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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. When you start to look at running in boards you soon realise that they are as individual as the stations they adorn, even within the same region. It's quite fascinating when you start studying their various designs. This site has some useful pictures of various Southern running in boards and may be of some interest to anyone modelling the Southern areas: http://www.semgonline.com/infrastr/ribs_01.html Some aspects of the Hawkhurst branch differed from station to station, the platform construction being one. But many other elements were exactly the same across the board, including, by all appearances, the running in boards. This gave me less flexibility in terms of design as I wanted to be as true to the prototype as possible. They appear to have been constructed from a pair of metal beams attached to a central board, an enamelled sign was affixed therein. A simple bracket supported both elements either side. The rounded tops and bolt detail is simple but striking. Older photos seem to suggest the outer frame of the name board would have been painted paler, possibly white. I'm not certain when enamelled signage would have come into use. Most photos I can find that clearly show running in boards were taken in the 50's and after - I'd be interested to learn what might have been used before if anything. The image above is the only one I have of this particularly curious setup on Goudhurst's second platform. The board looks to be identical to the others but the (enamelled?) sign is almost comically smaller! I suspect this was a spare that was placed here in lieu of something designed for the purpose. Or else the board itself is significantly bigger, it's hard to say for sure. Many of the plastic kits and parts that feature running in boards are rather generic and I couldn't find anything that matched the design exactly. So I decided to build my own. I happened to have a sheet of rivets from Slater's Plastikard... yes, for the first time ever, my modelling takes me into literal "rivet counting" territory! I selected rivets that looked about the right size for the bolts featured on the posts. I cut two strips, one for each leg. I aimed to keep them the same width a some plastic strip I already had. Then came the tricky task of removing some of those pesky rivets as the spacing and amount wasn't right. I used the flat of a sharp craft knife and removed the remainder with some very fine sand paper. The result wasn't perfect and there were some scars from some dodgy blade wielding, but overall the effect was satisfactory to my eye. The strips were glued to plain strips of plastikard for strength and thickness. The tops were rounded off by cutting the corners and using a sanding stick to even out the shape. Then another piece of identical strip was bent and wrapped across the top as shown below. I tried heating the strip in boiling water to aid bending, but actually found that caused the plastic to break instead of being more flexible. I also found adding too much liquid cement caused the plastic to weaken and split too, so this part took some patience. I had a name board lying around from another kit - likely Peco/Wills/Ratio - which rather conveniently suited the size of the printed element I would be attaching later on. I backed this with another piece of Plastikard for the sake of width and stability and then glued between the posts. Next, some small strips for the brackets underneath the name board. These were half the width of the strip used so far, bent and glued in place. I got a bit excited and sprayed with primer before attaching the brackets, hence the images below! I followed this up with a coat of primer (again!) and then, once dry, a coat of Phoenix Precision Paints Southern Middle Chrome Green. I'm quite pleased with the overall effect and the bolt head details on the side were well worth the (slightly) extra effort. Finally, a custom made name board courtesy of Sankey Scenics. Even the miss-matched greens at work here seem to be prototypical! All for now, Jonathan
  2. Thanks, David. I have not heard much about this one and may be wary of any "ballast specific" solutions for a while now! But I'll definitely look it up when the time comes around again. Some of Deluxe Materials' products have served me very well over the years. I actually did come across that thread after my first disastrous attempt! I had to find out if I had done something wrong. Just a shame I hadn't thought to look up the product here first - usually actual user reviews are more valuable than anything in a magazine. Plus, if Allan Downes himself couldn't work with it, it must be rubbish!
  3. I recently received an order which had been a few weeks in the delivering. It contained Deluxe Materials' Ballast Magic, a dry glue for mixing with ballast. The idea being that it only needs a light misting with water for a good solid hold. Ballast clumping and shifting is, apparently, a thing of the past. I'd seen a favourable review in a modelling magazine and thought I'd give it a go. I laid the whole layout (not exactly large by any standards!) with ballast and sprayed as directed. Unfortunately, although I read the instructions on the bottle, I didn't watch the manufacturer's video and ended up mixing far too much at once. The official instructions advise mixing small amounts at a time. 24 hours later it had barely held and crumbled away at a light touch. I was not amused! Before writing the product off, I did what I should have done originally and laid some ballast using Ballast Magic on a small piece of test track. This time I used a 5 parts ballast to 1 part Ballast Magic instead of the 7:1 recommended on the bottle. I made sure to mix very thoroughly and made up only the tiny amount I needed. After 24 hours it had stuck better... in places, but still crumbled away in most everywhere else. I just don't see how this product could ever truly work, unless mixed 1:1 perhaps. I may try on some coal loads and see how that fares. Images below, for what it's worth... The only saving grace to all this was that the Ballast Magic had just enough hold to allow me to use the old diluted PVA method straight over what I had already put down, meaning I didn't have to take it up and start again. I sprayed first with diluted IPA - supposedly this has the same surface-tension reduction effect that "wet water" does. Then diluted PVA (something like 1:2, glue to water) was dribbled over the top using a pipette. Now THAT is how you get a rock solid hold! Some photos of the end result follow: In terms of the exact mix of ballast I used, I covered that in some detail a long while back! Click here for the entry that deals with all that. The moral of this story is likely one modellers the world over will have learned at some time or other. Ballasting is a boring, tedious job but it's just not worth cutting corners. I just feel sorry for those of you who have significantly sized layouts. My hat off to you! All for now, Jonathan
  4. Gotta say I didn't catch that! Express Dairy haven't quite thought through their brand presentation from every angle... I should have used smaller lettering and finished higher up. Oh well, looks fine from where the operator stands!
  5. Just a quick update to show that some further progress has been made: The engine/boiler house has been rebuilt. The water tower and roof access build has been started. The main building and all sub-builds have been painted. The chimney has received it's "Express Dairy" lettering. Windows, doors and lintels have been added. All for now, Jonathan
  6. Thanks! I really didn't want to make an interior for this one, but the extravagance of such a big window feature really did call for one in this section at the very least. I must say I'm quite happy with the result.
  7. When starting the diary build I decided not to include an interior. This was mostly because I had no idea how to model an accurate replica and also because it would be largely unseen and therefore pointless. But the huge window at the front just begged to have something behind it. I decided that multiple floors and a staircase would be a likely feature and easy enough to build. I started by measuring available space and drawing some plans on Excel, with cells set to 4mm squares. This plan helped me to create the walls and plan where doors might go. Ultimately, once assembled, it's highly unlikely these doors will ever actually be seen - but I know they're there! Doors and walls were painted and assembled in place. I've recently developed an obsession with acrylic washes and may have gone a little overboard here. This staircase is going to look more akin to an abandoned building than one that sees regular daily use! Next, the central pillar around which the staircase will wind. I have decided to keep this as plan brick for contrast with the walls. Next up, floors! These were made from strips of thick plastic strip sandwiched between strips of plan plasticard. They've been primed here with the only primer paint I had access to at the time. Red oxide is not a good base colour for this kind of modelling - stick with grey, folks! Once painted, the floors were assembled to the rear wall. Then the central pillar was added and mid-floor landings were fixed to the front. The side walls helped to keep it all together while the glue set. Starting to look more like a staircase now. The stairs themselves were made from strips of plasticard topped with L shaped strip. When angled to 45° they create rather nice steps. A simple solution to a problem I was worried would take some specialist items to solve. Not so! Some priming, painting and washes later... Now everything could be assembled together. Finally, the whole module in place behind the window. I think this makes a nice focal point that isn't too intrusive or out of place. Hopefully the later inclusion of glazing should further subdue the overall effect and stop the building feeling completely empty. All for now, Jonathan
  8. I use a dirty brown acrylic wash as the final weathering stage of my buildings. A lot of the success with this seems to come down to how dilute the wash is. I also use a much lighter shade for the mortar, generally a cream which is almost white. When the brown wash goes on it darkens it back to a more acceptable level and might be why I feel it's a suitable approach. Then again, it's all down to personal taste. Besides, I dare say I never achieve the same result more than once anyway!
  9. When I first planned Addleford Green I didn't really plan for a fiddle yard or any kind of out-of-view area. "I'll just figure that out later," I said to myself. I realise now how foolish that was. In future projects I would definitely consider the fiddle yard an essential part of the plan. Not being able to reliably have a train remove itself from the immediate viewing area really limits operational potential. A while ago I started looking at options for my fiddle yard. I had planned a very small off scene area which would be bordered by backscene panels (shown in red below) but this area is really only about 12 inches long maximum. As my vision for this layout became clearer I started making a list of what I really wanted vs. what was realistic to achieve. My layout resides in a garden shed, albeit a reasonably large one. I'm always aware of the fact that it may need moving and am wary of adding more permanent length to the board. Plus I have little space to actually store and operate even a small layout. My better half claims that some of the shed is hers too, apparently... I know that Addleford Green will only run small locos and small lengths of wagons/carriages; this is the kind of compromise you make peace with early on with such a small layout! The biggest train would be an H class and two pull-push carriages, measuring a total of 26 inches. That means that my tiny off-scene area is already 14 inches too small! Initially I tried a single track hinged panel which would hang off the end of the board when extended. This actually worked really well and supported itself better than I thought but ultimately I wasn't satisfied. I wanted removable cassettes on which I could store my assembled trains, simply swapping them when needed. That meant more of a permanent extension. I cut a piece of the board away so that cassettes could be slotted in and would match the current height of the rails. I tested the idea of using aluminium angle as runners to guide the cassettes. Initially, I prepared a kind of "interface" piece, which was a combination of track and aluminium angle. The idea was the cassette could be slid up to this point and I didn't have to worry too much about alignment. In the end, this was too fiddly and ultimately wasn't necessary; the aluminium angle guide rails would actually provide enough accuracy if laid properly. The cassettes themselves were assembled from a strip of plywood and two aluminium angles were screwed to each. The correct gauge was achieved by using a straight Tracksetta tool from Peco. The whole aluminium angle would have power fed through it and the wheels of the loco and wagons would sit quite nicely on the angle edges just like track. I've seen this idea used before so it's far from revolutionary or original on my part! Some more angle was used to create runners of the correct length. This inevitably extended beyond the board, but was light and strong enough to not really require extra support. Getting these in exactly the right place using the cassettes themselves was vital to achieve the correct alignment. Testing and more testing before securing! It worked! With some crocodile clips clamped either side, power applied to the loco made it move and also traverse the join. It's not particularly neat but it serves my purposes. Now I can make more cassettes as required. I had planned to make some sort of interface which would apply power automatically when the cassette was inserted. However the space available for any kind of extra contacts or wiring was very limited. I tried a few things but sadly nothing really worked. It doesn't look too crowded here, but take a look at the blog posts before this and you'll see the backscene and scenic elements of the layout really give me very little space. I'm convinced it's possible so I'll keep thinking. If I stumble upon a clever idea, I'll be sure to share! All for now, Jonathan
  10. Thanks for stopping by and leaving some kind words, Will. Hopefully I'll be able to make some more progress soon That means a lot, thanks! I've had great fun designing and building this one. It might be my favourite build... although I tend to say that with each one. I think it's the process more than anything.
  11. The right-hand side of Addleford Green features a rather awkward corner where the backscene hides what is essentially a single track fiddle yard. Originally the plan was to use a low relief industrial building to extend beyond the backscene and essentially view block the garish square hole to nowhere. I also envisioned a tall industrial chimney which could be placed over the join between backscene boards. As I started to research possible industries I stumbled upon information about rail-served dairies. Some further research ignited a fascination for this subject. That coupled with the availability of so much RTR milk-based stock gave me a brilliant opportunity to run trains I wouldn't have thought of before. It appears there were two types of dairy facility. The creamery would accept milk direct from farms to process and send onward to a dairy. The true dairy would then bottle the milk and it would be dispatched to homes and commercial outlets from there. It wasn't uncommon to find a creamery in rural locations as they were close to the source of milk - farms. They sent milk by rail direct to places like London. For anyone interested in finding out more about milk by rail, I would recommend a forum search on this very website, plus a look at this very detailed resource: https://www.igg.org.uk/gansg/12-linind/milk.htm. Big thanks must also go to @Karhedron for being very patient and answering my unsolicited questions about milk by rail, something he knows a great deal about. It was quite common for branch lines to see passenger numbers decline around the 50s and 60s as road traffic became more popular. Branch lines often closed to the public first and ran as freight only for a short while longer. It seems that the diary industry was one that was instrumental in keeping many lines open for as long as they were. The line through Hemyock station in Devon, for example, remained open until 1975 purely to serve the creamery and their private siding. The real Hawkhurst branch closed in 1961, but Addleford Green proposes an extension sometime earlier. The subsequent joining with the (fictional) Addleford Creamery means the line could also conceivably have remained open until the 70s and that gives me the option to run diesel stock too. Everyone wins! One of the facilities that really grabbed my attention was the old Dairy Crest creamery at Torrington: https://goo.gl/maps/bQKsWYCfkb34jTDH8 I fell in love with the art deco design of this building and knew I had to include it on Addleford Green somehow. I did some measuring, swearing, re-measuring and design on the computer. I settled on a reduced-size design which still maintained the overall look I wanted while fitting in the available space. Because the backscene was at right angles to the board but the track was another angle entirely, I ended up having to design the buildings with a diagonal cut through the back as shown below. This made assembly a little bit more interesting! I started with Torrington's iconic large window. I wanted to make sure I knew the exact size of the frame I had before I started cutting into the plastic. A good, accurate fit was essential here as it would be a focal point and draw the viewers eye. I started with a printed template and a highly technical frame made from masking tape, card and steel rules! Then I used strips of styrene to create the beams and bars. It's not an exact replica but I did copy a lot of the external decoration and am pretty pleased with the result. Next up were the main outer walls. Templates were printed to help with cutting. I use mainly Slaters embossed Plastikard. Windows came from the Peco building components pack LK-78: https://peco-uk.com/products/building-kit-1 It's a pack I use a lot for the handy doors and windows, but there's a single sprue in there that contains a set of modern doors and windows. Over time I had acquired 3 of these sprues which gave me a good selection of items I would have otherwise never used. Walls are almost always doubled up, with a layer of plain plastikard glued to the reverse for extra rigidity. Proses' magnetic corner clamps are amazing! Keeping this thing square was vital due to all the angles and the general size of it. Finally starting to take shape... The vertical bricks were from York Model Making: https://yorkmodelrail.com/shop/00-scale-ho-scale/industrial-and-construction/00-brickdetail-01-vertical-bricks-850mm-2/ A good coat of Halfords grey primer really shows off what it could look like eventually. I always spray the inside with Halfords black matt too. This stops any inside areas from being visible when no interior is planned. Nothing ruins the illusion more than an obviously empty building! I'm really pushing it by having such a large window and no obvious interior! I am considering putting a suggestion of multiple floors and a staircase inside the window. I may make a mock-up and see how it looks. Also planned for the roof is a suggestion of access to the roof with a water tank as well. Also visible here is the tall chimney and the engine/boiler house. The latter I'm not happy with. It's style is completely different to the rest of the facility so I may make a new one with a matching flat roof. I was pleased to be able to integrate the bridge, another iconic Torrington feature, above the main reception. Some good shots of the prototype here: http://www.abandoned-britain.com/PP/torrington/1.htm Say what you like about the urban explorers who risk life and limb inside dangerous old relics; I can't deny their photos are fascinating and I owe them a lot for giving me such great reference material! Next up, painting and detailing! All for now, Jonathan
  12. So, the station building for Addleford Green is finally finished! I won't bore you with too much description but would be happy to elaborate if anyone is interested. I hope the photos will say most of what needs to be said... Windows... now these were the bane of this whole project. The windows I settled for came from https://www.scalemodelscenery.co.uk as they were the closest match in terms of size and style. I painted each frame white and assembled them with a layer of acetate between the two halves. After that I created some frames out of styrene strip. These were assembled and painted away from the windows. When assembled they looked quite effective and produced the kind of slim frame I was looking for, even if the ultimate surface detail from the prototype was lost. The portal cut in the walls to accept them had to be done accurately to give a good finish - I learned this the hard way! The lower sill would be stuck on after the windows were mounted in the walls. This method made sure the windows would look good when viewed from inside or outside the building. As I planned a small interior, this was important. New walls were cut, painted and the windows fixed. Once (finally) happy with the result, I allowed myself to assemble the walls! Proses corner clamps are a must-have for this kind of work: https://proses.com/prestashop/tools-for-modelers/74-45-degree-snap-glue-set-square-8680979260678.html Interior walls were already assembled and left over from previous versions. I painted up the dividing wall which featured a fireplace. The clocks are from 3D Printing Corner: https://3dprintingcorner.co.uk/product/1-76-circular-wall-clock-2/ Lighting was also included. I have opted to use the Woodland Scenics "Just-Plug" system. Pricey but very easy to install if you're an idiot like me with electrics! The canopy and roof were added, with recessed plastic pieces to square the building up and give the "real" roof something to adhere to. I had very little reference for the top of the gentlemen's toilet block. I understand many of these were built open-roofed, with rainwater used for flushing, but I opted to put a roof on top and simulate a tank and some pipes. No idea if it would work in reality! The pipes are florist's wire bent and painted. I made a small postbox for the rear of the toilet block. The actual post box is from the Langley Models range: http://www.langley-models.co.uk/, the rest is made from plastic embossed card from Slaters: https://slatersplastikard.com/. The chimneys were made from embossed plastic card again, with the beautiful pots sourced, again, from Langley. The mortar on top is a smidge of Das clay shaped around the pot. I find it gives a nice texture when dry. The roof is Wills corrugated sheets. These are clear and much thinner than the usual sheets from Wills, including fine rivet detail which makes them very convincing for roof panels of this sort. The canopy supports were made from strips of square styrene strip. I started with a printed template stuck to the workbench. I used metal rules to give myself an accurate frame to keep everything square. Fiddly, but definitely worth it. Plus none of it ever fell apart or got knocked by clumsy hands! That's really saying something. The canopy support section was painted and assembled on the model. Here I opted to scrape away a lot of paint from the underside of the canopy to assist with maximum adhesion. I felt this was really important for such a structurally vulnerable element. A quick paint afterwards made sure none of that process was visible. You can also see some of the interior detail in the image below. Some early photos before completion below. I made a mistake with the roof at one corner and there was a hideous gap which I couldn't resolve in a convincing way. So I opted to cover it with a tarp (grease-proof paper scrunched up and painted blue) and will eventually set a scene of workmen in the process of repairing a section of roof! Another job was to attach period-specific posters which came from the Sankey Scenics range: https://www.sankeyscenics.co.uk/ Then I masked all the windows and gave an overall coat of PlastiKote clear matt sealer. The posters underwent this process with honours! This process brings all the colours down a notch and kind of equalises all the disparate tints and finishes which are inevitable given the amount of different paints and materials used. I use it all the time now. Some final shots below. The buildings are now all glued in place on the station. The canopy supports were sunk into holes in the platform surface and glued in place. This has resulted in a pleasingly firm join which I hope won't break if I knock them! I have yet to add some white plinths to the bottom of the canopy supports and I also forgot to add doors to the booking hall. But both can be easily added later on. I'm eager to start a new project now! All for now, Jonathan
  13. Thanks Mikkel! I very much doubt I could replicate the platform texture "technique" ever again. A perfect storm of bad ideas, that one
  14. So for the sake of posterity we are currently in the midst of a global pandemic. the COVID-19 lockdown means I have been working from home for some weeks, until this week when I have been furloughed for at least the next 3 weeks. Less travelling and less opportunity to leave the house has increased opportunity to model. However I'm pretty bad at keeping a regular record of anything I do, hence the recent inactivity! So here are a few things I have achieved recently, lumped together for ease and so I can catch up. The next big blog will likely be the final stages of my completed station building, version 3! I finalised the shaping of the farm and station areas using layers of card and Das Clay. Not exactly the cheapest way of doing things, but I like the ease with which Das Clay can be shaped and sanded, along with how quickly it dries. The road has been coloured using acrylic paints and the surrounding land painted in a variety of coffee coloured match pots from B&Q. The photo makes them look almost white, in reality they are a pale brown. I was finally able to complete the surface of the station platform and secure it in place. This caused me some trouble as I wasn't happy with the original result. What a surprise! It's made from a single piece of mountboard cut to size. Originally I textured the surface with fine sand painted grey, but I wasn't happy with the texture. Then I decided to abandon the texture and concentrate on colour instead. Not having an airbrush I opted to use a mixture of acrylic paints and Halford spray cans. Several things may have contributed to what happened next... it was a hot day so I left the piece outside to dry quickly in the sun. The paint cans were nearing the end of their life and didn't spray evenly. I didn't wait very long between coats. What this resulted in was the paint bubbling and curdling! Oddly enough, when it dried it actually gave a really nice texture. It was probably still too over scale, but I really liked it all the same and didn't want to start again! Gluing the whole thing down was another adventure! Just be sure to put weights on EVERY part, not just the bits you think won't stick - that's my advice. The next day half the card was stuck, half had lifted right off the board resulting in a wavy concertina effect. Luckily it was easy enough to apply more glue and stick down the parts that hadn't held. Thankfully no signs remain of this mistake! The curb stones are individually cut lengths of styrene strip painted grey and glued in place with a tiny gap between each for effect. I remade the bufferstop to be more in line with the one found at Hawkhurst, including a coffee stirrer for the sleeper and the white and red paint finish. Plus I correctly assembled the kit this time. It only comes in three parts and I still got it wrong! I love this little Wills lamp hut kit. It has been knocking around my kit draw for some time and exactly matches the one at Hawkhurst station. It had to go in! Although I opted for a pristine look to all other railway structures, I couldn't resist giving this one more of a neglected look. I always leave guttering until the last possible minute. Often buildings are complete but for their guttering for months at a time. I simply hate doing this fiddly job! But after discovering that florist's wire can actually be bent very easily and makes convincing scale drain pipes, I just had to go back and fix some of the clunky and chunky plastic pieces I had glued to the stationmaster's house. The lack of fixings may bother some, but the finer scale looks better to my eye and that's as small as I'm going! Using an all over coat of matt sealant spray also hides those nasty glue marks and really makes the whole model pop. Definitely two new standards I'm taking forward. The signal box is now complete and permanently attached to the layout. The signalman takes a break as he waits for departure time... and some signals to operate! A sneak peek of my almost-complete station building. Also in view is the compromise I had to introduce to cover up a terrible building error. A tarp can hide a multitude of sins! I'll end on a shot of the whole station with all buildings placed. It's really starting to take shape. I just need to finish the canopy supports and it can all be secured for good. All for now, Jonathan
  15. You may remember that I started to document my scratch build of the Hawkhurst station building in this blog entry. You may also be aware that I never actually completed both the blog posts and the actual building. I thought I'd explain what happened before the final version is completed... hopefully! Despite the prototype having a devilishly simple and cost-effective design, the model version proved to be anything of the sort! I've never been interested in pinpoint accuracy, but believe that I should try and get things as close to real life so long as doing so requires only reasonable effort. Being typical of the sort of railway infrastructure favoured by Colonel Holman Fred Stephens, the building consists of a brick base, corrugated iron clad walls over a brick (or presumably) wooden structure. The roof itself would have also been corrugated iron. What strikes me as most prominent are the windows. I figured the cream/green Southern colour scheme, combined with the corrugated panelling and large sash windows would get across the overall flavour of this building. Luckily, the book The Hawkhurst Branch by Brian Hart, published by Wild Swan Publications, features 3mm plans of this building and others. These can easily be scaled up to 4mm and make this build much easier. I also found that the Wills SS86 pack of windows features elements which are almost perfect in size. Attempt 1 The walls of my building were two-sided; corrugated plasticard on one side, plain plasticard on the other. Some areas would also have an interior so I opted for wood panelling inside the booking hall and waiting rooms. I cut apertures in the wall to accept the Wills windows. As these were designed to be attached to the back of a wall they have a very large surface area. The idea then was to create a frame out of plastic strips, paint separately and glue over the top. Sound theory, but not so good in practice... Not only are the outer frames too thick, the window frames inside them are too thick too. Plus, in this image, the window and door frames collide in an error that would never have passed planning stages! You may also note that the door didn't even need an extra frame as the moulding already has one! What a disaster. The interior is also very clumsy with even more over-thick frames. I also added some Das Clay to the brick foundation to act as a mortar line. I added far too much and decided once it was painted that it was no good. PLUS I painted the window frames with a white enamel using a brush. It didn't set at all like I wanted and looks awful! OK, start again! Attempt 2 I decided to change my approach to the build. Instead of putting a frame over the windows, I would actually build a frame around the window, just as it would be in real life. This was achieved using much thinner but deeper plastic strip. I cut the same Wills windows down and built frames around them. This looked much better and resulted in much finer frames. Unfortunately I also got a little over-confident and my cutting suffered as a result. It was around the same time I had discovered Deluxe Materials' Perfect Plastic Putty and I was under the illusion that there was no mistake that it couldn't solve. This attitude was hazardous. These are actually two of the better windows, but most of them were cut down using the NorthWest Short Line Chopper II, In ideal piece of kit for any scratch builder... until you realise it's not great at cutting straight lines! Maybe it's just my particular version. All windows ended up slightly skewed, not something you'd really notice until all assembled in a line. You can also see quite clearly the amount of filler required around the windows. I also needed to add a strip of plastic to the underside of this wall as I had cut my original sheets poorly and it didn't sit level! Another issue was the fact that I tried to paint the elements all together rather than individually. My personal rule is usually to paint elements of different colours separately and then assemble. You just can't beat the finish that method provides. Even with lots of masking tape I just couldn't get the crisp lines I wanted, particularly with so much filler working against me too - it tended to lift right out when the masking tape was removed! The interior looks much better on the second version and is possibly the only part I was actually happy with! This side by side comparison shows the stark difference between the two versions. I just knew I could do better. Luckily I was still at the stage where the exterior walls and some interior was assembled and OK to go. I literally only needed to re-make two walls... again! When I started on this layout I wanted buildings that would look good even in close-up photography. I can't say either of these builds would pass. I have a new process for my third version. It's a mixture of both methods with a big dose of "don't bloody rush" added in! I hope to share some photos of that build once it is completed and I'm finally happy! There's a lesson to be learned here... somewhere. All for now, Jonathan
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