Saturday, 17 February 2018

Sandy Shores - Toning Down The Sand

As I've been looking at the layout under various lights, it's occured to me that the sand is too bright and too yellow. Yes, I know it's real sand I've used, but something that is quite often forgotten is that every colour must be toned down on a model, otherwise it just looks wrong.

With that in mind, and also the fact that the sand is still patchy; with the paint underneath showing through, despite having a couple layers of sand on the layout, I decided to paint over the whole thing. So I began to trial various pots of emulsion - all in varying shades of yellow and white. Eventually it turns out that the best solution was a very watery coating of Wickes own brand of masonry paint "Soft Sand":

With apologies for the weird lighting and lazy camera usage, here's the difference...
The patchy bit of play sand can be seen in the centre, with the painted sand all around it.

And now here's something a little special - with the 3 LED spotlights (originally intended for Old AGWI Rd.) we have a nice warm (but not too yellow) colour for the sand dunes. Much more in keeping! And yes, I finally found the backscene from Calshot... although the bad news is that not only is it crinkled, it's also gone mouldy - thanks to a damp wall by the shelving it was on (how it got there, I've no idea).

Nethertheless, I plan (on a nice day) to visit the seaside and take a few new panoramas so that I can get them professionally printed. Even in this state, I think you'll all agree it has lifted the appearance of the layout humongously!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Sandy Shores - It's back!

2017 was a year that sadly did not allow for modelmaking, so Sandy Shores has sat completely untouched. I did move the layout up into my bedroom back in June with a view to working on it, but a day later I was suddenly asked to make an animated advert. After that came music composing, followed by other hobbies - all taking up my free time. But yesterday I saw the opportunity to begin working on the SSLR...

First on the agenda was to start to get some colour onto the layout - the muddy tidal area, pond, and most of the visible sea was still white. After much experimentation and research using photos and Google Earth, I convinced myself to take the plunge and start mixing emulsion paint together. The result is a vast improvement on the overall appearance of the layout. The painting of the muddy tidal area started with the dark blue of the deeper water, giving way to green and a murky brown as it reaches the level of the mud. I'm trying to depict it as if it's just after half-tide, so there's still a bit of water around, with the higher mud area just visible. Eventually I'll experiment with either PVA for water, or some commercial product. Oh, and you'll also note that for the first time ever, I've begun experimenting with painting the stone walls. So far it's a little too blue and grey, so there's still much more to alter before beginning work on the real thing.

As mentioned, I also had to finish the visible area of sea, as only the area to the left of the headshunt jetty was painted. It took a little bit of experimentation to get the colours to match, but I got there in the end. Darker blues in the deepest parts give way to light blue, then almost white at the tide line. This then merges into the cream of the sand. Those looking carefully will notice I've started to model the high tide mark on the sand - the faint green line follows the contour of the beach, and will eventually have dark green/dark brown seaweed modelled. I'll probably use a combination of ground cover to do this.

As you'll note, I still haven't replaced the headshunt trestle properly - I still need to fix the broken handrail, but I've included it in the photo to help give a feel for how the paint has lifted the appearance here.

Anyway, I'm still trying to get the right colour balance with the lighting rig, and every photo of the pond area I took seemed too blue, so I'll wait until I can take photos in daylight before I take any photos of it.

Anyway, that about sums up the progress the last couple of days, tomorrow (between errands) I'll try and get some more sleepers painted to get rid of the glossy black appearance.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Sandy Shores - Rock Armour & Landing Jetty

It seems the SSLR (Sandy Shores Light Railway) has been put to good use building up sea defences today, although some don't seem as keen to work!

In reality, this is just a test at the moment. Old DAS clay that had already semi-hardened was broken up into pieces. It's difficult trying to gauge how big the rocks need to be, but as it seems to vary a lot, I'm happy with what I have thus far. The scene above reminds me of the Holyhead Breakwater railway, with 2 huge slabs of limestone on a conflat wagon. I guess this is about as close as I can get with this being narrow gauge!

It also has reminded me that I am still yet to pluck up the courage to paint these flat wagons (designed for me by Mark Greenwood) and make up some Greenwich couplings. I found the couplings today and I think I'll put it off until just before I plan to exhibit the layout!

Anyway, the rock armour will definitely need small stones added underneath (I'll probably use ballast, but we'll see), as well as the fact that the boulders themselves will need burying slightly into the sand. And then of course, I will need to brave it and experiment with paint!

Another job has been carried out over the last couple days, and that is the landing jetty on the extreme right side of the scenic section. The eager-eyed amongst you may well have noticed the beginning of an outlet pipe taking shape under the landing jetty. You can't really see it from here, but I have scribed a semi-circle stone lintel above it too.

Meanwhile, Mr Remmington has leapt on the chance of the new fishing spot, with his tiny fishing rod...he really should get a new one!

And a final overall view of the current state of this end of the layout. You'll notice I've been playing around with trees again - I'm hoping a few trees will be all I need to hide the scenic exit. We'll see!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Sandy Shores - Quay - Part 2

Work has continued over the past few days adding clay to the quay area. I've lost track of how many hours I've spent scribing, but I know the section to the right of the track in the photo below took 2 hours today (and I now have a sore neck to prove it!). I'm happy with what I did today, but not what I did in previous days. Note the section to the immediate left of the track - it is obvious that I just scribed the whole length and not individual stones.

I think it was Daniel who mentioned this on someone else's layout thread (but I forget who's), and now I've noticed it, I can't unsee it! I also scribed it in a grid shape rather than overlapping every course. Whilst there are prototypes for this, it just looks too neat.

So I'm not sure exactly how to continue. I could potentially try sanding the left side down and rescribing, but that may mean having to add another thin layer of clay.

The other thing I've made a start on is the wooden landing jetty. This is to cover up the join between board and backscene. I've made it narrower than I was originally planning so that there is definitely enough clearance for small boats as seen below. The next job is to finish the jetty supports and the quay wall timbers, and paint them all.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Sandy Shores - Quay - Part 1

Since I can't work on painting the track (and thus also ballasting), I turned my attention to the quay area. Another one of those simple but tedious jobs I'm afraid! Time to roll out some DAS clay and start scribing...

Whether I scribe whilst the clay is still "wet" or wait until it has dried completely depends on the texture I want from the clay. If I'm after neat and non-rounded brick courses I will scribe it when dry. If on the other hand I am going to make cobbled or other rough stone surfaces I will scribe it whilst wet. Another reason to scribe wet is for curved walls - it is far easier to scribe whilst the clay is still flat in this scenario.

Anyway, an hour later we have the breakwater scribed. Note I am still yet to properly clad the surface of the breakwater - this will be done when all the walls are in place.

As you may have noticed I also temporarily assembled the backscene in place to make photography a little easier! You might just be able to make out that two of the three bits of walling around the quay have been made. The final bit will need to wait until I've installed the steps.

A pretty small update, but it is progress nonetheless!

Friday, 4 November 2016

Sandy Shores - Platform Maintenance

Despite the cold room in which the layout is set up in, I donned a hat and fingerless gloves to continue working on the platform and surrounding area. It has mainly been a day of painting as all the retaining walls have been painted. Whilst the paints were out I also made up the supports for the grounded carriage base. Unlike all the other wood on the layout, I decided to distress it before painting. You'll hopefully just be able to work out the lines I've scraped into the wood and the worn edges in places. Although pretty much all of this will eventually be hidden under the carriage, it was still worth doing in my opinion - not least because you never know where a camera will be pointed at the layout!

I also put the first layer of paint on the engine shed. I've been meaning to do this for well over a year - remember this is the same engine shed from Old AGWI Rd.! I know the wood looks extremely dark in the photos, but rest assured I will lighten it once I buy some light grey paint which I hope will help make it look slightly more sunbleached. The same goes for a lot of the wooden structures on the layout.

The next step is to apply sand to the immediate area to help bed in the retaining walls. Once that is done, and the extra layer of sand is added to the dunes, it should look a lot neater. The bokeh in the photos below helps to hide a multitude of messy gaps which will hopefully be filled later!

You may also have noticed that I've tried to replicate some pretty rusted corrugated iron on the shelter. I'm actually really happy with how this has turned out given that all I used were the same colours I used for weathering the wood (just in different proportions). Before any of you say "it looks far too bright!", I would have to disagree - going back to my trip to the IOW, there was an extremely bright rusted roof by the ferry terminal in Cowes. It was even brighter than I've shown here. As models need to be toned down a little, I feel the result I've achieved is actually not too bad considering.

Edit:For comparison, here is the photo of the roof in Cowes:

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Sandy Shores - Keeping the sand at bay!

Sandy Shores definitely lives up to its name! There's certainly no shortage of sand, and more is being added all the time. I've almost got full coverage on the layout now, with the exception of the dunes behind the platform. The reason for this is I realised that something was missing here.

As the only access to the platform is from the dunes, I figured the passengers would need a more substantial pathway to walk along than bare sand. And given the delicate nature of sand dunes, even irregular foot passage will cause damage. So I've started building a boardwalk from the backscene to the platform. All built using good old lollipop sticks.

Due to the difference in height, stairs were needed from the platform. I was going to add handrails to the path as well, but in the end I chose not to because:
1) The path is at ground level
2) The handrails would probably be damaged every time I took off the backscene board.

You'll also note I've continued to fabricate retaining walls from old railway sleepers. These will obviously need painting before being glued into place. Once these are in I can finish adding the sand to the dunes.

I've also cut the platform edge back because there wasn't enough clearance for stock to pass through.

I'm now much less concerned with the sand dunes - they are looking a lot better now that there are few gaps with which to see the plaster through.