I made a start on the scenery. I painted the 'sea' a pale blue. I'll probably darken the edge by the pier when I've worked out how to surface the pier, and I'll probably give it a coat of PVA sealer to gloss it a bit, but unlike Bob and others who are modelling nice choppy water, I can't do that because the Gnollies has to slide across it.
Q: Andy, isn't the sea a bit pale?
A: No, it really does look that colour - the light in the Lofotens is one reason artists flock there every summer.
Q: What are the cottages from Inversnaid doing there?
A: I was intending to have a pier office, but when I put the smallest feasible building there, I figured it made the thing look even more like a caricature than it is, so I'll just model the end.
I cut a piece of car as high as the cottages - it's a very pale grey, again fairly realistic. Then, I found one of my old photographs, reduced the colour palette to three (posterised), and threw a 1cm grid over it. I copied the near skyline onto a piece of mid-blue paper, and cut it out.
I repeated the process for the far skyline...
and cut it up like marquetry, before glueing it to the backdrop...
Q: Andy, couldn't you make this even more complex?
A: Well, it's a try-out for a larger backdrop I need, and in any case it looks fairly good, probably better than if I'd painted it.
Q: Which side of the boat will face the front?
A: Not the best side as I thought before: if I do that the last wagon on the long track will be hidden. I'll probably cover the flaws with fenders or something.
- - -
Some musings on operation and shunting puzzles - part one
I was going to put this in a single posting on this thread, but it's got long so I'll split it over the next three or so. This first bit is only peripherally related to this Gnollies, but sets the scene. The next email from the apprentice is below.
About the time I built the first Amos Gnollies, someone on, I think, the 'small railway' forum, posted to the effect that “...the average British modeller has no idea what operation is...” and later”...switching puzzles aren't realistic, they consist of correcting mistakes that wouldn't be made in the first place...”
Well, natch, as a Brit who thinks he has some understanding of operation, I kind of took exception to this. There are a number of reasons. The first is that 'operation' is only really interesting to watch for a second time when it's somehow different. I used the Gosport ferry daily for many years. I have great admiration for the way the crew throw the rope over the bollards, drop two turns and return it to the cleats. But after the second day the only time I looked was when the master had missed his mark, or something else strange had happened. The same is true with model railway operation. I understand where the guy was coming from; he way trying to advocate card order systems and so on. Another way is to have a long sequence of a working timetable – Christopher Payne will probably agree that this generates real mistakes that then need to be corrected.
This operating sequences were the idea behind a number of linked layout designs that my wife and I worked on together, and which were documented in three issues of The Tome. These derived from the late Fried Lagerweij's “Arue”, but we developed an operating principle as well. Essentially, the first and last trains consist of two or three (depending on layout length) coaches and a post-van which has to be shunted to the rear of the train after running round, the next two are one or two coaches (again length dependent) and two inbound and outbound wagons, then one freight-only (four or six wagons) another mixed, and the last train. To operate this on an end-to-end with one loop requires two locomotives, which swap over roles each time and generates a reasonably interesting half hour of realistic operation. So yah booh sucks.
Card order systems are great, and generate lots of thinking and interest, but I'd argue that there are other realistic ways of doing this, of which the Amos Gnollies idea is one. In Norway, we rode the Hurtigrute (post boat), and I got really interested in the freight operation. Sometimes the ship docks for less than fifteen minutes and doesn't fully moor up, the idea is that you get the loads off and the new loads on as quickly as possible and then forklifts inside the boat sort the mess out before she docks again. That model has intrigued me since just after I joined this forum.
more next time...
- - -
From The Apprentice <- - ->
to: Bertrand <- - ->
Half an hour into today’s adventure I was gripped by the fear that I wouldn’t return to write this. The little fishing boat can hardly power the Amos Gnollies, for all that the latter is just about an over-blown raft, with waves breaking over the flat deck even though it was nearly flat calm. That thing is scary in the extreme and I think I know how the Vikings felt when they pointed the prow to the west, next stop Greenland. The steersman looked quite serene: when he saw how I looked he offered me his hip flask and I soon felt much better. It reminded me of that rum tea we used to have: the first one tasted vile, but after a while you get to like it.
Against all the odds we made it to the jetty, which is really a little causeway to cope with the tides. There are half a dozen houses on the sea-front and we were met by two fishermen and an old lady. We unloaded the cargo – the Akvavit turned out to be all for her – and then she took us into her house for tea and biscuits. With her, the fishermen, our steersman and me all in the room it was pretty crowded. There was a lot of very fast and loud conversation and then some bottles of Akvavit appeared: but this was dark green – the same stuff the steersman had in his hip flask. It turns out that she uses the cheap stuff distilled in Bretesnes and steeps herbs in it, much like making sloe gin but much stronger. This is much sought after in the area and supplements her pension. I have two bottles to bring back, one for you and one for me.
It turned out that Margrethe Reierson – the old lady – was to take me to the display at the old mine whilst the steersman and the fishermen did... something. I was quite surprised, but after another round of the firewater she grabbed her coat and a carbon fibre hiking pole and set off up the hill at a pace that left me breathless. She talked incessantly about the work that’s been done to landscape the old mine area and about what it was like in the old days. After the new locomotives arrived and the wartime ones were retired, she used to be a relief driver. She’s pretty sure that she remembers you from when you came here after the war: apparently she specifically remembers your suit and the fact that you were fed up with fish. So later (I’ll get to the best bit in a short while) she wrote out the recipe for her special veal with a young caper-butter sauce, which she remembers you liking.
Sadly, my memory isn’t as acute after all these years, and it’s difficult to tell with the engine removed, but I think the loco’ is the third one we did, because it has all those modifications you worked out in the evenings at the King Alfred. When she found out that I’d worked on it with you (sorry for the slight exaggeration, blame the local fire-water) she became very excited. Back at the house there was much gabbling into mobile phones, another round of Akvavit, a couple of bottles and some clothes and stuff went into her rucksack and we were off: she rode back to Svolvaer with us. The cabin was very crowded but it was too cold to stand on deck for long. She sang what was obviously a fairly bawdy song, then continued to talk the whole way back. It seemed a much shorter trip coming back. Now we’re going down to look at the ‘Ballblom’. After a day like today I’m not too sure what the evening will bring.
- - -