Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dry Brushing

Dry Brushing is a technique used by modellers to apply very light coats of or traces of paint to models, mainly used for weathering effects.

To use this method you need only a minimum amount of paint and a nice brush for detailed work. If weathering large areas, the brush does not ned to be of high quality, just a nice shaped head.

Dip the head into the paint, no begin to wipe the paint off the bristles by brushing it over either some rag or paper towel. Keep doing this until you can only see a trace of paint coming off the brush.

Now flick the brush over your area on the model that requires the dry brush effect. It is a technique that requires practice, so be prepared for mistakes, like having too much paint on the brush for starters. I learnt by weathering larger kits, 1/35th scale military kits, then moved down the scales to 'OO' and 'N'.

If you want something to practice on, buildings such as sheds or wagons offer a good place to start.


Enamel paints were the norm a few years back for modelling, but Acrylic paints now offer much more freedom wihtin the modelling scene. I paint nearly everthing with Acrylic these days, but there are times when good old fashioned Enamel paints offer a better choice.

If you are using Enamel paints they always need a good stirring, one way of doing this is to use an electric stirrer. Paint stirrers are common, but an easy way is to get yourself a modellers drill, a large paper clip broken down and bent one end to create an L shape. Use the modellers drill as the stirrer.

Modellers drills - most come with a power pack, when I first purchased them they were just one speed, but I think more modern drills offer various speeds. Now for stirring paint this of course can create a problem, so a good idea is to purchase a cheap drill and use a controller to vary the speed of the drill. This works great, if you don't mind not using the transformer that came with the drill, just snip the end off the drill wire and you're ready to go, if not buy a couple of wired clips and connect that way.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Back Scene

Hand Painted Back Scenes
I've always envied people that can paint, and seeing a good back scene is a joy when viewing model railways. I always loved Hinton St. Mary, by Rod & Geoff from ET-MRC, the layout back scene was hand painted by Geoff.

Luckily for me I met someone that could paint, Harold F. Lane, so after some discussions he agreed to paint my scene, and no easy task, 22ft of it!

I'll be adding a photo showcase of the back scene, the amount of scenes within it is amazing, every time I look at it I see something new, just take the aeroplane taking off, I hadn't really spotted the hangers until I'd photographed it.

Harold has an eye for detail, his vision within drawing and painting is stunning, the amount of time put into it is quite something.

Many thanks Harold, you made this modeller very happy!

"just a blog"

Well after the fiasco of the wiring I decided a good clean up was needed. Rearranged part of the shed, got in and started cleaning half the layout. Once cleaned I started running some stock, well locos first off.

What fun, forgot how good it was to run a layout...

Had some problems with dirty points, got those sorted then on with some nice locos, got the Bachmann J39 out, some kit this is, runs really well. Ended up with four locos and some rolling stock on the track, getting use to the layout again.

I'll be finsihing the cleaning off and then have a running session one night real soon.


If like me you don't understand electrics you'll need someone to either wire it, or at least help point you in the right direction.

For me Roger Elkin of The ET-MRC helped me out. I sent him a diagram of my layout, where I wanted locos to be held and he then sent it back as a wiring diagram - so many thanks Roger!

Now it's Sunday 6pm and I spent the best part of two hours trying to solder a section of the layout, only to find out I was soldering the wrong end of the layout. It turned out the problem was a broken connection via the switching box, once I'd located the problem, I fixed it in 30 seconds.

So here's the second tip, before re-soldering something, check to make sure it's the correct connection!

Paints & Thinners

Keep paints and thinners away from heat, store in cool place and keep the lids on.

Station Yard & Copse

This part of the layout is on the baseboard level, this will allow an effect of height once finished. As you'll see from the photographs, the initial modelling has to come from the back, but foreground detail has to be laid out to offer the background effect.

In this section the fencing offers a greater part to the scenic effect rather than what is in the scene. This area has been divided in to two sections, the Station Yard and an area leading to the copse.

I used a photographic technique to realise my goal, I looked at the scene with a panoramic eye, what would allow the scene to continue without stitching too many pieces together, the fencing was the key.

To allow some form of depth to the layout you need to build scenes from the ground up and from the back out. This might seem a simple statement, but many overlook the background and then need to add in detail after.

I used the GWR fencing for the station yard, this has different colours, you'll see the end result with the workmen I'm going to use. Hedging helps greatly, adding further depth from the viewing area to the back scene. Once these were in place I added more depth by adding undergrowth and smaller hedging between the hedge and the open areas. You need to use different colours for the effect to work, colour perception is the key to the brain, all one colour makes it look odd.

Textures added are again created from layering flock and other modelling items. I used the rubberised horsehair to create shrubbery, just cut it up into loose strands, then use watered down PVA to put in place, add some coloured flock, mainly green for effect.

Dividing this area into two sections allowed for more scenic modelling options and ideas, the station needed a work yard, and this end of the layout had less happening within it, within the back ground. (the foreground area is a goods yard and part of the preservation group - see overview of design).

Note: My layout is not based on a set time in history, it is actually based in a modern day setting, but I'm using a selection of models from past eras, this allows me the best of both worlds. I've always thought the GWR offered the best kept scenic railways, so much of my ideas stem from the GWR area, but I involve many regions within my layout. (see stock for further details)