Saturday, 27 February 2021

Applying A Back Scene On Your Layout

From my previous blog, I mentioned that I replaced the Haskell Back scene due to its lost of adhesion on the back scene board. I do want to make it clear that it is not an issue with the Haskell Product, but on what needs to be done first before applying your back scene picture regardless if it is a Haskell Product or other adhesive Back Drop picture product.

This is a blog from my learning from experience on applying a Back Scene, the problem I encountered and the solution. I simply want share this so that others can get it right at the first attempt.

I found that I and other Model Rail Friends of mine have experienced the issue of self adhesive back scenes basically bubbling up after a hot day and loosing its adhesion on the back scene board. However, the problem that causes this has been worked out and the following is what I have done to overcome this issue.

The Problem

The Problem started when applying an enamel gloss paint that was in the paint to clear bin at a cheap price at Bunnings Warehouse (basically paint that was mixed behind the counter). The gloss in component in this paint would aid the adhesion when applying the back scene to the back scene board, but in this case it seems that this pot of paint may not had the needed volume of gloss mixed into the paint to make it work for this purpose. Before placing the back scene on the back scene boards, I did apply some spray on adhesive with the thought that it would help fully secure the Back Scene on the Back Scene Boards. All was good once it got applied and then installed into the layout.

Then one day there was a hot day that made the Back Scene bubble up and started to detach itself from the back scene board. 

My back scene before the replacement work was carried out.

I consulted with other model rail friends of mine who advised me they had faced the same issue.

As suggested to me, I was able to fix some of the issue up with putting the layout out in the sun for a sort time which did fix the issue for one of the modules but the other module seem not to have responded well. After hearing of the solution that works, I decided to acquire another back scene and start over, this time providing some step by step directions to apply the back scene successfully.

The Solution

Note, This following task was done on a Sunny 27 Degree Day during January (Middle of a Sydney Summer).

It is recommended that this task gets done on a warm sunny day as you will find out the reason why a later on.

First of all, get a tin of Enamel Gloss Paint, in this example I have used a Black Gloss Enamel Paint. Safest bet is one that has been premixed by the Manufacture ready to use.

Tin of Black Gloss Paint that I will be using to apply the Back Scene Boards.

Apply the Enamel Paint paint on the Back Scene Boards.

Back Scene Boards painted, also painted the front facias of my Narellan Layout

When the paint is touch dry, set up the Scene Boards and line up the Back Scene picture to the Boards. In my attempt here, I cut up the back scene where the two modules meet up. This did make easer for me to apply the back scene later on.

Once lined up, I suggest that you start on the ends where the two modules are meeting up to ensure that that they properly line up and take your time applying the Back Scene Pictures on each module Back Scene Boards.

Lined up the back scene pictures with the back scene board and secure the final desired placement with pegs and other objects that have a reasonable weigh to prevent movement of the back scene when the initial stages of applying it to the boards is carried out.

At this point remove all of the pegs after the first quarter portion of the back scene has been applied. The rest of it should be easily placed square on the board from here on in.

I found a spent Netflix card which used along the way to help fix the back scene to the back scene board.

Once applied you will already notice some air bubbles starting to form. 

To solve this problem take the module outside exposed to the sun. It only took a minute for the back scene picture to bubble up. Don't panic, this is a good thing as the heat from the sun seems to reactive the adhesive in the Back Scene Picture.

Bubbling effect started within a minute in exposing it to the sun.

From here, you get a firm enough but flexible card (again with spent Netflix Card) and smooth out the bubbles. Please note, that the Haskell back drop pictures are robust due to a highly protective covering and you will not cause any damage to the picture.

Back scene looking well set in the back scene board.

You will find that there are some bubbles that will be stubborn and will not go down by pushing down on them. To solve this, I uses the point of my hobby knife to create a small hole which released the from the bubble. The good thing is not only you remove the bubble, the small cut you make to remove the bubble disappears as well.

Unfortunately, I did not photograph a good example of one of those stubborn bubbles, but photographed the sky portion of the picture which did not pick up too well. But, there was a bubble there, used the point of a hobby knife to remove the air that was trapped. No evidence of the slight cut in the area where the bubble was removed.

Remove from exposure from the sun and place the Back Scene Boards in a cool area.

Back Scene Boards are ready to be installed on the layout back onto the layout.

Backscene Picture replacement task completed successfully.

To Sum It All Up

Basically the gloss enamel paint with the shiny surface helps the adhesion of the Back Scene Picture to stick to the Back Scene Boards. The heat of the sun is reactivating the adhesion from the Back Scene. The drying gloss enamel paint together with the Back Scene will create a strong bond to one another. 

I have also been advised by others that this can be done with a hair dryer or heat gun, but I personally like the sun method on the basis that it does consistently heat up the back scene.

After good Month in the Garage where there has been few hot days, the Back Scene picture has managed to stay stuck on the back scene board without bubbling up or detaching itself from the back.

I hope this helps others out in applying a back scene for their layouts.

Next blog will be hopefully ready in the next couple of weeks. All I will say is that there is going to be something exciting to look forward to.

Friday, 5 February 2021

HO NSWGR Exhibition Muttama Layout Build January 2021 Update

Over the Christmas period into January, I had manage to score two and a half weeks off from work and made the wise decision to stay at home during this time as it rained for the most part of it and a COVID scare in Sydney which came with some restrictions. This resulted in a fair bit of Railway Modelling done on Muttama and also managed to get some needed repair work done on Narellan in the hope to get it into some exhibitions if they do eventuate at some point this year. 

January has been a very productive month. Let's first start on Muttama Station Building.

Muttama Station Building
The next Line Side item I elected to construct is the Station Building of Muttama Railway station. This station building was an early days type wooden structure which that consisted of a fancy wooden curtin at the entry of Waiting Room and contained an office presumably for the Station Master. Outside of Muttama, there where several of these types of buildings on the NSWGR network to the likes at the Neighbouring station of Brawlin, Bunyan on the Bombala Branchline. This type of Station Building was also seen on several locations on the Illawarra line such as Heathcote and other variations that still exists today at Dunmore and Bombo. However Bombo has been modified which resulted in the unique waiting room curtin at the entry being removed. Basically it seems that many of these early day buildings either got replaced by a later version of a Station building or in the case of Heathcote destroyed by a fire and replaced with a more modern brick structure.

Fortunately, I was able to find plans for Muttama Station Building at the NSW ARHS Resource Center (before the COVID Restrictions started last year). I also found a couple of photos of Muttama Station Building, which had shown some slight variations as to what the plans presented. One example was the placement of the windows for the Waiting Room and the other being the back half of the building being built into the slop of the landscape. Luckily for me, the photos presented me with a more easier build option in which I was keen to follow as the final reference.

Instead doing a comprehensive blog on how I constructed Muttama, here are some photos on its stages of its build. I will make notes on a couple of them to state why I did the way I did it. 

As always I start on building a corner section of the structure. I did the corner portion that is pictured above as the other corner portion will need to integrate the brickwork of the Fireplace.

For the wall where the Fireplace Brick work will be placed, I partially cut out a section to ensure firstly there the cutout that was able to fit the 3D Printed Fireplace but once MEK onto the first corner portion, I can cut out the rest of the wall to allow the Fireplace to fit.

All four walls are all joined up, it is now remove the remainder section of the wall where the Fireplace is to be installed. I would also like to point out that section of floor needed to be cut out in order install the 3D Printout of the Fireplace.

A bit of a test fit on all the windows, Door way frame and other 3D Printed Items. The Wooden Curtin for the waiting room, front windows and the  Fireplace are 3D Printouts.

Most of the main structure of the building is completed. Now onto getting the additional detailing completed.

Skirting on the base of the building, awning supports, guttering another minor detailing parts added on.

Painting Muttama Railway Station
First point to cover off was to determine the colour that Muttama may have been. It would have been likely it would have have been painted several times in different colour during its days in production. The only colour clue that was available was from a book Country Branch Lines New South Wales - Riverina District which had a colour picture of the Gate Keepers Cottage. After doing a bit of looking around I found that the primary colour resembles to the colour of Couridjah Station Building which is preserved on the Picton to Mittagong Loop Line.

Couridjah Station Building colour example

I have decided to try out the SMS Range of paints as they are for one locally produce in Australia. Recently, obtaining paint colours from international based suppliers been hard to get hold of. I have also heard of a lot of good reports from other railway modellers on how impressed they were with the SMS Paint Range. Also the paint range seems to include a decent selection of colours that are a match or closely match the colours that were used to paint NSWGR Line Side Structures.

For the Case of Muttama, I chose to use Light Stone as the main colour. White for window frames, door frame, facias and waiting room curtin entry. Dark Brown for the colouring for the guttering and lining on the part of some of the facias, door step and the steps for the waiting room entry. And Mid Stone for the Door and some of the internal detailing. From my research, it seems that three combination of colours would be used on station Buildings on the NSWGR network with four combinations of colours on a few cases. In the case of Muttama, I decided to use the four above mentioned colours as the Dark Brown was painted on minor items, but has help greatly in bringing up the finer detail of this model which could have been easily been overlooked if it was just white in colour. The Brick work is painted in a US Pale Brown colour and the mortar has is SMS White Pigment which has been fixed in placed with a Dull Coat.

Now for the result of the paint job and what are my final thought on SMS Paints?

Main paint work completed with only needing to do the painted lining to show where the corrugated roof sheets met up and weathering on the Chimney.

My final thoughts on the SMS Paint Range is highly positive. They are an acrylic lacquer based paint which meets in the middle when compared between acrylic and enamel based paints. It has the advantage that paints smoothly via an air brush on the model and very quick to dry like acrylic paints do. The paint job is just about as robust as an enamel based paint. Furthermore, I found it was also easier to clean the airbrush after using this paint compared to other paint brands.

As I mentioned earlier, these are locally produced paints and the colour range (which seems to be expanding in colour options) are very close if not a match to the colour schemes that were used on the NSWGR network and it is worth noting for the Victoria Railway modellers that SMS does a V/Line Grey and Orange colour. A couple of years ago, Humbrol discontinued their Mid Stone Colour (Humbrol 225) which is a common colour for the Heritage colour scheme which has been used on many of the remaining Heritage Buildings in NSW. SMS Paints have now filled in this void with Mid Stone colour within their range.

Ensure when you do use SMS Paints that you use the air pressure that is recommended on their bottles which is 5 - 15 PSI for the best outcome. 

I will be certainly using SMS Paints from here on in.

Fixing Up Narellan For Upcoming Model Rail Events
Even though Narellan has only been to one event, there are a couple of minor issues that I have come across that needed to be resolved before they become a bigger problem. 

The First issue was scratches on the paint work of the facias of the Modules that was caused in the transportation of Narellen to the Forestville Exhibition. The Second issue was with the Back Scene detaching it itself from the Back Scene Boards.

In the above two pictures shows the bubbling up and lifting effect on the back scene picture, mainly where the back scene pictures join up.

To address the first Issue, I decided to paint the front facias with an Enamel Black Gloss Paint. Even though I liked the Matt Black Finish, Im hopeful the that the Enamel Gloss Black finish will be more resilient and be less prone to be scratched due to the gloss finish. In saying that, I will also need to put in better protection between the modules when they are being transported.

Enamel Gloss Black Pain has been applied

For the Back Scene issue, I decided to write up a separate Blog dedicated to this topic, as there is a method that should be followed in order to ensure that the Back Scene picture properly adheres to the Back Scene Board. This Blog Post will be posted within the next couple of weeks.

Either way, the Back Scene boards needed to be removed and with careful removal of some of the wooden frame work that holds in the Back Scene Boards. I was able to remove them without causing damage to the main wooden Framework. Fortunately there was no major damages done on the scenic sections to Narellan other than a bit of wooden fencing which can be easily replaced in an evenings work.

After the surgery that was needed to remove the Back Scene boards.

Replacement Back Scene successfully attached to the back scene boards.

Next Blog post will be dedicated on how to best apply your back scene on your layout.