Tuesday 21 April 2020

Famous For Nothing-Weathering Style

A few Danish friends have asked how I did the rust on the skips I showed in the last blog post. In fact it was a really fun process where I threw caution to the wind, uncoupled the mind and worked with hardly any control.

In armour modelling every self-respecting semi-professional modeller has invented a style of painting or weathering. Naturally named after themselves. I don't pretend having invented anything. Perhaps I have merely gone insane after more than 4 weeks of working from home due to the corona situation. My weathering method involves beer and loud rock music and if neither appeals to you in a combination with model trains, you better browse away.
One ingredient in the Famous For Nothing-weathering style: real rust. I break up the flakes of rust into dust with the end of a scalpel handle.
Once all ingredients are assmbled and ready for action it's a fast and enjoyable experience - and the result isn't the worst compared to what is usually attained in company with beer and loud music. Here is my recipe:

  • 2 0.5 liter cans of Guinness
  • 2 16 mm scale skips
  • 4 acrylic rust tones
  • 2 tubes of oil paint - burnt sienna and raw umber
  • old 35 mm film can with turpentine
  • 2 old brushes - not the smallest ones
  • fine rust dust (preferably donated from a 1:1 skip)
  • one wooden stirring stick
  • Dropkick Murphys playing 'Famous for nothing' (preferably a live version) really loud.

Open and enjoy one can of Guinness while preparing work area, getting the ingredients ready and fitting earphones. Make sure everything is within easy reach and paints are opened and well stirred.

Open the second can of beer, select 'Famous for nothing' and turn the volume up high. If Dropkick Murphys isn't exactly your cup of tea, select any other music with a fast rythm. I have found that Flogging Molly with 'Drunken Lullabies' works almost as well. Beer and music enables you to work in a fast rythm with less controllable movements than normal for modelling and painting. Switching randomly from one pot of paint to the next and stipling the paint on in a fast pace matching the rythm of the music creates a random 'smearing' of paint. Once in a while scoop up a bit of powdered rust with the stirring stick and apply over the wet paint. Remember to enjoy the beer. Keep working, pushing the repeat button on the music as necessary, and just keep at it until the skips are completly covered in paint and grainy spots of rust. While the acrylic paint dries, clean the brush, sip some more beer and then apply a dotty pattern of variably turpentine thinned oil paint over the skips. Then put the skips aside to dry. It's not advisable to drive a car immediately after this painting proces.

I haven't any in-progress images as I found myself totally absorbed in the painting process. The below images are 'post production'. The fine thing about the process is that the colours and rust powder is applied in a very randomized way without much chance for thought or planning.
Two skips ready for the next stage. At the time I had not decided if I would simply varnish these after weathering and add dust and traces of gravel or if I'd apply a patchy dark grey on top of a layer of chipping medium. 

In the end I decided to do both. Painted one with faint traces of a covering colour of grey (applied with a piece of torn off kitchen cleaning sponge) and left the other in bare rust. Both will later have dust and traces of gravel added and probably an extra layer of matt varnish.

Here is an earlier example of a skip with texture from rust powder. The number is ready to be stenciled with white paint. The stencils are etched metal, cover 0-9 in several fonts and sizes, and can be combined into any number with masking tape. After stencilling, the skip will be treated with a moist brush to reveal the rust colour under the layers of dark grey and chipping medium.
The Famous For Nothing-weathering method probably isn't applicable in the smaller scales, but in 16 mm scale it is an enjoyable way of combining 3 great things: rock music, beer and railways. All without getting hurt. What's not to like?

Thursday 16 April 2020

All DIN-Skips Painted

All 6 German DIN-skips are now covered in paint. I don't pretend they are completely finished as I plan to give them all a layer of dust and small amounts of gravel deposited here and there. The skips are painted differently. One is in almost pristine and newly reapired condition, complete with welded repair and a fancy company name as well as numbering. 3 are in a moderately worn condition with rust showing through and the last 2 are almost completely devoid of any covering paint.
Nystrup Gravel's 3 'newest' skips. One recently refurbished and 2 in need of an overhaul, unless the rust should be allowed to keep eating away the steel. 
The skips have all been numbered in accordance with the usual Nystrup Gravel practice. That is: without any particular practice at all. The skips are numbered 2, 3, 4, 12, 27, 58. Some with crudely hand painted digits, some with large stencils and the rusty ones with chalked on digits, the original painted on digits having rusted away.
3 skips showing different levels of damage. One recently repaired and 2 both buckled and rusty. 

Some of the coarse texture of rust flakes and caked on dirt on the side of skip no 3 can be seen quite easily in this image.
The majority of the corona-measures are still in force in Denmark at the time of writing. The youngest children are back in school (still with social distancing in force) and the lock-down is lifted just a tiny bit in some business sectors. I'm still working full time and consequently not enriched with more time for modelling. Still I think things are progressing rather well at Nystrup Gravel.

Friday 10 April 2020

Temporary Garden Railway

With nice weather and high temperatures during Easter I took the opportunity to establish a short temporary outdoor line in my garden. Located on the outskirts of a lawn recently cleaned from moss, the line provided me a possibility to take Nystrup Gravel's No. 3 for a run with a few skips.
Skips 27, 4 and 58 behind loco no. 3 on the temporary garden line. Despite it's length there was a pronounced dip in the line giving the Lister with only one driven axle a little challenge.

The temporary garden line is not the beginning of a garden railway. It's a chance to run trains outdoors, enjoying the sun and find out what viewing angles are the most beneficial in the garden. Consisting of only 4 Peco SM32 track panels it's a very short line, but with a scale length of 74 m nevertheless longer than at least two Danish prototype narrow gauge industrial railways.

As many garden railway modellers, I have found it quite difficult to simultaneously operate a lcoomotive and follow it with a camera, particularly on a short line. A few test shots clearly documented the need for a tripod. Still, even with the camera on a tripod, there is a long way to a perfect result.
Lister with skips passing a few of the garden's tulips.

My first 16 mm scale wagon pulled by my first (and so far) only locomotive in that scale.

Sunday 5 April 2020

Track Work Soon to Start

Amid the great corona lockdown and whilst I was playing with wooden rails, the post man called at the door. The ever dependable track supplier of Wenz Modellbau continues a proud tradition of German companies supplying track material to Danish narrow gauge industrial railways.
Supplies for the track workers at Nystrup Gravel have arrived. Track spikes, fish plates, sleepers and rails.
After having contemplated what choises to make regarding track back in february I'm now well equipped for the first experiments with homebuilt track in 16 mm scale. In 1:35 I made my own sleepers by cutting appropriate pieces from a supply of poplar profiles. As I was shopping at Wenz Modellbau I found it resonably to buy a batch of ready made sleepers from abachi wood. As the sleepers (as well as the fish plates) are meant for 1:32 scale standard gauge they are a bit too long (80 mm) but otherwise a very good match for a wooden sleeper for 600 mm gauge in 1/19 scale. I will reduce the sleepers in varying lengths between to 60-65 mm. Wenz Modellbau has an impressingly large selection of track supplies and their website is well worth a study .
What at first looks like tank tracks is actually two bands of etched fish plates from Wenz Modellbau. One band has rectangular bolt heads while the other band has 4 hexagonal nuts. The fish plates are designed to be bent to shape and fitted to Code 143 rail. I will probably use solder.

Newly fitted and greased fish plates on 22,5 kg/m 700 mm track on Hedelands Veteranbane in Denmark. My Nystrup Gravel track will look pretty much like this only without base plates. Rails made by Krupp.

With everything figured out I only need to find out how to replicate the manufacturing company's markings in the web of the rail. Here is a marking on a 22 kg/m tongue rail. Again it's a German  producer. Any enthusiast interested in the rolled markings on rails should visit the German website walzzeichen.de

Wednesday 1 April 2020

Wooden Rails at Nystrup Gravel

Some years ago I watched a German modeller experiment with a battery powered loco in 1:45 scale running on primitive track completely made from wood. I was rather taken by the concept and recently Rod Hutchinson from Australia built an exhibition layout named  'The Points' with battery powered RC-locos running on wooden rails. Near Nystrup the small company Ericsson's Masonry close to the Nystrup Gravel line used wooden track panels to connect its workshop to the Nystrup track when having stone delivered.

Wooden track made from scrap wood. The sharpest curve I could get the Lister 'round' without binding. The track is built on a scrap piece of foam board - this is really cheap large scale railway modelling!
Having a particular interest in track and rails I'm now experimenting with wooden rails for Nystrup Gravel. Not that I have any immediate plan for installing track with wooden rails on my future module. Still, it's nice to find out if I can manage building wooden track that works.

Below is a short sequence showing how the Lister performs on the wooden test track. With a gentler 'curve' and a little more widening of the gauge, the loco will need less speed to overcome the binding at the kink. The Lister is an excellent slow runner and will be a good match for a short length of wooden track. 

My next test track will involve a longer and less sharp 'curve' to allow me to test run the Lister coupled with a wagon. More on that later, as I have just received a package with track parts of a more conventional kind from Germany. Can't wait to unpack!