Monday, 17 April 2017

More baseboards built

Easter weekend is the perfect time to get some quality modelling time done. First you have to ensure all domestic duties are taken care of and then get up early and get started.

This weekend was earmarked to finish off the baseboards. Despite the ply being under heavy books in the lounge, some of the pieces still developed some horrible warps. I discarded the worst and managed to salvage enough to complete the two side extensions.


The two side pieces literally just contain the 180 degree bends to curve the track from the back onto the fiddle yard at the rear. They have 3 dowels for alignment each and also 3 bolts to hold the boards together.

Since taking the picture the top boards have been glued down and are under the significant weight of some railway books. Later this week I should be able to start track laying.


Sunday, 12 March 2017

Wall being painted

I've finally got round to finishing the wall. It's had a coat of white Gesso primer and is now getting some colour onto it. The first was a dirty wash to try and take the white from between the stones. Then I took a damp sponge and applied a mix of grey, brown and green. If you put too much on you can just wipe it off again with the sponge. Working in artificial light after sunset means it is really difficult to tell how it is coming out so it makes sense to keep the first coat light and do the next in daylight.

Here is how one end of the wall is looking.


Sunday, 5 February 2017

Trackbed in place

The concept behind the layout is that there is a single line that rolls across the front of the layout. What is nice about the line is that it is on a permanent bend of varying radii and it is on a slight gradient. Nothing straight about this!

The line itself runs between the river and the mill race so it is effectively elevated for all the visible section. I had guessed on the height and it turns out I had set it all a bit high but that is not an issue as I can raise the river bed and can make the front lower fascia deeper to cover it. I knew there was a reason why I didn't glue the front fascia on!

The plan was to reproduce the curves and incline as best as could reasonably be achieved. I used foamboard and cut out some sections that had a 1 in 100 incline on them. the foamboard, I discovered, would bend sufficiently for my needs so I set about gluing it down a few inches at a time as far as each change in bend would allow. 


Eventually it was all down and I discovered it wasn't level front to back. I clearly wasn't as accurate as I should have been but a bit of card packing soon sorted that out. I added some bracing and glues the top down. As can be seen in the picture I cut the gaps where the mill race enters and leaves and where the two sluices are. The next step is to add cladding using Wills coarse stone sheets.

The lighting had to have an adjustment. Once the track bed was in place, the front row of lights were found to be just behind the leading edge in the middle of the board so created a shadow. I added a layer of foamboard to the underside of the wood sticking out on the lighting beam and added more LED strip to that. I also took the opportunity to add a run of warm light on this. Iain Rice, in his book on Cameo Layouts, says that warm lights are not suitable for British weather. However, I am hoping to create a yellowy/brown reflection off the river right beneath so I though tit worth a try. I can always just snip the wire to that strip of LEDs should it not work out.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Layout Lighting

A layout needs good lighting. I knew I would do it with strip LEDs as I had some left over from lighting my workbench. I had enough for two runs, one on each of the overhead battens. The great news is that, not only does it light the layout nicely, it also provides lighting while I am working.


The ones I had were "day white" but I wonder if they are just a bit too white. I've ordered some warm white which I know will be at the opposite end of the spectrum of whites but I'm hoping that a run of these on the front batten will give a warmer reflection off the river that is at the front of the layout.

Monday, 16 January 2017

All change

How many modellers have announced they have had a change of heart and want to do something different before the current layout is finished? All of us! The change of heart was caused by an increasing disillusion with DCC which didn't run reliably for me. Others have had great success with it but all I got was sparking locos that kept tripping the short circuit protection. Additionally a change of house and change of job took place so 3+ years later, here we are.


There's been plenty of thinking in this time. Despite now having a much larger railway room to play with I knew that any layout would have to be relatively small to give me any chance of finishing it. I knew it would be 009 - I have made so many friends in the 009 Society and they are such an easygoing and helpful bunch of people.

Within 009 there is a huge range of prototypes. Having been a standard gauge modeller for so many years I have really struggled to mentally adjust to the really tiny stock that many lines had. Fortunately there are two lines that have some fairly chunky stock, the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway and the Leek & Manifold Light Railway. The other attraction for both these lines is that they have a interaction with standard gauge which widened the modelling possibilities.

I looked at both and settled on the Welshpool line as being the more interesting. I then did the standard thing and looked at the stations to see which could be modelled. In truth only Llanfair Caereinion can fit into a moderate space but it didn't give me what I wanted, the ability to sometimes watch trains go by.

In the end I flipped my thinking on it's head and made watching trains go by the major requirement. Looking along the line I came to Melin Dolrhyd, where the line weaves between the mill and the river. Could I model it? I don't know but I'm going to give it a try. I've built the main board as can be seen. The eagle eyed will notice it will be in cameo form.

Watch this space for another post. Hopefully in less than 3 year's time.