Sunday, 21 March 2021

Houses for Gene Autry (the town, not the singing cowboy)

In early March I started doing base scenery for Gene Autry, but I encountered a problem with the "dirt" that I was planning to use. (That story is told on my GC&SF FB page )

While pondering what to do about that problem, I decided to build a couple of houses for my Gene Autry folks to live in. I asked my technical advisor Doug (who grew up in Gene Autry) what colour they painted their houses back in the '60s. Doug told me, "White, the rich people had bricks."

So, armed with that information, and some photos from Doug and the internet, I constructed these two houses.




Note that these houses will not be sited in the location shown in the photo. The one on the left is also shallower than it would otherwise be, because these will fit against the backdrop at Gene Autry, where I don't have a lot of depth.

Regards,
Ron 

 

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Cordless, rechargeable airbrush and compressor combo

A few weeks ago I bought a cordless/rechargeable airbrush and compressor combination device, and over the past days I've been trying it out. I initially thought that it might be useful for painting track, and that is what I've been using it for.

About a year ago I used my ancient Badger single-action airbrush and Tamiya acrylic (XF) paint to paint the track at Pauls Valley. The Badger did a great job, but the wide spray pattern used a lot of paint, and the long air-hose was a PITA to work around. So I was keen to see how this "hose-less" device would go. 

My first attempt (last Friday) didn't go as well as I was hoping, but that was mainly due to my inexperience with both the airbrush and the acrylic paint. I thinned the paint to about the same consistency that I'd used to paint the track at Pauls Valley with my Badger, but I failed to consider that I would be using a lower air pressure with this new airbrush. 

The job started well, but about one-quarter of the way through, the nozzle started to give me trouble due to paint clogging. I ran some thinner  through it, and thinned the paint more. But performance continued to get worse, with less and less paint being sprayed. Then, when I was about 90% done, the compressor battery died. I gave the airbrush a thorough clean, put the compressor on charge, and then walked away.

Today I took another look at the work and decided that due to the thinness of the paint it would need a second coat. I decided to try the airbrush/compressor unit again, but this time I did the job correctly, and thinned the paint 2 parts thinner to 1 part paint.

WOW!  What a difference that made.

It took me only about 15 minutes to repaint the track, and at the end I simply ran a few loads of cleaner through the airbrush to clean it up ready for the next job.

On the down side - my combo only operates at a low(ish) pressure (claimed 17 psi and 7 litres/min), so I can't blast large volumes of paint through it as I might if I used my other compressor with a higher pressure setting. And even though the airbrush itself is a dual-action model, it attaches to the compressor without using the air-flow valve, so I can't control the flow of air using the trigger.

Despite those shortcomings I like this device. It's a great bit of kit for working away from an airbrush station, or if (like me) you don't have an airbrush station, or you want to be able to work without disturbing your family.

Would I buy this again?

Well, yes ... and maybe no - possibly not this particular unit, anyway. Since I bought mine the price has gone up about $20 from the same seller, and in the meantime I've found another unit that, for nearly double the price I paid, has a switch that provides a choice of two air pressure settings, and that allows the airflow to be controlled via a valve (in the normal dual-action way.) I would be tempted to try one of those next time.

This is the unit that I bought:




There are many videos on Youtube reviewing these combination units. If you're interested in getting one yourself I recommend that you spend some time watching a few of them. This is the one that got me started:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhVkJTHkWRQ

Regards,
Ron

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Pauls Valley elevator complex

 I've been working on a model of a small elevator complex located in Pauls Valley. I know very little about the real industry, which existed back in 1960 but is now closed, and I had to eye-ball the dimensions based on photos.

Here are some photos of my model, together with a photo of the real thing that was taken by Rod when he and several other friends visited Pauls Valley more than 20 years ago.

Photo of the real thing taken by Rod. The rail spur followed the gravel road to pass between
the rusty silos and the buildings that are barely visible on the RH side of the photo.
(The silos and buildings belonged to The Jacobson Concrete Co.)





Regards,
Ron




Monday, 16 November 2020

Adding a lift-out, and more scenery.

In my last post I mentioned that my next job was to add scenery to the section of track between Pauls Valley and Wynnewood. 

Before starting on the scenery, I cut a hole in the plywood so that I could build a lift-out hatch to provide access to the north staging yard turnout ladder that is located under this section of the layout. The turnouts were originally installed back in late 2003, and although they've never given me any serious trouble, that might not always be the case (touch wood!).

The base for the scenery was a sheet of extruded styrene foam that was cut and formed to provide the required "landscape", with a removable (lift-out) panel to cover the access hatch in the plywood. I covered the foam with a layer of plaster bandage, and then built up scenery on top of that.

This photo shows the view from just inside the train-room door. Pauls Valley is on the left, and Wynnewood is on the right. The area that I've been working on is along the wall at the far end of the aisle.


This is a closer view of the scenery in the area between Pauls Valley and Wynnewood. I wanted to add a few more trees to better mask trains running between the two towns, but I've run out (again). So that will have to wait until I've made another batch.

These next photos show the layout with the access hatch removed, to reveal the ladder turnouts on the level below.

As usual, I will post better versions of these photos on my GC&SF FB page.

Thanks for following along, and please stay safe.

Regards,
Ron


Saturday, 26 September 2020

It has been a while ...

It has been a while since I posted an update here, but I have been posting updates on my Gulflines FB page at https://www.facebook.com/GulflinesOperator

I don't think that you need a FB account to view that page so feel free to take a look. Many of the posts are the same as on this blog, but with better photos.

Here's a photo to show how Pauls Valley looks at present.



My next project is to scenic the benchwork along the wall, between Pauls Valley and Wynnewood.

Thanks for looking, and stay COVID safe.

Regards,
Ron



Friday, 31 July 2020

Trees ...

I've spent the past few days making more trees for the GC&SF.  I made one batch using the last of my Scenic Express SuperTrees, and a second batch using plastic tree armatures that I bought on ebay.

It is barely visible in this photo, but I am holding a SuperTrees "tree" in my left hand, and about to spray it with adhesive.






















In this photo I have dunked the tree into Woodlands Scenics Dark Green Coarse Turf.






















The next pics show the completed trees.  The trees on the left (with the thicker trunks) were made from the plastic armatures that I got from ebay, with WS Underbrush applied for foliage using WS Hob-e-Tac Shredded Clumped Foliage also works well, but Clumped Foliage straight out of the package is too big.






















Next job will be to plant the trees at Pauls Valley.

Thanks for looking,
Ron

Saturday, 11 July 2020

New highway crossing at Pauls Valley

I didn't initially plan to have a grade crossing at this location but I eventually came to realise that I should have at least one surfaced road crossing at Pauls Valley. So here is how it looks from the yard operator's perspective ...



Many of the buildings in the background are either incomplete kits or cardboard mock-ups of buildings that I will scratch build. The shiny black structure is an unfinished scale 60' x 24' ATSF water tank. I'm still thinking about whether to include it because after I got this far with the model I learnt that in 1960 the railroad received its water from the town water supplier. So no RR water tank at all.

This photo also provides a look at the ballast in the yard. And of course, I still need to add a lot of trees, etc. particularly in the background.

Regards,
Ron