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Ben Alder
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I am in the process of rebuilding my layout, based on two stations on the Far North Section of the old Highland Railway- Inverness- Wick- set in a slightly alternative 1950's decade. The stations to be modelled are Helmsdale and a terminus copied from Thurso, but with a beefed-up engine shed, to add a bit more play value;-). Construction started at the end of last year, and replaced a similar style set-up I had worked on for twenty years off and on, with The Mound junction and a terminus based on Kylesku. For various reasons this had run its course, so the decision was taken to start afresh. The last build has a layout thread on RmWeb under Kylesku and The Mound if anyone's interested, and I can post some pics of it here  if wanted.
At the moment the new build has its track work completed- a hidden continious run with some loops ant the two stations in a raw state waiting buildings, which are being worked on now,Once they are in place I am going to do the scenic side, but am trying to keep to one task at a time- far too easily sidetracked for my own good, and one of the reasons the last layout took so long.

Anyway, here are some shots of things as they stand- the pictures should show the general scheme of things- two each of the terminus and through station. Helmsdale had a small loco depot and turntable till the end of steam, and had more operational interest than might be expected for a small rural backwater.












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Some very impressive trackwork there Ben.

Plenty of scope for operation.

Some very impressive backscenes too.

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Very nice Ben.   Look forward to watching your progress.:thumbs

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Impressive, Richard.  :thumbs   I like the way the back scene seems to fall away.

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If this is as good as Kylesku I will be watching with interest.

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As you say Ben - rather more than you'd expect for a sleepy highland station ..............:roll::roll:

The heather from the hill behind the control panel seems to be encroaching on the tracks .............time to call the estate manager methinks :lol::lol:

Lovely stuff and I too must comment on the very appropriate and stunning backscenes.  What are they ?

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Looking good Ben!

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Ben Alder
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Thanks for the kind replies, and I hope that I manage to make future work as well received as the last layout was. I was overwhelmed by the general response to Kylesku and The Mound, and in fact hesitated for over a year before I first posted pictures of it, and thought that it would be of a small interest for a week or so and then vanish from the public eye. As it was, it featured off and on on RmWeb  for the best part of three years, and the exposure did more to improve both my output and quality of work in that time than the previous fifteen years of solo modelling, and proved to me ,as a natural lone-wolf modeller, the benefits of web sites such as these for improving ones game.

When I started this current layout one of the aims was to correct various things that I had failed to do on the earlier one, and also to incorporate some of the advances of recent years, and the backscene was an important part of this work. Kylesku had none at all for years- my artistic ability being basically nil, and photostitch programmes  a thing of the future- but eventually a smaller version of the Helmsdale scene was added. This threw up several ptoblems due to it being fitted to landscaping that was in place, and never worked as well as it could. So, this time the backscene has gone in first and the scenery will follow. They come from a range done by Art Printers and International Models also sell them. I used the 15" version, with the too verdant bottom 3" cut off, to give enough sky to help with photography- this was another drawback of the last set-up- digital photography changed the way images could be taken and processed, and this is another aspect that is being incorporated into the build. The last one had a smaller one, which wasn't enough to get a good shot, and eventually an extra layer of sky was added which meant some electronic "painting" was needed to blend the two layers. Photoshopped backgrounds were not an option- beyond my techie abilities for one thing and the railway room gets some nice natural light which gives a far more authentic "feel" than some called-up skyscene.


There is not much point going overboard with pictures until some more scenic work is done, but here are a couple of the station end of Helmsdale. I have only modelled a small part of the platforms, to allow for some plain track to give some idea of space, and feel that platforms can overwhelm a small layout, esp. if a more rural scene is being created. Of course, I have gone the opposite extreme with the terminus station, but is needed here to satisfy my shunting wagons around desire, and it is more of the nature of the terminus to have the platform  modelled, certainly with this station.







 
The run-ins of the two stations are on a loop behind the backscenes and adjoin each other, so only one can be worked at a time which is not really a drawback as this is a solo operation, and it is this track arrangement that has enabled me to get the two stations tucked into the space available-c 11' x9'- and manage to avoid too many tight curves.  A photo here shows the arrangement.





Hope this sets things out a bit to explain something of what I'm aiming towards.

Richard

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What you've done so far looks very good, Richard.  :thumbs

I see you are also suffering the perennial challenge of lumpy back scenes.  :twisted:

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I love that sweeping curve through the station Ben.

I also wonder how a man in Thurso ended up with a beer mat from the Wheelhouse in Surrey .....................:roll::roll:

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MaxSouthOz wrote: What you've done so far looks very good, Richard.  :thumbs

I see you are also suffering the perennial challenge of lumpy back scenes.  :twisted:

Yes, the only bit that wrinkled, at the most important viewpoint:cry:- it won't be too much of a problem in finished shots though- a dabble with the smudge brush will blur it away. The backscenes were fixed down with Photomount onto mount board, and I think it appeared as a result of me being too impatient to put the curved board in place -should have waited overnight for things to dry properly!


Richard

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Petermac wrote: I love that sweeping curve through the station Ben.

I also wonder how a man in Thurso ended up with a beer mat from the Wheelhouse in Surrey .....................:roll::roll:



The station itself has curves through the platforms though mine start a bit earlier. There is a nice small website section showing the station at various times- http://www.helmsdale.org/station.html  takes you there, and you can see what I am trying to do. The shed area has been shifted about a bit to suit the space available, but that's normal for model railways, in my case, I'm afraid.

The beer mat came back from Canada, it must be thirty plus years ago now:shock: from a relatives trip there, and it has been earning its keep since! There's not much better than a bottle of good beer and some creative modelling work to keep me pleased;-).....

Sorry for the disjointed replies- I haven't worked out how to get multiple quotes into one reply, or how to post links for that matter, but I daresay I'll work it out somehow, given time.


Oh, the overgrown heather was the results of trying shredded paper as a bulker- a once off, I can assure you- after that it was crunched-up kitchen roll- far tidier! The surface was Sculptamould, and is a easy, clean way  to  apply a plaster type surface- one coat and its as hard as nails.

Richard

Last edited on Tue Mar 27th, 2012 07:01 pm by Ben Alder

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Thanks Ben. :thumbs

Unfortunately, the Helmsdale link doesn't work here in France .......................:cry: is there something missing ?

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Just try Helmsdale.org Peter.

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Just arrived at this layout.
I echo what others have said about that mountain scene backdrop.
I echo what others have said about that mountain scene backdrop.

Looking forward to more pictures and progress.

Petermac
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ddolfelin wrote: Just arrived at this layout.
I echo what others have said about that mountain scene backdrop.
I echo what others have said about that mountain scene backdrop.

Looking forward to more pictures and progress.


Yes OK DD - you've made your point !!! :lol::lol::lol:

On edit:  Sorry - me being stupid - the penny's just dropped - I get your point now but the echo should have been in smaller print ..............:oops::oops::oops::oops::oops:

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I echo what others have said about that mountain scene backdrop.

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I get your point now but the echo should have been in smaller print ..............
 I echo what others have said about that mountain scene backdrop

Careful Peter - or you will set him off yodelling too.

Last edited on Wed Mar 28th, 2012 10:39 am by Bod

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:mutley:mutley:mutley:mutley

He's not Frank Ifield in disguise is he ? :roll:

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I'm terribly sorry that your thread has been hijacked, Ben.
Unfortunately I have no control over them.

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Love the station on that sweeping curve, even before it's completed the depth to the whole thing looks great, can't wait to see it all greened up.

Cheers Mike.

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Agree.

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I will watch this thread with great interest as Kylesku and The Mound has been one of my favorite layouts. Keep the pictures coming!

Thomas

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Work has been continuing on the layout with construction of two similar goods sheds for the two stations, and they have reached the stage of getting a coat of primer, with the bulk of the work on them now done. I am still pondering the roof covering- slates- and am thinking of using a new range of pre-coloured paper ones as I cant face the thought of cutting individual strips of paper. I'll keep progress on this posted.

I am also doing the signal boxes and the platform one is now ready for its roof, but I have placed it into position for a photo shoot today, in which can be seen a messshed and the other water tank nowbuilt and primed. Once the next cabin is finished it will be time to start settling these into place and getting greenery growing- Winter is almost passed here:lol: .......


Anyway, some proof of progress-







Last edited on Sun Apr 22nd, 2012 10:45 am by Ben Alder

Ben Alder
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I haven't managed much modelling recently, but some work has been done on the second signal cabin, and here is a trial fitting in its eventual home- still needs a lot done on it, but its getting there.

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Nice buildings, Richard.  :thumbs

Is it going to be a snow scene?

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Don't worry- summer will come- I want to get all the buildings done in a batch before I move onto scenics as I can get sidetracked all too easily, and I have more or less laid out a plan of action for this build, aware of the fact that I don't have the luxury of decades to fritter away anymore.

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It's looking very good Ben.

I like the way you've made your banks sort of "lumpy".  All too often, you seen bowling green smooth cuttings etc. that just don't look realistic.  Nature is seldom flat or straight ....................:roll::roll:

That backscene improves every time I see it. :thumbs

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I do like the backscene, and I went for the 15" version to get maximum impact. I used the smaller one on the last layout, which worked as far as the eye went but  photography showed up its limitations and I had to resort to using the cloning and smudge brushes to extend skyscapes to an effective level. Hopefully this will not be needed so much this time round.

I also decided to work from the backscene forward this time ,rather than as an afterthought and then wonder why it didn't fit in properly:sad:, and I think this approach is  the right way for me. The two signal cabins are now all but finished, and are seen plonked in place on the layout, Just about ready to move back to the layout and start the scenic side, and am itching to get going- one more station building to do at the terminus and then we're off!......

Here are the two cabins.







And I have taken steps to deal with the "snow" problem- this arrived at Helmsdale today-



Last edited on Mon May 14th, 2012 05:36 pm by Ben Alder

Petermac
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What's that Ben ? :shock::shock:

It looks like an intriguing snowplough - plus the topping on the tender ..............is it your own design or did they actually exist ?

p.s. Love the signal boxes :thumbs

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It did indeed exist, and is based on the LMS 4F that was the Fort William snowplough latterly, although they also ran on the Highland line as well. The tender covering was to protect the coal and crew, from snow and is a white metal kit from Genesis Kits, I think. It is a non-powered dummy at the moment, and usually just sits doing nothing at the back of the shed, as did the prototype in fact, but I plan sometime to motorise it- just waiting for the loser in the 4F wars to drop enough in price!

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Hello Ben,

Looks to be an interesting layout. Looking foward to see the landscape evolve from here on. I do like the back scenes. Are they the ones available from ID ?

Cheers, Gary.

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G'day Ben,
Lovely work.
What did you end up using for the good shed slate roofs?
Marty

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Hi Ben
I have just taken a read through you thread and like very much what I see. The two things that stand out for me is the spacious nature of the layout. You have got a lot in it but it does not look crammed. I also like the curves, particularly in the station. All to often they are dead straight (like on my layout) and yours have that extra touch. I am glad you decided bring your layout to the forum as I am having great pleasure watching it grow.

Bob

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Sorry for not replying sooner- I have been busy finishing off the station buildings and getting ready for the landscaping phase, so have not visited here lately. My  reply alert seems to have gone so was not aware of your kind words- thank you.

The backscene is indeed the ID one-the 15" version, with a bit of the greenery cut off the bottom- and is a very useful piece of kit. I have seen it used on many layouts based throughout the UK, and it always seems to fit into the area being modelled- I used a smaller version on my last layout but went for this larger one to get the maximum potential for photos without extra  fiddling to an image.

I have taken some liberties with the curvature at Helmsdale compared to the prototype in order to fit it in, but am pleased with the way it is starting to photograph up, and there should be more progress reports  from now on as most of the buildings are now finished- the last one is the train shed at the terminus, and this should be sorted out in a few days.

The goods shed eventually got paper slate sheet covering from a new set-up called True Texture- they're on the web- that have a nice range of surfaces available- and has saved a lot of painting , as I was going to use Wills plastic sheets, but decided that these were a good substitute. A photo is attached, and I hope to have some more to post up soon.
Thanks again for the interest- it's a great spur to me for making progress.





Last edited on Wed Jun 13th, 2012 04:37 pm by Ben Alder

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At last, summer has arrived in the Far North- actually, its 1.35am and the sky is as light as day here-but here are a couple of shots to show the changes. They are first coats, with much junk lying around, but are the start of the coming to life of the new layout, at last....





Last edited on Wed Jun 20th, 2012 08:41 pm by Ben Alder

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Excellent shots Ben. :thumbs  The lone deserted wagon is a sight frequently seen at isolated "country" stations where, unless there's a train due, everything goes to sleep.  It looks great.

I've commented on the backscene before but will say again, how good it looks.  The shot of the signal box could be early spring with the last remnants of winter snow lingering in the shadows.  I can imagine the somewhat remote and windswept location perfectly. Please don't cover the white areas nor the bit of snow resting on the wall top.  A very atmospheric picture - well done. :cheers

When you tell us it's daylight at 1am, I mentally move on to December when you'll be telling us it's still dark at 1pm ............:lol::lol::lol::lol:  Don't forget, every silver lining has a cloud attached ................:hmm

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Glad you like them- considering they were just trial shots of the painting they have come out quite well, and make my future work look promising. It does prove that working from the backscene forward has been a good decision.

Thurso box looks at home in its sparse setting, but in reality it nestled in a overgrown cutting full of bushes and tree growth, and was one oe the most rustic of the Highland boxes, most of which were in exposed or plain situations- we'll have to think about this one.

Attached is the companion shot of the solitary van- looking the other way- I have had to do a bit of cloning on this one to hide a point motor- there is as little happening here as in the other one!




Last edited on Thu Jun 21st, 2012 04:29 pm by Ben Alder

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Stunning. :thumbs:thumbs:thumbs

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:oops: - thank you. I think the months, years, decades of deciding to model these two stations are perhaps going to be worthwhile. Once I get beyond the creative stage, I'll bore you all to death with the thinking behind my work, but tonight I gave the first coat to the terminus platform- please ignore all the plastic swarf lying around, plus all the other unpainted bits- it'll be tidied up soon.



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Some trial photos from the last few days- please ignore all the unfinished bits-










Last edited on Tue Jun 26th, 2012 05:02 pm by Ben Alder

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Gems!  What unfinished bits.  quest:

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:doublethumb

Background works very well. I see a lot of great model railway pictures coming!

Thomas

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Hi Ben

I have just come across your thread and must say it is looking very good, Now on my watch list!

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Thanks guys,- the backscenes have been a godsend, esp. for Helmsdale, and are an integral part of the whole set-up. My last build had them as an add-on, and were sloped in parts because of the shape of the attic roof, and never worked as well as I had hoped. Mind you, they were a lot better than nothing, which was what I put up with for years. One of the reasons for rebuilding was to take advantage of the range of scenic products that have come onto the market these last few years, and also to provide photo opportunities, with the digital camera providing a service unheard of with film. I am sure that there are going to be a lot more pictures where these came from!Also things like fences, signals and more grass- this is just the first covering to get away from cork and Sculptamould.
Watch this space.......

Comments are appreciated, both to spur me on and give food for thought- after all, that's what these forums are for.

Cheers,
Ben Alder

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A couple of shots showing the latest work- the engine shed at Thurso has  had its first coat of ground cover.


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Looks good Ben!

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That second shot is really very nice, Richard.  :thumbs

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Superb rich colours Ben.  It almost makes me want to come back to UK...................... almost :roll::roll:

Like Max, I love that 2nd shot.

The turntable looks good - what make is it ?

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Thanks for the comments- apologies for the terse intro to my last post- I had written my usual one fingered  efforts, and had done an extended post about my recent work, previewed it, sent it, only to see nothing but img- appear on screen. This has happened with almost every entry, and is not condusive to me expanding on my modelling efforts. Can someone perhaps explain what I am doing wrong-simply- as my computer knowledge is limited and my tolerance of glitches such as this is low-grumpy old man mode fully engaged-.

I have been trying out different exposure settings and some adjusting of backlight, hence the varying visual effects, finding out how the covered surfaces photograph. These are just trial images, of a barely started scenery, so things will improve over time.

The turntable is a Roco model, and is more or less a 60' diameter, and works beautifully, although is nothing like a British T/T. I am going to see if I can brick the well sides to disguise the segments that are attached to allow indexing, but I can put up with the poor appearance in return for the faultless working.

Cheers,
Ben Alder

Last edited on Sun Jul 1st, 2012 07:09 pm by Ben Alder

rhiwderin_ray
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Hi Ben

No idea what you are doing wrong - maybe not double spacing between text and inserting a pic?

Anyway, I modified a Peco turntable by using some embossed plasticard, needed to remove a little portion of the end of the deck as the extra thickness fouled smooth operation!
Also added an end platform, winder and vacuum pipe, brake levers and railings.





Ben Alder
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The turntable looks good, certainly an improvement on the rather basic Peco offering- this is a real weak point in 4mm modelling- the lack of a decent R-T-R British type T/T. I have, over the years, attempted to make most of the offerings operable, and usually retired defeated. It's the amount of time put in vs. the less than satisfactory running achieved that grates, and today I decided to order another Roco T/T for Helmsdale rather than spend probably two or three modelling weeks on trying to get another poor kit working. Sure it's the price of three engines(big ones!), but adding another loco is not usually the subject of great soul searching, but I know that this one will work perfectly, and I don't really see the need to do the sort of bodging that we had to put up with until ten or so years ago to get a poor product working badly and think that was railway modelling.

I look forward to whoever takes the plunge into releasing a quality turntable- it must be bubbling away somewhere....

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I agree with you Ben. :thumbs

When you think of the resources expended on designing and manufacturing a new loco or rolling stock, it's amazing that the simple turntable had been almost completely overlooked.  Maybe because it's not very glamourous ..............

In the case of rolling stock, the market does have a limit - I, for instance, wouldn't buy Southern stock, no matter how good, because it's not my region.  Virtually everyone modelling the steam era could use a turntable.

In these days of PIR technology and "home programming" of other electronic gadgetry,  I'd have thought a sensibly priced operating TT would be on some manufacturers "to do" list somewhere ...............

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Unfortunately the same argument about Regions also applies to some extent to turntables. Fortunately the differences are not too glaring for most people. Western region in particular did things differently (as usual!).

There are metal kits you can buy although I have never tried one. At present I have obtained another, probably Continental, model and and trying to "improve" it but as you say it does take some time. I am not getting very far!

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Western Region ALWAYS did thing differently Ray.  They even tried to get away with track half a mile wide ..............:roll::roll:

Fortunately, along came LNER and LMS and sorted things out. :thumbs

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A byproduct of tonight's work-some more platform facings- and a few WIP shots to check how it looks; a couple of 16 tonners with  coal waiting to be unloaded.


Last edited on Thu Jul 5th, 2012 08:24 pm by Ben Alder

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The weathering on those wagons looks good Ben - particularly the grey one. :thumbs

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Some detailing has been started, with fencing salvaged from the old layout appearing at Helmsdale- it needs more grass cover, but that will follow.....









Last edited on Thu Jul 12th, 2012 08:32 pm by Ben Alder

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That backscene certainly does make the layout come alive in the pics, especially the one of the sidings!

Great stuff.

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G'day Ben,

The layout is coming along very, very nicely.

Couple of questions,

1. Is the platform surface plasticard, with scribed edge stones ?
2. Is the face of the platforms just printed paper or is it embosed card ?
3. What type/brand of ballast did you use ?

Again, great pics and looking foward to more !

Cheers, Gary.

Ben Alder
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Glad you like the photos- more will follow as I get stuff done! The platform is basically a Peco edge with Wills coarse stone sheet painted and fitted to the Peco  edging, packed out with some plasticard strip to take the stone face flush with the platform edging. It is not an accurate representation of the prototype, but is close enough for me. The surface is a layer of plasticard- 60thou- and then covered with some fine flour grade sandpaper, then given a coat of household undercoat. It has to get weathering in the shape of acrylic washes added to it, but that is one of those jobs that can be done at my leisure.

Thanks again for the interest,
Ben Alder

PS- I'll check out the ballast type tonight- I tried several types before settling one I could live with.

Last edited on Fri Jul 13th, 2012 09:07 am by Ben Alder

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Once again, an entire posting disappeared when trying to upload- I find this beyond frustating, and really can't be bothered with the efforts to get something to appear on-screen, so unless  someone can explain what I am doing wrong, I cant see me bothering much more with this, I'm afraid.
As, probably a parting shot, here is my alter ego at both stations.






Last edited on Fri Jul 13th, 2012 09:09 pm by Ben Alder

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Thanks for posting, Martin. PM sent.

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Superb looking loco and great setting. I hope you do continue to post. One option might be to type up on a word document and paste it in to the thread? At least if it goes you still have all your work.

Bob

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OK- nothing is ever gained by walking away from a problem, so I'll give it another go. I have been putting some work into the goods yard approach at Thurso this last week, and a shot of some of the work is attached.


Last edited on Sun Jul 22nd, 2012 10:11 am by Ben Alder

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Ben Alder wrote: OK- nothing is ever gained by walking away from a problem, .............................
Too true Ben - great stuff. :cheers

The goods yard looks great - what are the setts ?  I presume plasticard ............:roll::roll:

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That looks great ! Your stone facing painting is excellent.
I will have to do something similar in the near future.

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I like the open spacious look in that last picture Ben. Reminds me of some 7mm layouts I have seen.

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I've said it before but I love that backscene.  It helps to turn a model railway into a real railway. :thumbs:thumbs

Ben Alder
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Posting on Firefox is a b***** nuisance , with text and pictures vanishing, and Opera won't upload at all, but copy and paste and three goes at it can get a message on screen.
I am now trying Safari, to see if that is any better.



Last edited on Tue Jul 24th, 2012 04:51 am by Ben Alder

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:doublethumb Well, that seemed to work first time with Safari- looks like I'm back in business!

The picture above is of my recent build of the Thurso cattle dock, which I'll go into later. The setts in the goods yard are SE Finecast, and are, to my mind, have a bit too little relief for their own good- I am not happy with the finish, but they actually look better on screen than they do in the flesh- probably a matter of the viewing angle.

The platform stonework is Wills and is painted with a base coat and then two or three washes of white and black/sepia- takes no time and gives good results.

Cheers for now,

Ben Alder

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Excellent Ben,
Very glad you have persevered.
I'm enjoying your descriptions and updates.
Keep them coming.
Marty

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Another view of Thurso, showing the ballast that was asked about earlier. This is by Greenscenes, and is a mixture of their 2mm & 4mm black ash ballast, with a sprinkling of fine sand in the 6' way as well. This is put on top of the wet paint and given a brush-over to tone it in. The paint used is one of Games Workshop's recently upgraded range, and is called Stormvermin Fur:shock:, but is a good match for general track bed colouring- its an expensive way of working, but I managed on six jars, and am happy with the finish.


Last edited on Mon Jul 23rd, 2012 07:19 pm by Ben Alder

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I don't understand why you should be having problems with with Firefox, Richard.

Attachments aren't ideal.

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Neither do I- it works perfectly everywhere else. I have spoken to Martin about it, but it doesn't seem to be fixable. I find Safari works, but when I upload images they appear as attachments- I'll try putting them in as an edit to get round this.


Edit- now done.

Last edited on Mon Jul 23rd, 2012 07:20 pm by Ben Alder

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Not a problem, Richard - it must just be annoying for you.

I hope we can resolve it eventually.

Ben Alder
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I am back at the workbench again, doing some odds and ends of huts and sheds to fill various corners, so there will not be much to report for the next week or two, but I thuught I'd post a couple of pics of my previous build of The Mound- junction for the Dornoch branch- which show the same backscene as used at Helmsdale, but giving a different effect due to the smaller size and a sloping ceiling getting in the way. I do regret dismantling this one, but there was no way I could rebuild the layout set-up and retain it. Oh for more room.....









Last edited on Tue Jul 24th, 2012 05:07 pm by Ben Alder

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Hi Ben,

I just stumbled onto your thread and read it from start to finish with growing awe. What an absolutely brilliant layout and superb use of the backscenes. The track bed and weathering are also very realistically coloured. I was very intrigued by the situation of the loco shed and turntable which could trap locos 'on shed' if the turntable fails. I don't know the area but would be interested to know if this is the actual situation or whether a bit of 'modeller's license' has been used.

Keep up the excellent work, I shall be following further developments with great interest. 

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Thanks for the interest, and am pleased you like it. the terminus is more or less a replica of the actual site, allowing for the usual compression, and the engine shed was served via the turntable, although in real life it was a single road shed and situated on the station side of the table. I have turned it 180 degrees because of lack of space and increased its capacity to allow for more play value. There were proposals for various local branches over the years and I intend to work the station as if one or more came to pass. That is in the future though, as there still is much detailing to be done.

Cheers,
Richard

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Hi Richard

Whenever someone posts photos of superb modelling like those last three, my eye starts scanning; looking for something not quite right.

I'm still looking.  :thumbs

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They're all well hidden:lol: ;-)

Last edited on Wed Jul 25th, 2012 06:12 pm by Ben Alder

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G'day Ben,

Thanks for the updates regarding the platforms, platform edging and ballast. As usual, you have provided more great photos and good desriptions of your work.

Looking foward to see the 'greening' of the layout.

Cheers, Gary.

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There has been quit a bit of progress in tidying and finishing on the build, but really is not worth showing as it happens- I'll do this when it is starting to look a bit more finished, so for the moment here are some more from my The Mound layout that was dismantled last year.

These are mostly of the branch train, that ran to Dornoch, and latterly had an ex-GW pannier tank as the motive power for the line. These were serviced at Helmsdale, so will still appear in future photographs.













Last edited on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 06:34 pm by Ben Alder

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Excellent photographic work there Ben. Plenty of atmosphere to soak up.

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I'd tried to post this earlier Ben but couldn't get on the forum .............:twisted::twisted::twisted:

I think you've posted these latest photos in the wrong place - thay should be in the "Prototype" section .....................

Some absolutely stunning photos there, really stunning.

There's very very little to identify them as models rather than the real thing - and I mean very little !!

The one glaring give-away is the fact that, in Thurso, you'd never get fine weather for long enough to walk from one end of the station to the other to take those photos - you either "cheated" using Photoshop or you had 2 photographers .....:lol::lol::lol::lol:

It really does beg the question - why in heavens name, did you scrap the layout ?  Surely you weren't planning to do something better !!! :shock::shock::shock::shock:

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Thanks for the kind words re. photographs. This was an offshoot of my railway modelling- a rekindled interest in photography when I succumbed to the digital age in 2005 and discovered the potential of these little boxes. Very few of my images have had anything done to them beyond straightening and cropping with regard to processing, but the skies are extended by a mixture of lassooing and use of the smudge finger- I got quite artistic at it latterly. I don't like the use of drop in backgrounds to layouts that often feature in magazine shots, as these rarely tie in with the colors of the layout itself, and usually detract from the presentation of the layout.

This was one of the reasons for scrapping the last set-up;- it was built into the lean of a sloping roof, which made a decent height of backscene impossible. It also was begun in 1992, so I felt it had had a decent innings. If the room had been bigger and I had placed it against another wall, I might have retained it, but I wanted to have a go at Helmsdale, which has more operating potential- TBH, I was getting a bit bored with The Mound, and I wanted to build something that gave me more movements.

I have plenty of images of the scrapped stations, and as my thread title is the Far North Line, I will drop some more in now and again

Oh and BTW, Thurso and the northern tip os Scotland has had the best weather of the whole of Britain this summer- hardly any rain at all and a glorious May and June when there was hardly any darkness at all for six weeks- not normal weather for the area, but it does happen from time to time!.....

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Here is a view from the beach on 20th June at 2am- The headland on the right is Dunnet Head- furthest north point of the British mainland. If it was always like this it would be a popular place to be....



Last edited on Fri Aug 17th, 2012 05:13 pm by Ben Alder

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Ben Alder wrote:

I have plenty of images of the scrapped stations, and as my thread title is the Far North Line, I will drop some more in now and again

Oh and BTW, Thurso and the northern tip os Scotland has had the best weather of the whole of Britain this summer- hardly any rain at all and a glorious May and June when there was hardly any darkness at all for six weeks- not normal weather for the area, but it does happen from time to time!.....

I'll really look forward to seeing more of the now defunct Mound Ben :thumbs

And we mustn't forget that, in your latitudes, your twilight May and June is balanced out by November and December when the sun only just manages to scrape underside of the horizon ..................:lol::lol::lol:

"Everything" happens from time to time Ben and, although palm trees grow on the beach as far north as Aberdeenshire, the sea is a few degrees cooler than in the Med !!! :shock::shock::mutley:mutley

At least you're not troubled too much by traffic jams and wardens ..................:roll::roll:




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That's a stunning photo Ben. :thumbs

As you say, if it was always like that, who would ever want to go anywhere else ..............:cheers

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Things are starting to come together on the layout now, and I managed to get some shots in natural light last Sunday that didn't show unfinished groundwork! it's good to start to see where the build is going.
Here are a couple from the session- both types of engine long associated with the area in days gone by.





Last edited on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 05:29 pm by Ben Alder

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Work is continuing on the layout, and has reached a stage where all the buildings are in place and basic scenic work is all but completed. I am tidying up a few odds and ends and the next stage is top cover of landscaping. For the moment, here area couple of shots taken the other day. Helmsdale has had a turntable installed and a first coat of paint at the engine sheds, as seen here.





Last edited on Thu Sep 13th, 2012 06:19 pm by Ben Alder

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And one at Thurso, showing the goods sidings, taken in natural light.


Last edited on Thu Sep 13th, 2012 06:21 pm by Ben Alder

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Just read the whole of your thread, really enjoying both layouts!

Thanks for all the posts! 

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Hi Ben, I echo the comments of others as your layout(s) is just stunning, one of those layouts where it is a real pleasure just sit and view all the detail. You fully deserve the header photo slot. The stormy skies are very striking, and unusual - my layout is mid summer bright sunshine everywhere!! I also like your signals - are they kit built or made from scratch?

Bob

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Cheers, I will add some more photos when I have time. The signals are mostly scratchbuilt, and copies of the one at The Mound, although one or two are basically the Ratio model.

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I,ve just read this thread from the start and also echo what others have said the backscenes are really strikeing that I have bookmarked the ID site for future purchase .


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The backscenes are an excellent product, and certainly help set the scene for me. Highly reccomended.

I have been working on the Thurso goods shed, adding an office - found enough traces of its existence to hazard a guess at its appearance- and done the ridge flashing. The roof pitch has been altered as I made a mistake in the original build- working from photos- and it looks more in proportion now.




Last edited on Tue Sep 25th, 2012 05:39 pm by Ben Alder

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Ben,

Superb photos - thanks for sharing them :thumbs

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Hi Ben,
In the below photo that was on a recent post what did you do to create the effect on the trackwork in the yard. Was it plaster painted a grey colour or DAS clay or another substance you have used. It looks excellent, as do your other photos. Keep inspiring us with more photos as the layout progresses.
Craig

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Hi,

 Shed ground cover was  Fine surface, or whatever it's called- comes in a tub- Polyfilla put on with an artist's palette knife and painted with a mix of acrylic greys, put on wet and blended together. I am going to go back to this bit as the finish has come out a bit glossy, but it is something that can wait till I get further ahead.

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The goods shed at Helmsdale has likewise been given its revised roof, and here are a couple of shots of it.


A local passenger, hauled by Ben Alder is seen passing the shed.


Last edited on Sun Sep 30th, 2012 04:10 pm by Ben Alder

Petermac
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So that's why these shots are so good - you're a locomotive, not a modeller !!!!

Once again, excellent shots Ben. :thumbs

How do you weather the track and trackbed ?  It really does look like rust - not too orange, not too brown and not at all shiney ....

Also, in the last shot, where does the backscene end and the layout start ?  I think I know but it's an almost invisible join on both shots...

Ben Alder
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Yes, adopted 54398 as my nom de plume. In an attempt to get round to having a running Ben- kit sat in a cupboard for thirty years waiting to be built- you know this scenario- so in the end it was a heavily bashed about T9 with some of the kit fittings that emerged- but it runs beautifully!

The rails are weathered with goldust- the long vanished Humbrol track colour (now down to my last jar), which gives a v. good rendition of a worn rail. The trackbed between the lines is a layer of Games Workshop Stormvermin Fur, which was sprinkled lightly with some sand and Greenscene 2mm ballast. It has come out OK, though I say it myself......


The backscene stops just behind the wooden fence- old sleepers on the real thing- and does blend in well. The availability of this sheet was the tipping factor in modelling Helmsdale, as it gives a fairly good representation of the country around it.

Thanks for the interest.

Last edited on Mon Oct 22nd, 2012 04:46 pm by Ben Alder

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I was right about the backscene/layout join but I have to say, it was only a guess based on the fact that I didn't think you'd ever have made all those trees .....................:roll:  As I said, virtually invisible.

Don't Humbrol make a track colour now or have they just changed the shade ?  It's a pity because it's one of the best colours I've ever seen. :cry:

Regarding the Games Workshop stuff, I've read before that they do some very interesting stuff (with some odd names).  Perhaps we should investigate the range further ..............

Do you use builder's sand, beach sand or river sand and do you wash it first ?  Beach sand would be difficult here but builder's sand comes by the lorry load.  Not sure if it's quarried or river sand but I'm pretty sure they're not allowed to use beach sand because of erosion problems.  There is quite a difference in the particle size - river being very fine.

Looking forward to more photos. :cheers:cheers

p.s. Has the sun set for the winter up there yet ? :lol::lol::lol:

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I'm afraid Humbrol Track Colour has vanished from their range a long time ago, and no adequate replacement is available. I know a lot of people use Precision Paints Sleeper grime as a general coverall but mostly it doesn't work, IMO. Track, ballast and sleepers tend to be seperate colours, and benefit from being represented as such. as an example, here is some track at the local station- not entirely typical as it is rarely used nowadays, but shows the differences in colours.



The sand I use is a fine builder's sand, taken during a house up grade years ago, but where it came from I do not know. The tub I have will last me decades though!


The dark is drawing in here now- we ate at seven looking out at gloom- time to start pulling down the blinds!

Last edited on Tue Oct 2nd, 2012 04:36 pm by Ben Alder

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Work has been continuing on the layout, and all the telegraph poles and signals- all two of them!- are in place. The next job is to add more ground cover, to hopefully give a more finished look to it all, and I'll post some update pics when I have something suitable to show. Meanwhile, a shot of Helmsdale yard as of last night.



Last edited on Sat Oct 20th, 2012 06:34 pm by Ben Alder

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Very nice Ben

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You have to do a double take to see that it is a model. Excellent scenic work!

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That track and ballast weathering is absolutely brilliant and, as Ray has said, it is so realistic it could so easily be taken for an actual station approach.

Last edited on Sun Oct 21st, 2012 06:11 am by Chinahand

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 I have started applying some more layers of scenic fibres, and this is the approach to Helmsdale. The ground cover here was scrubby and tufty, with gorse bushes and not much in the way of longer grasses, and this is the first extra layer as applied. It is a scattering of Woodland Scenics coarse turf- various shades- onto a layer of PVA, and again a mixture of static grass shades from WS and Noch- all short- put into a puffer bottle and shaken over the coarse turf.
I hoovered it after an overnight dry, and was pleased to find that most of it has stayed in place, so think that this will just about do for this section apart from some gorse bushes. The longer grasses that sheltered beside the sleepering fencing will be a longer mix, and put down with the Grassmaster, which works these lengths better.

More to follow once I have more to show!


Last edited on Mon Oct 22nd, 2012 04:44 pm by Ben Alder

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Looks like you've got it just right, Richard.  :thumbs

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I agree with Max.

A very realistic blend of colours and textures.

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I guess I have to join the chorus of "what a brilliant thread"......  just dicovered it and read it fron start to finish. Like the others I am extremely impressed with the effectiveness of the back scene.......there is a tremendous feeling of space and most importantly depth.

I particularly liked the signal boxes......have you posted a " how I did it" elsewhere........they are superb creations.

Knowing nothing about the far North and its railways......other than a pannier the GWR didnt really get there....... I assumed that your name was, indeed, Ben Alder.......and I couldnt quite understand why my old friend Max kept calling you Richard.....put it down to advancing age..............the penny finally dropped around page 5 :oops::oops:

Regards from Vancouver

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"I particularly liked the signal boxes......have you posted a " how I did it" elsewhere........they are superb creations."

Glad you like them- scratchbuilt with window etches from a firm that does v. useful Highland odds and ends, and Ratio steps from their GW kit - I'll quite happily adapt something ready made if it saves time and looks the part. The build is part of a layout thread that I have on RMweb -  http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/49767-the-construction-of-the-far-north-line/ - that takes the build from start to current state. There are some shots of the signal box build on page 4.

HTH

Ben/ Richard

Last edited on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 05:05 pm by Ben Alder

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Replied to the PM before I saw this post..............thanks again for the link

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Grasslaying has been underway at the terminus, and a couple of photos to show where I have got to. They are hardly the most inspiring images, but give an idea of the 3D effects that can be achieved with the Grassmaster. A random selection of lengths and colours was prepared and applied. This is just one coating, but I think I'll stop at this while I am ahead! I'll have some more general shots ready in a few days- tidying up gaps and missing bits of paint ATM, but the construction phase is just about complete.





Last edited on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 06:20 pm by Ben Alder

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Just thought that I would re-show this one to illustrate the effects of static grass! The approach to Thurso is heavily vegetated, not at all like most Highland boxes, and what I have applied is subdued compared to the real thing.

Last edited on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 06:53 pm by Ben Alder

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Lovely shots Richard........I do like those signal boxes!!!

Its only the angle of last shot that made me realise how close the back scene is to the fence........is that fixed in place or is it your removeable backscene? An excellent idea by the way.....I have a number of spots on Granby that will benefit from this innovation:thumbs

Regards from a very wet Vancouver

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Very convincing, Richard.  :thumbs   The grassy bank looks excellent.

I'm not sure I understand the fence posts being suspended in the air, though.   :???:

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John Dew wrote: Lovely shots Richard........I do like those signal boxes!!!

Its only the angle of last shot that made me realise how close the back scene is to the fence........is that fixed in place or is it your removeable backscene? An excellent idea by the way.....I have a number of spots on Granby that will benefit from this innovation:thumbs

Regards from a very wet Vancouver


Hi,

Backscenes are spray mounted onto to mounting board and are removeable for emergency access to the hidden running tracks- I held them in place with 1/2" square strips of wood and some vertical stiffeners of the same material.

HTH,
Richard

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MaxSouthOz wrote: Very convincing, Richard.  :thumbs   The grassy bank looks excellent.

I'm not sure I understand the fence posts being suspended in the air, though.   :???:

:lol:- A temporary trial to see if they would transplant from the old layout- all now fixed in place and ground bound!

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What a layout, what a modeller. I too have just come across this thread and hope I can come up to a quarter of your standard, when I get started again. Thanks for taking the time to put up the pic's and keep 'em coming.... ID backscenes eh, mmm, I'll have a look and see if I can afford some.

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G'day Ben,

The layout is looking fantastic. Just read through the link to RMweb and have to say it is one of the best 'start to current time' threads I have read, very comprehensive. I don't know where you find the time to model with two threads running (YMR & RM) and all the questions to be answered...! Regardless, can't wait to see more. Keep it coming.

Cheers, Gary.

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I've only just found your thread Ben, thanks to Gary mentioning it when posting on my layout thread. I can't believe I've missed this both here and on RMWeb :oops:

I've only had a very cursory scan through looking at the pictures but I like what I see very much and will be having a thorough read through as soon as I can find a bit more time to give it my full attention.

:thumbs

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I have now reached a stage where all the basic work has been done on the layout, and soon a start can be made od adding those extras that should make it come to life- a balance will have to be struck between activity and the relative quietness of the place, although they were far busier in steam days than they are now, esp. on the goods side of things.

 Some more images I took tonight.












Last edited on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 05:42 pm by Ben Alder

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This really is a superbly realistic layout with some first rate photography to boot and the standards you have set give us all something to aim for.  You have my total admiration Ben.

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Very convincing, Richard.  :thumbs

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Hi RichardLovely pics and very realistic modelling.
Any chance of a description of how you produced the back scene? (which software package and how you make the joins seamless?)Ray

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Cheers, all- kind comments much appreciated.

 Backscenes are the 15" ID ones, and I can't praise them highly enough.Having worked the old layout without a backscene for years, I found this range when it first appeared a godsend, and the larger ones even better. Joins are tolerated in real life, but are magicced away for photos by a run of the cloning stamp.






I don't do much to photographs as a rule- straighten them up and some cropping is usually enough apart from join-hiding, but some I tweak the backlighting and sometimes  gamma brightness- whatever that is- to tone things down a bit, but take the approach that digital pics are free, so if one doesn't work then ditch it and try another. All these are taken with a small Kodak Easyshare pocket camera, that is more than adequate for this type of thing, and I usually underexpose by half a stop, which seems to work for me.

Having said that, I treated myself to a Canon G12 a year or so ago, and was using it on the last days of the old layout, and it was producing some cracking shots, though I say it myself! I will be starting to try this out soon, now that things are coming together.

Any editing is done on a mixture of PhotoScape and PhotoFiltre programmes- both free, and simple to use, and reduced to size with Irfanview. It's a strange set-up, but I found that some bits of each programme were easier for me to get my head round than others, and now I can flit between them at a good speed.

A couple of pics, showing the join!







And some taken recently. The Helmsdale one doesn't have its top coat yet, but most else is in place. Thanks once again for the interest.







Last edited on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 04:54 pm by Ben Alder

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Oh well, another modelling evening gone!- While I was in the mood, I have found three images taken with the Canon from the old layout, which hopefully show the better capacity of this camera.








Last edited on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 05:37 pm by Ben Alder

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Many thanks for taking the time to explain the back scenes and for the additional pics. Will have to buy a similar one then place some card-mounted buildings in front for a 3D effect.
Regards
Ray

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Richard,
              Only just caught up with this thread. What an amazing amount you have achieved in such a short time frame!
It really provides us all with the kick up the backside we all need from time to time.(well,I do,anyway!)
 
Not only the amount of work,but the extremely high quality of modelling is very,very inspirational.I have read all through nursing a glass of RLW and I now have another modelling hero,and fully intend to check out all your old posts on RMWeb to discover your other layouts.
 Keep up the great work,

Cheers,John.B.:thumbs

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Good evening,all,

Nothing dramatic to report I'm afraid, but I have been putting in point rodding, a tedious job, but one that helps create the overall picture. It is a bit rough and ready, esp. where it meets the points, and would not please  any track expert, but passes muster for me. Some of it can be seen here- it is still being weathered and finished, but is another step along the way.The solitary terminus signal can also be seen.





Last edited on Thu Nov 22nd, 2012 05:27 pm by Ben Alder

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Gremlins struck again at the last posting, and I lost some of it- again- so here are a couple of Helmsdale- a quiet shed scene and one of the resident 0-6-0's waiting its next duty.




Last edited on Thu Nov 22nd, 2012 05:38 pm by Ben Alder

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Great stuff Ben. This layout gives a real feel of a railway. Keep the pic's coming, and next time you're in Brisbane you can come and help me. ;-)

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Hi Richard.May I enquire whether the point rodding is made or bought and, if made, - from what, if bought - from where?

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Hi,

The point rodding consists of cast metal stools from MSE - http://www.modelsignals.com/4mm_scale_frame.htm -, items LS005 & 6- and etched cranks, and the rodding itself is 0.4mm brass wire from Eileens Emporium- https://www.eileensemporium.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=131&Itemid=9 - and a lot of tedious handwork! The finished effect is worth it though, but there is no ready made for this, I'm afraid.

HTH

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The Caley 0-6-0 is the subject of discussion between a fitter and its driver- obviously there is something needing adjusting on the engine.






Meanwhile, it is tea break at the small PW dept. at Thurso.


Last edited on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 04:37 pm by Ben Alder

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Work has more or less been completed to a  finished state at the two stations, and next job is a through track cleaning session and test of the hidden loops and scenic sections, which have hardly run together yet- no doubt some glitches will show up, hopefully nothing too much. There is still a good deal of wiring to be done- good old 12v DC- to join up the controllers to allow a full cab control working, but I have managed to pull a back muscle again, so there will be no stretching and bending underneath a panel for a week or two. It won't be lost time though, as I have moved to the workbench and am deciding what to tackle next in the way of unbuilt loco kits- might be an idea to wait a week to see what Hornby have planned, perhaps. One year they are going to surprise me!
Anyway, a couple of overall shots of the two stations- nothing new in this, but they now have all the "hardware", and I am starting to think about figures and clutter, and try to get a balance between interest and overegging- these were quietish  places in the greater scheme of things, but at certain times could have a lot of activity . I'm sure I'll work something out......












Last edited on Fri Dec 7th, 2012 05:31 pm by Ben Alder

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Beautiful, Richard.  :thumbs

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Very nice Richard. I would think these smaller places would be kept quite tidy, but there would probably be piles of useful materials such as rails, sleepers, chairs and sand and ballast kept somewhere. Plus the odd oil drum or two, barrows, etc.
I may have missed it, but may I ask what make is the turntable? Is it a modified Peco?

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Cheers all, - most photos of these smaller sheds do appear to be fairly tidy except for ash piles, that were transitory things, so an uncluttered approach is called for, I think.

The turntables are both Roco  metric 60' models. if you know what I mean- forget the length in metres, but it manages 4-6-0's and can just hold an A4 or Clan if I'm feeling frisky! The cost is eye watering but it is fully indexed and with a bit of tidying up can just about pass for a British type. I looked at the alternatives, but there is nothing nearly approaching this type of quality around. Metalsmiths do a 70' equivalent of the prototype Helmsdale model, but have yet to get around to doing a 60' version, and I wanted to get the model finished so opted for this one- very pleased with it as well.

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Hi RichardI agree with you about the price! However, yours does look the part.I have made do with a modified and motorised Peco turntable.Keep up the good work!
RegardsRay

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Impressive progress!
I loved to see photos of your late layout but the new one is better still. You really have built a layout that is great for taking photos with beautiful integration of background.

Thomas

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FS wrote: Impressive progress!
I loved to see photos of your late layout but the new one is better still. You really have built a layout that is great for taking photos with beautiful integration of background.

Thomas


Thanks,  this layout has been built with the natural light firmly in mind, and I should have some good daylight shots to show next year- no light at all here just now, I'm afraid. The last layout was rebuilt in its room before I entered the digital age, and was crammed in with no thought to light and camera angles. Looking back, I should have positioned The Mound better, as I regret taking it apart, but the two new stations use the space far better, and apart from the branch train, much of its workings can be transferred to Helmsdale, so all is not lost as far as that is concerned.

The terminus will be far more workable than Kylesku, and the old harbour area that got some good light is now the goods sidings, and trial shots this autumn showed promise. Watch this space!.....

Edit- a shot of one of the fishing vessels from the old layout.



Last edited on Tue Dec 11th, 2012 04:40 pm by Ben Alder

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it's the attention to detail that's so impressive Ben. :thumbs

Apart from lovely modelling, this careful detailing does indeed move it up from a model railway to a miniature of the real thing.  Most imprssive.

That shot you posted of the loco exiting the tunnel taken with your Canon has wonderful depth of field.  Can you remember if you took it on a manual setting or is that camera capable of such things on auto ?

Looking forward to sunrise next spring so we can see more .....................:roll::roll::lol::lol:

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:oops: ;-) ,- thanks .... The photo was most likely taken on AV - I tried out various settings on the Canon, and in fact don't even think I've used the automatic one. One of the main reasons for upgrading, apart from a hopeful increase in picture quality was to get back to having to think when taking a picture, and I found that AV tended to give the best results. I'm still finding my way around this camera, and it has been neglected during the build, but will get back to it now I am not so focused on the layout construction.


Another one from the archives- Black Five's aplenty on shed at Kylesku.


Last edited on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 04:19 pm by Ben Alder

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The end of a busy year for me- created a new layout at a pace previously thought impossible- and hope next year to have some more "finished" pics to show. Anyway, thanks for all the interest shown- greatly appreciated- and wishing  All The Best for the coming Year.


Last edited on Mon Dec 31st, 2012 05:50 pm by Ben Alder

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Happy New Year to you too Richard.
Thanks for providing us with much inspiration.
Ray

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Nice touch, and a very nice layout. Happy New Year one and all.

:cheers

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A super shot once again Richard. :thumbs

My best wishes for 2013 to you and yours too. :cheers:cheers

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Despite my silence of late, I have been busy- at the bench ,adding to the loco roster, a task that I find takes far longer than putting together buildings, but progress has been made, and some area specific engines are now on the layout.

They will probably mean little to those who are unfamiliar with the place and time modelled, but they do set the scene, and some have been in the pipeline for far too long....., but at last are running.

This is a Stanier 2-6-2T that worked the Thurso branch till the end of steam.









The Small Bens have been breeding- Ben Wyvis here, with another two to follow.





Last edited on Thu Mar 14th, 2013 05:37 pm by Ben Alder

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Contd, due to usual techie problem.

Ben Alisky shunting.




Ben Alder in its lined black mixed traffic livery -it never actually received this, but whatho, - it looks good!


Last edited on Thu Mar 14th, 2013 05:42 pm by Ben Alder

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Quite outstanding, sir!  I find your photos inspiring.

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Very nice!
May I ask did you scratch build them or modify ready to run?
Regards
Ray

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 Thanks both- they are basically Hornby T9's cut about to give a more Highland shape. Both engines were designed by the Drummond brothers, who swapped and shared ideas, giving a distinct "family " appearance to their locos. They are actually a bit too beefy  to be a scale model, but the superb running of the Hornby engines made the original idea of an old white metal kit a no-no. Parts from the kit were incorporated in Ben Alisky and Wyvis, but my improved Ben Alder had to be improvised. TBH, I've got beyond worrying about a mm or two here or there if I'm ever going to get pre-group locos running to current standards, and it is only really in broadside views that the compromises can be seen- a slightly excessive wheelbase and a boiler that is too long by some mm. The drivers should be smaller as well, and I did try adjusting some of the errors, but all that did was accentuate the others, so decided to leave well alone and live with it.

The reason others are appearing is the availability of spare drivers to get rid of the traction tyre, which released some donor engines for further duties, hence some extra Bens- they will be put to good use!

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A photo showing the original Southern loco and its distant cousin- new smokebox boiler fittings , altered cab and cut down tender change its appearance  quite a bit. Details of the work involved can be found here -http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/69241-ben-alders-workbench/ - to save me going over it again!


Last edited on Thu Mar 14th, 2013 09:05 pm by Ben Alder

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Great work, they look the business! I am sure some rivet counters will disagree but our hobby has to be full of compromises anyway so a mm or two doesn't matter if the loco looks right and gives the right impression of the original.

Unfortunately all my modelling has stopped until I get a 12x12 shed installed this spring ( whenever that is).

Love your posts, so many thanks for them.
Ray

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Another build has been one half of the pair of 16XX GW panniers that lived at Helmsdale to work the Dornoch branch- for years I had a Bachmann one renumbered but the 16XX's were noticeablly smaller, so a couple of Nucast kits emerged from the pile and were put together. Unfortunately one's progress strayed behind the other, so it has been packed away for a bit while I turned my attention to other things, but here is the one busy shunting a restaurant car during its rest spell from branch duties.

On shed.

 



And at work.












Edit- notice the two different restuarant cars- this was because I was trying a different coupling system  and there would have been some unsightly omissions from some of the views- no corridor connections for example-no doubt I'll explain later!

Last edited on Fri Mar 15th, 2013 09:22 pm by Ben Alder

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Well, the things you learn on this forum!I never knew that ex-GWR locos traveled that far north. However, I am not surprised, some ex-LNER B1's found their way onto the North Wales Coast line.

Keep up the good work!

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Such a lovely layout, keep up the good work!

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Cheers, both- I suspect the two panniers might have been sent as far away as possible to stop enthusiasts from copping the full class :hmm:cool wink

A couple more shots from a recent photosession-



A Pickersgill  4-4-0 backing on to the coaling stage.




Must be a Sunday judging by the number of inhabitants.....

Last edited on Sun Mar 17th, 2013 04:52 pm by Ben Alder

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Great photographs as usual Ben. Always a pleasure to look at. Thanks.

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A couple of Black fives on the layout- I have been busy with wagon building as of late, and also some fettling of trackwork to get everything working without faults- nothing major, but building the layout on top of the laid track did cause some knocks that needed tweaking.





Last edited on Sat Jun 29th, 2013 05:21 pm by Ben Alder

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The second shot is a cracker Ben, a typical spotters shot from the platform.

Great work.

Marty

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Marty wrote: The second shot is a cracker Ben, a typical spotters shot from the platform.

Great work.

Marty

My thoughts exactly ! Something special about the Black 5. What is that mounted on the side of the cab, below the number ?

Cheers, Gary.

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I think the second shot is a photo of a real train!

Excellent work !

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I'll go along with that - those last two shots are real stunners.  I love your work Ben.  :thumbs:thumbs

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Thanks guys,- it was taken with a small Canon I acquired second hand a few years ago and have just gone back to as it has manual control, and takes a better image than the Kodak. The thing on the cabside is a tablet exchanger, as used on single lines to pass tokens from signal man to crew without stopping.

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The thing I like most about this forum is that even though I've been a member for a few months now, just when I think I've seen all there is to see I discover another gem.  I love this layout! It is both inspirational and aspirational. 

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-Thanks for the kind words- funnily enough they are what I often use myself when describing my efforts- trying to encourage more Highland section modelling, and showing that if I can achieve anything then anyone can. Little of what I do can be described as finescale or serious modelling, much being based on  what is around R-T-R, but willing to sit at a workbench and adapt where necessary. Modelling a prototype makes things easier, I find, and the plethora of information around on the internet makes things a lot easier than before. Modelling forums are also helpful in picking up tips and help- you are never alone in any modelling project nowadays.

A couple more photos, including an LMS van made recently from a Cambrian kit.







Last edited on Mon Jul 1st, 2013 04:43 pm by Ben Alder

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:hi As always, I'm  all behind like the cow's tail! Love this photo! How was the boat built, Ben? Was it solid or plank on frame? It looks superb!

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Ben,
       Its virtually impossible to tell these photos are not of the real thing!!! Unbelievable...marvelous modelling AND photography!Love this thread,and I'm going to sit back with a beer or three later today,and go through the lot again from start to finish.What a treat!
:pathead
Cheers,John.B.:thumbs

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This is an excellent layout, just love the current 'Robert's Choice'. :mrgreen:

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georgejacksongenius wrote: Ben,
       Its virtually impossible to tell these photos are not of the real thing!!! Unbelievable...marvelous modelling AND photography!Love this thread,and I'm going to sit back with a beer or three later today,and go through the lot again from start to finish.What a treat!
:pathead
Cheers,John.B.:thumbs


I've done just that, and totally agree with everyone's comments (only two beers though).

Haven't been to Scotland for some 40+ years and the nearest I got to this area was Fort William, but brings back memories of the scenery.

This has been a much better way of spending a Sunday afternoon than watching tennis.

Love i t:thumbs



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Absolutely Superb!

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It's been a while since I last looked in Ben and I'm glad to see that you are still maintaining such high standards both in your modelling and your photography.

As others have said everything just looks so realistic and I had to do a double take at some of those pictures to be sure they were not the real thing.

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Thanks for all the kind words, and I am flattered to be chosen pin-up of the week! :oops: The boat was a resin and lost wax brass kit made by Anchor Models , and are no longer made AFAIK, which is a pity. I had three or four on the last layout, and will look out some pics of them- v. nice models of bygone Scottish  fishing boats, and sadly missed.

Meanwhile, a few more recent shots- these were nearly all taken with the Canon Powershot on AV, and mostly in natural light, which gives far better, if variable results than the electric version.






Last edited on Sun Jul 7th, 2013 04:45 pm by Ben Alder

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I also like how the back-scene is worked into the layout, very impressive, enough flattery, people will think I'm after summat.:twisted:

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As a aside Artitec do some lovely if somewhat expensive boat models.
http://www.artitec.nl/index.php/en/kits/category/h0-ships 
I have used one on my layout and Chris Nevard used one on Cement Quay.
Simon

Last edited on Tue Jul 9th, 2013 05:15 pm by Simonmcp

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Just gone through the whole thread again, the layouts are quite stunning and the backscenes are second to none.:thumbs

Ben Alder
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Thanks- one or two more, starting with a weathered van at Thurso, and then a view of the coaling stage and water tank.











Then a couple taken at Helmsdale recently.





Last edited on Thu Jul 11th, 2013 04:22 pm by Ben Alder

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Incredible detail Ben - virtually nothing to suggest they're not "real" locations.

You must have spent a long time studying the full size version and your powers of observation must be good to incorporate all the "little things" that take it to the top of the modelling field.  I love that displaced edge stone in the first shot - together with the scrape marks that dislodged it. :thumbs:thumbs:thumbs

Are they outdoor shots ?  If not, your lighting is superb. :pathead

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Thanks,- the lighting is indeed superb- it's natural daylight coming through a Velux, and gives very interesting results at this time of year, if you are around at the time.... that, and the little Powershot with manual controls does the rest.

Thanks for the excuse re. the displaced edging stone- it only really shows up in digital, but is one of the many that needs to be attended to. Lots to be done yet, but I'm getting there.

Petermac
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Ben Alder wrote: ...............................................................................

Thanks for the excuse re. the displaced edging stone- it only really shows up in digital, but is one of the many that needs to be attended to. Lots to be done yet, but I'm getting there.

Please don't "attend to it" Ben - I honestly thought it was done on purpose and was one of the "details" I referred to.

It is perfectly conceivable that it was hit by some passing loco or wagon - even down to the paving having lifted during the event.  You can even see what could be scrape marks just before whatever hit it, dug in and lifted the end of the platform.  Perhaps some kind of warning barrier to keep people off until repairs have been carried out.  I don't think they used that red and white tape in those days but a hastily erected post and wire fence with a "Keep Out" would do the trick.

I thought it a really nice touch. :cheers:cheers

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Stunning work here Ben. As Peter mentioned
Please don't "attend to it" Ben - I honestly thought it was done on purpose and was one of the "details" I referred to.

It is perfectly conceivable that it was hit by some passing loco or wagon - even down to the paving having lifted during the event.  You can even see what could be scrape marks just before whatever hit it, dug in and lifted the end of the platform.  Perhaps some kind of warning barrier to keep people off until repairs have been carried out.  I don't think they used that red and white tape in those days but a hastily erected post and wire fence with a "Keep Out" would do the trick.

I too thought the damage to that part of the platform was intentionally modelled for effect.

As I said stunning work.

 

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Right, thanks- I'll leave the stone alone! The setts will need a bit of flushing though, although I suspect that it'll hardly be apparent to as it is at a casual glance- another case of the unforgiving digital eye here, I think.





A couple more from the archives now. A view of the Ratio coal shed in late evening light-









And one of the shed, with the Ratio coaling tower- they have been kind to the HR area modeller, and a view of The Mound, which I might have posted up already, but irs one I'm fond of, so we'll see it again, perhaps!:lol:

















And lastly, another of the fleet- a Langley Clyde Puffer, as immortalized in the Para Handy stories.





Last edited on Mon Jul 29th, 2013 10:09 pm by

Ben Alder
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A bit of a test here- an image uploaded to 1024, as mentioned in the recent photographic upload topic.











Hmm, doesn't seem to be any different from 800x600 - baffled yet again :roll:

Last edited on Mon Jul 29th, 2013 10:09 pm by

Petermac
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I always resize mine to 800 wide Ben.  :thumbs

I have no idea if increasing to 1024 is to do with physical size of pixel density.  Whatever, as you say, it seems to make no difference to either the quality or size of the image.  Maybe that's because our screens aren't good enough to detect it ................:roll::roll::roll:

Good picture by the way - I note the coach has featured in earlier shots, is it kit built ?

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It's an Ian Kirk kit with Comet underpinnings, and is used to represent an LNER restuarant car sometimes seen at Helmsdale. not sure if it is the correct type, but it's close enough for me!The photo was taken in daylight and the engine is due for a visit to the airbrush for toning down next week, if the weather holds- my spraybooth is the outdoors, so this sort of work is very seasonal....

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I have been taking advantage of the recent good weather to do some airbrush weathering- spray booth being the back door....  thus limiting frequency of usage severely. but the Bens now look their age!











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As always Ben, superb modelling. The loco does look great in its weathered appearance.. I too do not have a spray booth, so it's off to the verandah on the back of the house. This is where a disposable face face comes in handy...

Cheers, Gary.

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Thanks,- most of my weathering is drybrush and washes, but locos do need an airbrush to get a smooth finish. I apply tis with very diluted acrylic coats- Humbrol 79 being the base, and with this lot I used their recently released acrylic thinners, which worked well with the airbrush. I never worked with enamels this way- far too toxic for my liking- but with a compressor set at a low pressure I'm quite happy to spray away; but then I'm only doing thin washes, and some of it is done on the table inside- don't mention this to the wife, BTW, she's off on holiday at the mo.


Another distraction recently was trying out macro shots with the camera- I've gone back to manual operation- far more fun- and here are a couple from the last day or two starting with a general shed shot.






Last edited on Sat Jul 27th, 2013 08:37 pm by Ben Alder

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Now you are really teasing us ! Those close-ups are fantastic and to say your just having a play with macro function, eh ?? The two Black 5's look awesome on shed.

Cheers, Gary.

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Brilliant photos Ben - I presume using the delay on the shutter release and camera on the deck ...........:roll::roll::roll:

Can you tell us a little more about your airbrushing ?  It's something I've never really tackled.  Paint consistency and pressure always seems to be a bit "hit and miss" with me plus, I really don't want to spend 4 hours setting up and then cleaning the airbrush just to do a single coat on a 16 ton mineral wagon ..............:???::???::???:

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I just feel like giving up !!!!!

Wonderful as always
Regards  Ray

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Thanks all- I'll come back to this later, but here's some more of the close up brigade, and another of a slightly distressed Ben.



















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The latest work has been with the Peco points- trying to make them look a bit more like British trackwork- which has involved sticking cosmetic chairs to the outside of the track. A bit tedious, and still ongoing, but makes a difference, I think.





And finally, another close up.


Last edited on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 06:01 pm by Ben Alder

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This shot shows a modified and untouched point, for comparison. The untouched one is behind the worked on one.


Last edited on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 06:05 pm by Ben Alder

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That certainly makes the connection between the rail and the sleeper Ben.

I,ve never noticed before, but now the bought one looks as if the rail has just been laid on the sleeper.

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Great layout and photos. Just love those backgrounds. Can I ask where the shed personnel came from?

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Cheers, the "problem" with Peco points is that they are HO gauge, to no real prototype geometry, but a generic product basically aimed at the worldwide HO market, and use flatbottom rail as opposed to steam era bullhead type that does sit higher on the sleeper. That said, they are reliable and offer a practical quick way forward to those not keen on point building, but can be tweaked into looking a bit more British. Trimming off the various gubbins around the tiebar helps improve matters, including the spring mechanism if your control method incorporates this.The chairs make the biggest impact though.

The figures in the yard- the guy with a grey jacket is Airfix- now Dapol,IIR, and the other two are white metal, but am not sure where they came from now- perhaps Dart/ Montys- I know finding good 4mm figures is difficult, hence the current dearth of passengers at the station.

Last edited on Sat Aug 3rd, 2013 05:17 pm by Ben Alder

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The chairs do seem to make a big difference Ben. :thumbs

Firstly, where do you get them from and secondly, are they a "complete" chair that you cut down and just use them externally ?

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The chairs are from C&L - http://www.finescale.org.uk/index.php?route=product/category&path=346_347_348 -and are some I had lying about from an abortive point building project. They were cut in half and superglued on to the point sleeper after I removed the moulded track fixing. I'll come back to this once I get some more and see what can be done with the inside of the rails.

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Hi Ben,






The Peco Ponts look good with the cosmetic chairs added.






What do you use for the plain track? Is it C&L or SMP?






Simon






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Thanks, it does make a big difference to the whole layout, with the track now having an integrity that was lacking when the point rails were so obviously different. I use C&L track- I think it looks better than SMP- and it looks British in a way that Peco code 75 or 100 never can. The points are tolerable- often sleeper spacing is tighter than plain track anyway- once ballasted.

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As an aside from the point work, I spent some time today in the attic playing with the light coming through the Velux. Here are some of the results.







Some more to follow.

Last edited on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 05:30 pm by Ben Alder

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Good stuff Ben.;-);-);-)

 

Phil

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Thanks, here are some more.









Last edited on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 06:23 pm by

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You could be there!

Nice work. :)

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We know it's a superb layout Ben but the lighting is wonderful. :thumbs

It brings out such a lot of relief whilst adding loads of atmosphere.  As Ted says, you could be there.  Lovely models, lovely scenery and lovely lighting. :cheers

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Lovely work as usual Ben.

Cheers

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Thanks guys- it really a case of the camera and suitable light, but it is producing interesting results.I hope to catch more over the next couple of months before the light fades too much. Almost out of images  FTM, but here are a couple more- then its a question of trying to find some more.








And a pair of vans, in cruel close up...






Last edited on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 04:27 pm by Ben Alder

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Ben, those pictures are absolutely fantastic. Wonderful modelling and the bit of natural lighting adds a special something to what is already great.

All the best, Jon

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I really enjoy watching the pictures of this thread, great work!

Thomas

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Ben Alder wrote: Thanks guys- it really a case of the camera and suitable light, but it is producing interesting results.I hope to catch more over the next couple of months before the light fades too much. Almost out of images  FTM, but here are a couple more- then its a question of trying to find some more.



Great pictures Ben, as for finding some more.....it's amazing how many scenes can be created by just moving loco's and wagons etc about and it's not until the camera gets right down on the track that things start to look real.

 

Keep 'em coming.

 

Phil

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Those "cruel close ups" of the vans are amazing Ben.  Not a thing out of place. :thumbs

How did you do the weathering and chalk marks ?  You must have extremely good eyesight............:shock::shock:

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Great modelling and great camera work Ben. Keep 'em coming.

Last edited on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 05:00 am by Chinahand

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Like the photo's Ben, what's the secret with the close up of the wagons with the chalk marks on. Has to be a combination of very good eye sight/magnifying glass and a small thin piece of chalk. Very though what ever method you use, well done indeed.

 

Last edited on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 05:02 am by Barneybuffer

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 J**z, what a response- much appreciated, thank you. I'll talk more tomorrow, but spent some different hours in the attic today, and have a further selection prepared. A couple to begin with.











 

Last edited on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 10:56 pm by

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I have found that getting as low a shooting position as practical helps with creating that illusion of semi-reality, and the use of natural light and shadows helps suggest that what we are seeing actually is there :) The C&L "00" track with its British sleeper spacings also helps this in a way Peco can never do. Various combinations of manual settings and light  positions are fired away, with most of the shots discarded, and those that are left are cropped and slight adjustments are made, usually tweaking the backlight function, which brings out  a lot of detail more or less hidden in the original. I don't bother with altering colours or anything like that- just see what the camera can find on its settings. All good fun!
The wagons are weathered with various shades of brown and much drybrushing and washes, the subtlety of which vanishes when photographed :???: and most of the markings are put on with a finely honed chalk pencil- grossly overscale in real life, but they look OK at a distance. There was a mention on RMweb recently of a light grey marker pen with a very fine point that someone used, and I am going to try and track this down- unfortunately I didn't bookmark it, so it could take some time.....

Anyway, that's it for now- sleeper chairs have arrived, so that's me going to be busy for a while. Thanks again for the interest.

A couple more...






Last edited on Fri Aug 9th, 2013 05:02 pm by Ben Alder

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How could I have missed all this for so long????

Thanks, Bob, for front-paging Ben's work, thank you, Ben, for a very enjoyable mornings read about some quality work and the info about True Textures even if you do get a cosmetics company on first just Googling 'true textures'!

[http://www.truetexture.co.uk/

Doug




Doug

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Cheers, plenty more where the last lot came from!

Firstly, a WIP on the Peco point alterations- most of them fitted on one but unpainted as of yet. I am unsure about the inside chairs- experiments suggest that anything that looks promising tends to foul flanges, so this side may be left alone. It does look much better to the eye though- the track flows smoothly without the intrusion of unchaired flat bottom rail .




One or two more daylight pics now.











Last edited on Sun Aug 11th, 2013 04:35 pm by Ben Alder

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You can almost feel the chill wind in this shot Ben:




A cracker for a highland moor and I see what you mean about the C&L sleeper spacings (and depth) making the track look so much better than Peco.  It's a combination of many things that makes your shots look so realistic but the track certainly plays it's part. :thumbs

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Great photos Ben,

Good to see a pannier this far north !

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Yes, one of two sent to work the Dornoch branch and looked after at Helmsdale. This really did happen!

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I could walk out across the track and up into the hills, book me a ticket, I'm coming on holiday!

Marty

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Yes, if only....I'd turn round and see what was on shed, and wait for a Black Five to pull up for water and shunt off some coaches.... Dreams..

Anyway, still adding chairs to points, but here's one I grabbed this afternoon, unfortunately with an untreated point in full view :oops:



Last edited on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 05:52 pm by Ben Alder

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Ben, do ever get problems with the added chairs as those two in the last picture look a little proud?

Phil

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I just love those shots, so atmospheric!

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Phil.c wrote: Ben, do ever get problems with the added chairs as those two in the last picture look a little proud?

Phil


Still haven't trimmed them down- it's easier to fit them roughly and run a scalpel over them later.This isn't scale modelling, but the visual impact is much improved-...... watch this space!

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Ted_ wrote: I just love those shots, so atmospheric!

Thanks, a mixture of good backscenes and natural daylight are the main ingredients, plus me getting my finger out and tackling a thirty plus year old white metal loco kit stash. Realising that it was most unlikely that I was going to live long enough to see some/any Scottish R-T-R locos has given me a creative burst, aided by judicious use of Bachmann and Hornby chassis to provide a meld of pre -group locos with the superb running qualities of current releases. I'm actually glad I put off building these over the years, as the chassis and motors of these kits are mostly fit only for the bin.

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Brilliant Ben,absolutely brilliant.Your efforts are much appreciated.

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Truly inspirational.
 
Terry

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:oops:   :oops:   :cheers  Many thanks for the kind words- there's still a lot to be done with the layout, but I do think I have managed to capture some sense of time and place,even if the timescale is a bit elastic, and to that end am pleased with the way it is turning out. It probably helps that there is very little out there to compare it against; there being hardly any late steam era HR models around, it seems, and modelling a prototype is fairly straightforward- you just copy what was there!

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Yes that's right Ben,

And as Bruce Forsyth would say " and that's all there is to it ".

If only.....some fantastic work there, as said previously, you can feel that Scottish chill and could just walk out and touch the scenery.

I can only aspire......but I'll tell you something, it's fantastic that every now and again, you get treated to something like this that gives you a lift and shows you what is possible.

Sir Chris Hoy.........Andy Murray...........Ben Alder...... The set is complete.

Come on the Scots.

Regards. Toto. :mutley:mutley:mutley:mutley

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Ben Alder wrote: .....................................................................- you just copy what was there!

And therein lies the rub !!!!

  Richard Doake and Mother Nature seem to have an ability to do it so much better than I can ............;-)

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Chair laying has reached a just about there stage, with them in place and trimmed and painted, now undergoing running trials to spot any protrusions that cause bumping. Still not a total solution, not that you'll ever get that while using Peco points- or 16.5m for that matter, some may say- but hopefully an improvement on what was before.





Last edited on Wed Aug 28th, 2013 07:40 pm by Ben Alder

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It certainly is to my eyes Ben.
Nice, if painstaking, work.
cheers

Marty

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This shot highlights the difference in sleeper spacing on the Peco points and shouts from the rooftops how much better the C & L track looks.   Without the mix shown here, I'm sure most would have been happy with Peco track - I know I would, but seeing them side by side, I know which is better to my eyes ..............:roll:

Another excellent shot Ben (or Richard ..................:roll::roll:)


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Outstanding stuff, Ben, dirty enough, clean enough, never mind the 'point' remark Post 229 is one of those 'Is it real or a model' pictures if ever there was one.

Appreciatively,

Doug

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Thanks, I'm quite pleased with #229- it was a snapshot in sunshine just as a filler, but the camera captured it well. Pity about the point in the foreground- a year ago I wouldn't have fussed about it but now it grates! all changed now, and I just have to try and catch the moment again :???:. This new (second hand) Canon is producing some cracking images, and I'm v. pleased with it.

A couple more from last night to show some more of the modified trackwork- next job is some  HR and LMS bufferstops- more of these little things that help set the scene.





And one of Ben Clebrig pottering around at Thurso.


Last edited on Fri Aug 30th, 2013 05:39 pm by Ben Alder

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dooferdog wrote: Outstanding stuff, Ben, dirty enough, clean enough, never mind the 'point' remark Post 229 is one of those 'Is it real or a model' pictures if ever there was one.

Appreciatively,

Doug

Got to agree.

I'm convinced that if you showed some of these pictures to people in the street (who knew nothing about railway companies) they would ask if it was somewhere in Scotland or Wales and how long ago it was taken.

Brilliant stuff :thumbs:thumbs:thumbs


Ed

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Thanks- atmosphere is what I am trying to achieve- it's an elusive beast!. Just for a change, here is one of the Sulzers that  put an end to steam in this part of the world.

Last edited on Sat Aug 31st, 2013 07:28 pm by Ben Alder

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A couple of daylight shots.





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Those are great atmospheric shots! Great photography.

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I have to agree with Ray. Absolutely brilliant. You can almost 'feel' the chill in the air.

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Excellent, Richard.  :thumbs  Worth every painstaking hour.

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Excellent,

The merge from the layout to the back scene is spot on. A very good transition.

Really convincing work.

Cheers

Toto

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Great pictures, in my opinion they give me the feeling, I'm sure I've been there. Marvellous atmosphere to be sure.

 

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Thanks all- glad you like them. A couple more from the last weeks now, but the light has faded to an extent that I can't get much in the way of daylight shots without a lot of tweaking, which I'm not keen on.





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Excellent Richard,i love the one of the signal box with the sun shining on the grass.When you can't tell the difference between model and real life says it all.

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Apart from a burst of photographs this last month, there has been much detailing going on, some of which is barely noticeable, but all adds to the scene. For example, a selection of HR and LMS bufferstops have now replaced some cobbled Peco ones, and cosmetic point levers are in the yards. The recently released Wills point rodding has also been installed and, while slightly beefy for  4mm, does look better than the previous cast stools and wire. The first figures are starting to populate the place as well- these will feature later, and some road transport is being attended to on the bench ATM. It all  is starting to look like somewhere now, I think.

A couple more photos now- two Bens at Helmsdale








Last edited on Sat Nov 16th, 2013 05:34 am by

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Ben Alder wrote: It all  is starting to look like somewhere now, I think.

This is bit of an 'understatement' Richard ! The layout and your photography is brilliant. I'm sure if there was a members vote on the top ten layouts on YMR, this would definately be right up there.

Cheers, Gary.

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Inspirational! :thumbs:thumbs:thumbs

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:oops:  Thanks again. Here is one of the shed at Thurso, with a bit more attention given to it. Note the small snowploughs set aside for the summer.



And a rather hazy shot of the interior- with hindsight I would have made the base seperatley to allow for more detailing, but TBH, much of the inside is all but invisible to the eye.



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A couple more of Thurso shed and yard taken in daylight. Bens are the flavour of the day here, it seems....




The firebox has been cleaned out at the end of the day- a job for the shed labourer tomorrow when they are cold.

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There was a photographer wandering around the yard at Thurso today(c195x) and, thankfully he took some shots of day to day activity that proved most useful to modellers some decades later :) Here are some of his shots-

An insulated fish van is being loaded for the start of its journey to Billingsgate




An antique pre group open with a load of firewood is awaiting attention.





Two PO vans are on the platform ahead of an arrival- this was a regular practice on the Highland until the end of rail borne mail- passengers had to be alert!





And a coal wagon is being unloaded on the mart siding- no sheep sales today then-


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Hi Richard,

Fantastic modelling. I like the lorries and the coal an is great hoisting a sack of coal over his shoulders. Did you purchase him as seen or was he adjusted in any way ? Also the open wagon with the load inside looks terrific. These little touches bring it very much to life.

Excellent.

Cheers toto

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Thanks very much- it's trying to get a sort of authentic atmosphere that is the difficult part of a model- especially from a time that had not a lot of photo recording done. I guess it's a mixture of the cost of film at the time and a familiarity with the contemporary scene that nobody thought would be interested in later. I'm sure we're guilty of the latter at least today, although in the case of Thurso, and elsewhere, it won't take much to replicate the current scene- a Class 158 pulls in and out on what is a glorified siding six miles long....

Ichabod....

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Sorry, forgot to comment on the figures- the lorries are repainted Pocketbonds and the figure is,I think, a Montys from Dart Castings, but I couldn't find it there tonight when I checked the site. Good 4mm figures are few and far between, and mine have been gathered from near and far, but as usual, I haven't kept any record of it, so I'm relying on a memory that seems to have very little recall in these matters :roll: I'll try to think where it came from.....

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I'm just catching up after a long "lay-off" Richard and this latest batch of photos have certainly raised the bar.

The light in your latitudes at this time of year is remarkable and you've made excellent use of it.  Of course, it goes without saying that, regardless of what the light does, there has to be something worthy to photograph - you don't need me to remind you just how worthy your layout is. :thumbs

Like Alan, I love the shot of the signal box and also, the mail vans and coal lorry.  In fact, it's unfair on the other shots to pick any one out of the bunch - they're all really, really good. :cheers

What do you do during the long winter nights up there - get everything ready for sunrise next year ? 

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Lovely railway Richard,
Its full of the right atmosphere.
Tell me are you into 3-link couplings for your rolling stock?
They do look well even if they take extra work with shunting and such. Plus you get that nice buffer bumping when a train slows to a halt.
regards,

Derek.

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Petermac wrote:

What do you do during the long winter nights up there - get everything ready for sunrise next year ? 


It's not a lot of fun here from now till February, that's true, but I am trying to not fritter away these months by pottering- I have found that I can sit and work at the bench for longer in winter- no natural light distractions on the layout!. Just in the process of deciding what to build next- I have several to do, but persistent rumours of some ScR R-T-R are making deciding what to start with a bit difficult, as I don't really enjoy loco kit building per se, especially the lumps of white metal that are offered as Scottish pre groupers, so don't want to spend weeks on something that might be duplicated in a year or so. Decisions, decisions.......

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shunter1 wrote: Lovely railway Richard,
Its full of the right atmosphere.
Tell me are you into 3-link couplings for your rolling stock?
They do look well even if they take extra work with shunting and such. Plus you get that nice buffer bumping when a train slows to a halt.
regards,

Derek.

Thanks-glad folks seem to recognise it as being in the Highlands....

I have used 3-links in the past, but buffer locking and the struggle in coupling put me off them. I use Sprat and Winkle 3mm delayed actions, and am more than pleased with them- robust,not critical in set up and just about passable in photos. Due to the arrangement of the layout, mine are single ended, which makes life a bit easier, and I have set them so that buffers can contact in shunting. To that end, I have fitted sprung buffers at the hook end of each wagon, which can give a gentle colsing up, and allows propelling on curves. A couple of shots might show this off.



The coupling in the hauling mode and for propelling coupled stock.



And in the delayed action position- this allows the RH van to be shunted and left apart from the LH one.The buffers do make contact when this happens, but the wagon rolled slightly while I was composing the shot :cry: so apart they are......

I can see where you might have though there  were 3-links about- here is the original of the open wagon I posted up- The hook of the S&W was very apparent in it, so I experimented with a bit of cloning out- something I usually can't be bothered with to any great extent(beyond hiding specks of dirt or so that escaped the eye), and posted up the doctored version by mistake:oops:



shunter1
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Many thanks Richard for the photo,s and explanation of your coupling system. Those S&W couplings do look better than the standard RTR offerings.
regards,

Derek.

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A couple of coach works now. Firstly, a LNER Pigeon van with its traffic at Thurso- the baskets have been taken out ready for release.....

And at Helmsdale an ex Pullman car is in use as a restaurant car- changed days from today's trolley service......


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Back again! Unfortunately, I cannot remember what I had posted in the "missing" week, so will look at what is in  the gallery and try to guess...

However, this is new-a horse and lorry waiting in the yard at Thurso. These had been replaced with Scarabs by the time I was modelling, but little things like that don't hold one back- always like seeing a horse at work... It is a forty year old Slaters kit that has graced every layout I have built since a teenager, but has been given a facelift, with brakes and a pail and feedbag for the horse. A nosebag should hang from the other side, but that has yet to be made. The carter is having a break, catching up on the news between loads, it seems....



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Ben, good stuff;-)

I like you use Spratt & Winkle couplings, I notice that you don't use the full coupling with each wagon, a lot simpler that way as long as the wagons are in the right order as mix & match will cause a problem...but I guess you know that :lol:

Phil

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Cheers,- the S&W's are a very good coupling, and I like to keep things simple, so, as there are no return loops on my layout, the single end variation is enough. Some engines have a hook and bar, and there  are some wagons with hooks at both ends , but overall I am more than happy with this coupling, esp. for hands off shunting. To complicate matters, the coaches have Kadees, but most passenger engines don't venture onto goods traffic- the Black Fives are fitted with one or another, but I have five of them so there is always a suitable engine around...

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A shot of a GW 16xx waiting its fire at Helmsdale shed. There were two here, for the Dornoch branch, and spent time about between the two places. Here, it has had a washout and any running repairs, and will be given a day or so light duties to check everything is OK before another spell on the branch.

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Wonderful photos as always Richard. :thumbs:thumbs

I love that horse and flat having a break.  I've often said, it's all in the "detail" and your layout is bursting at the seams with it. :pathead:pathead

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Hi Richard, really like the photo's of your layout, such attention to detail. The shot with the horse and trailer and the guy reading. Is he reading a paper or checking his order book for his next load? Brilliant keep them coming.

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Don't know if it's the way you've lit it, the backscene, or both, but the shot of the 16xx just shouts 'Daybreak at the Shed' to me.


Ed

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Thanks all- there will be more detail appearing sometime in the New Year- work taking over until Xmas- but I have quite a few figures ready and plugged to turn up in photos sometime- activity here must be carefully thought out; there were  times when very little happened in this part of the world, and a couple of figures standing around might be prototypical, but will need to be swapped about to provide a bit of variety.


I am lucky that I can call upon natural light to help me with the photographs- makes all the difference :lol: and that backscene could have been made for Helmsdale. If only someone had photographed a remote Scottish terminuses environs (in colour and panoramic, in the late fifties, then my happiness would be abundant!)



Anyway, a couple more recent shots, again in natural light. Firstly, a view of Thurso T/T and shed facilities.






And two from a combined running and photographic session at Helmsdale- I featured it recently in my RMweb thread if anyone's interested. A HR 0-6-0 shunting a PW mess van into a siding.....







Phil.c
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Ben, nice bit of sunlight shining through the clouds there;-)

 

Phil

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Hi Richard,

I think you strategically chose the room with the best light for your layout ! Superb pics once again. :thumbs

Cheers, Gary.

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The light is a pleasing bonus for the layout, and to an extent determined the placings at Helmsdale- it doesn't work quite so well at the terminus, on the other side of the room- gets too much direct light which can overwhelm the model. Thos last two pics were taken in overcast skies, but still allowed shadows to fall on the model. All good fun!

I might have posted this up before,but gone missing- so a double header leaves Helmsdale to tackle some of the climbs that make operations here interesting.





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Really nice scene,s there Richard.
The background and skys really bring out the best from your railway.
That track and ballast with point rodding does look the part.

regards,

Derek.

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Thanks- using 00 track makes a big visual difference, and that backscene could have been made for me ;-) I have also  found that by modelling an actual place you are half way there to what you want. If I only had more room.....

Anyway, another view of the Barney with its PW train.

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I've been absent for several months now, so it is great to catch up with your layout, Richard.
I love the horse and cart. Not sure if Slaters make them any more but there are several cast metal ones available.  I would like to build up several for my layout if and when I ever get a new shed.
Ray

Last edited on Fri Dec 20th, 2013 10:57 am by rhiwderin_ray

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Been catching up with things the last couple of days, and have sorted through some images that got missed earlier, so will post them up  now and then. Firstly, here are a couple of the Helmsdale mess shed, seen from the opposite of normal viewing , with a bit of backscene added for the photographs...








And one of the shed at Helmsdale in natural light- no more light shots for a month or so,I guess, its gloom city in this part of the world ATM :roll:


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Great photos.

Terry

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Hello Richard,

As a newbie to these forums and as someone returning to modelling after a hiatus of near 40 years I am finding the layouts on here to be excellent, but your work in particular is most inspiring. Over the years I have amassed quite a collection of stuff which seems to consist mainly of continental trams. However, your layout and those of other modellers of Scottish railways make me want to return to my Scottish roots and attempt something closer to home. I may have to have a firesale of the continental stuff to fund some Scottish rolling stock!

Anyway, thanks for the great photos and have a Guid New Year.

Ben Alder
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Cheers, and best of if you decide to go for the ScR scene. Its a R-T-R desert, unfortunately, and even a lot of the ,often indifferent, white metal kits are now unobtainable, making any pregroup engines problematic- hence my bodge with the Bens. The HR 0-6-0's are still available, and I turned an M7 into a CR tank, but the Pickersgill 4-4-0 has to be hunted down on eBay, and I am hoping that the Hornby 700 will lend itself to conversion to a CR 812- depends on the height of the motor,as the boiler pitch is lower on the CR loco. I have gone over most of these on my blog on RMweb if you are interested.

Anyway, a couple more pics from recently, looking at Helmsdale again. Firstly a Black Five heads a short train into the station...





And a shed scene in low light...




I would like to say thank you for all the visits and kind words about the layout over the year, and to wish everyone a Happy and Productive New Year.


Here's to 2014...

:cheers:cheers

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That Black Five shot looks like a picture postcard, Richard.  :thumbs
Happy New Year to you as well.  :cheers

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My computer has been away most of this month for an upgrade, but modelling has continued... Here is an ex HR 0-4-4T that was the mainstay of the Dornoch branch for many years. Its a bit of a cop out, having started life as an EM model, and acquired on eBay. It is handbuilt, beautifully, but proved impossible to convert to a running OO model without damaging the brasswork, so, as I already have an unbuilt kit of the same engine waiting its turn on the bench, and rather than have it lying in a box, I made a plasticard chassis and left it unmotorised,so at least it can appear on shed.....






The two generations of motive power can be seen here- the older one is as it was after its final works visit.


Marty
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That's a nice little engine Ben and someone has made a great job of her.

Cheers

Marty

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Another view of the little tank, shunting the ex LNER restaurant car that ran here for a time.




While, some distance away, Ben Clebrig is sorting vans in Thurso goods yard.


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Latest work has been on restoring a rather battered HR Castle 4-6-0 picked up on eBay. Here it is as purchased, looking rather sorry for itself...






After a good bit of work, it is more presentable, and has been repainted into BR lined black- a livery it didn't wear in real life, but things are different in the Far North, so now it made it into the Fifties.....It still needs a bit of chassis tweaking, but this can wait while I get on with the next project.





On a morning departure from Thurso, with the driver checking everything is OK.




Last edited on Wed Mar 5th, 2014 10:19 pm by Ben Alder

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Great job Ben and very realistic pictures, well worth the effort!

Phil

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In those photo's you've posted here Ben, I can almost feel myself being there and watching the shunting and watching the old steam engines going about their work. Just as in bygone days, blimey it takes me back. Thanks Ben!

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Great job!A friend of mine's nickname was Skiboo !

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Certainly looks a lot better after a trip to the workshops Richard, but what happened to the tender quest:


Ed

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Thanks guys- shooting in natural light does give that "natural" look :roll:, it also helps that I live in the same town as the model, so it should look right!  Skibo Castle belonged to Andrew Carnegie for some time, and is just along the coast from Dornoch. The tender was swapped for a six wheel one, as happened to some of these engines when they worked the Oban line just before the war- the model one was iffy, and I felt it looked a bit more balanced with the smaller tender.


"In those photo's you've posted here Ben, I can almost feel myself being there and watching the shunting and watching the old steam engines going about their work. "


Yes, just wish we could- modelling is the only way forward though.....

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The Castle has taken a trip down the strath to Helmsdale, and is seen here heading onto the shed ...







And a view of the shed, with three Highland inhabitants- a Small Ben, Dornoch  tank and the Castle... only here, I'm afraid, but we can dream....

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More great pics Richard ! :thumbs Fantastic.

Cheers, Gary.

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Ben, where did you get the point rodding from or is it scratched, it looks great.

Phil

Last edited on Tue Mar 11th, 2014 08:26 am by Phil.c

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It's the Wills new kit- highly reccommended, although a bit fiddly to put together. Rodding makes a big difference to the scene, I must say....

Phil.c
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I see the kit on eBay £10 and an extension kit £7.50 I can't make out in the pictures but is it just the rollers etc that's supplied or is the rodding included, if it is it looks very short.

 

Another question, what  the furthest distance the rodding would be used from box to points?

 

Phil

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The first kit has some rodding and a selection of cranks and joiners, while the other one is rodding only. The rollers and rodding are a single moulding and are joined in the middle of a run, which is a bit fiddly, as I said, but it isn't impossible- I used a touch of poly and after a minute or so squeezed them with a flat nosed pliers to get a good join. Then a brush of liquid poly and let dry overnight- I made up a stock of lengths about a foot, and fitted them when fully dry.

I'll come back to you on the distances- there are a number of threads on RMweb about this, and I'll find one for you.

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Thanks Ben.

Going back to when I was a kid and visiting the signal box at the bottom of my street, it looked quite an effort when the signal man pulled on the point levers and the points were not that far from the box, so it must have been even harder when they were of some distance.

Phil

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Couple of threads links here- one on maximum distances- http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/76350-max-distance-of-signal-box-from-pointssignal/

and another on set up- http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/1559-the-distance-between-point-rodding-stools/

If you search the site there are several topics on it, but these two with internal links should help. Like a lot of railway modelling, it's when you start looking at "obscure" items , you discover there's a lot you didn't know about!  All part of the fun!.. and creating a better model....

Last edited on Thu Mar 13th, 2014 12:31 am by Ben Alder

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Thanks,

that's interesting, I do think however that it would have been much easier to install it before all the ballast went down :???:

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Fairly quiet on the modelling front recently- wife has been finding things to be done around the house, but I managed a few photos the other day. Firstly, a quiet moment at Helmsdale, as a couple of vans await emptying...




A freight train is seen leaving Helmsdale, hauled by an ex-CR 4-4-0...




While at Thurso the branch tank does a bit of shunting....


col.stephens
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Very nice Ben. :thumbs

Terry

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Thanks,- some more on the same theme. Firstly the Dornoch tank is shunting one of the vans seen previously...





While the departing freight has just about reached the station limits...



Ben Alder
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Nothing much to report- current lack of mojo has left  me doing nothing ATM- but I have been trying out a new camera to see what it can do, so here are some of the results.
 A view of the yard at Thurso- should have hoovered beforehand :oops:, and some joints need attending...



While some shunting is going on at the other end...



All being done by Ben Wyvis....


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New camera works well - but what a subject! You have a wonderful looking layout. What attention to detail you have - I love the figures especially. I am going to take the time to read your layout's thread from start to finish over the next few days.

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Ben, that camera works really well. I like the way you have blended everything in so well and that backscene really does the business. A pleasure to look at and admire. 

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The point rodding has come up well Ben...easy to see in the sharp and clear photos.


What camera did you get?


Marty

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Thanks all,- figures are something I intend to feature a bit more in future. I have  quite a few painted and pegged, ready to make an appearance every now and then, but this part of the world was always sparsely populated, and I don't want to crowd the scene, so will add and remove some as I go.

The latest camera is a Canon Powershot SX170, picked up new- unusual for me- at a real bargain price on eBay recently, and it seems to be a good balance between small size,- for getting onto the layout,- quality of images, and ease of operations. I am a bit of a gadget geek when it comes to cameras for layout shots, quite often hoovering one up after perhaps a favourable comment somewhere. You can nearly always find one cheaply if content to buy an obsolete model- seems the "must have the latest release" syndrome stretches beyond model railways as well :lol:, and there appears to be a lot of upgrading and disposal of older versions going on  all the time. I happened across this one by chance- it was only on sale for one day- and managed to win it. Here is another from it- Ben Alder at Helmsdale....


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One aspect of the operations at Helmsdale in steam days was the starting and termination of some trains there to and from Inverness. One of these was the last passenger train north, which was stabled in sidings overnight, leaving the through roads clear for any nocturnal traffic. Here is a photo of this, although judging by the light it must be morning and no doubt it will soon be shunted into the platform to awit any passengers...

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Hi Richard,
Nice to see your layout again. I used to follow your layout thread on RM web before. This one's fantastic. Accurately captures the time and place. Photography excellent. The natural light in the pictures makes them seem like real life.

The back scenes are really good too. Where did you get them?

Brilliant work.

Regards

Neil

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Hi Neil,
Good to hear from you again- how's the new layout coming on? I'm still on RMweb- look for Far North Line- where there is a layout building thread and a current one showing day to day stuff. I try to shoot under natural light where possible, as I like the results- it of course helps that the model and light both are in the same location, to all intents!
The backscenes are by ID Models, and are very effective, esp. at Helmsdale. He does one or two "Scottish/mountainous" choices, and are well worth checking out. These two stations are ones I've been planning doing for a long time now, and I'm glad they are now established. A real bonus for me has been the gradual  amassing of HR and CR engines that actually ran here, and this helps set the scene as well. I have deliberately taken a pinch of salt with regard to timelines though, as none of the HR locos ever received BR liveries, but I reasoned that as many of the CR and NB ones did, a bit of alternative history would solve that problem.......

I have just about finished another one recently-   a Loch class 4-4-0 that was a great favourite of the local drivers. This has been modelled with a CR boiler as rebuilt by the LMS, which altered its HR profile remarkedly. Here it is at Helmsdale- it needs a weathering to hide some rough patches.





Another recent arrival has been by a fortuitous eBay purchase- a brass kit built HR Clan. This has solved the problem of me having to tackle the unbuilt one sitting in the pile- a job I wasn't looking forward to. It has a Portescap motor, and runs well, which isn't always the case with ready made engines,but this was too good a chance to miss out on. It is in LMS red, which is too early for me, so some livery decision will be taken about it, but for the moment I'll leave it as it is.

Last edited on Fri Jun 13th, 2014 09:13 pm by Ben Alder

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Hi Richard, nice to hear from you again. Haven't been on RMweb for awhile but I'll pop over and have a look. See what you've been doing.

I've got a layout thread and blog on MRF and also here. Just modelling German at the moment but retaining all my UK stock as another Scottish layout will happen in the future at some point.

I'll look into those back scenes as my home made ones were too small.

The natural light makes so much difference. Your photography is really good too. Very life like.

I'll be keeping an eye on your work now I know where you are.

Regards

Neil

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My backscenes are the 16" ones with about 4" of too verdant foreground removed. I would have liked them even higher, but I have to leave the space behind accessible as there are hidden tracks there. The guy at ID is very good at customising his sheets to suit needs of individual modellers as well.

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Ben Alder wrote: My backscenes are the 16" ones with about 4" of too verdant foreground removed. I would have liked them even higher, but I have to leave the space behind accessible as there are hidden tracks there. The guy at ID is very good at customising his sheets to suit needs of individual modellers as well.
That's a good size.  I'm using Faller ones on my current layout which would be about the same 50cm.  The ones on my old Highland layout would have been 8 inches at most which was too small.
Cheers
Neil

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A couple of recent shots- the Loch has been undergoing acceptance trials, and is running well. It has a little spot of binding, but this was common to all the T9 rebuilds, and involves careful observation to track it down and eliminate, and apart from that performs more than adequately. Here it is on a passenger turn.



And a couple of views at Helmsdale shed.




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After some thought I decided to replace the LMS livery on the Clan, and it is now Mackinnon rather than Fraser, and in lined black, although the real engine was scrapped before this- but a small matter like that is no real hindrance to modellers.... It will now fit into my plans a lot better.




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I indulged myself with a couple of the new Bachmann Porthole coaches, and am pleased with the finish of them. Here is a shot of them on running trials  at Helmsdale behind a Black Five....


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they look the biz,have always liked br blood & custard even tho not my area
:thumbs;-):cool:

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Ben, The Bachmann Porthole stock does indeed look handsome especially behind a Black 5. I have half a dozen of the same on order myself and hope to achieve a similar look on the S&DJR one day.

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A photo shoot today had some results, and here is the probably only tender engine to work the Dornoch branch at Helmsdale - 78052, a BR Standard that was used for a short while there.




And a more atmospheric view.





Vans and brakes waiting their next journey...


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G`day Ben,
             I have followed your work for a few years now, from RMWeb with Kylesku and the Mound, through to here and now with The Far North Line, and I must say you are setting standards that one may only aspire to.
            Brilliant work and beautiful to look at and admire
:cheers  Gormo

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 Thanks for the kind words- I do try to capture what was there as best I can, that's an advantage of more or less following a prototype,and by sticking to an actual track plan, the rest seems to fall into place. We are helped nowadays by the abundance of products and accessories that make modelling a lot easier than in my youth. Scenic  materials is one such area- standards in this has risen remarkedly- you just have to look at some of the layouts in the RM from the Sixties to see this. Actual modelling may not have come on so much, but the ability to make a presentable layout is open to all nowadays.

A couple more from  the weekend shoot. A Black Five on a passenger duty waiting for the off...





A venerable survivor doing some shunting at Thurso.




And the shed, with  a couple of Highland survivors.



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Couldn't resist the latest Bachmann release of the LMS Inspection Saloon, so here it is on a jolly in the Highlands. Roof and underframe weathered and larger buffer heads fitted, along with a painted interior, which is invisible to the eye :???:, but I know its there.....






A shot of the business end, with a full complement of VIP's all in suit and hats, surveying their empire....






And the last Loch on an empty stock train drawing in to Helmsdale. First stop, the water column....




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A summer of circumstances has knocked any enthusiasm for modelling on the head, but interest is gradually returning, and I have been doing some playing around with the backscene. It is removeable to allow access to the loops, and it occurred to me that this might offer some variety to things. A brighter version of the ID Hills and Dales was fitted as a trial, and I am chewing this over just now. I have also taken some of the original hills and placed them on the brighter sky, which looks promising. More on this later, but here are a couple of shots with the sun breaking through.











This part of Sutherland enjoys a sheltered micro climate, and the bright skies are quite typical of this part of the line- more overcast weather is to follow though......

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It does look different with those brighter skies Ben.Although the contrast does fade with sunny weather.

regards and glad to see you getting back to the railway.

Derek.

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The bright sky didn't really work, although I can see  the possibility of using parts of it as a  mini backscene for posed shots. I have played around with a cloudier version, but still not fully there, but it's all going to add a bit of variety to things. Keep watching this space, as they say...

Some interesting light today- a mix of rainy sunshine and the latest backscene gave for a different take on things.








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:)Thats a big improvement Ben.It shows the Railway and stock up a lot better.Plus the background looks more convincing.

Keep up the good work,

Derek.

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Thanks- the current one is a combination of Hills and Dales foreground and a CloudySky back, both from the Art Printers range, that he printed specially for me. The colours of the hills are more washed out than the original, and I am still thinking about this, but it does give an impression of distance perhaps....

Another couple from recently....two with the differing backscenes. Firstly, the bright one...




Then the current one, on a duller day...





And a couple of Bens on shed.


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G`day Ben,

  I like your experiments with backgrounds and I thought I would chip in with a couple of points. I have asked my wife to run her critical eye over your pics as well. Julie is an artist and understands light and colour better than I do.

  Basically she likes the look of nearly all of your backgrounds, however this one below, she reckons looks like a painting gone wrong....sorry mate!....but SWMBO has spoken...and unfortunately, I tend to agree with her.



  It seems from an artistic eye that there should be a graduation of light and dark. The pic below for example  would look more convincing by having the hills light at the top and gradually getting darker towards the bottom. The same applies to the sky in reverse. The cloud should be light where it meets the top of the hills and gradually getting darker towards the top of the pic.



  Julie said to me that when you look at a landscape on a clear blue sky day, the sky will be a light blue where it meets the horizon, but as you look upwards it will become that darker blue. The land ,on the other hand, is light on the horizon, graduating to darker in the foreground. I guess it`s all about observation. Most of us see the whole landscape and think nothing of it, but an artist will see all the colours and the light and shade and form an understanding of what`s going on out there and be able to transfer it to canvas.

  I hope this has been of some help and I guess a lot depends on your software as well. I imagine it would not be easy to manipulate graduating tones throughout your backgrounds, but there you go??

:cheers  Gormo

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Thanks for the criticisms  re the backscenes- its one of the reasons for postings- its easy to lose sight of things working on your own, and feedback is very useful. I agree with you about the colours of them,and I think they are for the chop. The chap at Art Printers I suspect blended the two aspects together to match, but it hasn't worked out I'm afraid. The fact that the last lot were taken in sunshine doesn't help either as it illuminates the foreground a bit much. So I think I'll try a physical pasting of the newer sky and original hills next. This whole experiment started in order to get an extra couple of inches sky to give a bit more sense of space, and if all fails I'll just go back to the original set up. On the last layout I ended up sticking a strip of sky above the then 9" backscene and blending it in  for photos, but that was a fixed background and as this is removable it need to be rigid.


"I hope this has been of some help and I guess a lot depends on your software as well. I imagine it would not be easy to manipulate graduating tones throughout your backgrounds, but there you go??"

Me manipulate tones? - wouldn't know where to start:hmm - I use the simplest editing programme I could find as I have no interest in that sort of thing beyond making images presentable for screen- a bit of straightening, cropping and maybe adjusting backlight is all I normally do with pictures. There has been a bit of fur flying on another forum over photo manipulation generally recently, and personally I reckon that less is very much more in these cases.  One of the reasons for building this layout was to start from the backscene forward, making it the core of the layout ,thus avoiding those photoshopped backgrounds that rarely add anything to an image. Hence my wish to get a bit more physical background here.

Right, off to await delivery of the MkIII version, and I'll be back with the results as and when...and please do let me know your thoughts- that's what forums are for after all.

Cheers,
Richard

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Back to the future!- The original backscene is reinstated for the mo. while I wait for developments. The lack of sky can be seen here, hence my trials at increasing its depth...


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Just a comment on weather Ben.In real life on a clear but cloudy day the horizon looks a lot sharper and distance is forshortened to the eye.The opposite effect of course is a bright warm day where heat haze etc kicks in and a slight blur effect is witnessed with distance.I think in photoshop one can add blur to a photo to get an idea of the result and of course play around with the setting.
regards,
Derek.

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The background at Helmsdale is actually close up- it nestling at the mouth of Strath Ullie, and there is no real need for any impression of distance, not that I could adjust it even if it was necessary,so that is something that I think the first backscene managed to imply. Here is a link to the village itself- the station is on the left behind the clock tower. Perhaps I need to concentrate on the broom.....

http://www.cartomie.co.uk/images/Helmsdale.jpg

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Hi Ben, as a new member I have just been right through this thread and really enjoyed it! Fascinating insights to rail laying, stock, loco's and scenery, very well done and thank you for your contributions!!

Cheers
Ron

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Thanks- haven't done anything on the layout for some time now, but hope to get back to it in the spring....

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Ben, don't leave it ten years like I did :lol:

Phil

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I'm still trying to catch up on happenings on here Richard and my word, what a lot I've missed in the Far North.  Sorry to hear you've had a bit of a tough summer and hope you can soon rekindle your railway modelling interests.

I love the detail you put into your shots - many of them could be photos of the real thing.  Oh and by the way, I do like that Black Five. :thumbs:thumbs

The photo of the village in that link is absolutely stunning.  Whilst I caertainly don't envy you your winters, your summer scenery goes a long way to redressing the balance.

When you experiment with the light, where are you doing it all ?  Does your train room have large windows or is it all in a conservatory or something.  The changes in natural light make a huge difference to what you post - unless it's all done by magic ..............:hmm

I'd tend to agree with what's been said about the sky shots although local conditions can often create some very strange looking skies.  I'm a "sun is shining" guy myself so prefer the brighter skies and that kind of lighting sure brings the layout to life.  Had you been modelling an urban sprawl, it would be different but up there where the air is clear and clean ........................;-)

As Phil said. don't leave it 10 years ........:cheers




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Ben, can you remember where you bought the lamp posts, or are they scratched?

 

Phil

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The lighting in the (attic) room is a Velux, and most of the shots are taken in daylight- an overcast sky is best, which can give shadows and contrast in photographs. If it doesn't work I just delete them and try another time.....

For the mo. the original backscene is back in place, but I have an overcast sky from the printers and a Hills and Dales as on the layout, and sometime I will combine the two, which should give me a bit more sky and retain the current look of the place. Another job for later on...

The lamposts are copies of those at Thurso and elsewhere, put in by the LMS during their war time upgrades, and are based on telegraph poles and Ratio lamps,with brass fittings, and have come out quite well- easy enough to do with a template and Zap a Gap!

Last edited on Tue Dec 30th, 2014 10:12 pm by Ben Alder

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A quick New Years post- nothing much to report, but some more scenic additions, which will be all for the foreseeable future, I'm afraid,...








The approach to Thurso was heavily overgrown, even in steam days, and is tamely represented here.....

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Ben, what you have given us is railway modelling at its best.  Long may it continue.:thumbs

Terry

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Ben that scene of the banking has got to be amongst the best, scenic modelling of a very high standard!


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For some reason I haven't picked up on your recent updates but when your thread popped up on the 'Recent' Topics' section this morning I couldn't ignore it. Consequently I've just spent a very enjoyable couple of hours re-reading 'The Far North Line' from start to finish and it has reminded me of just how much I have to do on my own layout. 

Your excellent backscenes and the way the layout is blended into them are only the start of it and it's the host of details which combine to make the scenes so realistic. The thought of modelling all the point rodding in N Gauge is one that fills me with trepidation but, having seen the difference it makes, I'm going to have to give it a go. I'm also mightily impressed with your expanded loco fleet and the detailing you've done to them has, again, made me aware of just how much I have to do.

To cap it all, the whole layout is so beautifully captured by some superb photography and must surely be an inspiration to both newcomers to the hobby and even to more experienced modellers who are looking to take their layout up to the next level.  

A Happy New Year to you Ben and keep up the excellent work.

Last edited on Thu Jan 1st, 2015 10:47 am by Chinahand

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Great shots as ever Richard. Inspiring for us all and one of my star "reference layouts". :thumbs:thumbs

From your latest post, it seems you've a few "things" to get sorted - I do hope all goes well and that we'll soon see you bouncing back on here. :cheers:cheers:cheers

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Thanks all,- appreciated, I can assure you. Here are two more I had taken when adding scenery-  I find doing this helps a lot rather than relying totally on the eye- the camera finds faults instantly! ( The squint shed lampost, for example :oops: )Once I am back in the swing of things I'll no doubt have more to show.....




The shed yard at Thurso.




And a view of the approach to Helmsdale.

Last edited on Thu Jan 1st, 2015 09:17 pm by Ben Alder

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Ben,

Wonderful work as always.

While maybe not as overgrown as the prototype your vegetation is very convincing.

I think there is a balance to be struck between modelling the vegetation sufficiently to represent the prototypes enthusiasm for growing over everything, everywhere (certainly the case in West Wales) and making sure enough of the railway can be seen through the trees.

I'm not sure where that balance is yet. I've seen both extremes on layout, usually less than real life, and will be experimenting as time goes by.

Then, of course, one gets tired of making trees and there never seems to be enough.

Cheers

Marty

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Phil.c wrote: Ben, can you remember where you bought the lamp posts, or are they scratched?

 

Phil

When adding the extra vegetation at Thurso recently, I removed a couple of the yard lamps for safe keeping, tucked them away and promptly mislaid them :cry:, so I have done replacements, as seen here.They are based on Ratio telegraph poles and swan necked lamps-



The poles are stripped down and brass brackets folded up and put into drilled holes in the post.



The shades, and later, the bulbs are superglued on- I drilled a hole through the shade.



Primed and ready for painting- several drags of colour to try and look like a faded wood that hasn't seen creosote for a long while.



A finished one in position- an earlier one, but it has had a cattle dock added for it to look after- this is something I have done recently- found a photo with enough detail to add this, which I never got round to on the original build.



I also have retired another pre grouping van to PW duties- Helmsdale had a couple of these here, not as mine but these are close enough for me.



And lastly, a view of the approaches with the cattle dock in place- that's about all I've done recently, but I'll post again whenever there is anything new.


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It's all looking fantastic, Richard.  :thumbs

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Like what you've done with the lampposts Ben. The way you have blended everything in on your layout is brilliant!
 

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For me, most people can, with a little patience and borrowed ideas from other modellers, do the "mechanical" bits - converting telegraph poles to lamps is just one such great idea that I'd guess most of us could do.

What, IMHO, sets any layout apart from the rest is the "art".  The ability to visualise the finished scene, replicate that vision, "dress" it with the right amount of vegetation, buioldings and trackwork and, above all, paint it all so it doesn't look as if it's been dipped in a pot of primary coloured emulsion paint.

You excel in that "art"  Richard. :thumbs:thumbs:thumbs

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Petermac wrote: For me, most people can, with a little patience and borrowed ideas from other modellers, do the "mechanical" bits - converting telegraph poles to lamps is just one such great idea that I'd guess most of us could do.

What, IMHO, sets any layout apart from the rest is the "art".  The ability to visualise the finished scene, replicate that vision, "dress" it with the right amount of vegetation, buioldings and trackwork and, above all, paint it all so it doesn't look as if it's been dipped in a pot of primary coloured emulsion paint.

You excel in that "art"  Richard. :thumbs:thumbs:thumbs


Well put.

Like a sailing maxim for best practice  i.e.  'All parts bearing equal strain..' so the Far North Line has nothing that strains to distract ones eye from the whole scene. Railway modelling eye-candy for the aficionado.

Doug


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Thanks for the kind words :oops: One fine piece of advice I picked up along the way was from Chris Nevard, who advocates building layouts from the backscene forward, which is how this one developed to where it is, and probably explains the lack of success of the trials of different shades of the same last year...

A couple more shots of recent activity- a coal hut was added to the facilities at Helmsdale, following examination of an online image- it's probably a bit fancy for such a humble piece of work, but ties in with the other PW buildings around it....





A view of the goods siding showing the grounded vans- these were a staple of many stations around here- no doubt partly a response to the weather conditions- it also shows the one remaining Peco buffer stop that I didn't bother replacing with HR or LMS designs because I reasoned it would never really be visible....:cry:









And a couple of the shed yard on a sunny afternoon, wit an 0-6-0 between duties and the coalman seconded to tidying up some of the ashpiles...





Last edited on Wed Feb 18th, 2015 10:19 pm by Ben Alder

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Very nice indeed Richard. :thumbs:thumbs

What did you use for the corrugated iron roof on the coal office ?  It looks really good.  The shot of the guy cleaning up the ash is a stunner.  What is he and did he arrive in that pose or have you done some surgery ?  What a difference a bit of sunshine makes - shadows and rolled up sleeves................makes me want to get out in the open air. :thumbs

All those shots could easily be the real thing - I do like the long shot with the vans parked in the station.

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This isn't a model railway....Its the real thing in miniature ! Just a lovely, stunning piece of work

Thank you for sharing


Matt

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Thanks both- as I have said before, model the prototype and copy what was there.It did it better!

The corrugated roof was a scrap piece lying around- no idea whose- given a base coat and a couple of washes to tone things down. The guy is an Airfix track worker- still made by Dapol, IIR, straight out the box- he should really have been weathered as well! It must be the start of his shift in that condition....

The vans are a cattle train- part of an operating session recently- I have a shot of this I'll add up.

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 Beautifully done Richard.....as usual.

:cheers Gormo

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Petermac wrote:
All those shots could easily be the real thing - I do like the long shot with the vans parked in the station.

I wholeheartedly agree.

Wonderful railway, beautifully photographed.

Just when I think you can't possibly produce any more stunning pictures Richard, you go and do it again.

As I posted a while back, it's like being there.


Ed

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Couple of shots of a cattle working. Some wagons are taken from the Helmsdale dock and added to a through train from the north. It is then seen leaving the station. Workings such as this were very important at certain times of year, usually involving sheep rather than cattle- 30-40000 lambs despatched from Thurso over three days in August, and the same number in one day at Lairg, which put a great strain on resources at these small stations...




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Beautiful, Richard.  :thumbs

Photoshop in some smoke and you'd trick anyone.

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Terrific photos Richard.
Is the smaller, lower signal a shunt ahead signal?
cheers
Marty

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Thanks, afraid smoke has to be in the imagination- that sort of thing is beyond me, and besides,  isn't an aspect I'm interested in. Try to do as little as possible to images- nothing beyond cropping, straightening and an occasional fiddle with the light balance is my normal routine. Any more and I usually scrap it and try again another day....

Here's one I took a week ago in afternoon light- its good to start to emerge from the winter gloom,might encourage me to pick up the camera again...


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Nice.  :thumbs

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Sorry-forgot about the signal. Yes, as far as my limited knowledge of such things goes- I just copied it from a photo of the real thing.....

Here is a bit of shunting at Thurso...


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Not a lot to show or done  recently, but a lucky meeting resulted in me gaining access to some colour shots taken at Thurso in 1959, including one of the elusive original cattle dock that perched on one of the raised goods platforms, and this was enough for me to get going with a representation of it- another gap filled... There are also one or two more little gems that I haven't got around to yet, but will over the coming months. Here are a couple of the installed pens. A prototype pic will follow in a day or two.




Last edited on Fri Apr 17th, 2015 09:34 pm by Ben Alder

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I thought that was the prototype pic Richard.
Fantastic shots.

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Lovely photos Richard, very atmospheric well done! :thumbs.
Cheers Pete.

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Thanks guys, here is a poor copy of the original slide showing the prototype at Thurso. Not much to show considering the vast amounts of livestock shipped out of here annually... They must have been pleased when the mart siding was put in during the war...




Recent work involved replacing two faulty Peco switches  at the station throat- the plastic ones attached to the point motor to change polarity- these were changed to micro switches acting on the lever of the motor and are now far more reliable. Photo showing it in place- a mix of screws and hot glue should ensure nothing moves to where it shouldn't....



t...

One of which needed another PW hut to hide things- the gang weren't complaining- you can't have enough shelters around here... seriously, they were everywhere - I should really have another three or four around, but just don't have room for them.



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Latest addition to the layout has been an ex HR TPO- kindly given to me built but unpainted by a fellow modeller frustrated, I suspect, by my inability to start/finish the kit I have tucked away. Here it is on running trials- not finished yet, and better images to follow, but almost there.

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Little modelling has been done of late, although there are a couple of currently stalled projects on the bench that should appear soonish. What I have been doing is getting reacquainted with the Canon G12, which lay in a drawer while the current layout was built, but I have taken to using it again, and am pleased with the results from it. Here are one or two from it....a couple of shots of a freight being shunted at Helmsdale by an ex HR 0-6-0....



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Those shots really look the business Richard.
Well done with the cattle dock and the micro switch as well.:thumbs:thumbs:thumbs:thumbs

:cheers  Gormo

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Thanks, - a couple more recent shots- Ben Wyvis doing some shunting....



And Ben Dearg on shed at Helmsdale....





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Latest from the bench has been a serious hack around of the new Hornby 700 into a close  Caledonian cousin - the Drummond brothers shared a lot of their work and although they served various railway companies, the basic design was broadly similar, fortunately for modellers. This engine is finished as one that lived here throughout the latter stages of its long life.








Here is a shot of the conversion alongside the Hornby model for those unfamiliar with this class.


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That's quite a nose job Ben... Nice to be able to compare the two. Did you remove, replace, re-position the dome too?
cheers
Marty

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Thanks- all the boiler fittings were removed and replaced with appropriate CR versions- from the stockpile; one of the advantages of building a lot of kits is that spares tend to pile up- handy for jobs like this one. The cab cutout was a mix of filing away at the bottom and patching in an extra piece at the top and then filing to shape. Must say I prefer the loco in its new guise- the Hornby model represents it after rebuilding, which destroyed the classic Drummond outline of the engine.

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Been busy on the workbench recently and the results should be seen in a week or so, but here are one or two taken recently on the layout. A train with some newly built horseboxes at its head is passing through Helmsdale. The first three vans are conversions of the Parkside BR fruit van into a late LMS build general merchandise one. Actually, conversion is a bit elaborate a description for it as it merely involved omitting body vents and scraping away some plastic moulding, but it does give another variant on a theme.




I took the opportunity of some sunlight reflected off the Velux striking part of the layout direct light doesn't reach to catch this view of the rear of the shed and platforms. Its a bit cramped, composition wise, bur a few moments later the sun had shifted and the moment had gone....

Last edited on Sun Aug 2nd, 2015 04:43 pm by Ben Alder

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Just a couple more then that's me out of anything new to show until more benchwork is finished... A view of the terminus shed with the Stanier tank resting over.




And some shunting going on in the yard while a branch passenger leaves in the background.There were plans for branches from Thurso that never came to anything, but here they were built and still run...


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Lovely photos, as ever, Richard.    :cheers

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It's just like being there.  
Can I ask what you used to make the surface of the yard between the tracks?

cheers
Marty

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Thanks- appreciated. Yard surface is 1/16th cork sheet with Fine Poylfilla used to cover joins and gaps. This was then given a paint with Games Workshop Stormvermin Fur, which is a good shade for this sort of thing. A light sprinkling of fine builders sand was added while the paint was wet to give some texture with perhaps some spare ballast- Greenscenes 2mm ash- used alongside sleepers. This was done sparingly as the track "floats" freely on its base of Tracklay and I didn't want it tied to the baseboard, hence the gap that can be seen in some images. This is apparent only to the camera and more or less invisible to the naked eye...

Last edited on Sat Oct 3rd, 2015 08:22 pm by Ben Alder

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It's been a while since I last updated here, but have been beavering away at various things, one of which has been a bit of a distraction, but which ties in with my alternative timeline of HR locomotives. I noticed that the 02 from Kernow bore more than a passing resemblance to a proposed tank engine that P Drummond had prepared drawings for but never made it to production.



Pic of a partially finished conversion in front of the plan. Here are an 02 and the finished engine side by side..



And the finished loco sitting at Helmsdale.



It is going to be weathered once the weather improves here - spray booth being the back door....


Having done one what-if, I took a look at another one that never made it - a larger tank similar to the C R type that was used all over Scotland in their later years. The drawing for that HR one bore a very close resemblance to the LSWR M7; perhaps nor suprising as the designers were brothers and a lot of their work suggests cross fertilisation. Once again, here is a model in front of the drawing.




And the finished article on shed, again waiting some added grime.





All in all, an interesting straightforward exercise, giving me a couple of engines that certainly wont be on many other layouts, and might even perhaps never been modelled before....

Last edited on Tue Jan 19th, 2016 09:46 pm by Ben Alder

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Nice job mate, I am very impressed, your attention to detail is excellent, just out of curiosity, where do you get your drawings from?

Cheers, Pete.

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Thanks -its more of an impressionistic approach - if it looks OK then for me it is OK. I have come to the conclusion that one life is too short if I wanted to get a running set up based on this area, and thus a mm or two more or less is an acceptable compromise.

The drawings were published in a book on HR locomotives, the name of which escapes me for the moment, but I can give you details if you want. There are several types that never made it to production, these two being the most easily modelled, but I might pursue this vein further in the future....

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Something I've had to come to terms with and adapt for too... life IS too short.


Lovely bashes/make overs on those locos.


Marty

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Beautifully done Ben and it looks the biz, good on you ;-)

Phil

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Cattle and sheep traffic was an important seasonal aspect of the HR in steam days, and this side of things had been neglected by myself until recently, mainly due to a lack of decent models of cattle wagons. The mainstay over decades has been the venerable Airfix model, which scrubs up into a  still acceptable runner with a bit of care. However, the main type used until almost the end of this trade was the LMS version, which underwent several changes over the years. The existing Bachmann LMS model is an ex Mainline moulding with basic faults that cannot really be sorted and should have been retired years ago, but fortunately Parkside Dundas released a nice kit of this type last year. It is of the most numerous build, but also the earliest one, most of which had gone by the mid Fifties. However, it can be turned into a later version fairly easily. Here is a shot of two on the bench. The RH one is straight out the box, while the one on the left will be vacuum braked and has slightly different doors - hacked and cut from the kit.



I have done about half a dozen of these, nearly all slightly different, but it didn't solve the problem of the later post war types with flush sides and a quite different overall appearance. However, careful study of the prototype and the kit showed that it could be tackled using the kit as a basis. In the end all that I used of the kit was the roof, ends and doors, both of the last two being altered, and in hindsight it would have been as easy scratchbuilding completely. Anyway, things proceeded and I set up a sort of production line, doing each stage at a time, and as it happened, went together in less time than I had anticipated.

Here is a shot of the parts laid out being worked on and awaiting attention, and a later pic with them assembled and ready for the paintshop. I used Archers river transfers on the bodywork, as test pics showed that the camera noticed their absence, so that was one detail that couldn't be shirked....







And a close up of one of them - there are several variations amongst them, mainly brakegear, and I have incorporated this in the build, even though it is hardly noticeable when on the layout...





Finally, in service... a view over the yard at Thurso showing most of them and then two cruel close ups.  It was quite a task, but is now done and won't need repeated. Judging by the rate of recent releases of R-T-R wagons, one of the later types can't be far away, but I like building things, and would rather get something running this way as opposed to opening a box.






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Great looking wagons Ben...well worth the effort!

Phil

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Very nicely done, definitely some different "characters" their.

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Hi Ben
That's a fine job you've done with those cattle wagons. Well done!

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Another project this winter past was a rebuild of a CR 0-4-4T that I had done some years ago from a Hornby M7(the new type) This was before the scrutiny of the digital camera and although it was passable to the eye, its faults screamed when seen on screen, so was taken into the works for remedy. However, I realised it needed so much attention that it would be easier to start from scratch, so a DJH kit was bought and made, using the very smooth running Hornby chassis. This was finished as the engine used here for a time -travelling in reverse must have been interesting with those extra bunker bars. I have seen photos of the same engine after it was transferred to Inverness without the top rails, so I suspect it was a local mod done  on the quiet!




the two tanks on shed - the CR one and the proposed HR build.


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Any problems Ben, fitting the Hornby chassis to the DJH kit?

Phil

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Not really - some hacking of the footplate to get clearance but nothing major. I removed some of the white metal bunker and cab and replaced with Plasticard to move the weight balance forward. The chassis is a bit of a cop out as the rear bogie should be further forward, but the motor mounting gets in the way of this and it would as much work as starting from scratch to alter this, so left as was and moved the bogie pivot to reduce the difference -  a couple of photos show the work done. I wanted to keep the very smooth running chassis and with the extra weight of the body it is a cracker of a runner.

The original bogie fixing is merely a collar over the stem and was prone to coming off so I replaced it with a nylon bolt and nut. A bit of experimentation was needed to get the right amount of springing for the bogie but once sorted it is going really well.

A bench view of the body - the earlier model was in the throes of renovation but I eventually gave up on it as being too much bother.




The bogie showing the mods. I have since cut back the Kadee to more or less buffer level as it looked so awful sticking out beyond the buffers.




the offset pivot can be seen - I had to file away part of the chassis to stop the leading wheels catching, but it has made a noticeable visual difference...

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Recent activity has focused on the two turntables on the layout. Both were Roco sixty and a bit diameter tables, and worked superbly, but looked nothing like a British one. The Thurso one especially grated as it is right in front of me as I operate the layout, and also is the center point of the sheds workings. I therefore decided to replace this with an etched kit of a 50' Cowans Sheldon type that was the mainstay of many UK stations for decades. The kit, by LRM, went together beautifully, although a high level of precision was needed in the build - working tables are unforgiving things compared to some other railway builds - but it is now in place and giving a better impression of a branch yard.

Here is the original Roco table.



And a couple of shots of the kit one.







The Helmsdale one is not so obvious, and only has to work the one road, so a compromise was reached with it - adding cosmetic side frames that to my eye, transformed its overall appearance. The deck arrangements I have decided I can live with....








Helmsdale had a new table put in just after the war, and apart from the too wide deck at one end, this table will just about do for me. Thurso on the other hand had its original one, rails being bolted to it over the years to cope with larger engines, and a similar bodge to the Helmsdale table would not have worked.

Last edited on Tue Jun 28th, 2016 09:11 pm by Ben Alder

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Nice one Ben, is it motorized yet?

A good last picture but I notice quite a bit of noise?

Phil

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The Thurso table is motorised - a geared motor attached to the pivot. Took a bit of tweaking to get it rotating smoothly, but that was partly to my under baseboard set up. Alignment is by eye, but the table is right in front of me so no real problem.

There is a lot of noise on the last pic. I tend to shoot underexposed and lighten up before posting, but I was playing around with settings at the time and this was the only image I took in this position. TBH, they were more or less WIP shots to show me where any tweaking was required - the digital camera is Very Good at this..... and if I was taking a proper pic I would have done it in daylight to get natural shadows and lightfall.

I have lost most interest in photographing the layout just now anyway - there's only so much you can squeeze out of a small space, but this recent work has given some more angles so it might encourage me back behind the camera. I'm still busy at the bench and operating it though.

Last edited on Sat Jul 9th, 2016 08:55 pm by Ben Alder

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Those photos are gob smacking, Richard.

No joking; they look like reference photos from the prototype.  :shock:

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Thanks very much - it's what I am striving towards..... I like the photography aspect but it is very time consuming when one has a  limited portion of it to devote to the hobby. Here though are a couple more from the last session....






A view of the new set up at the Thurso shed and the Black Five on the turntable road at Helmsdale after being pointed in the right direction.

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A relatively quiet summer modelling wise - too much good weather and a commission to build two 0 gauge wagon kits - brass - that turned into a saga; suffice to say it has cured me of any 7mm leanings, but I recently put together a little gem - an ex HR six wheel coach that lingered on in departmental use long enough to be preserved. I have done it in its last days as a S&T dormitory coach, and here it is at Thurso, dozing in a siding...



It is built of plasticard and sprang forth from a Silhouette cutter, courtesy of a fellow modeller with a greater understanding of the input side than myself. He also kindly assembled the body, while I fitted the running gear and the rest of the finishing off. Still awaiting transfers as no one does such an obscure area as Highland section departmental stock, so some thought is needed to get round this.

Pic of the platform, with two Royal Mail vans arriving to load a LNER parcels van with the evening mail. It was a common sight well into diesel days to see red vans parked on the platforms on the North line.


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 Hi Ben, nice to see the results of the scratchbuilt coach. Look forward to seeing it finished.

I just went into O gauge myself and I'm curious about the brass kits you had a go with.  I'm building a Parkside brake van kit at the moment.  I'm exploring the possibilities with kits and RTR.  One of the reasons I went for O gauge is that there are more and more reasonably priced RTR locos coming out.  Having tackled several 4mm loco kits and never finished any of them, I'm not too keen to tackle a 7mm loco kit.

I've built several 4mm etched brass wagon kits and found them tricky but got 'em done.  I hope you don't let one setback put you off O gauge altogether.

John

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They were originally a 4mm fret scaled up, which as it happened led to some basic errors. Got them running eventually, but it was a waste of a lot om time I could have used on my own projects. I have built some 0 Parkside kits in the past, and they were a different matter altogether.

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Hornby's latest little gem  hard at work as a distillery engine with limited permitted main line movements shunting its load at Helmsdale. Cracker of a model, and photo was taken on a tablet with a HD app downloaded to see what it could do.

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Recent work has involved a kind friend who has mastered the Silhouette cutter and ran off a CR breakdown van that was based at Helmsdale for me. He put the body together and I fitted the running gear and painted it - result is a lovely model of one of the depots vehicles and which is most unlikely ever to appear in any other form.

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Another departmental van was based on a GSWR six wheel brake that proved popular with the backroom boys once its revenue days were over, with several being altered as needed to suit requirements at various depots throughout the old LMS area of Scotland. I cheated slightly here by using two Ratio four wheel kits but it bears a passing resemblance to the real thing, so long as you don't know too much about such things... :oops:

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It's only now I notice you use Spratt and Winkle Ben, I use the same.

Phil

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Yes, simple and reliable. I use them single ended which makes life a lot easier and the 3mm delayed action version.Coaches are Kadees for historical reasons but of the two types I far prefer the S&W's.

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Continuing the Silhouette theme, a fellow RMwebber very kindly cut an assembled a MR dining car for me. This ended its career on the Inverness/ Helmsdale run so will be right at home here. Here it is as I got it.



And after it passed through the works.....


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Very very nice, before and after.

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Really interesting seeing the work with the silhouette Ben. I've been thinking about one for some time and actually placed an order today. 
The thing that nailed it for me was not being able to get some whitemetal Dean bogies for a coach I was kit bashing and read about the Silhouette on RMweb. I figured that I could make them using the Silhouette which would then hopefully lead on to coach building.

The clerestory coach you've shown is superb and just the sort of thing I was looking to do. I notice the bogies are cut, so can you tell me what thickness of styrene is used and how many laminations for the bogie sides. I was thinking it would need 4 x 0.25mm (010").



Phil.c
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Good job Ben!

Phil

Ben Alder
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Thanks, I'll pass the bulk of the compliments on to the guy who did the hard bit! The bogies are Comet I think, and I'll ask him about the sides - didn't pay much attention to them and now they are painted its difficult to tell, but 20thou is his usual material, with panelling etc done in 10.

pnwood
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Thanks Ben

I'd assumed that as the bogie sides were white that they were cut from styrene as well. Obviously the springs and axle boxes are whitemetal.

Nick

Marty
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Oh my, oh my, oh my.... those coaches and departmental vans are lovely Ben.
Special stuff indeed.

Cheers

Marty

Ben Alder
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pnwood wrote: Really interesting seeing the work with the silhouette Ben. I've been thinking about one for some time and actually placed an order today. 
The thing that nailed it for me was not being able to get some whitemetal Dean bogies for a coach I was kit bashing and read about the Silhouette on RMweb. I figured that I could make them using the Silhouette which would then hopefully lead on to coach building.

The clerestory coach you've shown is superb and just the sort of thing I was looking to do. I notice the bogies are cut, so can you tell me what thickness of styrene is used and how many laminations for the bogie sides. I was thinking it would need 4 x 0.25mm (010").




Here is his reply -

"I used two layers of 10 thou. These are stuck over Comet 8 foot wheelbase Southern bogies. The axleboxes are Wizard Clayton MR ones, with the back filed down to just leave the box. The bolster details are Coment LMS ones."

Once the input side of things is mastered the cutter is making what was to all extents impossible projects almost run of the mill. If I was starting my build again I would probably use it for the likes of signal cabins and huts  - the HR lattice bridges are another likely candidate.

HTH

pnwood
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Thanks Ben that is very useful info which gives me confidence that I can make my own embryonic silhouette project work. 


                 

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