Here’s the latest missive from Cameron!
With all the dusty bits out of the way I tried to convince my wife that the layout needed to be inside the house to be completed properly. This took some careful negotiations. Two months later with the help of a few local lads it was lifted through the second floor window into the study. Another two months later and she was talking to me again. Patience is a virtue.
I got straight into the roads, cliffs and ballasting. Some useful techniques picked up along the way were as follows.
I found a great technique for this.
1. Spread a good thick plaster mixture over the cliff surface. (I used some cornice cement from the hardware) 2. Crumple up some aluminum foil and push it onto the cliff surface.
3. Once dry peal off the foil and bush the surface horizontally with a tough scrubbing brush.
4. Colour using light washes of diluted acrylic paint. I used burnt umber, burnt sienna and yellow ochre. Allow to dry between each coat. Start with very light washes.
Step 1- One coat of acrylic grey paint sprinkled with fine sand while still wet.
Step 2 – another coat of paint.
Step 3 – A light wash of diluted ‘burnt umber’ acrylic paint over the parts of the road that get the most tyre wear.
The rail crossings I made myself from pieces of styrene plastic with either a fine sand grit surface or scored to give the impression of boards. The pieces between the tracks are fixed wit BlueTac just in case they foul future locos or rolling stock.
I lashed out and bought some proper ballast. There are plenty of free alternatives that would probably be fine to use. At the end of the day I didn’t want to take any chances with such a crucial part of the layout. There are lots of good guides on how to apply ballast. The method I chose was as follows:
1. Working in 2ft long sections sprinkle it over the tracks 2. Brushed it down with some wide artists brushes and shape it until it looks right.
3. Wet it with alcohol using a spray bottle 4. Soaked it in a 50/50 mix of water and PVA glue.
No great tips here I’m afraid. Glue it down and once dry spray it with 75/25 mix of water and PVA glue.
I did, at one stage, try to make my own ground cover using a kitchen blender and an old foam mattress. While I didn’t manage to get any decent ground cover out of the process I did manage to generate a thin ribbon of white smoke from the blender. There is now a distinct lack of blending going on in our kitchen.”
A big thanks to Cam for a great ‘how to’!
Keep the tips rolling in everyone.
Latest ‘ebay cheat sheet‘ here – thanks for all the comments. Hope it saves you lots.