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Another house move

Wow, has it really been over 6 months since I updated this build thread! Shame on me.

In my defence, home life has had to come first meaning the layout has definitely been on the backburner. In October, we saw a property we loved and put an offer in that thankfully was accepted. This mean, all modelling related stuff was packed away in anticpation of the move which finally took place just before Christmas. However, the new place needed a fair bit of work, more restoration of a period property than redecorating so most of the last couple of months have been spent restoring floors, plastering, fitting original coving and picture rails etc. A lot of work but much more in keeping with the style of the building. And this is just the living room!

On the modelling plus side, as we now have a garden we can do what we wish with, I am pleased to report SWMBO has approved my planning application for a summer house dedicated to the railway and I’m hopeful that work can commence in May or June. I’ve even done a little on the existing layout although this will probably remain as a single board now and it’s primary use will be to hone my modelling skills a bit further before embarking on a new layout. I’m planning on getting some more done this week in between papering and painting and will endeavour to get some photos up in the next few days.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in DCC Layout

 

Update Pictures and New Purchase

Well I did promise some pictures so here they are. I’ve now demolished the original town scene. It was constructed using 6mm WBP ply for the base with Metcalfe tarmac road sheets, paving sheets and shops & houses. The problem to my eye was it just looked like too much printed card. I have saved the buildings and may use some of them or just rebuild them from scratch using balsa, plasti-card and Das air dry clay. For the revised version, I kept the same layout but the town board and formers for the three roads down to the main board level were constructed from foam board. Using paving tape, I marked out the roads (although cut strips of foam board or similar would work just as well and been cheaper). Modelling plaster was then mixed up with some grey acrylic paint added into the mixture. This was then pour onto the roadways and spread about using a wide spatula which bridged across the paving tape to give a uniform height.Town Layout

Town Layout

After drying overnight I noticed a few imperfections. These were sanded down and another skim added over any pits or depressions. Finally it was given a coat of dark grey which I will be sanding down again to enable any further unevenness to be quickly spotted and dealt with before being given a blow over with a suitable grey colour from the airbrush.

Laying the Roads

Laying the Roads

Then I shall be building up the areas where the buildings will be going and adding the pavement and kerb stones. I also fancy scribing in some drains and manhole covers and painting them black.

So today I popped out to Buffers to get some more plastic paving sheets but ending up succumbing to this little set which has been catching my eye in the second hand section for the last couple of months. A Graham Farish SR EMU. I’ve got to fit a couple of 6 pin chips and fancy trying a sound chip install to complement the interior lighting. It may not be exactly what I was going to run on this board but I’ll just call in an investment for when the main town terminus board is built. All good fun.

Graham Farish SR 4CEP 4 Car EMU

Graham Farish SR 4CEP 4 Car EMU

Graham Farish SR 4CEP 4 Car EMU

Graham Farish SR 4CEP 4 Car EMU

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in DCC Layout, Purchases

 

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I’m Back

Hello All – I’m back.  :D

Sorry for not posting anything for 6 months+. A lot has happened this year but I’m glad to say that the layout is now part of that.

Back in January we decided to put our house on the market. This meant that the layout and all associated paraphernalia was relegated to the shed as part of a major redecorating and de-cluttering exercise. But it was worth it as we sold our place really quickly and by the end of March we had relocated to East Devon. The next month or two was spent getting settled in, buying furniture and enjoying fishing on the beach.

Apart from the slower pace of life here, there is another advantage – being slap bang between Pecorama and Buffers (where I am something of a regular now). I think there is a saying that a railway modeller and his/her money are soon parted and this is true for me as I have now gone to the dark side in purchasing a Gaugemaster DCC01 setup. It was very easy to set up, just put power to all track sections. I only had one DCC loco though, the Peco Collet so I went out and purchased a SR Q1 and GW Hall. I also had 3 of my smaller locos chipped. They all run fantastically. My 86 year old father was so impressed, he bought a DCC unit when he came to stay with us.

The layout has had made progress but its a case of two steps forward and one back as I keep redoing areas that I am not happy with. I’ve built up the upper ‘town’ section and the three roads down from it, built the tunnels and completed some other terraforming jobs. I’m currently laying the roads using a quick setting plaster which is great to use. I’ve also been test wiring up point motors and signals to a dedicated PSU and CDU but am not yet completely confident enough to hard wire them into the board yet.

I’ll take some pictures and post up again, hopefully later on today or tomorrow. I also need to get busy with the camera as I have a load of N gauge locos to sell. Busy, busy.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in DCC Layout

 

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Trackwork down -Station area begins

Armed with another roll of Gaugemaster’s ballasted underlay and a Dremmel, I managed to finish laying the last of the track section for this board – the sidings. I need to have a few more running sessions in here before I can say I am satisfied with the layout and finish. There are still a couple of areas where the running is not quite good enough but this will come with fettling and time. Here is a shot with the existing station,  platform and loco shed temporarily placed to give an overview of the layout.

Track work in place and buildings temporarily located.

Track work in place and buildings temporarily located.

So now to move onto some structures in and around the station. First on the list were the platforms. For some strange reason, I decided not to build them solely from the Metcalfe stone platform kits. As the picture below shows, I have use foamboard glued down with Rocket glue to build the base form & structure. This is a quick method and once completed is extremely rigid. The elevation of the rail due to the added depth of the underlay, meant I needed to aim for 14mm platform height.

Foamboard platform formers glued into place.

Foamboard platform formers glued into place.

The track and ballast was given a quick blast over with the airbrush using Railmatch’s Sleeper Grime. (I need to add some further loose ballast and weathering here).

The trackside platform faces are from a sheet of 2mm/4mm stone embossed plastic sheet painted with a mix of approximately 60% Flint and 40% light stone acrylics. This was then given a wash and some dry brushing before being cut into 14mm stripes and glued to the foamboard structure.

Platform faces clad in stone embossed plastic sheet.

Platform faces clad in stone embossed plastic sheet.

For the platform tops, I looked at various methods but finally settled for using the asphalt sheets in the Metcalfe platform kits. They look reasonable and after a bit more weathering should look ok (if you squint a bit). The station building I’m using here is one I’d built for my previous layout attempt. Its the Metcalfe country station which I modified by covering in their dressed stone paper.

Platforms with station temporarily located.

Platforms with station temporarily located.

Next, I turned my attention to the station building. The platform side was fitted with some spare flagstones and the bargeboards and canopy posts were painted GW cream. I was debating what finish to use for the front of the station and have now settled on paving the area. It’s raised up to the same height as the platform and therefore needs some steps down to road level. These had been planned in when I built the foamcard platform structure. Once I have decided on the fencing, walling and gate arrangement for this area, I can proceed.

The furthest end from the platform throat is going to butt up against the tunnel mouth leading under the town so the Peco bridge mouth was next to recieve the hairy brush treatment. I used a mixture of greys and stone colours, washes and dry brushing to get a mixed, grimyish feel. A touch of weathering should see this finished off nicely. Heres a before and after type shot.

Before and after shot of the unpainted and painted bridge mouth.

Before and after shot of the unpainted and painted bridge mouth.

Next I feel some kit building coming on but I’ll finsh up this post with a pic of SR 2579 pulling a rake of Western coaches.

SR 2579 pulling a short rake of Western coaches

SR 2579 pulling a short rake of Western coaches

See you next time.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2013 in DCC Layout

 

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Track down

Track down

Progress to date – both outer loops laid and tested and everything seems to be running ok. I’m using Gaugemaster’s (Noch’s) ballast underlay which is a doodle to use and makes running so much quieter. You’re not meant to use it as it is for points but I’ve manage to get it looking, and more importantly working, okay but it does take some adjusting as due to the sleeper configuration, they don’t sit in the precut sleeper grooves and if you are not careful you can end up with lumpy points.  Anyhow, bar some fettling to make good a few areas with traditional ballasting, I think I’m there or thereabouts. It will need some weathering methinks and I shall have to get the airbrush out and have a session to blend both it and the track in but I’m quite happy with it thus far.I did have to move the crossover points from the station throat to the back of the board due to board size constraints but they will get moved back when I am able to get going on the right hand board sometime after the house move (whenever that turns out to be).I also made a start on the sidings. I did have a last minute change of configuration here but as I ran out of underlay, I couldn’t finish them so I’ll have to wait before I can test this new arrangement. Basically, and going clockwise, as you pass into the sidings you have a bay platform on the left, then two goods sidings, the nearest one to the station with a goods shed, then a service siding which will house staithes, water tower etc, at the end of the siding line, a y point into a twin road loco shed, to the right of which is a private siding to the industry (a brewery and either a dairy or something similar) and finally on the right, back near the main track, a headshunt which will probably be lengthened a bit. I hope that makes sense. Any feedback on this arrangement is welcomed. (I realise it may not be prototypical but as long as its workable and looks good I’ll be happy with it).

Both outer loops laid and sidinds started.

Both outer loops laid and sidings started.

I’m hoping to get some more underlay at a collectors fair at Kempton on Sunday to enable me to finish this bout of tracklaying. Other upcoming jobs include getting the wood to create the backboard and frame for the raised town section, starting the enbankment along the back, making a LOT of trees  and starting on creating the platforms. Plus I might even get some piccies of some locos sorted for you good people.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2013 in DCC Layout

 

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Same layout, new baseboard

The original layout I was working on was 8ft by 3ft on two 4ft boards constructed from a 18mm x 45mm softwood frame topped with reused 6mm ply. This caused me a few issues, warping, instability, difficulty in joining and a lack of depth underneath for point motors and dropping the landscape for waterways and ponds etc. Plus space was an issue in our current property and even though we are selling, now the diy was completed, I had the modelling bug bad again.

After spending a month or two pondering my options yet seemingly just going around in circles, we came up with an idea. I knew I wanted to stick with the original 8 by 3 plan but would want to extend it if our new property allowed so thought why not reduce the layout to a 5ft length and then add another board when space allowed to complete the original plan. Maybe the extension could be another 4 or 5ft board giving a total length of upto 10ft eventually.

As the orginal plan consisted of a town, station, industry and sidings area on the left 4ft board and a countryside, village, farm area on the right 4ft it would mean choosing just one half and allowing an extra foot for the return curve. I decided to go for the town board as this was more developed. I would build it in such a way that although it will, in its current form, be a self contained layout, I could easy modify the right hand end to extend the run back to the original design.

I should at this point explain that I do not get overly worried about being strictly prototypically accurate as long as it looks right to my eye. My preferred era is the steam of the 1930s to 1960s and populated with a mixtue of Great Western and Southern Railway with some BR stock. Oh and did I mention its N gauge.

Here are photos of the original boards to give an idea of the track plan. The left hand side will feature the town over the curves whilst the right hand countryside end was to have a hillside with tunneI over the outside loop.

Left hand side -the town will cover the the end if the board.

Left hand side -the town will cover the the end if the board.

Right hand board - the outer loop will pass undera hill.

Right hand board – the outer loop will pass undera hill.

The new 5ft by 3ft board was pre-cut from an 8 by 4ft sheet of 6mm WBP external ply with 4inch strips being used the make the frame. 1″ by 1/2″ battening was used to brace the frame and to give something to glue and nail to. This would also form the part of the frame the top could be screwed into. Front to back bracing was spaced at 12inch intervals. Once this was constucted using wood glue and nails & staples, the cross pieces had a 2in deep by 6mm wide slot cut into them from underneath. Then a lengthwise brace had similar slots cut and was slotted in down the centre of the frame. After drilling, counter sinking and screwing the top board to the frame, the whole structure was giving a good coat of quick drying satin varnish. Once thorough dry, I tested the rigidity of the structure by standing on it. This egg box method of construction, as well as being obviously very strong,  is also incredibly light weighing somewhere between half and two thirds the weight of one of my slightly smaller previous baseboards.

Ply, £20, 1″ x 1/2″ pine battoning, £3, varnish, £5, -Total cost £28.

Next job, track laying.

Underneath of the new eggbox baseboard.

Underneath of the new eggbox baseboard.

Top of new eggbox baseboard.

Top of new eggbox baseboard.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2012 in DCC Layout

 

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