Thursday, 9 January 2020

Bethungra Loop "N" scale - Part 7

Part 7 - Start made on backdrops and trees

It is really encouraging to have reached this stage on the Bethungra layout.

Another picture of the LRV tour train in 1997 - about to enter tunnel #1.  Again, my slide conversion to digital is rather amateurish.  Things to note is the distant hills. 


For the last 10 years, I have been storing, transporting, and storing again, four 1800 x 915 x 3mm MDF sheets that were given to me.  I always thought they would be good for backscenes, so it was great to finally use them.  These sheets had been previously used.   There was evidence of timber framing,  holes, and all sheets had paint on one side. 

I cut one of the sheets down the middle, and had 3.6 metres of backboards.  Unfortunately, 3.6 mtrs was slightly short, so another sheet was cut, yielding an additional 1.2 mtrs.

These sheets were attached to the timber framing using clamps, and then drilled, and screwed in the normal manner.  I tried to reuse many of the preexisting holes.  Each hole that was used was marked with a texta, as the backscene will need to be removed at least twice more for painting.

The long side needed  two sheets, and my joining method may be unusual.

Clamps and really strong magnets were used to hold the joining piece to the backscene, whilst the white glue dried.  These magnets came out of old mainframe disc drives, and are seriously powerful. 

The other side of the backscene showing the steel plates held in place with the magnets.  The unpainted section of backscene is a legacy of the MDF's previous life as a wardrobe door.


The Junee Broadway Museum had supplied me with 2 types of trees.

 One type included some previous scenery material, so I assume it was part of the original layout.  These had been made from twisted wire, coated with possibly Selleys "no-more gaps", painted, and foam added.

The other tree type was appeared to be hand made in China.  There were over 100, and all sized at 3.5cm, or smaller.  The green foam used was too green, and distracting.  I have found similar on ebay for around $25 delivered.

A selection of passable gum trees, supplied by the museum.  Their height varies, but 7-9cm was typical
The other trees - suspect these were made in China.  Height nominal 3.5cm
The Chinese trees have a pleasing variety, and squinting, they could pass for a gum - but are too small, and a horrible colour.  But they could be used in the distance - providing they can be painted.

The polystyrene foam base they were on would not survive air brushing with floquil, as may of the trees were not firmly planted, and the polystyrene would dissolve under the floquil solvents.  So I found an alternative plastic foam, and planted them in two lots.

My Floquil Pullman green paint jar - more of an olive shade.  When did Floquil stop making bottles that were square?  All of my remaining Floquil is in round bottles.  This could make this paint ANCIENT.  I remember using this paint bottle around 20 years ago to paint a C&O brass doodlebug (but that is another story).  However, the paint is viable, and once thinned, sprayed well 

The chinese trees  - one batch painted, the other as supplied.

Bethungra Loop hill - with the chinese trees on the ridge.  Some of the larger ones were planted a bit closer, down the hill, but the majority were crowded on top.  Whilst this is effective, the size of the ex museum layout trees may make the scene awkward.  What I need are a few trees around 5-6cm high to plant on the lower slope of the hill.  The backscene is yet to be painted, but the shadow on the RHS is a pointer to what is possible.  And no, I haven't ballasted or finished the trackwork in this area

Grouping the larger trees on the hill closest to the viewing point is in my opinion, quite good.  Some more trees have been planted on the flat paddock beyond.  The extensive tree cover in the far distance is still in the future, as is painting the backscene.  

My enthusiasm is returning.  This layout has taken far too long to construct, but the end is now in sight.

Stay safe out there.