By Stacey Baker
Reality (sort of)
The White Flower Valley Railway is located in Perth Western Australia and is the state’s premier narrow gauge railway. The management felt that the line, as a major part of Perth’s infrastructure, had a responsibility to its passengers and share holders to ensure services would continue no matter what. Despite the fact that Perth has never recorded snow or that the line has yet to be laid management felt that it was imperative that a snow plough should be built before winter set in.
The drawings were duly prepared and the plough was constructed using spare running gear components. It was then painted and placed ‘at the ready’ in the quarry siding immediately available to deal with any snowfall this winter. In accordance with its high readiness status a strict and meticulous maintenance regime was drawn up which sees the plough receive weekly checks lasting some four hours. Despite this onerous requirement there is never a lack of volunteers to travel the two hours from the works to the quarry siding to carry out this task.
It has been suggested that maybe the nice creek nearby this is where the men spend most of the time, but this is strenuously denied by the tanned workforce who say the need for a towel is required so they can wipe the sweat from their brow as they complete their work and they need a beach towel as they work so hard.
The model (the truth)
The plough was built as a bit of a joke. Since moving to Western Australia I have been enjoying the fantastic weather, and as winter set in back in the UK I enjoyed the photos of the winter steam ups and videos on you tube of other lines clearing the snow, and despite having neither snow nor line I did have a couple of wagon underframe, axle boxes and wheels. So I decided to get in on the act and build my own plough.
Bodywork was made up from 1.5mm black plastic card. Nothing fancy at all. I have always been interested in weathering techniques and I decided as this was to be a largely non operational model (it does run but not very well as there are no bearings in any of the axle boxes) that it should be heavily weathered.
This did present a few problems as I wanted the lettering to be rusted so transfers were not going to work. I applied the rust mixture first; this consists of matt black, rust/red oxide orange paint mixed with talcum powder to give texture. This is stippled on in a stabbing motion to give the rough textured effect of rust. Once this is dry metalcoat gun metal is dry brushed on to add highlights. When this is thoroughly dry a latex mask is applied that nearly covers the whole rust patch. The front was masked off and painted yellow with an aerosol. Then the wasp stripes were added using masking tape and the whole model was given a coat of black aerosol paint.
The lettering was applied by printing out the initials (WFVR) onto paper. Then they were cut out and using acrylic paint in an airbrush with the pressure turned down. The paint was wafted onto the model, the outline provided was filled in by brush. Once this was dry some streaking was carried out using a brush and thinners to remove most of it, edges were highlighted by dry brushing gun metal. Then the latex masks were peeled off. Next a thin rust colour was airbrushed with a double action airbrush to provide the streaks from the rust. In some places this was cleaned off with thinners.
The model was declared finished. I do need to make a couple of figures to be doing the maintenance on it, possibly in company of the ubiquitous Australian ‘esky’ (cool box). I hope you like the plough and what I have decided to do to it. Now I really must go and do some serious modelling.