13 November 2012

I've not gone away

If anyone is still reading this blog, I've not abandoned it, it's just my life is so busy at the moment, I've not had a chance in months to sit and continue with this project. It's still sitting on a shelf in my Dining room and I glance at it every time I pass thinking I really must carry on.

I'm not 100% happy with the roof already in place, so my next post may well be the roof coming off. I saw a really good technique demonstrated by Chris Nevard that I may well try, but it's going to be painstaking and slow...

So bear with me and I'll try to carry on at some point :)


03 July 2012

Is it level?

As I was coming to paint the next section, I was aware that the walls of the model weren't flush to the floor. Due to the nature of applying the clay to the substrate beneath. the clay surface ended up being tapered towards ground level, and indeed with shrinkage, was about half a mm away from the bottom in some places, so a distinct gap appears when siting it on a flat surface. To remedy this, I placed the model on a sheet of greaseproof paper on a flat surface and with the edge of a scalpel blade, pushed filler under the gaps, scraping smooth with blade and allowing to dry. Once dry I was then able to shave the surface flat with the blade and then rescribe the stonework covered by the filler. The result was a pleasingly flat wall.

The same will have to be done with the Stationmaster's house section of the building. As you might be able to see in the photo, it's not quite level, but that can be easily remedied. It'll need a bit of retouching, but that's not really a major problem, especially as I'll be gluing the booking office to it and filling the resulting gap between the two walls, so it would need a bit of attention blending the two structures anyway.

An initial undercoat has been applied to the Booking Office, the next stage will be to glue the two structures together, fill in the resulting gap and then begin blending the colour to match the existing building

02 July 2012

Windows and Doors

Now that the walls are pretty much complete, it's now time to come to the windows. I drew in the window shapes when I drew the elevations for the wall sections, basing them on a sash window design. I'm lucky enough to work at a company with access to a vinyl plotting cutter, so having drawn out the window and door frames, I then output the files using the vinyl cutter onto a matt white vinyl. This was then applied to a piece of semi flexible CD case material and then cut out with a sharp scalpel to the outside edge of the frame (The door frames were applied to a piece of 1.5mm cardboard)

To give the frames a bit of rigidity when siting within the apertures on the model, I glued a 1mm x 1mm square strip of foamex to the rear of the frame. Apologies for the quality of the photo - I'm still getting to grips with the camera on my phone :)

Test fitting showed that a little shaving of the inside of the window apertures was necessary, but much better to do this now, rather than after the model is painted.

The windows have now been taken out and the  inside of the apertures were then scribed as necessary, ready for a coat of paint before gluing in permanently. Now I know all the windows and doors fit, it will be much easier to paint the walls with the windows removed, then they can be glued in once dry. Of course a little touching up may well be necessary, but hardly a hardship with a fine brush.

28 June 2012

The Scribing on the Walls

A couple of free hours while the wife was out last night and after the kids went off to bed resulted in getting off to a great start with the scribing on the next building. So much so that I actually finished the stonework on the first building.

A quick fix
The great thing about clay is that that if you go wrong, as I did, you can just patch up with a little wodge of clay and start again. As I've made up the structure whole and applied the clay to the assembled building, I've had to line up the stone courses around the whole building. Using a set square is essential, providing you've nice square walls. I went a bit astray on the gable end of the building and was left with horizontal lines scribed in the walls that wandered off from level and didn't have a hope of meeting up with the other side, so I simply wet the offending area, then smoothed a small wodge of dampened clay onto the wall with my fingers, continuing to wet it until it was nice and flat.

I then put it to one side whilst I paid a little bit of attention to the third building, sticking some sills beneath the window apertures. As it was only a thin layer of clay, it dried in next to no time and I was able to correct the lines and finish off the stonework.

All Scribed and ready for test fitting windows (no, not Microsoft)
The next stage now is to make some windows and doors for the structure and make sure they fit before scribing the edges of the window apertures ( I made the mistake of painting before fitting the windows last time and had to spend some time shaving the insides of the apertures to make each window fit, then having to touch up and the shaved areas)

Next post I'll show the windows before fitting, then hopefully I can get to painting up...

25 June 2012

Another Building, another clay quest

Good Morning and happy monday to you all. I went and saw the Olympic torch yesterday. I wasn't really that bothered, but my daughter really wanted to see it, so we went to the evening celebration at Temple Newsam, and it really was quite a spectacle, especially when the torch entered the arena to the them tune of Chariots of Fire...

Anyway, when I got home I thought I'd have an hour or two on the ticket office and waiting room portion of the station building. As with the previous building using clay, I had the problem of overnight cracking, but I was more pragmatic in my response with this one, and rather than ripping it all off and starting again, I drizzled superglue into the areas that were coming away from the substrate below, and with some small pinches of clay, wetted the cracked areas and smeared damp clay into the cracks using my fingers to flatten. I also built up areas which weren't quite the same level as the rest, and tidied up the edges of window, lintels etc, flattening down and trimming while wet with a scalpel blade.

Any further cracks/ broken edges were repaired with a spot of ready mixed filler and sanded down with rough grade sandpaper.

And now I'm left with the structure below, all clayed and sanded and ready to start scribing. Last time I made the error of painting before trying the windows, so this time the windows will be constructed and fitted prior to painting...

I thought I'd also just show a quick and not very good pic of the chimney pots now added to the chimney stacks of the Station Master's house (I'm sorry to report that my clumsy camera hand managed to knock all three pots off the right stack just after the pic was taken, but it gives me chance to straighten them up a bit with the reglue

22 June 2012

Walls of Clay

And so to Station Building Number two. Following a bit of trawling the web, I stumbled across the excellent blog of fellow modeller and namesake Iain Robinson who had some excellent tips for modelling realistic stone walls with DAS clay. I'd read mentions of this technique in the Model Rail press, but found few resources on the web.

The superstructure is comprised of 2mm foamex, a material I have in abundance due to  offcuts from where I work. As per the printed version in the last post, I drew up the elevations in Illustrator, this time amending the Station Master's house to include an extension (this was to prove a tricky option in terms of the roof, but more of that later) and then cut out the sections using a sharp scalpel. The walls were glued together using multipurpose glue and left to dry. The extension part of the building was made as a separate structure using the same method.

Next came the tricky part -the clay... Now I'd never done this before, so after getting a cheaper alternative to DAS from a hobby store, I rollered a piece flat, using the wife's best marble rolling pin onto a taped-down piece of grease proof paper. Once I'd got a reasonable thickness of clay, I then glued one face of the building and laid it down over the sheet of clay. The outline and window apertures were then trimmed out and the same was repeated on the other three faces. Once both buildings were clad, I postioned them together and gently pressed together to dry.

In the morning I discovered the walls were terribly cracked and in some cases peeling away from the foamex. What you see above is the second  attempt after peeling the lot off and starting again. Even then I suffered severe cracking and what you see above is the slighty less cracked version following two night's worth of  damping off and smoothing over then allowing to dry..

Eventually I resorted to applying ready mixed filler thinly coated over all the cracked areas which seemed to do the trick.

A little trimming with a sharp scalpel was then required once dry to open up the window and door apertures again, followed by a little light sanding with some rough grade sandpaper to give a bit of added texture to the stonework. It has to be said I really struggled with cracking on this project - I suspect it was the cheaper clay coupled with the substrate I used that caused the issue, so next project I will change the materials to see if that makes a difference. With the materials I had though,  I persevered and with a bit of time and effort, filling smoothing and waiting, I got to where I wanted to be, next was to come the fun part - the scribing...

This was the initial stages having roughed out horizontal block marks. It was looking a little too regimented, so I added an alternated slimmer course of stone :

At this point, it's really starting to come on and look like actual stone blocks. I carved the lintels into the clay to lie flush with the stonework, and glued on strips of 1mm thick foamex to serve as window sills. 

The actual carving, whilst very satisfying, was quite time consuming, taking up 3 or four snatched evenings, often accompanied by the distant calls of "are you playing houses again" from the wife in the next room ;)

Following scribing came the painting with a lighter undercoat and darker shades dry brushed over the top. You can also see in this image the rough windows in place. These were subsequently scrapped and a new set of 11 sash windows were made and painstakingly installed:

A bit of natural light outside really enhances the model and at this stage I'm really enjoying myself. The roof base layer is on loosely at this point. The angle of the pitched roof was worked out using paper templates. It doesn't matter at this point if the two roofs don't join as the leading and tiling work will cover any gaps.

Roof tiles now fitted, bargeboards and guttering glued on and painted. There are still a few minor points of detailing to add such as chimney pots and downpipes, but this is pretty much completed now - it's good enough to go on the layout as is, but I've another 2 buildings to add yet..

18 June 2012

A Start

This is my first blog in the model making world, I thought I'd make a start...
My first foray into the world of scratch building was to make a medium sized station building to go on my ficticious semi-rural model railway. This is the "as finished as it's going to get" model as I'd divested quite a lot of time in it, but decided it wasn't quite good enough...

The structure of this model was based upon the medium station building produced by scalescenes. I looked at the dimensions and then drew up my own version in adobe Illustrator, then printing the elevations on to self adhesive paper before sticking them on to 3mm foamex. Then with a scalpel, the individual sections were cut out and the building shell assembled.

Where I work during the day, I have access to a large format printer that prints really good quality on to banner grade inket material, so I thought I'd give printing out some Scalescenes Ashlar Stone a try on an offcut of the thinnest stuff we had. The output was fantastic, if a little greener than I'd have liked, but the material was way too thick to fold around the edges, so I decided to compromise and live with the exposed white edges. After outputting the stone texture, I then stuck double sided tape to the rear of  print, then applied the faces of the building to the adhesive, carefully cutting out the edges and apertures. Using this method resulted in a servicable model, if a little too rough around the edges.

To be frank, after spending quite some time individually glueing on strips of printed roof tiles, I'd got a bit fed up with it. It sat unfinished with half the roof still to go on the booking office building on a bench until I decided to finish off the roof and see how it looked on the platform I'd built.

And there it  sat on my platform in the garage, still missing the windows on the opposite side the picture above for a good few months, before being inspired by the fabulously talented model-maker Iain Robinson, I decided to have a go using the DAS clay method of making stone walls, which I will talk about in the next post...