Thursday, 9 November 2017

Never mind the bollards!

My apologies to the punk rock band who's saying I have ripped off.

I've carried on with the bollards. I've about ten to twenty to go. They are sitting on the main layout.


Something else which has needed some attention has been the concrete edging of the docks. I gave it a dry brushing of white. The next day it looked silver. I gave it a second dry brush coat.


Hopefully, I should have the bollards in by the end of the weekend.

Until then.

Monday, 6 November 2017

All Quiet on the Waterfront

Mates are great. Especially the ones who come up to you and say, "I haven't seen any updates on your blog." They are the type of mate who keep us accountable.

What has been happening?

To be honest I've had a few distractions on other activities. I've loyal to my fifteen minute philosophy, just not loyal to the little layout.

However, I have been making some piles... or bollards. I'm not sure what they're called. Last year I painted three lengths of balsa dowel with weathered black. I cut them to size and filed around the top for that chamfered look. This meant that bare balsa was now exposed. When I tried to paint it white, it didn't work. My solution was to put a peg on them where the white shouldn't be and spray them with some white primer. I had to give them a couple of coats.

Here they are drying.


While that was going on, I looked deep into the waters.


The water was so disgusting, not even the boats wanted to go in.

I gave the water a good scrub but it didn't get rid of all of the dirt. I have a small (really small) amount of this paint left so I gave it another light coat with an dish sponge. I cut the sponge up so that I could fit it into the sample pot of paint. It is pretty old and the colour or range no longer available. A little bit of work and it now looks like this:



There's a bit of a colour cast which gives the image a yellow tinge.

After the piles or bollards have dried the needed to be painted grey again and fixed up. I trimmed a few for my ferry pontoon and glued them in place.


I'm still painting the other 40 piles/bollards for the rest of the wharves.

Until next time.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The sign of pie.


This took a little over half an hour today. The sign was created in Microsoft Publisher with Word Art and Clip Art. It was printed on white card, trimmed, the edges blackened with a Sharpie and sprayed with a matte varnish. Two match sticks were trimmed and painted white before being glued to the back of the sign. The whole lot was glued to the backscene above the bakery.

The Publisher file was saved so that I can use the billboard in other parts of the larger layout.

Until next time.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Time for a beer.


The Tower Ale House is now open for business. So far it has five patrons, three upstairs enjoying the view and two down stairs. There are also a couple of old timers playing draughts (or checkers). The signs were printed on glossy photo paper. The first batch were hit with a matte spray by Dulux and resulted in splotching. The second lot were hit with Micador Matte spray and had a better finish. The Dulux can is now gone. The signs were cut out and then the white edges coloured with a red Sharpie. There was some bleeding along the edge which affected the signs. As I am now out of photo paper, I decided that it wasn't too bad. Everything was glued down. The little advertising sign which is standard copy paper is as solid as a rock. I decided not to light the Ale House. The join with the cobblestone might cause light leakage.

The only problem with this picture... no beer. Something to work out later.

I finished the small section of grass and added some clumps about the place. The only thing I need to work on from the last list is the sign for the bakery. Then this section of the layout is pretty much finished.

Then it will be time to head back to the marina.

As I like lists, here's the next one:

1. Bakery sign.
2. Detail the Fish and Chip Shop.
3. Glue down tables and benches.
4. Make a sign for the Marina platform.
5. Make a shelter for the platform. I may already have something.
6. Paint oars for the rowboats. (This is from way back and I still haven't done it.)
7. Paint my swagman.
8. Build a campfire for the swagman. Hopefully this will be lit.
9. Install a coolabah tree. (I might need to make this first.)
10. Clean up the green paint for the water.
11. Install the piles for the boats to rub against instead of the walls.
12. Install passenger pontoon and stairs.
13. Install timber walkway between tracks near station for ferry passengers.
14. Glue down marina jetties.
15. Add water.
16. Add a couple of small cranes.

This will keep me going for a while.

Until next time.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Can I Add a Small Beer Garden?

To be honest. I haven't much to show for this week. A lot of it has been moving things about and tidying up the layout room.

I painted some barrels white for a visible barrier to stop patrons of The Tower Ale House accidentally stumbling onto the tracks. Now they will need to walk a bit further and hopefully get a better and safer view of oncoming trains before crossing the tracks.


I've only placed things on the layout. There are three blokes in the tower, and the tower needs gluing. The trees need their roots trimmed, holes drilled and an bit of dead leaves and twigs placed around the base. The table and chairs have been sprayed with a white primer. They need a couple of people on them.They need to be white, just incase one winds up on the tracks, then the driver can see it. There is also a little blackboard, letting patrons know the local beers served in the ale house. On the back is a warning to look out for trains. However, my printer doesn't handle 2pt font too clearly. There are signs for the ale house but they are too small. I ran out of time today to reprint them.

I also have a couple of blokes playing checkers (or draughts). I'm hoping that I can squeeze them into the beer garden.


It may just work. A bit of turf put down next to the cobblestones with a low hedge as a barrier for the nearer tracks and it could look like a pleasant little beer garden.

Looks like the list above are the next jobs to do.

Until next time.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

I could do with a drink.

If you take a trip to Billabong Wharf by on an old tin hare or a more modern 620/720 rail motor, you can catch a ferry to a destination further along the water.



Alternatively you could wait on the platform and admire the cobblestones while you wait for the X200 rail tractor to bring the old SHG guards van with some passenger accomodation to take you to Billabong Marina.


Realistically, this railway outpost is nothing more than a loading platform with a light post and maybe a bench. However, go down the stairs  and you can reach the marina. 



Here you could charter a boat or grab some of the best fish and chips in the country from Fishy McFishface.


If you look at the menu you could even buy a pint of prawns. Never heard of a pint of prawns? Neither had I until a few years ago when I was visiting one of my wife's aunts in the south of England. She took us to a pub and ordered a pint of prawns for lunch. While we were hoeing into fish and chips or bangers and mash, my wife's aunty received a pint glass full of prawns. From memory, they needed to be shelled too.

However, there is nowhere to get a beer.

This is a disgrace.

There are six, seven industries, there could be eight. I'm beginning to lose count myself. Where are all of those workers going to grab a beer? What about the sailors bringing in the goods by ship? All that time at sea can make you thirsty for a beer. Tourists need a drink too. The station master at Billabong Wharf likes a quiet ale at the end of his shift before he goes home to tend to his veggie garden and walk his dog. To do that he needs to catch a train to somewhere. That is until now.


Built between the two world wars, the lookout tower was built to assist in the defence of the small harbour at Billabong Wharf from invasion. After the war it fell out of use as a lookout tower and was eventually abandoned.

The run down tower was then turned into a pub. Now the station master has somewhere local to go for a quiet ale at the end of his shift. To stop people from accidentally tumbling out of the tower and onto the tracks some barrels will be placed as a barrier.

The view isn't too bad either, although it could do with a bit of a tidy up. The grey concrete edges are too dark and need some sorting out.



The tower began life as a Frateschi Signal Tower. It is a small kit. The walls are 2 cm long and I had hoped to be able to cut it in half but clearance problems stopped that from happening. The walls don't meet at 90 degrees but somewhere around 110 or 120 degrees. A triangle of 20 thou styrene was cut for a floor

I tried the idea of nearly flat against the backscene but sticking out a bit. However, the door would lead onto the tracks and potential disaster for my little plastic people. A roof was marked out and cut from 60 thou card. I'm not sure if the pub owner will be able to add a roof top terrace. One thing I don't think I can do is add lights inside. It's a pity but as the building sticks out only 2 cm from the side of the layout, getting the wires through what is practically 38 mm thickness of frame work is prohibitive. It could be something worth investigating though.

Plans for this week:
1. Investigate the possibilities of lights in the tower.
2. Put a couple of people in the top floor looking out and enjoying a beer. This might be more difficult than it think.
3. Glue tower to the backscene.
4. Find barrels and pain them white and glue them down.
5. Finish static grass.
6. Make a sign for the bakery.

Until next time.

P.S. The tower hides the bracket and the tree next to it hides the fact it is an extremely low relief building and the blue paint on the edge of the backscene.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Carry On Painting

Last night, I painted the cobblestones with burnt umber. I used this dark colour for the dirt that gets between the stones. I didn't grab a photo last night as my phone ran out of charge. The image below is from after I started work today.


Today, I dry brushed raw sienna over the top of the burnt umber for the brighter almost polished from use tops of the cobblestones.

Next I glued in warehouse in place.


Compare this with my last post.

The edge needs to be painted with a grey for concrete. A couple of other spots, where there was bleeding under the masking tape, needs some touching up.

Here's a longer view along the water.


There needs some tidying up. The green paint for the water needs a wash. The walls need a touch up as well, then I can work on the bollards - or whatever the wooden piles are that the ships rub against.

It is amazing how much better it looks now.

I think I might be hard pressed doing anything tomorrow night but I reckon that I might be able to squeeze something in. However, I have ticked off another two things on my list from Sunday night.

Until next time.