And more modelling!!

December 31, 2017

It’s becoming a little too serious at the moment – I have to be careful not to become too involved! However, I really want to get this micro-layout finished and soon! Scenery in the form of shrubs, bushes and weeds has been added with a touch of Autumn colour. ‘Loch Dhu No.2’ has also received its nameplates together with a spot of touching up. Time to do some weathering of the stock ans the pug too.


I think the Autumn colours, representing early Autumn when leaves just begin to turn on small trees and bushes after the first frost in the glens. There’s more to do to this scene including some long dry grasses in places, a touch of yellow to the autumn colour and more matting down to kill the shine in the scenery material. Acrylic glues, which are perfect for scenery application, also tend to hold a dull shine which looks unrealistic. More soon!

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Matting down…

December 30, 2017


After adding some debris in the distillery yard such as cask staves and rusty loops, matting down of all the surfaces was needed to remove the dull shine from acrylic paints before scenery could be completed. For that, I use Testors ‘Dullcote’ which removes 95% of the sheen. Some more stubborn areas need a little help with Tamiya matt varnish. After several very thin applications, the rails are carefully cleaned of varnish.

The same is dome to the hard pavements in the distillery itself, with the buildings removed. Once dry, the two low relief buildings such as the one at the end of the layout may be semi-permanently fitted in place with glue and the gap between the base of the building and pavement concealed with scenery material. Further weed planting and placing the pile of casks I have previously prepared will finish the scene.

Loch Dhu Distillery is nearing some state of completion apart from small details which may be added over time. Work on the rolling stock, to fit smaller ‘Spratt & Winkle’ couplings (TT gauge ones) and weathering will be completed over the next few months.  I can finalise a couple of simple modifications to the exchange siding side of the layout at the same time (prompted by the acquisition of a rail bus) and that will be it for a while whilst I turn my attention back to my EM gauge Folkestone East layout.

Folkestone East is undergoing a little bit of a revolution where I am ridding myself of all EWS, EW&S and GBRf equipment and related stock to concentrate on the mid 1990s period where there was a significant transition period involving sectors, TOCs and of course the overlap between the opening of the Channel Tunnel and closure of the Dover train ferry service. This will provide a tighter focus on what stock I buy and build for the layout. 2018 will be a year of tighter focus for my modelling!

 


Detailing takes time…

December 24, 2017

…and a little Dullcote will be needed to kill the slight shine from acrylic paints…


Small details are being added to the Loch Dhu Distillery buildings. They include a representation of yard lighting, wall braces and window bars for security. It is a distillery after all!
The revenue man’s office now has windows, doors and security bars. One door is ajar – a figure representing the head revenue man himself, the very model of taxation bureaucracy, surveying all that goes on around him, will be added looking out of the door. Will Angus MacGallbladder get his way and apply duty on the angel’s share?


There’s just room between the 12t vans and the building to get the doors open for unloading sacks of barley for the maltings. As the buildings are completed, the low relief ones will be fixed in place and the bases finished to blend them with the ground.


The yard will soon be filled with stored empty casks…


Progress has been made on the engine shed, a part relief building which just fits the distillery scene. Remember, the scene is barely 14 inches wide!


The buildings need a little more detail painting and some touch-up here and there before being sprayed with Dullcote together with the yard surface. Otherwise, they have come a treat after a long period of construction and painting. Loch Dhu Distillery, despite some ‘evolutionary’ changes to improve some of earlier work, is nearing completion. The exchange siding side of the layout is being revised slightly and the recent acquisition of a suitable railbus has encouraged the building of a small fiddle stick to complete the main line run – all 40 inches of it. A big layout indeed!

 


DJ Models Class 71 Overview

December 17, 2017

Despite the Class 71 being introduced as long ago as 1959/60 and with the virtue of being a very interesting locomotive in its own right, it has taken a crowd funding effort with DJ Models to see one appear as a ready to run OO gauge model. The sample kindly supplied by DJ Models is finished in the interim livery of BR green with full yellow ends, a livery which seems to be becoming better represented in model form as enthusiasts come to recognise that the transition between BR green and BR rail blue eras is indeed an interesting one to represent on a layout.Class 71 were unique electric locomotives built to operate on the BR Southern Region third rail network, primarily the South Eastern Division (or Eastern Section depending on your point of view) where they operated a wide range of trains from freight to prestigious cross-channel traffic passenger trains such as boat trains and the ‘Golden Arrow’.That pantograph is no mistake on the part of the designers. Conductor rail was not laid in many yards or berthing sidings due to the danger it posed to ground staff. Trolley wires were hung from sometimes quite basic poles or sophisticated gantries such as those at Folkestone East sidings to allow a Class 71 to collect current when running off the third rail. Whilst Class 73s were equipped with an auxiliary diesel engine for running off the third rail and to deal with the problem of gaping in the conductor rail when running at slow speed over complex track work; Class 71s used a ‘booster generator’ instead of an auxiliary diesel engine to avoid gaping.There two sides of a Class 71 feature different equipment. The photo above shows the grilles located on one side of the model – nicely cut in detail and accurately represented. Class 71s only had one traction motor blower with air drawn in through the body side grilles. and ducted to the four EE532 traction motorsThe opposite side of the DJ Models Class 71 model with its large window.

Bogies are rich in detail and the correct spoked wheels are fitted too. Pick-up shoe beams fitted to the bogies are add-on parts supplied with the model, as is a bogie to body bracket which should be left in the box when operating the model on a layout with sharp curves.

The holes in the underside of the bogie frames are not there by accident – they make it easier to pop a tiny drop of oil on the drive gears when necessary.


DJ Models has come up with a neat way of representing the head code blinds. The body is removed (clips only) and the desired head code blind inserted into the frame behind the middle window of both cabs. There is no need to take the cab fittings out with the chance of disturbing the lighting circuits.
It’s a smart model with good flush glazing and other good features including space for a 21-pin decoder and digital sound speaker. The body is simply clipped in place making removal easy to do.Some of the buffer beam detail is factory installed with the remainder left for the modeller to fit if the buffer beam valance fill-in moulding is fitted instead of the tension lock coupling. NEM coupler boxes are fitted as standard with close coupling cams which work well with the deep buffer beam valance.

That’s the DJ Models Class 71 in OO gauge – perfect for Southern Electric modellers. A yard scene with a trolley wire system instead of a conductor rail would make an interesting compact layout theme in which the DJ Models Class 71 would be very much at home. There lots of potential in such a layout which could include engineers stock or BR standard revenue wagons such as 12t vans and 13t general merchandise open wagons together with a continental van or two – there’s quite a few locations on the former Southern Region which would provide inspiration for such a layout. The fine running of the DJ Models Class 71 would make for some satisfying shunting operations – Class 71s do not have to be restricted to the main line. You could, of course, add a Hornby 2HAL to the mix if a bit of secondary line with conductor rail was to be added to the track plan. Or perhaps a Hornby 2BIL for a Central Section themed layout?

My thanks to Dave Jones of DJ Models for supplying the model which will be reviewed in detail in the Railway Magazine Guide to Railway Modelling.


Bachmann OO9 Wagons…

November 23, 2017

A selection of the brand new Bachmann OO9 wagons has come to light allowing me to grab a few pictures of them as a preview. The Bogie Ambulance Van in WD livery pictured above and below is one of the two new models which features sliding doors in both the sides and ends to reveal a planked floor and interior detail (393-025).They are interesting models, designed to run on 9mm gauge track or N gauge track.Matching the WD grey van is a D Class open wagon in the same livery and weathered (393-050).

The open wagon is also available in Welsh Highland Railway red in unweathered condition (393-053).

Both the van and open wagon are brand new toolings featuring some fine moulded detail. Wheels are metal with an insulating sleeve which will run on N gauge track, either the more rustic Peco OO9 track or if you are modelling a paved area where sleepers are not seen, normal N gauge track will do the trick. A Baldwin Class 10-12-D locomotive to suit the new wagon range which includes a van in Nocton light grey and opens in Nocton and Ashover light grey (not shown) will be released in four liveries.

The wagons should be on general release in December (2017) at the earliest or certainly in the shops in January (2018) with the locos following up in early Spring 2018. The stock boxes are finished in red and green to help distinguish the new oo9 range from standard Bachmann OO gauge, 1:76 scale models.


Distillery progress

November 19, 2017

I did say that I wished to make some significant progress on Loch Dhu Distillery – the aim is to complete the layout to exhibition standard by the end of the year (2017). I have other projects to progress and the reality is that Loch Dhu is really becoming a bit of a log jam in the studio. So, the Lifecolour paints came out to create stone colours and to weather the yard pavement and the buildings prior to fitting windows and other details.

It’s a fun little layout with some nooks and crannies in the track plan to make the scenes appear larger than they really are. The colour blending work with rust colours, grime, dirty black and various other shades from the Lifecolour range has been interesting to do. The Lifecolour paints are durable and quite subtle when thinned around 4:1 with thinner and applied with an airbrush.

The over bridge located in the distillery yard was built up of individual stone blocks cut from South Eastern Finecast embossed random stone sheet and laid in courses varying slightly in width. Some blocks were smoothed over with a little Squadron Putty before being rubbed down and painted. The iron oxide staining of some of the stone is from the Lifecolour ‘Rust and Dust’ set which is a very useful set of layout finishing colours. It looks far better than the Wills material used in the exchange siding scene.


The stone work in the exchange siding scene was built up from Wills materials which at the time looked fine. Having experimented with making my own dressed stone courses in the yard over bridge, I am considering reworking the walls in this part of the layout – but not for some time. There’s too much detailing and scenery to complete including wagon weathering (those Bachmann 12t/13t opens in the front of this view are far too clean!) and detailing the distillery yard. This little layout has certainly taken on a life of its own!


Not much layout work this last year…

November 12, 2017

Layout work has been in hibernation during the summer and Autumn of this year – a little burn-out perhaps? Or plenty of outdoor stuff to do. Whatever the reason, I have been busy (distracted) with other stuff until recently when I restarted work in a determined effort to complete Loch Dhu Distillery; both the siding scene and the distillery yard itself. Last year, the yard looked something like this:

Progress on buildings over the course of last winter saw this:

Recent activity in the distillery yard scene has seen this emerge – the usual and fun layout building activity – organised, tidy and very well defined and planned activity:

The engine shed together with a low relief building representing a second kiln house have appeared among the pieces of styrene off-cuts – the model is based on the one at Dailuaine Distillery which still exists today.

The front of the yard scene is tidied up with a retaining wall and culvert. The kiln house pagoda top was reworked too.

Buildings are currently being painted and detailed with more doors, windows, ventilators, chimney pots and other fittings. Missing details are added such as rain water goods. The yard surface is concrete with wooden boarding together with cobbles in places. That had to be painted and finished at the time this picture was taken. So, even though the layout is considered to be a micro or diorama layout which would comfortably travel on the back seat of my classic Mini Cooper, there is a huge amount of work to do to finish it – the level of detail required to create the scene is quite surprising!