Monday, 31 October 2016

Beginning Week 4

I stopped and had a review tonight before I started.

This is week 1, right at the start of the 15 minute challenge.

Quite often I think that I'm not achieving too much but realistically I am.

I took a few photos with my proper camera and not the phone. However, I've changed my laptop and have not been able to transfer certain imaging software across to my working device. (That's the next job tonight.)

After the pics, out came the vacuum cleaner. The layout looks much cleaner now.

Here's the section I did yesterday with the excess grass removed. It's a good example of before and after the static grass, with my swagman sitting on a rock. I have better rocks which look more appropriate. I want to add some fallen branches and a campfire too. And I'll need to paint him. The swaggie is a figure from the Preiser range and originally is a cyclist, however, I've bent his arms and legs.

The next image is the station building in place. My main layout is in the background. My aim for the station building is to stick some LEDs and interiors into it. People could peer through the doors and windows to the inside.

Yesterday I said that I would focus on the rear of the layout before the front. However, I couldn't resist seeing what I could do with some of the static grass areas which I put down last night. Out came my old box of scatter material. There are a few different shades of green here.

This is the head shunt for arriving trains. It also doubles for the cattle yard. The loading platform will be built later. To the right is a bit of a throw back to the days of old. I have used lichen. Is that still fashionable? I don't think that it looks bad. It's a nice colour and hides the edge of the cliff edge. I also need to paint the framework and sides of the baseboard to make it look prettier. May be this weekend.

The last image is of the dairy. The paintwork needs finishing. It needs glazing and behind the windows I will stick black paper. Signs need to be added and then it will be glued to the back board. But before that happens, I'm not sure if I want to paint a back scene across the back. I'm feeling that I will need to create a study of this. A couple of fences around the industries might help too.

I also want to create and shelter which will protect the loading platform and go across the track. I could put a light or two in the shelter for night time shunting.

Tomorrow's plan? Finish the paintwork on the dairy.

Until then.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Slowing things down a bit.

Thursday was a right off and we had guest around on Friday. Saturday was looking good for a couple of hours work but a last minute distraction came along. 

The same thing started today but I was able to get to the layout.

The first task was more cobblestones. The second rail for the crane was put in as well.

I repainted the work station for the operator too.  I thought that blue might be nice. I was wrong. No photos of that bit of scariness. Brown will be my next attempt.

The next thing was to think about what is going on at the back of the layout with the fuel depot. Years ago at a Hurstville exhibition, I bought a Walthers kit mainly for the tanks. The kit was never completely built as circumstances changed. Like all good modellers I hoard old kits - just in case. Today was just in case. I reckon that I can use the building as a very low relief kit and add a couple of ends of tanks lying on concrete supports. Sort of like this.

This will also give me room for a swagman and a jumbuck. Here's what it looks like with a tanker.

It's a micro layout so things are tight.

The other thing that I did today was to play around with static grass. I bought a cheap applicator of an internet auction site. The instructions are hilarious as the translation is woeful. However heed the warnings. I messed up. I have no idea what I did, except that I did not switch it off properly. The jolt was like being punched in the chest. It's hard to believe that could come from two D cell batteries. I did not get super powers.

I mixed in three different shades of Woodlands Scenics grass but when I shook them out it ended as a consistent colour.

There was a bit of spillage onto the track but that should be able to be vacuumed up carefully tomorrow so that I can collect the fibres.

I want to keep working on the rear of the layout as I am finding that I am leaning over the front too much.

Until tomorrow night. I reckon there will more grass and greenery about.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

More cobblestones.

I forgot to post last night. When I remembered, I tried to use the phone app but it kept crashing when I was typing the heading.

Yesterday I spent a bit of time roasting some veggies. This gave me more than 15 minutes as they roasted. It was spent applying Das and tamping out cobblestones.

Today's work was a little shorter and I spread the Das between the tracks. I ran a screwdriver along the inside track to remove the clay before I tamped out the stonework. I made sure that I was pressing away from the tracks when I pressed down.

The top of the image is yesterday's work and the darker clay between the tracks was finished minutes ago.

The odd length of rail is for the travelling crane. There will be a matching rail on the other side of the track when hose stones are put down.

Things might be a bit tight time wise tomorrow and certainly on Friday. In sure that I'll be able to squeeze something in.

Until then.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Still more ballast and a a couple of questions.

I found out today that it takes ten minutes to ballast a point. I did three of them. There are two more and a couple of lengths of track to do. The plain track is much quicker as there is less care needed. You don't accidentally glue the point blades together.

I showed a mate from work my effort and talked about the fifteen minute philosophy. He thought that  it was a good idea as it made you take a break to do something that you want to do.

Yesterday, I tried to spray paint the car card boxes, the little shelf and the throttle holder. The results were terrible. The paint didn't soak into the wood or the MDF and too much went onto the throttle holder. As it was enamel, I don't feel confident to paint over it using acrylic paints that I have. I reckon I might have to try this again. The throttle holder could probably do with just a light sand and another coat of paint as this is made of plastic.

The static grass arrived today but being a bit of a chump, I didn't have the right batteries for the static grass applicator. 

As the layout is coming along nicely at one end, my thoughts are going to the other. However, one question I have is where can I put a swagman. Every billabong needs a jolly swagman camping in he shade of a coolabah tree. One thought is here:

However, this is in front of my oil depot which should look a bit like this:

The two tanks are acting as a visual block to hide an incredibly short siding.

Another question is what should I do here?

The point on the top left is actually for a siding on the main layout. Once this has been hooked up and tested it will be ballasted. The plywood on the right will be a concrete surface and a fishery for loading the catch of the day into TRC and MRC vans for the Sydney fish markets. the plywood sidings on the left are awaiting cobblestones. 

The siding on the top right was to be a bakery so that I could justify a BWH which would add a a little variety to the stock. One possibility is to extend the siding onto the main layout as the station going here will be a good 20 cm above the track. I could make it a warehouse of sorts. 

Having said that, the curve at the top of the top of the image should be set in cobblestones. I have thought of having warehouse frontage on this section too with the trains running through the warehouse. This would create a scenic break. The Walthers modular building kits would be perfect for this but I don't think that they are made any more. 

There may be plenty of 15 minutes coming up toying with ideas. In the meantime I want to continue with the cobblestones that I know I want, apply some static grass, weather the jetties and the pontoon,  finish the dairy, finish the fish and chip shop. These will keep me busy while I think about the other bits. 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

More Ballast

The heading sums up the work today. I thought that I could ballast all the points but one was being a bit tricky. I tamp the ballast down with an old paint brush and carefully glue the ballast down. I change the points to check that it is all going well. It did for most but one jammed. I spent a bit of time on that point trying to free it up. Eventually I did but I called it quits after that. It will give me something to do tomorrow. 

Now the main platform is complete it can now be ballasted too. The plywood in the distance is awaiting Das cobblestones.

This week isn't as busy as last week so hopefully I can get some more done. One job that I would like to do is to hook it up to the main layout. The static grass I ordered is due in a couple of days so there could soon be quite a change.

Until next time.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Saturday is train day.

My apologies to ripping off Chris Lyons' tag line from his YouTube channel. (He says, "everyday is Train Day.")

I spent the day at a local public school fete with a model railway display. I took along a couple of kits to build and paint. The station building took a lot longer than I thought. Not having instructions didn't help. After I finished putting it together, I worked on the platform. I covered it with Scalescenes tarmac and brick to match the loading dock that I had covered earlier. 

Here it is at the fete. 

Until tomorrow. 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Rinse and Repeat

More ballasting...

...and more cobblestones. 

This shows the blending of the first lot of cobblestones from Saturday with this evening's effort. I hope it works well or I'm going to have problems. 

Last night's ballasting is dry and looks it. 
The great thing about matte Mod Podge is that when it dries it doesn't make the ballast look shiny or wet as PVA does. 

I'm busy tomorrow night but Saturday should bring some kit building time. I'm hoping to finish the station and the station building. At some stage I should paint the frames of the base board. 

Until next time. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Bombo's Finest

Yesterday I was able to pop into Hobbyland in Hornsby to check out what ballast they have and picked up a couple of bags of Bombo ballast. My mate's father in law used to work there. The colour is a real dirty brown and just perfect for old dirty ballast that you would find on old branch lines and sidings if they were ballasted. They had a really fine grade which was even better. 

Tonight in my fifteen minutes ( more like half an hour), I ballasted a short section of track.

The point took the longest as I needed to make sure that I didn't get grit or glue in the wrong places like my last ballasting effort. For the glue I used a 1:3 ratio mix of Mod Podge Matte to water with a couple of drops of detergent and applied it with a 6 mL medicine syringe from the local chemist, except with the ballast inbetween the point blades. Here I used the handle of a fine paint brush. I dipped it into the glue and touched the ballast. As the glue is "wet", it runs freely off the brush and through the ballast.

I have ordered some static grass so it will be able to fill in the ply bits soon. I probably should spend fifteen minutes soon testing my static grass applicator. 

Tomorrow night I will put down more ballast and Das clay on the wharf front.

Until then.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

A Second of My Life

It's been a week of my fifteen minutes a day on the layout challenge. 

One thing that I have learnt is that 15 minutes isn't long but it can grow to more time sometimes. Everything seems to take longer than I think it will. Having goals for the next day is a good idea. Planning two or three days a head can be efficient but sometimes tasks are put on hold to get more stuff. 

And, when stamping out cobblestones, each on is a second of my life. I'm hoping that I still have more seconds than I need. 

I still have plenty to stamp out. I got this idea from Model Rail's Chris Nevard. I coated the plywood with PVA and put Das modelling clay on top. I then use some brass square tubing to pressing the stones. It was used to good effect on Nevard's Brew House Quay. 

The local climate wasn't conducive to airbrushing outside on Saturday so I worked on the station building instead. 
This is now ready for assembly this week. 

I would have posted this yesterday but the Blogger app keeps crashing on my phone. 

Today's work was to airbrush the stairs and jetties and fish and chip kiosk. I also painted the pontoon for the passenger ferry and some balsa for the bollards or piles (those poles which stop boats from hitting the pier walls). I painted the kiosk white on the inside and outside. I'd like to put some lights and interior in eventually. 

I finished the evening with painting exposed areas of the ply with a mix of student acrylic raw sienna and burnt umber. This will create a base colour for when the grass is put down. I'm not sure as to whether I put some light ballast between the tracks or use more Das to give the impression of a light branch where the track has sunk into the ground.  However, here is the section that I've been working on. 
I think the jetties and pontoon might need a bit of weathering down to lighten up the timber. I've used a spare jetty to create a loading platform for the dairy.

This week is pretty busy. I won't have any time tomorrow and Tuesday could be a bit tight. I'm hoping to keep going with some more cobblestones. 

Until next time. 

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Fish and Chips

This evening's effort was fairly quick but a bit more than 15 minutes. I put some steps on the jetties and built the fish and chip kiosk. Everything built this week will need some paint. I reckon the steps from the platform can be white, the jetties can be weathered black and the kiosk can be a light blue. 

Tomorrow nights staff dinner is going to cut into things but I'm hoping Saturday morning can make up for it. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016


I need add some steps from the tarmac to the jetties but ran out of time today. I can airbrush these on Saturday morning. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Some Stairs

Today's effort was short. The first task was to install a new point to the left of the far station to provide access to a new siding which will be on the main layout. The siding will go to some grain silos. Trains on the main layout will shunt off the main and propel empty hoppers for loading into the station. The rail tractor at the marina will swap the hoppers over.

The other task was to assemble a set of steps with a railing. I picked up a pack of stairs and ladders from Hobbyland in Hornsby a while ago and were placed in one of those hard to find safe places.  These will need painting which I hope to get to on Saturday. The brick work on the platform needs a bit of work. 

Tomorrow will be tight but I hope to sort out the jetties, especially as I found the box with these in while looking for the stairs. 

Until then. 

Monday, 10 October 2016

Today's Work

I started with a plan and found my 15 minutes went for more like 45 minutes. 

The first thing I did was to put brick paper on the loading platform/station and topped it with tarmac from Scalescenes. This took longer than I hoped. It'll need a bit of a touch up later.  The next was to top the marina with with tarmac as well. Finally, I dry brushed the station building with burnt umber. 

Here are the results.

Tomorrow's plan will be to give a similar treatment to the main platform. I'll also look at getting some stairs from the marina platform to the marina. I also need to put a new point in for when it is connected to the main layout after reworking the layout. I could look at constructing the marina jetties.  I reckon that Saturday morning will be a good time to put down the Das for the cobblestones, mentioned in an earlier post, as that will take more time. 

Until next time. 

Sunday, 9 October 2016

15 Minutes a Day

Check out this clip: Matt Cutts 30 Day Challenge

It doesn't have anything to do with model railways but I like the idea of setting aside some time to do something that you enjoy.

15 minutes a day isn't that hard to find these days, not really. Some of us will spend that time alone on the can, or checking social media sites. Sometimes at the same time.

I've tried a photo a day challenge several times and by the end of the time I am running out of ideas. However, with a model railway there is always something to do.

The idea behind this is that in the last four and half months, not much has happened on the layout.

Here is where I am now.

It should be much more advanced than this. Since the last blog post, I have added the back board, put stones on the causeway, made the platform and the little operators station with the car cards boxes and the mouse holder which will hold the digital controller.

So for the next 10 weeks I am aiming to spend 15 minutes a day on the little layout that I call Billabong Marina.

One reason to to advance the layout. Another reason is that I find model railways relaxing and an artistic outlet. The next ten weeks will be hectic for me with work and other commitments so this will force me to chill out for a bit in a useful way and not sitting in a small room while on Facebook or YouTube.

I know already that next week I am going to fail on Monday and Tuesday. My diary has given me this bad news. However, I will have more time on other days to make up for it.

Some days my 15 minutes may billow out to 30 or 60 minutes.

Having such a limited time means that I will need to be organised. I've spent a bit of time organising the layout space and tidying that up so I am good to go. I have a dedicated space in the house so I can just walk away when I need to and then pick up again later. Although that seems to be what I do a lot and start new projects with out tidying up from the last one. Over the next ten weeks I am hoping this may change as well as finish the started projects.

With such a short time each day, I need to plan what I am going to do. I've written a list of small tasks. Some may be quick and others not, but a plan is a good place to start.

Today, I dry brushed a half built Peco station building with raw sienna paint.

Tomorrow, I will dry brush it with burnt umber. Tuesday, I hope to paint the quoins and sills grey. Wednesday, I hope to assemble the rest of the kit. I have already painted the windows, doors and roof.

I've carved the station platforms from timber so they need to be covered. I'm going to use Scalescenes brick paper. I had printed some earlier and I have sprayed some varnish on the sheets to seal the ink onto the paper. So, that can be a tomorrow job too. I need to print off some tarmac and platform edging as well. This can be a tonight job while I'm doing other computer stuff.

I am an operator over a model maker so it is not going to be a fine scale model but I do want it to look right, even if the harbour is going to be a little crowded with fishing boats, ferries and cargo vessels.

I hope you'll join me throughout the ten weeks and keep checking in to see the progress and can I encourage you to try something similar.

That's all for tonight. I hope to see you tomorrow.