Sunday, 29 January 2017

Building a shed for the meat siding

I've previously outlined the cardboard-and-paper method I used to construct the overbridge, so I thought I should close out the last of the 'how-to's for Rozelle Street with a little detail on how I constructed the delivery shed on the meat siding.

A few years ago the Australian Railway History had a feature article on the station and yard at St Leonards in Sydney. Included in the article was a single black and white photo of two TRCs waiting in the meat siding at a simple, skillion-roofed building. The inspiration bug bit instantly upon seeing it and Rozelle Street presented the opportunity to create a similar scene. Aside from the ARH article I didn't have any other reference photos of the building and was having trouble locating information about it on the web. That was until one of my many procrastinations on YouTube found this video (from 16'21") which yielded some footage of the building before it's demise. I don't know who posted the video, but I acknowledge their ownership of the content. 

(Image Credit to YouTube user tressteleg1)

(Image Credit to YouTube user tressteleg1)

The original building is a lot longer than what I had room for, but by using selective compression I could capture the main features; the doors, the painted corrugated iron, the chocolate-brown doors, and the brick stilts.

With the hard bit done, I raided the kitchen cupboard for cardboard and made an approximation of the sizes based on the wagons I had at hand and the trucks in the second shot above.

Once I was satisfied that this would fit on a cardboard floor and with enough room for a rail-side loading platform, and allow the tallest wagons likely to use that siding to fit under it, I fit the floor and tested it again. 

I then started to add the corrugated iron patterns downloaded from Scalescenes. As with the bridge, the larger parts were glued on with a UHU gluestick, with PVA applied and spread thin over the job with a toothpick for the finer details. The trees didn't make the final cut for scenery. 

The doors were cut from a specific "doors and windows" printout by Scalescenes. They appeared close enough to me to resemble what was on the building to capture the look, and make it appear believable, if not prototypical. I also added a barge board around the top to both hide my rushed workmanship and because it's subtle detail in the original building.

To finish the model and protect it from any future additions/amendments to the scenery, I gave the whole thing a spray with matte clear (available at Bunnings) from a rattle can.

All up the building took around one-and-a-half nights to build, with a lot of the speed attributed to the materials and the quick drying time of the glues compared to structures I've built from styrene and resin materials.

I highly recommend this method as a quick, easy and pretty forgiving way to start scratch-building if you don't want to outlay a huge cost in tools and equipment just yet. If you want any additional info, feel free to leave any questions in the comments below.


Sunday, 1 January 2017

New Year's update

Greetings all and Happy New Year!
The most recent development since my last update has been the addition of an IDR models X200 complete with Stay Alive and DCC sound. This came to Rozelle Street courtesy of my brother and his partner to mark a milestone birthday recently. It's a great little loco and a welcome addition to the fleet. I'm enjoying the coasting option while shunting particularly.

End of a layout

Hold your horses - Rozelle Street isn't going anywhere anytime soon. As I mentioned in this post about 12 months ago, the layout I had been working on in Sydney in 2014-2015 had been split over a few locations in storage temporarily after we moved. While doing a clean out recently I've come to the decision that it is unlikely that I would be re-assembling that layout anytime soon. The storage costs mount up over time and the branchline junction station concept wasn't holding my interest anymore. Plus, if I did put it back together I'd want to reconstruct portions of it to take advantage of lessons learned in building Rozelle Street.

In short, it had served it's purpose for me.

I put it up for grabs on one of the Facebook sites I'm active on after Christmas and am happy to say that both modules and the return loop have found a new home with a younger modeller who wants to finish the layout and exhibit it this year. It's nice to know it's gone to another modeller and gives someone a leg up.

2017 - Year of the...

Much like other bloggers have been doing in recent posts, I've been thinking about what I want to do in the hobby this year. Aside from the addition of the detail items I've mentioned in earlier posts, the arrival of the new loco has got me toying with the idea of building another layout which could support more varied operations. As I think of plans I'll share them here.

In short, this year I want to exhibit Rozelle Street again (and a little closer to home this time), and weather my cement fleet and meat wagons. Bit of an odd selection, but the cement fleet finishes a project I've already started (I think we all have this problem), and the NRY, TRC and MRC wagons provide a new challenge.

I'll add that progress and further musings here as it happens.

For now, here's to 2017!


Friday, 23 December 2016

Road overbridge

Finished work for the year yesterday and I've had some time today to sort through the 'to-do' list on the layout. So, lucky reader, I can finally detail the construction of the road overbridge.
In tracking down examples I found that most of the bridges on the goods lines in Sydney were built to similar designs. I say similar because although a number of the features are standard, such as the shape and layout of the brick sides, the bridge height, supports and width had small variances to fit into their location.

Built around the same time as the goods lines' bridges was this example at Sodwalls near Tarana in NSW. This was the photo I largely worked from to develop the bridge sides and brickwork. In the absence of plans I counted the individual bricks to work out my dimensions. A number of times.
Note the pattern changes for the last layer at the top of the bridge sides. This is called 'coping.'

So as not to waste the nicely printed brickwork sheets I had, I printed a sheet in black and white at home and devised how I was going to assemble it, and to roughly gauge whether the height would be sufficient above the wagons.

Looking from the railside on at the prototype, I noticed that the abutments sit a few bricks proud of the raised supports on the bridge. To replicate this effect, I first cut out the raised section for the bridge sides, followed by the abutments, before measuring a suitable length of cardboard to glue behind and across the whole lot, which attaches the abutments together. I also needed a packing piece of cardboard cut to size to fit between this part and the bridge sides above the abutments. The evergreen styrene I-beam will represent the steel horizontal supports.

Next I added the brickpaper. I used TX02 in brown brick from Scale Scenes in OO scale, laser printed at Officeworks. I cut the paper out with a sharp hobby knife and a ruler. For the larger sections I just used a UHU gluestick. For the more fiddly bits I squirted a small blob of PVA glue onto the workbench and spread it onto the job with a tooth pick. The hardest part is adding the coping on the top of the walls. I need a few goes at this.

I added the rollingstock back to this section of the yard again to check that everything still fit. Owing it to it being on public display straight after completion I was a little more paranoid than normal about getting it all working.

For the pylons I used various evergreen styrene shapes I had leftover from previous builds. The only new addition was smaller I-beams for the vertical supports. The bridge variant I'm building is taller than the example above at Sodwalls, so the pattern of bracing I wanted to replicate wasn't going to fit. 

Instead, I'd found a few different designs while looking at the Punchbowl Rd overbridge at the south end of Enfield yard in Sydney and elsewhere. I was comfortable that the design I did finally settle on wouldn't look out of place. The L-beam jutting off to the left will meet it's reflection in the mirror, completing the illusion of a wider bridge.

 And here's the final product. To save time I took a risk and painted the styrene in Krylon camo brown without priming it first, coating it in dullcote and applying grey pastel powders over the top to complete the structure. The footings were made from the same brick pattern with an uncoloured cardboard cap to represent a layer of concrete.

The roadway itself was simply more flat cardboard with a layer of Scalescenes' pavement and tarmac glued over the top. All up the build took just a few nights.

Hope that stimulates some thoughts of your own over the holidays. I hope to get another post in between now and the new year, but thanks for following this year and sharing your comments. I appreciate the feedback.


Sunday, 4 December 2016

Factory finish

Just a quick update - today I finished adding stairs and a rain downpipe to the factory background building on the layout. This was one of those jobs I culled in the rush to complete the building for Hobson's Bay earlier this year, so it's nice to finally have it ticked off the list.

To get an idea of what it used to look like:

Versus what it looks like now.

To weather the building I used layers of orange, brown and black ground pastels to get an aged look and change the reddish, American colour of the building to a little more like what I've found in Sydney. I then sealed the model with a spray of isopropyl alocohol. There's also a hint behind the 73 class of the next upgrade I'm making, but we'll come to that eventually.

In the meantime, I still need to finish off the milktainers from the last post. I've primed them today and can finish painting and decalling them this week. I'll write up a little more about them once they're done.

Til then!

Saturday, 8 October 2016


Getting away from the 'how to' posts for a while, I thought I'd post an update on a few things happening on the rollingstock front of late.

I've mainly been working on a Road and Rail Resin Milktainer. I'm building four and I have to say I am impressed with the thought that has gone into designing them to incorporate all of the detail. I'm up to the ladder fabricating stage, which I haven't been looking forward to as I'm not that good with soldering the finer detail of brass castings. Will see how we go.

The long term plan for Rozelle Street is to add overhead wiring strung from timber poles like it was in Rozelle yard, which will require scratch-building. Recently I saw an indian red Auscision 46 class for sale from a deceased estate and jumped at it given that this livery is sold out. A scene of things to come, sans overheads for now:

While I was at uni I volunteered on a number of ARHS ACT's restaurant trains as a way of getting a cheap railway fix. At the time they had just acquired their ex-Southern Aurora RMS dining car, and it became my new favourite carriage, slowly joined by the sleepers and PHN. When Auscision announced that they were making a set - and at almost a third of the price of the Tranbuilder brass one - I 'needed' to have one. Sure, I'm not modelling the main south at night time, or have the room for it right now, but it's a drool-inducing set of carriages, crisply finished and with fine details.

One day, I'll build that elusive continuous-run layout and this purchase will come out more often. In the meantime here are 9 cars of the 10-car set on the layout

While we're on fanciful purchases, I was pleased to see the latest painted sample of the V set in the Auscision display cabinet [I swear this post isn't sponsored content!] at the Liverpool exhibition this year. Although the variant of the class Auscision is producing entered service slightly after my era in 1982, these cars have been synonymous with school holidays and happy memories, and my partner has very kindly bought me one. Unlike the Southern Aurora though, I plan on getting this one out a little more often!

That's all for now. Hopefully back with some more modelling next time. Til then!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Weathering dirt and grass

With the bulk of the scenic work out of the way I could start adding the scenic details. Although this and the next photo only show one scene, I adopted the same concept for the other vegetated areas of the layout.

And here's how it all went together. There's not much static grass in among all of that, but you can see how it provides a 'base' for the details to go over the top.

Then came weathering the yard. I wanted a look typical to NSW yards of the period; a greyish black, flat space nearly level with the top of the sleepers, free of most weeds. The dirt I had already fixed down had provided the right texture, it was just a case now of 'shading' it to get the desired effect. For this I turned to the Conte crayons I've previously used for weathering the wagons.

For the yard I started with a dark grey/black colour and after spreading it around with a round brush, I used the same brush to 'blot' it onto the board to even out the distribution. When weathering wagons I had applied a layer, then iso'd, then another layer, then iso'd, and so on until I had the desired look. With the yard however, I just applied it all in one go. (There's a lesson coming here). I then added various medium and light greys until I had the look I wanted. I then applied iso over the top, which instantly dialed back the tone of the colour to closer to the base, dirt layer underneath. I went over the lot again, making sure to cover the ballast as I went so as to tie the track and yard in together. Below is the finished product. I think it needs a little more work to tie everything together.

Using the flat brush I grabbed a medium brown colour and very gently and lightly brushed the wheel marks onto the yard around the vegetation and discarded LCL container, using a side-on stroke.

Overall I'm pretty happy with how this aspect came out, but it's something I want to play around with a little more in future.

Til next time!


Monday, 25 July 2016

Adding dirt and grass

With the rock dry, I then added the dirt and grass, followed by foliage and trees.

For the dirt, I grabbed about three handfuls of stuff from a pile of spoil the council had left on the side of the road of a street nearby that was being widened/resurfaced/something-completely-not-train-related. I'd been seeing this stuff get carted out of the suburb I live in to get dumped for about a fortnight so I figured they wouldn't miss a few handfuls.

I brought this home and after pulling the larger rocks out, laid it out on the biggest, oldest baking tray I had and baked it in the oven at about 180 degrees for a few hours. This removed all of the moisture and made sifting a lot easier. I sifted it first through a large metal sieve, then a tea-strainer I'd bought for scenery, then through an old stocking to get the right consistency. All up, three handfuls of roadside spoil yielded just enough to do the track-level horizontal surface area. Another trip to scavenge dirt later and I repeated the process to get enough dirt to do the remaining surfaces at the higher elevations. This lot helps to blend the rock as it more lighter and more yellow in colour. Whenever I do the next layout, I'm going to source higher quality dirt from a creekbed or friend's farm, and in bigger quantities.

I added the dirt and ballast using the method described in this handy video by Luke Towan.

Luke uses a glue called Mod Podge for applying scenery, with the advantage being that it dries flat, without any sheen. I've never really had this problem with PVA, so I just stuck with PVA in various strengths. The isopropanol is just the trick for preventing the ballast from clumping together when the glue is applied. I've been having this problem for years until I saw this video.

When applying the grass, I found my Noch glue had gone off since it was last used in 2012, so I spent an hour or so googling a good substitute. The answer from Chris Nevard of Model Rail was undiluted PVA. Such a versatile glue!

For the static grass I grabbed a spare plastic sandwich bag and added a pinch each of Mininatur 4mm and 6mm grasses in 'early autumn' and 'summer', with a pinch of Woodland Scenics' 'Wild Honey'. Once shaken up and mixed, I usually add a little more of one colour or another to get a variation to the tone I want. I wanted the grass to have an Australian look without looking too dry, so I added another pinch of Mininatur early autumn. Then the whole lot was then poured into the static grass hopper. Once you have the ratios right, you can increase or decrease the amount you make to cover the area you're after. A quick trip to the corner store to replace the 9v battery in the dormant Grasmaster and the grass started sprouting!

I wanted fairly thick grass for the yard area, but I applied it more and more sparsely the further away it featured from where water would naturally collect.
Another way of doing it is to lay a 2mm layer of a green blend, then spray with hairspray once dry, and apply a layer of the 'wild honey' colour in various lengths. The second layer sticks to the top of the previous layer, giving a more realistic representation of Australian grass. Try it if you're not in a rush.

Next up: 'detailing' the dirt and grass.

Cheers for now,