Friday, 18 November 2016

Sandy Shores - Rock Armour & Landing Jetty

It seems the SSLR (Sandy Shores Light Railway) has been put to good use building up sea defences today, although some don't seem as keen to work!

In reality, this is just a test at the moment. Old DAS clay that had already semi-hardened was broken up into pieces. It's difficult trying to gauge how big the rocks need to be, but as it seems to vary a lot, I'm happy with what I have thus far. The scene above reminds me of the Holyhead Breakwater railway, with 2 huge slabs of limestone on a conflat wagon. I guess this is about as close as I can get with this being narrow gauge!

It also has reminded me that I am still yet to pluck up the courage to paint these flat wagons (designed for me by Mark Greenwood) and make up some Greenwich couplings. I found the couplings today and I think I'll put it off until just before I plan to exhibit the layout!

Anyway, the rock armour will definitely need small stones added underneath (I'll probably use ballast, but we'll see), as well as the fact that the boulders themselves will need burying slightly into the sand. And then of course, I will need to brave it and experiment with paint!

Another job has been carried out over the last couple days, and that is the landing jetty on the extreme right side of the scenic section. The eager-eyed amongst you may well have noticed the beginning of an outlet pipe taking shape under the landing jetty. You can't really see it from here, but I have scribed a semi-circle stone lintel above it too.

Meanwhile, Mr Remmington has leapt on the chance of the new fishing spot, with his tiny fishing rod...he really should get a new one!

And a final overall view of the current state of this end of the layout. You'll notice I've been playing around with trees again - I'm hoping a few trees will be all I need to hide the scenic exit. We'll see!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Sandy Shores - Quay - Part 2

Work has continued over the past few days adding clay to the quay area. I've lost track of how many hours I've spent scribing, but I know the section to the right of the track in the photo below took 2 hours today (and I now have a sore neck to prove it!). I'm happy with what I did today, but not what I did in previous days. Note the section to the immediate left of the track - it is obvious that I just scribed the whole length and not individual stones.

I think it was Daniel who mentioned this on someone else's layout thread (but I forget who's), and now I've noticed it, I can't unsee it! I also scribed it in a grid shape rather than overlapping every course. Whilst there are prototypes for this, it just looks too neat.

So I'm not sure exactly how to continue. I could potentially try sanding the left side down and rescribing, but that may mean having to add another thin layer of clay.

The other thing I've made a start on is the wooden landing jetty. This is to cover up the join between board and backscene. I've made it narrower than I was originally planning so that there is definitely enough clearance for small boats as seen below. The next job is to finish the jetty supports and the quay wall timbers, and paint them all.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Sandy Shores - Quay - Part 1

Since I can't work on painting the track (and thus also ballasting), I turned my attention to the quay area. Another one of those simple but tedious jobs I'm afraid! Time to roll out some DAS clay and start scribing...

Whether I scribe whilst the clay is still "wet" or wait until it has dried completely depends on the texture I want from the clay. If I'm after neat and non-rounded brick courses I will scribe it when dry. If on the other hand I am going to make cobbled or other rough stone surfaces I will scribe it whilst wet. Another reason to scribe wet is for curved walls - it is far easier to scribe whilst the clay is still flat in this scenario.

Anyway, an hour later we have the breakwater scribed. Note I am still yet to properly clad the surface of the breakwater - this will be done when all the walls are in place.

As you may have noticed I also temporarily assembled the backscene in place to make photography a little easier! You might just be able to make out that two of the three bits of walling around the quay have been made. The final bit will need to wait until I've installed the steps.

A pretty small update, but it is progress nonetheless!

Friday, 4 November 2016

Sandy Shores - Platform Maintenance

Despite the cold room in which the layout is set up in, I donned a hat and fingerless gloves to continue working on the platform and surrounding area. It has mainly been a day of painting as all the retaining walls have been painted. Whilst the paints were out I also made up the supports for the grounded carriage base. Unlike all the other wood on the layout, I decided to distress it before painting. You'll hopefully just be able to work out the lines I've scraped into the wood and the worn edges in places. Although pretty much all of this will eventually be hidden under the carriage, it was still worth doing in my opinion - not least because you never know where a camera will be pointed at the layout!

I also put the first layer of paint on the engine shed. I've been meaning to do this for well over a year - remember this is the same engine shed from Old AGWI Rd.! I know the wood looks extremely dark in the photos, but rest assured I will lighten it once I buy some light grey paint which I hope will help make it look slightly more sunbleached. The same goes for a lot of the wooden structures on the layout.

The next step is to apply sand to the immediate area to help bed in the retaining walls. Once that is done, and the extra layer of sand is added to the dunes, it should look a lot neater. The bokeh in the photos below helps to hide a multitude of messy gaps which will hopefully be filled later!

You may also have noticed that I've tried to replicate some pretty rusted corrugated iron on the shelter. I'm actually really happy with how this has turned out given that all I used were the same colours I used for weathering the wood (just in different proportions). Before any of you say "it looks far too bright!", I would have to disagree - going back to my trip to the IOW, there was an extremely bright rusted roof by the ferry terminal in Cowes. It was even brighter than I've shown here. As models need to be toned down a little, I feel the result I've achieved is actually not too bad considering.

Edit:For comparison, here is the photo of the roof in Cowes:

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Sandy Shores - Keeping the sand at bay!

Sandy Shores definitely lives up to its name! There's certainly no shortage of sand, and more is being added all the time. I've almost got full coverage on the layout now, with the exception of the dunes behind the platform. The reason for this is I realised that something was missing here.

As the only access to the platform is from the dunes, I figured the passengers would need a more substantial pathway to walk along than bare sand. And given the delicate nature of sand dunes, even irregular foot passage will cause damage. So I've started building a boardwalk from the backscene to the platform. All built using good old lollipop sticks.

Due to the difference in height, stairs were needed from the platform. I was going to add handrails to the path as well, but in the end I chose not to because:
1) The path is at ground level
2) The handrails would probably be damaged every time I took off the backscene board.

You'll also note I've continued to fabricate retaining walls from old railway sleepers. These will obviously need painting before being glued into place. Once these are in I can finish adding the sand to the dunes.

I've also cut the platform edge back because there wasn't enough clearance for stock to pass through.

I'm now much less concerned with the sand dunes - they are looking a lot better now that there are few gaps with which to see the plaster through.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Sandy Shores - More sand cometh

I've spent many hours painting the rail sides and I'm pleased to say the process has been completed. Once the sleepers have been painted I will go over any bits that I've missed (it turns out that cameras are very good at picking up bits you have missed!). I've also carried on covering the dunes/beach with sand. This is also a long process and not as easy as you would think as the sand doesn't like to stay on slopes very much. I'll have to remove everything that is loose on the layout and tip it on its side in order to cover up all the bare patches. One tool that has come in handy is an eyedropper - with care this makes it easier not to displace sand when applying the 50/50 PVA & water solution. I also add a bit of washing up liquid as you would do when ballasting track.

I'm really hoping that once the bare bits of painted plaster are covered over, the layout will look a little more realistic. I've loosely placed some grass tufts to help give a feel to what the dunes will end up like. Of course the final product will have much more of it. I'm still a little worried that the sand will look too uniform when I'm done. Perhaps the grass tufts will help mitigate this. If not I may have to resort back to painting over the sand!

Monday, 24 October 2016

Sandy Shores, Sandy Feet!

Almost all of the retaining walls that keep the sandy dunes from spilling onto the track or into structures are built. The only exception being behind the station shelter. The photo below shows two of these old standard gauge sleeper built walls - one propping up the sand dune in the foreground, and one behind the water tower.

With that done, the time had come to bring the layout out of its snow covered hibernation, and into a summery state! Out came the external masonry paint and suddenly the dunes were much more obvious. I didn't take a photo of the transformation per se, by the time I had finished it was too dark to distinguish the golden yellow to the white plaster that still remains. I actually used a different paint from the type I used last time (seen on the left in the photo). The new paint is much closer to the colour of the play sand (you can just about see the new colour top right and all around the track in the photo below).

Realising the stark difference between the black sleepers and the colour of the new paint reminded me that I ought to try something that I've not done before - painting the sleepers and rails. A mix of gunmetal grey and brown stone from the Vallejo range was mixed together to form a colour suitable for the sleepers. This is the same shade (ish) that I use for weathering the wooden structures. The rails were painted just with straight brown stone. Using reference photos, it seems to be not too far from prototypical colours. Although even that varies a lot! Anyway just doing the 8 sleepers in the photo below took forever, so this is going to be a labour of love to do the whole layout.

The next two photos were taken on my DSLR because I just couldn't get my ageing compact camera to play ball with the fading light. You'll notice that the dunes have had their first layer of play sand added. and unlike the test dune section I did, I don't think I'll bother painting over it. I'll just add another layer of sand on top to hid the gaps.

I'm hoping you might also have noticed that I've tried to replicate the weathering on old railway sleepers.If you look closely you can see the streaks of rust on the sleepers where the rails and chairs once were. I might also make slight holes to suggest where the bolts would have gone through.

The photo below shows all these components coming together - the sand dunes, the railway sleeper retaining walls, and the painted track. It has all made a huge difference!