Jump to content
We are aware of the intermittent site speed issues at the moment. Please be patient and don't repeatedly click things as that compounds the issue.

A forum area specifically and only for recording ideas and progress of individual's challenge entries in accordance with the challenge.

Recommended Posts

A quick update as ground texturing continues: I have gone off PVA as the 'catch-all' for scenic work apart from its obvious uses neat for sticking wood and card. I was never very keen on that technique of sticking loose ballast or scenic textures down with diluted PVA, it always seems a bit 'gummy' to me and, I believe, in the case of ballast, it can increase noise from train mechanisms via the baseboard. I have also noticed that steel rail rusts very quickly in the presence of PVA.

I have long been an advocate of Johnson's 'Kleer', a colourless fluid sold as floor sealer. It went off the market for a while, but thanks to the long memory of the assistant in our local Ironmongers shop who claims to be over 100 years old (the Ironmongers - not the assistant...) has been re-branded as Pledge Multi-surface floor polish, its a slightly milky liquid which must contain some kind of surfacant as it is absorbed very readily into porous surfaces.



The stuff is applied generously with the eye dropper and left to dry in a warm room for 24 hours, after which everything is nicely bonded. A second application does no harm especially in areas where physical contact is likely to occur.



The result is bonded particles which still appear as loose material.

Just the job - another satisfied customer!



  • Like 2
  • Informative/Useful 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

After a lot of prevaricating I finally made a start on the sand loading plant. 



The concrete block walling is Wills plastic sheet, but more work is needed to add texture. The main structure was made from milled basswood sheet from Mount Albert Lumber Co. I got mine via the 7mm NGA, but I guess there are other UK suppliers. A large steel beam will go under the front of the structure which I forgot to put in before the pic was taken...




The loading hopper and elevator will go in the space below the skips. I have made the skips work using a wire ramp to push them over, but whether they will behave themselves under power and loaded with loose sand remains to be seen!




The internal structure to control the trapdoors above the loading chutes. 



The rotary screen temporarily propped in place, much head scratching still required as to how it will be powered and indeed supported!



The Hudswell Clarke and the Ruston, currently the only motive power available! other things are in the pipeline however (when someone invents the 36 hour day)



  • Like 11
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold
On 06/01/2020 at 20:11, steve howe said:

I have long been an advocate of Johnson's 'Kleer', a colourless fluid sold as floor sealer

I'd agree that 'Klear' (Devon spelling) is a very useful substance, as is it's more recent equivalent.


When I used it to secure the ballast on 'Callow Lane', I felt it was a bit too brittle for an exhibition layout, so I added some dilute PVA, with a drop of washing up liquid added, to the already dry and hardened ballast that had had 'Klear' applied. The result was a very strong and robust mix.


  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I see that you have overlooked the fish vans, for the lucrative traffic in red herrings (which used to shoal periodically, in the peripheral areas of the Cornish mining industry).


I lived in Camborne for some years in the 1970s and there was still low-key streaming of historic mine waste in the Red River Valley, at Brea. The actual tin extracted was more a matter of opinion than fact, but the washed, graded crushed stone (known as “blaze”)  produced as a by-product found a ready market as Road sub-base with contractors building the Camborne Bypass and other local civil engineering works. 

  • Like 2
  • Informative/Useful 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...
On 19/02/2020 at 18:07, rockershovel said:

I see that you have overlooked the fish vans, for the lucrative traffic in red herrings (which used to shoal periodically, in the peripheral areas of the Cornish mining industry).



They were also common in the Helford Valley area, but that's another story.....


The rather primitive locomotive facilities are in place:


The tank is by Knightwing, with a few bits of Plastruct  girder.



The crew's bothy looks somewhat uninviting, no wonder they're always on the beach!




Slowly making headway with the terminus buildings. 


The plan shows the station building (if it deserves such a grandiose title) joined to the Tea Rooms by the Ladies lavatory and a coal shed which also doubles up as the Gents....(entrance round the back) 



Rather surreal... the iron anvil was made by the Dad of a friend of mine as an apprentice piece in the '30s, its amazingly useful for all sorts of things!  Little wooden blocks keep everything nice and square while the solvent sets.



The basic shell assembled.



The building plan is very simple; a waiting room and office divided by a central open fronted lobby. The Booking Office on the right boasts a ticket window, although its unlikely to attract many customers other than a few footsore coast path walkers wanting to get back to Civilisation!



I made the lobby as a separate assembly which just slides in place.

Got to decide on a colour scheme now!



  • Like 7
  • Craftsmanship/clever 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Along with the station building, the other main structure is the Tea Room, which, given that Gwithian Sands in the pre-War years had no refreshment facilities whatsoever, would have provided a very welcome opportunity to relieve day trippers of some cash in return for a cream tea or a pasty. I wanted to try and capture the distinctive ‘cricket pavilion’ style of wooden and corrugated iron building so typical of pre-First War rural Britain. The tea shack was based  on Mrs. Hart’s tea room down on the Lizard Point, well known to thirsty walkers doing the coastal path! The two structures are linked by a ramshackle set of lean-to outbuildings housing a kitchen and coal shed for the tea room and lavatory for the station.


I like to use ‘natural’ materials like card, wood and paper for scratchbuilding my structures where possible, the tea shack was made from 0.75mm fine card with 0.5mm pre-painted card overlays representing the timber frame.



The curious shape to the roof will become apparent as there will be a deep overhang covering an open verandah along the front.




The internal walls were made from the same card, with overlays representing the matchboard dado and skirting. The large windows and light interior meant that internal detailing was unavoidable!




A glass cabinet with a selection of cakes was installed, along with a tea urn, plates and with buns, a wedge of cake and a sandwich on the counter. It was when I found myself painting a thin pink line on the sandwich to represent  the ham that I realised insanity had set in and it was time to stop...


Just in time for the summer season, a delivery of furniture from a well-known continental manufacturer (no not Ikea, in this case Faller) arrived to accommodate the hordes of anticipated tourists....




Edited by steve howe
  • Like 6
  • Craftsmanship/clever 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

A continuation of the quick update since RMWeb didn't like my file sizes...


The colour scheme, inevitably, was red oxide and buff,  classic pre-War colours popular because the pigments, being largely base on iron oxide, were cheap!



The internal shelter was fitted out with suitably hard benches.



A black waistline and windowsills will complete the walls, guttering and chimney stack on the way.



The platform was surfaced with a mixture of ash and sand, fixed with Johnson's Klear and lightly sanded when dry.



The whole ensemble in roughly their positions.





Finally some trains! looking rather like auction day at the end of one of Col. Stephens' byways, three locomotives so far earmarked for the line: Manning Wardle I class 0-6-0 (Impetus kit - rather not think how many years ago and still not finished!); Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0 K's kit on its second chassis; sprightly newcomer ex LSWR 'Terrier' 0-6-0 much-hacked Dapol body on a Branchlines chassis. All with High Level gear and motor sets. I am on the look-out for suitable passenger stock, so far the larger Wantage Tramway carriages from Worsley Works seem to fit the bill, unless anyone knows different!







Edited by steve howe
  • Like 10
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

The Sandsifter a Tale of Triumph and Disaster


With the onset of lockdown you could be forgiven for thinking this project would speed to completion, however it seems the Cameo Competition has, for the time being, withered on the vine, and with it any incentive to get the job finished. Work has progressed in a rather desultory fashion on the sand processing plant that forms the scenic piece at the right hand end of the layout. This was to be based on a rotary screen common in quarries and still used today. I based the model on a few early 20th C. photographs and tried to get the rather 'cobbled together' look that much of this machinery displayed in use. In the interests of making life unnecessarily difficult for myself, I decided to try to show the whole process in action from delivery by 2' gauge tramway, to dispatch in standard gauge wagons. 



The first problem was the screen itself. After much experimentation I used fine brass mesh cut exactly to width and wrapped around a piece of 18mm rod covered in paper. The edges were tinned and soldered using the RSU and 2mm brass strips soldered along the length to represent longitudinal ribs. The barrel ribs were split keyrings opened out and soldered to the ribs. I think these machines probably worked by the external barrel ribs resting on bearings and the screen turned by a toothed gear at one end, however some pictures suggested a central axle and this seemed the easier option. Internal struts drilled to take 2mm rod were soldered at each end and mounted in brass bearings supported on beams on the main structure.






The drive was by delrin chain and sprockets running off a 3v motor which has an integral 200:1 gearbox. The plan was to hide the motor in a concrete shed, and conceal the rather overscale chain with corrugated sheeting.


The next issue was to get the sand up to the screen.  In normal sand quarry installations the sand is moved by conveyer belt up a fairly gentle gradient. Unfortunately there was not enough space to do that here so I devised a near vertical elevator of short vanes running on an endless belt driven by a chain and sprocket from the base.



The body was 40thou plastikard and the belt was typewriter ribbon (miraculously still available online!) with the vanes superglued in place. The top and bottom rollers were 10mm rod drilled for the axles and running in brass bearings. I wrapped medium grade sandpaper around the driven roller to give extra grip.


to be continued...

  • Like 3
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The sand elevator was always going to be the trickiest part of the apparatus to get right, made more difficult by the acute angle and lack of space at the bottom.





The narrow gauge skips were modified to tip using a shaped bar to lift and push them over similar to Giles Flavell's 7mm 'End of the Line' layout. Much easier to achieve in 7mm I would suspect! The sand would fall into a chute and be directed into a hopper from where the elevator would lift it to the screen.


Initial tests seemed promising, but when the elevator was placed under load with sand it failed to grip the drive roller and became jammed. After hours of fiddling and cursing I threw in the towel. The combination of mechanical failure plus a general disinterest in the project generally has made me decide to abandon the rotary screen as a project and replace it with a simple loading chute. I had always had a sneaking feeling the machinery was too elaborate for such an basic undertaking as moving sand from the dunes to wagons,  so the decision to abandon it was rather a relief and I hope might stimulate new interest in the layout.




I am proposing to offer the model for sale, I am sure the elevator problem can be overcome with a bit of thought and ingenuity. I think possibly another belt of Delrin chain with the ribbon glued to its upper surface running on a small sprocket would probably be the answer, or, if space allowed, a longer conveyer belt at a shallower angle would work. The model is all constructed on a sub-base, just requiring detailing and painting. I have a short MP4 video clip of the screen working, but it seems it can't be posted here. Before I put the model on Ebay, any interested offers please PM me! 



Edited by steve howe
  • Like 1
  • Friendly/supportive 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

Sorry to read that this hasn't been the success you had hoped. It's a very ambitious build in 4mm, especially as the sand grains will probably behave differently at this small scale. As you say, a bit more space with shallower angle might help. I hope someone else is able to take it on; more so, hope that you will be able to progress with a simpler tipping system.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Only found this thread when you offered the rotary rippled for sale on an egroup. 

Fascinating stuff, a fully believable back story with the most original baseboard design I’ve ever seen! Really hope you can summon the motivation to finish the layout. 


  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Pause for thought…

The decision to abandon the complicated rotary screen (it went to a good home BTW!) has resulted in a rather ‘lighter’ approach to the project. A much simplified loading chute was fabricated in 40thou styrene and Evergreen sections lined with tinfoil to suggest galvanized sheeting and ease friction of the ‘sand’ falling down to the waiting wagons.





The angle of the chute was modified after this to make it steeper, which means only 4 plank wagons can be loaded, but this was always the intention so no real problems there.






I am still not convinced however the ‘sand’ will fall correctly. The skips I currently have are Roco and are HO scale, I am looking at trying either the Peco Hudson Rugga skip, or the Dundas kit of the same. So far the Jury is still out on which might be the more reliable in service. I would welcome advice from 009 aficionados on this!  The other unforeseen problem that has arisen is that the little Ruston loco I built from a Brian Madge kit is just not capable of pushing more than two loaded skips up from the hidden siding behind the sand dunes and on that basis it will take a lot of trips to fill one wagon! A Bachmann Baldwin would be nice (Santa??!!) but at around £130 a pop is an expensive whimsy!


After a thorough vacuuming, I set about ironing out a few glitches with the trackwork which were causing locos to stall randomly. These were largely traced to my original idea of planting clumps of Marran grass between the sleepers, the clumps were glued in place first followed by the sand covering. This resulted in the grass forming solid lumps which fouled the low-slung gearboxes on my Manning Wardle locos. Forensic investigation and digging out recalcitrant clumps and a thorough cleaning of the railheads has resulted in pretty much 100% reliability. Given the very simple operating procedure and the difficulty of fitting any kind of mechanism under the trackbase, I opted for fitting small permanent magnets into the ballast at key uncoupling points. Initial experiments with a few wagons suggest this will work (I use Alex Jackson couplings so all uncoupling has to be done on relatively straight track) but may prove to be a bit limiting. Time will tell, and as operation is not my strongpoint it may never be a priority!


Brutalism Blockwork

Concrete block made an early appearance in Cornwall as a building material when enterprising local firms began using shingle from certain beaches or crushed mine waste – of which there was a plentiful supply – for aggregate in the 1900s. Unfortunately neither were fit for purpose; the salt in the shingle meant the blocks were permanently damp, whilst the sulphuric acid and other minerals in the mine waste, known as Mundic,  reacted with the lime cement causing the blocks to disintegrate – an on-going nightmare for many Cornish homeowners to this day. It is an unlovely material, but very common and very typical of industrial buildings of the period. South Eastern Finecast ‘stone block’ sheet proved a good match for size.


Concrete is a surprisingly subtle colour and not easy to get right; the embossed sheet was painted thickly all over using a blend of light grey and buff matt enamel oil paint and immediately covered with cheap talc, rolled into place with a short length of dowel and left for at least 24 hours before being shaken off and lightly brushed, trying to leave as much talc in the mortar joints as possible.









Final weathering will be done with the airbrush once all the concrete blockwork is in place.

Edited by steve howe
  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

A little more work on the ancillary buildings and yard environs over the Christmas period, glacial temperatures make venturing into the railway shed uninviting at the moment!


The abandonment of the rotary screen allowed some space for a weighbridge and access for road vehicles.



I decided the loading area would probably have been concreted to allow road access as well as rail, the basis was 4mm foamex.



The usual thick coat of oil based paint was followed by a layer of talc and left alone for at least 24 hours.



Lines scored in the foamex suggest shuttering joints in the concrete, the weighbridge plate is an etched example 'cut and shut' to fit the rails.



Some of the ancillary buildings still in elevation. South Eastern Finecast 'stone block' was the base material with a light grey + dark earth blend of matt enamels as the base colour, followed by the talc treatment.



The texture is about right, but the colour is far too 'new' and will be weathered when in situ in due course. 



A collection of part assembled buildings; far right, the weighbridge hut; centre, the yard office and bothy; left, the general stores building. I based this on a structure at Treamble (see below), long since gone.  The half-round roof is very typical of pre-War industrial and farm buildings in Cornwall, generally roofed with corrugated asbestos. Getting that curve right is going to be a challenge! I am thinking Slaters 7mm corrugated iron sheet might be a closer match for the larger pitch of asbestos sheeting. A lot of internal bracing is still required before attempting to fit the roof.



Structures at Treamble in the 1930s. Closer inspection reveals the gable end of the curved roof building to be clad in asbestos sheet as well, so I will modify the model accordingly.



The buildings temporarily placed. The second loading chute is for lorry traffic.







The rails will get a good clean in due course!


  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...