Model Rail (UK) - - Workbench -


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.

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