Saturday, 11 August 2012

Skips Full of Gravel

For far too long the skips on Nystrup Gravel have been running empty. I have been wondering if the loads should be fitted permanently or be removable. I knew from the start that I wasn't able to construct skips and loading/unloading equipment to enable real gravel being loaded, transported and offloaded. Some of the modelling experts have done so - Otto Schouwstra of the Netherlands to name one - but I'm not in that league.


A train of loaded skips. More or less the look I'm tying to achieve on my skips. Image from http://www.frogx.dk/skive50/ The site has primarily images from the Danish city of Skive. Do check in, though, as there is a few more with skips although you have to do some 'scrolling'. 
I decided to load half my skips with gravel permanently. I think it is easier to make the gravel load look realistic when it is permanently glued to the model, rather than than if made removable. The skip body is fitted with a piece of lead covered with foam material. The foam allows the load to be comparatively light. The lead compensates for the weight of the covering gravel 'high up' over the rails. I wasn't interested in skips derailing because of a too high center of gravity. With the weight placed low the skips keep the track much better. Lead is glued with contact adhesive, while the foam material is glued into the skip body with white glue - but only after the contact adhesive has fully cured. If not you'll find that the foam material slowly evaporates! The gravel is fitted in the same manner as I lay ballast. I shape the gravel in the skip while dry. When I'm satisified with the load I glue it down with thinned white glue mixed with a few drops of liquid soap.
Strip of lead in the bottom of the skip.

Skip 14 and 12 with foam inserts glued with white glue.

Loading gravel - different kinds of gravel, thinned white glue and injection needle.

Six skips with their gravel loads drying on my very well weathered garden table.
My box of loaded skips after some minor adjustment of the foam padding to accept the brake skip. Also notice that I have 'de-weathered' the garden table. Sanded down mahogany with oil looks better that dried out wood.
The gravel is supposed to look freshly dug - right out of the excavator shovel. The gravel is thus mixed with stones in different sizes. In one of the skips there is a little tuft of grass - the excavator driver obviously got too close to the pit's edge. The gravel loads were given a thin wash of dark earth arylic paint, as freshly dug gravel often has a darker tone than dry gravel (due to the freshly dug gravel's higher content of water).

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