Greetings from sunny Lincolnshire

Discussion in 'Layout Progress' started by Ken589, 6 May 2020.

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  1. Ken589

    Ken589 Member

    MS Programmes were never designed for large bitmaps, which is essentially what I was doing. As the file grew so did the speed at which the programme worked. A look at the activity on my pc assured me there was loads of spare memory and even processing power available but the programme was running so slowly it became almost impossible to use. Back to the drawing board.

    I have now purchased from Tool Station 50m of galvanised steel banding. 1mm thick, 20 mm wide. This is slowly being cut up and laid down as the magnetic sub-base for the track, which will hopefully mean that any engine with magnets will be able to manage the SDJR gradients. At £27 for the reel this was a lot cheaper than DCC components metal sections. Plans have also been made, on Templot, for all the visible point work on the SDJR line.

    In December I promised my sons that the branch would be wired up and running for their delight at Christmas. Well I nearly made it, and then a baseboard joint that I was working on remodelling collapsed. (Some hidden additional track work meant that further holes needed to be made in the scenic profile board. At some point I removed the bolts and forgot to put them back. I did get as far as laying all the storage yards for my son, but had not cut through the track at the baseboard joint. I was just leaving for a cuppa as one board dropped. Rhubarb I muttered, or something like it..) The damage to the track and points was considerable.
     
  2. Ken589

    Ken589 Member

    Midford Viaducts

    SDJR

    Recent correspondence with a fellow modeller who is also building Midford has allowed me to acquire a pdf file of his brickwork for Midford Viaduct (MV). However in the course of discussion I was forced to closely examine all my pictures of MV, and found that all my assumptions were wrong.

    The East side (which is English bond) is definitely alternate rows of blue and red bricks and the abutment nearest the Hope and Anchor Pub on the West side is built like this too.

    The West side of Midford Viaduct (my viewing side) appears to have been built by Bodget and Scarper. Some of it is a complete mess. By the pub is a buttress to the viaduct. It is well built in English Bond with alternating coloured courses. Next to this the bridge arch is built in Flemish Bond (alternating header and stretcher) near the bottom. It then becomes Sussex Bond, (3 Stretcher bricks followed by one header). Brickwork - Wikipedia if you want to learn a lot more about building brick walls. Apparently Sussex is faster to lay than Flemish bond, but English Bond would appear to be faster than either… in any case you can only lay so many courses a day before it is necessary to stop. The increasing weight squeezes unset mortar out from between the lower layers of bricks and the wall is no longer level or strong.

    The mystery deepens on looking further. The arch adjacent to the south end of the viaduct has a large cement repair patch on it. It is easily identified and due to the road access at this point is frequently photographed. The column of the viaduct is English bond, but only half way across and then becomes straight Flemish all the way up (I think) and the facing to this column on the east side appears Flemish too. Above this, as the arches commence, it does its usual trick of Flemish becoming Sussex.

    Why all the angst? Well I’ve just started to make my own brick paper. Got about a1/4 side A4 of English Bond produced. All you have to do is make a 1mm x 1mm square (for the headers) and a 1mm x 2mm rectangle (for the stretchers). Fill it with a colour of your choice and start joining bricks together. I am using MS Publisher but it’s perfectly possible to do it in Word or Power Point. If anyone is interested I’ll make a quick video. If you group a row of say 11 bricks together, with a few tonal variations, then you can copy these and make your wall grow quite quickly. It is best to build a library first of about 6 variations of your 11 bricks and then you pick and choose which one to join on next. Group three of these together and you can now lay 33 bricks at once. If you rotate a group of 11 or 22 or 33 a different pattern is made that the eye will not spot easily. Add in a few rows of courses and these too can be flipped. The possibilities will rapidly exceed the memory capacity of your computer. During my training in the RAF I was taught a very simple aid to planning: KISS. KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!

    It’s moderately tedious but not as bad as carving all the brick work in clay: guess who started this as the first method?



    The best pictures are of close ups of the GWR Camerton brickwork and SDJR in close proximity. Midford viaduct, Midford © Brian Robert Marshall is one example of many this site.

    MS Programmes were never designed for large bitmaps, which is essentially what I was doing. As the file grew so did the speed at which the programme worked. A look at the activity on my pc assured me there was loads of spare memory and even processing power available but the programme was running so slowly it became almost impossible to use. Back to the drawing board.
     
  3. Ken589

    Ken589 Member

    I have now purchased from Tool Station 50m of galvanised steel banding. 1mm thick, 20 mm wide. This is slowly being cut up and laid down as the magnetic sub-base for the track, which will hopefully mean that any engine with magnets will be able to manage the SDJR gradients. At £27 for the reel this was a lot cheaper than DCC components metal sections. Plans have also been made, on Templot, for all the visible point work on the SDJR line.

    In December I promised my sons that the branch would be wired up and running for their delight at Christmas. Well I nearly made it, and then a baseboard joint that I was working on remodelling collapsed. (Some hidden additional track work meant that further holes needed to be made in the scenic profile board. At some point I removed the bolts and forgot to put them back. I did get as far as laying all the storage yards for my son, but had not cut through the track at the baseboard joint. I was just leaving for a cuppa as one board dropped. Rhubarb I muttered, or something like it..) The damage to the track and points was considerable.
     
  4. Ken589

    Ken589 Member

    At last to some photos and a few explanations.
    Before my last two entries I was just arriving at Combe down tunnel. This was a very important point as it finally fixed the summit height for the line and now, finally, I could calculate where the return loops would need to be sighted.

    My son informed me that the Camerton branch line needed a fiddle yard, so having installed boards for this, and the return loops, (should have mentioned this earlier it lead to the collapse) we set out to plan the “underground” to the layout.

    20201214_143804.jpg
    Well the site was obvious, access was more difficult. Eventually the scenic environs of Midford goods yard acquired a hinged lid. The roads gradients took a while to sort out and I settled for a best fit solution, given that the relationship to Long Arch tunnel was always going to be a problem as it is on a curve. The photo shows the raised lid and the one below is “shut”.

    20201214_144148.jpg

    The white hinges show roughly the edge of the inner siding of the goods yard.
    The DMU to the right is a Tri-ang re-wheeled and now celebrating its 56th birthday, is on the descending line to the return loops, and is inside Combe down tunnel.
    Of course getting this in the right orientation meant that I had to also to plan the road over LA tunnel. The entrance was measured out from the platform end and then adjusted for artistic purposes. (It actually came at a point on the curve where the entrance could not be seen and made it impossible for the down home signal (on the top of the tunnel) to be seen by the crew of an approaching train).

    On some of my pictures, amidst the mess, lies an area of cream baseboard that is not open top.
    This is directly below Midford goods yard and Park Bank. My sons wanted a junction station….
    This will be its site, on the Camerton branch line.
    The curve from the station boards to this site is tight and needed to be disguised in some way. The exit from the station was also becoming interesting as about 4” away from this line was the exit to the fiddle yard loops.

    Inkedscratch4_LI.jpg
    This rough sketch shows approximate location. Red lines are Goods yard relative to actual map below, but are longer.
    Below is the Fiddle yard and storage for Camerton branch line.
    The blue line shows how little space in this huge room I ended up with.
    InkedFiddle version 1 buildinga_LI.jpg


    At an early stage of construction:
    20210110_211139.jpg

    For 4" now read 1". Ow 20210110_211342.jpg

    20210110_211455.jpg

    Finally a view showing how it looked with both track beds visible.
    20210110_211102.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Ken589

    Ken589 Member

    By making a hard effort this area is now very nearly complete.
    A lot of research had to be done into limestone cliffs, particularly Cheddar Gorge, not many miles away from Midford but even closer to Evercreech and Wells.
    i could see that a lot of carving would have to be done so decided to start inside the tunnel
    20210112_083534.jpg
    Yes its crude but tonight the finished job inside the tunnel looks interesting. (photos to come)
    It did allow me to discover that getting plaster to stick to styrofoam is not that easy. I succeeded with a sloppier mix and more pressure; does anyone know an easier way?
    Back to the cliffs outside.
    Whilst mulling it all over out of the distant past I remember reading of casting rocks using crumpled kitchen foil.
    By ruling lines on a 6" x 3" piece of foil with a butter knife at 1cm separation and then folding it concertina fashion, finally pressing the multiple folds hard down and unfolding the first stage was accomplished.
    Rotating by 90deg the process was repeated and the foil then crumpled into a tight ball. This will take courage. My first attempts were to light and gave far to big a texture. It would have been fine for LGB (16mmm scale) but much coarser than what I was looking for. Picking the resulting ball open is easier with a toothpick or similar; fingers will tear it. Been there...
    The sample can now be folded again into an interesting shape. I concentrated on the first concertina folds keeping them open to receive plaster but
    experimenting with the distance, width and curving the foil to chance the overall shape of the mould.
    The resulting delicate mould was then placed on a bed of dry fine sawdust in a margarine tub. Shaking gently helps to bed it in but I ended up packing the edges by prodding the sawdust with a knife.
    When the box would take no more moulds I poured plaster of paris in and left to set. I eventually found that there was no need to worry about overflow round the edges, this could be removed or, as my skills improved, chipped with a small modelling knife. Neither does the pour need to produce a flat back; this can be sanded later if you wish, but prodding the wet plaster usually changes the shape of the mould.
    After ten minutes or so they were placed foil side down on a radiator. If you are impatient they will crack when moved but the foil will hold it all together.
    As the pink turned towards white, about 90min or so of cooking off, I peeled the foil carefully off and reversed the casting on the radiator.
    A few photos of some of better efforts.
    20210125_164505.jpg 20210125_164536.jpg
    Both of these, to a greater or lesser extent show the opposing ridges from the multiple folding described above.
    A cruder earlier version, which needed the height of the ridges reduced on mounting to the layout 20210125_164553.jpg
    20210125_164902.jpg 20210125_164902.jpg
    A crude coarse crumpling, compare to the first, but an interesting shape. An almost total re-carve was needed to use this.
    It also shows a one of my first attempts at painting the casting. This was a very weak acrylic grey. It became a dark grey almost instantly.
    Pre-colouring the plaster was a lottery and I decided not to risk a lot of too dark casts.
    In the end I used water colour black diluted about 20x weaker than you would use to paint a picture. Even this as a wash was very hard to control.
    20210130_211759.jpg
    The left hand side of the curves, nearly finished carving. 20210130_230838.jpg
    The righthand side and tunnel.
     

    Attached Files:

    David B, JimG and AJC like this.
  6. Threadmark: More developments on the Camerton branch line.
    Ken589

    Ken589 Member

    23:30 was late enough: the next episode follows.
    Rock castings, part 2:
    Peeling off the foil from the first castings I found I was left with some large pieces of foil and quite a few smaller ones.
    Thinking there is nothing to lose, I packed various small bits, jigsaw wise into the bed of saw dust.
    i was very pleasantly surprised with the results.
    The sawdust marks are the divisions where the mould leaked at the joins and the small bits of foil show where the the method trapped foil a the joints. A small amount of scraping soon cleared this up. 20210125_164404.jpg
    I did find that it was not worth trying to get a third casting out of the foil. Pieces were now getting very thin as well as badly torn.
    My first castings I cleaned up all the overflow around the edges with a razor saw and sand paper. This produced nice clean sides that very few rocks actually have.
    Now that I had got used to making small scraping marks with a knife to clean the joins I set out to see what could be done with some of the bulges, such as that centre right above.
    I found that making small stabs with a knife at about a 70deg angle to the surface removed very small chips and that by repeating a stucco surface would result. By using the cast portion as a reference, the bulges were attacked to slowly produce high and low points and continue the shape of the casting. The learning was interesting as it is very easy to exaggerate the different levels; it all looks fine when only seeing the 2- 3 cm of the work area but when seen as a whole it was not at all what I was seeking.

    20210129_203551a.jpg
    Sorry this is out of focus and cropped off a big picture, but it is the first of my casting failures I attempted to re-carve in situ.
    I think this is the second attempt.
    Careful examination shows the rocks are sticking out over 12 - 18" (scale) from each other and the carved lines, representing the fault lines and layers in the rock are all in the wrong planes.
    A vigorous scraping down and another variant emerged.
    20210130_230803b.jpg
    This gave me enough courage to start to fill in some of the blank areas that I had not got castings for.
    20210129_203728.jpg
    An area plastered up ready for carving.
    20210130_230417.jpg
    The result some time later. It is not as good as the casting to the right but the eye apparently looks for detail at the ends of a run of similar scenes rather than the middle. Place your most detailed wagons/coaches at the ends of rakes/trains and tri-ang in between. Run the train and see if your friends spot what you have done on a video.

    A final touch on rock castings. Do you throw anything away whilst you are working?
    I try to keep the debris field down by putting plaster lumps in a box and chippings in another.
    On Friday I picked up almost the last lump on my workbench and saw I'd had a visitor.
    20210129_204309.jpg
    A cowled figure or is it?
    20210130_212009.jpg
    I think the sharp lines are knife marks but what it fell off I haven't a clue, or why I was attacking it.
     

    Attached Files:

    JimG likes this.
  7. Threadmark: More developments on the Camerton branch line 2
    Ken589

    Ken589 Member

    Couldn't up load my final picture.
    20210131_221910.jpg
    An angel with one wing missing?
    There is even a fracture mark to show where the wing fell off..
    (Remember I'm a vicar..)
    Anyway Midford Goods Yard now has a guardian angel . 20210130_230358.jpg