Smith's dream - a short bush tram layout

For discussion of the issues faced when building a model or layout - how to replicate wood, what glues to use, exactly how much weathering can a Gnat take, a good source of detailing accessories - you get the picture, I'm sure.

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Steve Bennett
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Postby Steve Bennett » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:16 am

Thats looking really good Peter.
The dead vegetation is very well done and does fit the mining railway theme perfectly. If anything you might have a bit too much greenery, but mining landscapes do look pretty dreary and you want to end up with something that looks reasonably attractive :lol:
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Ore bunkers

Postby lenelg » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:23 am

I hate to pick nits this late, as your modelling is beautiful, but your ore bunkers really need a sloping floor and chute, so gravity can do the hard work of emptying them. As constructed, someone would have to climb down and hand shovel every piece of ore..
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Re: Ore bunkers

Postby DCRfan » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:35 am

lenelg wrote:I hate to pick nits this late, as your modelling is beautiful, but your ore bunkers really need a sloping floor and chute, so gravity can do the hard work of emptying them. As constructed, someone would have to climb down and hand shovel every piece of ore..


Haven't you been to New Zealand? We are called the Shakey Isles so the earthquakes shake the coal from the corners.

Seriously I have seen reminents of them built with flat wooden bottoms then two steel plates are placed inside to provide the slopes to the chute.
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Postby PeterH » Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:03 am

Steve Bennett wrote:If anything you might have a bit too much greenery, but mining landscapes do look pretty dreary

Good point, I'd forgotten about that. Early photos often show a bleak landscape around sidings. I assume they sprayed with a by-product of gas production (because there would not have been much used engine oil yet in the early 1900s).

I based my vegetation on recent photos of local narrow gauge lines, which are subject to resource consents and generally more concern for the environment.

I'm imagining my layout is set in the 1950s (to avoid needing to model steam locomotives) so it should be about half way between dreary and lush. My trees will be (rough models of) manuka, a nurse tree that is the first stage of natural bush regrowth.

lenelg wrote:your ore bunkers really need a sloping floor and chute

A chute is coming. I mocked up sloping floors first, but the models are so small this left almost no capacity in the bins (=bunkers). I excuse it as selective compression.
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Postby Steve Bennett » Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:10 am

PeterH wrote:Good point, I'd forgotten about that. Early photos often show a bleak landscape around sidings. I assume they sprayed with a by-product of gas production (because there would not have been much used engine oil yet in the early 1900s).


There was no need to clear the track of vegetation around metal mines, as there is nearly always Arsenic present in the ore, one of the most effective weedkillers on the planet. A lot of the spoil heaps of the mines around here, still have no vegetation near them more than a century after mining ceased.
Tracks carrying the ore would get a regular sprinkling of weed killer as the ore was transported
Even before that though, the surrounding area would be stripped of any trees which yielded useful timber, which was used in huge quantities underground. This would lead to quite heavy soil erosion too.
Things are a little less damaging to the local environment with modern mining practices, but that has only really come to the fore in the last 30 to 40 years, in countries which regulate activities. There are still plenty of places where obtaining the metal takes precedent.
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Postby PeterH » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:51 am

Wheee - as well as sox and beer, Santa bought me some modeling time.

I glued on profile boards and it instantly looked much more finished. I painted them with two coats of gesso, sanded, then (to avoid brush marks) rubbed on several layers of a dark green testpot (appropriately called Marshland) mixed with Golden acrylic glazing liquid (to stop it drying so fast). The dark green is more pleasing to my eye than the black I used last time.

Image

Then, what a struggle the water was. I painted it six times in all. The early ones were too light, even though they seemed to match my reference photos. The forth one was best but I ruined it because my 'water' layer softened the paint and I scraped a bit of paint off by mistake.

My 6th attempt was: blob on dark and medium green test pot colours, seal with two coats of acrylic varnish, brush on self-leveling gel (which did not self level, leaving brushmarks and blobs), apply a thick layer of gloss self-leveling gel diluted with some water and flow release (=drops of detergent) which did self-level when wet but slightly shows the brushmarks and blobs of the layer below when dry (which does not look too bad). Mixing the gel with water created bubbles in the liquid, which I then had to pop with a blunt toothpick, which was frustratingly hard - the bubbles fought for their lives and would squirm out of the way of my plunging pick.

It would have been better to apply the gel undiluted - I found after that it happily levels itself if it is thick enough. It tends to blur out the underlying colours, so next time I will paint them more exaggeratedly. It is thick enough that it does not flow where you don't put it, and it leaves a slight upward meniscus at a wall. The gel is very easy and good-looking for moving water, like my creek.
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Postby Geeky Gecko » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:50 am

Oh, Santa brought you SOX and beer - just for a second there I thought....
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Postby Glen A » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:59 pm

That deep water looks very good Peter!

One thing I tried with the running water is to dry brush some white paint on the tips of the 'rapids' area where the water is bubbling over rocks. Then I put another layer of gell over top so the white is now 'inside' the water which seems to give it more depth. As you aleady noted, the white paint will dull down when you add a layer of gel over it.
You might want to try on a test piece first to see if you like the effect or not.

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Postby Willow Creek Traction » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:41 pm

Nice thread to follow you have here.
later, Forrest Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality. -- Nikola Tesla, July, 1934

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Postby PeterH » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:27 pm

Thanks Glen: I'll try that. Stefan: ditto.
Peter

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Postby PeterH » Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:17 am

... finally finished.

Here's one end:

Image

and the other:

Image

Trees (manuka - a nurse tree for regrowth in NZ) are 7 strand copper electrical cable, soldered, painted with grey gesso. The twists in the wire simulate the gnarled trunks (maybe). Branches are 2 applications of 10 mm black sisal, then 3 or 4 applications of 6 mm static grass (by hand). Leaves are fine ground foam. All held together with PVA wiped on with the side of a toothpick. Small shrubs are short 1-wire versions of the trees.

The layout ended up an awkward thing: at 600 mm long too long to be a cute nick-nack and too short to be operatable. And the idea of increasing the apparent size by looking from one side at one end and the other side at the other end did not work for me because I would now rather have a sky backscene, which can not easily be fitted.

The trees would look better with more intermediate size trees & shrubs, but not worth the work now.

It is an awkward layout to photograph - the edges keep getting in the way - but in real life this is not a problem.
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Postby demaine22 » Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:08 am

Peter,

You are too hard on yourself, this is a beautiful model which I greatly envy. You may feel it lacks as a layout or is awkward to photo, but as a piece of design and model work you have done a fantastic job. Hell if you don't want it I'll 'ave it ;) it's a fantastic little module

Well done!
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Postby henrix72se » Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:42 am

Looks fantastic !!

Perfect module for taking photos of the latest vehicle, in all a piece of art.

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Postby Blackcloud Railways » Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:55 am

A wonderful model, uncomplicated and uncrowded. Just beautiful. 8)

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Postby Little Andi. » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:01 am

Absolutely fantastic ............ I remember you starting this and then somehow seemed to miss your updates!!! So as penance have just reread the entire thread; No penance as it turns out as I've just spent a very enjoyable half hour catching up with your adventures, and it was actually quite a treat to be able to read all the way through - like watching a serial on TV and not having to wait for the next episode.
Also I must agree with everyone else; I think it's bliddy marvellous. It has captured a character and atmosphere that works extremely well - I can "buy into it" on an emotional and visual level., something that will lend itself brilliantly to treating it as a showcase for dioramic purposes. I know a single piece of track will limit your "play" potential but in truth you might have to add an inordinate amount of further track and scenery before you get any meaningfully increased operation.
So I would take great comfort in the fact that you have produced an excellent dioramic piece with huge modular potential - WELL DONE YOU!
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Postby Blackcloud Railways » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:27 am

Little Andi. wrote:I know a single piece of track will limit your "play" potential ...

Not necessarily so, though not Gn15 my old Green End Quarry layout was a similar single piece of track with a loading tipple at one end and an unloading bin at the other. Shovelling pebbles in and out, combined with chatting to the visitors at shows, kept me (and them) amused quite well.

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Postby Artizen » Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:01 am

Really gnice.
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Postby Broadoak » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:36 pm

Hi Peter,

I think that looks excellent. I love the faded wood and the vegetation. 8)

As Bob rightly says shuffling some stock about on a single track is more fun than you might think.
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Postby dieselwater » Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:16 pm

Hi Peter,

I cant add anymore to Andi's comments, a fantastic module that is an inspiration to all :D Great stuff chap.
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Postby chris stockdale » Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:36 pm

Peter,

It's both charming and innovative. A wonderful way to fit a whole world into a small space. Great! :D

Note to self - remember to steal this idea soon...

cheers,

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Postby Bob Roegge » Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:57 pm

I echo all the comments thus posted. A very nice layout. The rock color and textures are great.
Bob

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Postby Trevor Coburn » Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:04 pm

Smashing Peter,

I cant add more to what others have said, (being more of a blacksmith than a wordsmith). A perfik diorama.
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Postby Ian-IoM » Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:01 pm

Small but perfectly formed, as the saying goes.

Very nice work, with a convincing natural look. I like the neat way you have finished off the edges too. Looks great 8)
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Postby Glen A » Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:20 pm

PeterH wrote:
The layout ended up an awkward thing: at 600 mm long too long to be a cute nick-nack and too short to be operatable. And the idea of increasing the apparent size by looking from one side at one end and the other side at the other end did not work for me because I would now rather have a sky backscene, which can not easily be fitted.



Time to get the evil face out: :twisted: There is one very easy solution.
Carefully remove the loading bins. Build another module to go on that end, and extend the railway with the bins relocated on the new module.
This will give you longer layout to operate.
You can work the new module so the whole layout can all be viewed from one side.
And then you can fit that backscene you want down the other side.
In fact where the railway disappears behind that little hill will be a good thing, as it will add a visual break between the two ends and make it look longer than it is.

Sorry, but people who can build models as good as you can shouldn't be allowed to stop after just one module! :lol:

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YES!

Postby chris69 » Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:07 pm

What a great job,congrats.
Chris :oops: :oops: :oops: :lol: 8)
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