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Clogher Valley Project

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Some video footage of Fintonagh at the recent EuroEx show in Birmingham. Fintonagh is at about 16-17 minutes, but there is some nice footage of the other layouts, including the large scale WW1 trenche

Eric and Erne  Second Sharp, Stewart 0-4-2T Erne has now joined Eric [aka Blackwater] in the fleet. However, as neither of them have any crew yet, their cab roofs are not fixed. What I can now do

Fettling and finishing touches It is now less than a week to Fintonagh's exhibition debut at Uckfield next weekend. Not the largest show in the country, but definitely one of the finest in terms

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Baseboard 2 developments

 Start with the background and work forwards is what most art teachers recommend and it is much the same with model railway scenery - after all, there is little point in trying to work beyond something you have already planted.

 So, recent work on Fintonagh has been focussing on the low relief buildings making up the rear edge of the layout and trying to incorporate them into a painted back scene. More snake oil than tromp l'oeuil and it is not quite right yet, but the photos hopefully show what I'm aiming at. The latest creation is the Fintonagh Metalworkers building. On the actual Clogher Valley line there was 'Fivemiletown Industries', so this exercise, little more than a 'flat' pays homage to that. I'm assuming a local co-operative offering wrought ironwork, welding, brazing and the like, with the rather OTT clock an advert for some of their work & small weather vane likewise. Both came from Scalelink etches, though the clock needed rather more work than just chopping out. The windows are laser cut jobbies from York Modelmaking. 

 The next work will be to  fill in the gaps between buildings with DAS clay and make good the paintwork, then I can add paving stones, drain & manhole covers etc, before working outwards into the front part of the layout. There will be a long stone wall between the railway and road, while a large tree will hopefully hide some of the liberties I've had to take with perspective on the back scene. What might look ok in the pictures is not necessarily so as you move along the layout. The tree and the mill/animal feed warehouse [haven't decided which yet] will both hide the hole in the sky where the layout disappears into the back scene. 






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Hi Dave

Sometimes you’re browsing thru the forum you come across something you haven’t seen before…properly.

I’m working on my own backscene at the moment, I like the way you have the painted street going behind “cullens tea rooms” gives great impression of depth, also the street continues (tapers) into the backscene at the end, I’m really not sure where it finishes….great work.

I can see it and kind-off know how you did it, but have never tried something like that before. So any tips on technique. Also if you see my recent posts on Celbridge I have footbridge going into backscene, have you any suggestions to give that some more depth. My artistic skills would not be great but my daughter has a good eye.


Paddy mac.

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On 2/18/2018 at 5:49 PM, Broithe said:

Love the bookshop...

Full of meandering tales, some taller than others, plenty truth, a hint of equivocation, but a goldmine nonetheless!

Back to the layout - I just love the architectural juxtaposition of windows and symmetry, or lack thereof. So well captured, and as for track, just yummy...R.

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The simple answer is John Ahern's book Model Railway Buildings, Paddy. First printed in the 1950s when cow gum was the norm and 'Seccotine' was high tech adhesive! There are excellent chapters of low relief work and backscene which I have copied for years.

 The main problem is disguising the false perspectives and ensuring the viewer can only see from one direction, otherwise things like chimney pots would have three sides on view. Putting in view blockers mostly does the trick and a large tree will be planted to do that on Fintonagh.

 Will take some more pictures and hopefully explain a bit more.

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Thanks for the positive comments, folks - much appreciated, as always. In answer to some of Paddy's questions, below are some of the things I do to try and make my layouts seem bigger [& especially] deeper. The latter is a real issue in 7mm scale, as there is often very little space outside the tracks, so you have to resort to low relief modelling and painted back scenes to create depth.

 First of all, another of my 'Bibles'. John Ahern's book on model railway buildings first came out nearly 70 years ago, but still has enormous value today and should be available second hand. The chapters on low relief and painted backgrounds are invaluable & I have adapted that street scene on pretty much every layout I've built [and am now into double figures]. Check out the photos of both Fintonagh and Arigna & am sure you will be able to spot where I've done this.



 The first picture of Fintonagh shows that Forbes Bar is only about 2cm deep. However, along with the store on its right, it is tucked into the corner of the layout, so the viewer can only see it from one direction.  Hence the painted houses to the left of the bar can follow a road which also goes left into the back scene & the view is then cut off by the bicycle repair shop opposite Forbes.



The next picture, taken from the other side of the Bicycle Shop shows how that road has gone behind it & we now see the rear of the buildings. These then disappear behind painted and low relief trees, until we meet the next view blocker, which is the Tram Inn. This building is removable, as it hides most of the baseboard joint in the back scene. The church spire covers the rest and a lighting bracket will act as an alignment clip to keep the edges of both boards parallel. In this picture, you can see a pronounced gap, but when both boards are closed up, there will just be a line that will look like one of the angles on the spire.

The other side of the Tram Inn is the Temperance Hotel, just across the road. This road is part of the painted back scene, with a row of shops at the end, supposedly on the same road that branched off at Forbes Bar. As this is a very narrow view [only about 15cm], I have just painted the front of the shops with just a hint of a second side on the chimney stacks. The second face of the Temperance is only about 2cm deep, so I have tried to suggest it is deeper by painting a narrow strip on the back scene. Because the view down the street is so narrow, I can just about get away with this, though I may well disguise it further with a lamppost on the street corner.



Further down the street to the left, we have the other back corner of the baseboards & here is a bit of the John Ahern trickery again. Before then, both the Fintonagh Metalworkers and Coakham's shop are also only a couple of cm deep, so in an effort to give the roofs some depth, part of this aspect is just painted on the back scene. A Mansard roof line helps with the shop & I really like to try and avoid having a gable end just appearing as a 'flat'. However, to make sure viewers will only be able to see this scene from one angle, the large warehouse at the front of the layout hides the hole in the sky, while a large tree will be put to the right of this to ensure the perspective can only be seen from one angle too. In the picture below, the shop roof is just painted on the back scene from a line level with the base of the chimney stack. Mix your paint carefully and the joint is hardly noticeable from a couple of feet away. Note that this aspect still needs a bit of tidying up.


  Other pictures below show the same effects on Arigna. Depending on the angle of the camera, they may well look wrong, but from the viewing angle I want you to have of the layout at shows, hopefully, they look ok and add to the depth of the scene - which is where I came in.




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  • 4 weeks later...

Buildings nearly finished!

 The photos may not at first sight appear to show a big difference from last time, but this has been one of those periods when a lot of work doesn't always translate into great effect.

 The most noticeable feature is the warehouse. It has been there for a long time, but in 'raw' form - just scribed DAS clay on a foam board core. Work has involved making the doors and windows, adding the hoist girder, guttering and down pipes, then internal floors and the roof tiling of course. After much deliberation, decided it would be a seed merchant & animal feed warehouse. At the moment, the hoist/lucam has little about it, but may well open up one of the doors and add a figure inside, along with a dummy hoist/chain/load. We'll see.

 Along the low relief back scene, some tidying up has been done to chimneys, trees and the like, then attention transferred to the road and pavements. Found some etched brass drain and manhole covers [Langley Models] and after blackening with gun blue, these were fixed in place. Pavements are cut from sticky address labels [pre-painted with enamels] & then weathered with washes & powders. The road surface was initially talcum powder on gloss paint. Once dry, I sanded it smooth with fine wet & dry paper & this had the interesting effect of making a range of shades, not unlike a road drying out after rain. Hence went over it with Humbrol 'satin cote' varnish to develop the effect. 

 It was always intended to  have a low wall separating the main street from the tramway station/yard, so that came next. As on Arigna Town it is made from Wills random stone glued to foam board & topped with capping stones made from DAS clay. A few creepers & grass/weeds complete the effect. Finally comes the yard gate. This is based on the design of the crossing gates at Brookeborough on the CVR main line. The gate is plastic strip and the posts are balsa. Eventually, I hope to make the gates swing open & closed. On a small layout like this, such little cameos help to expand interest - or I hope so!

 Next steps will involve completing the ground cover on the second baseboard. Two more structures are required - the large tree mentioned previously [to hide some of the liberties i've taken with perspective on the painted back scene, plus a large advertising hoarding to help hide the hole in the sky at the front edge of the layout.









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That Mr Coakham must be doing well as I have seen his shops on a couple of other layouts, one was for the legal profession and the other as an engineering company, nice to be popular I guess*


* truth be told that if we didn't have Des to take the photos and do the drawings at the time, I wonder how much more information we would have lost by now. 



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Thanks everyone, as ever - I always value your 'proof reading' of my posts. 

 The main line snaking off stage, as Mayner nicely puts it, is exactly what I want to portray. Would love to have included a full on Clogher scene with a stretch of line running down the middle of the street, with buildings closing in on either side. Sadly, not enough space within the two metres available to me and viewing would be difficult too, hence the suggestion of the line heading for the middle of the road as it goes off scene.

 I suppose one option could have been the town, forget which one, where the line descends down the street at 1 in 30, followed by a right angle turn at 1.5 chains.  That equals 100 feet, so 700 mm in my scale, where 900mm is getting tight! That would produce an interesting set of viewing angles. Could make a neat idea for the 00n3 project on another recent thread.

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Hiding a hole in the sky

 A tricky one this, one which I have pondered long and hard over. Fintonagh has two exits to the fiddle yard - the main line, which exits behind the warehouse [so easy to hide] and the track which exits at the front edge of the layout, to the goods yard and exchange sidings.

 The latter poses problems because it is right on the front edge and though there is 10cm of fascia to  provide a bit of screening, the hole in the backscene was all too visible the further to the right any observer will be standing. The solution I've used is in two parts: firstly a large advertising hoarding, and behind that a half relief tree, I'm saying hawthorn. Will now wait for someone to say that the Guinness poster isn't correct - though my defence is that it was cut & pasted from a Google search of 1930s adverts. No worries - it is easily changed, just point me in the right direction - getting such details right is all part of the fun.And, by and large, the two items do a fair job of hiding the hole in the sky.

 The 'Unit' is bringing a short rake of vans from the exchange sidings, which will then be added to the next departing train. 




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  • 4 weeks later...

Report from the wagon works

It may seem as though Ricard Chown's 'Shannon'  has taken over my life recently, but the last month or so has mainly been around wagon building. As recorded in the workshop thread, four new open wagons have proved a trial of endurance, with over 300 separate pieces in each one [ok, most of these bits just rivets]. Add in hand lettering, weathering etc and it is easy to see why they have taken so much time. Still, nearly finished now - just waiting for the arrival of some more Kadee couplings in the post. One wagon has a load of ballast, while the others are a pair of loaded coal and complimentary empties. The idea is that there is an off stage coal yard, so swapping wagons will be one of the moves on exhibition.

 Three new brake vans have joined the fleet too. A bit simpler than the opens, they are resin castings I did from my own masters. Just two sides and ends though, so floor, roof, glazing and a fair few handrails and handles needed adding too. I've done one van in crimson lake, to match the one I'd done earlier, but photos indicate that the vans, like the coaches, weathered to a red/brown over time, so have done the other two in this colour. Eventually, I hope to add a third coach in the same colour - as I've said before, the Clogher was a real paint palette of a railway.

 Like the opens, they are hand lettered, using a dipping pen and white acrylic ink, though that on the vans has been gone over with Staedler fine tipped pen to give a more golden colour. The under frames use the standard Branchlines chassis as before. Also painted in the body colour, the chassis have been weathered to an overall dusty hue, with added weathering powders. Behind the new wagons, you can see example of the other type built so far. I probably have enough for the time being, so the next stage [once the new couplings arrive], will be to fit the other magnets and do some test running before finishing the scenery.




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  • 3 weeks later...

Things arboreal

 Managed to buy some Woodlands scenic matting at the Derby show, so spent this afternoon 'dressing' the tree. Took a packet and a half - around a square metre in total. A [fairly] simple case of tearing off a few square cms, then teasing the piece out nice and thin, before glueing to the tree frame with PVA. Start at the bottom and work up, of course...

 The model is based on an elm, using Gordon Gravett's book, with little else extra needing to be said. The tree marks the end of all the structures on the layout now, with just things like nettles, weeds and some figures/vehicles to add.

 The other pictures are of the rare earth [neodynimium] magnets I am using with the Kadee couplers. Mine are 5mm diameter and 10mm long. Drilled two holes in the track, either side of centre line & the magnets are then a push fit. Seem to work ok, though will have to work on a few ideas to mark where they are, as the layout is front operated from either end.








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  • 3 weeks later...

Seems like it has been a long time since I posted anything on Fintonagh, but actually only a couple of weeks. However, that time did involve organising the club exhibition, so no wonder it seemed ages.

 In spare moments, have been working on the fiddle yard. The baseboard had been built at the start, along with the other two, so it has been about track laying, bolts and wiring. Usual flat bottomed code 83 rail, soldered to copper clad sleepers, though the latter more spaced out as it is not a scenic area. Unlike Arigna Town, this is just a turntable [not sliding/rotating], so have had to be careful with the geometry & the two outer tracks are quite tightly curved [about 60cm in places]. Home made bolts, using brass rod, tube and plate cater with alignment & these are just screwed into the MDF turntable. The latter sits on a large steel washer to help make rotation smoother.

 Electrical connection is also via the bolts, as can be seen from the short wires on the surface. The only other bit of electrickery is a simple SPST switch to isolate the from siding, which just about sums up my wiring ability...

 First indications are that stock runs ok, but fancy a bit of fine tuning will be needed, once I get the whole layout set up.




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  • 4 weeks later...

Eric and Erne

 Second Sharp, Stewart 0-4-2T Erne has now joined Eric [aka Blackwater] in the fleet. However, as neither of them have any crew yet, their cab roofs are not fixed. What I can now do is [sort of] recreate the Vic Welch painting on the cover of the original book by Dr Patterson. Erne was spray painted in Ford Laurel Green [using a Halford's spray can] and hand lettered with a fine nibbed dipping pen - initially in white acrylic ink & then gone over with a dark yellow fine marker pen. After, a small amount of shading was put in with a 0.3mm black drawing pen. This method has also enabled me to do the overlapping 'CV' logo on both tanks' sides. 





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Just spent the morning going through the text and pictures David, an amazing wealth of modelling expertise you have shared with us here. It just takes you back to rural Ireland during the Clogher Valley era. A superb reference. Thanks

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Many thanks for the kind comments. It is great to know folk think my layouts are capturing the essence of rural Ireland, as that is very much the aim. As far as I'm aware, there is no Irish blood in me, but my visits have always been enjoyable. Inspiration comes from those photographers and authors who recorded the scene in the 30s onwards, so they are a vital source of reference. As my art teacher said many years ago - 'paint what you SEE, not what you think' and this forms the backbone of my modelling. Still doesn't mean I get it right, of course which is why this forum is so important for information and 'proof reading's of finished models.

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6 minutes ago, David Holman said:

Still doesn't mean I get it right, of course.........

Might I suggest that you DO get it right - very right!!! The most nit-picking rivet counter would have difficulties here.....!

One thing though - I went into that Temperance Hotel of yours and they wouldn't give me a pint of Guinness.......☹️

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