A table-top train set: Disorganised chaos

Discussion in 'Layout Progress' started by jonte, 8 December 2014.

  1. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer


    For those Westerners waiting with baited breath for the results of my last post (final colour of dyed underlay and painted underlay after brushing with suede brush), here are the results, or should I say the result.


    I say result, as I didn’t want to waste forum space with the dyed piece; it was as bad in the daylight as last night, even after further drying. However, to give you an idea, I’ve taken some of the fibres and mixed them in with some of the previously dyed fibres which I’ve displayed on top of the bleached, undyed underlay. They appear on the right of the image. Believe me, the photo does it justice as the colour is deeper in real life and almost fluorescent. It’s reminiscent of something you’d see in a 1970s Hornby catalogue when lichen was de rigeur. Pitiful.

    On a brighter note, the painted piece has turned out okay even after brushing, despite a large quantity of the paint coming off as residue/powder. It’s left me wondering whether it might be best to paint it after brushing, even though it still looks okay. It would be good to try it and also with different shades. And as Phil suggests, hoovering it over to see if it stands up, although looking at the real thing, I’ve noticed that there’s more ‘flat’ grass about than ‘spikey’, especially at the perimeter of railway owned land. Indeed, I could always invest in the tufts of grass to be placed in one or two places for variety.

    I’ll try not to bore you with more grass modelling experiments, but hope nobody minds if I discover something of interest.

    I’ll leave you with a close-up of the painted underlay.


    Again, it’s not quite as light in colour in real life.

    Thanks for looking,

    chrisb, Dog Star and AJC like this.
  2. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Away from the green, the matchsticks have been receiving further attention; I think these are what you might regard as ‘cruel close-ups’:

    CE821736-43F0-433B-A8EC-40516481F6E7.jpeg 379B650F-F042-4975-9E0D-E13B3B900EE3.jpeg

    Indeed, they are intentionally so.

    Whilst I must remember to include a coin gauge at some stage in procedures, take it from me, this is way beyond the resolution power of my ailing eye sight, so the iPad camera zoom facility is ideal for seeking out gaps that need filling wherever they appear, or anything else that warrants attention. Well, attention to a point that is fellow Westerners, as overscale textures apart, I’m embracing the agricultural look of a somewhat light railway feel whilst trying not to make it an excuse for some sloppy modelling. Believe you me, I’m trying my best to find a happy medium somewhere in between; in between the rustic and my limitations as a modeller.

    So, I include these ‘warts ‘n’ all’ embryonic photies, if for nothing else, to prove the point that the camera is indeed a handy tool for the enthusiastic modeller.

    Still a little more dressing to do before the priming stage.

    Until then, thanks for looking.

    Focalplane, Brian T, AJC and 3 others like this.
  3. Alan

    Alan Western Thunderer

    When I built Wencombe, many years ago now it seems, I used hanging basket liner and had similar problems. One advantage of uding the liner was that it had a basic dull green colour to start with.Some areas I painted, others airbrushed and other just static grassed it. On the whole they all worked to some extent. I suspect the best was the lightly airbrushed(IT tended NOT to Mat) followed by a dressing of various static grasses.
    jonte likes this.
  4. Brian T

    Brian T Western Thunderer

    I`m so glad you did`nt get rid of the tripple crossing Jonte...:thumbs:

  5. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer




  6. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hi Alan, and thanks for sharing your scenic experiences. As I recall, a fine job of Wencombe’s scenics you made too.

    On first discovering the matted surface left by the dried paint, thoughts turned immediately to spraying on the paint as you did, Alan. However, as you can see, once brushed with the suede brush and after a tidy up with a pair of scissors it turned out okay, and for what I’m after, it’s certainly a viable option as a basis for perhaps further more specific applications as you advise - or perhaps just left painted with the odd variation in wash applied. Who knows.

    Similar to your thoughts on hanging-basket liner, I chose underlay as it resembled IMHO the burnt or dry grass you see interspersed with more luscious variety; only I then went and bleached the colour out of it :rolleyes:

    Thanks again for sharing, Alan.

    Best wishes,

    Alan likes this.
  7. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Good morning fellow Westerners

    Apologies for bombarding you with the sheer number of posts of late, but I do so if only to demonstrate how modelling can often be one step forward two steps backwards. Why? Well, after a full day’s modelling yesterday, I’m now back at the point I was at this time yesterday: cruel close-up time to determine what needs addressing/filling/amending prior to priming.


    As you can see, apart from some small additional dressing and the inclusion of a couple of windows ‘n’ a door, there’s no change from yesterday.

    You may recall my somewhat perfunctory approach, nay even reluctance to window building on this project that had me considering opting for the easier route of purchasing proprietary products to save me the agony. Ever the masochist, I pressed on unabashed. Then I decided I didn’t like them; then I did; then I didn’t, so purchased a cheap pack of Peco windows, doors and sundry, anyway. Just in case. But they were just too darned chunky for this little shed - apart from the door with perhaps the removal of the extended plastic backing to aid positioning in the station kit Peco produces, from which I rather suspect these bits were originally intended - so back in the packet they went.

    So why am I boring you all with this diatribe?

    Because my humble little fabrications, with their only benefit being they weren’t as chunky as the bought stuff, were the cause of my of my annoying little handicap in yesterday’s progression stakes. On offering them up to the now ‘dressed’ openings, it was obvious one of them needed a bit shaving off here, and then a bit more there, then perhaps some at the bottom to ensure ‘straightness’ in the hole (aperture?) - why hadn’t I carried out these prelims earlier: I had but without going into detail, necessity required a little more additional decoration but in doing so, for some unearthly reason, I’d adopted some ham-fisted method or other that required the changes thus.

    As I feared, all this unexpected fettling led not only to the damage of one of my spindly offerings, but also the external framing around one of the window openings. Whilst I was prepared to undergo the hassle and delay of a couple of days’ unexpected rebuilding exercise whilst I assembled a replacement window, unfortunately, I was out of ‘strip’ of the required size for the external framing, so off came the framing round windows and doors to be replaced by strip I did have, but of slightly wider form. Which took most of yesterday’s modelling time; including whittling down - as I’d done with the door- the sash window frames of the smallest examples I could find in the accessories packet, and which were only slightly larger than the ‘holes’ I’d originally cut out in the model - the two required replacement Peco windows.

    So here we are, back to square one.

    Oh, apart that is from the ‘plonked-on with blu-tak’ replacement valance (Ratio) from Derails (excellent - rapid and friendly - service, highly recommended with usual caveat, of course) which I feel should prove a little more resilient than than the original laser produced version, to any rough ‘n’ ready distressing I have in mind.

    Now to get on with that filling etc. as intended yesterday, so that I can prime it ready for painting.

    chrisb likes this.
  8. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad


    If you run out of strip, just create your own from Plastikard sheet.

    Score a line along a steel rule, then place sheet over annedge so the "strip" overhangs, and then break it off by applying pressure along its length.

    Clean up the result by running a knife blade along the "kerf"

    If can do it....

    jonte likes this.
  9. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hang on, Simon, I’m the lowest common denominator here ;)

    Yep, think even I can follow that. Another one for my little note book :)

    Many thanks for the handy tip, Simon, which will no doubt serve me well before this little foray is complete.

    Best wishes,

  10. Brian T

    Brian T Western Thunderer

    :eek:......Oh well,never mind....

    At least i can follow your waiting room build.:thumbs:

  11. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hi Brian.

    Sorry to shock you.

    Reluctantly the crossings went. The risk you run, I suppose, when adapting something for a purpose for which it was never intended. Hopefully an update on track developments in the not too distant.

    Still, glad to see you’re kindly observing my latest offering involving nothing more adventurous than child-friendly scissors, glue and matchsticks which I try my utmost not to stick to my clothing or eyebrows.

    Actually, it’s been promoted from waiting room to station building as anything bigger will merely accentuate the train-set curves, bearing in mind that the only place I can stick a platform is on the inside curve of one of the bends, exit either stage left or right! Again, a consequence of adaptation :(

    Never mind, at least eventually it will be replete with telegraph insulators to denote it’s elevated status ;)

    Here’s a photo of this morning’s developments, including the removal of the barge-boarding from the upper section of valance which might look fine on the Ratio awning kit, but just serves to dwarf my little waiting room..I mean station building, further :) It will be replaced by suitable sections of micro-strip but only in parts to reflect the care worn appearance of the prototype I’m using as a basis (Llangedwyn on your favourite Tanat Valley).


    Thanks for your interest, Brian.

    matto21 and Focalplane like this.
  12. Brian T

    Brian T Western Thunderer

    I tend to think that a lack of space is a modelers friend sometimes,as it makes us think outside the box,and consider scene`s or prototype location`s that we might not otherwise think of.
    And if like me the thought of building an 'empire' sized layout send`s shudders down your back then small is good... well for me it is at least..!!

    The 'station' building is coming along nicely,and given a care worn apperance,peeling paint etc, should make for a nice little addition to the layout.

    Talking of the Tanat Valley,i quite like Llanrhhaiadr Mochant with it`s collection of small buildings,though i`d be drawn to modeling it before it shut for good,ie; grass in between the tracks,leaning patched up buildings,and a general air of dereliction...you get the idea!.

    NHY 581 likes this.
  13. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Oh indeed I do, Brian :)

    In fact, I recently acquainted myself with ‘Fire-hydrant and her skin is the colour Mocha’ or however it’s pronounced, finding the atmosphere in these photos most inspirational: (perhaps you’re already aware of them?) Railway Station – ARCHIVE images

    Yep, small does focus the mind, and ensures a clinical approach to a scene in a ‘is this essential or merely an indulgence?’ sort of way. And of course, less is more as the old adage goes, so with these factors in mind, I think I may have hit on a scene more in keeping with the area I’m trying to portray - in true train-set fashion of course. Did somebody mention Finger Flickin’ TOUs? Well, if it’s good enough for Mike Cofalone it’s certainly good enough for me (you’ll know who I’m talking about, Brian, being a fellow model rail-roader ;)).

    Enjoy the photos and, of course, the planning.


    Brian T and matto21 like this.
  14. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    Part of my growing up was done in the Oswestry area and the Tanat Valley was a favourite place for Sunday cycle rides, visits to the waterfall at Llanrhaeadr and so on. Some memories include seeing a Bugatti roadster in classic blue colour in Llanfyllin, flying over a five bar gate when my bike's brakes couldn't cope with the steep hills and helping to push my mother's Morris Minor as it struggled up another steep hill. As to the railway, I only saw the locos in Oswestry shed as they typically didn't go out on Sundays. I have an Ivatt 2MT by San Cheng in my collection, courtesy of LarryG, it's a lovely model that was certainly a regular on the Oswestry branch lines. What the real thing is doing in Scotland today seems rather strange!
  15. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Sounds marvellous, Paul.

    I’m more familiar with North Wales, Anglesey especially. My father also owned a Monky- Minor, a Traveller in black, which I also remember chugging up a hill or two on our way to twice yearly holidays in the cottage. Rhuallt was especially challenging for our fully loaded gallopie.

    I’ve recently purchased a Bachman Ivatt with the new layout in mind, for pulling the mineral wagons/hoppers from my fictional junction station, similar to Blodwell upon which I’m basing it.

    San Cheng are excellent models and I really wish I’d invested in one or two whilst they adorned the shelves of a Hatton’s old shop, especially at the reasonable prices they were asking at the time.

    This is mine (bought later):


    Barely used, and even though I don’t model in seven milli, I’m loathed to let it go.

    Thanks for sharing, Paul.

  16. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    A little more progress with the station building, but messing with the roof and trying to fabricate a gutter bracket from (melted on) micro-strip took up most of yesterday’s modelling time. Still not got round to filling in here and there :(

    So here’s one of the awning, now with the proprietary (and clumsy) trim removed, to be replaced by a finer (and clumsier) one of my own from more strip:


    Taken a couple of nights ago, that undetectable to the eye ‘droop’ at the corner has, hopefully, now been rectified. Another photo will no doubt tell.

    One of the front aspect:


    The roof has is 3 core laminate to help stop warping when the glue goes off, though I doubt plasticard of the thickness I’ve used would do so, despite my sanding it down to make it appear finer. If this was a scale build, I would have rebuilt it using finer brass sheet. The thought had crossed my mind before I started, but idleness and heavy rain prevented me from going down the garden to the modelling room and retrieving it. The gapped strips at the front are my attempt to replicate the ‘tired’ looking roof of the pro type in the photo I’m using.

    A section I’ve glued to the underneath locates snugly between the walls so that I can remove it for priming and painting, and for fitting the glazing to the back of the windows once they’re also primed and painted. Incidentally, my intention was to fit the windows, as with the door, after painting, but their fixing was required for accuracy of fit for the surrounds.

    The guttering:


    It’s not clear from the photo if there was a gutter or downspout - although I imagine there would have been bearing in mind it’s construction from wood - but as they came in the accessories pack, thought I’d use them anyway. There are several sections of guttering supplied in the pack of varying lengths. I chose the longest which I cut in half, then placed sections at the required length alongside each other to ensure the cut was the same either side of the join. This also enabled me to make use of the ‘closed’ ends of the guttering. A makeshift bracket was fabricated from micro-strip which was carefully ‘curved’ - snaps easily - by pulling it between table top and back of nail of index finger of free hand. Still, this is nowhere near the tight curvature required, so with guttering tightly fixed to edge of cutting mat with blu-tak, an initial fix was made to the top of the guttering and left overnight to dry. The following morning, the rest was ‘melted’ on in stages using copious amounts of glue and held to the piece for a spell with the end of a small triangular file. The result was a bit lumpy, but a pass or two with an emery board helped, and the remaining lumpy bits will help with weathering in the form of rust ;)

    That’s it for now.

    Will prime later and post a photo or two.

    matto21 and NHY 581 like this.
  17. NHY 581

    NHY 581 Western Thunderer

    Great stuff, Jonte.

    This is looking rather good. I'm really enjoying the build of the station building.

    Picking up on a few points from the posts above..........

    The photos of the wriggly tin buildings are just fab. Very inspirational and very good reference points for weathering.

    Small layouts? Yep, total convert here. Even if I had the space I probably wouldn't build a 'magnum opus'. I would rather have a selection of small 'cameo' layouts.
    As it happens, I am contemplating a 'new build' as we speak....er..type. Same 4ft x 16 inch board as a basis............

    'Pokey finger' points? Again, all my layouts rely upon manual point movement provided by Mk1 finger. No adverse comments made during exhibitions and it does work, short of the point itself failing or my finger getting eaten/dropping off. This might change but for now, I'm happy with it. If I have to manually uncoupled, I might as well change the points.

    Small layouts+small locos+short carriages+small selection of detailed stock+small/low buildings=my idea of fun.

    Keep it going Jonte!

    jonte likes this.
  18. matto21

    matto21 Western Thunderer

    Really nice work Jonte! What's the origin of the awning? Apologies if you've already said!
    jonte likes this.
  19. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Good morning, Rob.

    Such a lovely post, thank you.

    I can’t agree more with your heart-felt thoughts. At past exhibitions, I’ve spent most of my time admiring those little works of art that are generally thought of as dioramas; something really engaging about them, as your own little gems bear testament to.

    I’m the same at the garden shows: I prefer the smaller back-to-back garden designs than the show-busting affairs of the celebrity designers. Perhaps it something a lesser mortal like myself considers he may aspire to? Who knows. Who cares? I just like a lot of what I like :)

    I like flicking switches, as long as it’s nothing too technical, but the problem for me here - adapting another design - is that whilst I accept that postoperative adjustments are inevitable I.e lifting track, fundamental changes such as cutting up baseboards etc. to realign point controls is gut-wrenching and narrows my narrow modelling window further. So, whilst I’m not ruling it out, I’m prepared to resort to index finger operation, safe in the knowledge that experienced exhibitors such as yourself are exponents of the art, and in my case, true train-set fashion;)

    At the end of it all, I agree that it’s all about enjoyment. And enjoying it, I am. Immensely.

    Thanks for dropping by, Rob, and for your support. Oh, and thanks for liking my shed. Here’s hoping I can maintain your interest.


  20. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    No need for an apology, Matt; really grateful for your interest.

    The awning is the Ratio product from Derails 516 Ratio OO gauge plastic Station Valecing & Notice boards An excellent service btw.

    It’s not quite as accurate as the original LCUT valance, but that came with the caution ‘do not saturate’; as I use washes as part of my weathering it rather struck a chord. And with me, Murphy’s always applies, hence the replacement.

    Thanks for the compliment.