Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Making Platforms

If like me you want long curved platforms that are completely one section, you need to mark out the run for the curves.

To do this you need the platforms in a raw state, i.e. in my case the MDF in one lump. Place the track on to the wood and and pin in place the curve you wish to create. Attach a pencil to the carriage and run the carriage over the track, this will draw a curve on to the wood.

Now use a jigsaw to cut the curve. Once finished fix the platforms in place and lay the track through the curve and test with a carriage then a loco, you can refine the edge if need be.

All my platforms are screwed into the base boards for easy removal, just use some scenic models to hide the screws.

The Tunnel Construction

Tunnel itself was constructed over a period of weeks. Using polystyrene tiles as the length of the tunnel I then built up layers of them to create the height. Then once this had dried I began working on the curve, I used a very simple method of marking the beginning of the tunnel entrance on to the layout, then drawing a curve roughly from end to end.

You need a good sharp knife for this or a bread knife, you start cutting the curve out and then checking the curve against the track. Keep doing this until you've got most of the tunnel cut out. Once the main section is cut away, you can keep the cut out sections for adding height to the top of the tunnel. Check the tunnel curve with a loco, (an old one!). Adjust where needed...

Now using modroc to cover the tiles, then add some plaster to create the inside rock face. Prior to drying place the tunnel in place and run a loco through the tunnel, if the curve is too tight, you'll get wet plaster on the loco, adjust where needed.

I used preformed plastic tunnel mouths for quickness, there are many different manufacturers offering tunnel mouths, I used the cheapest and painted and weathered them after fitting.

To fit the version I have was straight forward, I marked around the outer and cut away from the polystyrene tiles to create a small edging, this I then filled and padded out with plaster, fitting the tunnel mouth directly on to the plaster. You'll need to clean away the residue of plaster twice, the majority when wet and the leftovers when dry.

To paint the inside of the tunnel I went for a dark effect, I used pure black for this. Paint the tunnel mouths a colour to match the type you have, (i.e. brick or stone), added colour for effect and then weather as desired and don't forget the smoke effect above the centre of the arch.

Painting the tunnel is really based on the scene, of course modellers licence is active here and you can opt to paint whatever colours you prefer. I went for a rock colour with some browns thrown in for areas where flock will go. I'm still undecided at the moment on what the final effect will be, I'm considering small bushes and possibly heather for colour, but we'll see.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

PVA Glue

PVA glue is used frequently in modelling, it's transparency drying abilities are fantastic, but it's the versatility of it when watered down that offers much more. I use between one quarter to a third PVA to water, and a squirt of washing up liquid, shaken and stirred. Put it in a washing-up liquid bottle and it'll last for months, give it a stir and a shake from time to time, when mixing I tend to use warm water.


When you make plaster for scenic use, always add some PVA glue with a touch of washing up liquid included, this allows some flexibility in the moulds. This is especially useful when building an exhibition layout, but also useful when adding scenic kits like tress to scenic areas, as the moulds will not crack as much.