Thursday, August 27, 2015


Progress is moving along nicely now with my entry to the Dave Brewer challenge and today I can report that the girders have been detailed and both them and the rails nicely rusted. For a change I thought I'd show a different view of the diorama looking downstream from above the bridge.

From this angle you can't see the concrete support block although I promise it is there, and I think the scene is really coming together nicely now. The next two jobs will be to add the sleepers to the rail and to paint the rocks. I'm guessing I'll do these in parallel so I don't go crazy hand spiking the rail.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rocks and Rails

Just a quick update on the diorama, as I've now scribbed the stonework on the right-hand bridge support and cut the rails to length.

The rocks were scribbed into the plaster using a dental pick, which worked nicely. The pattern isn't fully accurate to the actual bridge but I think it should work reasonably well once painted up and part hidden under plants.

The ends of the rails are likely to be hidden where the track is over grown so I've soldered them to copperclad PCB strip for strength rather than relying on the hand spiked sleepers to hold everything in place. This should also make fitting the sleepers easier as the gauge is already set.

While neither of these tasks are huge in themselves, I do feel that the scene is starting to come together nicely now. I see I still have a bit of work to do where the girders join the left bank (that gap needs filling) before I start painting the rocks, but I can now also crack on with building the track and detailing the girders and those jobs should move the diorama forward quite quickly.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

More Civil Engineering

It was a long day for the civil engineering team yesterday up on the wilds of Duchal Moor. By the end of the day though they had managed to build up the embankment and cut two bridge girders to size. They expect to have to make a few minor adjustments as building work continues but so far it's all looking quite promising.

The next step will be to scrib the stonework into the supports for the right hand side of the bridge. On the real thing these appear to be made from large local stones bound together with concrete. I did think about producing individual stones from DAS (like I did with the dry stone wall) but I wanted to ensure that I could colour them the same as the in-situ rock. I made the supports by casting a large flat sheet of plaster which I then cut into the relevant shapes. These were glued in place then more plaster used to bind them all together and into the scenery. This means there is plenty of depth of plaster to scrib and they should take colour nicely.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Civil Engineering

The civil engineering team were out early up on Duchal Moor this morning. They've already made initial measurements and started construction on the core of the embankment that will carry the railway over Blacketty Water.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Terraforming at 75%

Now that I'm fairly confident about how I'm going to model the water for my Dave Brewer challenge entry, I've started work on the basic terrain of the final model. So far I'm at about 75% completed.

As you can see, so far I've modelled the river bed, with a drop for a small fall, and the left hand bank where the railway enters on top of a rock. The right hand bank, although taking up a smaller portion of the diorama, is more complex as it contains a man made embankment for the railway to run on. I have some ideas of how I'm going to build that up, but it still requires a little more thought before I make a start on it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Clayton: Completed Build #1

Other than adding the makers plates I've finished the first build of the Clayton loco I've been working on. As I mentioned before there are more things wrong with the current version than right but it's still assembled into a passable model.

I've rally enjoyed modelling on O14 as the larger scale has really let me go to town on the details. Not only do we have the brake lever from a previous post, but individual wires and a bell among other details that would have been difficult or impossible in OO9. Now a static model is one thing but you all probably want to see it move.

You'll probably notice two things from that video. Firstly the working lights are missing as I discovered that there was no way of routing the wires through the current print (another thing to add to the list of bits needing a redesign). Secondly the movement isn't very smooth. For some reason it looks as if they wheels are sticking during part of their revolution. It must be the wheels and not the layshaft as it's at the same point every time. You can see it more clearly in this video.

I've not figured out exactly what the problem is yet but I'm guessing that maybe one of the axles is slightly out of line leading to a tight spot. I'll try and investigate further but it may just be an issue with printing that will go away after some of the bits are redesigned anyway.

So not perfect, but I'm more than happy with my start in O14.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Little Details

I'd intended to be able to show you a moving Clayton locomotive by now, but one of the test etches that arrived in the post a few days ago was all the details for the loco so I'm going to build these up and add them before completing the mechanical side of things. This may sound like a daft order but once I add the lights the two parts of the loco will be joined together making it more awkward to paint and detail.

I've discovered that moving to a larger scale (7mm to the foot in this case) has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include being able to more accurately model some of the details, the disadvantage is that the extra detail actually often means smaller parts. For example....

This reversing lever (at least I assume that's what it is) is made of eight separate etched pieces all soldered together. Fortunately seven of the layers all contain a hole for the pivot wire so are "fairly" easy to align and hold in position while they are soldered together; the eighth piece was a little more fiddly.

It may have been a little fiddly to put together but I'm really happy with the way it's turned out. I didn't know how well some of the finer parts would hold up to the etching process or how it would look once assembled but I'd call this a success.

I can certainly understand why some people enjoy the larger scales for the level of detail it allows, but I'm not sure how true the idea of the larger scales being easier on the eyesight really is.