STEP BY STEP
The first job was to find a baseboard and various bits and pieces that would enable me to make a mock-up of the scene, including Peco ‘O16.5’ narrow gauge track, some polystyrene foam and pictures of the real thing.
I started with two pieces cut from 100mm polystyrene but realised that I had been ‘thinking in 4mm scale’; it wasn’t high enough. The bridge height and road width are much the same dimension, but just how to calculate it?
It was at this point that I came up with the 200mm calculation, resulting in this mock-up. But then I realised that something was wrong. Part of the problem was that my 1965 model had actually been incorrectly proportioned.
Then the penny dropped. Clearly my original model had been too tall in relation to the width of the road. The gap beneath the bridge should be almost square. I decided that the new model should be more accurate than my original.
However, I could use the embankment as I had mocked it up. I would just need to raise the road level in the gap. I set about fixing the polystyrene in place with Woodland Scenics foam tack glue and covering it with plaster bandage.
From this point on I began checking every stage of the job against photographs of the real thing. I raised the road level using 5mm thick foam-cored board to give the desired scale 13ft 6in headroom.
Next, I built the bridge piers from 5mm thick foam board assembled with Woodland Scenics Foam Tack adhesive and held with the same maker’s T-pins until set. Each pier consists of five pieces, three sides, a top and a base.
I made a mock-up of the girder using a photograph, duplicated, flipped, and reduced to scale size. I printed off two, joined them in the middle, then mounted them on card. A locating tongue on each end fitted into a slot in the bridge piers.
A check of the photographs showed that the real thing has some protruding ‘ribs’ of slate. I decided these would be easier to do with 1/16in balsa. It doesn’t need to look too neat as it will be distressed and painted to look like slate.
The rest of the stonework would be added using DAS modelling clay, scribed and painted. To give the modelling clay a good surface to stick to, I first gave the foam board a thin coat of PVA glue and allowed it to dry.
I used grey DAS clay and followed exactly the same method as I used for my Cornish harbour layout (MR228). I begin by breaking a piece off and rolling it, then flattening it with my fingers to make a sheet about 2-3mm thick.
The clay is then trimmed and pressed into place on the foamboard surface. The stainless steel spatula from Expo Tools’ four-piece carving set is extremely useful for this job. Dampen the spatula with water to help smooth the surface.
Time for another test-fit. I now have a photograph which shows a rock cutting where the trees are standing. That will be easy enough to do. On the right, the stonework of the pier can be blended into the plaster cloth area.
I painted the stonework of the piers with Woodland Scenics C1219 Slate Grey as a base colour. Highlights and pointing detail will be added later. I wondered how it might look with one of my Lagondas in place of the E-type.
I have lots of Slater’s letters left over from projects I did decades ago. I was determined to include the ‘Boston Lodge Foundry 1854’ lettering on the girder and selected the smallest letters, the 2mm high versions.
Using 40thou styrene sheet, I made the curve of the girder to match the mock-up and added a piece of 30thou square strip for the lower flange. I then checked the lettering would fit before securing it with liquid cement.
The openings in the girder were marked out, drilled with a small drill and opened out by carving with a craft knife. Then I filed them to shape with a variety of needle files, particularly flat, round and half-round types.
The completed girder was painted with Humbrol acrylics, and here I introduced a date anomaly into the model because I finished the bridge in its modern 21st-century colours, but the locomotive will be in 1960s green.
To support the track above the road, I cut two pieces of ‘H’ girder styrene strip long enough to span the gap. These will be hidden when the final pieces of the bridge are in place, so it doesn’t matter whether or not they are painted.
The balustrade is quite a distinctive shape and I had no choice but to draw it on 40mm styrene sheet, drill, carve and file it to shape. Drilling both pieces at the same time proved impractical, due to the delicate shape of the pieces.
The balustrade was completed with 40thou square strip, a piece of 80thou half-round strip on the top and posts cut from some large-section plastic rod. The balustrades were fitted and painted after the scenic work was completed.
Some initial coats of paint had been applied to the locomotive, coach and the balustrade, so it was time for another ‘test shot’ to see how the photograph might look. The scenic work was largely finished at this point.
I was modelling to a tight deadline and I decided to pre-colour the Woodland Scenics Smooth-it road surfacing with Earth Undercoat. I wanted to save time and eliminate the possibility of white spots if the road surface got chipped.
It was a bad idea. It seems that the pigment slowed the drying time of the Smooth-it. Although this allows plenty of time to smooth the surface, my road was still wet hours later, so I had to resort to using a hair dryer.
The road surface was completed with Woodland Scenics gravel road scatter, applied over dilute PVA glue. My ‘Jag’ has been re-registered with 8pt sans serif numberplates printed from the computer. It needs a driver.
I also used the computer for this sign. It was copied from a photograph, reduced to a scale 3ft wide and printed on photo paper. It is mounted on 80thou plastic rod. The background photograph was made in the same way.