Simplicity Sidings

For discussion of the issues faced when building a model or layout - how to replicate wood, what glues to use, exactly how much weathering can a Gnat take, a good source of detailing accessories - you get the picture, I'm sure.

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Steve Bennett
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Postby Steve Bennett » Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:50 am

Looks very good now they are all on there Andy.
Glad to see you managed to get the plaster mix to work. I did pick up from your writings, that the card you used was coated and i think this is why the plaster mix acted differently for you. The stuff I used was just plain card and the water in the mix got sucked into the card straight away. Mine was touch dry in about 5 minutes and almost fully set within an hour, certainly enough to handle without marking.

Might be worth trying to find an uncoated card before you tackle the bigger layout, it should save a fair amount of time and effort.
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Postby AndyA » Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:56 am

Yep, if I'm going to use this for the large layout I'll need to find some un-coated card, but even in the artists' place down in town, the only thick card they stock is mounting stuff, and allegedly this all comes coated whatever the brand, because it doesn't expand and contract with moisture levels. The other stockist is way out of the city.

However, the fact that it's possible to make it work with coated card may help others (I'd guess that quite a few people are stuck with what they can get), so when I redo 1160(S) I'll use the coated stuff and do a proper sequence. The process gives a whole new meaning to 'watching paint dry', but it's simple enough.

Now for the weighbridge and the planks for the other board.

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Postby kevinti28 » Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:39 pm

I want to start on a layout based on Avery-labelle, and my first thought was to use 6mm ply, due to making a working turntable (the ply baseboard would have some depth to hide the mechanism to turn the table) and also to give a firm base for the traverser to slide on.

Has anyone tried using card and foam laminated baseboards with a traverser or turntable?

I cannot get my head around building a turntable within the foam core of such a baseboard (unless I try one of those ultrathin CD case tt's), and I would have thought that the card couldn't take the constant sliding of a traverser.

Do I stick with the tried and tested plywood, or dabble in a card/foam board?
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Postby Steve Bennett » Thu Oct 09, 2008 1:56 pm

Not sure about a turntable, but I have used foamcore for a traverser and it has worked very well and gives very reliable service and after a lot of use, no sign of wear. You can find more details in this thread, you might be there a while though :)
http://forum.gn15.info/viewtopic.php?t=348
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Postby Alexanderrainer » Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:46 pm

kevinti28 wrote:Has anyone tried using card and foam laminated baseboards with a traverser or turntable?

I cannot get my head around building a turntable within the foam core of such a baseboard (unless I try one of those ultrathin CD case tt's), and I would have thought that the card couldn't take the constant sliding of a traverser.


Considered using a muffle, one of those end pieces in a vertical positioned sewage tube, usually available in tool markets/do-it-yourself-stores?
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Postby Alexanderrainer » Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:57 pm

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Postby kevinti28 » Fri Oct 10, 2008 4:52 pm

Steve, thank you for the link, I've just spent ages reading about the construction of the traverser, and also the technique for making setts.

I am still unsure about using a card/foam board for a turntable, so after looking through my Hobby's catalogue, I've sent off for some ready made board consisting of balsa wood laminated with card on both sides.

Hopefully having a balsa wood core will give it a bit more strength to cut a 6" diameter hole in it for a turntable.
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Postby michael » Sun Oct 12, 2008 3:30 am

Love what you are doing Andy, it looks great, looking at the tiles and thinking about your comments regarding the card, have you thought about using 300lb arches watercolour paper instead of card. I have found that watercolour paper is more homogenous than card becouse it is made in the traditional way of being skimmed and dried all at onece instead of a layerd method like the card.

just a thought.
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Postby AndyA » Sun Oct 12, 2008 9:15 am

have you thought about using 300lb arches watercolour paper instead of card.


Not until now :) I did try with some of the half-mil card but it went all wobbly. I'm off down to get some watercolour paper this afternoon - makes sense because of course it's supposed to get wet.

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Postby Rowley » Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:08 pm

While reading the articles by Steve on building his layout and the posts, I notice there was a few suggestions about the cutting of rails. For what its worth, I always use a piercing saw as you can get very fine blades and the cut end doesn't need much cleaning up after. must say it's a very interesting read and does give a person an assortment of ideas Keep up the good work
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Postby michael » Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:56 am

I just finished reading this whole thread, what a lot of fun, and full of really great ideas. I have so much catching up to do. One good bit of news is that the spare room(second bedroom/office) will become my workshop temporarily.
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Postby Korschtal » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:04 pm

This thread is dangerous- it makes me want to build stuff again, and as it's a year since I finished 'Westerooge' I think it's time I got moving. I wonder what an 09 'Simplicity' would be like...
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Postby John New » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:32 pm

I wonder what an 09 'Simplicity' would be like


I make no claim as the first as Steve's Vanguard Works was way ahead of me with this simple two track idea but my Pebbles End shoe box trial as entered for the 2007 card challenge was an O9, sort of Simplicity idea.

It should work OK in 09 if the design is right with a suitable view blocker at each end. What I need to do now with Pebbles Endis upgrade it to operational status, finish the backscene, and build the overall roof/station building/carriage shed view blocker. I made errors with PE's design but as it was a test bed part of the purpose of building it was so errors, if any, were not expensive one's and were good experience for the next project!
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Planting (Part 1)

Postby Steve Bennett » Sun Apr 05, 2009 1:36 pm

After a bit of a break :oops: thought it was about time to try and finish writing this project up, so hopefully a few more tips and techniques that might be useful to some of you. Nothing major left to do, just a few finishing touches really, so in this section, a few ideas for adding plants.

I have touched on using grass seeds to represent clumps of grass before, so this is not really new, but as my experiments have thrown up new ideas, I'm going a bit further this time.

First off a pic of the raw material. In the pic below, at the bottom is the seed head as harvested, with above it the seeds pulled apart to use.

Image

They can be used as they are, but over time, the colour will fade to a pale straw colour which is ok in some applications, but for this I want to keep them green. Though they could be painted, I prefer to stain them, which allows some of the natural colour to show through.

For colouring, my preference is to use an Acrylic ink (Daler-Rowney 375 Sap Green), though most acrylic paints would do the job equally as well. The other part of the stain is my usual magic ingredient, windshield washer fluid. This is ideal here, as you need to break down the surface tension in the stain, the seeds are covered in very tiny hairs and you need to penetrate through these. Water for dilution makes it very difficult to get the stain to take. For dilution, I use approximately 25% ink to 75% washer fluid, but for a stronger colour, increase the ink/paint content.

Image

To stain the seeds, I just dunk them with a pair of tweezers into the stain, using a paintbrush to make sure they are covered. Then remove them to a couple of layers of kitchen towel to soak up the excess stain.

Image

Then it is just a question of leaving them to dry for an hour or so and they will be ready to use. Another advantage of using acrylics to stain them, is that it stops them from becoming brittle, they are still fairly delicate and best used in places where they are not likely to get knocked.
Here are all the seeds from one seedhead drying on the kitchen towel.

Image

Thats it for this section, now to get the pics sorted for the next bit :) .
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Postby Nick Ellingworth » Sun Apr 05, 2009 2:04 pm

I thought it was finished. :shock:
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Planting (Part 2)

Postby Steve Bennett » Sun Apr 05, 2009 2:34 pm

Continuing with the plant life, I wanted something to represent more weeds alongside the tall grass of the previous section, but of a contrasting shape. After much thought, I remembered a box of Sea Foam Moss that had been sat on the shelf for years. Having used this in smaller scales in the past to represent trees and bushes, it had been neglected since moving up in size. For those not familiar, it is the flower stems of a plant(Teloxys aristata) native to the Gobi desert and has become very popular for scenic work in recent years. Here is the box of the raw material.

Image

Below is a pic of a single stem, which I'm sure will show why it is used for trees and bushes. The normal way is to cover it in scatter material to depict the foliage, but this is not how I plan to use it here.

Image

For the front of the layout, along the fence, I wanted weed growth, but nothing too dense or high growing. The individual branches of the Sea Foam Moss have a very good structure for this, so it was simply a question of cutting the pieces from the stem.

Image

The picture above shows the branches cut from the stem and inserted into a block of expanded polystyrene. You will see lots of little black dots in the pic, these are the seeds, of which there is one at the position of each individual flower. The stems at the right of the block, will I hope show what they look like after the seeds have been removed, the ones on the left, still have the seeds in place. I might come to regret this, but I'm using the pieces in their natural state, no additional colouring, though they could easily be stained in the same way as the grass seeds in the previous section, time will tell if this is wise.

If you are going to stick foliage on, there is not really any need to remove the seeds, but I'm not, so have removed them. They come off very easily, just knocking them will normally be enough to make them fly all over the place. I must admit to being a little paranoid about removing the seeds, after having one getting lodged in the gears of a Tenshodo motor bogie and causing it to jam up and burn the motor out.

You may have noticed that the stem in the picture above, still has the tip in place. This I keep to use as a plant in it's own right. I could have used it on the layout, but it didn't really fit, so I stuck it in a pot and will use it elsewhere :)

Image

Now having the pieces of Sea Foam Moss prepared and the stained grass seeds, time to get them installed on the layout. that's coming right up.
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Postby martin » Sun Apr 05, 2009 3:23 pm

Wow... you just gave me a reason to love Sea Foam!
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Planting (Part 3)

Postby Steve Bennett » Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:05 pm

Now the plants are prepared, time to get them installed. This is very simple to do on this layout, due to the materials it is constructed from. All that was required was a pin vice with a sewing needle in it (slightly bigger than a pin), pushed into the surface to create a hole into which the plants could be inserted. I didn't find that any glue was needed, especially with the grass seeds, as once pushed in the holes, the hairs on them made them difficult to pull out again.

In the first pic, the Sea Foam Moss pieces have been inserted into holes in a neglected corner of the yard. I hope this shows the light and airy effect that I was aiming for.

Image

Next step was to have a few weeds growing at the end of the track and alongside the wall. For this I went for the grass seeds, their upright nature wont interfere with the wagons on the track (hopefully).

Image

Then we come to the fence along the front. This see's both types used together.

Image

Now, I was going to leave it like this, but it just didn't look right. I felt that it needed a bit more lush growth, especially around the base of the fence. This sort of area would have the weeds growing freely, it wouldn't be walked on and I couldn't imagine them having a grazing animal like a sheep or goat in the yard :) . So a quick rummage in my stock of scenic materials found the ideal thing.

Image

For those that don't recognise it, this is a wonderful material produced by Heki in Germany. This foliage net is more often used for trees and dense shrubs, but does makes great ground cover. It is made of a fine black net to which green foam is stuck. I would think there are similar items in other ranges like Woodland Scenics, must admit, I have never looked :roll: .

To apply it, I simply cut a slightly undersize piece for the area to be covered, then stretch it out a little to fit. A generous coat of ordinary white glue is then used to hold it in place. Here you can see the part on the left has been put on and the glue ready to accept the final piece on the right. This would have been a lot easier to apply before the taller plants were put on.

Image

And then with it stuck in place.

Image

While I had this material out, I thought a bit more lush growth around the end stops would make an improvement here aswell. Compare it with the same area in the picture above.

Image

To finish up this section, one final shot of the overall now all the planting is complete.

Image

That finishes this section. The next will feature more of the final detailing, but that wont be today :wink:
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Postby More_Cats_Than_Sense » Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:08 pm

Gnice additions Steve, they work well into the scene :D
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Postby Jon Randall » Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:14 pm

Gnice bit of greenery Steve, the variety really adds to the ambience.

The Woodland Scenics version is called "Foliage" (or it was when I bought mine from Beaties :roll: How long since they disappeared :?: )
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Postby Steve Bennett » Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:31 pm

Jon Randall wrote:The Woodland Scenics version is called "Foliage" (or it was when I bought mine from Beaties :roll: How long since they disappeared :?: )


Thanks Jon, thought they must have something similar, but I have always used Heki. It does go a long way, that pack must be 15 years old :lol: that must be as far back as Beaties :) .
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Postby Gerry Bullock » Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:54 pm

Having seen Simplicity "in the flesh" those additions really will make for a finished layout. :wink:
With all that greenery probably needs a snail or two :twisted: then, of course, you'd Gneed a Thrush to polish them off. Then where there are birds you're sure to find a cat - looks like we're going down the Old Lady route "who swallowed a fly". :lol: :lol:
Great Steve, if you recall when I saw it at Shepton I was surprised how small it was/is. 8)
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Postby Steve Bennett » Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:06 pm

:lol: Think I will save the snail/thrush/cat for another project, this one is pretty cluttered once the trains are on there.
Small :?: :?: :?: Cant be, it is G scale :lol:
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Postby mud magnet » Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:56 pm

Looking good Steve. Just about the right level of greenery to be convincing, any more could spoil the effect.
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Postby Glen A » Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:53 pm

Hi Steve,

Did you have to spray anything on the Moss to get it to stand up like that?
We have moss over here but it must be quite different, because it wouldn't stand up like that without large volumes of hair spray on it.
I must have a closer look at it next time.
Thanks.


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