Saturday, 1 October 2016

Sandy Shores - The Fiddle Yard - Part 3

Work has continued on the fiddle yard over the last couple of days. I decided that since the two existing bits of ply in the fiddle yard were not the right shape, and given that it would be easier to get everything at the same height if there were fewer pieces I decided to rebuild the fiddle yard out of one bit of ply. Therefore, a template was cut out of newspaper to get the right shape (although something thicker would've been better as it wouldn't have moved.

I also decided that since the turntable had moved further away from its original position I should cut off the existing entry trackbed and incorporate it into the new single ply piece:

After an hours worth of fettling the new ply top, it was time to fit it in place. I countersunk the screws (the photo below shows progress only part way through the operation), and made sure that it all fitted in place nicely including the lighting rig etc.

Now that I finally had something test-fitted in place, I turned my attention to the table. In the end I ditched the ply strips and screwed the lazy susan onto some left over bits of softwood. A washer was included otherwise the table would not be able to spin freely!

Next up was to test fit the table in place. Despite allowing for the slightly un-round shape of the table when marking out the ply top, it was still too snug. In the end I decided the best way to sand the table was to use a sanding attachment on the Dremel. In between showers of rain it was round at long last!

Apart from cutting out a few bits of copper clad board, that's about it for the last couple days. This does however mean that tomorrow, all being well, I can wire up the fiddle yard and maybe even get the wiper contacts in place ready for testing.

Exciting stuff!

Friday, 30 September 2016

Sandy Shores - Backscene - Part 2

Well, turns out the "annoying setbacks" from yesterday were actually very minor in the end. Sure it meant more work today, but it was easily rectified. I also stumbled upon a solution for holding the lighting rig and backscene in place without having to bolt it to the layout.

On the temporary legs the layout is sat on (from an N gauge project many years ago!), I noticed a metal L bracket and realised that it was the answer. Unfortunately it was a bit too short, but I realised I could just saw a notch into the lighting support. The assembly is shown below and should be self explanatory. It means I don't have to bolt and unbolt the whole set up making it easy to assemble/disassemble by myself. Everything just slots into place, no screwing in or putting on bolts needed (unlike my other layouts!).

With everything attached, this is how it all looks. It could be neater (my woodwork is not great it has to be said), but I'm happy enough with the result.

And finally for now, the photo that I promised yesterday. You can see how the softwood battens help keep the backscene in place without the need for any fixings. The hole on the left of the lighting rig support will be hidden by a small bit of dune, the scenic exit being hidden by foliage and trees. The softwood block on the left had to be removed and the polystyrene trimmed so that I could fit the lighting rig in (as mentioned yesterday). It's finally coming together now!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Sandy Shores - "Behind The Scenes" Work

It has been a bit of "two steps forward one step back" today. Whilst work has continued on the fiddle yard very slowly over the last 3 days (I've finally managed to centre the turntable at long last!), it occurred to me that I should sort out the locating blocks for the backscene before I get much further.

So off came the rear fascia, and I started adding some softwood battens in as shown below:

Whilst I had the fascia off, it was necessary to trim some bits off to allow the backscene to swap sides from the inside to the outside of it. I also took the opportunity to trim the bits that were too high around the sea and beach area. The result can be seen below:

With all that done, it was time to cut out the backscene and trial fit it:

Not too bad, but then I spotted a problem that needs fixing:

It's also worth noting the right hand side of the hole in the backscene above will need enlarging - stock is a bit tight on that side at the moment. I may also need to cut a chunk out of the lighting rig support for added clearance.

All in all, not bad progress, but there will need to be some rather annoying amendments made before I go any further.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Sandy Shores - Fiddle Yard - #1

As promised, work has continued on the fiddle yard today. The first job was to cut out and glue the necessary copper clad boards to the top surface of the turntable. You'll note a myriad of lines used which mark out the centre lines of the 3 tracks. There are also a few other excess lines. The 2 running horizontally in the image below show the minimum distance between the track centres.

Then it was time to start soldering the tracks into place. First up was the easiest one - the centre track. This was first soldered onto the centre piece of copper clad board, and the two ends followed soon after. Important to note are all the gaps cut in the copper clad boards to maintain electrical insulation between the various rails. Anyway, then it was time to do the same to the outer tracks - middle section first, then the outer sections. This meant that the curve should be relatively smooth throughout. Another thing I should mention is that I aimed to keep the rail straight for the first couple centimetres of each end - this should hopefully prevent any derailments.

I don't have a photo, but 12 bits of copper clad board were also put on the underside of the turntable which will form the electrical contact...eventually! I do have some springy steel but I might have to buy some phosphor bronze strip from somewhere. I didn't get any further than that, but the tracks all seem to line up nicely in initial testing. Before I go any further I need to sort out the approach and loco storage roads and lay them down onto something more substantial than the polystyrene they are currently resting on.

Depending on how much room I have left once all the wiper contacts go in, I've toyed with the idea of adding some sort of LEGO mechanism to turn the table by hand. We'll see though!


I decided to rebuild the fiddle yard, well, get rid of the polystyrene base anyway.
I knew I'd need a stable base for the end of the tracks on the turntable side, plus I'd need a convenient place for wiring anyway. So I cut up some softwood battens, and sawed off the polystyrene. As you can see, when I designed the layout, I made sure that the wiring was easily accessible, and so to this end the control panel is held on by 4 nuts and bolts. This has proved to come in handy!

Friday, 16 September 2016

Sandy Shores - The Headshunt Trestle - Final part?

Today amongst household chores I finished off the headshunt trestle. Took a lot longer than planned, but I watched a gaming livestream in the background which probably would account for it! Anyway, The buffer stop/end support was refabricated using new bits of balsa (the other 2 were too short) and braces made from chopped down lollipop sticks as always. Here is the assembly:

Then it was time for my now standard painting and weathering technique which turned it into something much better looking.

The walkway and handrail also had the same treatment, and the trestle legs were glued down to the baseboard. The following photos don't really need further explanation, but note that it is only the legs that are glued down currently. This is because I need to access the underside to cover the beach in clay and paint it. Also, I can't glue it down until the trackbed is glued down, and if you remember, I have to wait till the fiddle yard is built before I can do that.

Anyway, I have a fair few photos, so sorry if there are a too many but I couldn't work out what photos I liked most. The ones where the sun finally comes out look pretty nice because they bring out the real colours of the sand and the trestle!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Sandy Shore - Headshunt Trestle Walkway

Just a little update for today. I did do a bit more painting on the dunes, but I'm not fully happy with it yet so I didn't take any photos. However, work continued on the jetty - I really wanted to redo those handrails as the originals were way too overscale. So I begun by chopping up more lollipop sticks to create the raw materials:

Using my phone and some extra sticks as support, the 9 handrails were glued in place using a tiny bit of PVA. It's surprising how many uses a mobile phone can have - some less obvious than others!

Eventually I chopped up and glued the walkway boards, and added a couple broken boards that will help give the layout that tatty decrepit atmosphere.

The photo below shows just how overscale the original handrail was - the new one looks so much better by comparison.

It's getting late, so I didn't complete the trestle, but I did make a very quick start on the buffer stop/support for the end of the trestle. More on this tomorrow!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Sandy Shores - Beached!

Alright, as I mentioned yesterday, I hoped to be able to start the beach by the headshunt trestle today. For once, my plan came to fruition - so here we go! First job as always is to cover the area in clay. Usually I just roll out a large thin slab of clay, but I decided to go for a different approach and tear off individual bits of clay instead. This meant there was more texture variety (there's that phrase again!). These were then smoothed with water to create this:

Once that was done, a metal tool was used to pick out some detail - small ridges of sand and also the scouring of the beach where the tide comes in and out.

Next up I sprinkled some play sand and pressed it in to the foreshore:

And then covered the dunes in PVA and sprinkled a layer of play sand on as per the test piece:

Now for some colour! A gradient from dark blue to light blue was painted just in the same way as the test dunes, and the beach was also painted. Comparing the play sand and the painted section shows a big difference in colour. I may be doing some more experimentation with paints tomorrow to see if I can get a closer match to the golden colour of the sand. The current paint is a little too yellow really.

Oh, and I also said I'd show you all the waiting shelter. It's not fantastic, but I might go over it with some more thin layers of paint soon - just to make the yellow and green stand out a little more. Obviously I'll need to fettle and then paint the roof at some point too.

 So I'll leave you for today with this semi-overall view showing the progress. You might also notice that I've done a little bit of painting in the distance onto the stream that connects the pond to the ocean. Needs a lot more work, and more clay work over there though. All in good time!

Still, it's coming along nicely I feel.