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Friday, 8 December 2017

Project 18 - Box File Diorama

In November 2016 Model Rail magazine featured model railways that contained water scenes and it made available a free 4mm scale Trawler kit by Scalescenes (now available to purchase direct from Scalescenes). The magazine and its giveaway inspired me to create a micro layout of a harbour railway featuring the Trawler. However, after my Swanage Loco Yard micro layout took far longer to make than expected I did not fancy another lengthy project at the time so, it progressed no further.

That was the case until recently when I came across a couple of videos on YouTube showing railway layouts built into a Box File. These are working 'N' gauge oval track layouts. As I was getting itchy fingers to do some new modelling I decided that here was potential to create my 4 mm scale harbour with little effort. It would not be an operating railway but just a static diorama with railway track on top of the harbour wall. With the box file stored along with other files it would cause surprise when the lid was opened to reveal something other than documents.

Readers may know that all my model layouts are closely based on real locations and this project will be no exception. In a box file all that can be accommodated in 4mm scale is a harbour side and a strip of sea with boat(s). The back scene could be warehousing in low relief to add more interest.

With my railway interest being BR Southern Region I began searching for a suitable south coast location to model. It had to be a fishing port and quite quickly I came upon Padstow, Cornwall. The railway environs were torn up long ago (except the station building, which was put to new use). The railway once spread out along the water edge. In fact the LSWR reclaimed land from the sea and rebuilt the South Outer Harbour with fish handling shed to capitalise on fish transportation.

My warehouse back scene idea was abandoned when I saw the South Jetty. It juts out from the land with harbour on one side and the Camel River estuary on the other. On top were two railway sidings that were in use from the 1930s to 1960s. The back scene for the model will not be a warehouse but the view of the estuary and far bank.

I had a spare box file and the Trawler kit so work began building the Trawler kit. I could find no historical information about the Trawler itself but on searching for trawlers from the 1960s similar style boats were found. Going back further to the 1950s was less productive.

MR 288 is a Manchester registered vessel. Whether or not the model is of a real trawler I don't know but as trawlers from all around the UK could be seen at Padstow I am happy that this one finds it way onto my harbour scene.

To get it into a box file with the lid shut all that has to be done is to lift off the masts. The rigging is elasticated thread that is fixed to the boat and 'gives' to allow the masts to be lifted out and laid down. Fitting the rigging was the most fiddly part of the build.

It is ironic that back in the summer (2017) I visited Padstow and remember watching a fishing boat berth alongside the jetty not knowing that it once carried a working railway and that I would soon be modelling it!

To Part 2.

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