Sunday 5 November 2017

What next?

Yeah what next? That's the question I ask myself every time I step into the shed and try and set some sort of priority for the work schedule. The doorway is roughly half way down the shed and upon entering I can look in two directions. If I look to the right I can see an On30 layout in the making, but if I look to the left all I see is 'Mesopotamia'. Most of that side is untouched from the old HO SCR days. This is where the 'unsorted/will get to that another day junk' resides.
Time is valuable and I use that analogy to justify not sweeping the floor each time I go in there. When it looks worthwhile the broom will come out and be swept up. I have a target for the shed in the future in that the floor will always be clean, the walls pristine, no more daddy longlegs, the junk hidden away by curtains and just a nice place to go and operate trains. It seems to take a while and although I could achieve this goal early, it really seems a waste of time to be sweeping up when I could be assembling a kit or doing some scenery work or just something practical. It shall be done, just don't know when. At least the goal is in sight.
I had this same problem when I had the HO layout. I'm not sure if it was the size that overwhelmed me or just too many projects. I would walk in, look around and after looking at all the jobs, just decide to turn a wheel and run a few train and nothing was achieved. Looking back at the time before I retired the only times I could put in long hours was the back shift on  a weekend and there were times at 2.0am I thought I had better go to bed. You seem to get your second wind and go on forever, all this energy and no sign of any drugs! But you paid for it in time as Sunday morning then didn't start until after 9.0am. But at least the work got done.
Times have now changed and after retirement the hours being more frequent there is no need to revert to the back shift anymore. I still have this problem though that when I go in there and look around and see all the projects I find it hard to prioritise. I have to keep telling myself that I started with an empty shed and in the end will be a layout and how you get to the end it doesn't really matter.
Unfinished Ian Lindsay Narrow gauge buffer stop
After wasting half an hour there today I decided that I would put together some of the Ian Lindsay excellent narrow gauge buffer stops. At the end of the day I had part assembled six of the buffer stops. They will need priming and a finish coat along with the typical rusted nut and bolt. They certainly give the atmosphere of a VR narrow gauge railway. With the six done it was time to go inside to put on a lamb roast for dinner, most suitable for the rainy and cooler day here in Sydney today.
Living near the bush we are used to hearing the constant bird sounds. Every morning it starts early with the king parrots letting us know its time to get out of bed and feed them.
Two of the three regular visitor kookaburras
The bowls of sunflowers seeds are put out and they fly down for their feed. They prefer their own bowls and it is funny to watch as they work out their pecking order playing musical bowls each morning. And in between are the three kooburras, a few rosellas and the sulphur crested cockatoos and the rainbow lorikeets that try and bully out all the others to get to the seed. That is why the hose is on standby for the daily lorikeet showers.
Nine king parrots have turned up for breakfast
Anyhow I was down the shed this week and heard the constant squak of a magpie, it went on that long I went out to investigate the noise. I was waved up to the house and found out that the noise was the magpie trying to frighten off a three foot goanna. (That's the length measurement not how many legs it had!) The maggie must have been frightened that the goanna would try and get its eggs from the nest. By the time I got around the side of the shed it was gone. Not to be outdone it made another appearance during the week strolling down the front driveway, through the side gate and repeated its previous journey. It eventually disappeared. Never a dull moment around here with the wildlife. (But no possums!)
Back to the layout and I finally got some  more scenery work done. I did some work on the baseboard that adjoins the trestle baseboard.
Trestle on left hand side, baseboard join can be seen
As mentioned when I did the rockwork on the trestle baseboard I have moved away from using plaster and utilised the soft rock instead. This is not to say that I won't use plaster in future as it has its place in scenery work when the other options don't work. On this module I decided to try out the yellow foam insulation. When the edge is ripped/torn it has its own texture that I thought could replicate a rock wall. No harm in trying. I also got a pair of long nose pliers (short nose will work as well) and ripped into the foam randomly and it was starting to look okay. It is easy to cut and form and is harder and way different to the soft white cooler type foam.
Looking towards the trestle
Formation of the cutting
Harolds back!
Once you are happy with your gouging for the rock face then it is time to find the sample pot of 'Harold' my favourite brown paint for the cutting. I placed some grass on top of the cutting leftover from the previous layout. Nothing got wasted from the old layout. Scenery products are too expensive to throw away and restart. This is where those weekly take away food containers came in handy. Lucky when I did this painting is was warm and the paint dried quickly allowing me to dry brush on the highlights.
Bit by bit it starts looking better
The placement of cuttings around the layout means that you can get away without a backscene. I have to make some trees and undergrowth for the top of the cutting. Might have to borrow Dan Pickard for a week or so. This is where the drybrushing of highlight colours is done. It almost creates a 3D effect.
Closeup of rockwork with greenery added
The above photo shows how the rockwork comes out. I was pleased with the end results and after I had painted the rail sides and added ballast to the tracks in this section I felt that another section of the layout was well on its way.
NA tries the track for clearances

The other side of the cutting is started
One beauty of getting on with the scenery is that your workbench soon shrinks, I certainly won't be resting the hammer on this section in future. At least doing scenery has a visual result at the end where although doing benchwork and wiring are essential they eventually end up hidden.
NA awaiting the coal stage to be built
Most of the photo taking that I do is really hit and miss, you always submit the ones that turn out okay. With a recent purchase of a Samsung J5 camera I though why not try it out. The above shot of the NA was taken with the phone and I though came out quite well. So it might be a mix in the future of camera choices. Rest assured you will only see the good ones.
Till the next blog, happy narrow gauging!