For Christmas this year I have received a rather nice Ruston-Bucyrus Crane (made by Corgi). This is exactly what I need for Quarry Transfer. I doubt that it will remain in the Southern Railways Livery (I am currently thinking about painting it red and white) but we will see.
Today involved resolving errors in painting-judgement from the day before (with a can of black spray paint). The error was mixing far too light a shade of grey to paint the rock faces. Not only did I paint it too light, but also over far too much of the diorama.
So this morning all of yesterdays work was erased and I started again using a much darker grey, with the aim of gradually bringing the cliff face up to the desired colour. I also decided to have a go at adding some colour to the skyline, while also providing a white base for the vegetation straddling the top of the cliffs.
All painting was undertaken with artist’s acrylics, as they tend to be much cheaper than hobby paints for this scale of work. I used ‘Neutral Grey’ (from the graduate acrylics range) to create a base for the cliff faces; and ‘Burnt Umber’ (from the Galeria range) as a base for vegetated areas.
This is the very early stages of painting so expect these areas to look very different as I progress.
I even managed to construct the wooden narrow-gauge platform today, which I am surprised I managed to fit in. I always planned to have a wooden platform extending over the quarry face for the narrow gauge engines to run tippers over, and I knew that I would have to tackle the super structure for this before I could start fixing down the trackwork.
I originally planned to construct the platform out of wood, but soon realised that it was incredibly difficult to cut wooden strips to appear as planks. I then discovered someone selling copper-clad strips (for track making) and realised that this would do the job nicely.
I cut up standard(ish) sized strips and soldered the group of planks together using three long support beams. Having test fitted the platform for alignment I have retired for the evening.
The next thing to do is find a nice design for the legs on the platform.
At the start of this blog about Quarry Transfer, I mentioned that one of the purposes of the diorama was so I could take pictures. Well after having waited patiently for the grout to thoroughly dry, I have just placed a couple of different diesels on the diorama along with a little JCB and had a go at some test shots.
I am really, really pleased with the look of the photos, as the shots appear very different to the small diorama that currently resides on a book case in the front room.
The little JCB is a plastic Dapol kit of some vintage that my wife built and painted. She has done a very good job on the yellow highlighting. This will not be the construction vehicle that lives on the layout when it is finished. I hope to purchase a nice elaborate digger, maybe one from the Langley range.
I am also pleased with what appears to be tillage (well, I’m calling it tillage) at the base of the cliff, which was done by sprinkling bits of drying grout onto the still wet grout surface.
So what are the next steps? I think it would make sense to flatten out the colour of the rock face next, so likely an overall paint with black or grey. This can then be gradually highlighted up again.
These past two evenings we (me and Ruth) have added some landscaping to the front of Quarry Transfer. We started by cutting up some more blocks of polystyrene and sticking them to the lowest section of the diorama. We then attacked them with an assortment of tools. My aim was to continue the profile of the highest rock face (at the back of the diorama), so it looks as if the entire area where the railway is placed has been quarried out of the rock face.
I obviously had to make sure that the scenery at the front of the layout was quite low, so I can take photos, but I endeavoured to continue the profile of the rock strata. I also wanted to represent a small quarried area of rock where I can eventually place a little digger. I cut the face of the rock using my propane soldering iron with a cutting head attached. This gave a nice crescent shaped finish to the polystyrene.
More grout was then plastered over the polystyrene, which was easily manipulated into what looks like a muddy quarry track. I’m really pleased with the results so far.
Me and Ruth (my Wife) have just spent an enjoyable hour creating the rock-face texture for Quarry Transfer. We used ‘Unibond: Tile on Floor’ grout, which we bought from B&Q a year or two ago.
The great thing about using tile grout (instead of polyfiller) is that the stuff usually comes in a variety of colours (in this case a dark grey), so if you pick the right shade, any worn or chipped corners will not be an eye sore.
The other benefit of using grout is that the odds of the chipping ever happening are extremely low. Once dry, Quarry Transfer will likely survive a trip out the window and remain unscathed.
We had an assortment of tools to use, but in the end it was much easier to apply the grout with gloved hands.
The front of the diorama was not worked on because I want to have a bit more of a think about that area.
To ensure that I don’t reflect too long on the development of Brewery Pit, I thought I would also include some details of my current diorama project.
Quarry Transfer depicts transfer sidings from a raised narrow gauge system and standard gauge siding at ground level.
Building Quarry Transfer fits three purposes:
- It allows me to take pictures of my fleet of circa 1968 BR Green/Blue transition diesels (so Brewery pit can stay a circa 1948 layout).
- It gives me justification to build the small fleet of OO9 engine kits that I have purchased in the past few years.
- It allows me to experiment with some terrain effects that I haven’t had the chance to develop while building Brewery pit.
For those that are unsure, OO9 is the same scale as OO (i.e. the people are the same size), but OO9 locos run on much smaller track than OO engines. The difference is depicted in the picture to the left. Note that the man in the picture could fit easily in both engines, but the smaller engine runs on much narrower track (Narrow Gauge).
Narrow gauge railways are often constructed to: traverse terrain unsuitable for larger railways; and as a cheaper alternative to developing a standard gauge railway (such as for mines, quarries and sewage workings etc.).
As this diorama is primarily being produced so I can take photos of my locos, it is important that I can get a good perspective on the model with my camera. In a similar manner to how I produced Brewery Pit, I started by placing the main items of scenery and took trial pictures to see how well framed the final pictures would be (see right).
Based on this picture, I felt that although nicely framed, the OO9 locos would be obscured by their larger friends on the lower track. So I decided to raise the level of the narrow gauge track for the final layout.
The rocky outcrops are constructed from polystyrene, historically not one of my favourite materials. The use of a small hacksaw on the polystyrene has given a good impression of the blasted rock-face effect I was after.
Plaster bandages were used to bed in the rocky outcrops, and also as a front facing surface for the raised narrow gauge sidings. The bandages should provide a good surface to detail with some nice upland vegetation.
I haven’t worked on this project in a while (probably because I know I have to get the jigsaw out for the next step), but now the days are getting darker and colder, I will no doubt be pressing on with construction.