Sunday, January 06, 2008

3-link couplings

Unlike in larger scales there seem to be few 2mm scale layouts with working 3-link couplings, and perhaps with good reason. They are small and fiddly - probably not a realistic option where shunting, ie regular coupling / uncoupling is required. (An association member has been working on a neat method that gets round this problem using magnets).

But other coupling systems don’t quite reproduce that concertina effect as a train slowly starts or stops. And since shunting isn’t a great interest for me, I like to use 3-links where I can.

A hook and a chain aren't difficult to fit. Some of the Association wagon kits include the hooks, others need to be adapted:

Slit cut with a fine saw.

I find this style of hook easy to use, as there is a small opening behind the hook, making it easy to insert the chain.

I've blackened the links with Gunmetal Blue. They come from a necklace chain purchased for this purpose. (Don’t know what the jewellers’ assistant thought about my concern with the length and shape of the links, but she was very professional).

With a dab of epoxy behind the solebar and the link fitted behind the hook, the hook can be slid into place.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Making trees (method 1)

First choose your tree. It's much easier to model something (anything) when you know what it looks like, and trees come in many designs. Below are a few examples, and I doubt if the same method could be used to model them all. The following method would probably only work for the 2 middle trees here (lower left one at a pinch) as it tends to produce fan-shaped clumps of foliage. (Warning: this method needs patience to get the best results - do several trees at once to make it worthwhile)

I want something like the central trees here - a bit straggly and shapeless compared to the tree on the right. This photo was taken at Shipston-on-Stour in July 2000. The only pictures I have of Shipston in the 1930's are black & white - a colour picture is so much better for work like this.

The basic structure is made from strands of copper wire twisted together. Sea moss will be attached to give the impression of finer branches.

Before assembling these are coated with Flexi-bark. This is a finely-textured paint which will still allow the branches to be bent.

It needs to be blended with water colours to give the required colour. I'm using browns and a dark grey.

The wire is bent to an approximate shape and everything painted. You can see how the paint gives the bark an irregular finish.

Now to create the shape of the tree. The moss is attached to each branch with a dab of superglue. Excess branches can be snipped off and glued elsewhere until it looks right. At this point it's a fair representation of a tree without leaves, although without enough of the small branches and twigs that most trees have.

But I want a summer scene, so I need material for the leaves. Anita Decor isn't the cheapest scenic material, but it can be teased out to very fine strands, so should be good for forming delicate foliage over the branches. I'm hoping this one will capture the colour I want, having tested it on a left-over branch first.

Mix a small clump with some dilute PVA and a drop of washing-up liquid, and start to apply small amounts to the branches. I use fine tweezers, and only do a small amount at a time, allowing it to dry before continuing. This can take quite a while, depending on how meticulous you want to be.

Compare with the target picture regularly. I've added a couple of extra branches as I want the crown to be fuller. Probably still a bit more to do in that area.

Getting close now. Still need to thicken the foliage on the crown, leaving the central area slightly bare like the Shipston trees.

I've overdone the foliage before now. Think this is about right.

Friday, September 08, 2006

"Planting" my hedge

Here's my first piece of home-made hedge in place. It's solid enough to be secured with glue underneath.

I've tried to match it up with the shop-bought hedge. I don't think the join is too obvious. This is the site of the engine shed (another work in progress).

Monday, August 21, 2006

Making my own hedge

That shop-bought hedging looks good, but I won't have enough for the length needed and I'm not sure I can get any more so I'm trying to make something similar for myself. Here's how I'm doing it:

Start with Graham Avis textured mat and Continental Models "seamoss"

Cut the mat into thin strips and the seamoss into small branches

Lay the branches in a hedge-type shape

Soak the strips in dilute PVA glue and lay them over the branches

Fill in the gaps with various textured foams - I'm using Green Scene "Bramble", "Oak Leaf" and "Elm" and Village Models "Conifer".

I hope this suggests the slight colour variations seen in most wild hedges

Friday, August 18, 2006

Boundary fence with hedging

At last a better colour for the wooden fencing. White weathering powder makes the difference. Hedging is from Village Models of Folkestone, UK. Are they still in business?