Sunday, 17 September 2017

Can I Add a Small Beer Garden?

To be honest. I haven't much to show for this week. A lot of it has been moving things about and tidying up the layout room.

I painted some barrels white for a visible barrier to stop patrons of The Tower Ale House accidentally stumbling onto the tracks. Now they will need to walk a bit further and hopefully get a better and safer view of oncoming trains before crossing the tracks.


I've only placed things on the layout. There are three blokes in the tower, and the tower needs gluing. The trees need their roots trimmed, holes drilled and an bit of dead leaves and twigs placed around the base. The table and chairs have been sprayed with a white primer. They need a couple of people on them.They need to be white, just incase one winds up on the tracks, then the driver can see it. There is also a little blackboard, letting patrons know the local beers served in the ale house. On the back is a warning to look out for trains. However, my printer doesn't handle 2pt font too clearly. There are signs for the ale house but they are too small. I ran out of time today to reprint them.

I also have a couple of blokes playing checkers (or draughts). I'm hoping that I can squeeze them into the beer garden.


It may just work. A bit of turf put down next to the cobblestones with a low hedge as a barrier for the nearer tracks and it could look like a pleasant little beer garden.

Looks like the list above are the next jobs to do.

Until next time.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

I could do with a drink.

If you take a trip to Billabong Wharf by on an old tin hare or a more modern 620/720 rail motor, you can catch a ferry to a destination further along the water.



Alternatively you could wait on the platform and admire the cobblestones while you wait for the X200 rail tractor to bring the old SHG guards van with some passenger accomodation to take you to Billabong Marina.


Realistically, this railway outpost is nothing more than a loading platform with a light post and maybe a bench. However, go down the stairs  and you can reach the marina. 



Here you could charter a boat or grab some of the best fish and chips in the country from Fishy McFishface.


If you look at the menu you could even buy a pint of prawns. Never heard of a pint of prawns? Neither had I until a few years ago when I was visiting one of my wife's aunts in the south of England. She took us to a pub and ordered a pint of prawns for lunch. While we were hoeing into fish and chips or bangers and mash, my wife's aunty received a pint glass full of prawns. From memory, they needed to be shelled too.

However, there is nowhere to get a beer.

This is a disgrace.

There are six, seven industries, there could be eight. I'm beginning to lose count myself. Where are all of those workers going to grab a beer? What about the sailors bringing in the goods by ship? All that time at sea can make you thirsty for a beer. Tourists need a drink too. The station master at Billabong Wharf likes a quiet ale at the end of his shift before he goes home to tend to his veggie garden and walk his dog. To do that he needs to catch a train to somewhere. That is until now.


Built between the two world wars, the lookout tower was built to assist in the defence of the small harbour at Billabong Wharf from invasion. After the war it fell out of use as a lookout tower and was eventually abandoned.

The run down tower was then turned into a pub. Now the station master has somewhere local to go for a quiet ale at the end of his shift. To stop people from accidentally tumbling out of the tower and onto the tracks some barrels will be placed as a barrier.

The view isn't too bad either, although it could do with a bit of a tidy up. The grey concrete edges are too dark and need some sorting out.



The tower began life as a Frateschi Signal Tower. It is a small kit. The walls are 2 cm long and I had hoped to be able to cut it in half but clearance problems stopped that from happening. The walls don't meet at 90 degrees but somewhere around 110 or 120 degrees. A triangle of 20 thou styrene was cut for a floor

I tried the idea of nearly flat against the backscene but sticking out a bit. However, the door would lead onto the tracks and potential disaster for my little plastic people. A roof was marked out and cut from 60 thou card. I'm not sure if the pub owner will be able to add a roof top terrace. One thing I don't think I can do is add lights inside. It's a pity but as the building sticks out only 2 cm from the side of the layout, getting the wires through what is practically 38 mm thickness of frame work is prohibitive. It could be something worth investigating though.

Plans for this week:
1. Investigate the possibilities of lights in the tower.
2. Put a couple of people in the top floor looking out and enjoying a beer. This might be more difficult than it think.
3. Glue tower to the backscene.
4. Find barrels and pain them white and glue them down.
5. Finish static grass.
6. Make a sign for the bakery.

Until next time.

P.S. The tower hides the bracket and the tree next to it hides the fact it is an extremely low relief building and the blue paint on the edge of the backscene.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Carry On Painting

Last night, I painted the cobblestones with burnt umber. I used this dark colour for the dirt that gets between the stones. I didn't grab a photo last night as my phone ran out of charge. The image below is from after I started work today.


Today, I dry brushed raw sienna over the top of the burnt umber for the brighter almost polished from use tops of the cobblestones.

Next I glued in warehouse in place.


Compare this with my last post.

The edge needs to be painted with a grey for concrete. A couple of other spots, where there was bleeding under the masking tape, needs some touching up.

Here's a longer view along the water.


There needs some tidying up. The green paint for the water needs a wash. The walls need a touch up as well, then I can work on the bollards - or whatever the wooden piles are that the ships rub against.

It is amazing how much better it looks now.

I think I might be hard pressed doing anything tomorrow night but I reckon that I might be able to squeeze something in. However, I have ticked off another two things on my list from Sunday night.

Until next time.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Ticking off the List


Finish cobblestones - tick.

Glaze warehouse, black out windows and put a sign on it - tick.

Work out how to hide the bracket holding the backscene in place - tick. (Although I have an idea, I've yet to put it into place.)

The next step is to pain the cobblestones.

Until next time.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Google Street View On a Model Railway

Some clever boffins at Google have created street view of Hamburg's Miniatur Wunderland. Check it out here: https://www.google.com/intl/en/maps/about/behind-the-scenes/streetview/treks/miniatur-wunderland/#intro

I can't say that I'd be up for that sort of effort on my layout (I need some streets first) but if you're thinking about how it was done, then check out this clip.


As far as my efforts go, it has been a week of painting but not much dramatic progress. However, having said that the warehouse has been given enough coats of paint. It needs one or two touch ups, glazing, black cardboard so you can't see the backscene and a sign.


Another section of cobblestones were out in as well. This time they were put in in the curved section of track. To help with clearance the Das Modelling clay was scraped out from the track with a small screwdriver. Next an old Lima wagon with large flanges was used to check clearances. Often called cookie cutter wheels, these wheels cut through the clay nicely, showing what else needed to be removed. 


Once that was sorted, my VR van was used for one final check.

The next step is to finish off the cobblestones between the track and the side backscene.

Here's my list for the next week.

1. Finish cobblestones.
2. Paint cobblestones.
3. Glaze warehouse, black out windows and put a sign on it.
4. Paint the fences which still need painting.
5. Install fences.
6. Install warehouse.
7. Finish off static grass.
8. Sign for the bakery.
9. Work out how to hide the bracket in the above image.

I have a busy week with stuff on every evening but I reckon that I can knock a couple of these things off.

Until next time.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Another layout idea. (And an update.)

 I've had a bit of a break over the last couple of weeks. I managed to pick up that nasty cold that has been going about and I managed to get away for a few days. To top it off, I did a little bit of trainspotting on the Skitube. 


There wasn't a huge variety of trains. There are four sets of trains. Set 1 is three cars long and spends most of the day running between Perisher and Blue Cow. Set 2 is four cars long and travels between Bullocks Flat and Perisher. Sets 3 and 4 are two cars long. They spend most of the time coupled together between Bullocks Flat and Perisher. However, at some stage throughout the day a supply train is run. I'm not sure of the whole ins and outs. At around 1:30 the train from Blue Cow runs down the hill to Bullocks Flat. At the same time one of the two car units pushes up a bogie open wagon loaded with supplies for the Blue Cow Terminal.

I've seen this over the years that I have been heading down to the snow. While I've seen the wagon go up and the wagon at Blue Cow in the morning, I have never seen the wagon go down the mountain. I have caught the train which runs from Blue Cow to Bullocks Flat on nasty days that aren't much fun to ski - such as last Friday. To be honest, the wagon from Blue Cow could be on the rear of this train. I have never looked.

I have often thought that this would make a nice micro-layout. The station at Bullocks Flat is simple it is one track which splits into two tracks either side of an island platform. It also gets snow. A simple auto reversing module would make it work without too much hassle. However, the stock would need to be scratch built or 3D printed. This is out of my capabilities at the moment.

Having said all that, two sets of points - one for the station and one for the staging yard - and you could use a similar idea for the end of a suburban line. I think East Hills was something like this before the line was extended to Holsworthy and Glenfield. A bit of quick research also showed that Beverly Hills was once called Dumbleton.

I reckon that a twelve foot long shelf would be good, although a bit bigger than micro. 1/3 of this would be platform (a four car single deck set or a double deck S set is about 90 cm long.), 1/3 could be a run through to the final 1/3 of staging yard. If the boards were less than 30 cm deep it could be cut from a single 1200 x 900 mm sheet of ply. If you cut out the middle section then the layout could be 30 cm x 240 cm.

Enough daydreaming and back to the current layout.


I carried on with the cobblestone sets and started on the warehouse. The next lot of cobblestones need to go inside the curved track. I reckon that I'll get to that on Sunday. 

The crane was put in place to get an idea of how things would look from a viewing angle. The crane needs replacing as it has visited the floor too many times.The warehouse was put in place. It's the front of the Cutting Scissors factory by DPM. The rest of it makes up the dairy. It seemed like a good solution. I did try some DPM modular sections and looked for another idea from other available kits but this is the cheapest option. It was given a coat of primer.


It was then given a nice shade of brown. Unfortunately it blends in with the background. To counteract this, I painted the windows and doors cream.


I don't think that this helped. To solve the problem I went to to my local hobby shop to buy some lighter paint. The Humbrol paint was really gluggy. I don't know if it's just me but I seem to find inconsistency with this brand. I spent a bit of time thinning it down. I have applied a lighter shade over a dark base, which isn't ideal but it will make the building stand out more.


A couple more coats will see it done. The concrete bits will be light grey and the windows and doors will be a mid grey.

The aim of the warehouse is to provide another spot for a wagon. As it will be parked out the front and on the circuit, it can provide an extra challenge for the operator.

The next lot of tasks are much the same.
1. Put up fences. (They need to be painted and put on the layout.)
2. Create the sign for the bakery.
3. More cobblestone sets.
4. Keep painting the warehouse.

Until next time.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Setting Things in Stone


This week has been a lot of this and that. Today's effort was putting some more Das modelling clay down into cobblestones. Although from what I hear, cobblestones are round whereas square or rectangular stones are setts.

I've had the Das open for 14 months. So long as you keep it wrapped in an airtight condition it still seems to work. I did find that dipping a finger in some water helped a little though. I have the section between the tracks in front of Fine Fish and to the left of the building still to go. After that, I have between the curved track and up to the backscene and the warehouse to go. The curved track will be more challenging than the straight track as the wheels will need more space for clearance. Once done, I can paint the cobblestones.

Earlier in the week I carried on with some ballast. Now all of the track is ballasted.


Once the ballasting was completed a bit of static turf was put down. Part of this was easy but some sections close to the backscene were difficult to put the grass down. A lot landed on rooftops. Instead of shaking it out of the static grass applicator, I had to sprinkle it on by hand and then wave the applicator over the top as close as I could. Behind the Fine Fish, in a spot where no one will actually see it, the applicator wouldn't fit at all. However the end result is not too bad.


The fishery building, as you can see is narrow. The idea is to give an impression of what should be there. On this micro layout there isn't enough room for a complete building so compromises had to be made. The main aim for the layout is for operation and on the two sidings I want to load four refrigerated vans.

For the coming week I've a couple of jobs.
1. Put up a couple more fences.
2. Create a sign for the bakery. I'm thinking about a billboard style on the roof.
3. More cobblestone setts.
4. Start on the warehouse.

Until next time.