Quick and Simple Trees pt1

Although the layout is set in the heart of the black country, there was probably a little more greenery than you’d first thought.

As can be seen in this shot of Abbiss’s land sale wharf in Baggeridge.

The trees for the layout are built from simply twisting small gauge wire together and securing them with masking tape, not only to bind the wire but to bulk out the trunk and thicker branches, but it also removes the visible wire twists too.

Several strands are secured in a pin vice and twisted until the length of untwisted wire is sufficient for the smaller branches that make up the upper part of the tree.

Once several twisted strands have been completed then they can be bound together by the masking tape, until happy with the thickness of the trunk and branches.

A quick and simple tree, probably took only 10-15mins to get to this stage. Always a good idea to use photos of real trees or go for a walk in your local park to get plenty of ideas.

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Track building, an essay in brass.

Although the current trend in track building is the use of plastic chairs on plastic or plywood timbers, there are still other ways to build your track. As much as I like the plastic chairs from Exactoscale and C+L finescale, they are bordering on the expensive side especially when 100’s+ are required, that’s not to say they aren’t worth it as they are exquisitely moulded. It’s just that for your average Dad, it’s getting harder to justify. Also there is a discussion with regards to the checkrails chairs in P4, that under a certain turnout radius the checkrails may not act accordingly in relation to gauge widening. So with both those issues in mind, I cast my memory back to reading about Masokits brass half etched chairs for running track and turnouts.

Michael Clark’s Masokits range of brass etched chairs require copper clad timbers to solder to. These were acquired from Wizard models and a long with a few packs of the etch brass chairs certainly is a step in the right direction for both cost to myself and allows exact control over the building of tight radius turnouts.

Today was spent cutting up copper turnout timbers and fitting them to a copy of my Templot plan on my workbench board. Simply cut with a pair of side cutters they made light work of the cladding and I had a full set of timbers within an hour. Shown here awaiting fixing to the templates with double sided tape.

Now I’m all set to start folding the etched chairs and get soldering.

MRJ Cameo layout competition

As eluded to in my last post, I’ve entered a design to the MRJ/Wild Swan and Titfield Thunderbolt bookshop Cameo layout competition that was announced last year.

The competition is being held to not only promote the Iain Rice Creating Cameo Layouts book but also to bring finescale in small spaces to a broader audience and tempt modellers to try finescale modelling.

Iain’s book is highly recommended and owning a copy was a requirement for entry. So here’s mine.

So what have I entered?

Dudley’s Coal

It’s a small P4 Cameo and is set in the early 1920’s in Black country, the layout is based on the railways of the Earl of Dudley. The Earl’s railway (also known as the Pensnett railway) was a comprehensive mineral railway system in the South Western corner of the Black country in the West Midlands.
My cameo entry is designed to represent one of the railways many Landsale Wharves, where the local coal was offloaded to businesses and the general public.

The layout design is a simple fan of 3 sidings, with a kick back spur/headshunt. It actually draws inspiration from an Ian Futers design. The idea behind the design is for a minimalist scene with a few structures, for dealing with the sale of the coal, and a little Autumnal landscaping.

As well as this blog the build is being documented on The Western Thunder forum too as a requirement for entry. Dudley’s Coal can be found here.