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Monday 19 December 2016

Project 17 - Swanage Loco Yard

This project has been on the cards for some years, ever since I discovered Small/Micro Layouts built into the Ikea APA storage box*. The layouts appealed to me because I could see the benefits of the small boxed format.
  • Space saving storage
  • Protection from damage and dust.
  • Opportunity to focus on detailed modelling giving results within a reasonable time scale.
Railway operation will be limited of course. Small layouts are best considered where modelling is of more interest than running trains, although shunting layouts are popular and can give satisfying operation in this format.

* Ikea do not currently sell the APA box but it is available on eBay from other suppliers.

Another influence for me undertaking a small layout build is Mikkel's The Farthing Layouts - 'a series of small 00 layouts that show different sections of a GWR junction station'. I like the concept of detailed modelling parts of a large station complex, e.g. a goods shed and siding, with imagination providing the railway landscape between modules.

I had studied Swanage years ago when I scratch built its LSWR water tower for my Misterton Layout (water tower since scrapped) and I always thought that the loco yard in particular would make for an interesting model. Looking at the track plan it needs only 1 metre length for 4mm scale and includes everything from the railway bridge to the back of the engine shed.
There is much here to entertain with a variety of locomotives visiting the yard for refuelling and service and passenger and goods trains passing by at the front, although long holiday passenger trains are a no-no. Perhaps a winter or autumn scene would be appropriate where the Branch two coach passenger train is more evident.

1 metre length is longer than the APA box. My first thought was to make by own APA box to the dimensions I needed so I bought a Lidl/Parkside table saw to prepare the timber that I already had to hand. Unfortunately it broke down after only 5 minutes use and I'm having difficulty getting it replaced under manufacturer warranty.

As I researched further I came across Tim Horn's laser cut baseboard modules made from MDF or ply. Nice modules but more interesting was a comment in a forum -  'make your own from foam board' So, that is what I did.

I was concerned that foam board is not robust but I hedged my bets thinking that the mortice and tenon / jigsaw type construction would give it sufficient rigidity. The dimension of the module is 1000mm x 400mm x 400mm. This required 5 sheets of A1 5mm thick foam board, bought from Hobbycraft for only £14. The basic box shown here required a full day to construct. The top is still to make (it is included in the 5 sheets mentioned) and I want to add a black fascia to the front.

Great care is needed because the foam board marks easily and panels will break if roughly handled. But the cutting of the mortises was a dream with only a sharp knife needed. Panels were glued together using PVA. So far I am happy with the rigidity of the module. Later on I'll need to make fiddle yards for either end using the same methodology.

I'll be posting progress on this Blog but I am not setting a timescale to complete. I'll be modelling as and when I feel like it. Postings therefore, may be more sporadic than the previous Project 16.

To Part 2.

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