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Back to the bridges

As mentioned in the last post, I did get the bridges in place for Scaleforum but they weren’t as bedded in as I would have liked. Well now, they are! Going right to left for a change, these are the bridges over the canal.Closer view of the main branchline bridge. one of the 2 bridges for the sidings (both are the same design)The overbridges at the left hand (or Stourbridge) end. another view of the same bridges. The final view along the alleyway.And a night-time view, after all that is the point of the layout!

the end of the green stuff

Well I’ve reached the end of adding green stuff to the layout with the slim strip of it at the front. There’s only really the bridges, some more road vehicles and some industrial clutter still to do on the scenic side now.This is the view of the Stourbridge end. there are 2 metal over bridges still to build for this end. a view from inside the yard showing the new retaining wall on the left. The Dudley end. there are 3 under bridges to build for this end. I decided to revisit an older picture i quite liked, well why not?

Light, dark and the bigger picture.

The last actual building for Brettell road is now finished which means I can now give you a reasonable overview of how the layout will look. There is still more to do and more clutter to add yet. I want to add a couple of cranes to this scene too.  Here’s how the area looks at night. The courtyard for the building shown last time and below at nightA couple of overviews from the left side …and from the right side.Probably should include a couple of trains really!


It’s all getting a bit grim!

pillarsI have added the pillars that support the disused warehouse as well as the lower floor. As its nigh on impossible to see I didnt go too mad on the detailing of the lower floor. The pillars are from Scale Link and because they were intended for a footbridge were too short for what I wanted. I looked a the 7mm scale ones but they were too big so in the end I just added bits of evergreen section to the tops and bottoms to get the height I needed. Below is a view along the canal taken with a mobile phone.dingy-canal

little-yardOn the other side of the canal I wanted a very basic goods yard. The sort of thing where a lorry could be backed up to a wagon and unloaded by hand, no need for cranes or coal staithes or any of the other stuff you usually see. I did settle for a weighbridge as the most minimum of facilities, the build of which was featured in an earlier post. The floor was more powered paint dusted on dry and a few minutes of ‘driving’ a Base toys lorry around soon added some interest to the floor before it was sealed with Klear. I then used Tamiya gloss varnish to create puddles and baking soda for the raindrops. The whole scene was sprayed with Halford’s gloss lacquer to make it all look wet and tie everything together. new-buildingIn front of this will be another largish building which is shown here in the early stages of construction.  I wanted to deliberately do things backwards as we human being aren’t actually very good at random things. We tend to see patterns easily and even if you have never studied art or illustration we have a natural bias towards well composed things. It would have made a better ‘picture’ if the building was behind the yard but in reality the railway is usually at the back of things not the front, It’s usually tucked away not the main feature.



One of those finished things posts.

The advantages of working on more than one project at once is that, firstly, I don’t get bored and secondly every so often you seem to finish a lot of things together.  This is one of those instances with several things that have featured recently have reached the finish line sort of together.

loading-gaugeMy loading gauge has been painted for a while but now its been planted too. I love stuff like this as its one of those things that I hope disappears into the scene and becomes unremarkable. Perhaps once in a blue moon someone will notice it but, much like the real thing I like stuff like this just to be ‘there’. It’s not supposed to get people’s attention. (don’t worry about the big gap under the wall – that’s not been permanently attached yet)Thames-and-AustinMy Ford Thames and Austin A40.  The colours of the Austin have a somewhat obvious Birmingham influence. Cartwrights was a furniture store in Brierley Hill but I have no idea if they used Austin vans or even if they had any road vehicles at all. ex-coke-wagonThis was a quick win project – Started life as a Bachmann Coke wagon which I imagined was sold to Round Oak and had the coke rails removed. I just liked it because it had a local livery and i’ve never done a distressed private owner before. The lettering was attacked with one of those brass brush wheels in a mini-drill and then the wagon was weathered. The w-irons needed a but more work with the mini-drill and a burr to get the wheels in but this was really minimal effort modelling! DE2-paint-1And so to the big project of the last few weeks – the DE2 shunter.  I have to admit I didn’t relish the thought of painting its striped livery but by using some 4mm making tape from a company called Jammy Dog it wasn’t too bad at all. (click here for their website)      A few more pictures below.DE2-paint-3 DE2-paint-2coal-emptiesThis is the sort of train I had in mind for the loco – Pushed up the hill with the loco at the rear and no brake van. I will need to add a shunter to the front wagon at some point.

van-train-bwFinally another moody shot of the Jinty heading out of the yard on a train of vans.

More vehicles, greenery and a first for me.

more-commercialsThe above 2 vehicles represent a return for me in a small way in that both come from manufacturers I have used before and in both cases I was a little bit disappointed previously . On the left an Austin A40 from Road transport images who I used before for a dodge cab on New Street. In the case of the dodge cab I felt it was a bit too rounded and didn’t really capture the look of the real thing all that well but I must say I’m much happier with this little van which was an impulse buy at this years Scaleforum. This is one of their all in one kits which is unusual for them as they usually sell all their bits separately so you can build the vehicle you want. Road Transport Images

The Lorry is a Ford Thames from John Day models. In this case my previous experience was with a diesel-powered Transit bus and again I wasn’t all that impressed. This model couldn’t be further from the transit though as its much better cast with very little work to do. I swapped the supports in the bed for wire as they were a tad scruffy and the bed and cab both needed a little bit of evergreen 40thou section to make them fit a little better but I like it! John Day Models

unloved-trackI decided that the track in my little yard looked too neat so I have attacked it with some powder paint (rubbed in with a finger then sealed with Klear) and some weeds. I’m much happier with how it looks now.
loading-gaugeAlthough I don’t have a goods shed I do need a loading gauge. I’m reliably informed that these were used to ensure that wagons leaving the yard were within gauge and not as some sort of protection for goods sheds. The above example is a typical midlands one and started out from the Smiths kit, I filed off the moulded lifting gear and replaced it with some spare handwheels (from Brassmasters) and bits of wire and brass.
weighbridgeI mentioned in the title a first for me and this is it. Not that i’ve never built a weighbridge before (Although I haven’t) but i’ve never actually built a kit building before. When I was a kid my dad built some for me, usually Airfix kits and Linka, but all my buildings have been scratchbuilt up to now. So in the interests of breaking new ground this is a Wills kit. I turned the door over as hinges on the outside indicated it opened outwards which seemed a bit odd to me. I also filed off the panels on the end and rescribed the bricks and fancied a brick-built chimney but it is still a kit building. Oh and the guttering is bits of brass from Eileens!

Finally, you may have spotted earlier that Ive bedded in (most of) the abandoned warehouse, a few pictures follow:abandoned-line warehouse-bedded-in

Abandoned warehouse, nearly there!

painted-building-CSMy abandoned warehouse is nearly there now. A spot of paint, Brassmasters windows and roof tiles kindly supplied by Mr Horn. These images show it roughly positioned. You can see a glimpse of the canal which I have also decided to depict as derelict and ill come back to that in a future post.

painted-building-YSUnusually for me the more interesting side is actually the side that people will see! The yard has been suitably strewn with waste from plastic strip and Scalelink bits. The 2 tanks are from Unit models.


Here comes the rain

Regular readers will be aware that I plan to model Brettell Road in the rain. While falling rain is not doable and if it was to scale wouldn’t be visible anyway I believe it’s worth trying to show the effects of rainfall. Of course it will be frozen in time but I don’t think there’s a lot I can do about that and I’d like to credit those who view the layout in the flesh with a degree of imagination.

Aside from things looking wet the other thing I wanted to try was raindrops in puddles and the canal.

The canal itself was done with multiple layers of varnish as per Gordon Gravetts book then the area where the bridges were masked and more varnish added (Humbrol clear) with baking soda sprinkled on while wet. I did try cold and warm varnish  to see if it made any difference but found it didn’t.

The above image shows the canal in position (again you will have to imagine the walls) and below in something approaching the light I plan the final project to have.

The image above shows progress on the embankment section. I can’t claim any expertise in modelling nature as it’s not something I’ve come across much before however a while spent looking at local plant life for the “what” and Gordon Gravetts book on the subject for the “how” has produced something I’m quite happy with although I am undecided if the nettles are a bit bright. I drew a quick fencemade from sleepers and Tim kindly laser cut it for me for the top of the bank. I guess it does mean that Brettell road will be set in early October mind you. If you haven’t got Gordon’s book yet then its well worth finding a copy.

I’ve made a start on some wagons. From the left are a Cambrian 5 plank open for which I found you need to remove a bit of material from the base of the w-irons for P4 wheels. Then there’s a Ratio Van and open (I’ve never built Ratio kits before) The open is really too old but I have a plan for an off scene steelworks (sort of Round Oaks ish ) so I will use this as an internal user. Followed next is a Parkside 7 plank open, simplicity itself and a Bachmann RTR van- this was supposed to be a quick win picked up from the bargain bin at Modellers Mecca but conversion to p4 was a bit more than just sticking wheels in with material needing to be removed and new brakes added from MJT. Right at the end is a Peco wonderful wagon tank. Quite advanced for their time with working buffers and springing. In reality the springing is a bit too hard to be of any real effect so I will fit some Bill Bedford sprung W-irons.

detailed GBL Jinty

Finally back to where it all started , the GBL Jinty. The body has been detailed with bits from the Brassmasters kit, some parts from Markits (and London Road Models as well as some home brew parts such as lamp irons from brass strip. I haven’t done any work under the footplate yet as I need to look at the High Level chassis next.

Tanks and Trucks

Not the sort with tracks and a large gun sticking out of the front but storage tanks
These are resin kits from Unit models with a bit of extra detail added. If you are not familiar with Unit models they are a little company with an extremely useful range of bits and bobs for scratchbuilders – well worth checking out their site.

A pet peeve I have is really nicely modelled layouts with ever so shiny road vehicles that are clearly tipped from the box. These are usually done by quite skilled modelers who wouldn’t accept such a thing if it was a rail vehicle but are happy too for cars, trucks and vans. Odd then that ive just done a lorry for Brettell Road that is deliberately shiny!
You may have thought that the tanks look shiny too and you would be right. Part of the plan to model Brettell Road is to model it in the rain. I’ve seen layouts that depict snow but never rain which is a tad odd when you consider that in the UK on average it rains for 1 in every 3 days! This lorry is effectively a freebie, using left over bits from lorries done for New Street.

I realised that the picture of the double slip that isn’t in an earlier post is a bit confusing. However once a spot of paint is added it becomes much more obvious which bits are used and which bits are not.
Finally a start has been made on the scenic side of things. Its early stages at the moment but the below picture gives a good idea of the effect I have in mind for the layout.