Rail support at module joints

Here’s the end-of-module joiner that needs installing before the position of BR No.388 can be finalized. The rails get soldered to the PC board, the PC board gets epoxied to the wood and the wood glued to the ply roadbed with carpenter’s glue. Five are required before the trestle can drop into place. The rail in this instance is HO code 70 (Micro Engineering I think) that will sit just proud of the wooden ties and provide  a nice flat surface to solder to the base of the code 40 running rail. I’ve used this method before, inspired by something similar in an old issue of the P87 journal. Having gone over to milled acrylic for my switch sliders the stacked rail method is still  a robust method of maintaining alignment through module joins.

Prior to soldering the running rail, three piece wooden ties are be added and the works filed to height. Once the height is fixed the rail will be scalloped wit a keen file to allow daylight between the ties and running rail. In the past I did them with a moto-tool and abrasive disc but I find the effect much more pleasing when worked by hand.  I start with a triangular file and then move to a rectangular one to clean.



IMG_8882 copy

IMG_8883 copy

Weathering the trestle with Vallejo acrylic paints

Here is an updated picture of the painted goings on one week after the fact.


Note the artifacts above the last bent. I flooded too much paint into the corner while painting the X-bracing. Easy enough to correct but tough to get enough light into the corner to see what is going on.

Most of the work was on the piles and got obscured by glare from the gloss black I ended up using. Seems my Vallejo setup was missing anything darker than grey-black so Golden fluid acrylic (gloss) black was used in its place but the effect is not the same. I’ll need to tone it down when I play with the final sheen. I’m still working from the far end to the near but it is starting to look better. Touching on the sheen once more, it isn’t simply a matter of spraying one thing and it is done. Doing so would negate a lot of the nice boundaries formed through multiple layers of the Vallejo paint. Instead, the outer piles will be hand painted with some very light glazes.

A black and white version of the image above.  Monochrome images can be used much the same as a painter or draftsman might use a mirror, the "flip" allowing the modeller to see something they might otherwise have missed.

A black and white version of the image above. Monochrome images can be used much the same as a painter or draftsman might use a mirror: the “flip” allowing the modeller to see something they might otherwise have missed.


Painting the trestle


Nicely weathered X-Great Northern BR 68.08

Painting is one of my favorite activities so it is a shame in a way that I don’t do more of it. It just happens that I like fabrication as much or more and so I naturally spend more time working towards painting than actually pushing it around. With BR 388 finally stuck together it is time to start painting but before that can happen I decided to look at some local X-GN bridges for inspiration.

One thing that stuck out looking at the bridges in question was the variety of colours on display. That should come as no surprise but it still sort of does. With that in mind I decided to spray a base coat of a burnt sienna and raw umber and go from there.


X-Great Northern Railway trestle over the Serpentine River


Here is the trestle after a night of spraying together with some early morning doodling with a paintbrush. The spray job turned out to be a bit more opaque than necessary but I’m working with it. As often as I paint I’m not surprised that things went a little sideways.  The upper right bent is the only area to be worked through but still needs a bit of ultramarine and Quinacridone to liven up the 6X12 ends. A few of the visible bents were stippled at high pressure (45PSI). Hopefully further treatment will bring this effect forward in places. Playing around with various types of mark making is one of the best parts of the process and thankfully doesn’t require a lot of brain power.


BR #388 finally ready for paint


10X eye loupe

After some deliberation I went back and added 500 odd bits to the top of the existing NBW which by the time I was part way done were more like plain washers. While not the best photo this shot through my mobile loupe arm shows some of the detail that was fixed and some work that still needs addressing. The little loupe arm really aids artifact checking, vital for model making in all scales. Due to my aversion to solvents I found it handy to do finish work on the NBWs right in the spraybooth. The arm was up to the task where my own eyesight fell well short.

The bolt/nut portion of the revised NBWs were made from .005″X.005″ strip cut from sheet and bobbed to length by eye. The little pieces were placed in location with a small paintbrush having loaded it with an appropriate amount of solvent. The washer was similarly wetted  with solvent. The resulting bond is actually pretty decent but just in case I decided to wipe the works with a small amount of solvent afterwards to ensure everything stayed in place.

A few of the NBWs were out of position by more than what was reasonable and in these cases I made new NBWs complete on a sheet of glass flooded with a small thin layer of solvent. Once the washer portion was dry I used the brush again to place the nut/bolt part in the middle. It takes some amount of practice but with a solvent licked No.11 blade the whole deal can be picked off the glass and placed on the model. Were I starting over (again!) I might have done all of them this way.

The little bit of strapping modelled was done with .002″ styrene. To get .002″ styrene you attack with a razor blade and scrape it down till it mics out and then stick sand it lightly to even things out. I cut it to width by eye with a scale ruler using the various ruler marks and my memory of scale sizes to get within range. Dipping the styrene in a small puddle of solvent and then brushing it lightly with a damp paint brush seems to do the trick. The process has a lot in common with decaling. A lot of folks seem to have trouble working with small amounts of styrene and solvent cements ( I use Testor’s in the glass bottle) but in most cases I get the feeling that the individuals in question tried it once or twice and went home. Like most things practice and forethought go a long way in achieving usable results. Try, make notes and try again. Most things are possible provided you don’t give up.