Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Dummy track (not a track for dummies)

It must be a record for me ... 5 days without a blog update... As well as being VERY cold in the shed (its currently -4 with the heater on !) I have also just not really in the mood for modelling. These urges come and go I guess.

Tonight I managed 45 mins before getting too cold and loosing interest.

I have added a new track at the front of the silos.

I have toyed with this idea for a while but couldn't work out how to connect it in to the existing plan, it seemed like too big an industry to not have its own spur. Then i realised it didn't need to be connected ..

The track serves 2 purposes

1) it is a scenic addition.

2) it doubles as a great camera track..

At some point I will build a custom camera truck with a low centre well and screw fixing to allow the camera to swivel.

in the mean time before evacuating the shed for warmer climes I did one test video.


Friday, 3 December 2010


Stopped at the end of the road on the way home this dinner time


Got to come home early as I set of at 5:45 this morning to be in Liverpool for a meeting. Not sure how cold it was when I set of but the local radio station reported -10 in central Manchester our nearest city, normally it 4 - 5degrees colder here. hen my wife did the school run at 8:30 her car was reading -11

Will be happy when its all gone !

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Tug Boat Paint job

I have not done a great deal of modelling this week, partly due to other commitments, partly due to the cold weather and this last couple of days, due to the path down to the shed  being buried under 6-7" of snow.
I have been tinkering with a paint job on the river push tug, sat at the dinner table.





Saturday, 27 November 2010

Photo Stacking

I've blogged about this before, but I am still impressed by the photo stacking software available from Helicon Focus. I originally came across it on Chris Nevards blog and tried the "free" version which gives you a limited time to use the software. With my recent return to a smaller scale I found the challenge of taking photos that are all in focus hard, my compact camera has manual settings but even so I can only adjust the F stop to a maximum of F7.6

The basic principal of photo staking is to take several pictures of the same subject with as near as possible the same centre point but different focal points. The more pictures you take the more depth you can achieve.

These 2 pictures illustrate the point.. In the first the camera was focused on the loco, with the view finder square having its top left corner corner lined up with the top front of the cab.

Note how the loco is in focus but the weeds in the foreground are not. In the next picture taken straight after , I rotated the camera and selected the weeds as the centre of focus,half depressing the shutter button and keeping it depressed I rotated back so the view finder square having its top left corner corner lined up with the top front of the cab. Fully depressing the shutter then takes the picture. Note now the weeds are in focus but the loco is not.

Finally the two pictures are loaded onto the laptop and Helicon Focus is opened, import the 2 pictures and hit the "run button" this is the fascinating bit, without any help it s process's both images and picks the in focus bits to combine into one picture, giving this .....

Now much more is in focus, giving in my opinion a more realistic picture. The weeds on the right are still a bit blurred, I could have took a 3rd picture with them as the centre of focus and "stacked" the 3 of them which would have cured this.

Along with playing with the computer I have also been working on the foreground of this side of the layout, in an escape from my norm i have gone for something big in the foreground, it makes taking pictures harder but I want the railway to look like its "in" the scenery rather than in front of it.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

tug boat

When you have a train barge ...

you really need a Push tug.. So out with the plasti-card my Dad had emailed me a site with lots of different types HERE


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Ditch lights

You may or may not have noticed that last nights weathering did not include any locos, thats because the plans include fitting ditch lights and i decided any mods would be easier to disguise with the weathering.

I ordered some Surface mount LEDs from Express models at the weekend and they arrived today. At first when i opened the packet, saw the resistors and then wondered were the LEDs were, all they had sent was a black plastic strip???

Then I realised that was the packing and it had six LEDs in it !!!!!!!! you may have missed the loose one in the last picture so I have circled it in red in the next picture

Solder that, "your having a giraffe!" But as you can see from the loco behind the story does have a "happy ending"

but I set to work, a tiny piece of PCB was found a cut made across the middle and the LED soldered on to to tinned blobs either side of the cut, at least I had somewhere to solder the wires now.

Resistor legs were used as LED connections and taken through the body to easier to handle wires behind.

Both were then connected to the common and the green decoder wires so they come on as function 1 (headlight is function 0)

As you can imagine its hard to decide which side of the LED is positive so it was a bit  of trial and error.

Body back together and onto the track with some grey touch up paint

Some weathering and Hoses should hide the colour mismatch in the greys and possibly some filler to square up the lamp housings.

The big moment, switch on, you would expect them to be a bit tame given the size...............

There must be a CV even on a Hornby decoder to get function output 1 to flash, but that's a job for another day


Monday, 15 November 2010

Light Weather

Not looking for a worn out falling to bits look I have applied a light base coat to my cars tonight as the start of the weathering process.

Just noticed on the last picture the left end of the roof walk needs pushing down !


Saturday, 13 November 2010

This afternoon I set to work on the building at the end of the downtown side of the layout. The plan was to make the straight track look like it carries on through the buildings,  using a mirror. I will let you decide if it works ! I got a bit carried away a built more and more.

The mirror needed packing to get it square on to the rails.

Then I built the low relief building across the two forward tracks, with a corridor connection to hide the mirror top.

With the lines looking straight in the mirror, I can now pose a shot with one loco looking like a 2 loco pair.

Next job, reclad the end of the recycled building and start a truck loading bay

Then build the units to sit on the loading bay, I was on a roll by this point

Stuck in place

To give an overall view ...

Finally a staged shot ( I confess to use soem photo stacking software to get the depth of field in this last one)


Friday, 12 November 2010

Could have been a disaster

Every now and again something unexpected goes wrong !!! In this case the PVA / Water for the ballast had found a joint in the MDF.  Which caused the edges on both sides of the joint to swell.

The joint runs back to just behind the points which resulted in them lifting, all the track work was on the same level, not any more !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Luckily every thing had risen evenly which means stock can no longer unexpectedly roll out of the spurs :) everything runs well over it and its quite a gradual change.

So it staying as it is.

In general though the ballasting has gone well.


Monday, 8 November 2010

Town side progress

My layout seems to be a game of two halves, to borrow a metaphor from other peoples hobby. Work has mainly concentrated on the industrial town side or the right hand side of the shed. Last night I set to with some more vinyl tiles and some ballast.

How the evening started


Having read Octobers Railroad Modeller there is and interesting article at the back about freight yards that have roadways between every other track, so I thought that would make a nice contrast to the team track on the "other side" of the shed.


This next shot shows how the underside of the tile is pared away to clear the rail chairs


Ballast added but not glued


PVA / Water added along with some weeds..


I'm not sure about the building, its recycled from a previous On30 layout on which it looked small, it may look to big / tall here?




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