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Andy Y

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Blog Entries posted by Andy Y

  1. Andy Y
    I picked up a Flangeway Mermaid at the weekend and although it has a lot of positives the big negative for me was the solid panel on top of the chassis - see cnw6847's post which detracted from the fineness of the rest of the model. Given the price at GBP15.95 I'd have expected something a little more but having looked at it I felt comfortable that something could be done to improve it.
     
    Step 1 - Separate the wagon body from the supporting frame, maybe it should unclip but I could see glue residue down there so I slid scalpel beneath the body.
     

     
    Step 2 - Separate the tipping frame from the weighted chassis, again there was evidence of clips beneath but it didn't want to budge and I reverted to the scalpel.
     

     
    The tipping frame is clipped to the chassis with two awkward clips on each side, placing pressure on these from inside moves them out sufficiently to remove the tipping frame from the chassis.
     

     
    Step 3 - Remove the weight from the chassis by drilling through the melted plastic peg in each corner of the weight.
     

     
    Step 4 - Replace the tipping frame onto the chassis. At this point I had intended to build up the chassis frame with plastic strip but given that it will be relatively obscured most of the time and looking at a skeleton chassis on Paul Bartlett's site I thought I'd leave it at that.
     

     
    Once the wagon body is replaced I think the result is reasonable and certainly an improvement. The body, and chains, will be fixed back on after the wagon is weathered. The wagon will obviously need that weight that was removed, in this case it will be cut down by 5mm off the length and placed inside the wagon and with additional weight hidden beneath the wagon's load.
     

  2. Andy Y
    I've had an itch for a long time. An itch to model a canal interchange shed; I'd initially looked at the still intact Chillington Wharf on the west side of the Stour Valley route from Wolverhampton High level.
     

    Photo by D.J.Norton
     

     
    I came across this picture in the steel terminal's office whilst I was given a tour of Chillington Wharf by staff showing pre-nationalisation activity with bolsters and opens with the sort of loads which would come from a rolling mill.
     

     
    This would have required a board depth greater than the space I wish to now place the scene in.
     
    Moving onwards; not a million miles away from the spot though was a similar interchange shed, built by the Midland Railway off the Wolverhampton to Walsall line tucked away behind the British Steel site which sits beneath the level of the junction just SE of Wolverhampton High level station. The shed disappeared in the 1950s when the land was acquired by the steelworks but it's not a ridiculous premise to see that shed last a few decades more in the shadow of an expanding works.
     

     

     
    The shed and basin are long gone now but the site can still be seen from the access road to the works here.
     
    Details are scant as it wasn't of conventional photographer's interest really, a couple of line drawings on a local history site including side elevations plus an end photo from Bob Yate's book shown in the introductory blog entry.
     

     

     
     
    The scene will not be a true recreation due to some compression needed, realignment to fit a workable space and the wish to give something with a little more operational interest.
  3. Andy Y
    Some people keep their diplomas, certificates and Oscars in the smallest room; I just make do with a small ever-revolving library. I'm sure I can't be the only one can I?
     
    Anyway, a shot of three books coming out of the reading room neatly summarise what this project will be about.
     

  4. Andy Y
    This month's BRM marks the coming thirtieth anniversary of the creation of Network SouthEast with an interview with Chris Green. There's some useful reference information in the article too and one of the pieces of the article was to show how easy it would be to give a fairly ordinary station the same sprucing up that the division started thirty years ago. The simple 'how-to' got squeezed just leaving a couple of images as part of the article so I thought it worth adding the rest here.
     
    Before:
     

     

     
    And after the bins were delivered, the digital clock fitted and the painters paid a visit with the tins of red paint.
     

     

     

     

     
    The station buildings, digital clock, vending machines are courtesy of Bachmann Scenecraft, the platform lamps from Gaugemaster and the red is simply Humbrol Acrylic 'Buffer beam red'. Scalescenes produce a download pdf where your own station name can be added - http://scalescenes.com/product/r001a-station-signs-and-posterboards/.
  5. Andy Y
    I always enjoy any trip down to Hampshire or Dorset, the tinkle of yachts in harbours, the thrum of perpetual ferries, a chance to sample once more some of my favourite pubs; it lifts the spirits don't you know. I must be getting old when thoughts turn to "I could happily retire here, just there, that house with the balcony there", only another 20 years to save up for what I can't afford today!
     
    This time whilst mooching around I was somewhat surprised to find in a bookshop one of the rare New Popular Edition OS maps for The New Forest published just after the war. Seemingly this is the only map edition which shows the line down to Keyhaven from its junction at Shirley Holm on the Lymington branch. I trust you'll forgive it being a little battered, I have a big soft spot for these maps telling a story of years gone by in colour from hand crafted originals, none of this GPS, generated on a screen to be viewed on a 3" screen to tell you how to get where you want to be stuff of the 21st century. OS maps are still world-beating in my eyes, a constantly evolving record of Britain since Napoleon was at the end of telescope on the other side of La Manche.
     

     
    A rare find indeed and one that helps build a picture for the layout. Aside from the rail ferry loading point for transfering stock twixt Eastleigh works and the Isle of Wight it also shows the reason behind one of the branch's other traffic flows to the salt works. The proximity to the salt marshes of Keyhaven and Pennington Marshes supported a salt industry through the years apart from a short 300 year interlude between the 15th and 18th centuries. The salt works is now levelled as is the rail ferry site, the adjacent Keyhaven Marine Engineering company relocated to the Lymington with its well-heeled owners of yachts and Reliant Scimitars in the early 1970s. So, it's all gone now.
     
    Armed with a copy of a page from the Railway Magazine that I remember "seeing" years ago in 1971 I went to see what, if anything, still remained at Keyhaven.
     

     
    All that is now visible is the quayside wall, the River Avon's estuary continues to silt up, the end of the quay has been filled with spoil from the levelling of the site which has now become overgrown. It also forms the start of the coastal footpath that hugs the shoreline to Lymington.
     

     
    The ferry crossed to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight starting through the deeper water channels out of Keyhaven. Deeper is a somewhat subjective term as even at high tide the channel is little more than 15' deep until the shelter of the end of Hurst Castle is passed. Thereafter it's only two miles across the Solent until gaining shelter once again on the far shore once passed Sconce Point. Very few images seem to exist of the rail ferry in operation, the service was infrequent anyway but reduced over the years; crossings were preferred in calmer winds anyway but sailings were often made overnight dependent on tides to try and keep clear of the high number of pleasure boaters on that stretch of water. I caught site of a postcard at a fair that incidentally included the ferry in the distance in a late '60s shot.
     

     
    The ferry unloaded at a similar facility just beyond the former Freshwater, Yarmouth and Newport station passing under the town bridge. That line never did close in 1953, not in my world.
     
     
    Credits: New Popular Edition maps coutesy of http://www.npemap.org.uk/ under a Creative Commons Licence.
  6. Andy Y
    Whilst on a visit to the Ricoh Arena ahead of RMweb Live in September it was all too tempting to stage a shot which combines a couple of elements of the weekend with Phil Parker's pizza layout grafted onto the roulette wheel in Britiain's largest casino which is on the same site.
     

     
    For those who know Phil he's quite a funghi.
     

  7. Andy Y
    It's quite shameful to admit that there's a preserved railway little more than an hour from home that I hadn't visited before, the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway at the edge of Wirksworth, Derbyshire. I suppose it had been a little off the radar as not being the conventional steam-centred family day out type railway and I've done it a substantial injustice in thinking that way. Ecclesbourne is far more about the railway that I grew up with definite leaning towards some interesting DMUs. On most preserved railways these are very much the low cost early empty services early on in the day but instead they're quite a feature at Ecclesbourne, and that's a good thing.
     

     
    Ben and I were there as a research visit and there was certainly a chance for me to capture bags of reference pictures for future projects. We were treated to a behind the scenes look at the stock and the workshops but first of all it was time for a spot of breakfast; again this was a little bit different with the kitchen set up in a Pullman-liveried Gatwick luggage van attached to Mark 2 TSO and FO, again from an earlier life on the Gatwick Express.
     

     

     

     
    A trip up to the workshop gave us chance to look at the Severn Tunnel Rescue vehicles, converted in 2001 from Class 121.
     

     

     
    Ben and I took the chance for a look inside the sister vehicle, thanks to our mobile's torches.
     

     
    We had a run down to Shottle which gave chance to see the Pway team and the road-railer in action.
     

     

     
    It's not often there's chance to see point mechanisms in such pristine condition; some more useful reference pics grabbed.
     

     
    A dig under a few wagons, worthwhile for a future project.
     

     
    The 108 DMBS headed our service back to Wirksworth with suitably nostalgic bouncy seats.
     

     
    Although this was an out of school holiday Tuesday it was good to see services well used and so it was on the dining service down to Duffield. Their Crompton, 33103 'Swordfish' sounded very well on its runs and it was a pleasure to sit back in an FK on a fine summer's day with the familiar smells and sounds.
     

     

     

     
    The railway is currently holding an appeal to build a traditional style booking office for the platform at Duffield - http://www.e-v-r.com/documents/duffieldbhproject.pdf. They're looking to raise £25,000 and they're well over halfway there, we've chipped in so hopefully we'll see that in use next season. If you visit the railway over the next week or so they're holding a raffle with some great prizes including driver experience days and railway membership.
     
    The scenery is gentle but superb along the route with all the former station buildings occupied as residences, the train's third man operates the level crossings so there's plenty of chance to take the scenery in along the way and see the railway's operations.
     
    Much as I enjoyed the Crompton I don't think you can beat the view from the front seat of a DMU so please take time to visit Ecclesbourne and relive your youth!
  8. Andy Y
    I must confess that today was the first time I've been to the Ribble Steam railway and it'll be 10 years old next year. I wanted to go and get some reference details from the substantial collection of industrial locos they have both steam and diesel.
     

     

     
    Fortuitously there was a midweek operational day featuring the Waggon und Maschinenbau railbus which gave the chance to bring you a run along the length of the railway. It's slightly unusual to see a preserved railway within an urban environment, add in a stretch of road-running and especially when mixed in with operational bitumen traffic in TEA tanks; keep an eye open for the unusual signalling and the sand drags to protect the road section!
     

     
    For anyone who fancies detailing the interior of their Heljan model here's a couple of reference shots.
     

     

     
    If you ever get chance the Ribble Steam Railway is well worth a visit for a look around the museum and workshops as well as the ride.
  9. Andy Y
    Out on a photoshoot and video job today we had chance to take a look at and run the new Loveless Deltic.
     
    Just a snap for now but a full review will feature in the mag soon.
     

  10. Andy Y
    I took down to London town to visit the 3D Printshow in the old Billingsgate fish market the other day and was joined a little later by Phil and we took the chance to see some fascinating developments which may, or may not, filter through to the domain of consumers in the future. It was a great blend of being able to walk away from the show with some products and to see some stuff which definitely isn't in the pocket money bracket as yet.
     

     
    It was my first chance to have a play with the 3doodler (available from Maplins for £99.99) which is a handheld pen which feeds ABS or PLA rods through allowing you draw things in three dimensions. Some time back I though it may show some potential for creating trees so Phil and I are going to have an earnest attempt at that in due course.
     

     
    I've had a bit more of a practice when back home but there's a way to go but I've learned a few techniques already.
     

     

     
    I dropped by for a chat with Chris Thorpe of I can make who will be at RMweb Live next weekend. I can make are gearing up to the educational project market to make 3D printing more accessible to educationalists through a range of projects. As with many stands who weren't actually promoting their brand of printers Chris has an Ultimaker in use and this will be seen at RMweb Live creating a topical model, some components of which can be seen in this shot.
     

     
    If someone fancies a minime on their layout it's now perfectly possible, my3Dtwin had a 360 degree photo booth which takes pics from all around and blends them together to create a 3D file which is then sent to a printer to produce a full colour figure available in a variety of scales (a 1/12th model would cost £120).
     

     
    The same group of stands include Cadventure who offer training on use of the technology and included a rather nice section of trackwork used within a recent meeting.
     

     
    Sculpteo.com offer a similar figure print service for around 85 Euros in full colour and this par wouldn't look out of place in a model railway show queue.
     

     
    3D Modelling is obviously of interest to architectural modellers in visualising planned development and several nice examples were on display.
     

     

     

     
    Shapeways as a marketing site and printing service had a significant presence and examples of models from different materials including various metals which are created via a lost wax process.
     

     

     
    There were alternatives to Shapeways of course and 3DPrintUK provide a print bureau service that delivers some low cost options if you plan the prints well enough.
     

     
    Stepping outside the back of Billingsgate for a breather there was a great view of the river which provided inspiration to some of the models shown on stands including 3D modelling using a soil and seed mix placed onto an absorbent bed to grow plants (intended for promotional floral displays) but if you could find a very short growing variety of grass there's a tool to make a diorama come alive!
     

     

     

     
    Current printing technology and materials can be great for some items but the textured surface of plastics can be a a problem and even working to improve the finish can be hard work but we did see some great results via a resin printer which with some finishing work provided some fantastically smooth surfaces making locos and rolling stock more appealing whilst achieving some very fine detail.
     

     

     
    The Formlabs Form 1+ resin printer is currently £2799 but I can see such technology becoming available at more competitive prices into the future.
     
    The guys at Makerbot were really helpful in explaining the differences between their models and Hattons will be showing of the Makerbot replicator at RMweb Live next weekend if you want a closer look.
     

     

     
    Matter and Form showed off an incredibly tidy 3D scanner for home use available for around £350 and shipped from the UK which has a scanning envelope of 120 x 120 x 160mm envelope and converts the input into an .stl file for sending to a printer. Potentially that could lead to abuse of design ownership but it's an interesting way to create masters and convert to digital form.
     

     

     
    There were many printers for sales including build your own kits such as this from bq.com
     

     
    Through to this £34,000 monster.......
     
    For me the most fascinating item was a 3D paper printer from Mcor which prints with an ink which bleeds into the paper and feeds the sheet through for cutting and bonding of each sheet.
     

     

     
    It takes about an hour to create around 6mm of height to the 3D model but it produces some fascinating models ready-coloured.
     

    (That's what it's printing in the images above)
     

     

     

     
    It would take an eternity but what a beautiful model of a station building could be made for example.
     
    That's just a very brief overview of what was on show, the show finishes today but it's worth keeping an eye out for next year if you're interested in 3D printing.
  11. Andy Y
    As announced here Bachmann Europe have announced they are to produce the L&NWR 0-6-2T Webb coal tank available in approximately 18 months. For the last few years Bachmann have held events for the members of the Bachmann Collectors Club and this year chose the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway on the 30th August. If there isn't enough speculation and wishlisting on RMweb virtually everyone had missed the clues to this one; Bachmann followed their announcements for the 2014/2015 catalogue with the caveat that more announcements were to come, this was shortly followed by the announcement of the GNR Ivatt Atlantic as an exclusive edition for Locomotion Models and there was even an invitation to Bachmann Colcetors' Club members to the event at the K&WVR where a significant announcement was to be made. Following previous tie-ins between location of the events and announcements it was obvious that it would be a loco closely associated with the K&WVR; still there was no speculation or chatter.
     
    Generally if I'm out in the wide world, especially on a preserved railway, there's generally a poor data signal so I'd pre-prepared the announcement hoping that the cards were dealt the way I expected. Thankfully it was a wise decision as mobile and wi-fi signals miraculously disappeared at the given moment.
     
    Arriving early it was a chance to have a mooch around and take a look in the display cabinets which had been set up in Ingrow's loco shed and there was a chance to get first sight of the EP sample of the forthcoming grain wagon and a livery sample of the Railway Children train pack which obviously has close associations with the K&WVR.
     

     

     
    I'd invited Old Gringo as something of an L&NWR aficionado along given the subject matter so he could help me out with more background info. The early morning Met-Camm DMU pottered back and forth rasping and smoking its way toward Ingrow's short tunnel. John declared this tunnel a bit rubbish and obviously another Midland Railway bodge. It's of interest to modellers though as it doesn't have much above it and hence any reason for being there and shows there is a prototype for all those tunnels we see with no land of any height above the tunnel.
     

     
    The Collectors Club members were allocated to groups for tours of the sheds at Ingrow, Haworth and Oxenhope and the first group looked around Ingrow shed and the Bachmann display before being asked to be back at the station for 11.45 to await an announcement.
     

     

     
    MC Lovett took to his podium to thank the railway and the Bahamas Locomotive Society for their support and assistance in developing the model as he duly gazed expectantly for Webb Coal Tank to burst forth from the tunnel on cue. It was slightly delayed but all the same it created a statement that here was another attractive pre-grouping design which Bachmann will tackle. I'm sure many of those gathered will be wanting on of the Coal Tanks after a day like this.
     

     

     
    We were treated to a run down to Keighley and dropping off groups at Haworth and Oxehope on the return run for their tours. Old Gringo and I considered our options and that another run behind this delightful loco was in order as we could always do the other things on a return visit and as the sun broke through there was a chance to lose ourselves a little on a virtually empty train and experience some spirited running.
     

    Graham Hubbard and Dennis Lovett pose with the commemorative headboard.
     

     

     

     

     

     

    We realised at this point there'd be an opportunity for the impressive sight of the train working non-stop through stations including Oakworth.
     

    The service train was in the care of the S160; a fine sight!
     

     

     

    John came suitably attired for a day in Yorkshire but I don't think he's got the headwear etiquette sorted yet.
     
    We then headed off lineside to watch the Coal Tank through the level crossing at Oakworth. Ahead of time we looked inside the station and kindly 'Mr Perks' let us have an improptu look around inside the booking office which is a superb display of Edwardiana. If you're ever there on a quiet day it's worth seeing.
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I felt the cold hand of CK on my shoulder as we came across half a pound of sausages in a box, it was of course of interest to us as BCB modellers.
     
    Can there be any better way to spend a late summer afternoon than watching a quiet station with a rare treat of a steady climb by the tank?
     

     
    A wonderful day was topped off by a visit to see Jason and Sofia and drop off a bottle of bubbly congratulating them on their recent wedding and a tour of Bacup for John who left Jason's clutching yet another book for inspiration. Jason's our next cover girl for the October issue of BRM where you can read all about Bacup.
     

  12. Andy Y
    Whilst on a whistlestop tour of Kent last week Phil and I dropped into RAF Manston Musem which is chocked full with interesting memorabilia and artefacts.
     

     
    There's a cracking railway-related model in there, even if it looks somewhat tired, depicting one of the main stores building pre-WW2 with a rail siding. Pop 20p in and you can watch a Bachmann C-Class tootle back and forth shunting for a few minutes.
     

     
    The buildings are quite delightful.
     

     
    Outside I turned into a rivet-counter (except a V1 is largely welded rather than rivetted) and spotted that the Nazis were apparently early-adopters of Helvetica font despite it not being in use until the 50s.
  13. Andy Y
    Sorry; did I say tidy up in the previous blog entry? A slip of the tongue.
     

     
    Hopefully ready for action on BCB at DEMU Showcase this weekend - http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/78016-demu-showcase-2014-burton-upon-trent-31-may-1-june-2014/ - even if you're not a D&E modeller it's a show well worth a visit for the quality of the layouts.
  14. Andy Y
    Another chance to grab an hour at the bench after visitors have left sees the decoder (Hornby 4-pin) hard-wired and hidden behind the dashboard.
     

     
    This means the decoder housing can be stripped away from the floor leaving room for a flat false floor and just enough space for something extra in the cab which should arrive in a few days.
     
    It's amazing how much space you can find in here when you look for it!
     
    LYP - Part 1 - http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blog/1535/entry-13941-little-yellow-project/
  15. Andy Y
    As I mentioned in this month's BRM topic ......

     
    Please do make time to go and see this model if you get chance; if it were an exhibition layout (which it never will be as it weighs a ton!) and the trackwork was infilled it would certainly draw the crowds as I can't think of any exhibit which has as many buildings, windows and chimney pots. The model shows Burton as it was on Monday 10th October 1921. Why that day? A local photographer had been out recording town scenes which were invaluable to the modellers who made this impressive panorama.
     

     

     
    The full article about the museum is in this month's BRM - http://www.pocketmags.com/viewmagazine.aspx?titleid=856&title=British+Railway+Modelling&utm_source=modelrailwayslive&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=warnersgroup#5243f79396678
     
    Right now there's a special offer to subscribe to the digital edition for £19.99 if you click the link above.
     

  16. Andy Y
    Several people have asked me several times in person, at talks or on RMweb to write a bit of a 'how-to' on the 'photoshopping' of images for the magazine.
     
    I've taken a scene from Tim Maddock's excellent 'Engine Wood' layout as featured in the May 2014 issue of BRM to show the whole process but somewhat condensed as an image typically takes a couple of hours to fully work through and gone from this:
     

     
    To this:
     

     
    This has been done as a video and narrative tutorial using screen capture software here - http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/84168-whats-involved-with-processing-an-image-for-the-magazine/
     
    Various images of me sticking the camera into places I shouldn't on reader's layouts have appeared from time to time so I thought it would be good to show what happens when the photos get back to base. Andy Peters took this shot of me taking the pictures for 'Trebudoc' which also appears in the May 2014 issue of BRM.
     

     
    See if you can spot which image was being taken when you get the mag!
  17. Andy Y
    Related questions periodically crop up on sleeper spacing, rail and sleeper painting in addition to ballasting. At a couple of recent demos I was playing with a short plank and talking folk through some of the materials used. I thought it may be a useful reference point for future questions.
     
     

     
    Peco track is the staple diet of modellers moving on from train set track. A basic limitation of the prototypical accuracy of the track is obviously the fact that it is OO gauge and any acceptance of it as it comes or to what it can be altered to is always a question of compromise. Improvements can be made that take the basic product beyond the common lay and ballast approach.
     
    The first step is to turn the track over and cut away the plastic webbing between all of the sleepers. A sharp craft knife will suffice but don't go too heavy handed as too much pressure will cause the sleeper to to spring away where the narrow clasp of the rails chairs grip the base of the rail.
     
    The sleeper spacing is then widened to a more acceptable compromise of around 7.5mm; PH Designs produce a useful tool if you have a lot of track to do - http://www.phd-desig...spacingtool.htm. The whole length of track to be used has the sleeper web cut away and spaced using the tool.
     
    I fix the track using latex based adhesive (e.g. Copydex) or a thin line of PVA glue beneath each sleeper. The track is then laid and positioned. It will be necessary to use the sleeper spacing tool to tidy up any movement in the individual sleepers which will inevitably happen during handling, gluing and laying.
     
    This makes a significant difference to the appearance making the track look lighter weight.
     

     
    Once the track is laid and tidied I use Tan Plasikote Suede Touch spray paint to give a base coat onto the plastic sleepers and nickel silver rails.
     

     
     
    Once the base coat has dried I then paint each sleeper with a mix of acrylic paints; in this case a mix of Tamiya Flat Earth (XF-52), Buff (XF-57) and Light Grey (XF-66). Before steaming ahead in painting the sleepers take some photos showing the actual track you wish to model; you should ideally do this in different weathers and observe the difference in appearance in dry sunny, cloudy and wet weather conditions. The colour that you then choose will at least have some foundation in fact rather than just a guesstimate and it will then be appropriate to the area and conditions you are modelling. In this case the sleepers are intended to look dry and sun-bleached with some time having passed since any treatment was used.
     
    The same research criteria is relevant to the colour of the rail sides and chairs. The colour will vary with traffic types and volumes and the ambient light. A little used track in sunny conditions will look rusty orange whereas a busy track seen in dreary light on a wet day may look a very dark grey. In this case I use a mix of Tamiya acrylics Nato Brown (XF-68) and Nato Black (XF-69) to taste and with tones varying slightly on different lengths of rail.
     

     
     
    Once the final colours have dried and all of the track is laid it's time to consider ballasting. Rewinding to the research really look at the type of ballast that's there. The chances are the actual chippings will be smaller than the size of most of the ballast sold. If the grains in your model ballast are over 1mm in length that means each stone would be 3". Were they really that big. The easy solution is to then use finer ballast intended for the 2mm modeller. Rewind again and look at the colour of the real ballast. Is it uniform in colour? What colour is it? Take care to select something that looks right for your model.
     
    In this case I've used Green Scenes GS408 ballast which has fine grains (intended for 2mm) and a nice variation in colours (light grey in this case).
     
    There are tools that make the job of laying ballast quickly easier but I find something very therapeutic in laying the ballast. I like it to sit a little below the level of the sleeper and rail to preserve the lightness obtained earlier on with the removal of the sleeper webbing.
     
    Along the side of the laid track I'll lay some masking tape to achieve a tidy straight line at the edge or cess. The ballast is gently spread between the sleepers with a brush and tamped down with a fingertip. Ballast is laid along the edge of the track and gently brushed into the spaces between the sleeper ends. Running a fingertip over the sleeper ends moves loose ballast grains into position forming a gentle slope down to the edge of the masking tape. Run your finger along the masking tape to remove loose ballast and tidy the edge.
     
    The loose ballast is then fixed in place with a 2:1 mix of Johnson's Klear or Pledge floor wax and isopropyl alcohol (IPA) with a few drops of detergent. This is the new formulation which is readily available at supermarkets (I keep the old Klear for other varnishing!).
     

     
     
    The mixture is then sprayed on with a cheap plastic bottle spray or perfume atomoizer, these are available from Boots for £1.65. Give the ballast a good soaking so the varnish can penetrate and adhere to the ballast garnules through to the board.
     

     
     
    As this product is intended to form a shiny coat on hard floors there will be a sheen on the track which can be dulled down with a matt spray varnish.
     

     
    Once the ballast has set (normally overnight) I remove the paint on the top surface of the rail with a fine razor blade, the paint peels away leaving the clean rail head behind. It's worth checking that no ballast granules have moved and stuck to the sides of the rails; they wouldn't stick there in the real world so we'll try to make sure that reflected.
     
    The cess at the side of the track in this case is treated with a painting of Tamiya acrylic Flat earth (XF-52) with a sprinkling of Treemendus Earth Powder on top.
     
    The end product looks better for the time and attention given to it. This article isn't intended to be prescriptive but to get modellers at a certain stage to think a little more about the track appearance.
     

     
    Source: Improving Peco Code 75
  18. Andy Y
    In turning around a Parkside Pallet Van I took the usual course of referencing Paul Bartlett's site and found that the Palvan's seemed to have a fairly distinct way of weathering after lounging around in backwaters following a fairly premature absence from action - http://gallery6801.fotopic.net/p24203000.html . In all likelihood they were probably as drab and mucky as any other van whilst still in service but I fancied a go at something a different shade of brown.
     

     
    Starting from a base of Railmatch BR Bauxite and metal strapping picked out in a dark chocolate shade variations in tone were made via airbrush layering dark bauxite and a faint black towards the edges of panels and the strange sensation of spraying yellow/orange shades towards the centre of the larger panels.
     
    The overall finish is not as pronounced as shown in the prototype pics on the assumption that wagons aren't as old. I must overcome the temptation to treat more vans like that.
     
     
     
     
     
  19. Andy Y
    Another day shower dodging.
     
    Baseboards connected, train turntable cut out, front scenic boards knocked together and the boards corked.
     

     

     
    I've not decided yet whether the water (front middle board) will be done as before with paint/PVA/varnish layers on the flat ply top or to invert the board and create some depth to the water within the well. I'll try a couple of ideas and see where it heads.
     
     
    When it's all locked together it's reasonably stable; I did manage to disassemble and get it back indoors inside 5 minutes as another shower headed our way.
     
     
     
    Source: K2yhaven
  20. Andy Y
    Got the crayons out and had a scribble.
     

     
     
     
    And then tried to put it into a 'real world' context.
     

     
     
    That's definitely not to scale, that ferry would be huge!
     
    For anyone who hasn't been to Keyhaven (which is probably in excess of 99% of the population) this snap shows where the car ferry ramp would be.
     
    http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/19508
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Source: K2yhaven
  21. Andy Y
    Follow up to http://www.rmweb.co....n-silo-presflo/
     
    I'd set off on a desire to be different more than anything else in trashing a previously perfect Bachy Presflo into a twin silo variant. I set off knowing that I'd got no reference material other assumption and guesswork and even the resources to complete the model in its supposed form.
     
    Looking back Hornby Dublo produced a Presflo in a slightly bluish green with ICI logos and bulk salt and Dapol some years later in an even more garish shade. That's all I'd got to go on other than Paul Bartlett's reference material to the later life Slate Presflo which was actually more helpful than the pseudo-collectable items of yore in taking a stab at what the colour may have been before age and filth took them to the state shown in Paul's pictures.
     
    Trying to achieve a 'is that blue or is that green' shade took some trial and error with garish shades of Tamiya acrylics that would look more fitting on some yoof's Corsa and a touch of black. I was happy when I'd got a shade that seemed to change in tone dependent on the light it's in.
     
    I'd never expected to find the ICI logos and had an alternate DIY plan for them until I called Modelmaster to get the lettering. I mentioned the ICI logo and lo and behold I was advised that sheet 4651 contained just what I needed. Brilliant. However it's no exaggeration to say that applying the transfers takes longer than the conversion shown in the previous posting.
     
    Out came the Tamiya weathering powders again for pure guesswork on how such a wagon in that usage would have weathered. It's at this point when this blog entry gets posted that someone will step forth with definitive proof that I've got it wrong. Great, do it; I'm ready and waiting with another blank canvas that I can rectify these wild assumptions.
     

     

  22. Andy Y
    Whilst grazing over a cuppa  carrying out vital research for the Keyhaven extension I came across the following Pathe clip that fills in a few gaps for me on one of the components of the extension.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

     

     
     
     
    Ain't the 'net great?
  23. Andy Y
     I took the opportunity yesterday to take my last ride on these venerable and extremely comfortable machines on a route that I have a soft spot for. Years of memories of watching them trundle over the bridge at Lymington made it too hard to resist. The Lymington branch racks up another last to follow on from the last steam branch; I wonder if 2050 will be seeing the last Desiro service on the branch with as much interest?
     

     

     
    Anyway, I gather there will be a more professional video coming soon; more details in due course and for a good cause!
     
     
    Source: The 3-CIG 'Slammer's' last days.
  24. Andy Y
    I'm frequently asked about how the concrete effect was achieved on keyhaven and also crops up periodically in reference to "How do I do inlaid track work?" questions.
     
    The inset track on Keyhaven Quay was achieved by use of cork floor tiles abutted to the side of the sleepers, these basic floor tiles, obtained from a DIY chain, near enough match the rail height of Peco Code 75 track. The inset section between the rails uses Fabfoam obtained from a craft shop chain and cut into 14mm wide strips; the foam comes in A4 sheets at around 20p a sheet so a little goes a long way and can be easily laid into curved track of any reasonable radius and is secured to the sleepers with Copydex, fortuitously this also matches the height of the code 75 rails.
     

     
    The gap between the rail and the adjacent cork floor tile is filled with ready mixed flexible filler from a tube and smoothed over. Using a strip of plasticard on top of the sleeper ends will stop the filler subsiding into the gaps between the individual sleepers. The same filler is used to fill in any small indentations and cracks that are inherent in a natural cork product and smoothed off before being left to dry.
     

     

     

     

     
    A weakness in my approach was to not put anything over the sleeper ends which led to a slight rippling in the filler as it dried out, a strip of card or plasticard over the sleeper ends would stop that happening. Once the filler is dry a smoothing over with light abrasive paper gives an even finish, the drying process naturally taking the filler down to just below the rail head thus making cleaning relatively easy.
     
    The whole area is then sprayed with a suitable cheap stone coloured spray (Plastikote), concrete comes in a variety of shades but it's worth looking at the real thing before going wild, weathered concrete is probably a lot paler than anticipated when you pick up the spray can. Joints in the concrete are represented by carving lines into it with a craft knife and metal ruler, the lines are then drawn in with pencil. It's then down to you how you much you wish to weather the surface from that point.

     

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