Thursday, 12 May 2016

Sandy Shores - Small Scale Developments

Just a little update for today. The water tank has received a top to stop stuff getting into it (or people falling in!), and the ladder has been sanded down a little to reduce the thickness of the moulding. It will need to be sanded on the front and back as well, but it's looking much better already. I couldn't resist getting the O&K out for a few photos:

With those two little jobs done, I turned my attention to the engine shed for a few minutes. I've been meaning to do this for ages, but it finally has its brick base. Simply built out of Wills sheets stuck back to back, and then mitred at the corners.

Once I get all the necessary paints, there should be some quite major transformations on the layout! Tomorrows job is to start adding clay onto the lighthouse situated on the front of the layout (as if we needed more white to add to the layout!).

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Sandy Shores - Water Tower Mk II

Michael suggested (rightly so) that the tank was too big, and the supports too flimsy to support it. Photos of similar water tanks (i.e. metal tank on wooden supports) seem to be few and far between, so I've had to do a lot of guesswork.

The first job was to completely disassemble the frame. As this was glued using PVA, it came apart very easily - just a twist is all that is needed to separate the components. With much scratching of heads, and only a smattering of prototype photos to work from, I cobbled together a (very) wonky structure. I decided that there would need to be an added deck for people to clamber onto at the top, so it now has one cantilevered off of one side.

With that done I could also fabricate a new tank - working out at about a capacity of 2000 litres. I was apprehensive at undoing all my work from yesterday, but actually it was completely necessary. I  think the whole thing looks more in proportion now. By the way, the ladder shown in the photo will need some serious sanding (if I do use it) as the moulding I think is from an old Airfix kit. It's somewhat overscale (or at least the moulding is not very fine) compared to modern equivalents.

I tried to find information online about how such a water tower would be fed using water from a pond. It seems to be a lot more common in America than here, so again, very little information could be found. I decided therefore to construct a tiny hut with which the pump could be hidden in. One pipe heading out into the pond on wooden supports, and another linking from this pumphouse to the top of the water tower. Of course, this shack will also be painted to represent a horribly rusty ramshackle state!

And so here are a couple photos showing the current set up. I did plan to make some pipework up using old sprues, but I don't seem to have any cylindrical ones. Maybe I'll pick up a pipe kit at some point! The eagle-eyed amongst you may note that the legs now splay out at the bottom -  a subtle change, but it makes for a more interesting structure.

Update: More diagonal bracing has been added on the interior sides to prevent swaying of the structure!

Monday, 9 May 2016

Sandy Shores - The Water Tower

I decided that since I had no materials with which to "scenic" the dunes or paint existing structures, I would carry on building more instead! So I've made a start on constructing the simple water tower that will sit next to the platform, just in front of the pond. So out came the lollipop sticks, and the frame started to take shape:

Nothing complex here, and the chopper tool makes this construction a lot quicker and easier than it would otherwise be! It was then time to construct a simple 'metal' tank out of left over plasticard. The corners were sanded which surprisingly made a big difference to the final construction - much less harsh than just having square corners.

And to show how far I got with it, this is it located in roughly its final position on the layout. I've not really built it with any particular prototype in mind, but I knew I wanted wooden supports and a simple rectangular tank. Fittings, pipes, valves, and of course a ladder will be added at some point. I also need to add a few longitudinal wooden beams under the tank to better support it.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with it thus far - it seems to suit the tatty and simple nature of the line! I'll need to work out what pipework needs building as I plan to siphon 'water' from the pond to feed the tank. When it's all finished I will of course paint the tank into a suitably rusty condition - I expect the seaside location did no favours to the longevity of many structures here!

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Sandy Shores - Test Dunes

I wanted to experiment with the sand dune construction. Since I don't yet have the sand, I thought I'd try a method that Neil Rushby had used on Little Point. Looking on my desk I noticed a bit of ply which I had used for notes when I couldn't find a bit of paper! It looked like the perfect piece to practice on.

A few mins of carving polystyrene later and we have the basic shape. The plan is to have a tiny bit of "sea" on the lowest section (the thin bit) rising up to the sand dune where a bit of abandoned track lies.

As per usual, the next step is to cover the polystyrene in PVA followed by DAS clay, in this case the terracotta varient.

And now for the experimentation. The idea is to try and give the feeling of a sand dune without having to cover the layout in sand. So the method is simple, wet the surface of the clay and stipple chinchilla dust into the clay using an old brush.

After the clay hardened it was time to spray the undercoat on. For this I used an old Plasticote Suede Touch spray can left over from Calshot. This was left to dry overnight and this morning I started getting some base colours on. I don't know what I'm really doing with regards to painting, so all this is completely new to me! I only had a few colours to hand, the majority of which was this Model Color Dark Sand paint.

I decided to try and suggest a pathway using a dark coloured base layer, although I'm not really sure where to go from here. I know the sand colour will need to be faded into the "sea", and that the 'deepest' bit of the sea should be darker, but apart from that I've no idea what I'm doing. I'm guessing mixing some colours might be a good idea. Perhaps a lighter yellow, or perhaps white to make the sand paler? I'd appreciate some ideas here as I'm a little clueless!

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Sandy Shores - Platform adjustments

After suggestions from yesterday, I set about making a few amendments to the station area. The first job was to fit a floor to the waiting shelter. More lollipop sticks were used here, simply chopped into 2mm widths, and then chopped carefully on the thin edge to split it into two.

The next idea that was suggested was the construction of a couple worn steps for access to the shelter (more on this in a second). I rummaged around in the box of lollipop sticks and sure enough I found one bent one - perfect! I trimmed it to size (making sure the bend was in the middle), sanded the edges. Particular care was taken to take more material off the middle front of the step to simulate years of footsteps wearing away the edge. I think it worked rather nicely!

Put all that together and here we have our local guide Mr Remington inspecting the hole in the roof that he made after accidentally pulling the trigger... still, at least he has a floor to stand on, and steps to use. Ah yes, the reason for the steps...

The platform has now been lowered to half the height it was last night as per the other suggestion. It looks much better now, and the added bonus of the steps gives it a really nice focal point not often modelled. Should look great with sand spilling out the bottom of the steps onto the platform!

Friday, 6 May 2016

Sandy Shores - More dunes, and yet more wood!

Another day and yet more progress to report. I had hoped to get a lot done today, but instead had to be a taxi service for my sister - ho hum! That said though, I did manage to get a couple bits done. Firstly, more landforms were built up around the station area. In the end I decided to make the substructure of the platform and the sand dune out of one bit of polystyrene. I couldn't help but temporarily place some old tufts of Silflor from a previous project onto the dune, along with the tin turtle and a couple 4 wheeled carriages! The effect already is exactly what I was after (albeit a bit hard to see in photos because of the polystyrene).

Anyway, once I was done being a taxi driver for the day, I set apart on something quick before the sunlight disappeared. But what is it?

Points for those that managed to guess that it is a small jetty! Simply made from chopped up lollipop sticks and balsa wood (for the 4 uprights). These were sanded easily to form more of a cylindrical post than a cuboid as they originally were. The whole thing is seen here temporarily put into place, with some old figures I had from Calshot. I don't think there'll be much fish here at the moment!

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Sandy Shores - A messy job!

Work has continued today - now I'm really getting back into it nicely!

I decided to continue on with the landforms, starting with putting some DAS clay on the stream bed. The clay was left over from when I started making the mill for Old AGWI Rd. so it's gone a bit past its best - making it quite tough to apply. Thankfully I had the foresight not to glue the trackbed in place until the stream was in place. Once it is painted and bit of "water" is put in place I can glue the trackbed down and get on with the landforms that partially cover the ply trackbed.

With that done, attention turned to slightly trimming the sand dune towards the front of the layout. Although I haven't taken off much, it seems to sit a lot better. I also dug out some polystyrene so that the pill box can (temporarily until it is repainted) sit further into the dune. As you can see, a start was made on covering the layout in more DAS clay (hence why the trestle bridge has been removed).

Next on the agenda was to cover the saltmarsh and mudflats in clay. I happened to have some plaster-type stuff to try out for this bit, although I wish I had stuck to DAS! It was a real pain in the proverbial to work with, was not friendly to my hands, and set far too quickly. I now have a large lump in the bottom of the container which had already set hard 30mins in. My advice is to make up WAY less than the packet suggests you should if you plan on using this stuff. (Woodlands Scenics 'Smooth-It'). I'm hoping it takes to sanding as easily as it suggests it will!

A final view for now of the messy layout! I think having the pillbox lower down into the sand dune and beach has made a big difference to the scene. It seems to make it look much less busy - just as I had hoped!

Tomorrow I'm hoping to cover remaining areas (minus the trackbed) with DAS if I have enough left!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Sandy Shores - Returning to the spit

I've had a break from Sandy Shores for a while to focus on making music for a video game, but now that I've almost finished that (and the fact I've been to a couple exhibitions in the last month or so), I'm finally ready to carry on where I left off!

Now, where was I?

Ah, right. The grounded van. I still haven't managed to get to the model shop to buy some thin plasticard for the metalwork needed on the van, so that put that little project on the back burner.
Instead, I decided to turn my attention to the landforms again.

A little while back I mentioned that I wanted to get some sand dunes onto the layout. With a little bit of research of various locations, I've started to have a go at basic shaping. Also, the pillbox that I knew I had somewhere was finally found resting upside down on Calshot!

My current thinking is to have the pillbox half submerged into a sand dune at the front of the layout (as shown below, sort of). The sand dune being covered in marram grass, but an "informal" path (there's that geography knowledge again!) winds its way from the back of the pillbox, to the walkway to the lighthouse. The idea being that people would probably have a bit of a nosey around the same interesting areas - hence the informal path.

Looking at the photos above, the sand dunes (also seen at the rear of the layout) might be a tad too tall, but I'm not sure yet. It's hard to tell when everything is so white! The pillbox will need "distressing" and repainting into something more concrete coloured, rather than its current grey state. It will also need a battered concrete base.

Which brings me onto a final idea - I've also been researching WWII defences. I plan to add a few anti-tank blocks around the layout. It made for some very interesting reading - how bridges had holes in them to accept explosives to demolish them in case of an invasion. And the various other types of anti-invasion installations. I'm hoping to add a few of these onto the layout in relevant locations.

There are also a few other ideas that I've been mulling over, but I'll leave that for the next post!