and solidity to the models that you don't get from platicard, ply and balsa. Feels like I'm handling some miniature engineering when I pick it up! 


Once the Indian ink is done it will be white lining and then laser cut handrails on the Linkspan and around the machinery room walkway. Don't want people falling into the sea! 


Thanks for reading 

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