Cottage Manufacturers

I’ve been writing this blog for a few months now and I’ve never really mentioned in any great detail the manufacturers who make the products I use in my modelling, especially the smaller, “cottage” manufacturers. As I’ve mentioned recently, I think the scenery products coming out from companies specialising in this area are a huge improvement over what’s passed as “standard” for quite a while now. What I don’t seem to have done much of is sing the praises of other companies that I’ve come to rely on, but who won’t be all that well-known outside the relatively small community of Australian O-scale modellers, especially those working in 1:43.5.

I’ve continued to gradually “shrub up” the scene on the engine servicing module of my new layout since I last posted. I manage about an hour on the layout on a weeknight when I’m free and this has been enough for me to complete the detailing on a small patch of ground about 200mm square each night. I tend to prefer that the basic ground cover is essentially dry before this last stage is commenced as I find it’s very easy for things to become saturated and this can lead to a soggy mess if you’re not careful. I take things one step at a time and give an area where I’ve been squirting “wet” water and glue about a chance to dry out before I move on to gluing down the shrubs and weeds.

I break a large scene down into manageable, discreet segments of roughly similar size so that approaching the scenery of a layout doesn’t appear overwhelming. These segments are:

  • A long narrow section of ground either side of the large water tank which sits hard up against the backdrop.
  • A long, thin strip of land between the fence line and the dirt road.
  • The ground surrounding the weighbridge itself
  • The ground surrounding the turntable
  • The dry creek bed and the ground surrouding the small wooden road bridge that allows the dirt road to cross this creek.

I work on one small section at a time and stick with it till I’m happy. I do not move onto something more enjoyable and easy when things start to get a little challenging. This is a sure fire way of making absolutely no progress in my experience. Maybe this is just me? 🙂 I’ve worked on large layout projects and there is nothing more demoralising that being faced with endless acres of empty space that needs to be filled with scenery. Smaller, sectional layouts naturally lend themselves to being divided up and by working intensively on one small section of ground at a time, you can give it the attention it deserves. Every empty piece of ground is a modelling opportunity! When an opportunity presents itself you should take it.

Perhaps the unsung heroes of our hobby are the small manufacturers who produce kits and bits for hobbyists like mr but rarely get the recognition they deserve. The photos I will post shortly are of a scene I’ve been working on this week, but when I sat looking at the photos it occurred to me that the three pieces of “built environment” that are included are all from the same small company: the Waratah Model Railway Co. Both of the modellers who own this company happen to be friends of mine, however it did cross my mind that my options for this scene would have been considerably narrower if Chris and Dave of Waratah had not produced accurate kits for NSWR post and rail fencing, water cranes and the weighbridge. I probably could have made models of all of these items from scratch, but without the kits I would still be labouring away trying to produce the models and would not have made anywhere near the progress that I have on the layout. With a bit of paint and glue these items from Waratah make up into beautifully accurate models of their prototypes. They really conjure up the NSWR and I simply do not know what I’d have done without them in producing this scene.

Thanks to Chris and Dave from Waratah (see the link on the side bar of the blog) and all our small, cottage manufacturers who make our modelling much easier than it otherwise would be. Keep up the good work guys 🙂

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