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    Anything to do with trains! Modelling and the real thing.
    Working volunteer and member of the Kent & East Sussex Railway.

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  1. JRamsden

    Building the farm

    I'm flattered you think this is 3D printed. It is, in fact, simply built from Slater's Plasticard and an assortment of styrene strip. Some of the door frames and the "hatch" up top are made from coffee stirrers cut to size. The tiles are strips of card cut to simulate broken tiles with a biro pen used to create the dip between individual tiles. The hinges and bolts are all etched brass from a fret containing an assortment of building details. I forget where that originally came from.
  2. I haven't been able to spend a huge amount of time on the layout recently. As a result I have started many things but haven't completed much. Some projects have been started, scrapped, restarted and stalled! Some simply require more time to complete. I prefer to post when I have something significant to show. So in order to get away from the nightmare building project, I tackled something easier and altogether more enjoyable. Some low-relief buildings for my farm and a small stable block. I gathered lots of pictures from the internet and integrated my favourite features to bring these rather dilapidated and totally generic farm buildings to life! All for now, Jonathan
  3. Even from that photo I can tell it's on the Kent and East Sussex Railway. A quick search online reveals this original image: The blurb for the photo reads: Scan of a print taken in 1985 or 1986; By 1984 the themes for the K&ESR's Galas were getting slightly random, but the 1985 Gala based on 40 years since VE Day (Steaming to Victory) was a success. So much so that the 1986 Gala (Steaming Home) followed the same theme and since then WW2 themed Galas are now very much a feature of the preserved railway scene. Shortly before the 1985 Gala K&ESR No. 23 was repainted at the C&W Shed at Tenterden into a camouflaged livery and reverted to its former WD number of 191. Whether the livery has any basis in fact or is the result of the imagination of a person who made one too many Airfix kit as a kid I cannot say! See here for more on these specific locos: https://preservation.kesr.org.uk/steam-locomotives/no-25
  4. There's a really well-stocked model shop in Sandown called Upstairs Downstairs. Maybe the guy there will be able to help you out? Web link: https://www.trainshop.co.uk/
  5. ...oh dear god. I've made a terrible mistake! Took me ages to realise what you meant. What a rookie error. Well, back to the drawing board!
  6. Good ol' Peco SL-40 assembled and suitably (over?)weathered. I added a couple of Hornby spare sprung buffers, which I believe greatly increases the looks. The fit with the track (code 100) is fine if you follow the advice of removing chairs. I did have to glue the legs of the buffer stop to the rails with some epoxy (with clamps because the soft plastic bends easily) and trim the plastic in some areas where it wasn't flush. Otherwise a very good looking buffer! Also, I think the lamp on top should be red?
  7. Thanks for the suggestions, appreciated. A curved point may have been a good idea at the time, but having done all the 'lectrics underneath and painfully sorted out point motor alignment, I'm not keen to revisit that aspect of the project! So relaying points will not be an option. I've actually cut the curved piece of settrack beyond the signal box before it finishes it's curve. From here I can attach a straight piece direct to the end of the board. Seems to have worked well so far. I have a plan for a cassette style fiddle yard which will tack onto the end of the board. I'm doing some experimenting at the moment and hope to post my progress as soon as I get time to work on it. This is also why the track can't run right to the edge of the board at the back, despite this being the most obvious solution.
  8. I recently realised that I hadn't really detailed my plans for Addleford Green on this blog, despite having a reasonably clear idea of what I am hoping to achieve. So here's a shot of the layout so far complete with annotations for each major area: I outlined in my very first blog entry what I wanted to achieve with Addleford Green and I believe I've managed it here - in plan form at the very least - despite the small board size. Every major element of the original Hawkhurst terminus is represented in some form. The track running diagonal to the board edge was deliberate. Reason one was simply so I could cram more of the station in a small space! Reason two was to avoid having main running lines parallel with the board edge which seemed like a hallmark of a "train set". I wanted to create a natural look and have scenic areas that wouldn't be square and angular. The fiddle yard will be a small single-track extension which hinges up when not in use. I successfully created a prototype on the previous version of this layout but have decided to extend it by two inches. I hope to make it long enough to hold at least one loco and two 60ft carriages without them being seen through the hole in the backscene! Having examined the somewhat awkward angle of the track as it enters the fiddle yard and testing a few locos over it, I may make some changes. I should be able to straighten it out a bit so the bogies of carriages aren't pulled around too much. I'd hoped I was finally done with the track and wiring stage, but there's always something more! All for now, Jonathan
  9. Hi Charlie, Welcome to the blog! Your comments are very welcome. I hope you find something useful or at least entertaining on here Best wishes, Jonathan
  10. In relation to the Addleford Green project I owe an awful lot to the book The Hawkhurst Branch, written by Brian Hart and published by Wild Swan Publications. Not least for the incredibly detailed plans drawn to 3mm scale by Ken Garrett. This book is not only a fascinating look at a piece of long-lost railway history, but also a personal record of the author's connection to said line. It's also an unparalleled resource for modellers, the plans and photos contained within having made this whole project possible since so little of the actual line remains. My thanks go out to anyone who had the mind to document the Hawkhurst branch while it still existed. I'm sure it's final fate could never have entered their heads during the times of its heyday. So it is that I turn my attention to the station building. Rather typical of the station infrastructure designed and built by Holman Fred Stephens, this line's station buildings were cheaply constructed from corrugated iron and was very much a function over form kind of affair. Indeed, many of the lines Stephens built for were specifically designed to be cheaply built and run. I covered a lot of my scratch building techniques in the posts for the Stationmaster's house, so I won't get too detailed here. For such a simple structure the model has required more forethought than I initially expected. I decided to model a portion of the interior for this build. To make my life easier I try to take the path of least resistance; this basically means doing things in an order that rules out having to paint at awkward angles later on! To some, my process may seem a little barmy but it makes sense in my head at least! First I start with plan printed on regular paper. I up-scaled the ones in the book and simplified them for ease of cutting. I settled on using windows from Wills pack SS86. They aren't amazingly detailed but they were the right size and design. The window appertures above are big enough to accommodate the whole window over which I would create my own frame. I used Slater's embossed plasticard corrugated iron sheets. Care has to be taken to ensure these sheets are square before cutting individual elements. Due to the direction of the corrugations I had to cut two smaller pieces and join them at the middle which was a shame. I made sure the join was over the door so the amount of actual plastic joined was minimal. I then relied on a sheet on the reverse to strengthen the join, which would also form the interior wall. I used wooden slatted embossed plasticard here. Unfortunately I didn't double check the direction of the slats and got this wrong; they should be vertical! The rest of the walls were strengthened with plain black plasticard as the interior would not be modelled in those sections. There is little to no pictorial evidence of the interiors of any of the Hawkhurst branch's buildings, making the interior sections tricky to gauge. I took inspiration from the various surviving Southern-themed preserved railways. I'm lucky to have access to the Kent and East Sussex Railway, another designed by Colonel Stephens, whose station buildings are very similar. I solved the internal slat problem by adding another layer in the correct orientation over the top. This actually thickened the walls to a pleasing level and allowed me to add window frames inside and cap off the walls around the door frame, making the whole thing look much neater. I started making interior walls. This would be the wall featuring the ticket window. Next I added the brick layer which the building sits upon. This was thickened by one extra layer of plasticard behind the brickwork. Just a quick test fit of pieces... I added some detail to the inside of the men's toilet. The urinals wouldn't be seen but the sides of two stalls would be visible. I made this sink out of an old piece of white metal casting and a drainpipe! I made the slope of mortar above the brick courses from some Das Clay. I have a tendency to use too much for this and it can looks clumsy. I hope, after the painting is done, it won't look too bad! Everything is primed for painting... I made this simple template from card so I could create the 11 window frames required for the building. Each was constructed from thin strips of plasticard and a 2mm square rod for the windowsill. I made these separately as I wanted to paint them before adding to the model, something that made life much harder! This was a very fiddly job. All 11 window frames complete! I started on the cream colour for the main building. I chose to do this now so the window frames could be assembled while I could still hold the walls flat. I figured it'd be much harder to do a neat job once the building was assembled. The toilet is coming along nicely... While everything was drying I turned my attention to some interior details. I made this double-sided chimney breast from bits and pieces I had lying around. It will just be visible through windows and the open booking hall doors. I have no idea if this is how such a feature would look, but the floor plans suggest a fireplace here and the chimneys definitely confirm it. I could have made a neater join on the brickwork... amazing what you spot in close-up photography! Being an interior detail I'm not too fussy about small mess-ups like this. Lots of painting to do next... All for now, Jonathan
  11. Thanks for your kind comment. I've started the station building and will have an entry up as soon as I've made some significant progress. I'm excitied to start something new; feels like I've been working on this house for ever!
  12. Next up: glazing. I had originally decided on using Deluxe Sceneics' Glue N Glaze but after using it for the bay windows and not being overly impressed by the results, I figured I'd go back to doing it the old fashioned way. Applying a piece of clear plastic to the reverse also had the added effect of holding the windows in place without the need for glue around the frames which could have damaged the paintwork. I hadn't intended for a modelled interior, so it was important that no one would be able to see in, especially for areas that would later be lit. I tend to employ a lot of net curtains. These are cut from an old LCD screen wipe which has dried out. I stumbled on this by accident and I enjoy the effect. For the upper windows I simply made some curtains in Microsoft Word, scaled them down and printed. With the dormer windows fully prepared to be encased I started on the roof pieces. I worked out the angles by test cutting a spare piece of plasticard until I was happy with the fit and overhang, then made 5 identical copies. I glued them together at the ridge and used a piece of mdf to help form them. An angled piece of plasticard formed the bargeboards and helped to keep the shape. Some smaller pieces of plastic rod were attached underneath to give the impression of projecting beams. These needed test fitting and trimming to make sure they didn't foul the walls and impede the fit. The roofs were painted underneath and given a coat of SR cream to the bargeboards. Next, the roof tiles. I printed this framework out from Microsoft Excel; the larger squares would form the visible tiles, the smaller ones were for the overlap. I scored the vertical lines with a biro to give some relief to each tile without the need for cutting. Then each strip was applied to the roof in lines. This took some time, particularly around the dormer windows, and required a fair amount of patience! Every now and then I cut a small diagonal off a tile to simulate broken tiles. Once complete, the whole roof area was masked and an overall coat of black paint was applied. This is where the hard work starts to pay off. I wasn't entirely sure how effective the biro lines would be. Starting with darker colours and working up to lighter ones seems to work well for painting roofs. After that, a dry brush of a dark grey... Finally, a light coat of a light grey for some colour variation... The terracotta capping was completed in the same fashion. I also added some lead flashing around the base of the chimney stacks. This was achieved with pieces of paper cut to size and sprayed with grey primer. All was painted before being applied to the model in this case. The fencing at the rear was achieved by cutting down some simple picket fencing I had lying around and gluing it to some 2mm square rod. I added some rust marks to the corrugated iron roof above the utility room. In reality I don't know what type of roofing material was employed here, but this feels right. Finally I added the guttering. I hate this part because it's always fiddly getting the elements to attach cleanly and there's always glue over-spill, plus I know it won't look right until it's all done! I painted the guttering first and then touched them up afterwards where the glue affected the paint. The actual configuration of the guttering and associated pipework isn't quite accurate, but I think I have the overall feel of it down. The long diagonal pipes either side of the building were essential and I'm pleased with how they look. The complex pipework falling down the scullery isn't 100% clear in photos but it's certainly similar to what I have here - seems unnecessarily complex to me! Finally the Stationmaster's house is complete! It could do with some more detailed weathering, certainly to the roof. But for now I am happy and more than ready to move on to a new build. Final photos of the finished (for now) build below. Next up: The station building itself! All for now, Jonathan
  13. Thanks Mikkel. That's what struck me about the original building; pretty plain for the time but still quite impressive. It practically dominates the platform.
  14. I made the small sentry box seen on the Cranbrook station out of plastcard and embossed planking sheet. Using some card held against the roof angle and a good straight edge, I made a template for the walls of the dormer windows. This is where I introduce you to my best friend... The Chopper! By NorthWest Short Line, an American company. This device (pricey in the UK but worth every penny) is the scratch builder's best friend. The sharp blade cuts through most plastic with ease and accuracy, including 2mm square rod. The included attachments also help with cutting to uniform lengths and angles. It made creating 6 identical triangle pieces a doddle and they all fit perfectly! I added some more of that 2mm rod to support the roofs that will be added later. I wanted to avoid having to paint certain elements when they were already assembled on the building. I just don't believe in my ability to paint in such fine detail. So I elected to paint the windows separately and fit them when the walls had been painted too. The problem with this approach was that the extra layers of paint would thicken the walls and risk making the fit of the windows much less accurate. I started by masking the outside and giving the inside of the building a spray of matt black from a Halford rattle can. This is to help with light leakage when I add lights later on. Next is my favourite part: applying the undercoat. This makes everything a uniform colour which is very gratifying after using so many different parts, colours and textures. It also shows up any inconsistencies or gaps in the exterior which may require filling. It also allows acrylic paint to adhere to shiny plastic. Halfords own brand grey primer is perfect; cheap, good quality and readily available. I don't paint anything now without giving a coat of Halfords grey! Here's a shot of the building in position on the platform. Next up is the mortar for the brickwork. I always do this first. I've used a variety of different colours in the past but I've always felt they've been too yellow/cream. There's a big difference between what colour an object is in real life and what it appears as from a distance. How often do we view our models as close as a scale figure would? I have a big interest in the use of colour on model railways and some of my favourite examples have been those that use a carefully considered palette of subtle colours. So I made my own mortar by mixing small amounts of cream into the remainder of a pot of Humbrol white. I like to mark the lid so I know what the colour will really set like. This colour is then watered down ever so slightly. This helps it to seep into the brickwork. I ultimately want it between the brick, not on top. Some people would gently wipe away the paint from the surface but I don't always see this as necessary, particularly when working with acrylics. Once dry, I dry brush on a light brown - usually Humbrol 186 Brown - making sure it's only a light coat. I have a very tiny amount of paint on the brush at this stage, most having been wiped away on a piece of paper towel. Brushing gently at a diagonal angle helps to keep the paint on the surface and away from the recesses filled with "mortar." After that, a coat of Humbrol 70 Brick Red in the same fashion as before, adding a little bit more than previously as this is the majority colour. Patience is important here; it's easy to rush and ruin the subtle colouration. Then I create a small amount of No. 70 darkened with a drop of black to add another layer of colour. I've attempted the method of picking out individual bricks in the past but have never been able to make it work for me. I find that making sure the whole surface has variations in colour gives a good effect. My homemade mortar was then used for the rendering on the front and also the windowsills. Since I'm building a range of Southern Railway era buildings I needed some paint that was accurate to the colours used at the time. I've been using Phoenix Precision Paints SR Middle Chrome Green and SR Buildings Cream. They're enamel paints which I ultimately dislike using - I prefer the flexibility of acrylics, particularly the ability to easily layer colours - but they do have their uses. The SR was well known for giving their buildings a nice new coat of paint shortly before closing that line down. Even so, these paints don't look realistic straight from the can and will need toning down. I have experimented by dry brushing a lightened version of the green over the top of the front door. The last stage of the brickwork was to tone down those colours a bit. The mortar was just a little too pale, the bricks just a bit too brown and the colours between just a bit too distinct from one another. I mixed a colour which approximated Phoenix's own Sleeper Grime, from some browns and greys. I watered it down enough so that it flowed but also allowed some colour to stick without overpowering the existing colours, something that takes a bit of testing! Then I simply brushed it over the brickwork, allowing it to seep into every nook and cranny. When dry it gave a pleasing appearance to the once-too-bright brickwork. Finally, a test fit for the windows and a coat of paint for the sentry box. Almost there. Hopefully one final blog entry will do the trick... All for now, Jonathan
  15. The next task was to tackle the bay window at the rear of the Stationmaster's house. I used smaller windows here, as I believe is accurate for the prototype. It's possible the window next to the bay windows was also smaller than those of the front, but one thing I had to concede in this project was possible errors due to lack of detailed plans. I made a paper template to ensure the windows would fit and so I knew how it would fold and fit. Then I cut a piece of plasticard to the right size and shape, removed the windows and dropped it into a mug of hot water. This made the plastic more supple and I was able to carefully bend the plastic over a steel rule. Care must still be taken as the plastic is liable to snap. The windows were then fitted to the inside. As the bay window would be a closed unit and I wanted to have some blinds inside, it necessitated painting and glazing early, as I wouldn't be able to access this area later. Plastic tabs were added to the walls to allow fixture of the decorative brickwork strips. Window sills were also added from strips of plasticard across the whole model. The surrounding areas were masked, the window frames sprayed with a white primer and painted with while acrylics. I made a bit of a mess here and thought the primer alone would be enough, leading to me over spraying and leaving a dis-satisfactory finish. I had to remove much of the paint and start again. None of this should show on the final product. Once the paint was fully dry I used some Deluxe Materials Glue N Glaze to add the glazing. I like the slightly distorted effect it gives when dry, as if the window is transparent but you can't fully make out what's beyond. It'll be good for buildings with no modelled interior. I also added a piece of yellow paper to simulate a blind behind the glass! Then came the magical moment when all the walls are assembled! I like to cut away a thin slice of the backing so one of the walls butts directly against the brickwork of the next. When working with card it's easy to cut this away later as needed. Plastic glued to plastic is much harder to separate! In future I'll need to accommodate this process earlier on. I reinforced the joins with strips of 2mm square rod. I'm going to make my own tiles from card for the main structure, but settled for a spare piece of Wills tile sheet for the top of the scullery. This helped add some rigidity to the whole thing at this early stage too. Slated strips of plasticard were added to the dormer windows at the top. I have to be really careful not to knock these off. I can be very clumsy! The two chimneys were constructed in a similar fashion to the rest of the building and extended further down than needed for the sake of rigidity. Everything I did from this point forward was mostly for that reason as much of it wouldn't have been seen. The chimneys were subject to some extreme guesswork and I'm certain they're a little short. Adding the stepped brickwork around the top I was able to add a little more height. The stems of spent cotton buds made great chimney pots! Some Das Clay spread between the pots and allowed to air dry makes for some good-looking mortar too. I applied a thin layer of PVA first to help it adhere. Plasticard sheets were cut to form the roof, supported by the beams made earlier. As stated before, I will be adding my own roof tiles so they will be glued direct to the plain roof. It's a nice change from having only a few roofing sheets which have to be cut to a perfect fit; my own tiles can be cut to cover any gaps. As it happens I actually did a reasonable job on the roof for a change! Some Deluxe Materials perfect plastic putty was used to fill some of the more egregious gaps, the effect of which will be most visible once the primer coat goes on. I'm pleased with how it has turned out so far. Get ready for part 3! All for now, Jonathan
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