Well it’s been a pretty hectic time down here on Planet Jandowae since my last little rant.
Since then, we’ve attended a multitude of shows. As always, we had an absolute ball! Obviously it goes without saying that we would like to thank All the clubs for their continued support and for continuing to put on such great shows.
Many of you have been asking after Rob lately and inquiring as to how he is doing and so forth. Well I happy to say that he is up and mobile (well in a form) and his typical bloody minded attitude is serving him well to ensure he will not be seeing the glue factory any time soon. That aside, he did managed to catch himself a death defyingly deadly case of the dreaded man flu of, um, death. Thankfully the Australian medical profession had misplaced their “special pills” and euthanasia is still illegal in this country so… Rob is back on deck! And will be on hand for the last show of the year at Beenleigh.
Meanwhile back at the asylum, we had another of our barbeques. This one was nice and small with just Paul Henderson, Yani Tout and Charles Clarke. Having just the four of us milling around the layout room was great. After much discussion, it seems like we’re heading in what most seem to think is the right direction for this layout and everything appears to be working well. That being said, we’re expecting a majorly cataclysmic event at some point within the next few days… Obviously.
Scenery has started to be placed on the end of the Abattoirs branch and a “slab” has been laid for the main building which was resurrected from the old layout. A few more point motors have been installed… a dozen more actually. So only 30 or so to go now and all 73 sets are motorised and wired for DCC.
The greatest change to the layout has been the addition of the head boards that was touched on briefly in the last chapter. We have also installed the first 15 meters of LED strip lighting. we bought this from eBay for the princely sum of around eleven dollars for a five meter roll. With the first three rolls up, all I can say is WOW. These things totally change the way the layout looks and feels. this is exactly what I was planning for the old layout, it just never eventuated.
The current plan is to add two switches to the fascia of the layout. One for turning the main layout lighting on and off. And the second one will operate the dimmable blue LED’s for night time operation as well as all the street lights, building interior lights and those on the vehicles… Assuming I don’t give up on soldering between now and then.
I can say, that whilst typing this rant, I did in fact add the isolated section for the loco depot and it works a treat. We have been forced to make use of it only once thus far when we double up on running numbers but it also makes everything a lot simpler with controlling the layout as there is less locomotives starting up (especially when Captain Blackout is here).
The layout fascias have been getting a bit of attention and now there is just one small section to put in. With the scenery around the Container yard and Harriston South yard starting to take shape, we are almost ready to install the cross members for supporting the headboards and lighting fixtures.
As usual, these were made using styrene formers and then plaster was laid in and smoothed as it dried. I’ve found that a simple plastic spatula works wonders for this and once the plaster is partially dry, I come back with a wet finger and just rub any undulations smooth. Once it is all dry, I give it a light splash of water and hit it with some course grit wet and dry sand paper. I have not tried to go for a perfectly smooth finish but something that is roughly smooth.
This section was to be painted to represent bitumen and, as usual, was done with cheap artist acrylics. As the paint dried and soaked in (gotta love plaster), it became lighter and took on a much more “natural” shade. The final step will be to add some lining and then some light weathering with powders. As always though, we shall see how we go.