Sunday, July 01, 2018

How I landscaped the approach to Beeston Market Station with Jigstones and concrete

Having constructed some coal staithes (see How I constructed some coal staithes) and a cafe (see How I constructed a cafe) for the approach to Beeston Market station, I needed to finish off the landscaping for this area.

Whilst I was casting the Jigstones platform edging for Peckforton Station (see Progress Report 73), I also cast some setts for the road surface outside the station.

Although it was only a relatively small area, I needed 40 mouldings to cover the station forecourt and approach road.

The area was initially painted with SBR additive to help the concrete bind to the roofing felt. In addition, several galvanised clout nails were hammered in, leaving around 10mm protruding to help the concrete key to the surface.

Next, a thin (1cm) layer of stiff mix concrete was spread over the surface and smoothed as much as possible.

The Jigstones moulds were then laid on the concrete while the foundation layer was still wet. They were wetted with a damp paintbrush to help fill any gaps between the mouldings.

2cm wide strips of grey tiles were then pressed into the concrete alongside the setts mouldings to act as kerb stones......

.....  before another 1cm deep layer of concrete was laid over the pavement areas and beyond.

Whilst the concrete was setting, the upper surface was stippled with a paintbrush to improve its appearance when dried, and also to improve its ability to take top dressing and glue.

When everything had set and dried, a dry mix of sand, soil, fine gravel and cement was applied and fixed in place with dampened SBR additive (as above).

I addition, fencing from various sources was pressed into the setting concrete as were the buildings (the cafe and coal merchant's office) to ensure they were properly bedded in. These were removed while the concrete hardened so they would be able to be removable.

I found it difficult to get the surface beneath the mouldings smooth and so some of the mouldings are uneven. However, the cobbled streets I have seen in various cities don't seem to be completely level and so feel this reflects reality (albeit accidentally).

After the whole area had been allowed to harden over a period of a few days, I cleaned up the surface of the setts with a stiff brush and deployed a few suitable figures to see how it looked.

This area is now much improved. I need to add more details and, no doubt, moss will start to grow in some areas to represent grass and weeds.

I want to add at least one road vehicle and so am keeping my eyes peeled for something suitable for the period. The Mercedes car which I saw in a car boot sale in France recently was the right period but somehow looked to grand for this part of rural Cheshire in the early 1930s.

From this direction, the unevenness of the setts mouldings is readily apparent. They don't look quite so bad from the normal viewing side of the layout, ........

 ...... for example.

I am considering adding a branch down to the canal basin which will run behind this part of the railway. This might provide an opportunity to extend the detailing beyond this small section. I am also wondering whether to add a backscene of some sort as the backdrop at the moment is not that pretty.

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