4mm Life in a Northern Town - Testing, testing ...

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by Neil, 18 August 2016.

  1. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    I know that I'm not the fastest worker in the world but I'm surprised that it's been more than a fortnight since I last posted progress on the coal drops. Admittedly in the meantime I've tidied up and reorganised my playroom/workshop but that only took a day and a half.

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    However no one comes here to look at photos of housekeeping so here are a few shots of progress with the coal drops. You'll see here that I finished cladding all the piers, have added capping strips to the top, floored the bays with setts and got busy with the Humbrols.

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    Next I carved sponge rubber into mound like shapes and sloshed black ink over what would become the visible faces. Here are the blobs drying out.

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    The blobs were coated in glue (UHU) and covered in several different grades of crushed coal. The mounds were themselves glued into the bays and the edges blended in with loose coal glued into place.

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    This afternoon I've pinned the rails into place on top of the piers. Still to do is the planked decking, clear of the four foot. Though there's still a bit to do I'm happy to have passed the half way stage by a comfortable margin.

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  2. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    The coal drop build is coming to an end. All that is left to do is to paint and weather the deck and railings. The decking is a laminate of plasticard, 30 thou for the inner foundation layer, cut to be a loose fit between the rails and notched to avoid the pin heads.

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    Underneath this short sections of 20 thou sit between the piers.

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    On top 2mm planked plasticard 20 thou thick is cut to be a snug fit between the rails.

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    The railings are Ratio items with the posts trimmed level with the top rail to better capture the character of the real thing. Even so they're far from an exact match but they do look the part.

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    The grey marks on the posts show where I butt joined three lengths to give the long length I required. I cut and filed end posts in half to do this, a bit of a fiddle but the only way to make a strong join. Though not yet fully finished I'm already pleased with the way patches of light and shade are cast by the structure.

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  3. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Yesterday I temporarily installed the coal drops on Northern Town ready for the evening's operating session; a roughly monthly event more correctly described as mates dicking about with trains. However in amongst the Shay and EM1 purposeful shunting took place, nothing fell off and no hoppers were punted off the end of the drops. This morning when peace and quiet had returned I took the camera out to the garage and took a couple of snaps.

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  4. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    Wot! no photos of the Shay and EM1 :oops: having fun. :)
    Neil and Rob R like this.
  5. Rob R

    Rob R Western Thunderer

    You have just said what everybody else was thinking.. :)
    john lewsey and Neil like this.
  6. MartinWales

    MartinWales Western Thunderer

    Bit of subsidence there, old chap..................!!
  7. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Given the unsettling times it's no bad thing to try and find silver linings. Being in lockdown at home has meant less time gadding about and more time at the workbench. So this week I've been repurposing the soup factory I built for the Great Model Railway Challenge into the ice cream factory it was always intended to be. The real life example from York appears a couple of pages ago and if you can be bothered to click back you'll see that it's signwrtten on the front for the then owners Capaldi. I'm sticking with the same style to maintain the visual likeness but I've named it after my mate Charles who's of Italian parentage.

    A lot of masking and painting has been involved as I wanted the imperfections of weathered signwriting. Transfers or stuck on labels looking too clinical.

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    The while band and black (dark grey really) borders were straightforward enough. The lettering called for some tricky work with stencils.

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    I'm part way through cutting stencils for the much smaller panels of lettering at the end. Fiddly is an understatement.
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  8. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    .... and the next one of the production line.

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  9. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    The taxi office looks too clean, too garish in the above photo. No matter as it was always going to be weathered down or dirtied up. Here's a pic taken after weathering and a touch more signage was applied.

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  10. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    The last of my GMRC building to undergo tarting up is the part finished structure seen behind the taxi office above. Over the last couple of weeks it's had some proper tiles fixed in place, gutters added and I've finally got round to providing the openings in the front with doors.

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    Once again I cut out stencils for lettering the walls, which when dry was sanded back to a distressed and peeling finish. This was then topped off with a coat of filth.

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    Progress on railway stuff is slowing now as the good weather has tempted me out into the garden. Latest work site is the end of Rushby Acres, instilling some degree of control into a previously unruly patch of land.

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  11. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    A couple of months on and the mother nature, with a little help, has started to repair the scars.

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    Unfortunately this last week the weather has been less pleasant than when the photo was taken so outdoor work has slowed down and I've started to think about the undeveloped side of Northern Town. Before we look at that there's some catching up to be done. Even in full garden mode I've managed to do bits and pieces on the layout, all aimed at replacing the temporary wiring with neater, permanent stuff. This included the installation and wiring up of point motors for the yard throat, those points which I imagine would be controlled by the box.

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    I hate working underneath baseboards so point motors and all the connections are surface mounted, the only under board bits are the cable runs which break surface to connect up.

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    Disguises have been planned for all six motors and associated microswitches.

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    The choc-bloc junctions will be covered by removable chunks of scenery.

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    All that lies underneath.

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    All the point motor wiring ends up at an old Triang lever frame.

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    Signalling diagram on the divider between layout and fiddle yard.

    Now for the light railway which up till now had been planned from the exchange sidings, past it's loco depot but no further. At first I fiddled around with track, trains and some buildings on the undeveloped side of the layout.

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    Though everything fitted, it didn't really do it for me. When this happens I know to walk away and not try to force the issue. A day later I had another go taking much of the pointwork out and everything seemed to just fall into place.

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    Simplifying has become a standard planning tactic for me when my first try doesn't satisfy; it pretty much works every time. That everything easily drops into place is a good indicator that I've got things right. All I need now is some good weather so I can take the workmate outside and start work on the raised trackbed at this side of the layout.
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  12. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Today I've concentrated on the factory in the background of the above photo where the little yellow shunter lurks. It was just mocked up with odd bits of track so today I've been sorting out the permanent permanent way. First up was to convert a set track Y point to a live frog version and then match up the set track curves that abut it to the shortened V. Whilst the tools were out all the necessary wire tails were soldered to the underneath of the formation.

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    The photo should illustrate 'what I done' but as ever I couldn't resist getting some trains out to gain some insight into the final look of this area.

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  13. ceejaydee

    ceejaydee Western Thunderer

    I've always liked those rails that go off the edge of the board or in your case into the background taking the miniature world beyond the confines of the physical board.
    Jon Gwinnett likes this.
  14. Jon Gwinnett

    Jon Gwinnett Western Thunderer

    Something that seems to be quite common on US track plans, but perhaps less frequently seen here. I agree that to my mind it helps establish the world “beyond the picture”.
    ceejaydee likes this.
  15. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    .... in the sunshine.

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    Maybe we need to go back a step or two. I have been able to exploit the good weather because the factory sidings have been built on a plywood sub board. Because I wanted inset tracks in the factory yard I knew I needed a solid base and because it is in an awkward to reach corner of the layout I knew I wanted to be able to work on this section away from the layout.

    Above you can see that I'm part way through applying the first layer of air dry clay just up to the sleeper tops. I had some spare red in stock so used this saving the white for the final layer. White was chosen as the surface is to be finished as concrete and if scuffs made during track cleaning will not stand out too badly.

    Below are a couple of earlier photos of the sub base propped up in position on the layout. Since then I've framed the ply, tidied up the supports and fixed them in place so that once all the awkward stuff is done the board can be screwed down in place.

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  16. Jon Gwinnett

    Jon Gwinnett Western Thunderer

    Splendid as ever. Your scene compostion always gives such a natural and atmospheric look, a real joy.
  17. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Many thanks for all the kind complements.

    Today I fancied a change from clay, too wet to work outside anyway, so I broke out the plastic sheet and strip to knock up a poster hoarding for Northern Town. I've already made the poster so the size was fixed and though I could find loads of photos of the front I've struggled to get more than partial views of the rear. I figure everyone else will be in the same boat so I've just gone ahead with what I thought looked reasonable. In justification I've an idea that rather than follow a standard design local builders would put something up based on site and available materials.

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  18. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Now painted and with a poster applied.

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    I cut the home produced poster into twelve to try and replicate the look of a slightly mismatched application. It looks better than it does in the photos but I think I need to finesse the edges some.
    Geoff, jonte, simond and 2 others like this.
  19. Jon Gwinnett

    Jon Gwinnett Western Thunderer

    Might be too late to suggest it, but might it be possible to sand the paper thinner using some very fine abrasive? Mind you, I’m still coming to terms with Scotch Whisky from Cheshire, I’m not sure my palate is ready for that ;)
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  20. John Duffy

    John Duffy Western Thunderer

    Which of course it cannot be, as it could not legally be described as Scotch and would need to be referred to as whiskey.
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