Having been made redundant late last year, things slowed a little on the modelling front. However, I am now progressing with Shelfie4 and am currently working the building locations and physical sizes. Once I’m satisfied with them it’ll be a pretty quick completion, it needs to be as the layout is going to Larkrail in Bath this July. The left hand end of the layout is proving easier to view block as there’s no hole in the backscene!
Another element I’m going to experiment with is magnetic uncoupling. I’ve tried rare Earth types on Shelfie3 with some success, and they may work with the Kadee types in use on Maple River. Failing that it’ll be ‘the hand of God’, one thing I do need to do is standardise the knuckle couplings with a closer to scale size unit. Any suggestions gratefully received!
So that’s where we are the moment, Shelfie3 ticks over in the background too and some TT and N project ingredients are arriving too. So there’s stuff to be getting on with, as ever, thanks for taking the time to drop by.
It seem odd that just about a year ago I was writing about Shelfie 4 taking a leap forward. Well over the past few months and weeks it definitely has.
In the picture above, the core concept was structured in my head, this had come from separate discussions with Chris Mears and James Hilton around a shelf layout concept, based on Canadian grain traffic.
A peculiar (domestically), year later I now can’t replicate that early stage image above. As typically with me getting the wires down, literally took far too long. It’s less than a month since the track was fixed permanently, but since that progress has been rapid. Originally the thought was to use Rapido Rail crew point motors. However not having firmly planned it, it but me on the bum, and they haven’t been utilised. I’ve not abandoned them however, but they do need placing correctly, something the existing build didn’t allow.
Once that cock up had been identified, the revised version came forward really quickly. Side mounted Peco PL-11 have been used and should be almost hidden by scenery.
A wraparound backscene has been added and LED lighting is being tested. It’s ok and I’ve just started looking again at the ‘add blue’ lighting that I did with Shelfie 1. Basically that allows me to add blue light into the overall scene changing the colour temperature and effect.
The river water I’m think is too low in the image above, so I’ve tried raising it by around 6mm using battens. It doesn’t sound much but the first impression is that it’s a significant improvement. The reflections work better.
The effect can be seen above, as well as the first trial of the ‘concrete canyon’ look I want to achieve. The left hand silos are mocked up from house gutters, and maybe too large a diameter for the size of facility I’m representing. One of those things that I’ve left in situe to mature, and go back to in a day or so to assess it.
On balance though I’m pleased with the progress over the past weeks, I’m definitely going with the grain!
This, above, was where I was Friday morning. The day after, a Saturday no less, the appearance is markedly different, there’s weed and grass in the early stages of development.
The core operation shakedown of Shelfie 4, Maple River is complete. The electricity is getting where it should, and the points throw every time.
This means I can get into the scenery development quickly. I’ve often mentioned I tend to stick to manufacturer ‘systems’, and with good reason. If you use components from one brand, there’s a pretty good chance their products will work well together. When you go ‘off piste’ there’s always a chance that two different brands products won’t match well, and I have experienced that in the past in particular with paint.
So this last week or so I’ve been using a number of Woodland Scenics products as I’ve fitted the track to Maple River. The underlay (above) I’ve used before, on both Shelfie1 and Shelfie2 and not had any issues with it. The fact I’ve used it on three layouts I guess underlines my satisfaction with it.
For Shelfie 4’s track I’m using Woodland Scenics medium and fine ballast, and as a new thing for me their Scenic Cement . This was suggested by James Hilton after a discussion about how hit and miss the traditional glue/water/IPA/detergent can be. It made sense to try it, it’s obviously formulated to work with the track bed and ballast and importantly James had tried it and got on with it.
Above you can see the final fix of ballast with a couple of toning washes overlaid once dry. I hesitate to say I ballasted the track in the traditional way because using the Woodland products that’s pretty much what you do. However the results are likely to be successful using them as recommended, where the PVA mix techniques aren’t always straightforward. One thing I didn’t get on with was the spray applicator. The Woodland sprayer has no real finesse to it, I changed to a household plant mist spray application, and that was more controllable and much more effective.
The tonal variations were achieved with washes of Tamiya German Grey, and then dry brushing with Farrow & Ball Oxford Stone emulsion paint. Happy with that effect I’ve returned to the Woodland Scenics cement and used that with the static grass. I’m using a Noch grass-master applicator and only adding small amounts each time of 2mm and 4mm grass lengths mixed together.
Over the course of the afternoon I’ve been trying out the static grasses and the cement, and am very pleased with this first fix of grass. The cement’s capillary action allows it to flow through the ballast and not reactivate the original ballast fixing. It’s tacky enough that the static grass holds well in the cement so that within a minute or so running a vacuum cleaner over the top, pulls the blades vertically and most of them stay put on the scenery.
So with a couple of hours spare, the first fix of grass has been completed. Comparing the before and after above, and realising the effectiveness and time saving benefits of using the ‘system’ I’m very pleased. I think the one thing that brings this system together is quite literally, the cement. I’m looking forward to my next fix.
In my first quick look at the Rapido Trains Uk 16inch Hunslet, I assumed the chassis was fully geared. Having had some issues with fully geared chassis’ before I was wondering how this one would perform.
However a look at the manual indicated that my thoughts were incorrect and the chassis is a conventional gear drive onto the rear axle. In the video you can see how well this straightforward split chassis performed, particularly when compared to the DJM J94.
Despite being incorrect on my initial assumption that this would be a fully geared chassis, it was a pleasant surprise to find it was conventional, and just how well it runs. I’ll follow this up with a blog review post in the next few days.
It’s probably giving the game away but I’m already thinking do I need a second one?
So first impression in ten minutes is this is a very creditable first locomotive release as their own Rapido Trains Uk, rather than as a partnership in projects such as the Model Rail J70 and 16xx locomotives. It’s been run in for around forty minutes at various speeds and directions. The tracks I tested on are the Peco Code 75 Bullhead points and double slip with no issues at all. I’ll follow up with another video and a more traditional blog review. This appears to have a fully geared chassis and the running on inclines will be a good comparison with the less than stellar DJM j94. That’s to come though, but I hope you find this first ten minute overview of interest.
So the motivation today was checking out yesterday’s application of the AK Interactive Atlantic Blue onto a test piece of plastic sheet. The luminosity above is caused by the light falling on the wet acrylic gel medium.
It dried well overnight, however the brown and deep blue colour mix isn’t working well, so satisfied with the first application drying correctly in around 8c ambient temperature, I’ve given the water area a second coating. The technique and day one result is shown above, so if you’ve got seven minutes of your life you don’t want back feel free to watch it!
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