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James Hilton

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James Hilton last won the day on August 14 2010

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  • Location
    Near Llangollen
  • Interests
    Industrial and Narrow Gauge Railway Modelling

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  1. Dave it’s all here - I’ve explained the back of the shed is breeze block because of a run away in the past... (Pontarddulaus also has a breeze block back to the shed). The blocks are scribed in an overlay of styrene but they’re quite subtle. More so than bricks and mortar.
  2. I've got a couple of Adrian Booth's books on Industrial Railway Engines Sheds from the Industrial Railway Society, and it seemed that most sheds that had a steam occupant would have an accompanying coal supply and ash pile... How to go about it though? Anyone who has attempted a 'pile' of a loose material in 4mm scale will know that it just doesn't look natural, and wants to adopt a flatter appearance. However, I'm not sure if I've read about this before but it occurred to me that perhaps a 'former' was the answer. I'd seen someone building a Canadian layout on Facebook using foam as a core for a large pile of ballast - however not having any to hand I found a new packet of DAS clay and thought it might be just the thing. The clay was pinched off the block and formed into suitable shapes, placed on a piece of glass from a clip frame to allow the bottom to be feathered to the ground. The coal pile by the engine shed was formed with a 90 degree internal corner so it could form around the shed in a natural heap. Once dry they were painted with Humbrol enamels, 33 for the coal and 64 for the ash. These were left to dry, and then neat PVA was applied thinly to each heap. Hattons fine coal was applied to the coal heap, and seized ash from our coal fire used on the ash heap (which looks a touch too yellow I think, but it's a real coal ash!). This was tamped down with a finger. When dry the piles were pealed off the glass and glued in place on the layout, and extra coal and ash placed on the piles and secured with Woodland Scenics scenic cement to blend them into the ground. The result is pretty convincing and another neat finishing touch to the layout. Next up will be finishing off the engine shed, broken gutter and some interior detail, smoke vent and some weathering. I hope this technique may help others. More soon...
  3. When I set out to build Pont-y-dulais I had two views in mind, the right hand side with the coal wagons marshalled under a road over bridge, and the left hand side with a road crossing a single track line behind an engine shed... These views were inspired by Gordon Edgar's photos and those in his book, of the various South Wales NCB lines in the 1960s and 1970s. I sketched out my initial concept, before starting, and it's been the steering force towards this goal that has kept progress coming. This weekend I've been working on the texture of the yard, I tried using Gordon Gravett's technique of chinchilla dust over Humbrol gloss paint - it didn't have the colour or texture I'd hoped for - I washed over it with Games Workshop Nuln oil wash, and let it dry. Whilst thinking things over I decided to stipple in some of the 'Chester' brown soil emulsion paint into the edges... ...this looked promising so I kept at it over the whole yard. It took on more of the muddy stony appearance I was after - it needs some weeds, spilt coal, other detritus here and there, but it's come on enough to feel like it was worth the continue experimenting. This colour palette is a new one for me, I'm much more comfortable with the colours I've used on my summer scenes in 009 and 006.5. As well as the ground cover I've pushed on with the shed. I added a mortar wash to the brick work, and painted the interior in the same colour (so the brickwork inside looks white washed). The doors were then painted in matt green. The breeze blocks were painted with a mix of Humbrol 72 and 64, and dusted with talc. The roof was painted with mix of Humbrol 64 and 53 (gun metal), and the ends of the roof timbers painted in matt black. The bricks were then dry brushed and a few individually painted in Matt 70. It needs some weathering now, but also some glazing, and possible a knackered old drain pipe! Finally, the scene behind the engine shed was worked up further with the gates being planted, some extra awning added (see top photo) and some signs planted. The fencing is all painted dark brown (Matt 98). The gates are not white, but Matt 28. Hopefully the shed will be finished soon so I can bed it into the ground surface and hide the edges, and I need to add some more variation in the grass and bushes along the fence lines in this area. I hope you've all had a good weekend. More soon...
  4. After writing the previous post I've been working on the layout again today, and now it's packed away again ready for work on Monday I just wanted to share a few photos of progress... The focus has been on the left hand end of the layout really. I had wanted to capture the look of an occupation crossing behind the shed... I didn't know exactly what I was aiming for, but by adding elements one by one I'm happy with the composition. There is a photo on Gordon Edgar's site which I wanted to evoke here - and there are some metal gates to hang on the posts - as well as a little more fencing to add in. The road surface and yard surface has caused me a headache - but I think I have a way forward. I did try ash from the fire on wet paint, but it didn't work. I've ordered some sieves and chinchilla dust as per Gordon Gravett's advice for unmetalled surfaces. We'll see, I suspect, as his techniques work well on roads, that this will also be the way forward. The new greenery seems to have made the layout smaller, but it's perfectly formed and just as I had in my mind's eye - it's only a small gap above the workbench after all. It's like looking at a photo... At the other end of the layout I added the first layer of grass and weeds to the front embankment and end of the yard. I've also placed two Ratio telegraph poles, I think hey work well in these positions and don't cause any awkward shadows... I think the yard needs some clutter, nothing cliche'd but perhaps these building materials may be painted and weathered. I'll study some more photos for inspiration. In the meantime, it will be lovely to look at a much more finished scene between commissions. The next push needs to be the shed, and that can be easily done during the week so I may do a little more on that soon. I hope everyone's weekend has been as relaxing as mine... it's been a real pleasure to relax with Beth Rowley on the stereo, windows open, surrounded by scenic materials and working without interruption... as well as fitting in a few dog walks with the family, and teaching the kids to paint still life fruit! More soon... Full size photos can be seen on my blog: http://paxton-road.blogspot.co.uk
  5. The small South Wales micro OO layout I've been building has been sat dormant for a few weeks since I last pushed on with the foundation of the scenery. I decided to spend some time on it yesterday and made a few hours of progress... The layout is only short, and quite narrow too, so it's not got a lot of depth but I was keen to try and get some visual depth by careful attention to the scenery. I've been reading and absorbing South Wales coal branch line photographs, especially Gordon Edgar's volume on Wales, as I was keen to capture the colours and textures of a summers day, lush green (it always rains right?) and overcast sky - but bright... The Peckett shown here is very much a work in progress - it's been repainted, the cab slightly modified and some 3 links fitted - but it's far to clean and presentable. However it's looking the part in these photos. The first step was to use Woodland Scenics 'earth blend' fine turf applied over dilute PVA painted straight onto the green areas. Then some mid-green coarse turf was applied to give some variation on texture. This was secured with Woodland Scenics scenic cement with an eye dropper. Then a mix of fibres, picked for the lush colours, were applied - all short 1-2mm initially. After the first layer I used Peco layering spray before adding more coatings. The tree line and bushes are recycled from the childhood layout - this was a Woodland Scenics forest in a box, with white metal armatures. They were largely all the same colour and texture so I refreshed them by breaking and cutting them into more random shapes before applying the layering spray and adding Green Scenes foliage of different shades (recommended by Gordon Gravett's book). The result is a nice variation in texture, that contrasts well with the stock and the dark ballast. Next up I need to work out if I'm adding telegraph poles and the like, before adding some greenery to the front edge and tackling the yard surface. However, before all that the layout's left hand end needs some attention - I'm building an occupation crossing before blending this into the yard, and then adding the greenery at that end. The shed also needs more attention. This was built quickly on Saturday morning, although time was taken to match brickwork on the edges and carve the bricks round the corners. The back of the shed will be portrayed as rebuilt in concrete breeze blocks, as if at some point a loco ran away and crashed through the back wall, causing a rebuild. It's been nice working on my own project, but I do love designing and building layouts on commission too - so do get in touch if you're interested in having a fully scenic micro or small layout building to your requirements. More soon...
  6. I've been taking the chance this weekend to move on the scenic side of the coal inspired micro Pont-y-dulais, with little jobs that are difficult to fit around commission work... The over bridge was ready to be planted so the first step was to paint the tracks - the sleepers were painted with a mix of Humbrol 33 and 98, and the rails had some matt orange (I forget the number) mixed in. Once dry the ballast was added under the bridge, or where the bridge would go - In this case I've wanted to try and model with a different palette to my usual summer bleached hot day, and so I'm aiming for a wet Welsh early summer, lots of lush green, dark cinder ballast and an overcast but bright sky... I use Woodland Scenics fine ballast, this time cinders, and decant it with an old dice shaker, gently tapping it on either a finger, or the rail head, to drop the right amount between the sleepers, avoiding the sleepers themselves. An old brush is used to tamp the ballast into place, and clear up stray grains. Woodland Scenics pre-mixed 'Scenic Cement' is used with an eye dropper to secure the ballast. This is done by dropping along the edges, and letting it soak in with capillary action and then adding more to the wet areas until the whole area is soaked. Leave to dry for 24 hours then, as it's still movable until totally set... The bridge was placed in, and any gaps along the base extra ballast was added and it was glued in place. Some filler was then mixed and applied with just a normal knife over the plaster bandage smoothing it and filling the holes - as well as butting right up to the bridge, careful not to get any stray filler on the plastic stonework. If you work carefully you can get a nice effect without any obvious knife marks. The surface was then painted with emulsion once the filler was dry, my current favourite is 'CHESTER' by B&Q, and then more ballast was applied at this end of the layout allowing the photo above. The damage to the back scene should be less visible once the greenery, shrubs and trees are planted shortly. Finally, the other end of the layout isn't quite as advanced. The base of the engine shed is being built up, and the road area will need to be smoothed and turned into a road with 'smooth-it' and the crossing being added. The back scene looks a little wrinkled here, but it's ok when under ti's own layout lighting. Next up will be the basic paint and ballasting at this end before some greenery and ground cover can go down. More soon...
  7. I suspect it's shift change, so a lot of people walking in and out of the factory.
  8. A small layout like Mollington Road allows steady progress, and yesterday, with the kids in meltdown at various points work was almost impossible, however, my I did manage a few little jobs on Mollington Road throughout the day... The shed now has a roof, made from Slaters '7mm' corrugated plasticard, edged in plain styrene and painted light grey - this will be weathered shortly. Inside the shed I've mocked up a few tools and equipment, these need painting and weathering. Once the shed is done I will fix it down so that the gap disappears. The brick wall now has a pair of barbed wires along the top, inspired by a photo of the engine shed at Slough Estates. This is in 5A fuse wire, wrapped around posts of 0.5mm wire and painted. I added a few strips to the top of one part of the gate to check it would work on that too, which it does, so I've ordered some more as I'd run out! Finally I've added a 'WHISTLE' sign on the main track, as a warning to road traffic at the crossing. This needs some long grass growing around the posts now - I'll work out the best way to do that today. Whilst the paint is hardening on the shed I will make some progress on the warehouse building and concrete panel fence today. More soon...
  9. Last year a customer commissioned a pair of Tralee and Dingle Hunslet's, and commented that he'd like to look at the Kerr Stuart in 2020. He ordered a print from Shapeways and asked if I'd source and fit a chassis and modify it to represent the model as it ran towards the end of it's life on the T&D and early years at the C&L... I decided that a Grafar GWR 2-6-2t 61xx prairie tank would be a suitable donor for the chassis. This arrived and was stripped down and serviced before being dissassenbled and the 3D print modified to fit the chassis. The print was slightly banana'd end to end - to stop this getting any worse I added a second footplate in styrene under the body, and used this to cut out a slot and fit the Grafar chassis. Two birds and one stone... The print was modified by adding an extended rear buffer beam, and the T&D cow catcher at the front. The customer supplied the latter, along with a Hunslet chimney he wanted fitting, which although not quite right better suits the model than the under nourished and poorly detailed. The cylinders weren't in quite the right place, so as well as 'beef' them up, I was able to make them look like they were further forward by mounting the styrene tube used more in line with the smokebox. The open ends were filled with filler. False frames were added at the front and rear of the chassis, the front with cut outs to allow the front pony truck to swing. Painted in satin dark grey before a gentle weathering, plates were Narrow Planet, although on the first photos here the works plates were fitted incorrectly (my mistake) - they are now fitted, as per prototype, on the front sand boxes. If you've got a project or model you'd like to realise then get in touch for a personal proposal. I can work with kits, scratch aid kits or scratchbuild a model in any scale or gauge. More soon...
  10. After spending a few weeks on my windowsill letting the paint finish harden up, I've weathered the Alan Keef and am excited to share photos of it finished, posed here on the Tramway... The model has been a good fun build, and combines my usual techniques of 3D printing and laser cutting - the axle boxes and couplers were 3D printed, the rest laser cut... under the bonnet behind the grill sits a SLR Models Lister engine, the prototype was fitted with - and the batteries and receiver sit behind the plain section of the bonnet. Under the footplate sits Slaters wheels with micro gearbox and Delrin chain drive, in a custom designed chassis unit. This is a small locomotive, a lot smaller than the K40 I built for myself some time ago, only just larger than the G-series... however it's tall and thin, and has a nice cuteness to it, intact, if I didn't have a K40 I'd have built a pair! It's incredibly orange in the flesh though and my customer requested a worn but looked after finish, which is often harder than it sounds. It's easy to slap a load of dirt on, much harder to add the dirt, clean it off and then add some more in a subtle way to suggest cleaning and wear and tear. As well as oil and grease leaking from the engine bay and exhaust, there are a few scrapes and rust patches, plus some staining and gunk leaking down from window seals. The bonnet top is also stippled to give the impression of that mouldy lichen stuff that grows on horizontal surfaces when not well drained... It's difficult to capture the subtle finish in photos but combined with some dry brushed gun metal on worn edges and airbrushed soot and road dirt, I think she's met the brief and my customer is happy. Off to Scotland later this week thanks to Royal Mail... I do love the Keef logos, so simple, yet they lift the model... I'm about to start building a batch of Hudson Hunslet's in 7/8ths, and there is still a chance to squeeze in another with this summer's batch. Get in touch if you'd like to reserve one, or commission you're own one off like the Keef. More soon...
  11. Thank you that is very kind, yes indeed, theoretically any prototype, real or imagined, from scratch in a variety of materials.
  12. The first of a few posts this week on my blog about weathering... paxton-road.blogspot.co.uk / www.jameshilton-cmr.co.uk
  13. I was reading one of Gordon Edgar's books, I think it was the Midlands album, and spotted a little 4wDH chain driven Sentinel at Courtaulds works near Derby with some tank wagons, crossing from the BR exchange sidings to the works and was immediately drawn to it, it reminded my of my own Mollington Road micro and reminded me of the Judith Edge Sentinel I built for Meadow Lane many moons ago before the Hornby model was available... I spent a little time looking around at OO models and realised the potential in the Hornby model, especially combined with some of the excellent detailing parts available and decided that I'd add one to the 'Corona' modelling project list, which so far has seen 2.5 industrials finished, nothing wrong with adding another. A quick sketch on Paper showed the potential of developing a faux Planet Industrials livery and a chat with fellow Pi conspirator Steve led me to push the button on buying a Hornby chain driven model and agreeing to re-finish Steve's existing model at the same time. Once the model arrived the skirts were quickly pinged off, to see how the thing was assembled and what work might be needed to fit the RT models side skirts. I made a start on mocking up some graphics for size, before I ordered them from my usual excellent supplier. Whilst waiting for them to arrive, I stripped off the side plates and glued them to the cab, and filled smoothed and primed the body. In the meantime Steve's model arrived, a side rod driven model. It was interesting to compare these side by side. The Hornby model actually uses many different parts - the chassis block is wider, the wheel spacing is different, the side frames are different and the side skirts are different. The body shell is consistent on both though... I stripped Steve's model down, removed the livery and did the same side panel modification before fitting the RT skirts to both models. The sand box sections of the original Hornby skirts were cut out and cut down to fit behind the RT skirts. The buffer beams were smoothed by using plasticard to fill the coupling mount, superglued in place, and the edges filled with Humbrol filler, before being smoothed with a sanding stick. The brake pipe mounting was also carved off with a file. The lifting eyes were drilled out with a 1mm diameter drill bit. Both models were primed and smoothed to ensure the side panel seemed to be one piece, worthwhile taking your time on this and whilst they were drying the transfers arrived... Steve and I had a few chats about colours, nothing seeming quite right out of the tin, so the light grey was Humbrol Matt 28, the only colour not custom mixed by me during application. This was masked, which was a bit of a pig around the cab, before adding the yellow orange that was mixed approximately 60% gloss 69 yellow and 40% gloss 18 orange. The dark grey was going to be Satin 125, but this seemed too light, so once the buffer beam wasp stripes were masked, I added some gloss 21 to the 125 to darken the mix. At this stage the models could be re-assembled and checked over... ...before the transfers were added, and handrails picked out in black. The pair looking just as I had imagined although far too clean and toylike... The next stage was to add the superb Shawplan 'Laserglaze', which despite Brian's out of date website, is still readily available. I found some parts needed adjusting to fit, and the front windscreens aren't perfect as I suspect the prototype ones are slightly curved, but they look good and rewarded patience. The looser panes were held in place with Deluxe Materials Glue N Glaze. Finally it needed bringing to life, and although I still need to add a touch of exhaust and road dirt with the airbrush, as well as weather No.1, here is No.2 posed on Mollington Road looking every bit the picture I imagined when I started. It goes to show that not every project needs to be difficult and this one only really required a knife, needle files, sanding stick, filler and super-glue - and although the airbrush helps with a fine finish, it could also have been brush painted. Infact, the Hornby model and the way it splits, means you could probably fit the glazing to a body without re-painting, and then just add the RT skirts and repaint the chassis. I'll grab a few more photos, when I weather a few more of the locos sat here on the workbench, in the meantime, enjoy the bank holiday weekend. More soon...
  14. I've had the chance to do more work on Mollington Road this weekend, which has been focused on the ground cover and textures of the landscape before I begin work on the last two buildings... The first step was to add some static grass as a foundation to further scenic work. To prepare the ground some emulsion paint was first applied, sprinkled with dry dirt from outside and when dry further emulsion stippled over the top. On top of this Green Scenes 'scenic cement' was brushed into place where I wanted the grass to stick, which was deliberately a bit scrubby to leave gaps through to bare earth. Green Scenes 2mm fibres (summer and autumn green mixed randomly) were applied with just a puffer bottle, perfect for this size of layout and length of fibre. When dry I added some extra grass using Peco scenic cement spray. I teased out some postiche, like Gordon Gravett recommends, added a touch more scenic cement spray and then applied this to the ground, adding a bit more spray and then sprinkling with some scatter... This seemed to work quite nicely, so I added a few more areas, this front side of the track (behind is just loose whilst I was testing colours. I found that adding some Woodland Scenics burnt grass foliage under the scatter also added a little relief. This greening up made me realise I probably should finish off the concrete area of the yard before going any further. I used Humbrol 64 and 110 and dusted with yet more talc... ...before adding some darker and lighter patches. These were stippled on through a mask, cut from some card, and then more talc added. When it all dried I used a pencil to add edges to these, and to draw in some panel lines between cast sections. Finally, a touch of glue along the edges in places, and adding some more static grass with the puffer bottle. Here the Planet Industrials Sentinel, which still needs some airbrushed dirt adding, is posed on the yard, showing the potential of the micro again... mind, I'll need to add a removable back to the shed, otherwise it may be lit up like this, unrealistically from inside... It's been a good weekend for progress, and with home schooling making work progress very slow I may well end up finding more time for it this week as well. I hope everyone is well, STAY HOME and stay safe, more soon...
  15. The thing about micro layouts is often they're a little limited on scenic depth. However, by working with nearer squares rather than the more usual longer rectangles, I hope in my previous micro layouts, especially in 006.5, I've shown you can get real atmosphere in a very small space. Mollington Road uses the same under bed blanket box storage container as both Vowchurch and Creech Grange, and I'm really pleasantly surprised at how much there is in such a small space... This shot, along the road from the head shunt in the track plan looking towards the rail served yard shows real promise despite unfinished surfaces everywhere. This weekend I focused on painting the brick buildings that needed embedding in the road, so the office on the left and the surgery on the right are now 'finished' and bedded in with plaster. Still to add a detailed roof and gutters to both... I've also been playing with other scenic details, you can see the concrete panel fence beyond the surgery in the above photos, which works well but may need finer barbed wire - along with the sign on the warehouse by the transit, see above. This is just paper, to check it's size, there is a typo too, but the real one will be a transfer, and I plan to do a sheet of similar signs for industrial modellers in the Planet Industrials range. The fresh smell of talc, oh how lovely (!) Gordon Gravett's technique is both smelly and messy, but I was keen to try out the technique to produce a realistic road... With the buildings embedded last week, I set about painting the road and beginning to add a finish. I dug out holes for the manholes before painting liberally and smoothly with Satin 125. I used neat gloss black stippled on for the fresh tarmac between the manhole covers. On top of this was dusted talc liberally though a piece of old stocking, an old odd one from the bottom of Janey's draw, the place smelt like I don't know what and I was covered in white powder but the result was worth it. Once dry after a few hours the excess was vacuumed off, and then brushed with a decorating brush to bring back the colour. It looks subtle, varied, smooth yet rough, and ties the cambers and road features I'd worked into the plaster very nicely indeed. More soon...
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