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Thursday 28 December 2017

Project 18 - Jetty (Part 2)

I read that the Jetty is made from concrete and rubble. I guess the sides are concrete and the infill compacted rubble.

With regard to the model jetty its top surface was raised to the top of the rails using DAS clay. I started by infilling between the outside rails. A wet spatula smoothed the surface level by running it along the rails. The rough texture was created by pressing a sheet of coarse sandpaper into the wet clay.

Infilling between the rails of each track posed a problem of how to keep the clay clear of the rails so that the wheel flanges of wagons can  roll unhindered. The solution was to 3D print a plastic channel and spread the clay within that (1st photo).

The clay dries to white. Using acrylic paints I painted it a light grey. Aerial photographs show that the edge of the jetty is lighter, which must be the top of the concrete walls. However, the join between the two shades appears quite ragged.

To Part 5.

To Part 1.

Friday 22 December 2017

Project 18 - Jetty (Part1)

Not sure if the prototype Jetty side was perpendicular or inclined back in the early 1960s. For simplicity, and from what I can see in photographs, I opted for perpendicular.

The model jetty could be made from a block of foam board or cardboard. But, the strong, rigid sides of the box reminded me of some 5/16 inch pine board I had to hand so that is what I used.

I had to decide how much of the jetty to show in the box. What influences this is the space needed for the Trawler and two jetty railway tracks. I have not yet decided if the Trawler will be berthed or away from the harbour side so I set the jetty width to allow for both whilst ensuring its width still supports two railway tracks. About 70% of the 40 foot jetty width is modelled.

I used some spare code 100 rail for the tracks, which need to be embedded in the ground. Consequently the top of the Jetty (shown here askew) lies about 3mm below the harbour side when fitted. The ground level will be raised around the rails with DAS clay.

The position of the rail nearest the harbour side was scaled from an aerial photograph and judged to be about 5.75 feet. I believe the 'six foot way' between the two tracks is about 6.5 feet in practise, which the photograph seemed to confirm.

To Part 4.

To Part 1.

Friday 15 December 2017

Project 18 - Back Scene

The back scene is to fit the inside of the box file lid.

It is created from a modern photograph of the scene viewed from the West Quay on the other side of the harbour, which is now a car park. The viewpoint overlooks the harbour, South Jetty, the Camel estuary and in the far right distance the fishing port of Rock.

There was a lot of modern clutter in the foreground, cars, crane etc. that was wiped in my photo editing application.

The Jetty is about 40 feet wide, which is too much to fit the box file along with the Trawler so, it must disappear into the back scene, which is represented by the pale strip at  the bottom.

I had to enlarge the image considerably, which has forced the landscape out of focus. This may be advantageous as the eye needs to be drawn to the foreground model more than the back scene and with wagons placed on the jetty rails the landscape will be even more obscured.

To Part 3.

To Part 1.

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.

Saturday 28 October 2017

Newbury MRC Expo 2017 Pt. 2

Newbury MRC decided to move their annual exhibition from February to October but rather than wait 20 months to the next one they staged it in October this year just 8 months after their February event.

Fuelled from my thoroughly enjoyable visit to the Farnham show in Aldershot earlier this month I decided to go to Newbury but with some trepidation as it is a much smaller show and with two in the same year I wondered whether there would be sufficient exhibits to make it worthwhile.

Well, it had about the same number of traders and exhibits as usual. Two or three layouts I had seen before and some looked a little 'tired' having been on the exhibition circuit for some time (I guess). Nevertheless there was a good variety of gauges and locations.

Unusually, my best in show does not go to a model railway but to a harbour village diorama (4mm scale) exhibited by a demonstrator of scenic modelling methods, namely Roy Hickman of 'Scenic Modelling'. His standard of modelling is very high using card from cereal packets and other scrap materials to make this diorama taking about 300 hrs and costing less than £7 in materials (not including people and vehicles). The photo shows about 25% of the whole.

A model railway layout of note was 'Southwick' (00 gauge). Plenty to see on this 18' vista (2nd photo),  including locomotives with sound.

Most of the locomotives were very heavily weathered, which for me was a touch too much though.

Sunday 15 October 2017

Farnham 43rd Expo. Oct 17

I was not too fussed about going this year but as little bro' was keen I tagged along for company - and I'm glad I did. Farnham is one of the larger shows in the south spanning 4 halls of an Aldershot school.

Why I enjoyed it was because of the standard of modelling that seems to be going from strength to strength. Most layouts were clearly built for exhibition and staged in a very theatrical manner.

Very difficult to choose a best in show. All of these shown here deserve high merit. But, I opted for Wadebridge (2mm finescale) simply because I fell in love with the Cornish town on visiting it this summer. We stumbled upon remnants of the station building (1st photo above) and Goods shed that oddly are now surrounded by housing. Here on this fine model can be seen the entire railway environs as it once existed and it is a much larger complex than I imagined. A fair part of the town is included, parts of which we had walked including the bridge over the river Camel.

Other exhibits of note:

 Denton Brook (7mm scale) is in the same vain as 'End Of The Line' reported in the Andover Expo. review since it too uses remote control vehicles. This time a  lorry and crane that is capable of moving cable drums without human intervention.
Arigna Town (7mm scale) very picturesque.

Addison Road (0 gauge). Yet another from the larger scales. They seem to have won my heart at this years show. This is a deep layout backed by a most impressive line of London terraces. In fact only half are shown in the photo. In front is the station throat. Not all of the platform length is modelled. The break is cleverly disguised by the station building footbridge.

Friday 22 September 2017

Project 17 - Troubleshooting

A few tasks to improve the layout operations -

Half way along No.1 road a dip in the track caused some locomotives to stall. How to level it? Track work was initially stuck down with strips of double sided tape, which did not hold too well. However, the ballasting fixed with PVA glue did a splendid job of fixing the track as well. To cure the dip all that had to be done was to wet the ballast, which turns the hardened PVA back to liquid, and then gently pull the track up until levelled. More ballast was laid on top to fill in around the raised track.

The track work in the fiddle yard cassettes came loose from its double sided tape fixing and under a hot sun much warping of it occurred between the fixed, soldered ends. I can live with that because the layout is normally at room temperature where wild temperature extremes are unlikely. To fix the track though I tied the sleepers down with wire strapping. Track pins will not hold in the foam board (unless glued).

The weak turntable motor drive has been replaced with a manually operated worm gear meshed with the existing large cog wheel. The photograph shows my 3D printed worm gear arrangement. The sleeve in the middle is a coupling between two rods, necessary as the printer track bed is not large enough to print one long rod. This manual method works wonderfully being quiet with precise turning control at a snails pace. I should have opted for this method in the beginning instead of motor drive.

The track has been wired for DCC and all my locos are chipped for Hornby Zero 1. I opened the M7 to find there was no space whatsoever for the large Zero 1 chip without serious modification to the loco inners. What I need is the smaller ZTC 202,211,203 or 214 chip, which are Zero 1 compatible but all are no longer manufactured. This poses a serious problem as until a ZTC shows up I'll either have to switch controllers between Analogue and Zero 1 during operations, dechip some of my other locomotives or, buy a new set of locos for analogue control exclusively for this layout and rewire the track for isolated sections. (I have no desire to upgrade to a modern DCC system).

With regard to building this micro layout it is now complete. Now I want to reorganise the railway room so the layout and fiddle yards can be set up for operating sessions and make a movie of it. 


To Part 1.  

Friday 15 September 2017

Project 17 - New Stock #2

And another eBay purchase at a fair price. This time the ubiquitous Swanage M7 tank engine - Hornby R2734 #30056 from the 2008/9 manufactured batch. It is brand new and bought from the collection of a deceased collector who never opened the boxes.

30056 was photographed on the Swanage branch in 1962 and 1963. At that time (and 1961) it was allocated to Bournemouth shed 71B of which Swanage was a sub shed. It was scrapped via Eastleigh works in December 1963.

The shed code fitted to the model is 75F (Tunbridge Wells West) and the crest confirms its allocation there in the 1950s. It is therefore, rather early and in the wrong place for the 1960s period of my layout. It was purchased because of the relevant 30056 number. It would not take much effort to change the crest to the later totem, transfers that I have in stock, and the shed code  could be overlaid with a printed label for 71B.

To Final Part.

To Part 1.

Friday 8 September 2017

Project 17 - New Stock #1

Yippee - I won the Hornby Maunsell Pull-Push coach set on eBay and at a favourable price. It is R4534 coach set 610 released in 2012 and is brand new (where has it been hiding I wonder?).

Set 610 started life on the BR SE Division in 1960 and transferred to the Western Division in 1963. But was photographed at Wareham for Swanage in 1962. I think it was a rare visitor to Swanage as I have seen no other photograph of it there.

I don't yet have an M7 for it but I do have a Triang-Hornby BR Class 3MT. This class worked alongside M7s, and Ivatt 2-6-2T hauling the Pull-Push sets during 1964. Both the M7s and 3MT were withdrawn the same year. Only the M7 was Pull-Push fitted so the others had to run around the coaches at each termini.

My 3MT must be about 60 years old and has sentimental value being my first train acquisition. The body detail is good but below that of current detailed models. The chassis, wheels and drive gear design are naive, toy like compared to current standards.

At least it  runs adequately on its (transplanted) X04 motor.

3MT on Shed (Note shed pendant lights ablaze)
To Part 28.

To Part 1.  

Monday 4 September 2017

Andover Modelex 2017

This exhibition spanning two halls of a school had the usual mix of high quality model railway layouts of various gauges and territories.

Three that stood out for me were Melton Mobray (North) (N gauge), a long layout noted for its many but, uncluttered scenes of people in realistic static poses.

The second was St. Martins Wharf (7mm scale) - shown below. A good atmosphere was created by the nicely modelled landscape and buildings.


My best in show goes to 'End Of The Line', another 7 mm scale model but quite compact. Narrow gauge trains from an off stage, unseen coal mine (I assume) bring in loads of coal that unload into a hopper for conveyance into a lorry via a moving conveyor belt. Under radio control the lorry transports its load over the road network and off stage. Apart from the road and rail movements that attract attention the landscape is almost barren, which adds to the air of realism.

Trade stands were a bit sparse in my view because I found nothing on my shopping list.

Friday 25 August 2017

Experimental Coach Passengers

Peco once marketed graphic card sheets of 4mm scale coach interiors for Kitmaster coaches, including (not very realistic) seated passengers. I experimented with a DIY design approach for seated passenger. Here is the finished result and construction details:

It must be said that the form of these people are flattish compared to three dimensional plastic models. However, I feel they are passable as they are to a large extent obscured inside the coach body but visible enough for us to see the coach is occupied.

 Step 1

Obtain photographs of period men's or women's fashion. Choose one of a person shown full frontal ideally with legs together and hands at waist level.

Step 2

Using your favourite computer graphics editing Application set for 300 dpi cut the person from the background and scale to 4mm scale. If the legs are wide apart use the Application tools to move them together. Create a duplicate of the person, flip vertical and move it up until the two heads just touch. Cut the duplicate body away at chest level. Using the Application paintbrush tools paint over the duplicated face and shoulders to create a rear view.

Step 3

Print on standard copier 80gsm paper. Cut the person out using a very sharp pointed blade keeping close to the outline of the body to avoid including the white background.

Step 4

Cut a length of solid, thin copper wire a little shorter than the person height and glue to the rear of the person aong the spine. Fold over the duplicated part and glue in place.

Step 5

Bend the person at the waist and knee for a seated position. Gently press back the edges of the Torso and Head to give some bulk to the upper body.

Friday 18 August 2017

Project 17 - Lighting Improvement

I mentioned in an earlier post that the dull autumn day scene I was trying to create was a bit too dull at the engine shed end of the layout. A fix was needed.

I have a LED strip light about 10 inches long (used for another layout) and experimented placing that. Well of course that was very bright and the effort required to fit it so that it can be removed for use on the other layout coupled with having to accommodate its wiring I decided not to proceed.

I toyed with the idea of a totally transparent module roof using one of those honeycombed roofing panels but saw that it would not lend itself to the 'jigsaw' fixing arrangement required.

What I decided to do was cut a hole in the existing roof panel and fix a transparent acrylic sheet that I already had to hand. Its purpose is to allow the ambient room lighting to seep into the scene. Its location and size is deliberate. In this position (see photo) it gives the engine shed and turntable area a bit more light. It does not stretch full length because the existing LED lighting at the bridge end of the layout is perfectly adequate there.

Top photo below - Ambient room lighting before.
Bottom photo - After.

It brightens the back scene, brings out colour in the trees and highlights the shed and turntable.

If necessary I could lighten the scene further by placing a lamp above the roof skylight. Something to experiment with perhaps. For a night scene with engine shed lights switched on. I can cover the skylight using the cut out roof panel.

By the way I decided not to glue the entire roof panel to the module. I can see occasions when it would be useful to remove it for servicing.

To Part 27.

To Part 1.

Friday 11 August 2017

Project 17 - 3 more cassettes and a conundrum

Three more fiddle yard cassettes have been made for the station end of the loco yard. All now working. But here is the rub. I must have spent an hour trying to understand an electrical fault.

As I drove an engine off the scenic module onto one of the cassette roads it ground to a halt. A short circuit was quickly realised but the cause was proving difficult to trace. No visual signs of a short and the wiring looked correct. I disconnected the wiring to the offending section and to my amazement the meter still showed an electrical connection. How can this be with no wires connected and no other signs of a short circuit?

After much faffing around I happened to put the meter probes between the isolated rail and the track ballast and the meter showed a connection! What seems to have happened is the ballast was touching a live rail and the copper clad sleeper of the isolated section  Scrapping away the ballast from the copper clad sleeper cured the problem. Something in the ballast was conductive!

The ballast comprises a mix of Woodland Scenics grey ballast, ground up coal and ground up cork all fixed in place with a weak mix of PVA glue (dried). My thoughts turned to the coal being the culprit since it contains carbon but I read carbon in coal exists in hydrocarbon compounds that don’t conduct electricity.

So, there is the conundrum.

To explain the photo:

Left cassette - Temporarily connected to Scenic Module; represents the road to Swanage Goods Yard.

Middle Cassette - Parked; connects to the Loco Yard.

Right Cassette - Parked; represents No.1 and No 2. roads to Swanage Station.

These cassettes are not interchangeable because the tracks exiting the scenic module are not all parallel with each other.

To Part 26

To Part 1.

Saturday 5 August 2017

Project 17 - Storage Cassette

This storage cassette/fiddle yard is made from 5mm foam board. This time I built in ample supports to avoid sagging of the track bed that was evident on the scenic module.

Being portable the cassette can simply be turned around to reverse trains and/or slid left and right  for track selection.

The left hand track is the single track line from Worgret Junction and the right hand track a head shunt for the extensive goods yard at Swanage.

There are a number of options for track electrical continuity. I could use plug and sockets. I could use flat copper strips soldered to the copper clad end sleepers and bent over the ends on both the scenic module and cassettes . When the cassette and scenic module are brought together the strips touch giving electrical continuity. Both these methods require additional cassette alignment and locking mechanics.
The method I opted for is rod in tube as this provides electrical continuity, alignment and locking all in one device. At first I thought about buying some brass rod and tube. Thinking about a cheaper alternative I had a brain wave that I could roll up some brass strip, found in my spares box, into a tube and use mains copper wire for the rod. The tube was formed by holding the wire against the brass strip in a vice, bending the brass around around the wire and then repositioning to bend a bit more and so on until the tube was formed. A tag was retained for soldering to the copper clad sleepers.

In use the rods are out and the cassette manually aligned. The rods are then inserted in the tubes and are a tight enough fit to hold the cassette firm during operations.

The two tracks at this end of the layout are parallel but at the other end there are four tracks and two of these are at odd angles. I'll need to make another double track cassette like this one and one or two single track cassettes for that end. More cassettes could be made to hold a range of fully formed trains. I'll wait until operations start to see if that is worth while.

Finally, a portable buffer stop is simply made from foam board with two stiff, galvanised wire pieces inserted. These locate in holes in the track bed.

To Part 25.

To Part 1.

Saturday 22 July 2017

Project 17 - Support Frame

Not quite what I had in mind. I wanted a lightweight folding frame that is open beneath the scenic module with lightweight boards at each end to support storage cassette fiddle yards. What I ended up with is essentially a fully blown baseboard upon which a full length model railway could be built! Whilst it could be supported on legs or trestles, I intend to simply lay it across a table for running sessions.

To save on expenditure I was determined to use up some of my spare stock of wood. The softwood frame is as planned, hinged with two butt hinges so it can be folded for storage. The two end boards are quarter inch plywood and therein lies the problem. They are too heavy causing the frame to bend at the hinges when placed on a short table. To spread the load I also boarded the middle open frame. It now bends less but needs long, loose beams under the length to keep it flat.

The scenic module is a slice of railway line not a dead end and therefore requires fiddle yards at each end. Each end board is long enough to hold a train of two MK1 passenger coaches with tender locomotive, ample for the two coach push pull train with M7 tank locomotive common at Swanage in the early 1960s. It turns this 00 gauge micro layout into a model railway nearly 3 metres long, which kind of defeats the object of a compact model railway!

To Part 24.

To Part 1.  

Saturday 15 July 2017

Project 17 - Rodding Completed

The finishing touch was to paint the rods and cranks with Humbrol metallic aluminium (56) followed by dry brushing a rust colour here and there. The tops of the stools were painted satin black as were the cranks to represent greasing for free movement of the parts.

A sprinkling of static grass in the narrow strip at the front of the layout completes all the scenic items.

Now attention turns to fiddle yard construction. I am thinking of a folding frame work as a removable base to hold the the scenic module and two fiddle yards level. The fiddle yards themselves  being a cassette storage system.

To Part 23.

To Part 1

Saturday 8 July 2017

Bodmin & Wenford (and Wadebridge)

Whilst on holiday in North Cornwall a visit to Bodmin General Station (GWR) was scheduled.

On duty was GWR '8750' Class 0-6-0PT no. 4612. I am not particularly interested in GWR, being a LSWR/Southern fan, but any excuse to see a steam locomotive is taken with pleasure.
In this part of Cornwall the LSWR had a strong foothold with its own station in Bodmin connected to Wadebridge. The GWR had permission to run trains from Bodmin General to Wadebridge over the LSWR line but I believe LSWR trains did not run into Bodmin General (no reason to do so as they had their own station,  Bodmin North). But, look what I found to my surprise lurking in the shed at Bodmin General.
LSWR T9 class 30120 on loan from the National Railway Museum. It is here having been restored and returned to running order in 2010 by the Bodmin and Wenford Railway Trust.

By the way, the railway shop had a small selection of Bachmann locomotives and rolling stock for sale, some at discounted prices but no more favourable than you would find at other discounters.

Talking of Wadebridge I stumbled upon the LSWR station building, marooned in a plantation of new housing. It is now a community centre that serves Cappuccino for £1 - a bargain. There is also a small, permanent exhibition of Sir John Betjeman (Poet Laureate) memorabilia inside. He was also a notable railway enthusiast.
Wadebridge was quite a large station complex in its heyday but it is impossible to visualise its railway environs today. Here is the Goods Shed, modified and now occupied by a mental health charity amongst others. The cars sit on what was once the station platform and railway line.

Saturday 24 June 2017

Project 17 - Rodding Continues

I forgot to break the sleeper ties for the rods to run straight through beneath the rails. What you see instead is truncated lengths each side of the rails. If you can run roding straight through then it is easier but sections of insulating sleeves will need to be fitted to the wire rods to stop electrical shorting where they lie beneath the metal rails.

The second photo shows rods and cranks down the centre of the sleepers. These are for the dual acting facing point locks of the two turnouts there.

There are three more rods to lay alongside the track almost the full length of the layout module. About 20 more stools need to be made to support these. That's going to take quite some effort.

In practice there was more mechanical fittings than modelled, some of which I don't know the purpose, but what I am installing gives a fair impression of this highly visible track side furniture.

To Part 22.

To Part 1.

Saturday 17 June 2017

Project 17 - Rodding Commences

Now for one of the more tricky parts, not only in model construction but also for prototype technical understanding. I confess to being no expert and have spent ages reading up on technicalities and reviewing photographs of the location to identify turnout rod runs and cranks. The cranks can have one of two orientations and I don't know if my guess is correct as I cannot determine it from the photographs I have.

The stools (rod rollers) in this first section beneath the railway bridge in the photo are my last stock of the defunct Colin Waite brass etchings. All others will be the Brassmasters version. The cranks are a mix of both ranges. I have used round copper wire for the rods, whilst round rods were used on the network I believe at Swanage they were square channel, the other option. The spacing of stools for round rods is eight feet.

The installation is purely cosmetic and will be painted when all is finished. Needless to say this lot is quite fiddly/frustrating to assemble but I get a weird sense of enjoyment threading the rods through the finished  stools.

Six rods control two catch points and three turnouts. All together that is five turnouts so why six rods? Each rod is associated with a lever in the Signal Box and they were allocated as follows:

Lever 10: Shed road catch point
Lever 9: Goods turnout
Lever 8: Facing Point Locks of  No2 road and Goods turnouts
Lever 7: Siding catch point (off stage) 
Lever 6: Two Facing turnouts on No 1 and No 2 roads
Lever 5: Facing Point Lock for No 1 road turnout

To Part 21.

To Part 1.

Saturday 10 June 2017

Project 17 - Ground Signals

Hitherto I made ground signals from matchstick, hole punched plastic and bent wire. For something so small this is fine but for Swanage Loco Yard where attention to detail is more acute, being a very small layout, I opted for the more accurate MSE GS002 kit from Wizard Models.

Only two ground signals are necessary in the modelled scene and fortuitously the Wizard Models kit includes two signals. Whilst of few parts they are extremely small and fiddly to assemble. There is potential to make them operable "if you are brave enough to have a go", says the instructions and as I felt brave I did, except two broken drills later and much fiddling I gave up! The disc does rotate by finger push so can be placed in on or off position but is not linked to its operating lever.

The one on the left is for the shed road catch point and the one on the right for shed road turnout on the station approach road.

To Part 20.

To Part 1.

Monday 5 June 2017

Project 17 - 6 Month Review

This is one of three micro layouts I had in mind to build, thinking they would be quite quick to create. After all I had read of such layouts being created in a weekend or even 24 hours.

6 months later of 2 or 3 hours per week and whilst Swanage Loco Yard looks finished there is still more to do!

The reason a micro layout can take so long to build is down to the method one decides to follow. I daresay a fictitious railway using all proprietary materials could be knocked up in a weekend. To base a layout on a real location needs time for research and considerably more effort where much of the scene has to be scratch built, as in my case.

What's left to add to the scene is some track side furniture, a bit of landscape in the foreground and completion of track ballasting.

The more significant items to build are the fiddle yards at each end. I was unsure what method to use for these. On a recent visit to the EM South exhibition I paid particular interest in fiddle yard designs used on the layouts there and came away with ideas that should help me construct them.

To operate the layout with some authenticity I'll need to acquire an M7 tank locomotive and perhaps a class 3MT as well since these were used for local services on the line in my period.

I wish I could say that the build has all gone swimmingly but I'm afraid there are significant issues that almost caused me to abandon the project, which I'll allude to now.

Turntable Drive

The turntable is motor driven. I mentioned in an earlier posting that it is a noisy mechanism and with that big void beneath the baseboard the sound is amplified (as are the locomotive motors). More of a worry is the weakness of the turntable drive. Even though the motor is purported to be high torque it does not cope well with a bit of friction in turntable movement. If this becomes unbearable I'll convert it to manual control via a turning handle at the front of the layout module.

Foam Board Module

5mm foam board is an inexpensive and a very light weight material from which to make the layout module. I knew it might have strength issues but the finished unit seemed sufficiently rigid. However, the baseboard soon sagged in places indicating that I should have put in more bracing. It was too late to do this retrospectively as some scenic items were already fixed in place so, the deviation had to be packed out beneath the railway track to ensure a flat plane. A sheet of thin plywood on top of the foam board base or making the baseboard from a thick piece of insulation foam board may have helped matters.

During the photo session today I noticed that the sides of the module are showing bowing tendencies. This does not bode well for the long term future of the layout, which is a worry as the scene itself is very well done and a delight to view, if I say so myself. If only I could lift it off and fit it to a more solid structure for longevity. I'm afraid it does not lend itself to that.


I wanted  limited lighting to be representative of a dull autumn day It was the first thing built into the module and seemed adequate although I knew the reflection from white walls and baseboard might be giving a false impression. Having built the landscape much of the light is absorbed by it making for very dull light at the engine shed end of the layout. On the face of it with the shed lights switched on it would be beneficial but it's too dark for my liking. I don't want to add more theatrical lights at that end as the intention was to have light from one source as though the sun was shining through thin cloud. Fortunately, I had not stuck the opaque roof panel in place so I'm now toying with the idea of making the module roof out of translucent material to allow more ambient light across the scene.

To Part 19.

To Part 1.

Oh, and what of the other two micro layouts I had in mind - probably non starters after the time it is taking for this one.

Friday 26 May 2017

Project 17 - People

I thought about flooding the scene with people but in the end felt it would be unrealistic for this small loco yard. First photo shows a man (Airfix) watching yard activity from Northbrook Road railway bridge. This is becoming a bit of a trade mark for me since a similar scene appears on my Misterton layout.

I am surprised how well the bridge stone texture appears considering it is flat stone paper decoration.

Next photo depicts the shed foreman (Airfix) at night surveying his empire from a vantage point at the top of the staff room steps.

The sloping building walls are less noticeable on the model itself.

I tend to use people that are in a natural, static pose but I could not resist this action scene of the loco fireman shovelling coal as he is nearly identical to this photograph of the prototype.

The fireman is actually a 'Marine Worker' by Montys Models, lent over and probably meant to be pulling a chain or rope. I gave him a shovel instead. From this angle he passes very well as a loco fireman.

I'd like to include a couple of loco men standing near the turntable. Had I been more alert I could have picked up suitable models from Modelu and Montys Models on my recent visit to EM spring expo. That will have to wait for another day.

To Part 18.

To Part 1

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