Woodland Development

Back at the beginning of the year, the woodlands along the rear of the layout were being blocked in. Most of it was acceptable, but in cliche corner with my over bridge scenic break, getting the trees and overhang right was getting awkward.

I did try out a ‘tunnel’ of trees, with no bridge, but due to the short length of the cutting, I couldn’t get a long enough run under cover of the trees to show that canopy effectively before running through the backscene. So it was back to building a see through Autumn feel for the tree diffuser line.

The layout lighting is relatively bright, see above, and could do with a little toning down, to this end I’ve dismantled the rear lighting rig and will raise the rear light bar by about 10-20cm. This will still give adequate flood lighting, rear downwash on the trees and backscene, and not affect the sky density with shadows in the curves at the ends. The final amount will be determined by experimenting with different heights and the light bar held by clamps.

The maximum height of the layout is likely to be around 76inches, track height 56 inches so that the proscenium arch and end pelmets work to give a few forced viewpoints like the image above. There were a couple on Albion Yard and were popular with viewers, I hope to push that a little further with either this project or the next one.

Returning to cliche corner earlier this week I had blocked in the section adjacent to the bridge, and it looked ok, but that was it, just ok.

Whilst the upper limbs of the trees were good the bottom branches and the join close to the bridge just looked wrong, and I couldn’t work out why. It took a good few days to ‘see’ the problem, but the clues were there a good way beforehand!

As you can see here in the initial build the density of the lower foliage next to the bridge was far too great. However I’d put some coverage of leaves and paint across it which masked the problem due to it looking ‘completed’. After a few days it was annoying me so much that I removed all the foliage to have another go leaving a pretty bare look, something like this.

Whilst the tree line was stripped down I decided to remove a smaller sapling at the base of the embankment. This was the key moment. The baseline opened up visually but not so that it looked artificial. Knowing now that the infill needed to be much less dense it was a quick and easy job to remodel the base of the tree branches and replace the scrub and low bushes around the foot of the trees.

Doing this also gave a more natural flow to the base of the tree line, allowing a partial view underneath the furthest arch with more light emphasising the lack of foliage, rather than the previous emphasis of an impenetrable dark mass.

So Shelfie2 has taken another good step forward, the next Woodland tasks will be to rebuild the right hand end coppice, with left and right hand foreground diffuser trees. This will then mean I can attach the backscene in a semi permanent manner, and progress to completion of the ‘customer facing’ fascia. Once the fascia is completed it’s on to final detailing and further stock before it’s first show in September. Are we nearly there yet?..

.

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Posted in 2019, accurascale, autumn, Bachmann, blogger, Branch Line, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, DCC, dcc sound, dingham, Eastern Region, Exhibition, finescale, heljan, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Industrial, iphoneography, justdoit, Kalmbach, Layout, LED, LED Lighting, man cave, mancave, Midland Region, model, model photography, Model Railroad, Model Railway, modeling, Modelling, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, peco, railway, Rapido Trains, scale, scale modelling, Scottish Region, shelfie, shelfie2, social media, Southern Region, throwback thursday, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, train show, trainset, tree, trees, Uncategorized, Wales, Western Region, woodland, woodland scenics, woods | Leave a comment

Transformation Tuesday, Kings Cross & The Heljan 25 and 86

Heljan OO Class 25

Heljan OO Class 86

One of the nice things about this hobby is the social element to it. Last night in ye olde London towne a group, nine, later ten, of us met up. In two different pubs we were asked what’s the occasion? Erm, it’s Monday, was the answer given.

It was my first trip on an Azuma, which are a brilliant looking unit from the outside.

Lined up next to an HST it was nice to see just how well the older unit looks, and has lasted since large scale introductions in 1976. It will undoubtedly be recognised as one of Britain’s greatest trains in the future.

Starting at Kings Cross the transformation of the Northern approaches is astounding, back in the 80’s when I worked there the area was very run down, what a difference the last few years have made!

The use of the gas holder structure for new buildings is just genius!

Later in the day we got the opportunity to make adenoidal noises, assorted bleeps and squeaky sounds as Heljan’s Class 25 and 86 arrived for us to paw over.

Heljan Class 25 & 86

Heljan Class 25

Heljan Class 25

Heljan Class 25

Heljan Class 25

Heljan Class 25

Heljan Class 86

Heljan Class 86

Heljan Class 86

Heljan Class 86

Heljan Class 86

Of the ten of us that looked at the EP’s nine thought they were good, with one abstention. Of the ten of us that went out, all ten seemed to have a good time, talking shite, drinking beer and just enjoying the craic!

And, we didn’t ask about the pantograph for the 86. Weirdo’s eh?

Posted in 2019, accurascale, Airfix, Bachmann, blog, British Rail, DCC, dcc sound, Eighties, Exhibition, finescale, Hattons, heljan, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Inspiration, Layout, life, LNER, Midland Region, model photography, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, n gauge, Nevard, new release, news, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, peco, product news, Rapido Trains, scale, scale modelling, Scottish Region, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, train show, trainset, transformation tuesday, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Essential Witness and Transition

Essential Witness and Transition are two books that do that rare thing of capturing the railway in an engaging and artistic way. Each book contains the work of one photographer, Jim Shaughnessy for Essential Witness, and Colin Gifford for Transition.

Essential Witness edges it as my favourite between the two, not only are the images superb, the page design just works for me.

The simple discrete caption, and at the back of the book thumbnail images with extended notes.

Transition, has a similar layout, though not quite so ‘clean’, frustratingly whilst it has simple numbered captions, there’s no extension to them. The images are like those of Witness, brilliant and interesting and I feel the book misses a trick without better captions.

Print quality is brilliant, on good quality paper, blacks are deep blacks, and whites like crisp fresh snow, with all the tonal values between. Both are entirely monochrome, the subject matter really suiting the style of both artists. All weathers are included adding to the atmosphere the images convey, New York State winters really look cold, Manchester, looks wet. There’s very few platform 3/4 shots, the photographers capture both intimate portraits, and trains in the landscape equally well adding to the value of the images. The books will suit modellers, there’s plenty of line side details to study, both in terms of railway equipment, and era specific items like vehicles and clothing. Both volumes cover the change over era’s between the Steam and Diesel era’s, more so with Colin Giffords’s Transition. If you’re after a good book to just kick back and enjoy, both of these definitely fit the bill.

If you take your time you’ll find real value in either book for prototype information, more importantly though you’re likely to just have a really relaxing and enjoyable few hours. Just immerse yourself in the skills and artistry of the images, rare quality in such an accessible format. Printed media is not dead yet!

Essential Witness

Jim Shaughnessy

ISBN 978-0-500-54486-0

Transition

Colin Gifford

ISBN 978-1-9164001-08

Posted in b&w, black and white, blog, blogging, book, book review, Branch Line, British Rail, canada, copyright, history, hobbies, Inspiration, Layout, library, life, man cave, mancave, media, Model Railroad, Model Railway, modeling, Modelling, monochrome, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, Photography, product news, railway, research, review, scale, scale modelling, seasons, skill, skillset, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, travel, Uncategorized, usa | 1 Comment

Wordless Wednesday (Heljan 07)

Posted in 2019, accurascale, Bachmann, blogger, Branch Line, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, dapol, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, Eighties, Exhibition, finescale, Great Western, Hattons, heljan, HO, hobbies, Hornby, huo, Industrial, Layout, life, man cave, mancave, Midland Region, model, model photography, Model Railroad, Model Railway, modeling, Modelling, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, peco, scale, scale modelling, shelfie, shelfie1, shelfie2, Southern Region, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, train show, trainset, woodland scenics, wordless wednesday | Leave a comment

NMRA Motivation Monday

Bob Phelps receives the NMRA’s distinguished service award Saturday 13th July 2019 from NMRA President Pete Magoun, at the NMRA National Train Show in Utah.

So why’s this of interest? Bob, principal product design engineer worked for Peco for 54, yep fifty four years.. 1963 -2016! Many of us, will have at some stage in our modelling life, used a component that Bob has had involvement in, particularly in the UK. Not only is Bob a talented engineer, as anyone whom has met him will know he’s a brilliant modeller too, and a genuinely nice guy. On a visit to Peco delivering ‘Collier Street’, Bob showed me a plasticard scratch built body for a US steam locomotive. The quality was outstanding, the equal of anything else I’ve seen in the same medium.

If I take a look at the bigger picture, and where Peco products are sold it’s not an exaggeration to note that Bob has literally had a world wide influence on the hobby.

World wide, fifty years…..

That for both Bob and his colleagues within Peco, is an extraordinary achievement, and sets a hard act to follow.

Having said that, in the past couple of years Peco are obviously continuing with a similar, effective progress, code 75 Bullhead in OO, the recent announcement of US code 70 track work, in addition to their well established Code 83 products.

It’s really pleasing to see Bob, and others, including companies getting recognition in this manner, long may it continue.

Images and award details with thanks to

Harry K. Wong

Model Railroad News

Model Railroad News

Peco

NMRA

Posted in 2019, Award, blogging, Branch Line, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, DCC, dcc sound, Exhibition, finescale, Friends, history, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Industrial, Inspiration, Layout, life, magazine, man cave, mancave, media, model, model photography, Model Railroad, Model Railway, modeling, Modelling, monday motivation, motivation monday, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, national train show, news, nmra, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, peco, product news, Railway Modeller, research, scale, scale modelling, toy fair, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, train show, trainset, Uncategorized, usa | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday , Paint

Whilst waiting for more tree making material to arrive, I’ve turned to a trial of the backscene. I’m using a similar technique to that I used here, Setting the Scene where myself and the late Roy Jackson painted the sky/backscene on Geoff Kent’s ‘Black Lion Crossing’. Roy and I subsequently painted Retford’s backscene too. We did one piece to give it ‘a coat of looking at’, decided it worked, and then thought ‘#### it’, we may as well do the rest now. We did the 60ft or so in a couple of hours, such is the speed of the technique.

This technique is an adaptation of a process my fellow beer test pilot Chris Nevard uses. Using simple masks, effects like the hills above can be added using spray cans and non detailed specific shapes can be quickly represented.

Using a generic light sky blue will throw back a lot of ‘blue’ light onto the layout, so I’m already toning that down with the use of mixes of greys and whites. It might seem a lot of work to do as a test piece, this is 10ft long and 18 inches tall, but this will give me the real impact of the final appearance. It’s quite a quick process, the emulsion and acrylic sprays are fast drying. Whilst I’m confident the blue I’ve chosen is a good base point, until it’s under lighting and ‘joined’ to the existing scenery I won’t really know. As it’s on lining paper I’ll see too how the base coat reacts to being flexed when fitted. Once it’s on I’ll get the right feeling for the colour balance required, and recession needed for the real thing.

Whilst this dries I can get access to the back of the tree line and do some more work with that, which requires a little more structure to be visible, and raise the rear lighting batten to get a better, more diffused down wash.

Are we nearly dry yet?….

Posted in accurascale, autumn, Bachmann, blog, Branch Line, brew street, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, Chris Nevard, dapol, DCC, dcc sound, dingham, Eastern Region, finescale, Great Western, Hattons, heljan, hobbies, Hornby, Kalmbach, Layout, LED, LED Lighting, LMS, LNER, man cave, mancave, Midland Region, model, model photography, Model Railroad, Model Railway, modeling, Modelling, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, Nevard, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, paint, Rapido Trains, research, scale, scale modelling, Scottish Region, shelfie, shelfie1, shelfie2, Southern Region, throwback thursday, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, trees, Uncategorized, Western Region, woodland, woodland scenics, woods | 1 Comment

Wordless Wednesday Bachmann 45

Bachmann 45xx

Posted in accurascale, autumn, Bachmann, blog, Branch Line, British Rail, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, Forest of Dean, Great Western, gwr, heljan, hobbies, LMS, LNER, Midland Region, model photography, Model Railroad, Model Railway, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, peco, scale, scale modelling, Scottish Region, Southern Region, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Western Region, wordless wednesday | Leave a comment