Sunday, January 31, 2016

Stone wall, part 3

The stone wall I showed in the previous post have stones that looks merely stacked on top of each other. Although that can certainly be the case in the real world, at least in older times, I wanted to try a wall with mortar between the stones.

So I sat ought to do a short test section in the same way as before, but now with spackling compound between the stones. I went about more or less as you would apply mortar between real stones.

Once the compound had dried I proceeded as with the previous wall with an India Ink wash, some additional colouring and last some moss. Here is the finished wall.

And for comparison, alongside the one without mortar.

The second one is OK as well. It's just different. But I think I like the first one better. But of course, it all depends on what kind of wall you want to replicate and what fits the rest of the scenery.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Stone wall, part 2

I finished my stone wall test today.

I first gave it a somewhat uneven India Ink wash, followed by some dry brushing - gray, concrete and brown colors. After this I sprayed the wall with Testors Dullcote.

I wanted part of the wall to be overgrown with moss. For moss I used Woodland Scenics T49 Blended Turf - Green Blend. I applied white glue with a small brush where I wanted the moss, and then sprinkled on the turf. I then immediately shook and blew the excess turf away.

I'm really happy with the result.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Stone wall test

I wanted to model a stone wall, with moss and lichen. I could think of a number of ways of doing this, and buying a ready-made casting was not one of them. What I could do was to for instance:

  • Do a simple plaster casting and scribe a stone pattern on to it
  • Scribe or imprint a stone pattern in a piece of extruded foam
  • Build the wall from individual stones

I've done the first two in other (N scale) projects so I settled for the last one. Might (perhaps) be doable in O scale, which as you know is the scale for my current layout.

First I got myself a bunch of O scale stones. I made them from a flake of not yet cured plaster which I first scribed and broke into strips. The strips where then cut up into more or less rectangular stones. Like this:

I then built a support structure from styrene...

...on which I then stacked the stones and secured them with ordinary white glue. I applied the glue in the back, towards the support only, since I did not want any glue on the visible parts of the stones. Any glue on the stones would ruin any later staining. Here four rows of stones are in place:

And finally we are done:

I admit, the resulting surface is a little on the uneven and rough side. A real stone layer, working with cut stones, and producing a result like this would most probably have got sacked! But for a first test I think it came out quite nice. 

Here is a shot with the wall on the layout. The height of the wall is about 1.5 scale meters (a little less than 5 feet).

Next up is staining and painting, followed by the application of lichen and moss.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Contact Problem

I have made some layout work during the holidays

  • I am done painting the back of all rail meaning I could swap the layout around, so that the front is once again forward faced as intended. 
  • I have replaced the wheels on the remaining two cars, so now all (3!) of them have wheels with proper /115 treads. 
  • Finally I changed the wheel axles on the engine, so that my re-gauging for standard O gauge would work better. The existing axles were shorter and for the more narrow, but prototypically correct, Proto:48 gauge.
With all this done it was time for some running, But before I could do that I had to clean the rail heads (before I mess them up again when doing the weathering on the front side). Said and done, and with both clean engine wheels and rails I set out on a back and forth run. A few dirty spots remained, but with those taken care of I still had problems near then end of the track. In the very same spot the loco stopped dead every time.

A light push and it started up again, but then went silent. After many more attempts to clean rails and wheels, to no avail, I finally brought out my voltage meter. I soon found out that at this very spot none of the wheels on the right side made electrical contact with the rail beneath it! How could that be?

If I lightly pressed on the right of the loco there was once again contact. I first thought the problem was that the roadbed was leaning in some way, making the right hand wheels suspended in the air. But that could hardly be the case. The trucks would surely be able to take up any small (invisible) misalignment like that.

Something else must make the wheels rise. So what could make them climb? When I thought "climb" I finally understood. It turned out the track gauge was on the narrow side in that spot, which made the wheels climb ever so little. It was barely not visible, but enough to make the wheel treads loose contact with the rail heads. The flanges still had contact with the sides of the rail head, but there my newly applied paint and weathering stopped any electricity from coming through.

I really ought to pull the rail spikes in that section and move one of the rails, but for now I just removed the paint from the uppermost part of the rail head - and no more spurious stops in that spot.