Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Sandy Shores @ RMweb SWAG 2019, Taunton

Well the time was finally upon me to pack up my tiny car and make the 2 hour trip across to Taunton for the RMweb SWAG (South West Area Group) event. Up at 6am, I somehow managed to fit the layout and all its associated gubbins into the car first time with a few cloths and a remnant of carpet to give a bit of cushioning. As you can see, it was a tight fit; but I could still see out of my rear view mirror which was my primary concern:

Whilst I was late in heading off, I still managed to get to the venue with just enough time to spare to set-up before the visitors came. The wheeled trolley that I had built at the beginning of April really came into its own when setting up; as it meant I could put everything onto the layout and still be able to make adjustments to the siting of the whole thing. This saved a lot of back breaking moving!

The backscene was hastily attached with double sided sticky pads, and the whole ensemble was then ready for showtime, and backscene bulges aside, I have to admit, I'm very pleased with how it looked:

The stretchy grey layout drape that my mum had sewn for me really finishes off the layouts presentation very nicely indeed; as does the driftwood sign which saw quite a few compliments. For those wondering, I used the laptop on the stool to occasionally show people some of the construction methods and sketches.

I've said this elsewhere, but I cannot believe the amount of compliments, praise, and warm comments (as well as useful suggestions, and jovial discussions) that were had at the event. In fact, I had been talking to so many modellers in front of the layout all day that by mid-way through the event, the lovely kitchen helpers (in this case; Graham Muspratt of Fisherton Sarum fame!) had to bring me cups of tea as I couldn't get away from the layout!

Admittedly, the above photo is the only one I took of Sandy Shores, so I'm afraid you'll have to wait until Monday for any close up photos. However, if you really can't wait, Andy York has an absolutely cracking photo of it over on RMweb. There's also a lengthy interview with me flapping my arms about as I explain to Phil Parker (of BRM) various aspects of the layout; along with some great footage filmed by Andy. You can watch that here over on the BRM Facebook page.

As to the event itself, I've said it elsewhere, but I'll say it again; it's probably the most relaxed and enjoyable exhibition you could ever hope to attend. There was barely a minute that went by where I wasn't inundated with eyes gazing at the layout, and fellow RMweb members asking questions, giving lovely compliments, and generally just having interesting and humourous discussions with them. I spent way more time chatting to people than I did operating the layout; but that was actively encouraged which was a refreshing change from every other exhibition I've attended. It really was a friendly show; a real credit to all those involved. And what's more, they raised £500 for Macmillan Cancer Support which is a cracking result for a 1 day show.

The amount of interest the layout received was absolutely unbelievable. I'm still taken aback by it all; it was completely overwhelming (but in the best way possible!). I've had numerous invites to shows far and wide, and may even get the chance to feature in a publication in the summer somewhen.

So yes, I could not have asked for more!

And so, to finish off this entry, I realised I had never posted about my recent acquisition. During a few email exchanges with the talented James Hilton, I was looking for another loco commission when he offered for me to purchase one of his first creations. Naturally, upon inspection I immediately had to buy it off him; so I am the proud owner of a Bagnall Saddle Tank; wonderfully painted, weathered, and finished off with details and a driver:

A superb model, isn't it?! And it proved a most reliable and smooth runner, too. All in all, it's been a fantastic few days; and I'm so grateful for everyones' warm comments, compliments, suggestions, and general discussions. It's been a wild ride, and with our family show coming up this weekend, there are still a few things I need to sort out.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Sandy Shores - Disaster, rebuilding, and repainting

A close call!

It's fair to say that Friday and Saturday was incredibly stressful last week! But before we get onto that, my overall plan was to try and finish the mudflat and pond area before the show. To do this, the first step was to repaint the pond into more suitably muddy colours. As there were numerous layers of PVA applied to the pond over a year ago, it meant I had to find another method of applying paint; so I figured the best way would be to mix it with PVA to form a sticky layer that would have no problem adhering to the cured PVA underneath. The middle of the pond was obviously painted a shade or two darker than the edges to help with the illusion of depth. Here's a before and after:

And whilst I was at it, I figured the channel that runs from the pond and into the sea would need a gradient of the same colours, whilst petering out at the sea end:

And it wasn't long before the tidal area received similar treatment; the deeper parts being painted in a dark brown, with the shallow water was painted in a slightly lighter colour. This proved to be much trickier to do than anticipated as the emulsion dried very quickly, meaning I couldn't really mix a large amount. It didn't help that the paint dried a much darker colour than the mix! I got there in the end though, so here's another before and after:

Much better!
With that done, it was time to move onto other aspects of painting. Recently it was suggested that the kiosk and information board roofs, whilst in-keeping with the weathering on the rest of the layout, would actually be likely to be in better condition than the rest of the structures. It was thus a case of repainting the corrugated sheets in a darkish grey and dry-brushing highlights of cream over the top. I used our shed as inspiration for the painting here, which seems to have the top layer slightly coming off along the ridges of each corrugation (hence the whitish look). The posts were also given a wash of cream colour paint to try and lighten them a little bit (although it's not immediately obvious from the photos below:)

With show day being only 2 days away, for some bizarre reason I felt it a wise idea to try and create the water in the pond and tidal area water by using a resin product by Woodlands Scenics called "E-Z Water". Long story short, it turned out to be anything but easy! Not only do you have to heat it on a gas stove, but as I found out, you have to heat it up to a high temperature and pour it very quickly; otherwise the bottom cures before the top and it'll crack horribly. Whilst it suggests you might need to use a heating tool (gas torch or similar) to create ripples, in reality you will need to use it just to get it to level out.

This is when disaster occurred! Long story short, I poured the deep channel bit a minute or so before the rest, which actually was long enough for it to cure to such a degree that it all cracked and turned yellow. I guess there may have been some residual moisture, but I think the bigger problem was the curing of the underside. The result was a complete mess; and whilst application of the hand gas torch helped level out the resin, it did nothing to fix the cracking and discolouration!

By this point I was having a complete meltdown, especially given show day was 2 days away! After a while to cool off (both me and the layout!), I decided the only course of action was to rip up the harbour and start afresh:

The damage was actually nowhere near as bad as I was expecting: much of the original channel was left intact. That's not to say that it didn't need a lot of work in getting it back to how it was, but I had envisioned having to cut out the entire harbour (including the polystyrene foundation)! I mixed up some polyfilla, and set to work correcting the damage as sympathetically as possible:

So all in all, less than 24 hours after the disaster, the harbour was looking just as it did before; not bad going all things considered! This meant I could spend the last few hours doing some small jobs to get the layout ready for the show. First up was to paint all 12 flat wagons (that were originally designed and 3D printed by Mark Greenwood for my Old AGWI Rd layout). It's probably been 4 years that they've sat in my box waiting for paint, couplings, and wheels!

So, my usual wood painting technique was employed; a wash of black, a wash of brown, picking off various planks in a slightly darker wash of brown, and then a final waft of matt varnish:

I didn't have quite enough couplings for all of them, but I did end up with a very lengthy rake of goods wagons; almost as long as the layout itself!:

Aside from testing the track and fixing some loose connections with solder, the only job left to do was to reprint and attach a new control panel legend. As you'll see, the old one had faded to such a degree that it was almost illegible! In order to try and mitigate this in the future, I've sprayed the new one with matt varnish.

So there we have it, disaster averted, and just in time for Sandy Shores to make it to the RMweb event in Taunton! You'll see how I got on next time!

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Sandy Shores - Suddenly, greenery!

As alluded to earlier, suddenly Sandy Shores is no longer a wasteland of... well, sand. It has been transformed thanks to 3 packs of grass tufts and a smattering of fine "turf". Greenery is not something that generally happens on my layouts, so this is all new to me (I don't even own a static grass applicator!).

My plan was to start at the back of the layout (with the mature sand dunes that are vegetation-heavy), by adding dark green tufts. Despite all but one pack being long tufts, only this one pack appears to be long - I wish I'd realised sooner, as the rest of the dunes look a little thin (although I'm glad it's this way around, as the younger dunes at the front would have less marram grass anyway). Anyway, the tufts were glued in place with PVA and left to cure over night. I soon realised that the real mature dunes have more ground foliage (i.e. grass) than I remembered, so this morning was spent carefully adding fine turf around the tufts of grass with a pair of fine-nosed pliers:

Of course, had I paid attention, the fine turf would have been done first which would have saved me hours of work, but oh well; lesson learnt! I have to say though, the result is surprisingly effective given the simple method. Using the fine-nosed pliers meant I could not only blend in the edges, but also force turf between the fibres of the tufts. The mixed green turf meant slight highlights of colour stopped the whole thing looking too uniform. Oh, and the turf was held in place with diluted PVA and washing up liquid using a pipette; much the same way as you would approach ballasting.

Once I was happy with the effect behind the running-in board, I could go on to replicate it across the back of the layout (i.e. around the pond (or dune slack to give its proper name!)). I'm not going to lie, this was a very slow process! As this section is particularly steep, I resorted to taking the whole layout downstairs where there was more room to work. The layout was put on its side, and paper towel placed behind to catch stray fine turf.

Before we carry on, there is a slight disconnect in the timeline here, as the initial turf around the pond was actually started weeks ago! The photos were done in poor light, and the results weren't exactly great either, hence the new method of tipping the layout on its side to apply the turf to the steep bits. For the sake of completeness; the initial turf application was simply two layers; a bottom layer of brown turf, followed by a top layer of the mixed green. Anyway, on with the montage:

Suddenly, it's actually starting to look like a sand dune slack! I must admit, the pond looks a little too blue, but given the deep water pour takes 24 hours to set and needs to be poured onto a completely moisture free surface, I'm not sure which is worse; having a too-blue pond, or having the right colour pond but no water! As the current pond has had several layers of PVA to seal it, I don't think it'll take paint at all well.

In any case, the first job tomorrow is to make the reeds in the middle of the pond as per the real thing at Studland (Shell Bay). Maybe that'll mask the blueness enough given that the slack seems to be almost completely full of reeds!

Anyway, here's a couple shots of the state of play by the time I had finished with the marram grass tonight:

Despite the somewhat sparse marram grass at the front, I think it'll do nicely for the two shows at least. Oh, and before I go to bed, here is one little detail I added recently:

That's right, the kiosk (or beach shack) has now gained appropriate signage. Inside there is a simple nameboard (I was going to fit a roof top one, but it became too fiddly for the time being!). I guess there should really be a menu with prices, but to be honest I don't think you can really see inside from most angles anyway. No ice cream yet, either!

As you can see, I also fabricated a tiny A frame chalkboard out of 10 bits of tiny plasticard and a couple printed homemade signs (not that it's very legible in this scale).

As for the final two days, well, I have a list of 10 things that need completing (including the usual wiring check and track cleaning etc.). It's gonna be a little bit stressful I think, but it always is just before a show!

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Sandy Shores - More Details & An Information Board

It's been a while since the last update, mostly due to a week long holiday in lovely Cornwall. However, that doesn't mean work has stopped on the layout; in fact, whilst on holiday I found time to assemble those Greenwich couplings that I've had in a box for years!

Since then, progress has continued apace, and whilst I won't be showing everything that's changed since my last visit here, I have a good selection of things to share. First off, the quay has gained a strange circular lump! Whilst initially looking like a melted marshmallow, it soon gained scribed mortar lines and a splash of paint. For those who can't quite tell what it is, it is the stone base for the quayside crane. Eventually I may even get around to installing the crane itself (which I've recently repainted, but will need more work before it's ready to be "planted" on its base). It may seem odd to have it on a base considering the bulky stone pier it sits on, but the crane needed more height; not only to be able to swing over the wooden baulks, but also to clear any narrow gauge flat wagons that would need to be loaded.

Moving on, and it was time to paint the tidal creek mudflats that I worked on before I went on holiday. In complete contrast to my early efforts, I painted the deepest sections (i.e. the channels) a dark brown (interspersed with slight highlights of green). The rest could then be painted a slightly lighter brown, stippling it onto the existing "mud" to try and blend the transition. This might need a little more work before applying the "water pour" later on in the week.

Anyway, whilst this was drying, I decided to tackle the siding that curves towards the front edge of the layout. I had long been considering options for what to put here, but I stuck with my early instincts and produced a section of rock armour that flanked both sides of the line. To stop it looking like the rocks were simply plonked onto the layout, I decided to smother the area in a thickish layer of filler so that I could press the rocks into:

Something I felt that was missing on this layout (given its tourist-y nature) was a wooden information board. As is always the way, I decided to produce something a lot more elaborate than originally planned! Using a photo from the internet for inspiration, I spent a few hours fashioning a rather complex structure out of a lollipop stick...

...which I could then paint and weather this morning, turning it into a delightful little addition to the layout. I also have made the information panel, which I will print out at some point. I know most of it will be completely illegible at 1:76 scale, but that's not really the point!

Other jobs carried out today include a rebuild of the lean-to on the loco shed, which was in dire need of stone "feet" and a reduction in size in order not to foul the roadway! It still needs some sort of flashing to blend it to the loco shed wall, but that's a job for another day when the feet have had time to cure.

Another set of long-awaited jobs related to the grounded carriage. First up was to paint the lower half and the doors of the carriage in another colour. Whilst apprehensive at first, it was actually dead simple with a bit of watered down emulsion! Guttering was then produced out of slithers of corrugated iron sheets (I'm a cheapskate at times!) and a bit of metal rod of some sort that I found in the bits box!

With only 3 days to "finish" the layout off to a decent standard ahead of the RMweb event, details such as the planned stovepipe on the carriage may not be done. However, I can tell you that the planting of variations of marram grass has been carried out tonight; and as expected, the flash of colour has breathed some life into the layout. I fear it may need some drybrushing to tone it down a bit though!

Anyway, more to come soon!

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Sandy Shores - Mudflats and a garden path

Mudflats, a different kind of fencing & a pathway

Almost a year ago when I took Sandy Shores for its first ever exhibition, a visitor politely suggested that perhaps the tidal area of the layout looks far too blue considering it is a mudflat. I seem to remember that I originally painted it whilst trying to judge colour from photos found online. Knowing that it would soon be necessary to pour a deep water layer over the top of it, and with that comment still in the back of my mind, I thought I should do some research.

Turns out, the visitor was of course right, any water in tidal areas amongst mudflat is incredibly... well... muddy! I think the reason I got it so wrong originally was that I relied mainly on photos taken from sea level (or just above), which of course meant that the water was reflecting blue sky!

As this tidal area had several layers of PVA on it, repainting it was not an option. I was also acutely aware that the depth of the sunken areas was all over the place; thus any deep pour "water" would collect in one place rather than spread equally across the whole area.

That left me with only one idea; re-levelling it all with filler! The first photo below shows an initial application with a glue spreader, whilst the second shows the neater result obtained by using a slightly wet brush:

Following on from my earlier research, not only did I get the colours wrong, but the mudflat wasn't quite modelled correctly either. It appears that there is a small set of primary channels that hold water even during low tide, with the mudflats immediately to each side having drain marks perpendicular to the channels. To try and model this, the channels were made using a C shaped bit of sprue, and the drainage marks were made by scraping the dentist tool away from the channel:

The end result it a much more convincing (and considerably more level) mudflat channel:

Whilst I had some leftover filler, I decided to extend the concrete road off-scene. By curving the road back out of sight behind the backscene, I'm hoping it will help soften the harsh transition between scenic and non-scenic sections of the layout. This was constructed in exactly the same way as the existing road. I'm also tempted to add some solid fencing and maybe a sand dune right at the back to help the effect further.

Whilst thinking about the scenic transitions, I determined that a little bit of detailing would help with this, by drawing peoples attention to details, such as around the kiosk area. Whilst I still need to add more details here (such as a menu board and a bin etc.), I knew that I wanted to make some seating (remember that little sketch I drew on my phone a while back!). Whilst I can't find any examples, I specifically remember seeing such seating before; it also doubles up as a low wooden railing. Anyway, it was constructed entirely from balsa wood; with the horizontal tops being sanded to a C shape (half round):

My attention then turned back to the grounded carriage, where I began work by adding tension posts to every corner of the fencing. Some of them are perhaps a little too thick, so I may come back to these another day, but I was keen to press on to the next thing: a footpath. Originally I planned a quick idea of just pouring ballast onto the sand and then blending in the edges with sand... however, things somewhat escalated!

The first thing to do was to roughly mark out the path with a mechanical pencil; making my way from the porch to the new boardwalk at the back of the layout. This is where the process became a little destructive as I scored the ground and lifted up the surface layer. Unfortunately, the end nearest the boardwalk was surprisingly soft, and the knife went straight through into the polystyrene, damaging the end of the fence in the process! Thankfully it wasn't lasting damage, and the rest of the ground was removed without issue.

As you'll see in the photo montage below, I kept making life difficult for myself, this time by deciding the path would need an edging. To do this, incredibly thin strips of lollipop stick were needed; barely being bigger than splinters! It may have taken a while, but it resulted in clean edges with which I could then fill with gravel (ballast).

And there we have it; two days of progress in one post!

Monday, 8 April 2019

Sandy Shores - Homemade post & wire fence

Making a post & wire fence, plus another boardwalk!

This is one of the jobs that has been going on for the past few days, but there wasn't really enough to show per day to warrant spending a whole blog entry writing about it. However, today I made enough progress to show my latest fiddly nightmare!

As you can tell from the post title, I decided that a post and wire fence was needed to mark the boundary of the grounded carriage house. The first part was easy; cutting up lollipop sticks into fine posts using the handheld chopper tool, and then painting them with my usual method. The difficulty  suddenly escalated when it came to attaching wire, as I had originally intended to drill tiny holes in each post to accept wire. I soon realised that even if I could find a drill bit small enough, I still didn't have a chuck small enough to take it.

Given that around here (and probably all over the country), most post and wire fences have their wires actually attached to one side of the post with galvanised U shaped staples, I figured I could do something similar (albeit without the staples!).

The first step towards this was clamping the beading wire under tension to the glass work surface (which has made taking photos pretty difficult, sorry!). My first attempt (above) wasn't particularly successful past the first wire; I was going to need to find a stronger and better way to do it as the wire would keep coming loose once I tried to adjust the tension on one. The tension was crucial to getting the wires at the correct spacing (see the cardboard jig below:), which were measured out to prototype heights.

In the end I had a cunning plan; first I'd cut up a lollipop stick and create grooves of the right spacing with which I could wrap the end of the wires around. This turned out to be a much more successful method, but threading the posts behind the wire and keeping them in the right place was proving more tricky:

And then it occurred to me that using Blu-Tac to hold the middle of the wire runs down between each post would not only help keep the wires aligned, but the posts as well:

With that settled, I thought I'd go for as simple a method as possible, and settled for experimenting with PVA glue to hold it in place. After having left it to fully cure for two days (whilst I painted the layout fascias etc), I came back to it today to check its progress.

Remarkably, every single wire and post has held in place; and because the PVA dries clear, there's no mess. Ecstatic with that result, it was time to turn my attention to the area where it would be sited. Whilst I was marking out the hole locations for the posts, I realised the large timber baulks that sit underneath the carriage were both uneven, and partially floating. In an effort make them sit better, and bed them into the layout, their position was marked before moving them; when I could then dig a trench for them out of the sand. The leftmost one in the photo below was perhaps the one furthest out - you can see just how much its had to be buried:

But rather than complete one of the jobs on my ever-growing list, I added another one! It occurred to me that the resident (i.e. me in this fictional world!) would probably not be allowed to traipse onto the railway in order to get to the property, so I would need an alternate route. After having roughly marked on a scrap bit of card the most logical place for it (at the lowest point of the sand dunes), it was time to make an angled boardwalk:

As you can see, I also happened to find a left over wooden jetty support from when I was making the harbour; this would be perfect for the corner sitting above the pond:

The mess underneath the boardwalk shows that some of the sand dune needed to be cut away to fit the wide boardwalk. I later smoothed up the remaining hole and mess with some Polyfilla. (It'll be left to dry/harden overnight before I paint it and cover it with sand). Anyway, the test fit above proved that the left handrail would need to be modified at the rear so that there was less chance of it getting damaged when the backscene gets slotted into place for exhibitions. As the sand dune was relatively high here, I decided the easiest solution would be to have this handrail drop down to the base. It remains to be seen whether the same treatment will be needed for the other side, but for now it stays as-is.

To finish off the boardwalk, it was of course time to paint it with my usual method. The above photos came out a bit too vivid (my own fault), but in reality it's a nice muted wood colour. Note the light sand colour added onto the end of every plank to give that sunbleached look. It looks a lot more effective in person than it does in the photo above!

So that ends today's progress, and with the porch having had its concrete foundation bedded in, it was time to let everything dry overnight. I had planned to fit the guttering and such onto the carriage, but that can wait till tomorrow!

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Sandy Shores - 10 hours of painting

Getting the layout presentable (+ sprucing up 4 wheeled carriages)

Whilst I only have three photos for this entry, it is the culmination of the past two days of almost solid work on the layout. During the daytime I've spent about 8 hours (spread over both days) painting the layout fascias and trolley. Whilst my original plan was to whitewash the fascias to match the layout theme, I decided in the end to go for a dark grey.

It may sound like a bold move, but the idea was to make the layout "pop" a bit more, and also to give a better protection for the woodwork than a thin wash would've done. Whilst I could've attacked the softwood with a wire brush or the Dremel to give it that tatty look, the ply fascias were already thin enough without gouging out chunks! I'd much prefer to have a layout with structural integrity.

Whilst the grey is quite a bit darker than I expected given the colour on the tin, it definitely does the job of making the layout stand out from even the busiest of backgrounds; which is no bad thing. It may seem weird to have a mix of the very tatty nameplate right next to the very smart dark grey fascias; but actually, I think it's all the better for it. I'm sure it would look equally intriguing with a whitewash finish, but I dare say it wouldn't quite make such a dramatic impact as this "theatre" approach will.

To finish off the neat presentation, my mum has very kindly offered to stitch the Velcro onto the stretchy light grey fabric tomorrow (that we bought the other week). The plan (as it currently stands) is to fix a bit to the front of the layout (as you can see from the white Velcro on the fascia in the photo above). I will also probably fit a piece to the back, although it will be slightly short of the left hand side because the backscene and lighting pelmet support gets in the way. On the right hand edge (by the fiddle yard and control panel), there is currently no plan to fit any drape due to both the awkward restrictions on that side, and the need to access the trolley tray on occasion.

And speaking of that side of the trolley, the tea/cake/rolling stock tray has been fitted with left over corner moulding of some sort (to prevent stuff rolling off it), and now looks like this:

And to end off the post, I've also spent my evenings sprucing up these four wheeled carriages that have been looking somewhat forlorn in recent years. I took the opportunity to paint the metal straps in a darker grey (a very fiddly job!), and I also fitted new "felt" roofs with tissue paper and a wash of various shades of grey. As I'm relying only on an up-lighter for light in the photo below, the light levels are all messed up; in reality the roofs don't quite look so pale and naff!

And with very limited time left until the exhibition, it's about time I got on with finishing the scenic side of the layout!

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Sandy Shores - Porch

A little porch for the grounded carriage

Despite the 4 days of progress, there's just a small update for tonight as there are some jobs that are half-complete that I'd like to complete before showing the final results; it makes sense to try and keep things together; especially when it comes to archiving.

One of the things that has been on my list for a few days is to rig up the nameboard. In true tatty seaside style, I've elected to suspend it from a hook (that has now been attached to the upper pelmet) with parcel string. There's actually a lot of pondering and experimentation that went into working out how best to tie the string around the nameplate. It was tricky making sure that:
a) All the text is easily visible
b) The nameboard does not tilt when hung
c) It looks suitably tatty and homemade!

So here's what I ended up with; a length of string seemingly randomly wrapped and tied around the nameplate: 

And as for the title of this post, another smallish job on my list was to create a porch for the grounded carriage. I wanted something that looks like a later addition, but I also wanted a porch of wooden construction, with a corrugated iron roof. Despite being a small structure, it still took a long time to build. As with all structures, the first step was to create a cardboard mock-up to check dimensions against the existing building. All was well, so it was then time to transfer the mock-up onto balsa wood, where I could then cut out the window and scribe the "planks" and create a base.

Initially, I had planned to make a separate door from plasticard (just like the kiosk), however, I remembered that the grounded carriage had its doors created by pressing in with a blunt tool to create a relief; so the same was done here. After that, it was a case of mitring the corners (cut with a small saw, then any slight adjustments made with sandpaper).

The base was painted in the same concrete colour as used for the lighthouse, and the corrugated roof was painted in my usual method. Something I'm particularly happy with is the painting of the rest of the porch; the balsa wood seems to have really taken well to the paint, first with a thin layer of brown, then a wash of white. Final details could then be made again with a thin application of brown paint on randomly selected planks (and the door and lintels). With the window made (as per the rest of the carriage windows), the porch was more or less complete. All that is left is to dig out the sand to glue the concrete base down:

So that's it for tonight; more tomorrow though!