Well lock downs don’t really bring me any extra time. I’m fortunate that I have a job which is unaffected – at least on a day-to-day basis – by restrictions. It has – for its own reasons – been very hectic for the past six months, and will be until at least January. So modelling progress continues at its glacial rate.
Anyway, getting back on track… as mentioned in the last gripping instalment, I ended up with a host of EM tracking making supplies. I’ve made a bit of PCB track before, but this was my first go at ply+rivet+chair. Rice was consulted, and the sleepers (pre-punched to P4 dimensions) stained in a mix of black and brown India ink. It took a lot of iteration to get a tone I was happy with.
Every fourth sleeper had a brass rivets inserted and peened over. The track bed is a layer of 5mm foamboard, chamfered at the edge to give a gentle shoulder, and then topped with a templot print out to give the sleeper spacing. The whole lot was washed in a mix of grey acrylics before the sleepers were stuck down with PVA. The cess was given a thicker coat, and dusted in talc to try and represent walked-on ash.
Ballast is chinchilla dust, which I think makes a decent representation of a rather fine warm stone ballast. To give a bit of variation, I stained some chinchilla dust with dilute acrylic paint, drying it out again in a low oven. I did try ballasting at the same time as laying the sleepers, but the ballast didn’t really take properly. So I reverted to laying after the sleepers and bonding it with IPA + dilute PVA. The darker chinchilla dust was mixed in at random to give a ‘well loved’ patchiness to the track bed.
Rail is steel code 75 bullhead from C&L, which I had in stock for another project. The C&L (I think?) chairs I had were old, and the plastic quite brittle. It took a few attempts to develop a threading technique that didn’t destroy 70% of the chairs!! A well filed toe lead on the rail, and a gentle clearing of the chairs with a knife helped greatly. I’m afraid I gave up on the ideal ‘alternate keys’ structure for two way track…
Chairs were then spread as appropriate for the sleepers, and track aligned on the rivets. One side soldered first, and judged straight with a ruler. The other side then set with gauges and soldered. I figured soldering first would allow me to correct wiggles more easily. Once I was happy, I bonded the chairs to the plywood with mekpak.
Then it was a job of adding in chairs to cover up the rivets. On one side this was easy, but the P4 ‘gauge’ of the rivets meant the other side was much tougher. A combo of scraping and melting got most chairs on, but I can’t say I’m very proud of the result :-\ Masokits fishplates were glued on (for fear of melting the chairs with an iron), and little nicks made for the rail joints. Not very well according to the photo!
The track and chairs were then painted with a random mix of Humbrol #33 (black), #62 (grey), #64 (leather), and #82 (orange). A dilute mix was spread over the ballast in patches, with particular concentrations under the rails and around the fish plates (more black to represent grease/oil).
Next stage is a the base scenery and the road…