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Thursday, 18 October 2018

A Model Railway - Platform

The platform height should be 13.5 mm above rail top. Track height needs to be added to this and will vary depending on track design. For Peco code 100 a platform made from 18mm thick pine wood is a viable and quick solution. I used 5 mm thick foam board, as I had this in stock and it makes for a light weight construction.

The platform sides were glued down first and for the station forecourt a honeycomb of supports were applied. The distance from inner rail to platform edge should be 11 mm but care is needed to ensure rolling stock clears the platform especially where curves are present. The turnout at the far end of the platform is a case in point, as is the access curves at this end. Testing with locomotive and coach at the far turnout revealed that the platform side could lie alongside the Peco tie bar when it is set in the turn position giving a distance of about 13mm from inner rail to platform side. This was adopted throughout except at the curved access end where the gap had to be opened out to about 15mm for long coach clearance through the curve.

The platform sides were covered with a blackish stone decorative paper.

Platform top and station forecourt is another piece of 5mm foam board. I wanted a textured finish for the platform so painted it with black household emulsion paint followed by a sprinkled mix of granite dust, ash, and grey scatter whilst the paint was still wet. This came out as too coarse so, when dry I reduced it by rubbing with fine emery paper. The edges were painted with white acrylic paint.

The station forecourt was painted with dark grey emulsion paint without adding texture.

To Part 1.


Friday, 12 October 2018

A Model Railway - Track Laying

The track plan is for a fictitious BR(S) branch line terminus, although some aspects are taken from real locations. The platform accommodates two roads. Road 1 can hold a pacific class locomotive with two MK 1 coaches and includes a run around loop. Road 2 is a bay that accommodates a tank locomotive and two pull-push coaches. It also doubles as a loading dock and cattle dock. An engine shed is served from the run around loop. A separate goods siding branches off  before the station.

Track is Peco code 100. Turnouts are medium radius insulfrog and manually operated. Track is pinned to the foam board with 31mm dress making pins. This is not a firm fixing in foam but when the ballast is glued in place it should hold the track firm.

Three tracks span the baseboard joins. Since the baseboards can be separated for transportation some means of electrical connection is necessary and consideration given to a more robust means of track fixing at the baseboard joins.

For simplicity no special treatment of the track at baseboard joins was undertaken. I may live to regret this. A robust method I have used before is to replace the last sleeper with a copper clad sleeper that is glued to the baseboard and the rails soldered to this.

I had given no thought to electrical connection whilst building the baseboard. Since the boards are solid then any plug and socket arrangement, wire connections or any other gubbins below track level cannot easily be contained within the baseboards unless chunks of  foam are cut away. With hindsight it would have been useful to extend the hardboard side panels to give a void beneath the foam board to retain such items. Happily, this omission has so far not manifest as a problem.

At the board track joins I soldered bare wires to cut down Peco fish plates that slipped over the end of the rail. Wire runs were easily embedded in grooves cut in the top of the foam board. Where a wire has to run beneath rails an insulated sleeve over the wire stops short circuits.

The existing metal board connecting hinges serve as electrical connection simply by using a board hinge fixing screw to hold the wire as well. Of course, only two wires can be connected this way - the feed and common return, and yet there are three tracks spanning the baseboards requiring six connections. The workaround was to wire the feed and return to all three tracks. No problem for DCC but for DC there are sections of goods siding and run around loop that are always live where a train cannot be held isolated whilst another is run. For my track plan this is unlikely to cause operational problems. The elegant solution is to use a multi-pin connector with the six rails connected to their mating rails through it. But, I wanted to keep things simple for this model railway. Hence the compromise.

To Part 5.

To Part 1.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

A Model Railway - Baseboard #3

My research for a suitable paper-aluminium glue lead me to a recommendation and tutorial found on the paper modellers forum. The glue to use is Aleenie's Original Tacky Glue (£3 from Hobbycraft). The bottle does not identify what materials it can stick but it works on metal and paper. One bottle was sufficient for the two boards with some left over.

Using 80gsm ink jet print paper track mat I was not able to get as smooth a finish as in the tutorial. It tended to crease and bubble. The bubbles disappeared on drying. Any deformation left is no problem as the surface is to be hidden with scenery.

To Part 4.

To Part 1.

Monday, 1 October 2018

October Website Cover

A Class 3MT being turned on Swanage turntable in the 1960s.

See the cover here.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

A Model Railway - Baseboard #2

The vulnerable foam edges of the insulation boards need to be covered for protection. I used eighth inch hardboard stuck to the foam with PVA glue. The sides and underside were painted with household emulsion white just to make it look more appealing than bare hardboard.

I thought about removing the aluminium foil from the railway side of the boards as I intend to glue down a paper track mat, which I know would stick to foam with PVA glue but not sure what to use for foil. As I researched this I read that the foil forms part of the board strength and rigidity. Removing it could cause the board to warp over time. However, having fixed rigid hardboard panels to the sides this is unlikely to occur. Therefore, the foil could be removed except it is firmly fixed and may damage the foam if peeled off. I'll need to find an appropriate glue to stick down the track mat.

The boards are held together with the hinge and removable pin method. Pull out the pin and the boards separate for ease of transportability.

To Part 3.

To Part 1.

Friday, 21 September 2018

A Model Railway - Baseboard #1

There are now sufficient number of buildings in my card kit catalogue to build a complete Southern Region station complex. Many of them have been used across several of my own model railways but, not all together on one layout. This project is about construction of  A Model Railway that uses a set of model buildings to build a complete station.

I wanted a small, shelf type layout that would be simple and quick to make (the card buildings are time consuming to build but I have a set built some time ago).

I could build the station in about 1.2 m plus off stage fiddle yard. That would be a bit too small for me because shunting movements would disappear into the fiddle yard. I prefer some landscape before the station for trains to run through and to observe shunting 'on stage'.

I settled on about 2.4 m x 400 mm plus off stage fiddle yard.

Thoughts turn to baseboard construction. Having seen the American preference for Styrofoam insulation board, being very light, strong, preformed and easily sculptured I decided to adopt the same. However, there are few high street retail outlets selling it in the UK and certainly not the usual DIY warehouses. A likely source is 4D Model Shop located in London but the price was a shock at about £50 plus postage for the size of interest.

I returned to the local DIY warehouses and all of them sell something similar. I found that Wickes offered it at a very low price of £6 for 1200 mm x 450 mm x 50mm. Two lengths were purchased. I'll need another later for the fiddle yard.

Unlike Styrofoam it is covered in aluminium foil. I'll have to see whether or not that is a handicap.

To Part 2.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Groundcover Bargain or What?

I have said before on this Blog (or the other one) that the supermarket or garden centre can be a good source of unusual modelling materials, given a bit of imagination. Recently I found a bin load of these packets (photo right) at the garden centre with knocked down price of £0.20 each from £2.49 (80% off). I nearly bought more but was not too sure what it was. It looked suitable for modelling foliage, either bushes or tree leaves.

Upon opening it was found to be some kind of moss about 20cm square, probably meant to cover the soil of house plants. It was very dry but still mostly green in colour. I remembered seeing an indoor model railway featured in a magazine many moons ago where real moss was used as ground cover. The layout builder occasionally spayed it with water to keep it lush and green.

I picked off pieces and simply pressed it onto the embankment to give the appearance of low scrub. Quite impressed by the result.


Thursday, 6 September 2018

Andover Modelex 2018

I had a shopping list and decided to go to this exhibition as lower prices for second hand items can be found at events compared to ebay. I did pick up some items on my list but traders seemed a bit thin on the ground compared to previous years. There were also large voids in the two halls compared to previous years, which made me think either there were fewer exhibits or the layouts were on the small side. Never the less there was a good mix of a high quality exhibits.

Bodmin (N guage) struck a chord with me as I visited the prototype last year. I remembered walking along the platform, chatting to the signalman at his box about the T9 languishing in the shed a little further down the yard. Now with a helicopter viewpoint I see the entire station complex with all the recognisable structures but in miniature.

There is something about finescale layouts that stand out from the crowd. Instantly you recognise it as such from the finely modelled details and uncluttered appearance. Llangerisech (2mm FS) is no exception. It is an extremely well lit very tidy layout.

My personal Best In Show was Leiscester Belgrave Road (00 gauge). A truly massive station complex at 25' x 7'. It can be difficult to judge the scale of a layout this size. It is 00 but looks smaller to those of us modelling smaller footprints.


Friday, 24 August 2018

The Best UK Model Village

I'm biased. I first visited Bekonscot as a child, accompanied by my parents. Later I took my own children and now I take my grandchild. One day, when I am too old to drive there I expect to be taken by my children or grandchildren.


This model village (including Gauge 1 railway network built in 1929) does not stand still. It evolves and the level of detail is such that each pass around the complex you will spot something missed before.

Rescue Mission - A True Story

There are a multitude of paths that bridge the railway lines bordered by low railings. In front of us a young infant fell over the railing (about 30cm drop). The crying infant was quickly retrieved by its parent who was worried about electrocution from the live rails (having seen notices warning of live rails). Thankfully, there did not seem to be any long term damage to the infant.

However, the infant fell onto a train about to pass under the bridge causing the trailing bogie of the first coach to derail. The train carried on its journey with the trailing bogie bumping along the sleepers and being skewed made a glancing blow on a train passing in the opposite direction. Both trains carried on unaffected with the offending bogie still bumping along the sleepers. As the train approached a stretch alongside a path I took a unilateral decision to correct the fault by gently lifting the coach whilst it was in transit and placing the bogie down onto the rails. A perfect alignment resulted and the train continued happily. This is a feat that could only be undertaken by a railway modeller, such as myself, used to correcting model train derailments. No ordinary mortal could do it for a train in motion!

This is the train in question:




Saturday, 23 June 2018

An Unexpected Find

Blue Pool on the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset is a privately owned tranquil landscape open to the public by admission charge. The main feature is a man made lake resulting from clay quarrying. The water takes on hues of green or blue whatever the weather condition, hence the name. The effect is due to light refracted by suspended clay particles in the water.

On the face of it there is not much else there to attract tourists. Not true because there are lovely woodland walks, a tea room, shop, a quirky display of teddy bears set in dioramas and a small museum displaying wildlife and artifacts created from the processing of clay, for which this area is renowned.

Imagine my surprise when I entered the museum to find a model railway display. Quite unexpected although had I visited their website before attending I would have known about it. It is not of the typical displays found at resorts that tend to be fictitious locations full of track and trains whizzing about to entertain tourists. It is a 4mm scale model of The Pike Brothers Furzebrook clay workings and in particular the narrow gauge railways that once served the area.
I was enthralled by the attention to detail of the modeller, R. Dyson. It took him about 10 years of free time to research and construct. It resided in a spare bedroom of his home. When the time came to reclaim the bedroom for other purposes it was donated(or sold?)  to the museum.
Today it is a static corner diorama about 2m by 2m. The layout includes a section of the Swanage Branch line with siding to the works. On the branch line is an M7 locomotive pulling two coaches.
The Swanage heritage railway is well known and a visit to it is essential for enthusiasts when in the area. I have visited several times before. This visit was spent admiring the architecture of Corfe and Swanage stations for real, having recently modelled Corfe station building and goods shed from only plans and photographs. Not much attention was paid to the locomotives and rolling stock, apart from a privileged interior viewing of a Maunsell open 3rd carriage undergoing restoration.

On duty this day was a Class 33 diesel and Class 4MT tank engine, both to be found on the line in British Railway days. This aerial view of Corfe Station (with class 33) is often photographed. I assumed they were taken from a plane or drone but no, I snapped this one from the ramparts of Corfe Castle (scary height)!

Class 4MT 80104 approaching Corfe from Norden.


Friday, 4 May 2018

LSWR No. 1 Goods Shed - 5

The Galbraith North Cornwall drawing shows a shed crane position at the opposite end of the shed to the office. I assumed Corfe Castle Goods Shed would be the same. I was wrong!

There is a cross beam arrangement between the two rafters either side of the doors, giving the appearance of an 'A' frame that went wrong. It looked a little odd to me but I assumed it was for strengthening purposes. That was until my research into LSWR shed cranes revealed they were held in place by pivots in the floor and in the roof beams. Looking carefully at the Corfe building today the location of a pivot plate can clearly be seen at the centre of the cross beam, although the crane itself is missing. This places the crane at the office end of the building.

Having created a detailed interior for the model it would be amiss if a crane was not included so, here it is. It is a static model except it swivels 360 degrees arcing over the lorry loading bay and over the railway track.

I said in an earlier posting that the canopies and beams would be built into a removable roof. Having installed the crane I can see that it might be difficult to locate it in the pivot hole with a large roof getting in the way. To ease this I decided to keep the canopies and beams assembly separate and removable in their own right.

The crane is a 3D printed plastic kit I designed against actual photographs of LSWR cranes. Only 3 printed parts are needed plus some wire. Clearly this cannot be supplied with the Goods Shed downloadable card kit but, I will include a schematic. Hand built Goods Sheds supplied by me will include the crane model.

Unique to the Corfe building is a lean-to annex. In 1965/66 the wooden annex was rebuilt with what looks like breeze block, totally out of keeping with the goods shed style. I prefer to model the original wooden structure but photographic evidence of it has proved elusive so, it will not be included, which is no bad thing as it is in keeping with the original Galbraith North Cornwall design.

Click an image for a larger view.


 Lorry for illustrative purposes only.
END.

To Part 1.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

LSWR No. 1 Goods Shed - 4

The chimney breast in the prototype is a curious arrangement. Above the roof line it is square and beneath the roof line triangular! On close perusal of the drawings it became apparent that the chimney being flush with the outer walls is pretty much contained within the thick walls of the building and the breast within the building is forward and angled simply to afford space for the fireplace

The canopies are now built - at the third attempt. Part of the issue was the dimensions on the North Cornwall plan and those on the book plan are different, which was not obvious to begin with so I mixed dimensions from both before realising this. In the end I only used the book plan

The rail to canopy height on the model has been set for code 100 track that is about 5mm tall including sleeper (e.g. Peco brand). The building overall is a little taller than the plan to accommodate this. It will be fine for code 75 as well but if packing is used under the sleepers, e.g. preformed foam ballast, then check the fit and raise the building ground level if there is nterference with rolling stock.


To Part 5.

To Part 1.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

LSWR No. 1 Goods Shed - 3

Getting on in leaps and bounds for two reasons. I was keen to see how my vision for the interior would manifest and trepidation about whether or not my idea for operational doors would in practice work.

The original flooring used in the prototype was wooden pine planks but what size? I read that there was no standard for Victorian floorboards, which ranged from 5 to 7 inches wide and up to 16 feet long. For the model I opted for knotty pine 6 inches wide and 16 feet long.

The loading bay on the right is correct to Galbraith's design as is the steps therein. But, the bay differs to the current arrangement at Corfe where this area has been considerably enlarged to suit its use as a museum.

At the other end of the shed is the office, the style and content of which once again is based on the Galbraith plan. It is substantially larger and more ornate than that currently in the Corfe building, which looks to be a contemporary rebuild. I have a notion that the original office was only partitions without a roof. The model office is fitted out with desk and two chairs. (one is hidden behind the wall). There is a chimney breast and fireplace yet to go into the corner.

And so to the doors, without going into detail on the paper, card and wire mehanics, they do operate but are quite fragile. They are best placed in the desired position and perhaps only moved for photographic sessions.

 Doors Closed
Doors Opened
To Part 4.

To Part 1.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

LSWR No. 1 Goods Shed - 2

I noticed that the window frames of the prototype are set midway between the front and back of the stone wall blocks. The method used to represent this on the model was to sandwich the window frames between an outer and inner wall. This might be considered an overkill, but as all my constructions use the same board thickness of 0.75 mm then the double wall method benefits from greater building rigidity.

A copy of the stone paper overlay was used to create the white washed internal walls by adjusting colour brightness, contrast and saturation.

There are two canopies to design and make. On the original prototype these were supported by roof beams that spanned the entire building width extending beyond the side walls. The canopies, beams, rafters and roof will be built as one assembly that can be easily removed from the building to view the interior and populate it with goods and figures etc. But, the next job will be to design and build the internal platform.

To Part 3.

To Part 1.


Monday, 16 April 2018

LSWR No. 1 Goods Shed - Part 1

My next card kit project is the LSWR No. 1 Goods Shed, designed for the North Cornwall Line by the LSWR consulting engineer W.R. Galbraith. The design was also used for the goods shed at Corfe Castle station, built in 1895. No surprise when you learn that Galbraith was appointed for overseeing the construction of the Swanage Branchline. It is the Corfe version of the shed that will be the basis for the model.

Apart from photographs there are two plans that I shall use. The first is from Robert Antell's book Southern Country Stations: 1  London & South Western Railway and the second is a plan of the North Cornwall shed that is available from the web. Whilst the latter text is illegible it has very good diagrams of the interior arrangements. This will hep me to include a detailed interior for the model.

To Part 2.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

4mm Scale Corfe Castle Station Building - 12

This is the elaborate cupola that sits on top of the gents toilet block. Looks a complicated piece but was quite easy to make.

The final module to design and build was a small annex at this end of the building on the platform side. It is a signal box added to the station about 1957 after BR demolished the original box that was on the 2nd platform (later rebuilt by the heritage railway). Today it is used as a porter staff room, being an extension of their room inside the toilet block.



The style of roof is unknown but there is a clue that suggests it is a flat roof because there is one hole at the top of the wall on the other side served by a drain pipe. If it was a gable roof then there would have been a drain pipe on this side too.

The notice on the door reads "This Signalbox is Private" and fixes the period of the model in the BR period from about 1957.

Below are photos of the completed model. Click an image for a larger view.

To Part 1.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

35th BNHMRS expo.

The problem with frequently visiting model railway shows is that you'll come across layouts seen at other exhibitions. That was the case at this show for several have already featured in my postings, being high quality layouts. This makes the job of choosing a new personal best in show difficult. I had been around the whole exhibition feeling disappointed that none stood out for me. (Of course, what is appealing is down to personal taste and for me it's layouts that look realistic with fine details.)

The last layout seen held my attention for some time and receives my best in show, which for the first time matched the official judges choice too. It is Lower Exbury (P4), one of only two finescale layouts at this show I believe, and in that is the clue as to why it won. Finescale means realistic looking, to scale.

At first glance it appears a minimalist layout that you might quickly pass by but study it closely and little cameo scenes surprise and delight the viewer.

Here is one, an exquisitely painted 4mm scale figure.

Another layout of note not seen before is Brixham Bay (N). The origins of the model has an interesting back story that I'll not go into here. Ask the exhibitor if you see it at a show.

I choose it because of the back scene design. I assumed it was a photograph, as is the trend,  but learnt it is an oil on canvas painting created by the modeller that took a year to create! Not only a skilled modeller but an artist too.

Photos Copyright 2018: Ed Smith.



Friday, 9 March 2018

4mm Scale Corfe Castle Station Building - 11

The gents toilet block, whilst the same style as the main building, is shorter and narrower than the ticket office it ajoins.

Its not quite finished as there is a very ornate, almost oriental in style, cupola to design, build and fix to the roof top.

To Part 1.


Saturday, 3 March 2018

4mm Scale Corfe Castle Station Building - 10

Two annexes for the Station Master's residence.

The stone annex is a storeroom. I started making this first and when it came to designing the wooden entrance lobby discovered that I made the store room too low. It is that lobby roof jutting into the storeroom that is critical. It has to blend into the incline of the store room roof  and not sit above it. Consequently I had to discard and remake the store room but was able to reclaim the roof.

Part of the issue was my reference drawing that is inaccurate w.r.t. the lobby compared to actual dimensions I have to hand.

The lobby architectural style is way out of character with the main building and is probably a latter addition. It is a private entrance to the house from the garden.














A little more detail - first aid stretcher cabinet.









To Part 11.

To Part 1.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

4mm Scale Corfe Castle Station Building - 9

One month in to a two month project. The canopy was a delight to design. It includes textured roof corrugations


and full framing underneath with photo realistc spandrels.


Pipework too is full represented


The build thus far represents about two thirds of the entire station building it seems to me that this could stand on its own as a fine Victorian country station for any Southern location :)


Four more modules to design and make. There is a complex annex to design but next I shall do one of the simpler annexes at the house end of the building.

To Part 10.

To Part 1
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