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Road surface on Trinity Dock Street Bridge.

Trinity Dock Street Bridge is a 4mm/’OO’ gauge layout based on the area of the old town docks in Hull, Yorkshire.  The streets in the area were, and some still are, paved with stone setts (not cobbles, there is a difference) into which the quay side track have been laid into.  As seen below, in an area that has been rejuvenated as part of the Hull marina complex.

The issue I had was  how to replicate these stones and try to get some of the feel for the haphazard nature of how they had been set out.

I looked at many possibilities, include several from the continent as well.  contemplated using clay but thought that may have been too heavy and somewhat fragile.

In the end I opted for the ‘Granite Setts’ from the Wills Scenics’ range. They are about twice the size I really wanted but decided to stick with them.

The following is a stage by stage description of how I did it.

First step, was to lay the track directly on to the baseboard top using double sided carpet laying tape, cheap and easy to do, and quite permanent after a few hours.

Once in place I used some cork underlay, this might seem the wrong way around, but it was used to bring the working height up to that of the top of the sleepers of the track to make a reasonable level surface.  This was stuck down with a ‘No more nails’ type glue. Seen here around the prototypically rough curved diamond crossing.

Once this was set the sheets of stone setts were cut, carved, filed to size to suit the particular position.  the underside was scored in different directs to allow for the sheets to be bent slightly to get rid of the flatness of them.

Where the sheets butt up against the running rails was champhered to clear the chairs, the idea was that they would sit against the rail, just under the head of the rail.  Unfortunately, this didn’t quite go to plan as some of it came above rail head height and was later sanded back.

These pieces of plastic were stuck to the cork with the same glue as I had used for the cork, the bonus in using this I found was that where it pushed up in the gaps to fill them.  Once this had gone off a little the access was wiped off with a damp cloth.

Stones between the track were cut into strips and both side champhered and glued in place, any trim was done after a wagon was run along to check clearances.

Anywhere that required radius’d corners, i.e . around the traffic island and the bridge wells the stones were cut into individual rows, the rough edges taken off by running a sharp blade ‘backwards’ deburring the plastic.  These were then curve to the correct radius, by using a very technical method, ie over my thumb nail, so rows snapped, but these pieces were set aside for later use.

These arcs of stones were then glued into the radius, from the outside in, this time using UHU glue as this has MEK (Methane Ethane Ketone) in it which softens the plastic so it does break, and once set, the plastic is as hard as stone, no pun intended!

Once set, the silicone glue was spread over the area to fill the gaps, allowed to go off slightly then wiped off, again with a damp cloth.

Any drain covers, etc, were added and I tried to alter the stones around them to make look in the right place. Stones to the Quay sides were also added (to be subject of another article.

When all the gaps were filled and glue set, the whole shebang got a coat of grey car undercoat, from a well known car centre. This highlighted any gaping holes or inconsistency in the surface, some of which I wanted anyway.

When dry, I had to decide how I was going to paint all these stones (about 48,500 of them), one option was to paint it all one colour, and mottle other colours into it, but looking at the real ones, I thought a lot of the character of the area would be lost.

It was decided to paint the stones individually, yes 48,500+ of them, at this point I will stated that I have had brain damage, so I do have an excuse!

The stones were painted using artists acrylics  from a well know office suppliers, at a few pounds per bottle each it wasn’t too expensive as I only used black, white and three colours (Yellow Ocher, Burnt Sienna and Raw Umber), and a No.3 flat brush.

The paint was mixed randomly, and coarsely, so the colour wasn’t a plain mix on the brush, often being different over the width of the brush, adding variation to the stone as the paint was applied.

A, not too, loaded brush would colour about six stones, so I worked in sections about 6″ x  6″ (150mm x 150mm) sections, this was a bout 2 hours worth of work, picking out individual stones, wiping the brush along the length of the stone as this cover each stone in one stroke!

I did have a few areas were the same colour was used in adjoining stones, as in the real thing, but the mix of colour made for some variation in each stone as well.

This continued for many hours, about eighty in fact, but it’s better than watching the television and was, in fact, very therapeutic!

On the photo above you can see the ‘T’ shaped wooden hinged cover for the point levers, as the roadway was in constant use, point lever that stood proud would be damaged by passing vehicles, therefore the levers were housed in wooden cases below the road surface, the lids stopped the wheels of the road traffic from falling in.

Windlasses were knock up from a piece of plastic card and a modified thumb pin (having had the top filed down to be simulate just a thin rim.

When complete I was quite pleased with the effect, however, I felt it was far too bright, garish, and clean looking, although the over all look was sort of what I was looking for I had hoped it would have been darker.  In hindsight I should have ‘washed’ the whole ish in a dark brown, black and grey mix.

Photo also shows the York Stone flagging to pavements and the quay sides where the spurs run off to, these were painted in a similar method, but using a more yellow colour, and there would be more of both the setts and flags added later.

So, not being overly happy with the result, I thought I had to tone the colours down and darken it somehow to make it a bit more prototypical.  After a fortnight I took the bull by the horns and crossed every crossable item on my body (the eye weren’t far from that having painted all those stones, anyway) and made a roughly mixed palette of black, white and brown and dabbed it onto a few square inches of the stones.

This was allowed to dry a little before it was wiped off, this time with a piece of kitchen paper towel, leaving the still slightly wet paint in the courses but the top of the stones clear, if a little darker.


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