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Braughing to Standon branch design for N gauge - Layout Design, Trackwork & Operation. - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sat Dec 28th, 2019 08:22 pm
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Padster
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Update 2. Ballast & weathering it
After researching (you’ll hear that phrase a lot in these posts) the ballast topic I decided on using ‘Legacy Ballast Light Grey Blend’ which felt a good match for the GER/LNER type used (and seen still to this day in remote places) on the disused old Buntingford branch line. The light grey blend also lends itself well to being faded and weathered to match the worn, tired and neglected ballast effect I was after. Ballast was therefore applied in sections and glued into place using the established method ie. wet the ballast using a spray bottle containing water and a dash of washing up liquid .. then apply using a pipette a 50:50 PVA / Water mix. 

Once the ballast was dry and hard to the touch, I set about planning a weathering colour scheme. I again researched many You Tube videos & model railway forums on the topic, trying to work out the best approach for my needs and for my layout. It is generally recognised that two key methods are normally used … namely manual brush weathering or investing in a good quality air brush & compressor. I could not (currently) see myself getting the required regular use of an airbrush to warrant the cost so, as an old A level art student (long ago now) and more recently a fairly accomplished watercolour artist, I decided to trust in my painting and shading skills and went ahead and dug out some suitable brushes and purchased some RailMatch paint pots for track weathering. Some additional paints were also acquired in readiness for weathering various locos and wagons at a later stage but for the ballast itself, the paints used were Sleeper Grime and Matt Black.

After some paint application tests on my short stretch of ballasted rail track, I finalised the ballast weathering ratios as follows using syringed measures :- 
1ml Sleeper Grime : 20ml water – used all over the ballast to form a very light shade of base weathering. Allowed to dry.
1ml Sleeper Grime : 14ml water – used only on the inside of the rails/sleepers and also on approx. 5-10mm of ballast on the outside of the rails, to form a slightly darker weathering. Allowed to dry.
1ml Sleeper Grime : 10ml water – used only on the inside of the rails/sleepers to form the darkest weathering.

Below shows the left side with the initial 1:20 mix of base weathering and on the right with no weathering at all.



The finished effect creates a nice shaded weathering; dark and dirtiest inside the rails/sleeper area and gently fading out towards the ballast edge. It also does not matter if the very edge of the ballast has some un-weathered spots.



The last stage is to add some Matt Black weathering to indicate oil dripping over the years added to the inside the rails at station platforms and sidings, where locos were often stationary, and also at point sections to indicate where maintenance lubrication occurred for added realism. As a first effort of track weathering, I am really pleased with the result and it has the look and feel I initially sought.

Thanks for reading
Paul

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 Posted: Sat Dec 28th, 2019 10:12 pm
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Sol
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Certainly looks like poorly maintained ballast......



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 Posted: Sun Dec 29th, 2019 03:23 am
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BCDR
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Hi Paul,

Diesels and multiple units tend to stop and start in the same pkace. The oil contamination is such that the sleepers and ballast is filthy black where the engines leak. With MUs the pattern is repeated every car length. Check out the photos I took of this at Banbury station. 


Nigel




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 Posted: Sun Dec 29th, 2019 07:49 pm
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Yes indeed .. many thanks Nigel. The Matt Black weathering has yet to be done hence it will be 'the last stage' but thanks for the photo references. There was also approx 95 years of steam oil, soot and grease deposits on the line with only approx 5 years of Diesel and DMU deposits until the line closure for passenger service in 1964 and final closure in 1965. My own and the Buntingford Railway Society photos of the track just after closure form an accurate reference so I can recreate 'once complete' with good accuracy.
thanks
Paul

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 Posted: Sun Dec 29th, 2019 07:54 pm
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Update 3. Landscaping
The section of the old Buntingford branch line I am modelling was/is generally flat terrain but broken up somewhat with a road bridge cutting and gently sloping farmland. There is also a small River Rib snaking through in part. As such, I didn’t need too much landscaping structure to build other than creating a road bridge cutting, some gentle inclines of land from the tracksides up to join the backscene imagery and create enough land rise to create a small river.
For the height of land surrounding the road bridge (and therefore forming the cutting) I used some honeycombed cardboard packing I’d saved and cut to the desired length and width. To further extend this and also begin forming the gentle slope effect, I used many offcuts of EPE Foam packaging material sheets I’d retained from kitchen appliances or office desk deliveries. These were also shaped and stuck into place using Copydex to form the overall shape of landscape to support the road bridge and create the cutting either side.



The remaining landscape of gentle inclines along the layout was also done using 1-2cm thickness EPE Foam packaging material sheets, cut and shaped with a sharp craft knife to a very obtuse angle where they abutted close the trackside edge. These were also glued into place on the baseboard using Copydex. The section of layout that will host the small, meandering River Rib I made sure I used at least 2cm depth of EPE Foam – this allowed me to cut out the desired river width and angled depth to form the river.



Once all the landscaping structure was in place, I began covering it all with plaster cloth sheets cut into small sections and smoothed to created natural rolls and form of the land. Although a naturally messy process (where covering the track and ballast is highly recommended), I was very happy with the results and only needed a second layer of sheets to complete the job. Minor joins of the sheets that were too proud were smoothed or ‘lost’ with some watered down Polyfilla added in places. 





As the cold weather started to bite in the garage, it took quite a while for all the plaster sheets to completely dry to a pure white finish so I will leave it now until the early Spring to seal it all with PVA and start he next phase of painting the landscape base in earth colours and then start to bring the layout to life with the detailed scenics of grass, trees, hedgerows, etc.

Thanks for reading
Paul

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 Posted: Mon Dec 30th, 2019 08:21 pm
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Update 4. Platforms
As my layout is based on a real section of a local disused railway, I wanted the shapes of the platforms to be as identical as possible to the real thing – therefore any ‘off the shelf’ N gauge platform product would not suffice. 

I decided on creating my own and used 9mm off-cuts of plywood, cut and shaped as required, which meant some careful jigsaw and fretsaw trimming was required as one platform is delicately curved. All looked well so next was to test the platform height against a DMU placed on the rails of the proposed station. Using real photographs of Standon and Braughing stations during operating days as a reference (the latter stills exists as a converted home with both platforms fully intact), I was able conclude the correct platform height against a DMU – my platform was approx. 2mm too low! I was already expecting this and had planned to glue some 2mm cork track underlay to the plywood to achieve the desired height. 





Using the cork underlay also provided additional benefits. 1) it allowed me to create the typical slight overhang at the platform edge and 2) after using some smooth filler in places and using several coats of children’s paint (blended for a base light grey concrete effect), many – but not all – holes in the cork were filled to create a naturally worn and tired looking platform effect, where pieces of platform concrete have broken away. 





I still need to colour the concrete effect further to make it appear more naturally ‘patchy’ where repairs were made over time and also glue some aged red brick paper to the track side fascia (suitably weathered to look almost blue/black with soot and grime .. and the last phase will be to paint the platform edge in a white washed, worn out and flaky style.

Thanks for reading
Paul

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 Posted: Tue Dec 31st, 2019 01:54 pm
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Padster
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Update 5. Scratch build Road Bridge 
After looking at all the available Plasticard & card kits available for N Gauge road bridges, I could not find anything that close to the style required – yes, I could have bought one and hacked it around a lot but that still seemed counterproductive to the realism I required. I opted for scratch build which hopefully would mean a very close replica to the real thing however, I had never scratch built anything in terms of modelling before!! 
On the plus side though, I have many reference photographs of the road bridge in question during operating days, all the dimensions and an added bonus, the bridge still exists to this day and is unchanged.

Once again, for a novice scratchbuilder YouTube, Model Railway magazines and Model Railway forums are essential in terms of materials, technique and creating realism. I opted for card and as this was my first attempt at an N Gauge structure and I needed a confidence boost on creating a good end product, I chose Daler Rowney ‘Graduate Blue’ card 1.25mm thickness which was on offer at Hobbycraft. This seemed to offer relative ease of cutting and solid enough to ‘stay put’ when finally fixed to the layout. I had some spare & sizable EPE Foam packaging material lying around which can be easily shaped and is extremely lightweight – these were cut to the desired shape and size to form a loose looking road bridge which would provide the supporting structure to glue the proper shaped card to that will form the road bridge itself. This all worked well but to be certain I used Copydex adhesive to ensure the card and EPE Foam were solid.



To start adding to the realism I used some cheap N Gauge girders bought on EBay on either side of the bridge span. I actually found it pretty difficult to find suitable weathered & worn blue engineering bricks in printed sheet format anywhere, so I opted for Scalescene’s TX02 Brown Brick downloadable sheets which looked suitably aged and dirty. I found that my inkjet printer was more than capable but I found the key to getting the right print colourisation & shade is the paper you use. As a test I printed on sheet on standard 80gsm paper – this came out far too reddish in colour and looked somewhat ‘washed out’ (probably the ink seeped into the poorer quality paper too easily) and was not the effect I wanted. I then printed another sheet using 150gsm Ice White A4 paper from Hobbycraft and this resulted in a nice, rich, red/brown brick colour that looked worn and weathered – perfect! 



After cutting out the required sections of TX02 Brown Brick and sticking them to the card scratchbuilt road bridge (including any pillars & artefacts) using Pritt All Purpose Adhesive 205g bottle, the finished article looked really great for a first effort. 





The final part of this build was the weathering and for this I decided to use Carre’ Pastel sticks (traditional) bought on EBay, scraping the sides with a craft knife and collecting the powered dust into small containers – this formed my weathering powders in various earth type shades. Using an old (and small) makeup brush, dark power was brushed on in various depths of shade and in various places to really darken down the bridge and give it the effect of being discoloured and aged by years of grime and soot. 
I’m really chuffed with the end result.



Thanks for reading
Paul

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 Posted: Wed Jan 1st, 2020 02:20 pm
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Hi Paul,

Nice work.

Modelrailwayscenery.com does downloadable N scale blue engineering brick sheets. The other way is to use OO scale downloads and shrink appropriately when printing. If you have 2D software you can do your own. Or take a photo of the real brick and use that as the template.

Nigel




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 Posted: Thu Jan 2nd, 2020 07:57 pm
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Padster
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Thanks Nigel .. as mentioned I am pretty pleased with the results even though I used aged brown brick and weathered it pretty dark .. using a little 'modellers license' as it were.
Your suggestions are good ... I never really considered taking a photo of the old bridge brick - that could have worked for me but a moot point now - another lesson and tip learned.

The trouble I found that many of the available blue engineering brick downloads available were too new and perfect looking and I had never weathered anything before - probably now I have the confidence to turn the new looking brick into something really old ... and yes, another good tip about using OO gauge downloads and shrinking the print to 51% to get N gauge scale. Actually I just did this for some aged, cream wood slat downloads I found that look really suitable for GER/LNER colours used on many platform buildings and signal boxes .. with good results and look really authentic.

cheers
Paul

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 Posted: Thu Jan 2nd, 2020 08:21 pm
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Padster
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Update 6. Platform / station buildings
After my successful first scratch build attempt at a road bridge, I now embarked on the rather daunting project of scratch building every platform and station building for both Braughing and Standon stations. I did think I’d bitten off more than I could chew but decided to go for it!

As with the road bridge, I stuck with the Daler Rowney Blue Graduate card 1.25mm thickness, using a Swann Morton craft knife and several packs of ultra-sharp blades … and Pritt All Purpose Adhesive 205g bottle. The Graduate Blue card served well and does lend itself to forming good depth window and door recesses for N Gauge building models …. but it does need a few ‘passes’ of a sharp blade to cut neatly. It also wasn’t so easy to cut and leave thin door or window frame elements that I wanted, so for some of the buildings (notably the 2 signal boxes and small platform waiting rooms and various roofs) I switched to using 0.6mm white card – an A4 size I found lying around in my home office but cannot recall where it came from. This was still sturdy enough yet easier to cut and retain thin frame pieces – see the signal box photo as an example – and in some of these models I also used right angled 1.25mm card pieces in the internals corners for added strength.





For doors, on various buildings, these were just recessed and filled with card, where I intend to paint and shade the required door panels to make them look a little 3 dimensional. For the windows I decided I could scale them accurately using Photoshop, print them and then stick them to some very thin transparent plastic – the type you see on various food and home-ware packaging. I used this technique with success for the larger Braughing signal box & Braughing booking/waiting room however, it seemed to mean extra unnecessary time and effort if I were to do this for every building. I therefore decided to simply scale and print the window panes directly onto glossy photo paper – this saved time and also worked really well on all the remaining buildings, giving them the ‘window shine’ I required for some realism. There were added benefits to using the printing technique and glossy paper – I could slightly adjust the window pane shades to give the effect of different reflection conditions plus, by using a cotton bud I could gently rub the printed ink forming the window colour and make it further ‘fade’ the shade to suit.





All chimneys that are depicted are also set to scale and formed using various small sized balsa strips – these also need to be worked on further to add the required brickwork detail for realism.
To date, I have now scratch built 14 station & platform buildings/structures to 1:148 scale and will begin shortly on the cosmetics of each, also using scaled down Scalescenes and Railwayscenics brick and wooden plank printable sheets ….oh, and build a 4 story flour mill that was served by sidings at Standon station.



Thanks for reading ... this is the last update in the current series but more to come as things progress over the winter.

Happy New Year and all best wishes for 2020 to you all 
Paul

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 Posted: Fri Jan 3rd, 2020 11:00 pm
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All very neat!  I look forward to the finished models.....
Michael



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 Posted: Mon Jan 6th, 2020 08:11 am
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Hi Padster.     Very good, the description of your work, you make it sound so simple as if anyone can do it , but you turn out some excellent models.      Best wishes Kevin 



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