BWS Update 8: That deadline is approaching quite quickly!

Remember that time I thought I had ages to build a layout for the MRJ Cameo Competition?

When I loosely said I expected the layout to be ready in the first quarter of 2019 it seemed pretty distant, as we are now knocking on the door of December it’s suddenly starting to creep up a bit quickly!

Don’t panic though, all will be fine… there’s still 3 or 4 months to go and I feel a lot of the slow stuff that takes a while and doesn’t really produce much in the way of visible progress is now done, so hopefully in the next update things will look a lot closer to completion! Providing I continue to make progress at my current rate I’m comfortable it will be finished in time….

So what have I been busy on for the last month or so…?

In the last update I’d just finished attaching all the cosmetic fishplates- in this update I can say that the trackwork has since been primed. I used a mixture of grey and red primer for this to (hopefully) give a decent base to build colour on. This is something unashamedly copies from a number of other people, but I can’t remember who to credit them! Getting all the track painted the same colour immediately made a big difference to the layouts appearance.

Because we are professionals here at OTCM towers, I then cleaned the track and managed to dislodge a load of the cosmetic fishplates I’d just fitted, so then spent a bit of time reattaching these. Rather than admit this was a bit of a cock up and I didn’t use enough glue the first time round, we shall say this was vital testing to ensure nothing falls off on the layouts first exhibition outing…

With the priming out the way, it was time to apply the first coat of the new shade for the backscene – B&Q ‘Light Rain’. The initial shade chosen, called ‘Fog’, was too grey for the look I am trying to get, and also reminded me of the odour Oly likes to leave behind in the bathroom, so needed replacing.

half way there on the backscene painting, the left hand end looking much more natural in my eyes.

Under the boards and out of the way, my temporarily glued in controller wiring had mostly collapsed and was hanging loose…

This has now been fixed properly using cable clips, something I probably should have done ages ago.

With the track primed and ready for painting, I started on ballasting. On the industrial lines at the front of the layout I use the term ballast loosely as it should really be compacted ash and various other waste. To replicate this I am using a method that I first saw back in 2011 when Chris Nevard was building his Catcott Burtle layout, namely DAS modelling clay compacted around the sleepers and then stippled with a stiff paint brush before being painted. More details can be found on his site Here

Obviously this still needs painting, and is quite time consuming if you want to make it look good (which obviously I do, whether it will or not is another question…) but so far I am happy with the results.

Next up, I’ve been cracking out the tile grout, to use as the surface for both the coal yard and the road at the rear. Before anyone asks, no I don’t know why I used white stuff when I could have used black!

Hopefully it’s evident in the photos that I have also bedded in the puddles added before applying the grout, as per the advise given in Gordon Gravett’s book (again, but why wouldn’t I want to copy him) so this too is now ready for painting. I spent a while creating some ruts in the coal yard, where the resident digger has been on manoeuvres. The plan is to fill these with water after painting…

With the ballasting Of the front sidings under way, I thought to keep things fresh I’d also crack on with the rear lines, which I wanted to ballast ‘properly’. Therefore out came the airbrush and a mix of brown/black muck was sprayed over all the BR trackwork.

I’ll add some further variety to this with some brush painting and powder work once it’s ballasted. Note that the industrial lines will be painted separately.

I’ve also got round to fitting a chip into the second Hornby Sentinel that will grace the layout, number 34. (No nice names round here…) having seen Andy’s new Sentinel, which uses the original glazing but with the edges coloured black, I decided to do this until I can be bothered to fit the excellent Laserglaze I have sat in the ‘to do’ box for it.

You may also notice the introduction of some ballast in this shot – this isn’t secured at the moment, but it’s getting there!

Lastly, I got a bit more done on the JCB I’ve been working on for the coal yard last night. It seems a while since I last did anything to it but after pinching some plastic rod at last weekends modelling day I was finally able to crack on. She’s not 100% accurate, or even 80% to be honest, but looks a bit more the part than the original mouldings Dapol supply with the kit.

I now just need to fit the hydraulic hoses (there’s a plan for that) and it will be ready for painting and weathering, then parking at the front of the coal yard.

To quote the one time BR advert that is considerably older than us, ‘we’re getting there’



6 thoughts on “BWS Update 8: That deadline is approaching quite quickly!

  1. You’ve achieved a much better finish with the Das already than i did when I tried it.

    The layout looks good – any dates committed to next year yet?

    1. Thanks Tom – the first few bits I did were a real challenge but I’ve got into a rhythm now, even though it’s still taking about an hour to do 24cm (random figure to time myself against but each track joint provides a handy target to reach!). I’ve been using plenty of water on my finger to keep it pliable and a cheap paintbrush cut off close to the handle to tamp it which seem to have helped…
      I need to get the layout ready for the competition deadline in March, then in the unlikely event of it being a finalist, there’s the chance of Railex at the end of May. I’ve then got an invite to Uckfield in October 2019 and we will take things from there!

      1. Sounds like you’ve been burning the candle at both ends. Will have to try and catch up some time this year, either at a show or for a weekend.

  2. bawdsey

    The DAS works really well, mine took a day or two to cure completely. If you’ve got an old matchbox car or truck they’re good for making tyre ruts in it too.

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