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Chapter 72 - 04/10/2012

With a far shorter break between chapters this time, I am proud to say that in amongst the usual lunacy that is the Wuiske household, I have managed to get a fair bit done on the layout recently.

So whilst Jade was pacing around the house looking for that long haired lunatic to try and rope him into some no layout related tasks, I managed to get a few things done.

As I have now ripped out what turns out to be 90% of the portions of the layout with scenery, I thought I should make a start on replacing them. As I have mentioned before I am intending to replace a fair portion with urban modelling. So with that in mind, I finally made a start.

The area that was previously hidden in a cutting with the church at the top is now the site of a level crossing. I am in the process of building a high rise car park next to the crossing.

To make the street, I simply used a "fence" of Plastruct strips I had and filled the gaps with plaster. Now if I am honest, I was a little nervous about doing this as I had never made a level crossing using plaster before and if I stuffed it up it would have meant ripping up the main line.

So after having waited several days to grow the required manly bits to take the plunge and start, I... um... started...
And it was EASY! All I did was use a knife blade to score the flange ways inside the rails and it all worked rather quickly and VERY easily. After I made the street, I painted it with Floquil Grimy Black and weathered it with powders... Even easier.

Once it was all dry, I used some Woodland Scenic's rub on stripes I had to make the road markings. All in all I was wrapped with the results and was keen to try my hand further at my new favourite modelling trick.

So with this in mind, I set to making the footpaths, driveways and base pads for the car park. This was done using the same method, just a bigger piece of styrene to smooth it all out. Once it was done, I scribed the seams into the concrete and then painted it with Floquil Aged Concrete and then weathered it with powders again.

Whilst all this was going on over on one side of the layout, I managed to "talk" jade into "helping" me put up our new backdrops. Now I should point out that when I say "talk" I actually mean that I promised Jade I would tell her where the antidote was hidden... Oh how we love hide and seek in the Wuiske Asylum. .

And when I say "helping" I actually mean that she installed the backdrop whilst barking orders at me over where to hold it whilst she looked after all other aspects of me losing my sanity... I mean installing the backdrop.
Now I have to say the backdrops came to me from Kieren Haskell in Taiwan.

I have been talking with him for some time about these backdrops and after finally being tired of suffering the usual ailments associated with listening to me, he sent me a couple of 3900mm long backdrops to "try out" on the layout. Obviously I protested greatly. Eventually and reluctantly though I accepted his kind offer... I mean I would hate to appear rude.

So now we have installed about 6 metres of backdrop onto the new section of the second branch. We have decided to call this station here Alton. The yard consists of two short (about seven feet long) passing loops, a stub road which will have a goods shed on it eventually and three sidings for the ballast loader or as I like to call it the ballast type place.

As you can see from the photos the Haskell backdrops make a HUGE difference and I can't thank Kieren enough for these as they really have changed a section of the layout that is actually fairly narrow.

The fact that it is all at chest height too makes it pretty obvious just how narrow it is in places. So once again, thanks Kieren, they look brilliant! Of course it goes without saying, but I will anyway, these are head and shoulders above anything I could have painted that's for sure.

Obviously, Jade is now looking at every other blank wall around the layout room to fill with these backdrops too. For some reason I seem to be feeling a slight yet sudden pain in my wallet approaching.

The effect these backdrops have had on Jade is in fact so dramatic that I overheard her muttering something about fitting some of the other Haskell backdrops to our living room walls as well. Upon hearing this, I obviously decided it was just more female tribe speak and was there for none of my business.

In the count down to the Ipswich show, we are hoping to have some new products out in time. With any luck there will be something old, something new, something borrowed and maybe even QR Blue...

But we shall see how we go.

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