Wednesday 13 October 2021

Thomson River - 7

 The mood of the place has changed, Sydney is now out of a 100 + days lockdown from covid and we can actually travel more than 5km from home. Whoopee. But on the first day of 'freedom' we all travelled down to a local village of Brooklyn situated on the Hawkesbury River. I have been hanging out for a feed of fresh fish and chips, a lunch we often partake in. If you are lucky we can get a spot overlooking the river and more importantly the main northern railway line where trains have descended the steep Cowan bank, head across the causeway, into the tunnel then cross the second Hawkesbury River bridge. Trains heading towards Sydney are spotted by their headlight coming out of the tunnel, then they power up to head up the long Cowan Bank.

Anyway the first favourite shop was 'closed' with a note on the window saying that they would be open the next day. Bummer. And the next two shops that could satisfy my craving were also closed. DOuble bummer. So not to be outdone we headed home and stopped off at a place called 'Pie in the Sky' who do great home made pies of many flavours and also do a great fruit pie and the obligatory coffee to take home. We shall try another day!

With over 100 days locked down you might be thinking that the layout would be finished but not yet. I have found the bridge project a big time absorber. Sometimes I just pull up a stool and seemingly stare at the layout trying to work out what goes where. It is important to get the sequence of 'builds' done in the right order.

Frame for the backdrop
So logically I needed to start at the wall and work forward. I made a mistake (I think) by using my longest bit of timber on hand which didn't go the full length of the bridge baseboard. So I centered it which left two ends to be made and fill in the gaps. To make this story sound worse I only live five minutes away from a timber yard. Anyway I am comfortable that the end product will work. I will leave the backdrop story to another blog entry. While waiting to get the backdrop photo finished I worked out that I could start working the scenery down from the Pambula end towards the river.

The Thomson River baseboard will eventually be removed one day in the future and as it is already attached to the adjacent boards I have no idea how heavy it is or will end up. Just hope some strong guys turn up that day. To help towards that I have been using foam as a scenery base, one is that it is easy to work with (but makes a bloody mess) and two that it is virtually weightless.


You can see from the above photo why I am reluctant to lay the carpet tiles that have been ready waiting for a long time to be laid.
I made sure I purchased a water based glue so the foam didn't disappear my eyes. It is also good in that you can remove any glue you get on your good clothes (accidentally of course) before the boss of the wash spots it.

Trying to mimic the landform of the actual area there is a slope from the existing scenery running down to the river which I am trying to copy. Until I get the backboard in place then I have been concentrating on the foreground scenery.

After the foam is in place then the bridge supports were put in where they were needed. The bases will be completely covered so at this stage it doesn't matter if they are too large. They will disappear. At this stage is just sitting in position, one reason is that I need to go to Bunnings to get some long thin screws to secure it. I really need to do this as one day when it is going to its new home, it might get tipped upside down and the bridge would fall of. Ouch.

Yellow foam used for rockwork

First coat of paint

Blending the existing with the new

Blending closer
I needed to blend the existing baseboard that runs from the bridge up to Pambula, so more yellow foam has been used for rockwork. I quite like the use of this foam for rockwork now over the previous plaster I used. It is less messy and depending on how good the carving and final paint job is it comes out fine and less weight. As with all scenery work you can't expect it to look good until the end, but it gets better along the way.

Retaining walls added
In the above photo I have used Paddle Pop sticks cut in half as a cheap timber for the retaining walls. Once coloured up and weathered they come out good. Also I have painted the foam so that it looks like dirt underneath if I miss any scenery on top.
Starting to look OK
The above photo shows progress so far. I used a scenic mat that I had around since the HO days. It didn't seem to work on the old layout but rediscovered now it seems to work well. I have blended it with other bits of scenery. Just remember if you want the scenery to look realistic then you have to be ready to fork out for good material. There is so much great material now available, a far cry from the old days when we though a bag of green lichen was fantastic. No compared with todays material it was crap. So do yourself a favour and spend and get the proper material. I can thoroughly recommend the Modellers Warehouse in Brisbane for the best material available. The do a quick mail order and have a big range. And hopefully when this covid is all over they will return to do the Sydney exhibition circuit.

Hopefully next blog I will be able to show the backdrop scene.