Hmm… a 5 year gap, OK, this is going to take some updating!

So in my last post i was talking about the techniques for the waves and the paddle steamer kit. A lot happened after that which I posted in my build thread on NGRM online here, but i’ll recap briefly.

The layout had a series of regular outings to Narrow Gauge South throughout its construction. This is 2014 when some colour was starting to appear.


Gradually more colour and texture started to appear…





Gradually it became more complete, but then I got offered a new job on the other side of the country. We upped sticks and moved back home to the westcountry after a few years of trying. Whilst moving back was amazing for many reasons it was difficult to find a house with enough space for the layout in its current form. The layout had an invite to ExpoNG in 2015, and i was keen to make it presentable for that exhibition, but what with moving and other pressures it was a real rush to get it done.



Gradually it came together. I continued using the same rock painting techniques, and made use of some foliage mats from Model Scene and Martin Welberg which are superb, yield great results and are quick to use too.


It came together scenically, and was presentable though not 100% finished. With a little help from a few friends we made it through the day.


One special guest visitor during the day was the Heljan Lynton & Barnstaple Manning Wardle loco prototype. I pre-ordered one not long after this show, but what with the valve gear fiasco the first batch suffered, i’m still waiting for it…


So, with ExpoNG out of the way i had a few months of storing the layout in a cold garage, which wasn’t great for it. I eventually decided that it wasn’t possible to keep it, I pondered dismantling or reconfiguring, but couldn’t come up with an alternative arrangement to make something out of what i had that i’d have been happy with.

And so, we come to Narrow Gauge South, on April 9th 2016. This was to be my last day with the layout as i sold it on to a new owner and it was taken away at the end of the show. Lots of fun was had during the day, including some levity running a ‘granola express’ train with my rake of Trix hoppers. Several visiting locos came out to play too.




The layout was posed next to Ted’s Dunalistair on its last visit to the UK as its a bit cumbersome to transport for exhibitions outside the Netherlands. So we had a Scottish themed portion of the room.  A couple of Ted’s locos can be seen in the photos above, and he took a turn on the controls for a brief while too.


And so at the end of the day, i went one way and the layout went another. It felt a bit odd to be honest, but in some ways i wasn’t too sorry as it was suffering living in the garage and wasn’t suitable to fit in the rented house we were in after our move.


So, what has prompted me to dig this blog out of limbo after half a decade? Well, we’ve moved house again. In the interim i’ve not built a layout, i’ve contemplated a small Icelandic harbour setting and a quarry on Dartmoor, but neither have come to fruition. The recent house move has been to somewhere we’ve finally bought – and it has a spare room. I’ve been mulling over ideas and the next instalment of the Hebridean Light Railway is making its way from pen to paper on some full size plans. I’ll post about it soon.

I appreciate this is a very brief summary of a couple of years work – if you want to see more photos there are over 700 of the entire layout build in my Flickr gallery here.

So, the old layout reached the end of the line, but there are some new and exciting ideas coming. I’m hoping to try a new way of posting little and more often to keep this site alive.


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It’s modelling time again…

Its gotten to that time of year when it starts to get colder and the nights draw in that I think I really ought to dig out the modelling bits and bobs and do some things. It might also have something to do with the layout having another appearance at the Tonbridge MRC exhibition in February next year! Anyway…

Things have been quiet on here, but I’ve been far from quiet recently, so lets have a little catch up.

Following the last post I did some more work on the waves on the pier board. I let the paint shown previously dry completely and sparingly dry brushed some white gesso on to give the froth some colour.

I’m really pleased with the result. Since then I’ve also been experimenting with giving a shiny finish using artist’s acrylic gel, but I’m not too happy with the results as it’s not retained shape whilst drying. So, I’m going to revert back to the Woodland Scenics products I used on Dunbracken to go over the top of the painted plaster for the glossy finish. More soon.

Once the waves were done this board was packed off to the 009 Society 40th Anniversary Convention where I was giving a ‘clinic’ on realistic scenery on two of the days. This wasn’t something i’ve done before, but people seemed to find it interesting, and it wasn’t too nerve racking come the day.

Needless to say, the highlight of the weekend for me was to see P.D. Hancock’s ‘Dundreich’ in the flesh thanks to Edinburgh & Lothains MRC and Malcolm McLeod. It’s great that a portion of this layout has survived, and can be operated. This was it’s first and only exhibition outing so far.

The whole weekend had a real sense of fun, a relaxed atmosphere and there was so much to see! If you didn’t come, you missed the best exhibition I’ve ever been to…

I’ve uploaded some photos here, but Mick Thornton has a very comprehensive report on his blog.

A couple of weekends later I was off to RAMMA at Sedan in France. I’d been asked to go and help some friends operate their layout as part of Euro MoMinG. It was great to see how a French exhibition works, having only been to the Netherlands before, and to try and inflict my awful French on the unsuspecting public…

Photos here, but the highlight for me was a Dutch ON30 layout, somewhat reminiscent of Troels Kirk’s Coastline R.R. but a lot smaller!

‘Real life’ has been somewhat busy recently, but thankful that’s calming down now too, so I should be able to find time to do some modelling again.

I’ve got two things on the go aside from the scenery on the layout, I’ve ordered an etched brass loco body from Worsley Works (more on this soon), and a kit to solve my paddle steamer quandary.

I think I’m now on version 3 of the paddle steamer, the first having been  failed plasticard clad foamboard hull and the second a pure plasticard one which has begun warping recently.

After these abortive attempts I’ve decided to go for the easy option and just buy a kit I can adapt relatively easily. The Zvezda kit for the PS Sirius fits the space perfectly, and despite being 1:100 scale it seems like a good option as it fits the space I have perfectly. After a bit of searching I managed to pick one up on eBay at a relatively good price. There’s a nice amount of kit bashing and scratch building to do to get it to look like the PS Glencoe. I’ll hopefully be making a start soon.

Normal service will be resumed…

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Breaking wave news…

… sorry!

Progress has slowed a little as I’ve been busy making a ‘photo plank’ to shoot as much of the 009 Society Heritage collection at our impending 40th anniversary convention.


Today I’ve found some more time to do some work on Isle Ornsay. So, on to the wave update…

For those of you who haven’t seen them before, I’ve posted previously about the techniques used to make the shape of the waves, and how I’ve painted the sea.

I’ve employed the same techniques on the main baseboard as on the test board shown in the link above. Here are the results:


I’m really pleased with how they’re turning out. There’s a lot of stages to the way I’m doing it, but I think it should look good in the end. This latest step is purely to add the colouring of the shallower water of the waves. I will then need to add some white to represent the breakers and foam/froth. Once this has dried I’ll then be able to apply some clear gloss varnish to give it a shiny finish.


I’ve also recently added the surface to the platform and the pierhead. This has been done using the chinchilla dust I previously for ballast. This was mixed with a very small amount of black and raw umber tempura paints, and fixed in place with ‘wet water’.

You’ll also be able to see, at the rear of the photo, that I’ve been reshaping the headland. I’ve now glued some rock castings in place with a hot glue gun, and around this have taped some scrunched up newspaper (a good use for the weekly ‘freebie’ paper!). This will then be coated in paper mache, a job my wife loves, it’s nice to get her involved with the build, and I’m pleased she enjoys at least one aspect of it.

More soon, although I will probably have to devote some time to a talk I’ve giving on scenic modelling at the 009 Society Convention in the coming week or so…

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