Sunday, May 31, 2015

Painting Common Bricks

As mentioned in the previous post about building the Werris Creek station I made reference to the need to come up with a way to replicate the look of common bricks. Here is a photo of the common bricks in the upper floor of the building.

The method turned out to be reasonably simple.

Here is a photo of most of the stages to produce the effect.

From left to right:

1. Slaters Brick Sheet - This terracotta coloured plastic sheet comes in English Bond, Flemish Bond and Stretcher Bond.

Not included in the photo (no example piece of brick sheet) - Brick sheet lightly sprayed with Tamiya XF57 Buff acrylic paint. It is best to allow some of the terracotta to still show through the buff in random areas, don't spray evenly all over, thicker and thinner randomly.

2. Brick sheet showing mortar lines - A wash of Jo Sonja Soft White acrylic paint was used to enhance the mortar lines and to shift the brick colour of the buff painted bricks. A blotchy application is not a problem as it assists with the uneven colouration of the common bricks. Any off white paint suitably thinned to give a similar effect could be used. Jo Sonja acrylic paints are available in craft and art supply stores. I find them very useful for backscenes and model painting as they have very fine pigment and cover well unlike a lot of current model paints.

3. Brick sheet with a heavy wash of the off white - The random darker colour of the common bricks has been produced by a brown water colour pencil applied in varying dashed and short stokes both horizontal and at angles. The bricks on the upper floor of the Werris Creek station building are English Bond which has a row of end bricks then a row of the normal long side bricks then it repeats (see photo above).

4. Brick Sheet with a light wash of off white - The random dark parts of the common bricks are reproduced the same was as in 3 above.

I cut enough English Bond sheets for the upper floor and applied the off white wash then picked sheets that matched for each long side of the station. The join will be covered by a downpipe from the roof.

On the actual station the platform level and the upper level were built at different times and are in two bonds. The platform level is in reddish terracotta brick Flemish Bond and the upper level is in common brick English Bond.

The terracotta brick with white pointing (specially treated mortar lines) of the platform was achieved by using the off white wash for the mortar which turned the bricks pink. The bricks were then brought back to the terracotta colour by scrapping with the straight edge of a single sided razor blade held vertically to the brick surface, very easy.

This photo shows the final terracotta Flemish Bond platform level wall.

I hope that this has given you some ideas about how to paint common bricks as well as white pointed red brick.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Matching Signal Posts to Signal Arms and Detail Part Sets

On my Signals Branch blog I have just added a link to a PDF file that outlines which Signal Arm and Detail Part Sets to use with particular signal posts.

I have just had someone (unfortunately unknown) order a Triple Bracket Post signal with the arm and detail set for an Inverted (underslung) Bracket Post and this will leave the modeller short by one cast iron support for one side of the bracket.

Of course it may be someone who has previously ordered the double set of bracket detail parts and as such has the necessary parts.

However this did raise a question of how does someone with only a little knowledge of signalling work out what to order.

Here is the document Matching Signal Posts to Signal Arms and Detail Sets.

The document  advises that the modeller refers to the NSW Track and Signal Diagrams CDROM available from the ARHS NSW online bookshop.

Signal Assembly service

If you want to order signals from my Signals Branch Shapeways Shop and you would like someone to paint and assemble the signals then Dale Richards has indicated that he will assemble them, for a price of course.

Dale's email address is

Dale also makes his own signals using brass etches and tubing for round posts so he would be glad to speak to you regarding these as well.

Shapeways Shops Now Show the Price in Your Currency Recently Shapeways made a change to the way that the price is shown.

Previously the prices on the Signals Branch Shop were shown in US Dollars but the price is now shown in the currency of the country that you come from so Australians will see the price in Australian Dollars.

Shapeways still operates in US$ behind the scenes so the price is set in US$. A by product of this is that the exchange rate causes the price to look like an odd amount.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A day at the Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention

I had an enjoyable day at the convention yesterday as always. Having been involved in running the convention for the first 22 years I can appreciate the work that goes into the day to make it successful so I congratulate the small group responsible. The fact that they are all friends adds to the feeling of camaraderie. I had been looking forward to the day, met many other modellers and had enjoyable conversations.

The talks were of a good standard with a lot of useful information, I particularly enjoyed Dale Richards presentation on Shunting Signals, as well as Garry Glazebrook's talk about his new Newcastle to Fassifern layout. His layout is a huge undertaking with Newcastle Station, Port Waratah, the BHP steelworks, Broadmeadow, Kotara, Fassifern and Newdell Mine all in a 9 metre by 7.3 metre shed at his new home in the Southern Highlands (yes, it apparently is well insulated). Unfortunately I managed to miss the talk on the old Liverpool Station as I was too busy socialising but then catching up with people is one of the real enjoyments of the day.

The commercials were well represented with Casula Hobbies, Pallas Hobbies, Shrike Models, Bergs Hobbies, AMRM, Hobbyland from Hornsby ( IDR Castings), Eureka Models and SDS Models. I came away with a SDS Models Bitumen Tank Wagon pack and will definitely be ordering a Shrike Models C30T (un-numbered drumhead smokebox with six wheel tender) after seeing the two engineering samples on display. Keiran and Tim Ryan had a clinic showing the construction of their range of wheat silos. I apologise if I missed out anyone.

The display layout was Waterfall by the Illawarra Model Railway Club, a lovely piece of work. I managed to take a few time exposure photos in between the parade of typical Illawarra trains of the 1950s to 1960s period.

Here are the photos and those who know the layout will notice that the colour has been de-saturated. I believe that the layout colours are too strong, particularly the yellow of the station and railway buildings on the hill. I used to chase trains down the Illawarra in the late 1960's with my brother so I remember the building colour (I hope). Anyway a bit of 'artistic' licence I suppose and I like them this way. I have also used the existing foreground and backscene sky to remove the front edge of the layout in places and to extend the sky.

Now just imagine that it is 1959, you have just got off the railmotor from Sutherland, have climbed the stairs and are walking northwards along the old Princes Highway just outside of the railway fence to photograph that D57 before it leaves, enjoy.

After the convention Phil Badger visited my Bylong layout for a quick look as he hadn't seen it 'in the flesh' so to speak. I enjoyed Phil's visit and we had good conversation on modelling aspects such as 3D printing, layout design, scenery, etc.

Overall, a great day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My Bit of Modelling Distraction

I have started to do some modelling again and I have been working on the Werris Creek Station building discussed in previous posts. The trial 3D prints of some doors and windows from Shapeways in the Frosted Ultra Detail material were very nice but the cost for all of the doors and windows exceeded $500 so a decision was made to do them in the lower cost White Strong and Flexible material at just over $200. The downside was that the detail level and finish is not as good but when the building will be viewed from the layout edge it will be fine. Also most of the fancy doors and windows are under the awnings.

I think that if I can keep focussed I will be able to finish it in a couple of weeks. I have had some more 3D printing done for the very large 'mouldings' that run along the length of the building at the top of the ground level and another 'moulding' above the second level just below the brick 'parapet' (see following photo of station). Other items printed are as shown below.

Here are some images of the mouldings and other pieces from Sketchup the 3d modelling program I am using.

Lower Large Moulding with slot for Corbel Panels - See photo above
Corbel Panel for Lower Large Moulding
Upper Large Moulding
Water Collector Boxes for downpipes visible in above photo - 2 types
Six small chimneys for roof
Two large chimneys for roof
Rear Awning Support Truss - Between Station Building and Refreshment Room building
Rear Awning Support Truss is visible in this photo.
Awning Truss and Post - Etches of Cast Iron Brackets to be added
Awning Rafter Section - Fits into Awning Truss and Posts

Upper level Window Awning Brackets - On North West Platform side in period modelled (1972)
So, for the moment, I hope you can put together all the above pieces and imagine what the model building will look like.

But to give you a little help here are a few photos of the building with some of the bits in place but not glued or fully painted as yet.

Starting to look good

Note the ugly toilet block, it will look better once the trimmings are added

Note the Awning Rafter Sections, Trusses and Posts fitted and glued together

Detail in the breezeway is almost complete
 If you look at the upper level you will notice that it was built in common bricks, an interesting challenge to reproduce, more in the next post.