So, what have I been up to, well lots actually but sadly not on the railway so finally I'm getting back to regular modelling. We have heard so much news in the world I'm only going to talk models here.
My last entry showed progress on a Metcalfe models Town End Cottage - something I started during lock down and got quite a lot of satisfaction from. I have tried to add as much extra detailing as I can and when it was completed I decided to try another, and another! I'm telling myself these are temporary until I get around to scratch building something in the future but I must admit that following the results achieved this will not be at the top of my list of things to do. Instead I aim to concentrate on track laying with the hope of completing all track and electrics by the end of the summer.
Here are a few shots of the completed cottage:
I used some cast metal chimneys from S&D Models and doubt I'll ever use anything else in the future as they are superb and easy to paint up for a realistic look. I also replaced the chimney base and brick surround as I was not happy with the exposed joints. The lighting is on a sequencer to imitate day to evening use. Garden uses tea leaves for soil and Busch flowers, the static grass here and on the castle was applied with my old Noch applicator, interesting to see the difference with the signal box which uses the new one (see below).
Next came the castle, I chose just to model the main hall as I do not have room for any more and we have a lot of castles like this in Northumberland and with this kit I now have two castles on my layout. I decided to add internal lights and a flickering fire effect, that led to me fitting a smoke unit as I have had a Seuthe unit in a draw for years. It is removable should it ever need replacing. The chimney cover was made by scanning the Metcalfe stone work and using the print to cover a card model I made from 1.5mm art board.
I have added bases to all my buildings in order to make it easier to drop them into the layout, ground work will be blended in later. Each board also has sockets underneath so that lighting and effects can be easily plugged in or disconnected as necessary. The Northumberland flag was made from an image that I mirrored and then curved to represent the waving motion, this was then fitted to the plastic mast made from scraps. The window frames and stone toppings are all spray painted and weathered to help with the individual touch and the doors are changed using a modified image from the internet. I do most of my graphic work in either CorelDraw or PowerPoint. Some windows have images behind them that light up whilst others have Woodland Scenics defuse film which works very well, far better than tracing paper or grease proof paper that I have also tried. If you ever consider buying this - it looks expensive - be aware you get an awful lot, I don't think I'll need any more to complete my layout. The drain pipe at the front is made again from scrap plastic.
And finally for now my signal box, I really did add a lot of bits to this including roof tiles and the laser cut barge boards from York Model Rail, I did have some 1/76th barge boards but these were too big so those used are actually the N gauge versions but I think they look fine. I find the laser cut items are not cheap by any means but I do have lots left for some other models and they provide excellent detail difficult to achieve in any other way. I hope to buy my own laser cutter next year, bench top versions are getting better all the time and having used them for about 20 years in teaching I miss having the access to one. 3D printing is also something I miss but again they seem to get updated about every 6 months, I was hoping to see safer materials becoming available as I am interested in the resin printers for the fine detail they can produce.
Moving on I also installed a ratio signal box interior kit, internal lighting and a Gaugemaster gas lamp. The figures - there is also one in the box, are repainted/weathered Bachmann figures. The external handrail is made from 10mm brass model boat stanchions with some 0.7mm brass wire handrail. The paving on all models is homemade using a "Greenstuff World" pavement roller which I use directly onto thin Styrofoam and then paint and drybrush. The gravel at the front is some old N gauge ballast from Fleischmann I had in my box of a hundred unknown things! Static grass was applied with my newly upgraded Noch device - I had the very early one which was fine for N gauge 1 or 2mm grass (a previous continental line) but I found it struggled with 4mm and not good for 6mm. I am delighted with the version 3.0 Pro which I managed to get in a very good sale in the new year, the static is so strong that you can "pull" the grass about once it has landed just using the applicator head.
The interior walls are also lined with wood planking and a wooden floor as so much can be seen with the large windows, I even added a track diagram from part of my layout plan although I think only I know it is there.
I was going to add more on my DCC wiring here but I think this entry is long enough so I'll save it for next time. I'm going to get back into the garage to continue track laying and will make sure I have my camera on the go!
Bye for now
Edited by Wizardtrains