Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Better trees! :)

Well, this is actually a late update that I couldn't post 2 week's back because I was shifting my apartment and all. I was not at all happy and satisfied how the basil branches looked with the foliage. clearly it was weird! The problem was, an N scale tree of that size (around 3 inches tall) must have more branches, more leaves and thicker trunk - it should not look like "some green stuff stuck to small, dead branches!" Overall the very structure of these trees were wrong. So I threw them away, and when I was about to throw the rest of the branches, I had an idea, and it worked far better...

All I had to do was to add more branches, right - both thick and thin? So I took some electrical wires - think single strand and thin multi-strand. I wrapped them around the basil in different shapes, and twisted them like branches.

Once set, I applied glue all over the tree and then dip it in the pvc foliage I had already prepared. Once dried, I had a decent looking tree - that looked like... well, a tree...

The copper wires would eventually lose the glossy effect in due time during weathering and the deep brown hue would look perfect for tree branches.

Now, this might not be the best model tree around, but at least the effort wasn't all in-vein and it did work to a satisfactory level (and not to mention they literally come free-not even a single penny was invested behind the tree, well, except time), so I am more or less happy. After all, what's a project without some failed experiments and goof-ups!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Scenery: First Attempt on Trees, More Paper Mache

I was always searching for a better ways to make cheaper trees. The only set of tress that I bought so far are 4 Bachmann trees for around $4, and that's as cheap as it can get for off the shelf, ready trees - unless they are second hand. So I knew for a long time that I would have to make my own. But I didn't really want to go down the traditional road of twisting wires. As usual I wanted faster results, so I took out some dead basil plants from my mother's garden that I collected a few months back... cut the branches to make the trunk. Here is a couple of test pictures to show how the trunks look:

The only tress with leaves in these photos are Bachmann ones.

For leaves I took out the year-old stock of PVC dust that I collected while making my 3" telescope. I colored them green and let dry for about 6 hours.

Then I took the dead basil branches, put glue on them and then dip in this stock...

Honestly, I myself didn't like the appearance of the trees that much - actally the trucks looked more realistic than how it looks with leaf on it. The problem is, these leaves stick to only those branches, it cannot spread out in thin layer from the main branches. I need to device something for that and then try again...

Well, now I have to prepare for shifting... so no railroading for quite some time... Here is a small video to look at for next few days...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A long awaited railroading friend in the city... MY city... :D

Well... as I might have mentioned many times before, model railroaders are 'rare finds' in this country... but finally I got to meet one - in person :D

Rohit (Blog, Website) and I connected on facebook and within two week's time he was sitting in my drawing room in front of the layout and talking about paper modeling, his large Hornby collection, what a pain wiring is, his layout design challenges and what we can do about it... by the time we finished a brief ops session on the layout and he took some lovely picture, it was already past 10 o'clock in the evening!Moreover he and his wife, Divya braved through the nagging and terribly frustrating rain, and horribly waterlogged streets that can dampen even the most lofted spirit on this earth - but wasn't enough to dampen theirs... This was undoubtedly a very special evening... Thanks Rohit and Divya... :D

Here is the post from his blog - with the photos that he had taken...
Turquoise Chill: Finally meet the N-Gauge Railroad Modeller

Well, given the 'nightmare of shifting to new apartment' is knocking on the door, I am not sure when I'll be visiting his place (may be not in next 2 week's time) but as soon as I'm set, I'll start bugging him to finish the layout that he is building (Castle Rock East). I think... I think he mentioned that he wouldn't mind some opinion on the layout design front... hmmm... given I spent 3 years designing my layout, and I actually have nothing to do in the designing front at the moment, I believe you are in big trouble Rohit... God knows what you got into... :P :D

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Scenery: Background Hill

I continued with scenery for this weekend as well. First I finished the road and made the thermocol/foam base for the hill. I also installed all the street lamps before I put more paper mache in the hill. The testing of the lamps:

Then the paper mache... still wet as you can understand from the photos.

Now, after I finished the hill and went for testing the lights, I discovered that there is something wrong in the connection! Isn't it precious the way defects are discovered AFTER the installation is complete, despite of all the testing and everything that you do!

Anyway, I had to spend another couple of hours to adjust the phases. I also discovered for Model Power lights, it's better to keep just three lamps in one phase, more than that, It doesn't work properly irrespective of the capacity of the power sources.

Also, I brought down the voltage to 6V DC than the prescribed 14V AC. At 14V AC just these 9 lights were enough to light up the whole port! Which is very unrealistic. In reality, street lamps are to light just the streets and diffuse significantly over small distances. 6V serves the purpose perfectly.

Well, I also spent some time making the railings on that tiny bridge...

Next step: rock formations, shades and N scale vehicles with operating headlights!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Scenery at last: Tunnel

I couldn't resist any more... Yes, I thought of touching scenery after being done with the work on the port - the port wall, concrete streets etc. But this weekend, I kind of g 'driven' towards the tunnel.

First, the tunnel portals. I used styrene stone texture sheets with plain, white, 1mm X 3mm styrene braces for the entrance.

Oh! by this time I also took the liberty of doing some ballasting. :P

Coming back to the tunnel, I then added the retaining walls...

Then the paper mache and the road... This road is going to lead to the Lighthouse. It's a thin service road to handle small and medium vehicles, with very tight clearance for vehicles going in opposite directions. Honestly, I personally would never likely drive, or even ride a car on that piece of @#$*&!

To make things more 'dramatic' there is the spare span of plate girder bridge I saved from the ME Trestle kit. And those black 'n' red wires are to put a couple of ratty street lamps- oh yeah! I have civic sense... :P

And here is a small dedication to my tree loving wifey! 'Temporary' tree installations (that have since been removed)

Couple of things if you are wondering about them: 1. the derailed tank cars were noticed after the photos were taken and I REALLY didn't have the patience to go back, put them 'back on track' and take the snap again - Oh! common... 2. the Mache is still wet in the pictures - they are supposed to dry up and become rock solid. So far the transformation looks good, and they kind of look like 'white' volcanic rocks - isn't that precious? :P