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The highs, high-rises, lows and low-reliefs of constructing a West Midlands set fictional AC electric layout in a shed.

Entries in this blog


Wombourne, Take 2...

I have had to re-hang Wombourne. The backscene which I had applied developed bubbles and creases, which I assumed was due to me using Spraymount, or the conditions in the shed, but as the Spraymount had cured by the time I found the backscene has creased, in a fit of temper I decided to try again, turn the backdrop round, and this time use double-sided tape to stick it on.  I decided to go for Gaugemaster's 9 inch "village" backdrop, and duly stuck it on. I also gave the access track a




Wednesford Morning

Been slowly - very slowly - reballasting, weathering and adding backscenes.  Typically, I underestimated how much backscene I needed and could have probably made my own using a cracking and very reasonable one man band printer in Barmouth I've used several times for other stuff, but I ended up buying off the peg. I've had a rethink of the "Old Town" and moved the Hornby Skaledale "courtyard" shops to next to Tudor Row, which works much better.  The space formerly occupied by the lock-ups ne




In a change to our advertised programme...

Today was a little too sticky to be laying track, so I decided to have a bit of a tidy up, and build a signal box.  I decided that Wednesford, teetering on the brink of partial closure back in the 60s, would probably have been excluded from the West Midlands power box control scheme and kept an adapted mechanical signal box instead.  There's precedent for this - the Potteries loop and the Trent Valley both retained older boxes - so I figured that, as I had a bit of space, I'd adapt a Wills ARP s

Grayling was right: Electrification sucks...

There's a title I bet you never thought you'd read, but after installing OHLE to the layout today, I've gone right off electrification and am happy to wait for pixie-fart or bionic unicorn dung powered trains to de-carbonise the railway. Don't get me wrong, once you've worked out how to clip the wires onto the masts and their correct spacing, the Dapol system is pretty good, it's just the fiddle of getting the wires onto the masts, when you are 57, with sausage fingers and reaching over 20"

Forget Track'n'Trace, we now have Track'n'Ballast!

Following on from the video, today I've been ballasting.  Using a mixture of ballasts, from fine to coarse, of different colours, left over from Kings Oak, I managed to lay a nice mix of ballast on each trackbed, using a Proses ballast layer. The rails were painted using a Posca paint pen.  Once the ballast has dried (the usual PVA-detergent-water mix) I'll airbrush layers of rust and oily gunk to weather the ballast and sleepers down.  The bare cork and board eventually will house tr

Track laying underway!

A video update this time, of a test run on the newly laid track on the main circuit.  I decided to try a propelling move using a Heljan 86 with their notorious droopy couplings and a three car rake of semi-permanently coupled Bachmann Mk2f and Oxford Mk3 RFM.  This triplet set is coupled using the Bachmann bar couplings because when I installed lighting in the RFM, the gimcrack Oxford coupling cams lost their springs and as it would be spending at least 50% of it's time being pushed as well as p

Regaining my Mojo

Having had a bit of a pause from modelling, the past couple of days have seen me laying cork ready for track laying.  However, this afternoon, I decided to have a day adding scenery to the area behind the Swan Centre before recommencing the corkfest. Having found a slightly wider offcut of 9mm ply I had a shuffle round of the scenery boards and track and calculated I could accommodate the offcut as a base for the flats, prefabs and a bus turning bay and have enough clearance for two tracks

Ow much longa am yam gonna be?

"Oi! Yow. Ow much longer yam gonna be? Mi buzz back ter Pye Green is abowt to leave and it's one of thowse noice comfy single decks but oi need t'ring me mom..." Wench who knows about WMPTE's new Leyland National private hire semi-coaches and how nice and comfy they are has a row with some bloke in a phone box at Wednesford.  

Time now for a commercial break

Following on from the discovery of shrinking plastic, I've tried to get the product to produce scale 48 sheet advert hoardings (in real life 10 by 20 feet, so a scale 40 by 80mm) but trying to work out the shrinkage was proving a problem, and the larger the original, the more distortion crept in. Then the brain kicked in. The main reason for me wanting plastic signs was down to paper or card not liking damp or changes in temperature, and whilst it is possible to apply a lacquer to pape

Product discovery initial findings

Ever heard of inkjet printable shrinking plastic?  I hadn't. Followers of the blog will know I've got an obsessive refusal to use paper or card on Wednesford, which can be affected by temperature and damp.  This has led me to over-use the 3d printer to produce signage but it doesn't work well in all cases, plus is useless for advertising hoardings.  Whilst looking to see if you could still get inkjet printable overhead projector acetate in the Powerpoint era (you can as it happens) I discov

A quick progress report.

Been busy today with my temperamental 3d printer producing a small chippy and some signage.   The Swan Centre now has a chip bunker, opened by "In Cod We Trust", Gornal's favourite chippy who advertise on Bescot Television so clearly have made enough from their Faggots and Pays Tuesdays and Orange Chip Friday events to expand.  "In Cod we Trust" is at one end of the shopping precinct and is a kit I printed off, including an interior although you'll only see it if I fit lighting, and was d

Where are we?

Having 3d printed the platforms, I can't say as I'm completely happy with them, so I decided to bite the bullet and buy some Wills kits to replace them, so pending their arrival, track laying is on hold.  So, I've been thinking of how to do the platform signage.  As said before, as the layout will be in a shed, it will be subject to possible weather affects, so I want to remove as far as possible paper based signage which might be affected.  So, I developed my own design.   The idea is Wednesfor

As summer draws to a close...

Summer in Fairbourne tends to run from mid April until roughly Eurovision night in mid May, then the monsoon season sets in.  As the weather forecast is for the warm dry spell to go assways, I decided to swap the track laying for completing the last of the removable scenery modules.  I figure that track laying can be carried out in any weather, whereas airbrushing needs a nice day so I can sit outside with the airbrush.  So, the residential quarter was the subject of today's outdoor modelling ma

We return you to the Test Card...

...well, not really, but it was time to do a test layout of the scenic modules to see if clearances needed to be tweaked prior to track laying starting in earnest, particularly as I had now finished 3d printing the platforms.    Ooh look, a train!  The 3d printed platforms aren't actually very straight but now I've weathered them with the airbrush, and having 3d printed combined bench and planters to help disguise some of the joints, I think it will work out once I've laid the track a

The Virtuous Corner

The "church in a corner" is almost as much of a model railway trope as the bus on the bridge.  Of course, I decided to follow suit... The Parish Church of St Florian was always going to be a mini Coventry Cathedral in that it would be a burnt out ruined ancient chapel alongside a modern replacement.  I chose the name St Florian - an Austrian born saint who is the patron saint of firemen - to add a bit of irony in that the original chapel dedicated to St Florian was destroyed by a firestorm

Parks and Recreation go mental...

As it has been another nice day here on the Welsh coast and the grass mat had arrived I decided to finish off the landscaping of the Civic Centre and also complete the New Courthouse Square.  The Civic Plaza needed an airbrush wash of gunk to tone down the "Portland" concrete and the grass mat needed rolling out for the lawns.  I think the Director of Parks and Recreation is aiming for an award at the Chelsea Flower show, or has gone a bit Radio Rental and blown the next five year's budget on fl

The Art of Tomfoolery

In a previous life, I worked for Centro in the Midlands for ten years and one of the things I got to deal with was a public art programme of involving artists to try and work on the presentation of new infrastructure projects.  This wasn't anything new, London Transport had done it for years in the 1930s when a pride in providing public services was more important than the post 1970s mantra of Get Everything Cheap and treat your customers as criminals, and quite a few transit agencies in the US

Further progress continues

When I planned "Wednesford" two things dictated the presentation of the layout: a desire to try and get decent curve radii, and some means of trying to reduce the amount of "dead space" taken up by the backstage fiddle yard.  The former led to me pushing the track to the back of the layout and working on an island station platform, and the latter, partly connected to the plan of a single bi-directional main through platform and a single bay, resulting in a plan to place scenery on one of the fid

The Old Town nears completion.

Short video showing progress on the "Old Town".  I spent a sunny day outside yesterday (in the garden, well away from anyone else) sticking down InTheGreenwood laser cut MDF cobblestoned plates which I had airbrushed, plus the 3d printed "asphalt" road I designed which is in front of the station.  A little bit of landscaping and a rearranged "townscape" trying to hide as best as possible some of the inevitable joins in the cobblestone plates.  It was as much an experiment to try out the new vide

A Prefab Sprouts...

I don't normally do reviews of models, frankly opinions are like backsides, everyone has one, and like backsides, usually spout a load of hot air, but I thought I'd make an exception for these kits. I found them on eBay and was immediately intrigued - three models of different post-war pre-fabricated bungalows!  Not the most common subject for a kit model, they gave me an idea for a scene on the new Wednesford layout, where the "back story" involved the town having been badly bombed during

House arrest 3d printing

Whilst "doing my bit" and staying home (actually, "social isolating" is nothing new to me being a mildly sociopathic misanthrope who frankly would happily relocate to the top of Cader Idris so long as I could still get mail delivered.  My idea of bliss would be a desert island with high speed broadband, online delivery and no neighbours...) I've been giving the Aldi 3d printer a workout ready for some serious layout building.     The second low relief factory to go on the re

Layout photos

If you managed to stay with the introduction to the layout, here are some photos of the overall work in progress currently underway.     The "Town Tunnel" showing the Old Courthouse Square, which largely survived the blitz of March 1941 which destroyed the rest of the town.  A mix of RTP buildings from Hornby, Bachmann and SD Mouldings together with a kit built American IHC "Colonial Courthouse" bought s/h off TatBay     "Phoenix Square" rebuilt in the 1

Welcome to Wednesford...

First post on the new blog recording the progress on the shed layout. Funny to relate, I first started planning the "shed layout" just after Bachmann announced their revamped Class 158, and expected to have it all done in time for it's arrival in the shops.  Amazingly, Bachmann beat me to it when they released the 158 back in December. I purchased the shed off eBay from a company in Bassets Pole near Sutton Coldfield, who delivered and erected it free of charge as I was within their 15
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