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entry 26 Sep 2018, 06:51
Been doing lots of little bits and pieces that haven't added up to anything particularly visual. A few more kits, a few more points, trying to sort out little lumpy bits in the trackwork, etc. And, managed to put the main track diagram onto one screen of the ECOS. The fiddle yard will still be a second screen, but this is easier than the four original screens I had setup.

But, on the weekend I thought I would give my first bit of roadwork a crack. It's still not finished, but the concept seems to be working OK. I am floating by the seat of my pants a bit, but I thought Spakfilla would make a good roadbase. The first step was to take the foam based and coat it with the same textured paint that covered the rest of the terrain. I thought I would try the technique out on a removable section of terrain in case it failed miserably.

Unfortunately I bought limestone instead of sandstone, which is considerably lighter. However the texture is pretty much the same, so I ploughed on and the final touched up version is hard to tell the difference, and it will be covered with groundcovers in any event.

I had been looking for some edging tape, but things like Tamiya or even standard foam tapes were pretty expensive, so a hunt around Bunnings for an alternative came up with Purlin tape (used in roofing), which provided about 20m for the same price as 3m of the modelling tape. It's still a dense foam tape so very flexible. What's more it is three times as wide, so careful knife work can turn it into 60m. The first cutting effort was fairly bodgy, but the one important edge was straight, which was all that mattered. So I taped down the North Rd down the hill past the Langwith Colliery.

The filling compound I used is heavy duty, designed to fill big cracks (3-4mm), which is about right for my road base. I spread and re-spread it down between the tape lines until fairly smooth and then waited, and waited, and waited... A day and half later I was happy it had gone off, even at that thickness.

I was then able to rip off the edging tape to a nice straight line and run a fine sanding block over it. The end result is a hard, smooth surface with just enough texture and imperfection. It was labelled as being light grey, so I was hopeful of not needing to paint it, but rather just "washing" and weathering. Sadly it turned out more of a dirty white, so a grey coat will be required. And voila, the old dirt road up the hill got an overhaul by the local Council. Makes it a lot easier for the trucks heading up to the pit.

I like the end result and it will mean any curve, width or shape is fairly easy to replicate, including rail crossings, and also joining roads seamlessly. This stuff is very carveable once dry. Likewise, as you can probably tell you can work on uneven surfaces and still produce an even end product. I realise I'm probably already preaching to the converted, but it's new and experimental to me. I am also thinking it would be worthwhile taking the Dremel out to create a slight camber and bring it to a thinner edge.

Next steps, some final sanding, especially on the edges, colouring, kerbing and pavement. Onward and upwards.

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