Monday, 23 September 2019

Paint and Light

Having added the back-scene, wing panels and lighting rig, the next step is to get out the paint and make it all presentable. The external surfaces of the layout used the same grey primer (Wilkinsons) as used on Slugworth and Hexworthy. And I mean the same paint, I bought a second tin to do Hexworthy but the original 1 litre tin from Slugworth had plenty left, and now it's done a third layout too! It does require two coats with a light rub-down in between but the slightly satin grey gives a good finish.

Sadly the pale blue paint used for the back-scene on Slugworth had run out, so I popped to the DIY store to find something similar, but without much luck in the wood paint ranges. The original tin was actually a left-over from the bespoke colour mixing service, from the bargain basket, actually an emulsion paint for walls but I had used it directly on the wood back-scene of Slugworth and it had worked fine, with a nice matt finish. So I checked out the bargain basket of left-overs. There was a 1 litre tin of "blue hoo" which was the first shade of blue from white - basically white with a blue hint - not quite blue enough, but it was £2.50 so I picked it up, along with a couple of tester pots of a light blue emulsion - these were then mixed in to make my own shade of pale blue!

The result is a very pale matt blue, and works well for a hazy sky background. I don't plan anything else on the back-scene, just the low-relief buildings. Ideally the back-scene would curve around the rear corners but that was impractical in this small layout (particularly due to the sector plate and buildings), but with a plain background the corners are not obvious.

I'd removed the switches from the fascia for painting, before refitting I stuck a new print-out of the schematic diagram on with pritt-stick. Two versions had been drawn (in MS Word) - one with the outlines of the switches and marking-out lines, used for drilling holes, and this one without. The clear plastic was screwed on and the switches refitted through the holes from behind. The result looks tidy and is easy to follow (I hope) while being simple to make. Of course on testing it I'd got two of the switches swapped, but that was soon rectified...!

The final task for layout presentation was the lighting, again I used the left-over strip of "natural white" LED's used on both Slugworth and Hexworthy - full details can be found here. I have found that arranging the LED's to point straight down is not as effective as pointing them backwards. The lighting beam is arranged to sit an inch or so forward of the front of the layout, and angled so the inside of the fascia - where the LED strip is attached - is pointing down as well as back. Even so it seemed there was lots of light towards the rear and on the back-scene but items at the front were not so well lit, so I added short additional strips attached to a mounting at 45 degrees to the fascia - this means they are pointing down and back at about 20 degrees to the vertical. The mountings were knocked up from plasticard - quick, cheap and easy, but I had to take care soldering the wires to the strips!

The wires were then run back under one of the pivoted support arms to a socket, which was secured under the "tab" that rests on top of the end of the layout when the lighting is folded down. The socket accepts a standard wall-wart power supply.

So here's the finished layout "structure" seen from my standing eye level, and I've placed the buildings so far to get a feel for the scene. The folding legs lift the layout closer to the viewer, the back-scene cuts out background distractions, the lighting illuminates the modelled scene evenly, and the top fascia and side panels frame the scene, hiding the lighting and ends of the back-scene. All simple elements to add to a layout but really improve it's presentation. There are other ways of presenting a layout, but I would argue that some kind of backdrop and lighting are essential if a model is to be appreciated.

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