Sunday, December 26, 2010

Loading Docks Scenery

DISCLAIMER I intend to stock the MiniNatur products

Well today I tried out the "MiniNatur" products which are distributed in Australia via Orient Express in Adelaide, and available in hobby shops across Australia (If they choose to stock it).

I used 717-24 Short Tufts late fall, 717-23 Short tufts early fall and 737-23 Karst tufts.

First I finished the base around the loading docks using grout colour. This has a nice range of colours and gives a bit of texture. Over this I applied the Tamiya Diorama Texture Paint "Soil Effect" (this stuff is expensive, but a little goes a long way and has good colours and texture). This is the end effect.

I then added the various miniNatur products.

This looked really good, but I wasn't happy with so much dirt showing, it looked too much like the outback, not Nowa Nowa!

So I then ran more white glue around and sprinkled on Woodlands Scenics Fine Turf "Earth" to act as the forest litter, and a little bit of green... this is now looking really good!

Now to build a few trees :(



Loading Docks

I spent a fair amount of time researching the loading docks, including finding the plans... but the plans did not match the photographic evidence!

There were two loading docks, one built for APM with the second built for the VR when they pulled their original loading platform down. The APM plan shows it was originally built of timber... but the photo evidence from the 70's shows a concrete beam with track posts, which is what the VR plan shows. The VR plan shows the retaining wall "wings" angled back, whereas the photo evidence doesn't show this...

What I have surmised, and modelled, is that when the VR one was put in the APM one was also rebuilt of the same materials, and as they were doing them at the same time they built them the same.

So using the plans of the APM one and photos that I have I drew a plan in Corel Draw, which I printed out, and then built using 60x40thou styrene strip and 30x20 strip for the verticals.

I cut the verticals first, and put on a dab of superglue to hold them in position. I then glued the horizontals on using the Tamiya extra thin liquid cement.

Once dry I placed the finished model in water and soaked off the paper.

I test fitted it to the layout to check for size. Referring to plans and photos to get the positioning right.

 I gave it a light sand then painted the base colour of Tamiya white with a touch of buff added. the verticals, which were old rails, was painted a suitable rusty brown. Then I used the Tamiya weathering powders to give it a suitable dirty look.

Referring to the photos shows that I had made the bank at the back too high, so out came the saw to fix that!

The docks were then glued in with liquid nails, which was also used to "back fill" the docks, and to add a skin over the styrofoam, which is tough and flexible when dry. I made the road from styrene sheet, sanded back to create a camber.

It is looking a bit like the real ones :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Point Motors

When we planned Nowa Nowa the original intention was to use manual points using piano wire from both sides.

Then I "found" my box of Peco point motors, and the plan changed... I have used of previous layouts and was pretty happy with them. Plan B involved fixing the Peco motors to the points, which was going to require the foam to be cut out. Subsequently the plywood was cut away where the points were so we could cut the foam out, and to save a bit of weight...

The problem was this would leave large "holes" under the points which would be noticed, and detract from the layout...Plan C then involved attaching the Peco point motors to the foam with just a small hole for the wire to go through....

I became increasingly unhappy with this approach for a number of reasons, including getting them to attach (I was beginning to really regret cutting the plywood away...), the operation of the motors them selves, and reviews of other products...

Enter the Cobolt!

Having seen the website, read the AMRM review, and talk to people who had used similar products I became increasingly convinced that I should at least give these a go. While sitting in my hotel in Orlando, USA, early one morning suffering from Jetlag I decided to do it, and ordered a 12 pack and associated bits...

Now the decision to cut away the plywood really started to haunt me...

First I tried fixing using the double sided tape directly to the blue foam. This held pretty good, and after leaving for 24 hours it was holding well... until I started to muck around with the points...

So now I have attached with the foam, then run a bead of "Liquid Nails". I'll report on how it goes in a few days :)

I have also done one where there was still plywood, this is how I would recommend it to go :

I am a bit concerned about how well the motors are protected on the module when it is moved... time will tell... I may have to add a bit more protection underneath.


December Holidays!!!

After spending most of the last 6 weeks away from home for work, including 2 weeks in the USA, it is great to be home, and now on leave for almost a month!

I have recently bought a 12 pack of the DCC Concepts Cobolt Point motors, I have installed two so far with some photos and observations to come.

I have also received the test shots of the AZ and BZ pass cars in N scale, photos to come :)

I have a lot of modelling and projects to catch up on and I'll try to keep people informed as I go along.