Marchford Creek

Discussion in 'Entries' started by Bullhead, 7 February 2018.

  1. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    I’m very pleased to report that track painting is complete! It seemed to take forever but in truth, I have not had very much modelling time available over the last few weeks.

    Here are the results…
    After stage 1…

    Stage 2…


    And stage 3, the all-important brown wash and a rub over of the rail tops. I’m quite pleased with the results achieved. The next major task is ballasting.


    Just started. A long way to go! The ballast here is from Green scene. I’ve collected a number of different colours and textures from various sources to allow for some variation.

    In between painting rails, I’ve been working on one or two sub-projects such as this sign.


    It consists of an etch from MSE (Wizard models) soldered to a length of rail with 0.3mm wire to represent bolts. Characteristically, the SR has made use of their predecessor’s signage by repainting to obscure the L,& and W characters. In such a sleepy backwater as this, nearing the end of its days, nobody has considered a BR replacement.
  2. NHY 581

    NHY 581 Western Thunderer

    Lovely job on the sign. I use the same zort of thing from Roger Smith.

    Devil to paint but very rewarding.

    Rob 20191006_082753-01.jpeg 20180414_082003-01.jpeg
    john lewsey, mpr-s4, Bullhead and 6 others like this.
  3. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Hello All,

    Here is the latest update from Marchford Creek. Ballasting is done! It seemed to take forever but eventually was completed. I found it more effective to add the dry ballast to wet glue rather than the other way round. PVA was slightly diluted and a tiny drop of washing up liquid added. The mixture needs to be thick enough to stay where it is put but thin enough to allow rapid wetting of the ballast particles. Dispensing the ballast from the corner of a small plastic box by tapping lightly gave controllable and precise placement and minimised wastage.

    Ballast complete!

    And after painting.

    Having reached this significant milestone, I couldn’t resist setting the layout up with buildings and the various additions I’ve been working on for a few pictures.













    These pictures have proved useful in setting out a (long) list of improvements and further tasks. Near the top of the list is vegetation so work has started on learning to use static grass. First attempts were promising but not worthy of recording in these pages. Look out for updates soon!.

    Attached Files:

    mpr-s4, spikey faz, Brocp and 9 others like this.
  4. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Hi all,

    Not a lot of progress has been made recently, but I am working on a number of small detail projects, which can be fitted in to short bursts of free time. One such is this platform luggage trolley. It is a LSWR type constructed from a Southwark Bridge models kit from Roxey Mouldings. It seemed reasonable that such an item might be found lying around at Marchford Creek in my chosen timeframe.

    The kit contains etches to make two trolleys. The etching is very sharp which is essential with parts so small. In all, 15 components go together to make up the unit. The wheels consist of three layers soldered together and the blocks supporting the axle are each laminated from two parts. These can be tinned on the fret and then jigged on a suitably sized lightly oiled wire. Other parts were carefully tinned before being jigged on thick card using dressmakers’ pins for location. It is fortunate that some spares are included on the fret as a couple of bits pinged off into the distance before they could be secured!

    Altogether, a very fiddly but rewarding kit.




  5. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Hello All,

    More miniature mayhem has been going on at Marchford Creek over the last couple of weeks. From an early stage, I’d intended to include some sort of diesel refuelling paraphernalia. This was to take the form of a rectangular steel tank supported on a rickety pile of discarded sleepers. When I mocked this up on the layout, it just looked too big so further thought was applied.

    I settled on the idea that diesel loco refuelling would be accomplished using a hand operated rotary pump to transfer fuel from 45 Gallon steel drums. After consulting some information on the pumps, I had an idea how to scratch build one.

    First, I cut a piece of 3.2mm o/d brass tube for the pump body and drilled an off-centre hole to take 0.8mm brass wire for the vertical tube and the outlet.

    Next, some 0.4mm wire was bent to shape to form the operating handle, leaving the spindle over length. The pump body and tube assembly was taped to a well-used offcut of ply. A 0.4mm hole was drilled in the ply at the centre of the pump body to receive the over-length spindle.

    The centre section was filled with solder to complete construction.

    After shaping and trimming the pipes and removing the excess spindle length, the unit was complete.

    Pump body and handle were painted a red oxide shade and the tube was finished with some Railmatch oily steel somewhat dirtied. The smallest size of heat shrink tube I could find in my stock was pressed into service for a hose. Some thin brass wire was inserted before shrinking to facilitate bending the finished hose to shape.

    When deployed on a Ratio plastic drum, the pump unit looked much too large. A quick measure showed the drum to be significantly under scale for a standard 45 Gal unit, which should scale at 12.3mm high and 7.5mm diameter in 4mm scale.

    These steel drums were, and still are, manufactured in a variety of sizes so there is nothing necessarily wrong with the kit offering. I will need to source or make suitably sized models for the 45 Gal version.
    Lyndhurstman, Alan, Simpas and 4 others like this.
  6. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Hello everyone,

    The next mini project to be completed illustrated the value of feedback from others in taking one’s modelling to a higher standard. Western Thunder members include many with ridiculous amounts of modelling talent and proper in-depth knowledge on a vast range of subjects. Apart from that depth of resource, a second opinion can be very useful to a lone modeller. When I mentioned in a post that point rodding was on the agenda and noted that my intention was to use a plastic offering, it was gently pointed out to me that the product I intended to use was seriously overscale (thanks Adam, @AJC). This prompted me to do a bit of reading on the subject and learn more about the nature of rodding and the different configurations used. The Scalefour society have a useful document on the subject here.

    A review of etched 4mm scale products available led to the purchase of LSWR rodding stools and cranks by Southwark Bridge Models from Roxey Mouldings. The rodding itself is 0.4mm brass wire. Fortunately, Marchford Creek is a location where only one turnout requires rodding and there is only a very short run from the ground frame. A length of rodding with two stools and a crank is all that is required.

    The etches are very fine and the individual parts for the stools are almost invisible!

    Construction in progress – this must be one of the simplest rodding installations ever!

    The complete assembly.

    Here compared with the Wills offering. The plastic version is a little chunky to say the least.

    And after painting, ready for installation. The stools and crank have been mounted on small wooden blocks to bring them to the correct height.

    On the layout together with the completed lever frame. At this point just posed in position. There is a great deal more scenic development to be done. I was very tempted to fit a facing point lock but decided that could not possibly be justified at a goods only location. The second lever on the frame is therefore spare and painted white. The history now suggests that it was once used to operate a gate-release mechanism, of which more anon.
    Lyndhurstman, ChrisM, Alan and 9 others like this.
  7. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    That's much better - I have some of those frets, too and reason to use them, in time. Fiddly!

    Bullhead likes this.
  8. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Hello all,

    It has greatly surprised me that development of scenic items is so enjoyable! This is a welcome and unexpected bonus as the Marchford Creek project slowly but surely develops.

    For my next task, attention turned to a gate post. The history of Marchford Creek suggests that the rail entrance to the yard was once protected by a gate, released from the adjacent lever frame to allow workings from the “main line” to enter and leave. The gate itself and one of the posts have long since disappeared but the other post remains intact after many years of disuse.

    The material chosen for the post is 3.2mm square section styrene, scaling to about 9½ inches in 4mm scale, a reasonable size for a gate of this size.

    upload_2020-8-21_13-4-19.png upload_2020-8-21_13-4-26.png
    Inspiration: two old farm gateposts on a regular walking route near home. One is round in section and the other square.

    Styrene cut to size.

    The surface was distressed using a triangular scraper and wire brush to produce a gnarly, open grain, old timber look. After painting black and dry brushing with light grey, this shows up quite well.

    Further dry brushing with grey, brown and green shades and a little white to suggest remnants of paint produced this result.

    Finally, a couple of brass wire hinges were cyano glued in pre-drilled holes and painted in dark rusty shades with a bit of staining to the timber below each hinge.

    Attached Files:

    Ian Smith, woolv, Gilbert and 11 others like this.
  9. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    I like that very much.

    If I tried enough, I hope I’d eventually master the skill.

    I wish I had the patience.

    and an elvish lifespan...
    Bullhead likes this.
  10. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Thanks Simon. I have found it very enjoyable to do these small tasks. The writings of Martyn Welch and Gordon Gravett have been very instructive.
    Pencarrow and simond like this.
  11. Pencarrow

    Pencarrow Western Thunderer

    Love a bit of plasticard abuse...

    mpr-s4, woolv, Alan and 6 others like this.
  12. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    The Marchford Creek site is home to many flammable, explosive and toxic chemicals. Even in the more laid-back era portrayed in the model, long before formalised safety and regulatory systems became the norm, an emergency alarm system would be high on the list of essentials.

    The only outward sign of the alarm system is an electric bell mounted on the outside wall of the foreman’s office. This may well have a secondary use as a repeater for the office telephone. The bell is of suitable stature to give an audible warning of impending doom right across the yard area.

    A bit of gentle internet research gave some background on rough dimensions and designs before modelling commenced.

    Two methods of construction were considered; styrene (quick and easy) or brass (less quick, less easy but more robust). I may have neglected to mention that last Christmas, I came by a small Proxxon milling machine. The choice of brass construction for my bell gave a good excuse to give it some more work.

    3mm square brass was used as the basis of the model. This was milled out to form the basic shape of the frame and the housing. The housing was reduced in height and shaped to give a more pleasing look.


    The bell itself was formed by filing down some 3mm diameter brass rod in the drill to give the required curvature, sawing off the resulting dome and soldering it to the base. A 0.4mm hole was drilled in the frame and a piece of wire soldered in and bent to shape to form the clapper.


    Some more 0.4mm wire was bent to shape to represent the conduit and two small brackets formed from NS strip and soldered on.

    Finally, the unit was painted in a suitable shade of red and weathered using enamels before fitting to the building wall.



    Attached Files:

  13. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Another recent mini project to produce more detail bits for Marchford Creek was this wheelbarrow, by Southwark Bridge Models from Roxey Mouldings. As with other examples from the SBM range, the etches are very neat and crisp.

    In all, 26 parts make up the tiny model. The build tested my skills and patience, both of which were found wanting.
    I used my 25W Antex iron with Carr’s Speedy solder and red flux throughout. This combination works well for me unlike 145 solder, which I find more difficult to use. It is necessary to clean the work thoroughly at the end of each session to remove flux residues. I use a low residue alkaline detergent in warm water followed by a thorough rinse.


    The finished model was painted using various enamels. Remnants of the original green paint can be seen in some areas and all the metal parts are well rusted.

  14. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Cor! Ivan's designs always have the air of having been shrunk from 7mm (not the case, it's just that he was meticulous and blessed with astonishing soldering technique). That said they always go together.

    Bullhead likes this.
  15. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Hello All,

    It has been far too long since my last post but here, at last, is an update.

    A number of factors have conspired to limit modelling time in the past months. Chief amongst these is work but domestic projects have also impinged.

    Some development work on the layout itself has continued at a glacial pace and a few repairs have been completed.

    Three items needed attention to get them working correctly. The first was a broken solder joint on one of the single slip tie bars. This was easily remedied with some cleaning up of the joint area, judicious application of clamps and gauges to keep everything in place and a quick touch with a hot iron.

    Long term readers may remember the system of optoelectronic detectors used on the traverser to indicate occupied storage positions to the operator. One of these ceased to function correctly. After some detective work the fault was traced back to a bad connection on one of the circuit boards. Again, a good clean and application of heat and solder fixed the problem.

    The final issue was with one of the turnout operating mechanisms. The mech in question had been working fine but after a period of time, was not providing sufficient throw to move the blades completely. This particular unit operates differently from the others on the layout in that drive is provided to one end of an extended tie bar rather than to the centre point. This method of working was adopted to enable mounting of the point motor in a sensible place. With all the design work that was carried out in advance of building, I should have spotted the error. it was found that a few bits of loose material had got into the limited space around the moving parts. Once this was cleared out and a slightly thicker operating wire substituted in the Tortoise motor, everything worked well again.

    Vegetation has finally made an appearance at Marchford Creek after months of avoidance. For the most part everything has gone well in this endeavour. I have used various lengths and shades of static grass together with ground foam, rubberised horsehair and scatters. The techniques used came from Gordon Gravett’s excellent book and other published sources.

    A few minor bits and pieces of development work have been completed. In order to enhance the night mode lighting, connectors have been fitted to the buildings which are fitted with lights. These make it easy to disconnect the power supply when removing buildings from the layout. The units used are from the Molex kk254 series, which can be had from a number of electronics suppliers. The transfer sheds have been fitted with exterior lights sourced from Layouts-4-u. I had intended to scratch build this but struggled to form a convincing shape for the shade. In line variable resistors have been added to these installations to allow adjustment of light intensity.

    The shed has also gained a drain cover at the base of the downpipe. This was formed from a Wizard Models etch.

    A batch of point levers has been made up from Shire scenes etches and painted ready to fit.

    My first sprung wagon is almost complete! The underframe (Rumney Models) glides silkily through my indifferent point work despite not yet being weighted to the required 50g. The body and container (Parkside) are painted and all the parts for fixing the two together are to hand. These comprise shackles, chain links and some spring units to be formed from fine brass tube. Paul Bartlett’s online wagon resource was invaluable for getting an understanding of the details for this.

    Two other wagon kits are in build using different springing units for comparison. More on this will follow.

    A long-planned project to make a new version of my Sprat and Winkle coupling jig has been completed. While the MK1 version (previously described in these pages) performed adequately, it was rather crude in its construction. Acquisition of my Proxxon mini mill last year meant I could construct a more sophisticated replacement. This is s useful bit of kit for consistent assembly of couplers.

    My High Level Hudswell Clarke loco build has finally made it to the paint shop after many months in the drawer followed by some shenanigans with electronics. Again, some more details will follow.

    Finally, here are a few images showing the layout as it currently stands. There is still a great deal to do on scenic development but the presence of some grass and a few weeds and bushes has made a big difference.





    Pencarrow, AJC, Simpas and 8 others like this.
  16. Simpas

    Simpas Western Thunderer

    Little things mean a lot - I'm tickled by the drain grate this time..!

    Mick S.
    Bullhead likes this.