Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wagon Loads #1: Timber, Crates, & Machinery

A while ago now, I shared how to paint these flat cars from Bachmann Branchline to look how they might be on Sodor. Here, I will share the loads I made for them.

Freight cars look the more realistic when time and care is taken to weather them, as well as adding loads. It is exciting to make them yourself, and even when you buy them from the hobby shop, cargo looks much better when repainted and weathered too. Loads are important too.

Even in an empty wagon like this one, pastel and chalk dust brushed onto the plank boards inside the wagon gives us a clue that this car has carried coal, or quarry gravel, or what have you.

So here we go for the flat cars. These lumber piles are made from scratch by cutting lengths of balsa wood, and using Elmer's white glue to piece them together with the smaller supporting planks.

Using this technique, you can make loads of lumber for any car you want, using different lengths of balsa, more or less stacked together, and made into smaller sizes for vehicles and smaller cars, or really large sizes for bigger cars! The small load of pipes were made from spare cardboard tubes I found. Any spare part from your plastic kit you want to throw away can be a key element to add interest on your layout!

These crates are made from textured card-stock. I was inspired to create these from looking at Preiser spare parts and loads in my Walther's Catalog! It is amazing what you can create from what little you might have lying in the cupboards of your art studio or in your home! I made sure they were decorated with small stamped stencils drawn with pen, and small colored labels made from copy paper and bits of spare card. Some I made open with foam for packaging, or loaded with something like spare track pins as ties to display the load they carry on a dock or platform. It takes a little time, about a half and hour or so for me, but very easy to make.

Finally here are a cluster of covered machinery from Chooch Enterprises. Painting can enhance shadows and lighting effects in addition to wear and tear as well! I painted them using light gray acrylic, then lightly brushed them using the same paint mixed with white to bring out the folds of the tarp. I might also slam dunk them in a mixture of equal parts of water and india ink to enhance the shadow, and a little grime.

There's loads for you!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Visions of Sodor ~ The Watermill

Here is the Watermill on Thomas' Branchline. This was always a well-known scene on Sodor, and so I wanted to recreate the diorama for my model railway to take photographs and film.

Here my green afghan quilt is used for grass. The hills are made with spare wood planks, pieces and boards placed underneath, with cardboard boxes to make the shapes. As nothing is permanent, this is a great method for me as I can change the scene to how I want it to look. I could rearrange the Woodland Scenics trees or the rocks until I am happy with the final finished scene. Bushes are spare Woodland Scenics ground foam, and the water is a sheet of plexiglass.

I built the watermill and the bridge from scratch using textured card stock paper, cutting the pieces with scissors, assembled with glue and Scotch tape, and weathered them using acrylic paint.

In this picture I recreated the scene for Percy's Ghostly Trick episode, using a large office light with a blue fluorescent bulb for the moonlight, and a small LED light taped inside the watermill to light the interior. I made the window panes from scratch, with clear plastic for the window glass so I could make this beautiful effect for this scene.

I also made these figures and the boat from scratch! The boat is also paper card, cut and glued into the hull shell, with strips cut for the seats, rudder, and separate oars. You can see how I made the figures here.

This was one of my favorite scenes on the Thomas show, and it wasn't to difficult to model. It took me about a half and hour to set everything up, and then I filmed the scenes I wanted to capture from the episodes. It is really fun to learn how the modelling team on the Thomas show made their sets, and it is great practice as a model railroader, too.

Tankers #1: Sodor Fuel Tank Overhall

For this project I wanted to try modifying one of Bachmann's tankers from the Thomas line to make it look more like they do on the television series.

I took this picture to show you the new tanker supports, made from balsa wood strips, the vertical pieces placed closer together, and the top cross piece extended out a little. They were assembled with white glue and crazy glue. After the glue dried I also glued two strips of paper to add a bit of raised detail for the cross supports. An Atlas track cutting knife was used to cut the plastic corner pieces of the buffer-beam off, and sanded them smooth before painting.

Here is what it looks like from the side. The logo remains unpainted, but I added some yellow paint to kill the factory shine, and repainted the underframe and chassis of the car. I weathered it using  acrylic paint in a rust color.

That's it! I would suggest trying to add separate brass or plastic braces that hold the tank to the body, drill or dowel a hole through the tank supports, then into the middle of the chassis footplate side to attach them.

My Workbench

To keep interest going for my blog, I am going to post pictures and sketches of my old model railroad and some plans for future projects. I know that fans comment on how much they like the tests and sets I have made on my YouTube channel, so I hope you come and see my ideas and tips on a daily/weekly basis, and enjoy the pages you see and read!

Here is a picture I took of my work space in my room, for creating art for college and my scale modeling! You can see Sir Handel, a Knapford goods shed, some freshly painted freight cars, and other projects I have done for the past few years.

Pictured are also the common tools I use:
  • a cutting mat
  • pencils
  • craft knife and Atlas track knife
  • scissors
  • rulers and templates
  • Scotch tape, white glue and Crazy glue
  • acrylic paint
  • technical pencil and pencil lead
  • gel pens
  • pencil sharpener
 You can see the posts I have in order of my projects in the Workbench pages I have at the top of the blog panel, check them out to see the engines buildings and other cool stuff made!

More posts coming soon.