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Building the baseboards and creating the scenery for Clachbeg

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Completing the ground cover of the station

I was not satisfied with the triangle behind the outer loop track: it was too obviously formed of flat layers. I therefore added about half a kilogramme of lightly-coloured plaster to soften the contours. I also covered the final surfaces between the platforms with a thin coat of plaster. In this step I want to get the ground covered and coloured, not in its final state necessarily but “natural”-looking.     This is the remodelled triangle; hard to see the contours here.     The passen

Richard T

Richard T

Ballasting the station

Finally the groundwork and platforms are in place, and I can proceed with ballasting the track.   The ballast is a mixture of excellent scale granite chips and fish tank gravel; the latter is rather colourful, but it will all be coloured dark grey so I hope that the two will blend. I inadvertently mixed a handful of larger fish tank gravel into the mix, so there are some 3"–4" pieces here and there. Altogether I have 8 kg of gravel to hand...   The method I am using is similar to smaller sca

Richard T

Richard T

Platforms: making a start

Clachbeg station boasts three platforms in all: a 16' stone platform on the stonemason siding, a 27' low gravel platform for passengers, and a 31' stone platform beside the goods siding. The stonemason and goods sidings are 18" high (from the rail tops) and encroach 3" into the loading gauge clearway; the passenger siding is a simple gravel affair at rail height, bounded by sleepers on edge. I decided to lay these out before ballasting, as they form part of the ground cover and ballast border.

Richard T

Richard T

Rusting the rails

Having completed the building of the trackwork, and glued all the templates to the baseboard, it was time to bed the templates in to the scenery. There are several things to do: painting of the rails, building up of the ground layer around the track, and finally ballasting the track. Clachbeg is in the far north west of the Scottish Highlands, so rails would have very quickly acquired a rusty patina, and the traffic was hardly intense enough to coat the rails with the sort of grime which we are

Richard T

Richard T

Spring is sprung, the grass is riz...

Time to take the plunge and to progress from bare baseboard to something more natural...   After much reading I decided to opt for fairly mainstream landscaping techniques: a Flockit applicator, Flockit glue, Woodland Scenics Scenic Glue in a spray bottle, and a mixture of 6 mm and 12 mm static grass fibres and Woodlands Scenics long grasses, as well as a collection of scenic scatters, gouaches, India ink, some horsehair mat and some classic Iceland moss.     First off I laid down lots o

Richard T

Richard T

Landscaping the cutting and the mine

The cutting is where the track emerges from the fiddle yard (a cutting not a tunnel; the cutting is deep enough that the viewer cannot see around it to the entrance to the fiddle yard), and here the track passes between Creag na Còsaig to its rear and Creag Ór to its front, crossing the Allt Creag na Còsaig on a 15' bridge before reaching the station entrance turnout. The tiny gold mine is (fittingly) at the foot of Creag Ór and its spur crosses the stream on a 6' culvert.   All of the above m

Richard T

Richard T

Fiddleyard turntable—completion

I made good progress with the turntable, after various calculations to ensure that the top of the rails would match the spur leading to the layout itself. Finally I chose to lay a sheet of 18 mm MDF onto the turntable and then lay Code 143 rail directly to the MDF, to align with the top of the Code 205 rail on sleepers on a template... It worked, thank goodness!     The first picture shows the template for the fiddle yard ends laid out for size. The cutouts in the MDF are for the stiffening

Richard T

Richard T

Fascia

Today I cut and attached a wooden front panel to the layout, to provide definition and protect the front edge. The panel is cut from flexiply, screwed to the shelf underlying the craft foam baseboards and also glued to the baseboards.     Fascia on station side.     Fascia by bridge.     Painted matt black to match fiddle yard.     Close-up of mine area.   I am very pleased with the black fascia: it holds back and allows the eye to focus undistracted on the scenery.

Richard T

Richard T

Colour at last

The white plaster has been getting on my nerves, so it was good to put some colour onto it at last.   I used Woodland Scenics ground colours, diluted to various degrees, and followed their “leopard spots” approach of dabbing different colours and then tieing it together with a dilute black wash. I am quite pleased with the results, certainly it looks like a landscape now.     The cutting and mine. I used sampler pots of water-based household paint to cover the blue craft foam, leaving onl

Richard T

Richard T

Scenery base layer

There is little room for scenery here, so I want to be sure that what little there is does justice to the other aspects of the layout. I decided to use lightweight plaster of paris (Hydrocal by Woodland Scenics) on the bridge end of the layout, and I'll use a mixture of that and craft foam around the station (where the ground will be essentially flat).     First task was to cover the craft foam layers with plaster cloth. I have also cut out the top of the mine shaft (it's only 3' square and

Richard T

Richard T

Fiddleyard turntable: beginnings

This type of fiddle yard allows complete trains to be turned in a relatively compact space without unnecessary handling of the models—as long as trains are short, which is the case here. Maximum train length is effectively a loco plus four twin-axle wagons, and will usually be around 50'; the turntable is a scale 54'-11" long.     The base for the fiddle yard, 3 mm ply glued to the craft foam base.     The layout end of the fiddle yard. The gap to the right will be filled in and there

Richard T

Richard T

Baseboard progress

I thought a lot about how to tackle the baseboard. As I have no plans to exhibit this, I decided for as simple and robust a baseboard as possible, accepting that in the event of moving house all will likely be lost.   Weight is no object as the shelving can carry 300 kg per unit; nonetheless I wanted something I could easily assemble alone. I shall not need to lift the baseboards—there will be no electrical wiring to tracks or turnouts, and any to buildings will be buried in the ground cover.

Richard T

Richard T

Backscene

For this layout I want a back scene which is unobtrusive. I do not like to see breeze block or grainy wood immediately behind or beside the models.   I had agonised about how to hide the many internal corners, but in the end this was very simple, once I had discovered flexiply, which is a plywood which bends (flops) in one axis. Flexiply will curve down to a 3" radius without effort, and as such is perfect for this application. I initially thought to use carpet tape to attach the flexiply to t

Richard T

Richard T

Workbench

In the corner of the double garage opposite the layout I have set up a workshop from two new units plus an existing unit; the idea is to have space for modelling separate from occasional other use (household, cycling, cars...)   This shows the tidied garage; the workshop is to the right at the rear.   The workshop corner before the recessing of the light.   Later the shelves filled up and I was able to spread tools and so on about...

Richard T

Richard T

Making space in the garage

The first step in all this took place in November 2013, clearing out the garage. I then laid a rubber matting floor and fitted shelves, so that the clutter could all be stored and space created for the railway. I started by clearing half the garage into the other half; the pallet contains shelving. Logistically this was quite challenging...     An idea of just how much clutter there is... I had to work in the forecourt (meaning in the wind and rain) when the logistics got too complicated.

Richard T

Richard T

Shelves shelves shelves

Next came the shelves. Two people are required to build them; I managed by myself but not without some awkward moments. The shelves are boltless, meaning lots of bashing with a rubber mallet and the associated reverberating clanging.     Note I hung simple hardboard sheets against wall battens, from ceiling height to about a metre off the floor, to provide a “cleaner” wall surface than the uneven breeze-block. I tell myself this gives me some insulation too, while retaining ventilation of t

Richard T

Richard T

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