Monday 28 December 2020

Scenic base layer

Work on Hexworthy continues slowly, but I have made a little progress. Following the carving of the polystyrene landscape, it was given an outer "shell" layer from kitchen towel soaked in PVA. This is a bit like "decoupage"  I suppose, the kitchen towel allows the glue to soak right through. A couple of layers is surprisingly tough once solid. 

This looked a bit like a hospital gown, so I moved quickly onto a base scenic layer. Normally I use plaster, coloured with powder paint, but I've heard good things about using tile grout so decided to give it a try, it even comes pre-coloured so bought a bag in a suitable shade of brown. I mixed some up and slopped it on with a big brush. 

It dries paler of course, not a bad shade for soil though it looks like rather dry soil - a desert right now! Anyway, a good base for further scenic work and quick and easy to do. 

I've also stuck the walling and bridge in place now, there are a few gaps to fill in. 

Sunday 27 December 2020

A blue Terrier

I got this delightful blue Terrier tank engine for Christmas. The mobile phone photos do make it look a little lurid, but it is quite a bright blue. 

The livery and lettering is for the Kent & East Sussex Railway, a light railway that is now preserved. The model is by Hornby.

The detailing is nicely done, including the cab interior and back-head, and the lining is very fine. I'm sure it could do with a little light weathering though. 

You may have noticed that, once again, I have a standard gauge loco posed on a narrow gauge layout... and don't in fact have a layout to run it on!

Saturday 5 December 2020

An Encyclopaedia of British Bridges.

OK, I like bridges. I guess as an Engineer I like many things structural and mechanical, and I'm always interested in how things work and why they are the way they are. I even did a little Civil Engineering as part of my degree, so have a basic understanding of them, and bridges are such a visual illustration of forces at work. So perhaps not surprising that this book by David McFretrich caught my eye

It's a massive book - large hardback format, almost 450 pages, and rather heavy - and is exactly what it says on the front. It doesn't list every bridge in Britain of course, but aims to list all those of interest; historically, structurally, aesthetically, socially. Many of them (near half) are illustrated with a photo, though of course these are by necessity rather small. Some photos are rather poor, being dark or grainy, which is understandable where it is a historic image but I'm sure better quality pictures could have been sourced in some places. The short text entry gives the background, history, key structural and aesthetic details very succinctly, with references and even listing any walks that pass it.

As well as the encyclopaedia and references, and a geographical index, the book starts with a brief outline of the types of bridge and how they work - very clearly and simply. There is a "miscellany" with further information, categories, and background, referring to listed bridges. It is a good quality book that seems very well put together. The author not only knows his bridges but is enthusiastic about them, yet he is able to explain the subject well - this is not an engineers textbook, it is accessible to any reader. It's probably not a guide for modellers either, though I think it is good inspiration for the many types of bridges in Britain. 

Of course probably this isn't the sort of book you read from cover to cover, but it is a fascinating resource to dip into and flick through. If like me you find bridges interesting, or if you like structures, architecture, or history, you will find this interesting.