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The Furness Valley Railroad


chaz
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Yesterday evening - another wire armature for a tree...

 

I had a head start as I already have lots of twisted wire pairs. in the first photo I am binding the pairs together and bending out branches - doesn't look much like a tree at this stage.

 

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Once I had bound up the trunk and the main branches it began to look a bit more tree like. I decided with this one not to bother with the masking tape but to go straight to applying the bark mix. If this sticks OK it will save time.

 

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Last move was to make the remaining mix runnier by adding more PVA/water and going over the bark again. As the first application was starting to dry this allowed me to do some smoothing out and filling without disturbing it.

 

P1050630-2%20591%20x%20700_zpsjjx4upwt.j

 

Chaz

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Two possible materials for the twigs before I start adding scatter material for the leaves.

 

I have kept this string for quite a while in the "may come in useful dept".

 

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As you can see it teases out into some very fine strands - the only problem is finding a way to do the teasing out - any ideas?

 

And then there is this material....

 

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Looks useful stuff. I will probably try both the string and the Green Scene product and see how the finished trees compare.

 

This evening I walked away from the new wagons for Dock Green and prepared more wire for the next tree.

 

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The pile on the left of the picture, twenty twisted pairs of wire ready to bundled up, represents something like an hour and twenty minutes work... I knew that trees were going to take a while and be very labour intensive.

 

Chaz

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  • 2 weeks later...

More progress with the trees and a decision...all branches that are formed by twisting wires together will be covered in masking tape before the mix is applied. It's quite hard to hide the twirly effect with just the mix - much easier if tape is put on first.

 

The masking tape I have is 19mm wide. I find it much easier to apply if it's narrower so I slice down the tape with a scalpel, turning the roll as I go. Once you have gone round once the blade follows the cut. Please don't do this on your lap - on a bench or a protected table - if the scalpel slips....

 

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This bright wire solders beautifully. I found it useful just to solder the first two or three turns of the binding wire together - it stops it coming adrift as work proceeds.

 

P1050674-2%20600%20x%20452_zpsje02udma.j

 

I find it better to keep all the branch "junctions" at right angles while I add the tape. I also bend any branches away on which the tape keeps snagging.

 

P1050672-2%20476%20x%20600_zpspo3qmcvt.j

 

I pull a long strip of tape off the reel, it's better to have fewer joins. With care it can be rolled tightly around the branch.

 

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here is an armature with tape on every branch which has twisted wire - I don't think there is any need to tape the single strands of wire - in any case such tight taping is likely to come adrift at the end through the natural springiness of the paper.

 

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The mix is ready - 50/50 PVA and water with filler added until it becomes a thick paste. I mix it with a wooden modelling tool and apply it with an old brush. A "dob" of black artist's acrylic added to the mix turns it grey

 

Adding the thick mix to the trunk and the thicker branches the action is more dabbing than brushing and the result is very rough at this stage - don't panic.

 

P1050677-2%20600%20x%20450_zpsgdgwln9h.j

 

Rotate the tree frequently - the back of the branches need attention to avoid a unwanted build-up with a gap down the middle.

 

P1050678-2%20600%20x%20535_zps1abyhzqj.j

 

As you get to the thinner branches the mix needs to be runnier. Just add more of the 50/50 (not just water - which will weaken the mix).

 

P1050679-2%20436%20x%20600_zpswunausdx.j

 

As you get out to the branch ends the thicker mix on the trunk and lower branches may well be starting to set - if it is you can brush over it to get a smoother result, losing some of the more obvious lumps. If you have any holes don't try to fill all of them - holes in trees are common enough.

 

The last of these photos shows an attempt to scratch a bark pattern into the trunk with a scriber.

 

P1050684-2%20477%20x%20600_zpslixwyxgf.j

 

I did try texturing the bark mix while it was still soft but only succeeded in pulling it off: a similar problem to the one I got when I used DAS to do stone setts on Dock Green. It's difficult to assess this effect until I have painted it. Greys and moss greens, dry-brushing etc might well reveal the texture. We shall see.

 

Chaz

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A sketch showing the scenic treatment of the section of line approaching the girder bridge. The baseboard here is too narrow for anything other than a sleight of hand...

 

P1050690-2%20700%20x%20497_zps9hknj7ds.j

 

The arrow is the direction from which the model is viewed. The ground slopes up steeply to the trackbed. The vertical drop just behind the track allows the river to be "lost" after it turns beyond the bridge. It can only be seen by leaning right over the baseboard, something that will be impossible once the trees are in place. A couple of big trees plus a narrow line of undergrowth clinging to the edge will help to mask the conceit and I hope will imply more space than there really is.

 

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More trees and scrub on the other side of the river will break up the view of the backscene. I intend that the latter will only be glimpsed through the foreground greenery, as will the trains. The work will necessarily have to be done from the back forward. There will be scope for gaps in the trees, maybe with tree stumps, to reveal more of the trains as pass.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just back from a few days in Essex birdwatching - slim pickings as the weather is so ridiculous - so scenic work will resume tomorrow.

 

As I was musing on progress so far and looking at the tree armatures - as yet entirely innocent of foliage - I realised that I have a problem new to me. In the past, and certainly with Dock Green, I have had a reasonably clear idea of how the model will look and this has made it possible to get it done. With the wooded slopes of the Furness Valley I am in unknown territory - I can't quite visualise what effect I am going to get. I know the sort of look I want but I'm not confident of getting it - this sort of modelling in a scale as large as 1:48 being quite new to me. A very steep learning curve...

 

Chaz

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Its quite a steep bank too Chaz. I think the sketch may be the best way of visualising it beforehand. We spend a lot of time walking in woods with the dogs. It is amazing the variety of shapes the trees form. I realise that it may not be practical to look at the trees in the natural setting although you might enjoy a trip to New England (assuming that is your inspiration) nipping back for a second look would definitely be out. You must however have quite a few trees nearby and a field trip ignoring the birds and studying the trees especially those growing on steep banks may be a help.  There is always a difference between a tree grown in isolation and one in a group. The later tend to have less spreading branches as they are all growing upwards to reach the light.  The less packed the trees are the more the branches spread out.  I do not know if you are planning a back with a few sparse trees or one more thickly wooded.

I append three shots the first is evergreen oaks on a steep slope in Exmoor, the second a very large old Oak in Severnake and the last a row of beeches that started life as a hedge on Exmoor

post-8525-0-01779100-1389436246_thumb.jpg
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I would suggest the big old Oak was at some stage in a more open setting to have the widespread branches. The other show a more upright form.
 
Don
 

 

 

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post-8525-0-73798300-1387792661_thumb.jpg

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Many thanks for the tree  photos Don. I can add them to the (probably thousands) photos of my own which are of trees or include trees. I may not have expressed myself very well. I do have a reasonable plan for what I am going to do - what I don't have is much idea of how convincing the effect will be, even less of how much it will look like the landscape of the wooded hills of Pennsylvania or thereabouts.

 

A bit more progress with the ten trees I have started might well be a reassurance....

 

Chaz

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Chaz - we seem to have been working in parallel on our On30 projects.

 

Below is a link to some tree making - the idea of using hot glue-gun glue for the trunk and branch covering is courtesy of an item on trees for Pendon in MRJ years ago.  The great advantage over filler is that the trees are flexible (depending how thick the core wire is) and not prone to cracking.  They can also be adjusted...

 

Also a link to my Doodlebug conversion.

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Nice work on those wired trees!!!

wil follow this closely.. :paint: :mail:

 

Thanks. At the moment progress with the trees is slower than I could wish. Various distractions eat into my time (including some van kits for Dock Green) but I will post further snaps as and when...

 

Chaz

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***** STOP PRESS *****

 

Prezzy news!   Sue gave me the excellent Banta Modelworks laser cut wood kit - Strong Depot in 1:48 scale.

 

I may open the box up this evening to have a look but it would be a bit silly to make a start on this just yet.

 

Chaz

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I'm very impressed with Banta models, I have 4 on my Leesburg layout. I like the style of the instructions, something like 'read through and then build it any way you like.....'

 

My only experience of Banta so far is the wooden cab conversion kit for the Ixion coffee pot which I am embarrassed to say I still haven't finished. However I was really impressed with the design of the kit and the fit of the laminated parts, indeed the quality of this little model inspired my purchase of the depot kit.

 

Chaz

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have made quite a few tree armatures now, most of which have had the bark-mix added and are ready to be painted and have the foliage added.

 

P1050792-2%20600%20x%20450_zps0lo6lnhb.j

 

Something of a problem is where to put them all, as you can see they are dotted about.

 

I have also started making a few "short jobs" for the section by the tunnel. I hope to get enough foliage up near the sloping ceiling to make this area look more convincing - although it will always be a bit compromised by the tight space here.

 

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The trees are leaning at all angles and will until they are fixed in place.

 

Chaz

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I have started making a few shrubby, bramble type bush things that can be "growing" along the margins of the wood, along the edge of the trackbed. Basic material is this rubberised  horse hair.

 

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This can be cut or torn into bush shapes. Here's one ready to get the treatment.

 

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  • Rubber glove (although it's probably OK to get hair spray on your skin)
  • horsehair shrub/bush torn to shape (!) and mounted on a cocktail stick
  • Cardboard box cut for a spray-booth to stop the overspray
  • Firm grip hair spray from Poundland (why pay more?)
  • plastic box to catch excess scatter
  • I give the horsehair a generous spray and then, holding it over the catch-box I pour on green scatter.

Here are four bushes drying off on cocktail sticks planted in Plasticene. Inevitably there is quite a lot of loose scatter most of which can be saved and reused.

 

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The shapes are rather random but then real scrubby bushes are. I will turn them to get the best aspect when I glue them in place (with PVA). These four took about ten minutes, so a good task for an odd moment.

 

Chaz

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  • 3 weeks later...

More progress with the FVRR is still being slowed by stuff for Dock Green - I really must stop finding other things to make for it!

In the last few days I have returned to the trees. I am in my early days of treemaking, never having done any before. I will make lots of mistakes, I am sure, but I will need so many to create the effect I want - of trains running through a wooded valley - that I'm going to have ample chance to get better at it.

 

-------------------------------------------------------

 

Here's a bare tree - a wire armature coated with bark mix.

 

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I will use the term bark mix from now on, but just to remind you the mix is decorator's filler (Pollyfilla or similar), a 50:50 mix of PVA and water, with a dash of black artist's acrylic. The black mixes with the white filler to produce a grey.

 

I'm going to call this a net.

 

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It's Postiche teased out into an open tangle. I coat the tops of the branches where the net is to be placed with PVA.

 

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When placing the net don't try to press it directly into the PVA - you will just glue it to your fingers! Pushing it down on either side of the branch will bed it into the glue.

 

With a big tree you will have a lot of work to do applying nets of postiche...

 

P1050917-2%20600%20x%20450_zps9izw1wpy.j

 

I worked fairly methodically from the bottom up - it's less likely that you will dislodge nets applying the next one. Last step is to add the foliage scatter. I spray a small group of nets with a non-toxic, solvent spray adhesive (from Ceynix - http://www.thetreelady.co.uk.) I manoeuvre a piece of scrap card into the tree behind the nets to limit the overspray.

 

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I drop the scatter onto the sprayed nets with a spoon. I use a cheap baking tray (from Poundland) to catch the excess scatter which can returned to the pot and re-used. This tree has turned out rather open and airy. A denser, more compact look may result if the branches are more numerous and positioned closer or the postiche nets are bigger and span the gaps between branches; a direction for future experiments.

 

P1050907-2%20545%20x%20600_zpsoi7yi0l6.j

 

  Chaz

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I tried a couple of trees by holding them "in place"on either side of the track.

 

P1050923-2%20600%20x%20450_zpsl8yv0nua.j

 

Some way to go I think but it has at least shown me that the distant, misty, wooded slopes effect on the backscene is going to work as I hoped it would.

 

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The ground in a wood especially under trees is often covered with leaf litter, any ideas?

 

Chaz

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Perhaps some of the old chopped foam scatter in a brownish shade could work.

Don

 

Autumn colours ought to be easy! I will have a look at Woodland Scenics etc and see what they offer.

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Autumn colours ought to be easy! I will have a look at Woodland Scenics etc and see what they offer.

 

Treemendus do a pack of stuff called "forest floor" which looks the part and they are at the Bristol trade show on Sunday - I will be there too.

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