fighting procrastination fifteen minutes at a time

Tag: Cardstock

It’s all in a name

I’m crawling along with this project and have been told to scrap it and just move to the final build and be done with it. Then I can move onto the layout build, i.e the fun stuff. However, I feel if I don’t actually finish something I will never finish anything. Ok, it maybe is boring for others but then I am doing it to improve me! So the show will go on and another Yard Office will be produced.

I am certainly learning on the job. There are some things I hadn’t thought about that stand out now that I am on the second iteration and that is about the scale at which we model. As a 2mm scale modeller I have long thought and tried to model the minutia. Stepping up to 4mm suddenly gives that bit more room to breath. I am surprised at this as I hadn’t thought it would have made such a difference to me.

It doesn’t mean I am going to abandon my first love as I really enjoy the element of the “train in the scenery”. But my eyes have been opened to the potential of the type of modelling one can do. I guess we gravitate to a scale that suits our space on the whole. I know there will be plenty of views against this, but if asked “why do you modelling the way you do?” I’m sure the answer will come back, “I feel comfortable in it”

Now I know I’m a bit of a scale tart; I like many things in many sizes. But that’s because I get a different feeling from these scales. For the time being it is on with painting roofing slates, which unbeknownst to me have names, yes actual names!

I’ll leave you with this…

Scratch build Yard Office in Brick
#133 Brick Build Yard Office

Until the next one…

Yard Office Build

#126 Yard Office Build

Back in October, I decided to get the mojo going again by building something, anything for the first layout that could propel me back to activity. I decided to start with something so simple I couldn’t really get it wrong. I can’t help but think of a Baldrick cunning plan at this point. But often the biggest hurdle to starting something is me! In my mind there are a million plans waiting to be materialised but very few of them have ever or will ever reach fruition. So the idea to get back to the modelling table popped into my head when I was browsing Peco’s website.

No bearing in mind I am predominantly a 2mm modeller I decided to build this in 4mm. This is due to a number of reasons. Partly because I started the foam board layout and I’m not sure why but I decided to base it around a Loco that was gifted to to me or swapped, I can’t quite remember now and that was a GWR Pannier Tank Loco and although I am not a Great Western modeller I have had vague leanings since a trip out to Pendon in my early years and spending hours looking at the Bridge scene. In fact I seem to remember being left there to watch the trains go by, I have no idea where the parents were, and that inevitable time to leave and not wanting to. It just seemed to me that this Loco would be at home in an urban location.

West London, off the beaten track somewhere. A little yard serving a local community, from a time when the rail network served the nation. This is partly due to my time living in London and always fancying building something from that location, where the railway is built up against just about everything. Also along with their family friend who I introduced to the joys of 2FS, had intentions of building something based around popular in the East End of London.Which was served by both the GWR, LMS and LNER. However that’s a whole other story.

So coming back to the original point of this post, and the reason to build the yard office, I settled on this as a simple structure that could be easily modified to the needs of the space that I was going to build. This building was he really there to oversee traffic in and out of the yard and to make sure no funny business went on. I haven’t messed around with the materials used. It is mainly to try out some techniques, and use in a way that gives more detail to it. I have also decided to build three iterations because I want to use different materials and techniques. I started out with the intent of using only what I had around me, this being food packaging, which is freely available. I simulated a board siding in order not to have to use a brick papers or other materials and also because I liked the look and this fitted in more to the location. The next iterations will be using that card and paper, and then I will return to the final build with the things I’ve learnt from building the previous versions and will be the one that goes on the layout.

The process of colouring was interesting. I knew from past experience with colour matching in the digital world that a lot of it is subjective to the time of day and the conditions that one is painting and also to what the viewer sees. Also I think it must’ve been decades since I last broke out paints and mixed up colours. it’s funny how wide the knowledge we have as modellers is for all the different mediums of this hobby. With the wonders of the internet one can get very detailed information on liveries etc, but in order not to get distracted and trying to achieve perfection I deliberately made myself just do it. I knew that this was purely a test and that there was no pressure for it to impress, me or others, and that freed up the progress. I think by the third one i will not only have a model I’m pleased with but will have got chops up to speed again.

I’ll leave you with a few pics from the build, and as I finish up this post I will be settling down to cutting out the next basic carcass on the way to another opportunity to learn those rusty skills.

Until next time..

Sides and slates

It’s been a bit of an up-and-down week with technology. But as you can see from the picture that hasn’t stopped real-time modelling. Easing myself back into sitting down at the modelling table after a seven-month break probably was never going to be that easy. Procrastination is the thief of time and also my biggest Demon. But as this project has grown over time and I feel it has really helped me get back into the swing of things. The fact that it is so basic means that there isn’t much that can go wrong! Well not much really. Being a perfectionist, it’s very much a barrier to quick and simple modelling as I always find the imperfection. The best way around this is to employ the adage that age that “done is better than perfect”. I can see many inconsistencies and errors that normally would drive me to redo, in all honesty probably the whole thing. But in this case, I am pushing forward to see how the final item turns out.

The fact that I am going to build a multiple of these buildings will allow me to learn from each of the mistakes I made previously, and so improving each next version. I’m also having to focus myself to not get distracted into the idea of building this basic model into multiple gauges to see how they look. I particularly like the idea of building these to non-standard gauges to give me ideas about how practical it would be to build another scales, most likely the largest scales. But that is a whole different ball game.

I so at the moment I am on a 3 out of 7 success rate, and as my school reports used to say, “could do better“. But it is a start, and probably more successful in the last week and I have been in the last year. It amazes me how much effort I can put into avoiding doing something that I really enjoy and love doing, two things that really have no benefit to one’s life i.e. browsing around YouTube. I think that picking this basic building has allowed for the juices to flow and the Mojo to return to the point where I’m looking forward to returning to the modelling table.

I have a bunch of other projects coming up that require my attention but for the moment time concentrating on this one little shed. One of these projects is for a family friend who I have been promising for probably about two years. In some ways, it is a lot harder than what I’m doing mainly because it is employing techniques I have never used before, but in another way, it is easy and should be relatively easy to complete.

Like many things in life, practice makes perfect, or other such cliches. But the truth in these for me is very true of the moment. I look at others who achieve any consistent level of modelling and see the growth in their ability and artistry and think to myself I just need to do that. So although this post is a long ramble about not doing I think it’s important to state the importance of consistency in modelling and the benefits it brings. So I will leave you with a picture of a messy modelling table where I am creating these miniature structures with fun.

Individual slates and boards

Until the next one…

Basic Beginning

When I sat down to write this post I was looking back at the previous post and realise that this blog is much like my modelling at best sporadic and at worst, well, non-existent. It’s a constant theme and something that I have struggled with for a very long time. I look at others and try and learn from them and hell even the name of the blog and my modelling is 15-minute modeller. At this moment in time, it couldn’t be further away from that and I am minded of the picture taken from Voyager 1 all that time ago and think am I like it head off out of our solar system, never to be seen again or can I turn this craft around and grab hold of that tiny thread of light. Maybe it’s a bit dramatic but sometimes it feels that way and in order to do this, it just needs small actions that can grow into bigger progress.

Well at this point after seven months of inactivity and a global lock dow that many took advantage of in there modelling endeavours, I have very little to show. I raise this as others I know suffer from the same malaise and that in some way gives me strength that I am not the one procrastinating to a full stop. Life in general to me seems somewhat unclear and with all the other “stuff” going on, one’s mind is yanked in all directions, unable to find solid ground.

But an organised mind can somewhat combat those feelings and to this end, I have decided to try and breakdown my modelling project into small pieces. Rather than feeling overwhelmed with the entirety, if I just think about the next thing until that ie checked off then there will be progress. Yes, I know that all the productivity and getting things done turns off a lot of people but for me it allows me space to not get too distracted. As you will know from reading this blog, if you keep up with it, the common theme of that lack of focus evidenced by the sporadic posting has been there from the beginning. Some might say why bother writing about failure, or not doing something but for me it is an important reminder to try and do better each time I post here. I do go back and read previous posts if nothing else to make sure I don’t repeat myself post to post.

So here in the lock-down 2.0, I am getting myself back to the modelling table and attempting to restart 1st Layout Build Project. If I’m honest I rather lost the mojo for the foam board, but I am going to push through just in order to be able to say I built it and am learning many valuable lessons from this project. But for the time I will leave you with the image of the Yard Office that I am scratch building out of materials I have lying around from food packaging and if you haven’t seen it there’s a vid up about it over on youtube.

Cardboard carcass from basic Materials
The carcass for the Yard Office in 00 scale

Until the next one…

Build this covered bridge

Punt da Rueun build

Having finally found some time to start some card modelling and following on from my post earlier to build this covered bridge (Punt da Rueun) mockup. Doing something physical, well almost physical helped by the fact that finally there is a working printer in the house finally. I have lost count of how many inkjet printers I have brought only to chuck later due to the ink having dried to almost carboniferous qualities, don’t get me started on what I think of printer manufacturing companies.. But now with the wonders of laser printing technologies I can start cranking out all manor of printed material. I have been working on the plan for Punt da Rueun using the measurements I gleaned from the web to make the initial calculations to build this covered bridge. I am currently working on the principle that this is a test run for a project to try out a build using basswood, which is something I have never done. Though I remember those dim distant days of gluing balsa wood plane kits together. But I need to work up to that and what better way than to start off with card. I have a ton of it and it is forgiving when you get things wrong. I have no shortage of the medium as I have inherited a life time supply. It is mainly mount card which comes in at around three to five millimetres which is a bit on the think side but gives plenty of rigidity, unlike the cereal packets that i normally use.

I decided to keep this simple and to just get started and to also test out my very rusty build skills. There are many ways to build with card and I really needed to remember how I use to navigate the process of scratch building. Getting a kit takes out the need to think through construction. It’s all there and done for you, all you have to do is make sure the list of parts fit. But working from nothing but a plan makes you think about the way that things are going to join together. This is part of the thrill to me and by doing I can start to see where I got it right and where can improve. Nowadays with the advent of lasers and CNC manufacturing and I use these in terms of cottage modelling it takes a lot of this process out of the build as it can be with the click of a button manipulated and calculated without so much as a blink of an eye. I’m certainly not against it but I personally enjoy the mental gymnastics to make it all fit together.

I took the drawings and spent some time on my computer creating the vector graphics needed to print out the templates to stick on the sides of the card super structure. As I said this was only ever going to be a simplistic dry run for the “real” build. But even at this early stage I realised that the prototypical length of the bridge was going to be problematic due to it not fitting on a single sheet of A4 paper. I guess I could have gone down the route of multiple pages but the thought of messing around with registration markings and the like. So I shortened the bridge by about 15% in order to squeeze it in. Even on the printout it is a pretty commanding structure and my initial reaction was I have got this wrong. Is it really that big? Popping upstairs to grab a loco I checked the scales of both it and the bridge and I was about spot on. Then came a frenzy of slashing away on a Swann & Morton 10A blade to produce two sides and two end. As you might have gathered this took a tad longer than fifteen minutes, but has finally got the stone, orange, cheese or snowball rolling down the hill. Next up will be attaching the roof and then getting a feel for the colour. This is to be achieved via the medium of acrylic paints and again I’m a bit rusty on the brush dabbling skills.

I took the time to make some notes as I went through the build and one of the things that became apparent is that I need a smaller cutting ruler I thought I had one. Of course if I get one I’ll find another three that had temporarily been mislaid and also a mini engineers square would be handy. This brings me onto the elephant in the room that is Warley. It would be and opportune time to get some needed tools and to see some pretty good layouts and also get to talk to someone about Nm9, but… it’s a bit of a trek and not to mention considerable cost for visiting a model railway show.. BUT! we’ll see later in the week as to whether I take a trip to the NEC

Until next time.. on “when I build this covered bridge”


Arriving back home with a new sheet of 6mm ply and the intent to get on and attach it to the base I found that in having it cut at the store it seemed to release all the tensions in it and found it to have warped drastically in the middle to the point that it was a very shallow U. This was not what I had expected and after going through a pile of around 25 sheets to get the best of I thought I had managed this. However I was wrong and what it has taught me is that it seems to be increasingly hard to find decent quality sheet timber. Not to be deterred I am now going for plan B which is to get 9mm ply for the top and this should hopefully keep its rigidity although adding some weight to it. So seats down on the old jallopy and of to the wood yard I must go.. well not today but hopefully tomorrow.

Lock Keepers CottageIn other news something I have been eyeing up for some time is something from scalescenes and I particularly liked the lock keepers cottage as this seems an easy model to complete and I can think of a nice little diorama with canal and river scene it would fit in and all this extra plywood I now have sitting around would come in handy for building a small 2mmFS micro layout. But that’s yet another distraction that I am trying to avoid at the moment and concentrate on the main project.

One of the things that I have in plenty is mounting card and a professional guillotine that my Dad use to use so should be able to make a reasonable go of it. I will just need to see how there printer is fixed for ink and this I will call a micro project.