In A Bit Of Estate

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Bilco
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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby Bilco » Sun Nov 13, 2016 7:38 pm

Mai laidy waif has been asking me how the things I'm making fit into the Berger Hall story. I'm struggling to remember what I've told her, so I thought I would get the back-story down in black and white ....

BERGER HALL BACK STORY

Sebastian Berger was the scapegrace younger son of a family of minor gentry, born in 1825. He was expelled from Eton (a scandal concerning the under-gardener’s daughter), sent down from Cambridge (a scandal concerning the barmaid at the Fort St George public house on Midsummer Common), and forced to resign his commission in the Guards (a scandal concerning his Colonel’s wife). His family decided that Something Must Be Done, and after much deliberation they sent him to Australia as a Remittance Man[1].

In 1851 he and his faithful Aboriginal tracker Kaffie were in the area around Ballarat, in Victoria , when gold deposits were discovered there[2]. He was thus able to secure a very high-yielding spot before the huge influx of people, and quickly made a fortune. He was acquainted with John Turner and Charles McCarthy, who were later to feature in ‘The Boscombe Valley Mystery’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle[3], and there was some speculation that he had been involved with Turner (Black Jack of Ballarat) and the group of bush-rangers who robbed a large gold convoy; nothing was proved.

In 1858 he returned to England a very wealthy man. He bought a run-down estate which he renamed Berger Hall, {bought a knighthood} contributed money to the party forming the government of the day and was awarded a knighthood, and in 1865 married an heiress. He had a son, Macintosh, who inherited the estate and the title on Sebastian’s death in 1890.

Sebastian had started work to bring the estate back from its run-down state, clearing derelict woodland and planting trees, with the aim of restoring it to the original design of the landscape architect Isaac ‘Incapable’ Green, who had created a park with faux-Classical features in the 18th century – the remains of his Temple of Bacchus are still evident. The mature trees on the estate suffered much damage in the severe storms of 9-13th March 1891 and 17th/18th November, 1893[4], and Sir Macintosh has been working ever since on clearing the fallen timber and planting trees to replace them.

Sir Macintosh married in 1892 the elder daughter of Lord Wimpy, and he and Lady Frideswide (her mother was influenced by the story of St Frideswide, Oxford’s Patron Saint[5]) have a son, Hamilton[6], twins Ronald and Macdonald, and a daughter, Ambrosia. He read Greats at Oxford, but was very interested in engineering from an early age, and when he read Sir Arthur Heywood’s work ‘Minimum Gauge Railways’ and the accounts of the lines Sir Arthur constructed at Eaton Hall and Duffield Bank, he decided that he would have a 15” line around the Berger Hall estate.

The Berger Hall Railway was completed in 1900, and is a circular line around the estate grounds. It is meant to serve as a pleasure railway, transporting visitors around the sights, as well as serving the estate sawmill and stables. It takes in such features as the Temple of Bacchus and the Cascades, that were created by ‘Incapable’ Green, and uses some of the modified landscape features, such as the semi-derelict ha ha at Temple Halt, for the trackbed. A wooden loco shed has been constructed in the stable yard, using timber from the estate. This required the demolition of a portion of the stable yard wall, much to the disgust of head groom Arthur Biscuit.

The railway has three staff, - two drivers, Harry Ramsden and J D Wetherspoon, and a mechanic - Arthur Biscuit’s son Garibaldi (known as Gari). Rolling stock consists of a loco named after Sir Sebastian’s tracker Kaffie, four 4-wheel 4-seater carriages and two open wagons, all constructed at the Eaton Hall workshops. The BHR has attracted interest both in Britain and on the Continent, and has many visitors. Sir Macintosh and Lady Frideswide (known as ‘Fries’ in the family) enjoy showing the railway and estate to the visitors, their hospitality is renowned, and their generosity is much appreciated in the local village of Much Bowsting. Sir Macintosh has the advowson[7] of the church of St Lawrence, and has recently arranged for the living to be granted to the Reverend Duncan Donats, a graduate from his old college.

There may be more :roll:


1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remittance_man

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_gold_rushes

3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boscombe_Valley_Mystery

4. http://booty.org.uk/booty.weather/climate/1850_1899.htm

5.http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/oxford/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_8403000/8403977.stm

6. One for the Perry Mason fans.

7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advowson
Last edited by Bilco on Sat Nov 19, 2016 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby lesmond » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:13 pm

That is a lovely thing, Bill. Thanks for the update - really looking well.

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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby chris stockdale » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:58 pm

Hugely tickled by that history.

:D :D :D

Cheers

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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby NotHarryPotter » Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:06 pm

Bilco,

this is a lovely backstory. Australia is full of miscreants, convicts and ne'er-do-wells.
I should know, I'm related to quite a few! :D
They also make iocaine, a tasteless and odourless poison (the deadliest poison in the world)
referred to in the Princess Bride https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9s0UURBihH8
One very minor correction, Ballerat is spelled Ballarat. :D

One piece of Estate statuary that might be worth looking into could be the "Weeping Angel" from Dr Who. In recent times there was a Dr Who magazine and figure set sold through newsagents. The Weeping angel figure looked great and would be just about the right size for a scenic item in 1/24 scale see https://forbiddenplanet.com/107075-doct ... ing-angel/

cheers
Geoff Potter :D
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Geoff

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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby Bilco » Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:25 pm

Well, another month goes by and a little more progress has been made, mainly in the Stable Yard scene. As we join the owner of Berger Hall, Sir Macintosh Berger at the Stables ...

Image

... we see 'Kaffie', with driver Harry Ramsden at the regulator, passing through. In the front carriage Graf Heinz von Pitze-Hütt is busy assessing possible military uses of 15" railways, while in the background Colonel Sanders of the War Office, down to keep a discrete eye on the Graf, observes him closely, in the company of Sir Macintosh. The Colonel has kept his city bowler hat despite being down in the country, and has a fine military bearing.

Image

The last passenger, Ma'm'selle Étoile Michelin, has nearly had her hat blown off passing though the Yard gates, and isn't very pleased.

Image

This wide view shows us that the new clock tower isn't as firmly fixed to the roof of the Stable Block as Sir Macintosh was assured it was. When he notices there will be a few vacancies amongst the estate employees.

Image

Later, 'Kaffie' with driver J D Wetherspoon brings some planks from the estate sawmill, so that Gari Biscuit can get on with making some doors for the loco shed, while Sir Macintosh keeps a close eye on things.

Image

This overhead view shows that in reality there is still work to do here. The track needs to be infilled and gravel spread over the yard surface.

Hours of fun.
Bill

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Too soon old, too late smart.

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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby lesmond » Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:18 am

Hi Bill, that is lovely - thanks for the update.

Les :D
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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby rue_d_etropal » Wed Dec 21, 2016 7:10 pm

wish you luck wit the infill. Worth while having a look at how Michael Mott did it. it is somewhere on this forum. Would be a pity to spoil layout when other parts are so good. And yes, you could have used my 3D printed track, but everyone has their own ideas, and some work out OK.
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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby Bilco » Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:14 pm

Yes Simon, I remember Michael's method of infill - water-colour paper, if I recall. I had thought of your infills, too, but I didn't think that this setting would have the track specially set in cobbles. I said gravel, but in fact it's a coarse sand and very fine chippings - good for drainage, but won't get trapped in the horses' hooves.
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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby Bilco » Tue Dec 27, 2016 3:05 pm

Gari Biscuit has been working flat-out over the Christmas period to make the doors to the loco shed ...

Image

... and Sir Macintosh has come to inspect progress. "Very good," he says, "Now just give 'em a couple of coats of creosote, fit hinges, and hang 'em." He also makes a mental note to tell the people at the estate sawmill to cut planks rather more thinly - if one of those doors falls on Gari he'll be asking for some time off work.

Gari's thoughts are best imagined - he wants to keep his job at B'ger 'All (as the locals say in their barbarous dialect) so bites his tongue ....
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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby Steve Holland » Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:33 pm

Berger Hall is looking wonderful, but how do you find time for modelling over the Christmas period? I've only just escaped from the kitchen after all that cooking :D - then washing the pans, plates and dishes afterwards :cry: May also need to get my trouser waistband let out after far too many mince pies and biscuits :roll:
At least I managed to find time to make a coal stage for Smallbeach shed before Christmas.

Image

I'm not sure that such a tatty structure would be allowed in the grounds of Berger Hall though.
Those are good substantial doors on the loco shed, just what is needed to keep the riff-raff away from Kaffie. Not sure if Gari Biscuit is testing Sir Macintosh's DIY knowledge though (in my case DIY means 'Destroy It Yourself"!!), but has he deliberately placed the doors the wrong way round? The Z brace should really have the bottom of the diagonal nearest the hinge so that it supports the outer planks and stops the door sagging.
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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby Bilco » Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:28 am

Many thanks, Steve - modelling time was certainly limited recently, but I managed to sneak in the odd hour in the evenings, when the grandchildren had gone home, and there was nothing on't telly that I wanted to watch. I like the coal stage.

On the diagonals - Gari is very relieved that Sir Macintosh didn't notice that! It was only later that he realized that he'd propped the doors up for inspection the wrong way round. Not to worry - he'll get them on the correct sides when he hangs them.

At the moment he's up to his elbows in creosote - he wants to get the job finished before New Years Eve, as he's been promised some quality time with Lucy Larstick, the barmaid at the 'Leg-o'-Mutton' pub in the village. She says she'll show him some fireworks to bring in 1901. When he asked if there'd be some bangs she said she wouldn't be surprised ...
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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby Bilco » Sun Jan 01, 2017 5:28 pm

Gari finished the work on the shed doors yesterday, and Sir Macintosh strolled over from the Big House to check them out ...

Image

"Right, the coats of creosote are fine, and I'm pleased that you've fitted catches and bolts as well as the hinges - but you've hung 'em too low. Hang 'em about 4 inches higher, or they won't clear the rails."

Garri sighed - life was sooo unfair. He wasn't going to see the fireworks that Lucy promised him, either - he'd made the mistake of telling his mum what he was going to do on New Year's Eve, and she'd told him he wasn't to go. "That Larstick gal's no better'n 'er should be - you stay away from 'er or I'll give you what-for!". Gari muttered rebelliously and his mum told his dad to forbid him to go.

But Gari's dad was sitting with a dreamy smile on his face, remembering the fun he had with with Lucy's ma when they were young. The he noticed the basilisk glare from his wife - she was also remembering the fun he'd had with Lucy's ma. "Oh - aarr - you just do what yer mum says young fellah" he managed to say, hoping that was enough to satisfy his wife.

Gari sulked off out and his dad followed him quickly, thinking that he'd got away with it. His wife watched him go -"'E thinks 'e's got away with it" she thought. "I'll make him suffer when 'e gets 'ome ternight. Now, shall I give 'im 'is supper cold or burned to a crisp?" And she sat by the fire happily contemplating the various ways she could make him squirm ....

Happy New Year from B'ger 'All.
Bill

If at first you don't succeed, cheat.
Too soon old, too late smart.

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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby NotHarryPotter » Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:40 pm

Happy New Year Bill!
cheers
Geoff
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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby Steve Holland » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:23 pm

Bill,

Was Lucy Larstick by any chance related to Norma Snockers or Eva Vestoff? (sorry, could not resist :roll: )
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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby Bilco » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:04 am

Steve - I think you are referring to Lucy's Dutch cousin Norma Snokkers. Eva Vestoff is a Russian lady of negotiable virtue, often visited by Sir Macintosh's dissolute cousin Sebastian Berger-King.
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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby Bilco » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:56 pm

Work has been ongoing putting the grit down in the stable yard. The areas outside the rails were given a coat of thinned PVA and a mixture of chinchilla dust and finely-sieved road dust sprinkled over the top. When the glue was dry the loose dust was hoovered off and a second coat applied. For the lengths between the rails the first task was to fill in between the sleepers with more sleepers cut from lengths of track base from which the rails had been stripped. When the resulting bits had been glued down the thinned PVA was deployed again, and a coating of the dusts applied, making sure to cover the rail fixings.


Image


When this was dry and the excess dust removed, two lines of thicker PVA were laid along the track, leaving a space between the glue and the rails, and then the thinned PVA applied between the thicker lines ...


Image


This was covered with more dust, and when the thick PVA was well on the way to drying, the back of the tea spoon, which was the exotic tool used to apply the dust, was run down the sides to blend them into the rail fixings. Again, when the glue was dry the excess was hoovered off ...


Image


This leaves a thicker covering of dust with a groove down the centre, so more thinned PVA and dust will be applied, to build up a humped appearance between the rails.The final act will be to apply a thin layer of dust over the whole caboodle and drip on Woodlands Scenics Scenic Cement with a drop of washing up liquid mixed in to aid the penetration. This mix will also be coated over the whole yard area to seal in the dust and, one hopes, prevent any bits getting in the loco mechanism. The point has had glue and dust very carefully applied to the areas away from the switch rails - there will be planking between these in due course. So, the track is not so much inset as buried.


Meanwhile, Sir Macintosh has finally approved Gari's work on the loco shed doors ...


Image


"Right, your next job is ...."
Last edited by Bilco on Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby MickT » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:14 pm

Unfortunately Bill, there doesn't appear to be a facility for posting "likes" on here, so please give yourself a couple from me! I would be very interested in meeting your Dutch lady Norma Schnokkers (spelt the way they say it over there) sometime soon! :shock: :D

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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby Bilco » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:13 pm

Well Mick, I'm sure Norma would be delighted to meet you ...

Image

... however you spell her name!

And thank you for the 'like'.
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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby lesmond » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:34 am

Hi Bill,

Have a "like" from me, too. That is a lovely job, and very instructional as well.

Thanks for sharing.

Les
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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby Bilco » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:25 pm

The 'glue & dust' work in the stable yard has been declared finished, at last. The looked-for 'humped' appearance between the rails turned out to be more sharp-edged than that, but the loco runs along with no problems, so it'll do.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the estate, work has been going on with the grassed areas ...

Image

... an overall view, showing the two grassed patches.

I used an applicator bought on t'Bay - the usual unholy marriage of tea strainer and electric fly swat, with my home-made touching stick to make contact with the surface. I watched some videos on t'Tube and set to. First job was the mask off the bits I didn't want green and hairy - the tree stumps, rails and walls. Then I spread a good layer of medium-thick PVA and started with an overall coat of 2mm grass. When the glue was dry I shook and vacuumed off the excess then, using WWS Layering Spray, put down another overall layer of 4mm, followed by a vacuum, another spray and 6mm at the outer sides of the areas. Finally, another vacuum to produce the result you see.

I'm using Polak Static Grass, mixed with some Modelling Materials of the same length. The Polak stuff is their Spring Green, while the MM is a slightly darker mix - Meadow Green - to introduce a little colour variety. I had expected all the fibres to be standing rigidly at attention, but the effect I achieved at my very first attempt ever at this particular procedure is more 'woolly'. It reminds me a little of when mai laidy waif washed my RAF 'Woolly Pully', then put it though the tumble-dryer - when I turned up for work wearing what looked a bit like an RAF-blue fluffy angora sweater I attracted lots of comment, most of which I could have done without. Anyway, this is what it looks like close-up ...

Image

At least the colour seems to blend well with the photographs of Blenheim's grass in the background.

Next up is sticking on the ha ha walling, putting down the halt platform, and finishing the ballasting.

Hours of fun.
Bill

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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby docnjoj » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:41 pm

That grass is looking great. Beautiful spring day!
otherDoc
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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby chris stockdale » Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:11 pm

Looking great! :D

Boy, have we come a long way as a hobby. That is such an advance over the good old 'coloured sawdust'.

Cheers,

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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby NotHarryPotter » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:13 am

A very nice job! The layout is looking terrific!
cheers
Geoff
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Geoff

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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby Mark Goodwin » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:49 am

Hi Bill,

Have another "like" from me. I like your work especially the connecting rods on the Smallbrook locomotive, plus the layout concept and everything else that you have shared with us on this site. Please keep us posted so that we can admire and be inspired. :lol:
Warm regards
Mark
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Re: In A Bit Of Estate

Postby Bilco » Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:24 pm

Many thanks for the very kind comments and 'likes' chaps. I must say, I'm very pleased with the way the grass turned out, and the overall effect is closer to what I envisaged than I thought I'd be able to achieve. I had thought to put lots of trees in front of the photographed ones, but I think I'll be a bit more sparing, especially as getting trees to look right in 1:24th isn't likely to be easy - if only someone made saplings in our scale! There'll be trees in front of the holes in the backscene, and possibly shrubs on the outer edges of the uplands.

Today I've been doing the ha ha walls and coping stones, and getting the platform and steps into position - photos to come soon, Mark.
Bill

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Too soon old, too late smart.

https://sites.google.com/site/myoldlayouts/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/149926300@N07/albums


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