Tuesday, 10 November 2020

One step forward two steps back

 This shot was previously posted on the Campbelltown to Camden Railway Facebook page.
The photo was inspired by a picture taken by Peter Neve in Pansy the Camden Tram page 59.


      I did post this shot on the Campbelltown to Camden Railway Facebook page. The photo
was inspired by a picture from NSW Railway Archives in Byways of Steam 21page 63.


Its been quite some time since the last update. Over that period my wife and I have spent some time gardening and working on landscape projects getting the property in better shape since the drought and fires. We have had an incredibly wet spring including local flooding however everything is green and growing.

We took some time out going to Lightning Ridge and visiting a number of painted silos including Barbara, Merriwa and Dunedoo. It was an also an opportunity to see what is left of former NSWGR infrastructure and I was pleasantly surprised to what still remains at many locations. The silo art trails in NSW and Victoria are worth seeing, to date Weethallee has to be one of the best IMHO.

Merriwa Silo

   We high tailed out of Lightning Ridge due to impending storms and stopped at Burren Junction. A
 SSR ballast train pulled in while we were there. Severe storms and hail later followed.

The Boorowa truss bridge is in poor shape.

I have been unhappy with many aspects of the layout backdrop and decided to rip it off and start again. There were several areas of concern, inconsistent textures, raised joining strips, hairs and blemishes on the surface, way too vibrant, inconsistent sky tones.

The new backdrop is slightly lower than the previous and will be a continuous from the Camden terminus around to the end of Narellan yard. I have built frames around the walls to mount the sheets of ply which are butt joined and filled. It can still be dismantled however there will be minor damage along the some of the joins which would need repatching and painting if the layout were to be moved. This has worked out well, I can now pull a module away from the backdrop to work on it (after disconnecting from up and downstream modules). This was very difficult previously as each backdrop bolted to the appropriate module and there was an assembly sequence.

 I am painting the backdrop in lengths up to about 3 metres at a time and have mixed several jars of colour to paint a reasonably subtle mountain range in the background. I won't be putting too much detail in for now ( need to improve my painting skills considerably) however there will be a lot of undergrowth and trees along the Nepean River, Nepean house behind the Camden buffers and some close by undulating hills from Elderslie to Narellan.

There will be break in the backdrop at the end of Narellan yard where the track does a 180 degree loop back then runs parallel to the Narellan yard. This will allow the access to the Narellan to Kenny Hill and fiddle yard modules.

A couple of shots showing the backdrop frame construction progress

Construction has gone quite well and reasonably quickly but as they say the devil is in the detail. I will still make 2 dimensional models from paper and card to represent houses and buildings in the vicinity of the line. Again colours will be more subdued and as the colour palette is quite limited in my CAD package will do the buildings slightly differently to last time. 

Many years ago there was an excellent exhibition layout in the Newcastle area called SMR that had many unique and innovative features in its day, one was 2D trees essentially a painted trunk and branches on clear acetate with woodland foam glued around the tree structure. It was very effective and I will try a variation of this. 

There is a right angle bend here, a piece of quad has been set flush
 in the corner which reduces that very abrupt transition between the two sheets

1mm thick galvanised brackets are used to mount the frame
to the plywood walls

I am using the opportunity of the modules being away from the backdrop to slowly finish off the little things from Camden through to the start of Narellan. This has put the project back in terms of time but I think there will be a much better end result. The fixed backdrop also allows the opportunity to add an enclosed pelmet and better lighting. For now I won't be adding pelmets - its more time and expense and I am keen to get back on track and finish things and one day operate a railway.

Cheers for now 


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  2. The black and white photos are brilliant, I cant see anything that spoils the illusion that they aren't photos of the original.
    IS that St Johns spire in the background of the second photo, left hand side? If not it should be because thats exactly how it looks from that location in real life and really places the model for me.

  3. Thanks for the feedback Chris I did not do St Johns spire on this backdrop its the top of a tree am doing a new backdrop at present and would like to put St johns in it. The difficulty is getting the perspective right from looking at where the church is from the buffers its Ok but when you look up Argyle St its in the wrong place - same problem with the old Thompsons Mill chimney - working on it not sure if I can solve it

  4. Kim, can you send me an email as I have had a computer revamp and lost everything.