So with the track down, wired, and working, point motors fitted, the track sub road bed was finally fixed to the chassis. The sharper of you will have noted that he’s not mentioned the fiddle yard or staging yet….
And that’s quite right, partly as I’ve not yet worked out how my fiddle yard will work. One thing I (probably) don’t want, is another baseboard with wasted space on it. I follow a few blogs and recently Rick de Candido has been writing about staging and storage yards on his fillmore avenue roundhouse blog. Iain Rice has also covered many types of fiddle yard variations in his writings and as you can see from the attached images, I’ve knocked together a ‘flying fiddle yard’ (or ‘stick’ more accurately), to give it a try. Firstly and simply it works. I do need a better support system for it and if you’re not looking you can forget its there and walk into it, ask my daughter, she knows! As the scenery structure is now well developed the staging is coming into a higher priority.
The layout is a big shelf 6ft x 18inches, and this will be a landscape cinematic type viewing experience or, a slot. The staging will need to support at least two trains, one for formation/break down and the other as a headshunt for normal operations. Lightweight options could be braced from the upper support of the lighting rig and fascia supports. This gives little room for stock storage though. As its only hoppers/minerals and small engines I don’t need a huge area, but perhaps some space for extra storage. One big downside is that with the display height of 55 inches for the track datum or thereabouts, the floor is a long way down for anything heading that way….
So the simple scenery structure build has taken place. This is building insulation foam with the fireproof cladding stripped off. This is done so that I can stick the layers together using a hot glue gun. PVA’s etc wont cure and simply absorb into the foam core. It does give a very easy structure which can be easily carved to get the overall outline required. I use an old hacksaw blade and a rough sandpaper to profile the contours. The idea evolved into a drift colliery collection point, similar to that at Parkend in the Forest of Dean. I wanted to make sure I was viewing and operating the layout from the right side, sounds odd, but go with the flow for a second!
I already knew that I wanted view blocking and an enhanced version or peering through trees to that which I tried on Albion Yard and to a lesser extent Shelfie1. I’m very mindful of the join from 3D to 2D backscene and disguising that as much as possible. Playing trains on the bare baseboard has helped that decision process, so what has the forest above and below got to do with it?
The tree armatures are Woodland Scenics, and using them has helped visualise the impact of setting this small yard in a woodland area. I really like the view from the siding rather than the loop side but this has two disadvantages. The embankment doesn’t help with the three link couplings combined with trees, a combination that’ll get me shot the first post beer Sunday morning from my fellow exhibition operating team, and less importantly the backscene will be too close to the loading dock in particular, to effectively make a transition from model to backdrop.
I’ve pretty much determined that the loop side view will be the most practical, I can still view block in the foreground, and the embankment has a natural amphitheatre backdrop that can join the backscene almost seamlessly. Entry and exit point is currently a bridge which needs further defining. I’m setting the layout in Northumberland, then local stone will be the natural material, so the Wills scenic texture sheets are sitting on the bench glaring at me! Today with further experiments with the trees I wonder if I can viewblock just using trees and avoiding the arguable cliché that an overbridge will bring with it.
The yard area has already been ballasted throwback-thursday-ballasting/, but now needed taking down to a run down industrial grimy look. Following Chris Nevard’s excellent technique, nevardmedia creating-effect-of-ash-ballast I’ve used DAS modelling clay to achieve a very convincing claggy backwoods mud effect.
The difference in the technique I made was to use a hair dryer to dry the surface, this then seems to allow the remaining moisture to wick to the upper surface. I did this two or three times and the clay had dried within two days. With the clay dry I painted the surface. This is done with Halfords spray paints, Matt black initially then followed by their grey undercoat. To give a further tonal variation Tamiya gunship grey was added before the rails were coloured with a mix of earth and NATO brown. The last image shows the basic black and grey toning and the subtle variations you can achieve with just three colours from spray cans, and prior to rail painting. The key to this for me is working quickly and not getting too bogged down in the detail, for example the track had only been painted because it had been recycled, had it not gone through the earlier iterations I’d have painted the track in its ‘raw’ state. Cleaning of the rail heads does take a bit of time and effort, I use Cellulose thinners on cotton buds which removes the layers instantly and pay particular attention around the point switch blades to ensure good electrical contact. When doing this make sure that the inner side of the railhead gets cleaned too, this significantly helping with power collection. Don’t forget to look at the layout from the height you’ll operate it at too, you’d be surprised at where paint gets, and more importantly doesn’t get! This then makes sure the running is of good quality, I find that for a week or so after the paint and clay application the rails need cleaning frequently, I assume that this is partly due to a sort of microclimate as the last vestiges of moisture are released from the clay and paint. It’s now about two weeks since the paint and clay and track cleaning is regular but not a pre running essential. On the subject of running, behind the 08 you can see some of the Hornby 21T LNER Dia100 hoppers. Lovely wagons but generally if my batch are anything to go by, appalling runners. I’ve worked out a quick fix for them which I’ll cover in a separate post soon.
So that’s almost where we are then, and another blog post. But why Wordless Wednesday? its a simple ironic demonstration for a simpler forum person, who believes the world of the internet revolves around forum grazers. Apparently us bloggers are in the wilderness, a quick look at the fellow wanderers on the blog roll on the right hand side, finds at least two with 1.3 million hits. Clearly it can be a bit ‘busy’ out here, and whilst you’re trudging through the wilds, do take a look at the other blogs on the right, they are there for a reason.