Monday, 4 May 2015

Watering the stock

One of the problems with describing myself as semi-retired is that occasionally, one has to do some work. Having said that, even describing yourself as retired means that you still have to do some work but no one wants to pay you for your efforts. But I digress. The reason I do pick up work for which I receive remuneration is because my employer enters a period of intense activity requiring a lot of effort in a short space of time. This is a long winded way of saying that I haven't done too much model railway work on Philip's Creek over the past month or so because I have been busy working!

As a consequence, only a few small jobs have been completed recently. However, one of these is something iconic to any rural area in Australia and other parts of the world, the installation of a humble windmill and some supporting infrastructure.

A while ago, I purchased a white metal Sentinel Windmill kit. In fact, it was so long ago, I had forgotten that I had bought it and was looking to purchase another one. Fortunately, I found my original purchase just in time so there was not duplication.

The kit itself was not complicated but I decided I wanted to build a more common steel tower rather than the older style timber legs in the kit. This was a bit fiddly to get the bracing right but I think it turned out to be a passable representation. The Southern Cross logo was printed on a clear address label and affixed to both sides of the tail.

The tank was also something that I purchased some time ago and the stand was fabricated from styrene. Again, nothing very difficult.

The water trough proved to be a bit more challenging. I split a plastic drink straw in two, added some styrene ends together with some wire to simulate a float valve and then commenced to paint the trough. I was aware of the likely outcome if mineral based paint touched the straw so I used water based paints for everything except the clear gloss that simulated the water. I hoped that the water based paint would act as a seal and prevent contact between the plastic straw and the clear gloss. Sadly that was not to be and the water trough took on some very non prototypical curves. Take 2 and I had learnt my lesson. The fabrication was the same but this time I purchased some water based clear gloss!

As yet, I haven't yet fixed the windmill in place and, periodically, it gets moved to another location to see how it works. Hopefully, once it is finally located, it will fade into the background and just another inconspicuous 'prop', a small but very familiar part of the overall scene that the trains will pass through.

And now all I need to do is to buy some sheep for the paddock!