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Author Archives: John

New Round the Room Layout

The Concept

Initially, I was very much into Great Western 1920s and 30s, influenced by my father and a layout we built in my childhood, but the more time I have spent on forums and reading books, the more I have grown to appreciate Southern and post nationalisation steam. A great influence on me was Southernboy’s Frankland. Its suburban feel, Southern stock and superb modelling, plus his excellent posting style really picqued my interest. Then I got a copy of Waterloo Sunset with its footage of 60s steam on the Southwest and West of England mainlines – another big influence.

Running wise, I like to see trains passing and am more interested in passengers operations than freight, although some mail, parcel, milk and general goods stock is always welcome. Plus I wanted a decent shed area for displaying some locos awaiting their turn.

So I started listing what elements I wanted and so came up with this:

Passenger operations
Mainline station with at least 4 platforms
Minimum of dual line running
Loco shed
Continuous running
Some storage sidings for trains and/or carriage sidings
Opportunity to scratch build a suburban area
DCC
Late crest Southern Region with some Western interlopers
Ability to swap eras to run some Maunsell era stock (with the odd GWR interloper)
To have fun
To revert to rule one whenever the fancy took me

A house move earlier this year meant I now had use of a third bedroom as an office/modelling/layout room but knowing that we are likely to move again in the next 5 years or so meant I wanted the boards to be semi portable modules. The space available would be very roughly 7ft by 7ft around the walls, initially on units/desks but with the ability to be raised on legs to free up workspce under the layout as things developed.

I don’t have a trackplan I’m afraid, rather am working from a plan in my head, various sections of which have been mocked up in trial runs. Simply put, the east side will have a 4 platform station and town, the north will have the 4 lines go down to 2 with a spur off to the loco shed, the west side will see the 2 lines continue with some train storage sidings (maybe hidden) and the south a spur to carriage sidings before the 2 lines split back into 4 before heading back round into the station.

Thanks for reading and any feedback welcomed.

Next the boards and name ideas.

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Posted by on December 1, 2017 in DCC Layout, Round the Room

 

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Greening Up and Bridge Testing

Today I decided to test fit the bridge’s positioning to make sure there was enough clearance under it before making a start on the inside edge of the cutting. I cut a seat for the bridge into the plaster and foam before starting to apply Polyfilla on the cutting side. It needs more building up directly under bridge base which I am slowly doing in layers allowing time for each coat of Polyfilla to thoroughly dry before applying the next layer. Once finished, I will paint it to represent a combination of exposed rock face and earth before applying some green growth. The outside (left as you look at it) side of the cutting will be completed at a later stage.

Coach Bridge Clearance Test

Coach Bridge Clearance Test

I have also gone over most of the layout now with green acrylic and marked out the road/tracks. In these next two pictures you see some part built Metcalfe cottages and farm house which will enable me to play around with building locations. I am most likely going to be scratch building the structures as these don’t look quite right for this scenario.

Left Hand Side Greened Up with Test Positioning of Buildings

Left Hand Side Greened Up with Test Positioning of Buildings

Right Hand Side Greened Up with Test Positioning of Buildings

Right Hand Side Greened Up with Test Positioning of Buildings

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Podbury small DC layout

 

Ancorton Road Bridge

Before I can work out the placement of structures, fields, woods etc, I really need to work out where the road is going to go and to do this I need the bridge in situ to anchor that end of the road.

After looking at the various options, I opted for the Ancorton road bridge as I have never used any of their kits before. The kit in question is a laser cut wooden single track road bridge,NBR2. The main structure is laser cut from plywood and the road surface and underneath of the bridge are cut from card.

It was an easy build, which went together very accurately and reasonably quickly.

Ancorton Road Bridge Unpainted

Ancorton Road Bridge Unpainted

I painted it using the same acrylic colours used for the platform and station.

Ancorton Road Bridge Painted

Ancorton Road Bridge Painted

Having the bridge constructed enables me the work out where the outside embankment needed to reach to and this was built up using insulation board as used for the rest of the layout.

Road Bridge Test Fitted

Road Bridge Test Fitted

Next is to finish plaster bandaging the rest of the layout before fixing the bridge and marking out the roadway.

 

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2015 in Podbury small DC layout

 

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Terraforming and Electrics

First off, the A4 ‘Bittern’ I mentioned in my last update sadly had to be sent back, but in its place is now a Peco Collett which is much more in line with my region.

Anyway, onto Podbury. The platform walls for the siding were trimmed to length and mitred before being given a coat of mortar wash before being dry brushed with a combination of concrete, flint grey, sleeper grime and GWR stock cream. An usual mix but they seem to work well together. A rail built bufferstop was painted and fixed in situ before the siding was ballasted. I’ve still to weather the track but am going to wait getting the airbrush out until the rest of the loop is ballasted and then do everything together.

Siding Walls and Bufferstop in place

Siding Walls and Bufferstop in place

For some reason I have a mental block against scratch building station buildings. Luckily, I had an old Ratio station building kit I picked up secondhand from a bargain bin. I’ve used the same colours and technique as the platform walls but it’s not quite right yet and needs playing around with a bit more before I’ll be happy with it.

Station building started

Station building started

Before doing any more work on top of the layout, I really needed to finish underneath the baseboard, i.e. the electrics. I had already wired up a test rig of all the components to work out how to do it and make sure it would all work OK, so all I had to do was to replicate this. As a simple loop with just one siding, this turned out to be quite straightforward, even for an electrics simpleton like me. The set up consists of the 16V AC accessory feed from the controller, a Peco PL10E point with twin micro-switches fitted, one operating a Berko platform starter signal and the second one currently spare, all operated by a Peco PL26 passing contact lever. The signal is run off the DC feed from a Gaugemaster WM1 power supply. With just the one point, I didn’t bother with a CDU. I used mono phone jacks and sockets to facilitate the quick and easy removal of the controller.

Under board wiring

Under board wiring

Controller and point lever

Controller and point lever

I gave the signal a simple black and white paint job which makes it looks bit more prototypical in my opinion. On the left you can see what will eventually be the cattle dock base cut to shape along with the trackside embankment which has had a trim and a covering of mod roc and some paint.

Siding with signal

Siding with signal

Next was to start on all that bare Celotex type landscape. It was carved to approximate shape and then giving a coating of mod roc….

Terraforming the landscape

Terraforming the landscape

…before being given a blast over with a colour approximating green grass so I could see if it was roughly going to plan.

Test coloured landscape

Test coloured landscape

It needs a bit more work and the left hand end of the board I have left for now until I can settle on how I’m going to tackle the road bridge.

So to finish off this post, I’ll leave you with a couple of shots of my Class 42 Warship ‘Dragon’ waiting for green at the station.

Dragon awaits the green

Dragon awaits the green

And off we go

And off we go

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2015 in Podbury small DC layout

 

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Track Down, Station Starts

I have settled on the name Podbury for this layout. It just seemed to fit. The track has now all been laid, some of the terrain has been glued down and the platforms and cattle dock/goods siding started (and currently being worked on).

Track down, landscaping started

Track down, landscaping started

Platform and terrain started

Platform and terrain started.

Platform started. I’m kit bashing some Ratio kits I bought secondhand for this.

Even some ballasting started.

Even some ballasting started.

And I’ve already used it to run in some of my recent acquisitions.

Dapol Weathered Southern M7

Dapol Weathered Southern M7

Dapol weathered Southern M7 – Been waiting for this one for a while and it finally came in, in November.

Dapol Weathered 45xx

Dapol Weathered 45xx

Dapol weathered 45xx – I tried buying one earlier in the year, but typically it was faulty and last one left in stock. This came in December.

Dapol Class 22 Baby Warship

Dapol Class 22 Baby Warship

Dapol Class 22 Baby Warship. Got this last weekend. Its stablemate, A4 Bittern needs larger radii (I think) so will need a run on the larger DCC layout. Along with…

Dapol Chipped Southern Terrier

Dapol Chipped Southern Terrier

Dapol Southern Terrier. Purchased in April from Osbournes who chipped it for me. Tiny, ain’t she. Poor bugger has been waiting since July to be run in. Not long now.

I also spent a couple of evenings getting my head around the best way to do the electrics. “But its only one siding for goodness sake” – I hear you cry. Electrics are not my strong point – I can’t even rewire a bulb.  😉  Don’t forget, as well as being a DC layout to run in new locos, this is also about trying out new things and micro-switches, signals and panel lights are definitely new for me.

Anyway, I now have my one point test wired up with a colour signal via a micro-switch and a second micro-switch feeding panel lights all ready to be fitted.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2015 in Podbury small DC layout, Purchases

 

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Track Bedded Down

I have made a decision based upon the size of the board and my wanting it to look reasonably realistic and not have to resort to using Set Track, to just have a plain oval with one siding, very much akin to Kelmscott & Langford on the Fairford branch which was my original inspiration for the layout.

Due to the nature of construction of this board, e.g. Sundeala, I wanted to use cork to create a track bed and stop the water/PVA ballasting mix just soaking straight into the board. The challenge was how to get the cork cut to exactly the pattern of the track. To get around this I firstly laid a sheet of lining wallpaper over the board before trimming it to size.

Lining paper on Sundeala

Lining paper on Sundeala

Then I pinned out the track using drawing pins until I was happy with the layout.

Test fitting track

Test fitting track

Then I drew around the track allowing for the extra width of the cork before cutting the track template out.

Template for trackwork

Template for track work

This handily left the template for inside of the track which I plan on using shortly, but more of that later. Next I used the track template to cut the cork which was then stuck down with Bostik Contact Adhesive.

Cork Track Bed Glued Down

Cork Track Bed Glued Down

I will be setting the platforms on cork too to ensure they are the correct height.

Next job will be to fix the track back down, wire it up and test run a variety of locos and rolling stock.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2014 in Podbury small DC layout

 

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4’x2′ Rural DC Test layout

4’x2′ Rural DC Test layout

Having recently bought a new place, not only is a lot of my spare time taken up renovating and restoring seemingly every room and their period features, but my DCC layout has been stored to prevent damage whilst walls and ceilings are rebuilt, parquet floors laid and plaster coving fitted. My schedule for a spare room extension or railway outbuilding keeps slipping back. Then add into this the frustration of not being able to model for ages and I have reached the point where something was required to give me a modelling / loco running fix.

Planning permission was applied for and gracious approved by the domestic authority for a small 4’ x 2’ portable layout which could sit out the way when not being worked upon and did not require any special room to be made available for it.

The theme for this will be to try some new things plus as I do not have a test bed for running in locos before chipping them it will be DC. New things being included are:

Sundela baseboard
Electrofrog points
Peco PL10E/PL15 switched points
Working signals
Mimic board
Daler board

The layout itself will be very simple; a single oval of a rural/village type with a passing loop storage siding at the rear obscured by a rising landscape, single platform set on a passing loop and a single siding with livestock/simple goods facilities. It’s kind of inspired by Kelmscott & Langford on the Fairford branch only with the station passing loop to enable a touch more operational interest. Building and scenery will be inspired and based upon places in my area.

The baseboard was constructed at the weekend using 70x20mm PSE:

 

4x2 Sundela baseboard

4×2 Sundela baseboard

Name wise, I am thinking of something like Podbury or Podmore.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2014 in Podbury small DC layout

 

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