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Blog- TomE's N Gauge Modelling - Ropley - Slowly slowly catchee Monkey!

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A rare view of Ropley, not4 one which will be easily seen once the layout is complete.

Hello all.

Embarrassingly little progress to show on Ropley, however there has been some. Mostly this has consisted of a few scenic touches in areas where all major landscaping or other works are complete or will not interfere!

The observant amongst you may have noticed a brown fence appeared between the yard and the wheel drop line in photos on the last blog entry. In reality this is a somewhat Heath Robinson affair constructed from what looks like scaffolding poles to separate the public in the yard from the main running lines. I wasn't really very happy with this first attempt, the brass used being too large and the colour being all wrong, looking nothing like bare metal poles, so version two has now been constructed and installed. .31mm nickel silver wire was used this time, and in addition the bottom row of the fence was also included, something I forgot the first time around. The required lengths were cut and then held in place with the highly technical method known as blu tack before everything was soldered together, using the bare minimum solder to try and keep the joints neat. Once done, instead of painting, it was sprayed with Matt Varnish to dull it down, and then given a very light dusting of black weathering powder. The result can be seen below and I think this is a million times better than the first attempt!

Ropley is now semi health and safety compliant thanks to the new fence!

Also visible in the photo above is one of the water points which are dotted around the yard. This was a simple enough thing to make, using some plastic strip and brass tube of various sizes for the 3 taps found on it. A section of hose was made up from thin brass wire, and then painted red. Whilst the paint still had some tack to it, this was also dusted with black weathering powder (I use ALOT of this!!) and then fixed in place. Some Kleer floor polish was added at the end of the pipe to give the impression someone has left the tap on! I do need to find a suitable section plastic to represent the larger diameter hosepipes where were laying round the yard when I last visited. These lay flat on the ground in a slightly squashed diamond shape, so if there is nothing commercially available then some good old stretched sprue may need to be used. There is a whole host of other yard detritus to be added yet also, so plenty more work to be done!

No hose pipe ban here!

To represent the grass growing along the base of the fence, some very small clumps of the teddy fabric being used to create the grass embankment were glued in place. This may need a trim to lower the height slightly, but otherwise I think it worked out ok. and gives a denser cover than static grass would be able to achieve at this scale.

Other progress has seen some more cable trunking added to the embankment side of the line, and some work to tidy up a few loose ends (literally) underneath the board has also been completed. Next on the 'to do' list is the ash pit and remaining area of yard to be DAS'd before the embankment grass is fixed in place. I also need to re-model the the top of the embankment slightly to accommodate the new car park.

Still a large hole to fill where the ash pit is located!

Finally, I'll leave you with a study of the latest model from Graham Farish. The Fairburn tank was something of a surprise when it was announced, and it doesn't really fit in with my purchase policy of 'only types which have run on the line', however in terms of moulding it is absolutely superb, and reflective of the huge improvement we have seen in N Gauge in the past few years. Sadly it seems Quality Control is yet to catch on, and there have been numerous reports of wobbly runners both here on RMweb and elsewhere. Luckily my example is 98% wobble free, especially at the low speeds it will do on Ropley, but it seems that N Gauge still has a little way to go yet before it truly comes of age. Oh, and the justification for having one was that this engine is one of two preserved, so it's not beyond the realms of possibility that it will visit the line one day in the future. That and I'm a sucker for big tank engines!!

Must be a Gala weekend!

Cheers all,


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