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David Holman

David's Workbench

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Trees and scenics

 It seemed to take a long time to complete the buildings and back scene, so it is pleasant to report that the basic scenics on board two have been much quicker. 

 I want to produce a 'signature' tree, to hide the liberties I've taken with the back scene's perspective, so out came Gordon Gravett's book on the subject. His take on the twisted wire method for trees is interesting, because instead of unravelling a large hank of cable or wire, he starts with single strands & therefore builds up the model in reverse. It works well too. Using florists wire, you twist two or three strands together for an inch or two below the end of the branch, leaving the rest of the strands straight. You make enough of these to complete the thickness of trunk you want and bind them together with more wire from the base upwards, [creating the branches as you go] leaving a projecting section to go in the ground. On mine, I glued this in a length of brass tube, which then sits in a slightly larger piece of tube set in the baseboard. That is as far as I've got, because, while this only took an evening, the next stage - coating the wire with a PVA/artex mix takes ages, not least because a couple of coats or more are required. I don't have enough foliage material at the moment either!

 A second, half relief, tree has been made to help hide the front exit to the fiddle yard, past the warehouse. This has a more basic framework, again as described by Gordon in his book. A large advertising hoarding, shown by a sheet of foam board in the photo, will also hide the exit and hopefully suggest there is a road running in front of the layout [but off scene]. Am actually contemplating a front extension that might show this and create more depth - but not yet!

  So, could then turn my attention to the scenics. My preferred method is to first 'block in' the main areas [a bit like doing a painting], to get a feel for the work, then gradually work up the details. A static grass machine and puffer bottles make short work of tasks that would take many hours not that many years ago. 

 Going a la Gravett again, the first stage is to  prepare the ground surface. For me, this included improving the baseboard joint [bit of an earthquake crack up to now], then soften the track and ballast colours with weathering powders. Chinchilla dust was used for the yard surfaces [sprinkled on to gloss paint] and once all was dry, I could start the greenery.

 Hard to believe that this has only taken about three hours. I put down a layer of ground foam first [so the grassed areas don't look like a lawn], then after wetting with dilute PVA, got to work with the static grass machine. There are 3-4 different shades and two different lengths of fibres to give variety. I hoover up the excess fairly quickly, as it encourages the fibres to stand up better. Then, after this layer has dried, there is further fun to be had adding weeds and flowers. I dip a finger in PVA and wipe it lightly across the tops of the grass. Fine ground foam is then sprinkled on top. I've used Greenscene 'crumb' [light green and slightly larger], Woodlands fine medium green, plus their dark green with some white flower crumb mixed in. This is what really brings the scene to life and provides the all important variety of colour and texture you find in the real thing.

 So, coming on well, I think, though I want to do a lot more detailing, including a few larger shrubs and [lots of] nettles.

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2 hours ago, PaulC said:

All looking really good. What’s chinchilla dust?

Paul

Chinchilla fur is a bit awkward if you get it wet. They much prefer to bathe in dust - you can get it from pet suppliers. Usually a dry clay powder.

 

 

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3 hours ago, PaulC said:

All looking really good. What’s chinchilla dust?

Paul

Alternatively, take one Chinchilla, put in a freezer for two days and then put through the coffee grinder - preferably twice.

 Needless to say, Broithe is correct. Comes in one kilo bags. Fine sand works just as well.

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Back to the wagon works

 The next stage for Fintonagh will be to make sure everything runs as it should, so before that, there is a need to complete sufficient wagon stock. I've probably got enough vans for now, but the Clogher had a fair few open wagons, so these have become the focus of my attention. If I'm honest, it has not been much fun either - a trial of endurance, rather than a labour of love...

 At first thought, there's not much to making an open wagon - two ends, two sides and a floor - plus an etched chassis kit from Branchlines. Quick and easy, right? 

Wrong.

 Norman Johnston's revised version of E M Patterson's history of the CVR has some lovely photos of rolling stock, including a three quarter view of an open wagon which shows all manner of fine detail. Not just things like the strapping, but all sorts of rivet and bolt head detail, plus cleats for tarpaulin ropes, strapping  along the tops of the sides and brackets to hold these in place.

 I considered doing a master for one side and end, to cast copies as per the vans. However, as I want several empty or lightly loaded opens, this meant interior detailing was required and I've yet to master that technique. I guess I could have cast sides and ends, then added an inner layer from plastic sheet, but that would have required an absolutely flat rear, plus the planks and bolt detail would have needed embossing on too. So, instead, I decided to apply the rivets and bolts individually and there are over 200 of the damned things on each wagon!

 No doubt anyone reading this is starting to question my sanity and I'm not sure I will disagree. I could have floated on squares of plastic strip, I could have riveted inner and our sides, then laminated them together, but in the end, I drilled a hole for each rivet and pushed a piece of 30 thou plastic rod into the hole, before trimming to size. I think it took about two hours to drill nearly 1000 0.75mm holes, then each wagon took an hour and a half to fit and trim the rivets. All in all, each wagon is made up of over 300 individual parts.

 Was it worth it? I'll tell you when they are finished. At the moment, the bodies have been sprayed with grey primer & the interiors painted as per Martyn Welch's book with a mixture of Humbrol 110 [natural wood], 64 [grey] and matt black. Ironwork looks to have been black on the prototype, with white lettering.

 The chassis is fairly regulation etched brass, though I've used Slater's 7mm scale wagon bearings instead of the 4mm versions suggested. I drill a 1mm hole in the bottom of each top hat bearing & the 'pinpoint' end of the axles goes in here. Because I'm using Kadee couplings and permanent magnet uncouplers, I've replaced the steel axles with ones made from 2mm brass rod. I cut it to approximate length, then put a pinpoint on each end by simply twirling it between my finger and thumb whilst pressing against a slitting disk in a Dremel. Crude, but effective.

 So, next time you pick up a simple wooden bodied open wagon, examine the fine detail that has been moulded in place and marvel at how cheap all that work is to buy.

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I absolutely love this ongoing work of art.

An aside, in the photo; this is where modellers have in the past assumed black painted ironwork; rust on same, despite being originally painted body colour! This will appear darker in black and white photos. (You can see one end member in better unrusted order). I always presume that this common misunderstanding is behind the "zebra stripes" on Whitehead's "Ivan" (though it doesn't excuse the cream inside balcony ends on it, also responsible for misleading modellers! Dunno where they got that one.....!)

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6 hours ago, jhb171achill said:

I absolutely love this ongoing work of art.

An aside, in the photo; this is where modellers have in the past assumed black painted ironwork; rust on same, despite being originally painted body colour! This will appear darker in black and white photos. (You can see one end member in better unrusted order). I always presume that this common misunderstanding is behind the "zebra stripes" on Whitehead's "Ivan" (though it doesn't excuse the cream inside balcony ends on it, also responsible for misleading modellers! Dunno where they got that one.....!)

The CVR even in its final years seems to have been something of a "spit & polish" outfit with smartly turned out locos and stock. The lighter colour of the underframe and bottom half of the angle iron on the end of 67 is likely to be a coat of dirt thrown up from running than the absence of rust, most Irish narrow gauge stock was vacuum rather than hand braked so the underframe was likely to be coated wit a combination or road dirt and brake dust.

Several photos in E M Patterson's book indicate that van and wagon ironwork were picked out in black in contrast to  the monotone in similar photos of GSR & GNR(I) stock.  Although in its last years the railway was operated by a Committee of Management of Tyrone & Fermanagh County Councils, the interests of the Brooke and other landed/military families who promoted the railway were still strong and no doubt instilled a sense of pride/loyalty in the Aughnacloy shop staff.

Funnily enough Ballinamore on the Cavan & Leitrim turned out at least one passenger brake van in green with snail & blackened ironwork as the rest of the passenger stock became increasingly decrepit in CIE days. 

Edited by Mayner

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Interesting! The monochrome pictures certainly appear to show that the corner plates, side and top ironworks are something much darker, with the anglework on each end the same colour as the body.

 One would assume the ironwork would rust fairly consistently, so is it indeed dark rust, or black paint? The covered vans show darker colouring on the door hinges, but not so the convertible cattle vans. Vic Welch's painting on the cover of the original Patterson history shows dark grey underframes on the coaches, but the paintings on the later version suggest coaches were the same all over, as per much of the rest of Ireland.

 Artistic licence? As there appears to be no colour photos anywhere of the CVR, it seems we are reduced to conjecture.

 Maybe it is the dark rust that Martyn Welch describes? Gunmetal 53, Bauxite 133 and oily black (2000 series)? Either way, that nearest corner plate in the photo shows clear signs of texture, but is it peeling paint or rust?

 If it was a 16mm scale wagon, I might be more concerned, but as the model is only 10cm long and normal viewing distance is at least 60cm, perhaps I shouldn't worry.

 It would be nice to know though!

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2 hours ago, Mayner said:

The CVR even in its final years seems to have been something of a "spit & polish" outfit with smartly turned out locos and stock. The lighter colour of the underframe and bottom half of the angle iron on the end of 67 is likely to be a coat of dirt thrown up from running than the absence of rust, most Irish narrow gauge stock was vacuum rather than hand braked so the underframe was likely to be coated wit a combination or road dirt and brake dust.

Several photos in E M Patterson's book indicate that van and wagon ironwork were picked out in black in contrast to  the monotone in similar photos of GSR & GNR(I) stock.  Although in its last years the railway was operated by a Committee of Management of Tyrone & Fermanagh County Councils, the interests of the Brooke and other landed/military families who promoted the railway were still strong and no doubt instilled a sense of pride/loyalty in the Aughnacloy shop staff.

Funnily enough Ballinamore on the Cavan & Leitrim turned out at least one passenger brake van in green with snail & blackened ironwork as the rest of the passenger stock became increasingly decrepit in CIE days. 

The CVR stuff certainly appears to be a mix. CIE narrow gauge wagons ended up in a deplorable state - thus, rust.

A few CDRJC wagons appear to have had some black ironwork, but others all grey.

When jhb171Senior visited the CVR in 1937, nothing black was to be seen on any wagon ironwork - at least, not by him. However, I have certainly seen photos showing black on some stock at least, so it is likely that the policy changed at some stage.

As Mayner says, however, on the NCC, UTA, GNR, GSR and CIE, ironwork was never picked out in black. Nor on the BCDR. Exception: the BCDR had eight private owner wagons belonging to C Ritchie. Initially at least, these had black ironwork. The East Downshire wagons also look as if they may have had black ironwork, but photographs are inconclusive given weathering and rust. 

In reality, black and white photos are highly unreliable for colour shades - very obviously!!

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