Wednesday 27 June 2018

Pambula Rocks

 Progress has been good since the last post and I have concentrated on getting Pambula more sceniced. That mainly requires a big pile of dirt to supply the ground cover and applying some weeds and grass to make it all look better.
On checking my bag of dirt I found that I needed a top up, so with plastic bag containing a garden scoop I headed off towards the local oval not far from here. We are fortunate? that the local council has still only provided a dirt car park. This has enabled me to cream off a top layer of dirt and whip it into the bag. I generally choose a time when it is quite and devoid of car parkers and visitors to the oval. If I choose an early morning walk or late on dusk I am generally able to get my booty with no one asking me what am I doing? How credible would the story be if I said it was for a model railway? A more likely answer would be is that I am soil sampling. Next time I should take my sieve as half the bag is too large with big stones to use, I suppose I could return it back there on the next trip. I also have to be careful in not making suspicious pot holes with my digging. I guess if I stumbled across the 'mother lode' there I wouldn't care but my takings are small.
I got caught out when doing the ground work at Pambula and ran out of dirt. Only trouble was that it had rained recently and I didn't want to be bringing mud home, preferring dirt. So after a few days of sunshine my patch was dry again and the bag refilled. Dirt does well as it represents 'dirt' which forms the basis of Pambula yard.
I also stumbled across a large sheet of plastic (I think it is called 'flute board' it is like cells covered each side with plastic.) This sheet was out the front of a house on a cleanup pile our local council has twice a year. Well this bit didn't go to landfill but around to the layout. In the photos you can see I have cut and placed the flute board between the tracks. I was originally going to use cork sheet which I would have had to purchase. Its purpose was to reduce the amount of dirt required between the track, the flute board bring the ground up to sleeper level. See I am environmentally minded, saving the local carpark from destruction!
The loading platform has been completed and is also covered with the dirt that is used in the yard and around the tracks. Weeds have sprung up against the woodwork. I am pleased with the end results considering it was made from scrap and a few paddle pop sticks.
In the following photos it can be seen that when the diluted pva glue is spread over the dirt, the final colour darkens. To get some variance in the dirt colour I have used some lighter coloured chalks rubbed over the dirt and a stiff brush to massage and blend in the lighter highlights. Just keep going till it looks right. 
I have also added a level crossing that provides access to the goods yard and the industry at one end of the yard. This was made using cork, similar to the one at Broadwater. It was then coloured with a bag of coloured plaster I think I have had since I was a boy. But still usable. Maybe I have spoiled them here giving them a paved crossing. The next towns crossing may have to be dirt as I think I have run out of cork.
A short length of fencing and then some weeds and grass around it brings the scene to life.
I have included now photos that are generally self explanatory and show how Pambula has been brought up from the basic track and baseboard to something a bit more scenic.
Flute board is laid between the tracks

The sifted dry dirt is brushed into place

Differing shades between dry and wet dirt

Sidings have been covered

Loading stage prepares to be covered
Don't worry, it dries clear!

Slow but sure work
Front edge of the loading stage

Level crossing under construction

Level crossing basically complete
Add a layer of tar and she's done

The yard slowly takes shape
A fence, a few weeds and a train

Looking the other way
Now it's starting to look like a yard. Compare with first photo

Bit of rain brings the place to life
Low level shot at the crossing
From the other side of the train

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Still moving forward

Crossing the local road into Broadwater
I can't believe we are now into another winter here in Sydney. Don't get me wrong I prefer the cooler weather than the stinking heat and humidity of summer. We were punished this year with an extended summer and it has finally got cooler. Also at this time of the year I am able to open the roller door of the garage and let some of that winter sun burst in. This particular afternoon I noticed that the afternoon light had a particular reddish glow to it. I reckon that the backburning of the local bush would have added to effect. So I rolled out the camera and took a few shots to see if I could capture the lighting effect.
Into the loop at Broadwater
Drifting past a loaded log wagon awaiting pickup
I was alerted recently to an add on Gumtree for some On30 locos and rolling stock. Two of the carriages were of the same type I am having constructed for the layout so no great interest there but they looked very nice. There was a red NA similar to the one in the photo above and 8A the only member of the VR narrow gauge that was fitted with a straight stack. I already had one of these locos fitted with a sound card. I was very tempted when the price was reduced and proceeded to obtain it. It was already fitted with a sound decoder so it would be  a straight drop onto the layout and away. Well as you know I am modelling a fictional line in southern NSW so that fact that there are two similar locos on the layout won't faze me. I actually prefer the straight stack loco so it fits right in. It has arrived from the southern state of Victoria and is now on the layout. The main current difference between mine and the previous owner is that he has fitted all the additional hardware like lamps, numbers, builders plate etc. Mine will eventually have all this fitted but with a different number.
New addition 8A with a small freight over the trestle
8A on its way to Eden
Pambula will have a goods siding and to service the vehicles I was tossing up whether to have a goods shed on a stage or just have a wooden faced loading stage. For some variety I chose the latter and found some scrap timber to build one. I felt comfortable to build this as it didn't need to be perfect. I used some scrap plywood left over from baseboard construction and the front facing timbers were made from surplus paddle pop sticks with their previous contents licked off. They required cutting in half to represent a scale size. I had no shortage of paddle pop sticks. Although the back of the stage will be nearly against the backscene I thought I had better finish it off properly and do both sides. A bonus of doing both sides is that I could pick the better of the two to face the viewer. It will eventually have a dirt covering and the height matches the floor level of an NQR wagon.
Early stage of the stage
The old HO layout is now long gone and all effort is now into the track laying and all wiring up ready for operation. Then gradually the scenery will come. Recently I had the need to get a new phone. I reckon when they originally came up with the idea that they could now combine phones and camera into the one device people would have found it hard to believe. So not only can I take photos but I recently discovered that it took panorama style photos. So I took a sweeping view of the front half of the layout as it was back in December 2017. These style of photos end up somewhat distorted but the photo shows how the current baseboards are set out in relation to each other. Now that I know how to take this style of shot it will be interesting to compare with future shots when more is completed.
Panorama of layout as at December 2017