Langstead – Episode 24: Summer 2014 Updates

So I realise there hasn’t really been a layout update since May! The last you will have seen is the work I undertook to permanently fix my two base boards together by building a new underframe.

This enabled me to properly complete the ballasting over the gap between the two boards as seen here…

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You may notice that there are two types of ballast here. The reason behind this dates back to the expansion project I undertook last year when I happen to use a different type of ballast on the outer loop. For consistency purposes I’ve re-ballasted the entire layout using this new mixture.

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This didn’t involve ripping up the old ballast (which is why you can still see it there). I simply ran my spreading tool (seen in the expansion episodes) over the old ballast, creating a neat and defined layer that is uniform across the whole layout.

I’m not bothered about the old ballast being a different colour between the running lines, I feel this adds definition and gives me a clear location to place tufts of grass and weeds. Which is something else I’ve been doing…

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From the MiniNatur range I’ve used various colours and lengths to create this effect.

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Hopefully you’ll also have spotted that the sleepers are no longer the standard black plastic that they roll out of the Hornby factory in.

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I’ve painted these a dirty brown colour.

This was a long and laborious process which involved making sure any stray ballast was scraped clear of each sleeper. This was actually partly the reason for painting in the first place, as I felt the ballast had taken over the track bed in places and didn’t look right. This is also the trouble with using the ballast spreader as it tends to dump far too much between the sleepers inevitably leading to some getting stuck on top – no matter how thorough you are at trying to brush it out! Once this was complete, making sure no paint found its way onto the remaining ballast was a very painstaking process.

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Obviously in an ideal world you paint, or whether your track long before you ballast. This way you’ll likely be able to get into all the nooks and crannies in a way I haven’t been able to. But don’t forget this project has been as much a learning curve for me as it has you, and I’m starting to now experiment with tasks like fine detail painting and weathering which I wasn’t confident to do at the beginning. If you too are in a similar boat, then hopefully this shows you can achieve things in the wrong order, in a retrograde manner but you’ll definitely have to put in more work doing so. I must say I’m really pleased with the results. The track really suits the new ballasting too.

Next up… you’ll remember I recently updated the station layout, giving it a 2nd platform. It looked like this (note also the comparison in ballasting)…

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…all very lovely. Now the boards are together I’ve been able to nail down the track here, and ballast it like the rest of the layout.

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Rather brilliantly I ran out of the new brand of ballast half way through this process… Seeing that I was going to run out though I quickly made the decision to make use of some old brown ballast, left over from Salford Chapel, to create a grey-brown blend. I’ve used this on Platform 2’s road, to simulate a more worn, older, distressed look…

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In real life it would be highly likely that the shorter platform would have seen less use – after all it can only accommodate single car DMU’s. As a result it’s been less well cared for over the years. I’ve added green scatter, and more tufts of grass to aid this story, but not so much as to make it look completely abandoned.

Of course I could have waited to get more grey ballast, but I hope this little bit of resourceful artistic creativity adds a little detail to the area (whilst saving me a few quid!).

To finish off this area for the time being, a nice new sign. Well, I say new, this is in a more traditional style…

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“Langstead Broad Oak” – I go into more detail about why I chose the name ‘Langstead’ for the town (and for Langstead Junction – the other station on my layout) here on Episode 21. The suffix ‘Broad Oak’ simply took inspiration from a local street, and I think it works nicely.

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Elsewhere on the layout I’ve added some street lighting, which looks really cool at night!…

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It will be my intention to add more in coming months, especially to the station.

A spot of lineside detailing is taking shape ontop of the weeds and grass seen earlier…

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Spot the point motors, now painted a more inconspicuous grey with yellow cabling, hopefully to blend in with the background a little better. The modern image speed restrictions can be download for free here.

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You might wonder why I’ve got modern image restriction signs in one spot, semaphore gantry in another, a BR 1950’s village station here and a 1980’s Network SouthEast station there… Well I like to include a little something from varying eras. Firstly it covers all bases, I’ve got a range of stock from different eras and locations, and I like to think all of it fits in at least somewhere on the layout. But really it’s because I like having a go at modelling lots of different things. Accurate? No, of course not. But that’s not the point of my layout. Will I change my mind? Maybe, I seem to do that a lot! But right now I enjoy the historical variety my layout provides. After all, it’s what a lot of heritage railways do anyway.

Finally I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to improve and breathe new life into old stock. (Old in the sense of the model, not the era!). Catch up on my LMS Coach Project here where I vastly improve some boring old Hornby Railroad carriages. I’ve also been working on cleaning and maintaining some (really) old locos… If you follow me on Twitter you might have recently seen me talking about doing a complete overhaul on an old Lima Class 121. Another shout out to ooRail and his vlog on ringfield motor cleaning, which really has given the old girl some new life…

In a similar fashion to the coach blog I’ve added some underframe detail using both real life, and other model’s pictures as inspiration. You’ll never guess it’s over 15 years old…

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Well that brings you up to date, I hope to add some more updates soon, but we’re now into the realms of detailing and fine touches so I may let a few build up as I have done here so I can talk about them all in one go. In the meantime I’m still working on Loco Reviews, and hope to have one about the Hornby Class 50 out soon! Stay tunes.

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– Andy Carter

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