Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Textured Water

So having said in the previous post that I was going to leave the water alone, I've gone ahead and changed my mind. After more thought I decided that the smooth surface was just way too smooth and almost any texture would be an improvement. So I took the approach that worked best in my experiments (a cotton wool bud to apply the Woodland Scenics Water Effects) and attacked the stream.

Once the water effects had cured I re-applied the extra details on the fall etc. and dry brushed on some ivory paint to highlight certain areas. It's not perfect but I think it looks a lot better than the very smooth surface. Hopefully you all agree?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

White Water Effects

It's been two weeks now since I last posted about the small diorama I'm building for the Dave Brewer Challenge, and almost nothing has changed. The problem has been trying to figure out how to finish the water as I can't fix the bridge in place until that is done, and the rails need to be down before I can start adding ground cover.

My initial plan had been to add ripples across the whole surface of the stream to help show that the water was flowing across the diorama. Unfortunately I had no idea how to do this so I set about experimenting. I've now done four or five experiments and I'm not happy with any of the results. The problem is that at 4mm to the foot ripples need to be small so that they don't look like huge waves and I can't work out how to do this. I have figured out some nice approaches if I ever need a 7mm to the foot stream though so it's not been a complete waste of time.

What this means is that I'm going to leave most of the stream surface alone just adding small amounts of effects where it flows over rocks etc. to produce more white, turbulent water. I've approached this in small stages and currently this is what I have.

I think I probably need to add a little more to this but in principal it looks okay, especially as the stream surface isn't totally flat anyway. As you can see I've also painted the ground where grass and heather will appear. So the next step is a little more water effects before I get the bridge fully incorporated into the scene.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Realistic (Blacketty) Water

It's been a while since you last saw the actual diorama as I've been slowly adding the water for the stream. I've lost count of the number of layers I've poured (I think six but I could be wrong) but it's finally at a reasonable depth, both in terms of resin and how it looks.

Rach layer was very thin (about 5ml per layer across the entire scene) and then painted with thin washes of black and burnt umber to try and add depth. I also had the model resting on an angle for the entire duration so that the stream surface was kept horizontal. This means that now that it is dry it looks like it's flowing downhill. The main problem of course is that the surface is too smooth and looks like slow moving water rather than a fast flowing stream. Hopefully some Woodland Scenics water effects should solve that problem though.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Etched Couplings: An Experiment

Virtually all my OO9 locomotives and rolling stock are fitted with Greenwich couplings. While these are the standard coupling used by most people in OO9 they are not without their problems. Firstly the loop is quite large which leads many people to only fit the pin part on locomotives, and they require a slot at the right height in the buffer beam. While many kits are designed with an appropriate slot, not all are and it can be a pain to cut one. The solution that some people use to bend the shaft of the coupling at right angles and glue this to the front of the locomotive, but again I think this is a little unsightly.

While I'd thought about this before I'd not come up with a better alternative, but then in May Paul blogged about some couplings he'd made from a bit of left over brass etch. These were designed to look more natural and be easy to fit, and so I decided to see if I could come up with an etched version.

The plan was that you would bend them around an etched former but in the end that doesn't really seem necessary as the etched fold lines work well enough. The half etched holes can ether be punched out to form bolt heads or drilled through so that metal rod can be used to represent bolts and add extra strength by going into holes in the loco as well. I was a bit heavy handed trying to punch out a rivet and went straight through the etch but you get the general idea.

I'm not sure what the plan for these is yet, but I'd be interested to know what other people think.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Rusty Girders

Over the last few days I've done a little more work on the girders etc. that make up the bulk of the bridge. After posting about this previously I realised I'd missed out the bolts that connect the girders to the concrete block so these have now been added (a small piece of folded brass and more rod for the bolts) and then the whole thing painted.

On the real thing the plates are a lot darker than the girders which I've attempted to replicate. I'm fairly happy with how it looks although it will get a little more weathering when it's bedded into the scene to help tie the bits together.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Flutterby Chunky

If you've been following this blog for any length of time you'll have noticed that my modelling tends to focus on the man made aspects of a railway (locomotives, rolling stock, bridges, etc.) rather than the natural environment it runs through. One of my main reasons for entering the Dave Brewer challenge this year was to force me into thinking about the scenery around the bridge and so far it seems to have worked. I've experimented with lots of different approaches to painting rocks as well as figuring out how to model dark peaty water (which I promise I will come back to soon). The third major part of the scenery on the diorama is the heather and this has had me worried for a while.

I'd looked at a number of really nice commercial grass mats but none really matched the scenery around the real bridge well enough for me to be happy with, partly as I couldn't find a good representation of the heather. While I still need to decided exactly how I'm going to do the bits of grass not covered by heather (probably a mixture of scatter and static grass) I think, after a number of experiments, that I now have a good way of producing heather.

My first attempt at heather involved using some Woodland Scenics forest blend bushes covered in scatter. Having seen other people have good results using Flower Soft to represent.... flowers and given that they do a packet called heather this seemed like a good starting point. While the colour in the packet looks okay there was quite a lot of white bits that I wasn't happy with as I thought they would be too bright. Given the others colours seemed reasonable I picked out the white bits and then scattered the other bits over a bush covered in glue, and you can see this on the left hand side of the first photo. Unfortunately I think you'll all agree that this doesn't look like heather. The bits are too big (the bush is a reasonable size for the scale I'm working in) and the colours are wrong.

To try and fix at least the size issue I tried again this time with some Ultra Fine Flower Soft called Raspberry Fizz (strangely the Ultra Fine stuff no longer seems to be listed on the website). Unfortunately again there is too much white and this time the bits are so small I couldn't remove them, so I think it looks even worse (right hand side of the first photo).

At this point I was fairly stumped. I knew, from the photos I have of the bridge, roughly what colour the heather should be but I had no idea how to make it. Fortunately my wife had an idea that seems to have worked really well; she suggested I use some chenille. Now given that she has been buying chenille so she can crochet baby blankets I wasn't initially convinced by the idea but she was convinced that chopping the fibres up into little pieces should work so I gave it a go. My first attempt was horrible as the bits of yarn, while the right colour, was way too fluffy. For a second attempt I dunked a piece of yarn in scenic cement and left it to dry before cutting it up and this seems to have reduced the fluffiness to acceptable levels.

Now in close up you might not be convinced that it looks like heather, but if you stand back and look at it from a slightly more sensible distance I think it does a very good job. Yes I could do with separating the fibres a little more so it doesn't clump but in general I'm really happy with how it looks.

For anyone wanting to try and replicate the idea I used James C. Brett Flutterby Chunky yarn, mostly the Mulberry (B21) but also a little Rose Pink (B19) to give a little variation.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

And The Bolts Attach To...

So for today's post I'm back working on my entry for the Dave Brewer challenge. The last time I posted about this I admitted that I'd made a mistake in interpreting the few photos I had by using I shaped beams when in fact they are C shaped in section. As well as showing me the correct girder shape, the photos Bobby kindly took for me also finally explained how the bridge was all held together.

In the previous photos I'd been using I could see that there were quite a few bolts in the side of the girders, but I couldn't see what, if anything, they were attached to. With the new photos though the answer is clear.

As I said with these photos the construction is nice and clear. Originally there were three U shaped plates bolted between the girders; one has broken off entirely and one is fairly close to coming loose. The missing plate explains why there appeared to be just thin air between the girders in the previous photos I was using. As well as the photos Bobby measured the plates as being 75cm long, 60cm wide, and 12cm deep making them easy(ish) to replicate.

Each plate is made from three pieces; a piece of 0.12mm brass sheet for the bit between the girders and a thin strip of 0.3mm styrene for the two side parts. I did think about making the entire plate out of brass but making it in three pieces was easier as I've drilled holes for all 36 bolts which I've made from 0.33mm nickel silver rod. What you don't see in the photos are the numerous jigs I also made to help cut the small strips of styrene, drill the holes, and hold things in position while it was all stuck together. There's almost as much modelling in the jigs as the bridge. Given my intention is to model the railway out of use I've also left off one of the panel sheets (but fitted the bolts) so that it will match the track I've already built. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow and I can wave some primer over it in the garden.