Friday 20 February 2009


Once again I'm posting a blog from an Hotel room, this time in Germany! So not much progress this week, although I guess it does give me chance to update the blog! As I indicated in an earlier post, I have managed to do some painting recently, even just an hour or so of an evening means that some progress is being made. I thought I'd say a few words about my painting techniques, though I am not especially good at it! And all I know is what I have read or been told by those much better at it!
I generally use enamel paints, though I do use artists acrylics for scenic work, weathering etc. Enamels stick to most things with minimal preparation, but whitemetal and brass gets a coat of Halfords primer in the garage first. I always buy matt paints, well - usually! I never stir or shake the paints, instead I extract some of the pigment from the bottom of the tin using a matchstick, and mix in a suitable container, the Ferro Rocher chocolate boxes are ideal (you will need to eat the contents first!). This means that different colours are easily mixed, and the paint can be thinned as required with enamel thinners - I have a big tin and use a pipette (from Squires of Bognor). The big advantage though is that the paint does not go off, as the pigment stays unmixed under the oil, the tins last for years without drying out. I use dry-brushing, though it doesn't always work that well for me, I also do a lot of weathering using washes of well-thinned acrylics - after all, if it goes wrong it can be washed off the enamel base-coat easily!
The picture below shows this technique in use. The lower photo shows what is being painted at the moment - the collection of wagons seen earlier, the lorry and also a trailer and cart, and the people I got for Christmas. There are also some packing cases for the factory and some other details to be painted. Also in the picture are some Microtrains couplers I've been making up for the wagons, and a plasticard jug I use to assemble them.

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Sunday 15 February 2009

Chaos at home ...

It's been pretty manic recently. After a plumbing leak a few weeks ago, we've had the decorators in doing the lounge, and the house has been turned upside-down. While it's nice not to be doing the decorating myself, it has still meant limited work on the layout. Having said that some evenings forced to sit in the dining room has provided the oppotunity for some painting! Also we bought a new Computer just before Christmas, which was great apart from a persistant fault. After weeks of wating hours on the phone to technical support, we've sent it back (tip - don't buy a Dell!) which has meant another distraction from the layout.

Before the builders moved in I did get chance to realign some of the uncoupling magnets, which should make them more reliable. If they are off-centre to the track both couplings swing the same way, rather than apart. While I had the board on it's back and the hot-glue-gun out, I tidied up the wiring. I used bits of wire tags, dozens of which seem to be used to attach children's toys to their card packaging, though the sort that come with freezer bags or just offcuts of wire would do. Attach them to the board with a spot of hot-glue, and when solid twist around the cables. This prevents them getting snagged when the board is moved, and keeps things tidy.

Last Saturday I took my little boy to the Brighton Modelworld show. It's the first time I've been to that show, and from a model railway point of view it isn't great. The layouts are scattered through the multiple crowded halls of the venue, however there were some nice layouts (including the Sussex Downs group's Everleight - sorry I didn't have time to help out guys!) and the other models - cars, boats, planes - were interesting too. My 2-year-old loved it, though I got pretty tired from lifting him up! Also taking photos was pretty difficult, so here are just a few shots to give you a taster.

Unfortunately, with a family do this weekend, and another business trip next week, I might not be able to do much on the layout. I do need to pull my finger out though, as the show is on the 7th March! I haven't even made the layout legs yet - but I have bought the wood!!

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