Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sigla Acha!

Lets Rock!
Things have beee a tad quiet on the Cwm Lwch construction front of late. The workshops are getting a bit more detailed than I had anticipated so construction on my layout slowed down as I help the participants more. Then there was my birthday to deal with as well so that was another weekend away from the model, but never mind.
Last Saturday I got to do something. I worked on the quarry face. All it is is pieces of white expanded polystyrene stuck together like on the baseboard.
This is as far as I got. It looks a tad precarious but that is because I started out constructing the quarry face as a vertical face but when I'd got it finished I realised that it needed to slope backwards. So once I had trimmed some of the bottom off to slope the face back then the fron't rack face began to lift off the ground.
That however is not a problem as I was planning a retaining wall for that area anyway to help disguise the wagon tippler that I have yet to devise.
Anyway that's the state of play currently. Perhaps I'll get some more done this weekend too.

Monday, March 22, 2010

'n ddedwydd Ben-blwydd ata

Happy Birthday to me that is.
It was a happy birthday indeed. I asked for and got a copy of Slate Quarry Album by Ann and Gordon Hatherill and published by Roy C Link.
What a book! Absolutely chock full of inspirational photographs that will help with the scenic development of Cwm Lwch.
If you are a Slate quarry modeller and you haven't got this book you're doing something very wrong.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

'r dirio dan 'm chorfannau

The baseboard for Cwm Lwch is now completed.
Piece of 3/4" expanded polystyrene, is braced by some 2 1/2" deep strips of the same. On top of that is a piece of 1 1/2" foam cut to the approximate shape of the quarry ledge. Then on top of that I have laid some 3/16" cork tile to lay the track on. It is light and very rigid. I completed the baseboard construction during Saturdays workshop and it certainly fired up peoples enthusiasm to try something different fo baseboards.

Todays blog title means "The ground beneath my feet"...

Friday, March 5, 2010

*Cawn arweiniedig ar gerdded

* I got carried away...
I did, totally and utterly carried away. I was meant to be making some test pieces to demonstrate basboard construction for tomorrows Micro layout workshop. Pieces to show that most any lightweight material can be used as a baseboard if you brace it and protect it well enough. Just test pieces mind, and I ended up making the baseboard for Cwm Lwch. It's 14.25" x 32" for no other reason than I think that is the size that will work. It's made from 1" thick white expanded polystyrene foam a material that everyone tells you isn't suitable for a model railway baseboard. Well, Hitsu was built on white foam, Gonou was too. I have a half finished underground armaments depot layout built on the stuff too so I know it works.

Here underneath you can see the bracing I used to hold the surface flat and level. I think it will work fine for the Cwm Lwch baseboard.
Like I say, it's flat, level and phenomenally light. For those of you who would be concerned about the lightweight polystyrene getting banged about in transit. Well, once the layout gets to a stage where it would be exhibited, it would get boxed up in its own self contained wooden cabinet for protection.
Now, I suppose I still need some demonstration pieces for tommorow as it is...

p.s. I was preparing my materials for this aftenoons workshop just now, and I took a close look at the baseboard now that the Loctite powergrab foamboard adhesive has set fully and I have to say that now the baseboard is extremely rigid.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

'n ddiweddar adegau*

Well, the micro layout workshops at the Princeton Train club are going well. I have 4 keen students all with great ideas. Some narrow gauge, some standard gauge. All very creative ideas that I look forward to seeing develop. The age range is wide, from a teenager to one person who should be retired.
Last weekend I spent time working up their ideas into concepts for them to work on and expand. The teenager, Brian, as is the case with most teenagers, is a computer whizz and after he'd attended the workshop sped off home to work up his concept into some sketches on his computer using Trainz rail simulator software. Within a matter of hours he emailed me back some of his computer renderings and some renderings for one of the other participants concepts too. I was really impressed its for Brian to post his concept renderings on his website that you can see here so check out some of his work it's really jolly good. Then he offered to work up some of my sketches in Trainz too. Not one to resist the lure of modern technology I said Yes and these are the renderings he came up with. The images have a US styling of course rather than North Wales but it's still really impressive.

I like them, I really do. In fact his renderings put a whole new slant on my concept.
I expect Brain gets the same joy and pleasure out of doing his renderings on his computer as I do putting pen to paper, and not knowing what it takes to do his work it's unfair for me to comment too much. But I love the action of putting the pen on the paper and drawing. I love screwing a bit of paper up when I do something wrong. Does Brian get those same feelings selecting a texture to cover a wireframe or hitting the delete key? I will ask him next time...

* modern times

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dudalennau chan 'm sketchbook

Looking at the pictures below, it should be reasonably obvious that the title of this blog post translates to something like "Pages from My Sketchbook" or something close.
Here we have no less than 4 versions of a possible layout to build for the small layout workshop.
This was probably the first version I came up with and it shows a very linear "tuning fork" design. Where a loco brings out either a vee skip loaded with waste to be tipped at a chute in the front there or a flat wagon loaded with a large piece of slate could be lifted by crane onto another wagon below at the end of the siding. Two working features in a few square feet? My goodness how would I fit it all in?
The second design is something a little simpler. Only one working feature. The tipping vee skip. But with this one you would be able to watch the loco and wagon cone towards you out of the mine entrance before curving away to tip the skip in front of your eyes. Rear to front motion instead of the more usual side to side motion we are so used to seeing.
The third would be much the same as number two except a bit more linear.
The final one is a little different. It still has the vee skip tipping like in the second sketch. But this time a loco and flat wagon loaded with a lump of slate would head straight into a finishing shop. I like all the designs. Some more than others. So I don't quite know which to choose yet. Perhaps it will be another slightly different concept yet.
Any ideas and thoughts gratefully received.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A fel ddechrau*

*And so it begins...
Often I start a blog with that phrase. Too much of an unhealthy obsession with the Sci-Fi series "Babylon 5" I guess.
But it's apt. I like it, and I've never seen it in Welsh before. Now having seen it there, I'd really like to hear Ambassador Kosh say it. Most of his statements were unfathomable anyway so that would be prefect for him.
But I'm getting way off the point here.
Research. That's the point.
The place to start if you're looking for inspirational pictures of the Welsh slate industry for a model railway is Dave Sallery's excellent Penmorfa. Pages and pages of pictures of the remains of the slate industry in North Wales and more besides. Everyone needs to view Penmorfa.
Next on my list is Subterranean Brittanica. Prinicpally devoted to underground structures it's surprising how many are rail served. Mines are also covered in great detail. Subrit is highly addictive and should come with some kind of warning.
Another couple of sites I'm using to research Cwm Lwch are aditnow and both are basically forums for mine explorers but they have a huge photo gallery covering all their expeditions.
Those four sites have more than enough to keep me going to start with.
p.s. I'm going to keep going with the titles for my blog posts in Welsh for a while.