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30 March 2016

Dover Priory Low relief frontage

I'm so lucky I have a patient customer for this one.

I've actually been at this for 4 months now - and it's not that it's actually taking me that long to build it, but that various factors have interrupted, being extremely busy with work, the evening design job getting frantic, but perhaps most impactingly, becoming completely disenchanted with the model and losing my modelling mojo, as it were.

But now I'm back and really getting into it.

This is very much a work in progress and there will be a canopy to go with it (I insanely persuaded my customer that he needed me to build it - talk about a rod for my own back...)

Anyway, I hope you like it

26 March 2015

Dover Priory Network Rail Depot 2



Well after seeing the Network Rail Shed, my customer then showed me a photo of the building I posted at the the end of the last post.

It's the Depot office building, I believe a former coal office and is in a fairly run-down state, just screaming out to be modelled.

Like his Dover Priory signal box, it was to be clad in SE Finecast English Bond plasticard sheet on a foamex substrate.

Like the Shed, plans were drawn up in Illustrator and then output onto 2mm foamex on the vinyl plotter. Likewise, the windows were extracted from the drawings and separately output onto white self adhesive vinyl, before then being stuck to clear pvc.

Next came adding the brick sheet. I stuck this down with pvc pipe adhesive, which seems to work quite well with the flat faces of foamex, then sealed off the edges with a splash or two of MEK. The lintels were then cut out, and a strip of 20thou was let into the hole, being glued in place with more MEK.

I then added a strip of 20thou and 40thou for the window cills, but later replaced them with 40x40 as I thought they looked way too thin.



David has supplied me with two little LED light fittings for the outside. These were fitted after drilling a 2mm hole in the wall at the correct point and slipping the wires through.
A foamex roof was added, flush fitted through careful measurement between the gable ends, so that the roof tiles could sit directly on the walls but still have a substantial base to sit on. The 3mm thickness also doubled up for the bargeboards, although I did stick a 3mm plastic strip to the front of this, to enable a better adhesion for the guttering.




The tiles flew on in about 20 minutes this time, with a new technique I've been trying.
Similar to the York Modelmaking self adhesive tiles, I've made my own from self adhesive vinyl on the vinyl cutter...


 They're really thin and look superb for slate tiles - these ones are measured up as Duchess size. I simply make up a batch, stick down some graph paper to the roof, then start laying rows of slates, overlapping in 3mm increments. Not only does it take about a 100th of the time it takes me to individually tile a building, they look great and take acrylic paint really well. This batch was made from grey, but I was dissatisfied with my painting, and replaced them with black ones, which had the instant advantage of being self-shadowed following a dry brushing of grey.

Anyway, back to the model in hand.

Once roofed, I started adding details such as guttering and downpipes from plastic rod and half-round, fashioning the brackets from thin microstrip, Then came the fun part... On the prototype, the building is covered with electrical wiring, so I started adding this with thin wire, affixing it to the bare  plasticard with MEK. Details such as junction boxes, switches, brackets etc were added with micros tip and small fillets of plasticard, again welded on with MEK




Like the Network Rail shed, the extension roof was "felted" with masking tape. Bulkhead lights were made up from pieces of clear plc and plasticard.

Painting was a mix of Humbrol acrylics and artists acrylics, with thinned grey enamel washed over the brickwork for the mortar courses.


The moss on the extension roof was created by liberally coating it with pva adhesive, then sprinkling it with bright green and buff scatter (all I had available). Once dry, I touched a wet brush loaded with some dark green/grey ink to the scatter which instantly stained it a lovely dark mossy colour.
It's all in the details... I copied all the signage from the original, printing it out onto paper and sticking down with double-side tape. Graffiti was added as per the prototype and some safety tape was added to the "gas main" by printing out a strip of yellow and black I made on the computer, trimming it out to a 1mm strip and wrapping it around a thin piece of wire. It was secured to the wall eventually, after securing itself to my fingers, with superglue. Mesh covers for the various flues and vents were made from a set of Class 40 Radiator Grill etches I had left over from another project. They were VERY VERY fiddly to make and I swore lots...


Finally, it was time to wire up those previously mentioned LEDs...

With my son eagerly watching, after successfully soldering on the supplied resistors, I wired them into the Accessories port on my Gaugemaster controller, flicked the switch, and in a majestic finale, nothing happened.

"Have you broken it Dad?" asked young Cameron.

"Hmm, I think I might know what I did wrong" says Dad, "Just go on upstairs and get your Pyjamas on whilst I disconnect it again"

"Don't switch it back on again until I come back down!" shouts the retreating 7 year old as he tears up the stairs"

When he reappears at the kitchen door, yours truly is grinning like a cheshire cat, "Turn the lights off then," says I...






25 March 2015

Dover Priory Station Network Rail Depot 1


Just before Christmas, my wonderful customer down in Devon asked me if I could "knock up" a better model of the cardboard version he had on his layout of the Network Rail maintenance shed down at Dover Priory.


It looked a fairly simple build, and as with the signal box, he already had a paper template, so all I had to do was drop it into Illustrator, and redraw...

The redrawn elevations showing the planking, doors and windows.
The plan was to plot out the elevations onto 1mm foamex on the Roland sign plotter, which would give accurate apertures and also scribe in the planking detail, straight onto the substrate.

1mm foamex is fairly flimsy, so I braced internally with a layer of 2mm, and glued it to a 2mm base.
The windows, were cut out of self adhesive white vinyl, as per my now standard method, and stuck to a sheet of clear pvc, and glued in place behind the apertures, before gluing on a couple of pieces of 2mm foamex for the roof.

The walls were given a quick blast of grey primer before the windows were fitted. The white bits are where I had to sand off a little.
At this point, you can see I've added a masking tape felt roof, but realised it was felted the wrong way, so off it came....

At this point, the structure was pretty much finished, apart from adding the porch and supports, and detailing it with gutters, downpipes and scratch built fire extinguisher box, cigarette bin, sign and outside lamp...

Foliage added to the base to disguise the joint and give a bit of overgrown interest

Creeping plantlife and mosses growing in the gutter..



Overall, my customer was very pleased with it, and here it is planted on his layout, but not yet properly sunk in to the environment..

Not the best of shots, as it was taken with a truck-mounted web cam, but you can see David's superb landscaping and detailing. Once sunk into the ground it will look right at home.


And there you have it, a quick and rundown modern-day depot...

and so, onto this...

mmm, yummy!



13 March 2015

Hartsholme Box


Well here's the second decrepit, run down and boarded up signal box I hinted at in the previous post.
Having seen the Dover Priory signal box, my new customer contacted me about making another one for his modern image layout. He didn't have anywhere in particular for it on his layout, he just wanted one.

After digging a bit more out of him, I discovered his layout was loosely based in Lincolnshire, so I talked to him about it, and we decided that although he was happy for a copy of the Dover Box, we could go for a slight change: yellow brick instead of red, the addition of a chimney stack, a single lean-to and a shift of the steps to the left hand side... (Well these were my suggestions, and he was more than happy).

The build of the shell was identical to the previous box in every aspect - foamex core, SE Finecast brick sheet wrap, windows constructed from self-adhesive vinyl and styrene strip...

The mesh frames were made by MEKing styrene strip to 1mm etched brass mesh from Scalelink and sprayed carefully with Plasticote primer.

I used the Lincoln High Street Signal Box as inspiration for the colouring, the chimney stack and the lean-to and steps positioning.







Next up... an old Coal Office, now used as a Depot Office...


06 January 2015

Happy New Year Readers!


Well, where did 2014 go?
I know a lot of it for me went in unfinished personal modelling projects, but I was rather pleased with the row of cottages that I salvaged from disaster, and the viaduct.
I then started on a bigger row of cottages, but that go waylaid by a couple of timely commissions, one of which was the Dover Priory Signal Box . Since my last post, my client has been busy siting his new Signal Box onto his layout. He's had to cut out and fill, but I think he's making a marvellous job. There's still a bit more for him to do on the platform facing, and recolouring the platform surface to match the surrounding area, but he's pretty much there.

If you want to have a look at his epic thread on RMWeb, it's here:
http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/75589-1-dover-priory-kent-shakespeare-tunnel-mock-up-information-on-the-real-tunnel/

A lot of my models have been stand alone constructions and have not been bedded in to scenery, so it's been nice to finally see something in-situ.

Currently I'm building a slightly different version of this box for another client, this time not buried in a platform, but in a traditional stand alone setting...

...Watch this space...


17 December 2014

Dover Priory Signal Box - A bit more detail


There I was, merrily building a signal box for myself, when all of a sudden I found myself offering to build a modern-day signal box for a fellow model rail forum member - he'd pay of course, and provide materials, so off I set.

He sent me a wealth of current photographs as he only lives but 5 minutes away from the prototype, and I had phopgraphs from every angle imaginable, winging their way to me via the internet.

I started of course, with my trusted foamex shell, selecting 2mm thick for the purpose of bracing, and then wrapped this with Embossed brick plasticard (SE Finecast Flemish Bond), and there was the brick base complete. Lintels and cills were added with pieces of foamex, let into channels I'd cut in the plasticard/foamex


To fix on the brick sheet, I used a long piece, cut to the height of the base, and then fixed it in place a side at a time with a PVC weld adhesive used for fixing pipes together. Once one face was stuck, I scored down the back, and folded it around the foamex shell and glued it in place. The sheet finally joined at the back, where I figured the seam wouldn't be too noticeable as the model, when in situ on my customer's layout, will be but an inch or two from the back scene, and not visible unless it's picked up.


Windows were constructed by printing out the window frames onto signwriters vinyl, then sticking the complete unit to a piece of thin clear pvc.

I devised this method when building the signal box for my own layout, which has been put on the back-burner...


This one is a bigger frame, but what I've done is stuck the cut vinyl windows to the pvc, then added styrene strip (40thou x 40thou) around the frames to give it bulk. The whole window unit is then cut out, and affixed to the base, with 2.5mmx2.5mm strips as corner posts.

Unfortunately I didn't take many great interim pictures of the build, but here's a quick ref pic I sent my customer from the dash of my car, whilst I was waiting to go to the Dentist's. Here I've added a roof from foamex, tiled with individual pieces of paper, added guttering and bargeboards, and started on the lean-tos...

The lean-tos were made from plasticard, scored to form planks. I tried some Wills Boarding, but it was just way too thick to deal with.


For the security screens, my customer had got some etches from  Shawplan - a bit big in scale if truth be told, but I figured (and he agreed) that you wouldn't see the mesh at true scale, and for what it was, this was a great representation.

I tried the raw brass versions for size before emailing for approval.

Approved they were, and were given a fine spray with a grey enamel from a Rattlecan

I made up a framework for the door screen from thin styrene strip and glued it to the mesh with Solvent, before spraying the whole thing, and it was then glued in place with some 40thou strip for beams. The lean-to roofing felt, seen here is masking tape fixed on to a piece of 30thou plasticard with the aid of some MEK to help it stick more permanently.

The steps are scratch built from rod and strip, whereas the security fencing is a proprietary product sent up by my customer, as is the barbed wire





The roof was given a coat of grey emulsion, before several washes of black to pick out the individual tiles. A lighter grey dry brush followed to bring out some weathering highlights. Finally some moss and lichen was added by first dabbing spots of green/white and then dabbing pva in along the roof line and down both pitches before adding moss-coloured flock.


The pipework was an absolute bit of indulgent fun, as it will never be seen from its backboard location!


Extra detailing included pipe trunking and a warning sign for the padlocked locking room door - again not seen unless you stick your eye up to the steps...


And finally a demo shot put on to a hastily cobbled together temporary platform to give it a sense of  location

talking of which, just as I'd photographed the model, mu customer posted up a near identical angle of the real thing, so I just had to photoshop it in...