Saturday, 2 September 2017

Small details - trackside

I did promise some additional information on the new photo backdrop for this post, and that is still forthcoming, but for the time being I thought I'd focus on two of the smaller jobs I wanted to complete before the Malkara exhibition; Uneek whitemetal lineside details.

I undercoated each of these with a Tamiya self-etch primer, then spray-painted them with Krylon ultra-flat brown to get a good undercoat colour. Then I brushed on various crushed Conte pastel crayons (the same as used for wagon weathering), highlighting areas such as the raised parts of the sole plates with Faber Castell pastel pencils. To finish off, all were coated in 100% isopropyl to seal the weathering. In some cases, I would iso' then add another layer of powdered Conte crayon, then iso' again to seal.

The first of these are some sleepers. These had a few layers of light and medium greys after the Krylon layer, finished with a layer of black powders to tie everything together. I've laid them here to denote where the inlaid un-couplers are on the main.

Next up were the sole plates, finished off with a layer of mixed maroon red and light brown, and dusted with orange in places. A few years ago I helped out at the Zig Zag Railway with the clean up following the 2013 State Mine bush fire. One job was to move fire-damaged sole plates into a skip for sale as scrap metal. Each plate weighed between 12-17kg. After an afternoon of heaving a few barrels' worth of these plates into a skip atop a truck, I can attest that a long-discarded pile of sole plates looks every bit as brown and rusty as this. If anything, I've gone too easy on the orange colour of the rust to adjust for my era, but I'm happy with the result. They're pictured here next to the LCL container-come-ganger's shed.

Finally, an unrelated detail. I've mentioned before the different wagon sizes I keep on the layout at any given time to mix up the challenge of shunting the inglenook. After nearly a year in operation it was time to up the difficulty setting on the layout to "75-foot goods wagon." Voila - the Australian National Railways' VFX by Auscision. The ANR signage on the wagon sets it neatly in the latter part of the 1970s (Australian National Railways was formed in 1978) but before the Railways of Australia four-letter code was introduced in the early 1980s. The era narrows! Combined with the yard signal installed a little closer in from the edge to limit the available shunting neck, this has added a little more planning into each puzzle.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm tossing around ideas for the next layout. So far I want a main west Sydney location in the same era, but under the wires so that I can run a number of the electric trains I've started to accumulate. The VFX will be a neat addition to general freight consists heading over the mountains, and these wagons stick out in the photos I've seen of trains from this era.

The next step now is how to build such a layout in the confines of a small apartment, and how to make it a continuous run without taking over much more space than it already has. I'll be honest - progress on that front isn't going to happen anytime soon, but that's where the designs are heading.

Next time, the Backdrop. Really this time.


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