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    Newbury, Berkshire
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  1. Glad you enjoyed the course. I was driving Dartmoor on Saturday and popped my head into the room in the afternoon where there were some fine embryonic trees in the making. Pendon has a wide range of adult workshops and next years programme is available to book on the website now if you are a Friend of Pendon. Booking will be available to others soon. www.pendonmuseum.com
  2. nickwood

    Down the lane - Part 1

    Perhaps harvest time, midday break. ModelU do some wonderful figures of farmworkers so I'm told Modelling stubble could be a challenge.
  3. This diorama will represent a small section of a lane with ditches both sides, one with standing water, and the other drier with a few puddles, hedgerows, trees, a meadow one side and a field with crops on the other. The meadow will also feature the access and entrance gate but I'm not sure what the crops will be yet, any suggestions appreciated. A piece of 50mm thick insulation board was again used as the base. It is 600mm x and the topograhy was formed with a hot wire cutter. Once I get my head down I am terrible at remembering to take photos so unfortunately the first photos I have to show are after a few basic preparations had been completed. The puddles are formed with clear plastic, old CD cases are good, painted with a muddy colour on one side. Two pieces of plastic tube were cut to represent the pipes carrying the ditch water under the access. The base was then given a coat or two of a muddy coloured mix of acrylic. The water, puddles and pipes were then placed in position and plaster of paris mixed with the same paint was used to bed these in, form the verges alongside the lane and generally create the topograhy required.
  4. There are lots of different plants, shrubs and bushes that tend to thrive on railway embankments, particularly in the years since steam ceased to operate. Embankments were managed in steam days to reduce the risk of fires, with the advent of diesel traction they were almost left to grow wild. Electrification has seen much of the wild growth being cut back presumably to give better access to install the gantries and maintain them. So taking none of this into account I decided to add a couple of very representative examples of flora often seen whatever the era i.e. brambles and rosebay willow herb. The brambles are the easiest. Good old rubberised horsehair, teased out gives a good impression of rambling bramble growth. Dabbed with pva in the fashion I described in my earlier blog (on making a tree for the rockface) scatter can be applied to represent the leaves. A good blob of pva onto the grass, place the bramble bush on top and apply a small weight on top until the glue has set, job done. Rosebay willow herb and other tall flowering plants are a bit more complex but not difficult, just a little patience is required. Unfortunately though I forgot to photograph the process so a description will have to suffice until I make another batch. 1. The stems are soft brush bristles and I take between 2 - 5 bristles, pinch them near one end and apply a small blob of pva on the end. they are then placed on a piece of polythene to dry. For this project I made 10 of these bunches 2. Once dry they are removed from the polythene, usually a finger nail will easily break any bond with the polythene. 3. Get some green static grass of your choice ready and then with a small brush apply some pva from the base of each bristle to approx half the length. 4. Take a pinch of static grass between your fingers and dab it gently onto the pva, the grass will stick at lots of different angles. Set aside to dry on the polythene again. 5. Once dry, put some green scatter into a small pot. With the small brush dab some pva to the static grass and dip into the scatter. Set aside on the polythene again to dry. 6. When dry put some red/purple scatter into a small pot. Apply a small blob of pva just above the green scatter and lightly brush pva along the rest of each bristle. Dip the bristles into the coloured scatter. Set aside once again to dry. 7. Plant your Rosebay Willow Herb in clumps. In this instance I made a hole in the base with a cocktail stick for each plant and fixed it with a blob of, yes you've guessed it, pva. A view of the finished diorama Something a little more ambitious (and larger) next.
  5. Agree with Rob but dilute PVA might also work. I would add that when you dry them hang them upside down with a small weight attached with a clothes peg to stretch the sprigs straight. Hairspray would be a complete waste of time IMHO and in my experience fairly useless as a long lasting method of attaching foliage as well.
  6. It seems that many modellers haven't heard about layering spray Mikkel so hopefully this may go a little way to raising awareness of this very useful product. Most modellers would perhaps reach for a can of hairspray to do a similar job but my view and experience is that hairspray is only meant as a temporary fixative, so they are taking a huge risk with the longevity of their work. It also dries very quickly giving little time to apply the fibres. Layering spray gives a permanent bond and stays wet for much longer. I can't say how long exactly as I've never measured it, but it is certainly in terms of minutes rather than the seconds you get with hairspray. It is not cheap at around £10 for a can but it does go a long way and more importantly allows you to produce effects that would be difficult if not impossible to produce by other methods. All in all a very useful product to have in the scenic modeller's armoury.
  7. I wanted the grass to be longer and thicker towards the bottom of the embankment. A spray over the grass with some Peco Layering Spray (other types are available) allows more grass fibres to be applied over the top. The problem with the layering sprays is that being an aerosol it is difficult to apply it exactly where you want it, it being more likely to go where you don't want it to. In my case the track and ballast area needs to be masked with a strip of paper to prevent spray getting on these areas. I used a strip of newspaper with a fairly straight torn edge where the ballast meets the grass. I tried to apply only a thin and patchy application of layering spray towards the top of the embankment to get the effect I was after. The Flockit was loaded with Greenscene 'Long Straw' fibres to represent the longer dying grasses. The first two photos show the application and hopefully it appears thicker towards the bottom . This was left to dry for approx 30minutes before poking the grass about with a cocktail stick to introduce clumping and flattening of some grass areas This process will inevitably loosen some fibres but once generally happy with the look it is left to fully dry before vacuuming the excess off. The result looks like this.
  8. The method of applying the grass fibres is exactly the same as described in my earlier blog "A rockface diorama" so I won't repeat it here. But.. because I wanted to represent rougher grass on the embankment the base layer differs somewhat. The fibres I have used are some recovered from various 'grassing' sessions and include many different lengths and shades and the odd bits of scatter and ash. Here's a pot full of the stuff. It all goes in the Flockit just the same. The base layer down and at first from above and it looks fairly uniform but look a bit closer and you can see the difference in the fibres both in colour and length. See you again when it is dry for the next stage.
  9. The pigments are nothing fancy Mick just from a basic set of weathering powders sold I think by the likes of Eileen's Emporium. They are predominately shades of grey and what they perceive (you wouldn't) as rust browns. I have now added a couple more photos and some text after a bit more work to improve the look.
  10. Apologies for the poor photo. A dark brown mix of acrylic paint to represent aged rust has been applied to the rail sides and chairs. A thin wash of the same colour was then applied to the sleepers before ballasting. There is nothing unusual about the method of ballasting. Ballast was applied dry and tidied with small brush. Once happy with how it looked it was wetted with water mixed with a small amount of either Isopropyl or a drop of washing up liquid added and applied with an atomiser spray bottle. A diluted mix of water and pva glue was then generously applied with a plastic pipette. The first photo below shows the ballast dry and the second after it has been wetted. Once the ballast had dried I added some more colour to simulate dirt and grime using weathering powders. Looking at the photo now it would probably benefit from a darker mix between the rails to simulate some oil and grease deposits and perhaps some more highlights on the chairs before I move on to the next stage. Some additional weathering added with MIG Track Brown used to darken the rust effect on the chairs and a dark slate grey pastel to add some oil and grease deposits to the area between the tracks. I'm much happier with the track now and can move on to adding some grass etc.
  11. Hi Mikkel Thanks, I'm starting to get used to posting in the blogs although I'm not sure it draws such a large audience. I have been invited to demonstrate scenic techniques at the Great British Model Railway Show at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon on the 9th & 10th November 2019 so these dioramas will be used as examples to talk about and discuss the materials and techniques used.
  12. Yes it is because I didn't have any red oxide left. It's only there to ensure the finish coat sticks so doesn't really matter what colour it is The foam is particularly nice, I seem to recall I got it from Bonwick's extruded foam emporium some time ago for this very purpose.
  13. The next diorama I'm preparing is a small section of an embankment. The base is again a piece of insulation foam approx 150mm square, shaped with a hot wire cutter and painted a brownish colour. The first photo shows the work done so far which includes a short length of Peco code 100 streamline glued into place and sprayed with Halfords grey primer. The code 100 track has been used simply because I happen to have lots of offcuts in a box and need to use them for something. The track was glued down with, yes you've guessed it, neat pva. Painting the track and sleepers in a suitable dirty track colour will follow in a few days time as I have to take a trip up to Lincolnshire tomorrow.
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