November 2015 – layout

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This last 8 or nine months has seen us tidying up from the extension on the scenic boards, building some trolleys, starting work on locomotive kitbashes and finally, hosting a visit from an American visitor!

The tidying up from the extension has seen us add scenic material to the right hand end where the layout has effectively now got a 2ft 6inch extension. This has meant carving out a hillside extension in polystyrene (held together with PVA glue) – a very messy job! We then covered this in plaster (pre-colored) and added the roadway with thin medium density fibreboard. Next the rockface was built from rock moulds and these were bedded in with a little judicious carving.

A grass material (from hanging baskets on this occasion) was attached onto PVA. The roadway was extended with colored ‘Artex filler’ material and the grass material was thinned with a beard trimmer (!) before being painted with thinned water based paint. Trees were added as previously described. The wall was extended using pre-moulded platicard and colored mainly with water based pencils to match.

The colored artex filler was used to touch up the gaps in the roadway that could now be filled since the front and back boards had been permanently attached. Artex is an amazing material and, once rewetted, blends in well with new material. Any imperfections can be corrected with a little thinned paint and, once dry, some sandpaper.

The trackwork was again ballasted with a mixture of coal dust and ash. the ballast was sprinkled onto a bed of PVA – painted between the tracks – and isopropanol (IPA) was then sprayed on to thoroughly wet it. Finally dilute PVA was added with a dropper to wet the ballast in between the ties and further IPA was sprayed on to spread it throughout. Once dry this has a matt finish with no trace of the shininess sometimes seen where PVA is used. The two LH photos below show this process in progress and the two RH photos where is has also been applied at the LH end of the layout and with the replaced switch.

While this was all going on, we had a visit from Joe Kacirek of New Jersey. To our embarrasment the layout ran very poorly but this prompted us to a better understanding of the electrics and a resolution to fix the problems. Joe was very understanding! Some photos from Joe’s visit show the stock out.

As a result of this, we have been involved in a continuous fixing of all the little electrical niggles, changing and repositioning switch motors, modifying software and changing cable connectors.