Sunday, 31 March 2019

Sandy Shores - New Layout Legs - The Design

Producing a more useful set of legs

And no, before you ask; I'm not on about my own legs!
My original plan for Sandy Shores was to produce a plywood box capable of not only containing the layout and its accessories in its entirety (as well as acting as a rolling suitcase of sorts), but also of acting as the layout legs (by being up-ended). Sadly, in the end, the layout box would've been too large to act as the layout legs as it would've created a layout that was too high for wheelchair users to see.

Obviously with two upcoming exhibitions, and fabric for the layout drape ready to cut out (I've actually just glued the Velcro for it onto the layout fascia), it's about time I found a new option for the legs. I did go through a number of options in my head; including reusing legs from Old AGWI Rd. or extending the existing temporary trestles I've had for 12 or so years! Sat on the floor looking up at Sandy Shores I quickly realised that reusing legs was a no-go. I also knew that trestles would be too wide at the left hand end of the layout, and would cause a trip hazard.

Suddenly, a thought entered my head; recently my dad built a simple plywood and batten base on mini-castors so that I could move my PC around with ease... what about if I did something similar for Sandy Shores? In a flurry of sketching, a few seconds later I had a solid plan. The same castor base (albeit a bit bigger), along with two legs and a notched cross-brace. Keen to make it collapsible I added hinges on the legs, which were naturally restricted to 90 degrees by locating the hinges part way up the legs; causing the lower section to be stopped by hitting the base:

As I mentioned earlier, the left hand end of the layout meets to a point, so any traditional layout legs would be unsuitable. To rectify that (whilst still giving enough stability), I've designed the base of this design as a isosceles trapezium - happily, this also meant that the layout legs interlock perfectly; with the narrow set sitting inside the wider set.

I'm also very mindful that my car is pretty small, so any legs need to fold down to occupy as small a space as possible! This set of legs is far smaller than the current trestles; and the fact this set-up has wheels (even if they are small) means making final adjustments when setting up the layout in a hall will be a breeze. I once had to move Calshot across the other side of a hall after an exhibition manager put me in the wrong place (and when I had already finished setting up the layout!). I wish I had this set-up then...

So all in all, it's still (I personally think) a relatively simple set of legs; and the fact I can store boxes and such underneath the layout with ease is the icing on the cake. One last thing to point out is that to stop the layout moving once set-up, it would be no hassle to fit those castor cups under the wheels; they can be bought incredibly cheaply nowadays.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Sandy Shores - Small details, big results!

It's the little details that make a layout

Today has been a very productive day, and somewhat surprisingly it's all the small details that suddenly seemed to have make a huge impact to the atmosphere of the layout. Suddenly, it seems as though the layout has a firm identity. And speaking of which, here's another nameboard!

Yes, Sandy Shores finally has its own running-in board. I've been looking at the station area for a while trying to work out (aside from the marram grass on the dunes behind) what was missing. Two things popped into mind; one of which was the running-in board. Naturally, being on a shoe-string budget, the SSLR would likely have used whatever they had lying around; thus spare lengths of rail would form the main supports. In hindsight I think the rail lengths should actually be covered in rust rather than a slight streak as shown above.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the lettering was made in Paint.NET and pasted into a word document before being reduced to the correct size. I was considering adding raised letters (hence the white text on the grey background), but I couldn't bring myself to try cutting out the letters! In hindsight, perhaps there could've been an extra bit of spacing between the words, but it's good enough for now.

With that little job done and installed behind the platform, it was time to tackle another small job; the concrete roadway. This is another area that I felt was missing something, and then I realised what it was; there are no expansion gaps. After some research into rough sizes of concrete roadway slabs, it was time to mark out the gaps, but information about what to do on roads that aren't straight isn't clear... so I winged it! I worked on the proviso that slabs wouldn't be curved, only angled; so I simplified it as much as possible. I'm sure it's probably wrong, but in worst case scenario I can sand it all down and start again. Anyway, after I was happy with the pencil markings, I scribed it; first with a craft knife, then with the blunt end of a dentists tool:

Two things to note; first, I now have a lot of the white plaster showing in the cracks which will need painting over, but also worth mentioning at this point is that either side of the tracks I left a narrow strip. And so, how could I represent the expansion joints? My idea was to actually use the mechanical pencil again:

It worked well, but was far too dark; and I didn't like the idea of painting thin lines with a more subtle colour.

My solution was actually to do a concrete colour wash over the whole lot, which served to mute and blend the whole roadway together. And what's more, due to an earlier happy accident with the pencil, I realised that I could draw a line and smudge it with my finger which created a decent representation of tyre marks:

Finally (at least for now), I added some sand to the centre of the roadway that is sheltered from the wind at the rear of the layout:

Happy with the roadway for now, I moved onto a glaringly obvious omission; a lack of paint on the water tank. I've been trying to find photos of heavily weathered rectangular water tanks for ages, but of the few examples I found, none were suitable for what I envisioned as they were all black or completely rust-covered; I wanted heavily weathered white. In the end I gave up searching, and went with my gut instinct. I of course used what little inspiration I had to come up with something which I hope is at least semi-realistic; severe rust on the edges, with patchy spots and streaks elsewhere.

The process was simple, and the two top photos below show the only two stages. The edges were done first in a medium brown. Doing the edges first meant that the brush naturally ran out of paint by the time I got to do the splodges and streaks, which is good; I only wanted a tiny amount of paint to do these bits. The splodges were dabbed on with the brush, whilst the streaks, as you'd imagine, were very lightly brushed downwards. I could then do exactly the same with a slightly darker brown, but still allowing some of the medium brown to show through.

Keen to continue adding details to the layout, I decided it was about time I used up the spare sleepers I have lying in a box. After having taken all the webbing off, it was then time to paint them. I absolutely hate the plastic sleepers; they're far too shiny to paint by normal means, which means I always use a spray can; in this case, a can of Plastikote Suede Tan (IIRC) which I've had since the very first iteration of Calshot, probably approaching 9 or 10 years ago by now!

So with the horrible shiny plastic muted with a base colour, the weathering could begin. Again, the simpler, the better! Just a quick brush with darkish brown; taking care not to paint the edges so that they appear sunbleached. It could probably do with a light wash to improve this effect in all honesty, but it's good enough for me.

Well, I think that's enough typing for one day; time to see what a difference today's work has made:

Surprising, isn't it?! Yet still, there is much to do (and I will get that marram grass "planted", I promise! To tell the truth, I've been putting it off because I believe it will utterly transform the layout; so I think it'll be a nice thing to do last.)

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Sandy Shores - Making a layout nameboard

A layout nameboard & loco shed foundation

Before we get onto the nameboard, I thought it wise to finish off the loco shed (well, for the most part anyway; there's still details to add etc.). I recently mentioned that I wasn't happy with how the brick foundation looked on this layout; whilst it would be fine for Old AGWI Rd., for Sandy Shores it didn't look quite right. I therefore decided to make a new one; one made from cement blocks. Despite the plethora of plastic sheets I have stored away, I haven't got any cement block sheets left, but I did have a sheet of cement render.

Therefore, to make it look like blockwork, it was time to do a whole lot of scoring; not the musical kind, mind!

And yes, as you'd imagine, it was obviously pretty time consuming and labour-intensive. I do want to touch upon the method used to scribe the tiny vertical mortar courses. The photo below shows (apart from the fact that I'm left-handed!) that I actually place the knuckle of my left index finger onto the cutting mat, and use it as leverage to keep everything steady. You'll note my left thumb is actually being used to drag the craft knife slowly backwards. Doing it this way means I have absolute control; and seems to minimise the risk of the blade slipping.

Anyway, with all those lines scored, I then cut the pieces to length. To match the thickness of the original brick foundation, a middle section of plasticard was also needed. The various components were then glued, and upon curing, each piece was mitred using a little hacksaw.

Once all was checked up against the loco shed floor, I could then paint the whole assembly. The same paint I mixed up for the base coat of the lighthouse was used again as a base coat here. And yet again, you'll note I painted it in much the same way I paint cobbles; picking out individual blocks in slight variations of the base coat, then a final light wash of sand coloured paint.

Once the foundation was dry, I could then glue it in place with PVA. A recent suggestion of sand piling up against the blockwork was carried out (Thanks for the idea, Colin!). The end result? A vast improvement I hope you'll agree!

If there's one principle I'm quite keen on upholding for layouts intending to be exhibitable; it's good presentation. I'll be the first to admit that I perhaps take presentation more seriously than I should do; given that other important aspects sometimes fall behind somewhat. In any case, I thought it was about time that Sandy Shores had a visible form of identity!

So, to that end, a spare length of tongue and groove board was commandeered from the off-cut pile, and had its tongue & groove sawn off. Being a carpenter, naturally this job fell to my dad! Once I knew the approximate length needed, he also cut it to length, which left me to employ a little bit of maths to get all the lettering correctly spaced.

Being a tatty, sunbleached seaside railway, I decided that the most apt form of nameboard for Sandy Shores would be a bit of driftwood with letters formed via pyrography. As you do!

With a rough shape drawn out, it was again over to my dad for it to be cut out; this time using a scroll saw. The scroll saw is not as powerful as we would've liked, but my dad was still able to carefully cut out the shape. From there on out, I was on my own again; and the first step (as seen in the bottom of the photo montage above) was to burn the required letting onto the wood. This took quite a while, perhaps as much as two hours, but I think it suits the layout really well.

With the pyrography finished, I set about sanding all the edges. I could've spent hours with various grades of sandpaper, however, I fancied my chances with a sanding drum on the Dremel instead!

I've produced a quick timelapse video of part of the pyrography (sped up by 1000%!) and a little bit showing the penultimate stage; distressing the wood with a wire brush attachment on the Dremel:

Which left the final stage (for now) of the nameboard; final weathering. This was incredibly simple; just a wash of white paint to give that sunbleached look. Whilst I probably could've used a wide brush and painted over the entire lot, I decided a finer approach to avoid getting paint on the lettering would be wise.

All that it's missing now is a way to attach it. None of the layout fascias are straight enough to attach it directly, so my plan is to use two screw eyelets and some string to hang it somewhere on the front fascia instead!

Well, this post took a long time to put together, but I hope it has been an enjoyable post despite its length.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Sandy Shores - Coal Stage

A Coal Platform for Sandy Shores

Quite often before bed, I'll use the peace and quiet to come up with, and jot down, some ideas. A couple of nights ago I was looking for a way to solve a minor problem I had with the water tower; the ladder I have is too short to reach the top. Rather than try and make a fiddly ladder myself, I thought that I could build a little platform for it to sit on. Then I saw a sudden opportunity for adding an extra bit of visual interest; a coal stage. With the loco area lacking almost everything in the way of facilities, I realised there was nowhere for any steam locos to restock on coal. As there is obviously a water tower (albeit without a hose at the moment!) already on the layout, a coal stage would make a useful companion; and would also solve my ladder crisis!

The build is pretty simple, and totally freelance; just as I would expect for such a line. Made up of salvaged standard gauge sleepers and whatever wood was available, I spent an enjoyable morning/afternoon on it. Construction is typical of the wooden structures that can be found around the layout; so I won't bore you all with details, as the photos show everything nice and clearly. Everything you see here is made up of, yes, you guessed it: cut-up lollipop sticks!

Construction was done with relative ease, although the little pile of wood lengths at the bottom right of the first two photos above shows that chopping the sticks thin enough and uniform enough is not always easy!

Something I should probably touch on is the use of my mobile phone for coming up with ideas. It's not a big modern smartphone; in fact, I've had this phone for 8 years! However, I only really use it for the occasional text, as my alarm in the morning, and also for drawing whilst in bed! The touchscreen and stylus make it ideal for quickly jotting down ideas, and I can sketch tiny drawings to remind me of what I wish to do the following day! The photo above shows a collection of 3 tiny sketches; the coal stage idea obviously being top right. Perhaps I'll make the wooden railing and bench another day...

With the structure assembled, it was time to make preparations to bed it in to sand dune adjacent to the water tower (the tank of which still needs painting; and is on my to-do list!). The marking out of the approximate area that needed removing was done with a mechanical pencil; whilst a craft knife made relatively short work of cutting through the sand dune. It took many adjustments to get it sitting perfectly; and it wasn't long before I realised I'd also need a small retaining wall on the left hand side. This was soon carried out, and the 3 components were ready for my usual painting method; a black wash, a brown wash, then a slightly darker brown wash. I haven't bothered tackling the weathering yet, but I suspect a little lightening of the outside faces will be needed; along with blackening where the coal will sit.

And with apologies for the glaring sunlight, here's the state of play so far; as you can see I've found an incredibly long handled shovel from a OO gauge locomotive; quite why it's so long I'm unsure as of yet! In any case, the result of a few hours work is a lovely little addition to the maintenance facilities of the SSLR.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Sandy Shores - All the little things (Roofs and cobbles)

Roofing details (louvres, bargeboards, ridges), painting cobbles, & a door

Every modelmaker knows there are some jobs that often get put off indefinitely. This isn't necessarily because they are hard tasks, but could be because the tasks are fiddly, laborious, or we're just unsure how to tackle them. Whilst I have made relatively solid progress with Sandy Shores ahead of its 2nd exhibition in late April, there are a considerable number of jobs that I've been putting off for years. Today, I decided it was time to tackle some of them!

First up on my list was to add some louvres to the clerestory of the loco shed. I had been putting this job off because I deemed it to be too fiddly. I wasn't wrong! Thankfully, the clerestory is tiny, so only one layer of louvres was needed. In retrospect, they are perhaps a little too wide, but it was hard enough gluing them in place to begin with. The rafters had a bit of flex in them, making my life even trickier, as any movement whilst adding one pair of louvres would risk the first set pinging off. Eventually I got them all in place, and it's fair to say I no longer cared how neat they would be (not that it matters as it's obviously a loco shed that has seen better days!). Anyway, the second photo shows the roof panels having been removed for three reasons; one, to make painting easier, two, to distress the edges of the roof panels with a wire brush attachment on the Dremel, and three, to add an extra panel onto each (the originals were too short).

With the loco shed roof drying/being glued together, I turned my attention to two of the other buildings on the layout; the platform shelter, and the kiosk. Both roofs received the same treatment with the wire brush attachment (pictured above) on the ends of each panel. This not only creates a distressed look, but also helps thin the edge of the sheets. Any white that shows through will later be painted over, although to be quite honest, it could quite easily be left more or less alone in some circumstances.

Whilst I had the two structures on the cutting matt, I decided to construct a door for the kiosk, and "metal" ridge strips for both buildings. The ridges were simply cut down from offcuts of the vacuum formed corrugated iron sheets; these edges would normally be thrown away, but they're perfect for things like this. The door was a more complex construction; made of 5 pieces! The door frame with door, a facade for the door (both pictured above), two thin strips to form the door jamb, and a rain strip to divert rainwater away from the top of the door. I've not built a door in this way before, but I'm actually surprised by the results:

With that done, I turned my attention back to the loco shed. Whilst I haven't shown the original state of the loco shed floor, it was simply made with embossed pieces of printed card; only the piece between the track was glued down, the rest were loosely in place. This didn't match anything else on the layout, so it was time to replace it with something else. Happily, I found some remnants of Wills sheets that match the existing cobbles adjacent to the shed, so these were cut to fit; using the existing card pieces as templates. After a bit of adjustment to ensure a snug fit within the loco shed, a leftover section was glued onto the back of both sides to get it up to rail height. The section between the tracks was simply glued in place with PVA without need of a packing piece.

With the cobbles now glued with PVA, and with weights on top to make sure they don't move while it sets, at this point I actually went off to paint the ridges of the kiosk and platform shelter, but that's not worth photographing, so fast forward a while, and let's get painting the cobbles!

Despite these being plastic cobbles (as opposed to my usual DAS clay cobbles), I still treat them in the same manner when painting them. I've skipped ahead a bit in the photos below, but the first step is to give them an overall cover so that there is a base colour to work from. I went for a light-medium grey colour, and also took the opportunity to paint the original cobbles adjacent to the loco shed in the same base colour. The next step is to pick out random cobbles in various shades of the same (or similar) colour. I try and only mix in one or two colours to keep the effect coherent and subtle.

Once this is done, and the paint dried, I then gave the whole lot a quick watery wash of a colour. In this case, a sandy colour to match the other DAS cobbles on the layout. The process is shown below. I work in small sections whilst applying the wash, then immediately dab it with a paper towel and wipe it to try and remove as much of it as possible. This allows a little to remain on the surface which helps tone it down, but also allows the paint to stay in the cracks to produce a light colour for the mortar. The end result of this is stonework that more easily blends into the rest of the layout.

So I'll finish off with one final photo given that it's now half past midnight! Two more additions may also be spotted below. Firstly, a window sill has been fitted both internally and externally on the loco shed. (There's also a new internal window surround to smarten everything up, but it's not visible in any of these photos.) Secondly, bargeboards have been fitted to the loco shed in an apparent effort by the railway volunteers to spruce up the station area!

It may come as a surprise, but these little jobs have taken all day! It goes to show why these tasks are often ones I put off for a long time (if indeed they ever get done). That said, it's still been worth it, and it's these little details that bring about a surprisingly big difference to a layout. Sure, it may not be perfectly executed, but I'm happy enough with it, and besides, it entirely suits this ramshackle railway!

Friday, 22 March 2019

Sandy Shores - Lighthouse Pt. 7 & Buffer Stops

Lighthouse Lantern Room, Finishing Off The Grounded Van, & Buffer Stops

Thankfully, the lighthouse is tangibly close to completion at long last! As I mentioned on NGRM, the lantern room has been completed (with exception of the light itself), and is now looking way better than the original one!
In order to make the vents in the lantern room base, I used my trusty Dremel with a high-speed cutter (which is probably not meant to be used for the purposes I always use it for!) to form a bowl shape. The vent hole itself was then formed with a pushpin; I don't have a chuck small enough to fit my smallest drill bits, and the plastic was very thin by this point so it took very little effort. Something perhaps hard to notice is a new thin edge strip at the top, just visible to the right of the pushpin:

The 5 windows were also fabricated using the same method as I used on the grounded carriage. Unfortunately, fitting them has proved problematic; so I'll come back to this another day!

Keen not to lose interest, the rest of the lantern room was assembled; complete with other bits of detailing such as an internal door, and a set of foghorns on the roof; these have been made from bits found in my spares box. Oh, and of course there's the railings. They are a bit wonky, but I'm happy enough with it for now. The bigger problem is that I'm one stanchion sort - very frustrating! Having finally found what kit it's from (Ratio 144 Double Rail Stanchions Kit) I'll try and source another pack if I can't find the missing piece. If not, I'll just model the railing as damaged, and have the wires bent out of place where the missing stanchion is.

So with progress on the lighthouse stalled, and keen to get on with something else, I turned my attention to my lengthy to-do list. First up was to sort out the grounded van body. I had filled the bottom up with filler a while back, so the first step was to give it a coat of paint. PVA was then applied with a paint brush, and then sand sprinkled on top. I also took this opportunity to make a rotten floor; made and painted in the same way the rest of the wooden structures have been on this layout.

It was also about time I replaced the oversized metal straps around the doors; a job I've been putting off for a year at least! Whilst I was at it, I decided to fashion a curved wooden rafter. As always, my trusty bag of lollipop sticks has some in handy. The basic shape was cut out using a craft knife; with the rest being done with a sanding attachment on the Dremel. There were two but I lost one in the vacuum cleaner (I like to do any messy work with the vacuum on; and I payed the ultimate price!). In the end, I didn't feel like making another, and actually I think it's better having one missing. Anyway, with a few tufts planted between the missing floorboards, and around the perimeter, all it's missing are a few bits of detritus to add on the inside.

With that scene more or less complete, I turned my attention to the next job on the list; buffer stops. This is another job that's been long overdue - and given I have an exhibition in a month, I don't want any runaways hitting the floor! After some consideration, I decided to opt for a different type of buffer for each of the 3 tracks.
First up was the front siding, and for this one I decided a concrete block would be apt for this location. Whilst I'm still unsure of what will surround this siding, my original idea was a considerable amount of rock armour either side of the track. The block itself was originally an anti-tank block I made for the original Calshot (some 10 years ago I would imagine). Two notches were cut using the Dremel so it could sit over the rails, and it was then painted; first with a base layer of concrete, then a dabbled layer of a slightly darker grey colour to suggest mottling. Finally, the buffer beam was made from a lollipop stick (cut to sleeper size), and two track pins inserted to represent bolt heads. These were all painted my usual way. Some grass tufts finish off the scene.

With that buffer done, I then tackled the loco shed headshunt. For this design I went for a classic simple wooden buffer; two uprights and the crossbar. And yep, made using my usual method! Things were going well until I started drilling the holes; the drill jumped and ripped the buried retaining wall partially out. Thankfully there wasn't too much damage, so the holes were finished off, the buffer glued in place, and the retaining wall put back. Any holes were then filled with either sand or grass tufts!

Finally for today, the last buffer could be tackled. I didn't want anything too obstructive here, so the simplest buffer possible was built and installed; simply a wooden sleeper bolted across the track!

And there we have it; a few more jobs crossed off my list!

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Sandy Shores - Lighthouse - Part 6

Scribing & painting the lighthouse tower

Well, that month flew past! I'd love to say that I've finally completed the lighthouse, but work is still very much ongoing. That said, its appearance has altered fairly drastically as you'll see.

So, the first step was to give the tower a rough sanding to smooth out the more major imperfections in my application of the clay. That said, I was not after a completely smooth surface as I was very keen to keep it looking as a naturally uneven and weather-beaten stone tower.

Then it was time to start scribing the horizontal lines. If you look closely in the photo below, you should just be able to see some faint markings going up the entire tower to help keep everything level. I worked my way around the tower doing small sections at a time; using a short piece of card to help guide the craft knife. As the tower is tapered, any attempt to do larger lengths would result in a curved line; as it was there are a few wobbly lines, but nothing that looks out of place.

The next challenge was to work out how to scribe the vertical mortar courses. Again, the tapering tower makes this more difficult than simply marking out every 10mm or so. but I was keen for something to be relatively straightforward; so a simple solution was needed. Fortunately, I came up with an idea (although in my haste, I forgot to take a photo!). On the top and bottom of the tower, a mark was made every 15 degrees (as it's a factor of 360 degrees, so there wouldn't be any odd sized gaps), these were then lightly joined with a mechanical pencil to give vertical divisions that I could base the stone lengths around. This results in slightly trapezoid shaped stones to account for the taper, and it was easy to offset alternating layers. The end result are perfectly matching stone courses all around the tower; I was pretty surprised myself to be honest!

Now that every single line was scribed (I think there were over 700 vertically, but who's counting?!), I went back and gave a bit of a rougher and more prominent texture by doing further scribing with a wider implement; taking off some chunks here and there to suggest wear.

With the stone courses scribed (including the top of the tower, not shown), I turned my attention to fitting the stone window and door surrounds. Originally I planned to simply glue these in place on top of the stone work, but knowing how hard it would be to achieve a perfect finish, I opted for the trickier option (as always!). The frames were marked onto the tower, and careful use of the craft knife meant I could mark out the edges then slowly chip away at the clay:

With the door and 5 windows all cut out, the surrounds could be glued in place ready for the paint stage. In order to get them all to lay flat whilst the PVA dried, I used rubber bands to hold them all in place:

So, the painting. This turned out to be an incredibly long process (as with everything on this lighthouse!), but given my limited know-how, I think the end result is actually relatively decent. I'm afraid I won't be giving a blow-by-blow account of it; mainly because I have absolutely no idea what I was doing at the time. Painting isn't something I really know how to do, and matching colours to photos was incredibly difficult.

However, looking at the photo montage below; the first photo (left) shows a general undercoat of a mix of two Dulux tester pots - Perfectly Taupe, and Lemon Pie. These created a concrete-ish colour which I could use as a good starting point. 
The middle photo shows the result of many many hours of painting variations of the same colour (mixed with a range of browns, whites, greys, and sand colours from Model Color). This is where the most experimentation took place, and where I found the greatest challenge in getting colours that were not so vastly different as to be out of place, but different enough to give some variation. In the end, some of the browns look a bit pink, and the dark greys look a bit blue (a common problem on this layout it seems!).
Finally, the last photo shows one of the various washes of colour I used afterwards to try and blend the colours together a bit better, and give some highlights and variation. The white here is the last one to go on (after a yellowish one, and has just been brushed on in the photo, awaiting immediate rubbing off with a kitchen roll to remove the worst of it. Judging by the prototype at Spurn, the close proximity to the sea creates a lot of salt deposits or something on the seaward side; hence this white streak.

With the main section of the tower done, I then applied a few washes of green to represent the abundance of seaweed found on base of the prototype. Given that the base is covered by water at high tide; this should come as no surprise. And so after many days of work, I've decided this is about as good as my limited skills will get it:

This lighthouse really is a labour of love, but I think it has been worth it; even if there is still a fair amount to do on it!

As a side note, I'm pleased to announce that Sandy Shores will be making it's 2nd ever outing. It is however a members-only event from the good people over on RMweb; but as I know a few of you here are also on RMweb then it's worth mentioning. The SWAG event will be held on April 28th at Staplegrove Village Hall, Taunton. Again, RMweb members only. With a to-do list for the layout as long as my arm, it's about time I made some serious progress...!