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


  1. It is amazing how well your cheap scenery looks, and great to see the technique in pictures. Thanks Bob

  2. Thanks Rob, its a balanced deal, the free dirt to offset the cost of the Mininature grass mats!

  3. Thanks Ray, your layout news has been quite lately?

  4. As always Bob, your posts are like watching a master at work. Loving the grassy look of your crossing, I found a war-gamer on eBay in the UK who is selling individual grass tufts for around $12 Australian including post for a small box of 266. But when it comes to dirt, you can't beat real dirt. Just hooe the local council don't come and pave the car park before you've finished your layout!

    1. Thanks Phil, I have to keep remembering that I am O scale now and the scenery has to be bigger!