Tag Archives: just an illusion

Moorscaping…

Prospect along the tracks from Boltorr Road platform
Prospect along the tracks from Boltorr Road platform
Just a progress report. Building your own world, even a tiny corner of it, is hard work!

It has always been a part of my brief to get as much elevation as I reasonably could and I have to say it’s working out.

Actually rather too well in that the Boltor Brook seems to have carved itself a fairly impressive gorge through the millennia so I’m having to rewrite the narrative a little. But there are gorges elsewhere on Dartmoor, so it’s not improbable. Besides it’s my universe, so…

The Boltor Brook has become a mighty gorge
The Boltor Brook has become a mighty gorge

Structural work on the dam’s basin is done and sealed for landscaping and water effects.

The iron rail bridge has been set in ready for track laying with a little final adjustment to the abutments to fix a couple of issues. It’s safely stored away while landscape effects go in.

Some plaster slip has escaped onto the masonry but this is easily brushed off for the most part and will be weathered, vegetised, etc when it all comes together, at some vague point in the future, or maybe in the past. You know what private universes are like.

From the dam overlook to Wynderidg trig point
From the dam overlook to Wynderidg trig point

Now the bulk of the terrain from the basin to the Boltorr road overbridge has to be set in.
Butelph's Cross (11C) and Wynderidg trig point loom above the tunnel
Butelph’s Cross (11C) and Wynderidg trig point loom above the tunnel

I’ve plotted the track of the access road to the dam with a turning point and overlook for intrepid walkers. The path progresses northish towards the road with a shortcut for sightseers from the platform.

I really have to start detailed thinking about the road overbridge and construction. This element acts as a scenic break too and has to incorporate a bus stop and normal access to the platform. This was built way before any modern disabilities’ acts, so it’s likely to be just steps down.

The permanent way and the dam access track head northish toward the Boltor road
The permanent way and the dam access track head northish toward the Boltorr road

Life is great when I rule the world. First day of spring, soon.

Boltorr Road Halt - original track plan - evolution applies
Boltorr Road Halt – original track plan. Workin’ towards – evolution applies

Time to get the mortar in – last mention, honest…

Spent a couple of days rendering the main part of the dam.

It’s actually ended up looking a shade or two paler than the bridge abutments which I was on the point of remedying until I did comparison between the two structures.

I used a different method of producing the granite blocks on the dam, inscribing the joints and blocks. This produced a surface which has slightly smaller blocks and less relief.

Now placing the two elements in position, the dam seems to be further away. The treatment has induced some false, but effective perception of depth which I am very pleased with.

Further weathering will take place when the model is in situ
Further weathering will take place when the model is in situ

I’ve also brushed a suggestion of moss and algae onto the appropriate sections of the wall. It’s subtle and effective, although not evident in the image.

I have also learned that it’s hard to mess up rendering and weathering structures. It’s almost impossible to overdo it. Stuff that looks a bit much in wet paint usually tones back as it dries, and besides, if you think it really is a bit much it’s easy to cut it back with a couple of dry brushes.

There are now a couple of iron fittings and a grating which remain to be rustified. I might also fit a couple of retaining ties on the slightly dodgier bits of the wall.

So I’m now able to set the structure into the landscape and concentrate on laying track across the bridge.

Roll on…

MoorCore… Sheep Gaze… Who knew?

Interesting article in The Grauniad:

The Dartmoor music scene. It doesn’t have a name, and perhaps it shouldn’t. All the work is unified by the landscape. None of the musicians, projects or creations will ever be picked up or heard – local radio is playlisted, national radio doesn’t know about it, and very little even reaches the internet, and so a great deal gets lost. It crosses ages, and genre borders – there are limited numbers of musicians, unlike big cities, so you’ll find unlikely collaborations. There is deeply original, challenging, sumptuous, stark, detailed, soft, heavy, intense, progressive or tuneful music here, which is so far from the mainstream that if music might be considered a solar system, this non-scene is the Oort cloud at the edges.

It sounds as if it’s in the same universe as Dumnonia. Wherever that is…

Last train to Transcentral… Chuff-chuff

What’s your point?

Modelling British outline is a peculiar thing.

There are a number of constraints, historical and practical, which tempt one to compromise.

The first issue is the mismatch between track gauge and scale.

Strictly speaking, Boltorr is being built to a scale of 1:76. More accurately a strange mongrel ratio of 4mm representing 1ft – 12inches. This actually works out to 1:76.2, but this is the least of my compromises.

Still creating...
Still creating…

So, if my layout were built to scale the track gauge would be 18.83mm (4ft 8.5in @4mm/12″), right? Well,wrong. It’s going to be 16.5mm representing 4ft 2.5in. What’s gone wrong?

16.5mm was the de facto gauge for HO models (3.5mm/ft, 1:87), half of O gauge (7.00/ft 1:48 – I know…), the original continental and American compact model standard. 16.5mm is very, very close to being correct gauge for HO/1:87 scale. Unfortunately, when HO first appeared pre-WW2, standard model mechanisms wouldn’t fit in British outline stock because of the comparatively small UK loading gauge, so the larger OO was devised. The downside is that there is a tendency for UK models to look a little narrow gauge on OO track.

So you can see it’s complicated.

However, this iteration of Boltorr is being built in OO gauge. I’ve dabbled with 18.83mm gauge, now known as S4/P4, and it’s possible any follow-up could be built to that standard.

Peco GWR pattern bullhead point
Peco GWR pattern bullhead point

In the meantime, Peco have come to the rescue with their range of finescale bullhead track and points built on the Great Western pattern, which is pretty correct in every respect, other than the gauge. Since I really want something up and running, I’ve settled for that.

There’s a useful review of Peco’s new points here

Next; laying bullhead track and points, and figuring out how to control Cobalt IP switch motors.

Plus ça change

plo͞o sä ˈSHônZH

Well, I had this vision.

The branch vaulting the Boltorr Brook with the dam looming behind. And, you know, from some angles the view is actually quite impressive, but in reality jamming everything in is an issue.

Theview under the crossing towards the dam, looks plausible, but, I’m working on the principle of squeezing the illusion of as much space from an 8ft x 2ft plan as possible.

Looking under the Boltorr Brook crossing towards the Boltorr dam. It looks plausible from this viewpoint, but...
Looking under the river crossing towards the Boltorr dam. It looks plausible from this viewpoint, but…
Can the river emerge from under a bridge, Cadover style. There's a degree of elevation to overcome, but a couple of rocky pools and a "rapids" might do it...
Can the river emerge from under a bridge, Cadover style. There’s a degree of elevation to overcome, but a couple of rocky pools and a “rapids” might do it…

The prime aim of this layout is to look as if it really could have happened. The problem isn’t really the perspective from under the bridge towards the dam, which, though I say so myself looks pretty good, but being able to fit some realistic looking waterworks in between the bridge and the dam.

I think it can be done, but I might have to re-align the dam or think of some other way of making a scenic break. And the other question is, would there really be a rail embankment and bridge just a few yards downstream from a dam? Probably not.

From a bird's eye view, the real estate is very tight
From a bird’s eye view, the real estate is very tight
Imagine a railway crossing just downstream from here - Cadover Bridge : SX 554 646
Imagine a railway crossing just downstream from here – Cadover Bridge : SX 554 646

It’s pretty lucky that this is a figment of my imagination… or rather, another universe, so it’s pretty much up to me what to do next.

I think I’m going to have a retink about the positioning of the dam and see if it can be fitted in. It was a lot of work, after all. And I learnt that carving out every individual stone isn’t as good as placing them individually. It’s possibly quicker, but doesn’t look the same at all. Just look at the bridge abutments compared to the dam walls.

In the meantime I need to get on with the rail bridge piers. The retaining buttresses towards the front of the layout are now pretty much sorted. I’ve made them bigger than the last time they appeared so it looks as if they’re actually holding something back. I also need to sort out what happens between the bridge and the back of the layout.