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Author Topic: A layout from someone who has had their fingers burnt once  (Read 77932 times)

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ParkeNd

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Re: A layout from someone who has had their fingers burnt once
« Reply #45 on: February 06, 2014, 12:23:32 AM »
I know I am deliberately holding back on publishing new photos of my own layout's progress (just have a couple of things I want to do on modules 1 and 2) but with the scenery I spend quite a bit of time looking at it at eye level before I start something new. Doing this and breaking down the work into small pieces has allowed me to confidently tackle the next small job with the certain knowledge that what comes after it I haven't a clue how to do - but I don't have to worry about that today.

Looking at your meticulous work on the mimic panel I am sure you are already working like this and thus haven't anything to fear about the scenery.

Whilst still working I had long realised that I didn't enjoy anything that didn't scare the life out of me when I first contemplated it. Anything I could see my way through from Day 1 bored me sideways.

Offline Bob Wild

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Well, I've just about finished the scenery. Very interesting laying down various types of scatter, grass and stuff. I have copied the Woodland Scenics tutorial quite unashamedly which suggests the techniques and different types of materials to use. (unfortunately my computer skills don't allow me to add the link, but if you go to You Tube and search for "Woodland Scenics Groundcover" you'll find the example I used. I'm a bit ashamed of this cos I used to work for a computer company and thought I knew about these things. But Aeva media is new to me.). Anyway, it was moderately successful, but in the process I learnt two invaluable lessons:
  • Cover your track with masking tape. I didn't and had to spend ages scraping bits of grass from between the sleepers.
  • Make sure any embankment is clear from the track. After building mine I found that it fouled on an engine. The result was that I had to cut away the material and insert a retaining wall to allow sufficient clearance between the track and embankment. Fortunately it didn't take as long as I thought it would and looks quite good in the end. I'd really like to know the best way to weather Scalescenes stone sheets - that would look really cool. If I'd thought about the problem earlier it would have been obvious. But it's too tempting to rush into things without planning properly! (Just what I used to say to the lads)
I splashed out (excuse the pun) on a Woodlands Scenics sprayer for the adhesive. This is brilliant compared with the way I used to apply diluted PVA with a brush on my previous layout. Thoroughly recommend this simple bit of kit. It does seem do have a very fine spray compared with my wife's garden spray.

Pleased to say that I have now built a retaining wall to move the embankment away from the track and all my trains now run smoothly and elegantly round the track. And it didn't take as long as I feared.

So, now on to the ballasting of this phase which I'm quite looking forward to - then I'll post some photos for you to suggest any faults or improvements I can make.

ParkeNd

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Re: A layout from someone who has had their fingers burnt once
« Reply #47 on: February 14, 2014, 11:58:00 PM »
Glad you sorted the locos fouling the embankment quicker than you thought. The ballasting is not as bad to do as I had feared it would be - all that nice track vandalised with PVA and grit!! You may recall I started with a syringe - bad move since every now and then it would send great blasts of PVA out and make holes in the ballasting. An eye dropper begged from Boots was perfect. Also found it was better to level out the ballast with fingers rather than a brush which tended to flick it about. Working in 6" sections it took me about 2 weeks to ballast. Although the glued ballast looked and felt dry the next day it continued to dry and lighten for about 3 or 4 days. For about a month then I kept picking up specs of stray ballast on a wetted fingertip - but now it's totally stable. Have fun and how about a few photos ?

Offline Bob Wild

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Re: A layout from someone who has had their fingers burnt once
« Reply #48 on: February 17, 2014, 11:23:59 AM »
Well I thought it was about time to show my amateur attempts at scenery and ballasting, so here a couple of shots of part of phase 1:

(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)

You can see the retaining wall which now allows the trains to run through properly. Incidentally I was quite encouraged to find how strong the plaster mat seemed, and was quite rigid even after I had attacked it with a knife. That meant that all I had to do to fill the gap was to stuff in a load of shrubs etc, which made life easier.

I laid the ballast after the scenery and found it nearly impossible to stop stray bits from landing on the grass. I covered a lot with more grass, but as you can see there is still some work to do in order to clean it up. Any advice would be most appreciated. And I'm still wondering how to weather the scalescenes ashlar to make it look really dirty. As someone said earlier, "I like dirt".

Offline Bob Wild

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Re: A layout from someone who has had their fingers burnt once
« Reply #49 on: February 21, 2014, 03:00:41 PM »
Well,  almost finished the scenery and ballasting, so here's the progress on phase 1 to date:
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
I've nearly got rid of the ballast which strayed onto the grass.  I did this mainly by applying small dabs of green acrylic to the offending pieces. I note that close-up photographs can be very searching. You can still see quite a few on the last shot. Those were not really visible to the naked eye.

A few points I discovered when doing the ballast. On my previous disaster I used diluted PVA with a little washing up liquid applied with an eye dropper. The ballast spread all over the place before the surface tension broke down. So this time I tried Woodland Scenics cement applied with a sprayer. I found this didn't blow the ballast around too much, although as mentioned above there were still stray bits on the scenery. Also, it didn't seems to bond as tightly as the PVA. I found that I could clean up the sleepers with the judicious use of a finger. On my previous attempt I had to chip away quite fiercely on the sleepers. In view of the light adhesion, I am mindful to spray the whole lot with PVA once I am finally happy. The thought of bits of ballast breaking loose near my engines fills me with dread, especially as three small boys love to get their hands on my layout. Has anyone else any thoughts on this.

Anyway, I'm going to move to the other end of the layout for Phase 2. This will include building the station area, filling in the gap between the two levels with some arches and the tunnel entrance. I will need to build the station first in order to get the level right for the road side surface. Let's see how it goes.

ParkeNd

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Re: A layout from someone who has had their fingers burnt once
« Reply #50 on: February 21, 2014, 03:41:48 PM »
Looks good Bob. Thanks for showing the pictures. By working in Phases you have already got a result on part of the  layout. I wouldn't mind betting when ballasting was done with a shovel rather than one of these Eddy Stobart type machines they got ballast in the grass all the time.

Don't worry about the photos showing bits your eyes don't see. Photography is one of my other hobbies and I was appalled when I first saw pictures of my layout attempt courtesy of a full frame Nikon and a pro series lens. Its what you can see with your eyes when it's running that counts.

Look forward to seeing more photos when you are ready.

Offline Bob Wild

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Re: A layout from someone who has had their fingers burnt once
« Reply #51 on: February 22, 2014, 11:28:36 AM »
Don't worry about the photos showing bits your eyes don't see.

Thanks, and yes, cameras can be very searching. The other problem I have is depth of field. I used to have a Nikon SLR which could be used manually. So with a large aperture and long exposure you could get a good depth of field in focus. But it hit the dust long ago and all I have now is an automatic compact. It's brilliant for normal use, but for close ups it is sadly lacking.

I'm pleased I took your advice and am doing my construction in phases. It's satisfying to see one part finished in a sensible period of time. So, on with the next phase now, and it will be slightly different - more buildings and less landscape.

ParkeNd

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Re: A layout from someone who has had their fingers burnt once
« Reply #52 on: February 23, 2014, 12:38:33 AM »
Have been thinking about you comments about taking photos Bob.

My other main hobby is photography but my layout photos have generally been poor. It seems to be a specialist field where we are tempted to get the camera as close as you might to a rose in the garden - but need about three feet of depth of field!!  Depth of field is dependent on viewpoint alone - the distance from camera to subject. So the last pictures I took I used a tripod and a wide angle zoom (24mm on full frame or 16mm if you use APS-C format) used F16 but stood back a bit further than the final picture I wanted. I focused about one third of the way into the picture I wanted, but still using autofocus. No flash. Then when I processed the picture in my photo editing software I cropped into the picture I really wanted. Admittedly I use a Nikon D700 full frame camera and this takes such clean and noise free pictures that it assists this approach. But it would still work quite well in APS-C too. The pictures were still nothing like Mr Nevards pictures using portable lights and all his experience - but they were much better.   

Strangely just pointing an iPhone 5 at the layout produces not bad pictures either - but in this case the minute sensor helps with apparent depth of field

Offline Bealman

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Re: A layout from someone who has had their fingers burnt once
« Reply #53 on: February 23, 2014, 01:48:33 AM »
It all looks fine to me,Bob - both the pics and the scenery.  :thumbsup:

George
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Bob Wild

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Re: A layout from someone who has had their fingers burnt once
« Reply #54 on: February 23, 2014, 11:12:07 AM »
Then when I processed the picture in my photo editing software I cropped into the picture I really wanted.

Aha, never thought about cropping - that sounds like a good dodge.

I went on a photography course at night school a few years ago. The instructor suggested that when you take a composition you should actually take at least three shots. One at the speed given by the exposure meter and then one at either side as well. That was quite expensive in the days before digital photography!

Offline Bob Wild

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Re: A layout from someone who has had their fingers burnt once
« Reply #55 on: March 02, 2014, 11:26:42 PM »
Still plodding on. Just about finished my station. All there is to do is to apply a couple of coats of clear varnish sealant. I'm dreading masking off all those little windows. Would you believe there are twenty two parts just to to make up the gents toilets - and here they are:
  • cubical roof cover layer
  • trough step cover layer
  • trough back cover layer
  • centre cubical wall cover layer
  • floor cover layer
  • side wall cover layer
  • link wall
  • entry wall cover layer
  • side wall coping
  • wall coping
  • entry wall coping
  • cubical door
  • floor base layer
  • internal back wall
  • trough step base layer
  • external back wall
  • trough back base layer
  • cubical roof base layer
  • side wall base layer
  • entry wall base layer
  • outer cubical wall
  • centre cubical wall base layer

I'll post a few photos when I've done the sealing.

And another thing - I nearly had a heart attack the other day when I was playing demonstrating my progress to my youngest grandson. All of a sudden all the trains stopped dead in their tracks (forgive the pun). That's most embarrassing in front of a really critical eye. There was nothing; rien, de nada, nowt. Anyway, a quick demo of my folding, lift up construction revealed the underside and would you believe it - there it was, staring me straight in the eye. A loose cable, flapping about instead of being the main power feed to the track. One minute and it was all rectified. Could have been a lot worse. Phew!!


Offline Bob Wild

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Re: A layout from someone who has had their fingers burnt once
« Reply #56 on: March 04, 2014, 10:32:27 AM »
Here's a couple of pics of the finished station and platform. Well on with the retaining wall arches and tunnel entrance. Then they can all be fixed down and landscaped:

(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)

It's been quite interesting doing this build. I like the blue curtains. My first attempt at a Scalescenes model in N-gauge, and I've learnt quite a few things in the process.

Offline Pengi

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Re: A layout from someone who has had their fingers burnt once
« Reply #57 on: March 04, 2014, 10:38:02 AM »
You have done a great piece of work there :thumbsup: - especially as it was your first attempt in N with Scalescenes.
Just one Pendolino, give it to me, a beautiful train, from Italy

Offline ngauger

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Re: A layout from someone who has had their fingers burnt once
« Reply #58 on: March 04, 2014, 12:37:59 PM »
That's a very nicely constructed layout you have there Bob.  I too am a huge fan of Scalescenes products, including the convenient stuff for scratch-builders as well!  I particulary like the way you have fabricated the base, and having it lift up is a real winner (if your back is anything as awful as mine is!)  Mine is a fixed layout, so not an option for me, so I have struggled on with the wiring.
Your balasting work is also very good, Are you planning any weathering?  I personally like these touches, I feel they add grist to the mills, after all railways are dirty places! 

Anyhow it's all a learning curve for us mortals is it not?

Cheers, and keep up the good work

Andy
LNWR & Midland Railway Company
Likes: 'Stuff that works'

ParkeNd

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Re: A layout from someone who has had their fingers burnt once
« Reply #59 on: March 04, 2014, 12:48:11 PM »
Nice neat station building Bob. Well done.

 

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