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About this blog

UK outline train ferry terminal project in n gauge loosely based on modern southern region prototypes borrowing heavily from Dover Western Docks, Admiralty Pier, Folkstone Harbour, and a little bit of Harwich. Imagine if the channel tunnel hadn't caused the train ferry to close and instead the two complimented each other and built international traffic upto the present day. 'Seahaven' is my realisation of that idea. 

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Entries in this blog

Reflections on progress...

So it's been a while since my last update. Progress has slowed on the railway through January and February as I have been volunteering at a vaccine clinic many weekends, work has been taking up a lot of time, and two children's birthdays needed attending to. I found myself with a spare couple of hours this afternoon so decided to work on the side back scene. Having spent a couple of hours trying to sketch in convincing perspectives to carry the quayside into the back scene it was proving impossi

Paul Robertson

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A place to stay...

With the advancement of the back scene into the townscape I needed to create some building facades to try and link the painted back scene with the main model. The first building I tried was to the left of the station bridge. I thought this might work nicely as a slightly down at heal establishment whose heyday of catering for well to do passengers eager to catch the first ferry of the morning to get into Paris by midday has long since gone. Its clientele are now more likely to be railway workers

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The hills are alive...

The back scene painting has come on from doing the sky last time. I started with painting the hills into the cliff face. I had sketched in a viaduct in the background to suggest a mainline that the station and goods branches end up connecting to.    (initial hill painted in. A hint of woodland copses and hedgerows on the hills with scrubby embankments either side of the viaduct)    Following this I carried on with the hillscape round the layout until it came to another

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The sky's the limit...

A busy weekend only left me this evening to make a start on the back scene. I wanted the feel of a breezy summers day with high clouds and decided the impressionist look would likely be the best approach. So it was out with the acrylics and lots of big sploshes of very light blues (I had to lighten the first application as it felt too dark and rich and then using streaks of white brushed in with a bit of sky blue and a small amount of grey to give depth and shadow to the clouds.    Her

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3rd rail and 4 lights...

Topping and tailing some details on the layout with the completion of the permanent way. Since we are in the southern region it only seemed right to put a third rail running down into the station. Due to the small nature of n gauge I didn't worry too much with the detail. I painted some 1mm styrene strip dark brown then cut a ramp into the ends. Having completed that the top of the '3rd rail' was painted silver.    (third rail installed)    (and from the other sid

Paul Robertson

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Sorting security...

With the completion of ballasting on the upper section of the layout yesterday I decided to get the security fence up between network rail and port authority land. This was laser cut palisade fencing from scale model scenery. Having painted it a suitable olive drab green on the sprue I predrilled holes with my hand drill and glued down.    (security fencing in place)    I had some further signage to put around the tunnel mouth along with a temporary crossing for road /

Paul Robertson

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Finishing the permanent way...

This weekend saw a milestone reached on my layout as I finished off the last of the permanent way with more das clay and a final ballasting of the station branch line. It certainly feels like an achievement covering the last of the plywood after 5 months of solid work. The first area to be done was the station layover siding. This will be for boat train stock and the odd civil engineers train. I therefore wanted the siding to have a similar well worn feel to the lower yard and used the same das

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More signs, barriers, and some point levers

More detailing around the lower yard today having painted the track work yesterday.    (das clay and ballast on the lower yard)    (trackwork painted)    The first detail around the yard were more crash barriers to prevent vehicles driving onto the tracks   (barrier by the parking bay)    The next detail was point levers. I made these by bending some 1mm brass tube with plyers and sticking them in some 3mm thick balsa.   

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Details, details...

So today I carried on the road cone production line as well as putting more signage about the place and making a couple of extra stop barriers for the lower Linkspan.    (cone and barrier production line)    I also added some more bases to some of the cones to make it look like they have been stacked up on each other.    The next detail was pre-bought. Some grit bins from scale model scenery.    (a pack of salt / grit bins. I didn't feel able t

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Cones, parapets, and more signs...

Having done the detail up against the cliff base I thought I could build the parapet fence on top of the retaining wall. I was wanting to create something like the below:   (standard boxy parapet fencing)    I couldn't find anything off the shelf so it was back to scratchbuilding with plasticard strips.    I painted the strips up in the colour I wanted before predrilling holes for stanchions. These were glued in place before the long horizontal strips were stu

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Chevrons and waterfilled barriers...

A bit of detail at the base of the cliffs today with crushed chalk added and some more signage and traffic management.    I wanted to make some water filled traffic barriers like this.    (this is the sort of thing I was after)    I started with some trusty balsa cutting into three strips and sticking it together.    (balsa strips stuck together)    Having stuck the strips together I chopped them into scale 1m sections before painting

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Putting up the barriers...

Having finished my Christmas Dinner duties, boxing day allowed me a little modelling time. I had bought some styrene I beam some time back to create armco barriers to protect the Linkspan headshunt from wayward vehicles. Having completed the French drain and ground plain I thought I could give it a go. There are several ready made armco type barriers on the market but you are always paying a premium for not trying to scratchbuild so I thought I would give it a go.    Initially I tried

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It's been a while...

The past couple of weeks have been taken up with all things other than railways. The family invented an xmas card game which I needed to produce on the computer, and the emergency volunteer group I run has been involved in covid response recently. It hasn't been all quiet on the modelling front however. I completed the lighting on the ferry which now includes navigation and flood lighting.    (lighting now on board)    The train deck has three white leds to give that we

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Building the gantry sign...

It must be the inner geek in me but I've always found gantry signs interesting structures and have wanted to model one. This wasn't going to be a motorway gantry sign as the prototypes I've seen at Dover are a thinner a frame type structure than the massive monolithic structures put up by Highways England.    (prototype signage at Dover with a frame structural supports)    I started off making the sign face out of a piece of balsa sheet. I wanted this lit as per prototy

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Shedding more light on the matter...

Having learnt my lessons from yesterday I carried on with the lighting. Trying to get as much wiring done as possible so it could be hidden by the remainder of the landscaping.    The first item tackled was the Linkspan winding house. I had left the roof removable when I had first made it to allow lighting to be fitted later on. I wanted a white light shining down to illuminate the bridge immediately beneath the winding house along with my first try with fibre optics to provide some li

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Electronics for dummies...

With my initial success of my high lighting mast under my belt I set forth today to install a lot more lighting. I wanted the lighting under the bridge to represent sodium lighting which is typical of the prototype so installed a couple of LEDs in there and did my best to cover up the wiring from view.    (yellow lights installed in under bridge)    So far so good. Next was the Linkspan proper. I wanted white light on this as looking at prototype night shots from Dover

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A little lighting...

Not much time to progress over the last few days but before I did too much more I wanted to get some lighting in to ensure I could cover up the wiring fairly easily.    My first go at the high masts was with a yellow LED to represent a sodium bulb. Unfortunately having tried it out there wasn't enough light coming out of it for the effect I wanted and I didn't have enough room in my brass rod to get any more LEDs.    Initial trial with a yellow bulb. Can you spot the li

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Lining out...

This weekend was a chance to finish off painting the asphalt and to make a start on getting all the road lining and decals down. Ferry terminals seem to be covered with white yellow and red lining of different sorts so out with the acrylic pens and bendy ruler to start marking it all on.    (marking on the top road lines first using the bendy ruler for the corners.)   (I then marked out a chevron where the two routes split before marking the lines down the ramp.)

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Carrying on with paving...

Tonight I managed to finish off the point infilling and then get on with finishing off the paving.    (infill finished off along the dockside)    First of all I paid attention to an area of das clay I wanted to turn into concrete (wanted a bit of relief from the tarmac). Concrete needs a nice clean edge to represent the formwork so out with the craft knife and metal rule to straighten up the edges. After that I scaled down and scored 9m movement joints into the das surf

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Trialing my traction...

So having completed most of the infill and das clay around the dockside track I thought I better try out various items of stock to ensure different wheel flanges and wheel bases work before I start painting it all up.    The first to test were two of my cargowaggons with the class 66.  (class 66 going into the underpass on the headshunt for the train deck Linkspan)    I tried out various sidings and locations with this set up making sure they all worked nicely. The 66 wa

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Advancing the asphalt...

It's been a few days since I last posted but progress have been steady. I've been focusing on completing the das clay roadway around the Dock area.    More rolling between balsa formers to get the right depth before smoothing off with a shaping tool.    (rolling out the das clay to correct depth and standard width before laying on a pva layer)    There was a lot of cutting and shaping the clay to get it around lots of tricky corners.    (all th

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Taking care of the tarmac...

Having completed the cliffs and having an evening to spare I decided to tackle a fairly long section of road. Having learnt from my earlier mistakes with the overbridge and Linkspan I didn't try to put the ironworks in first. They can be a finishing touch instead which stops them getting bashed about. It also saves a lot of fiddly cutting about the das clay. I used the air dried clay again as overall I was pleased with the result last time and I still have a large block to use up! Sticking two s

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A quick update...

Just a quick update tonight as I didn't have much time. The shrubbery has grown dramatically today with the rest of the embankment covered up. I've left a small amount of embankment clear for a small diorama depicting a landslip.    (embankment fully vegetated)    There are two structures that will adorn the top of the cliff. The first was an abandoned WW2 observation bunker. These were always very crude bits of architecture so thankfully quite easy to model. Digging th

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The landscaping continues...

So having left the plaster to dry overnight today was a painting day.  Firstly I painted the soil a lightish soil colour having seen some photos showing how the underlying chalk affected the upper soil colour   (pic of light brown soils on the white cliffs)    (soils painted-its lighter than it looks)    Having painted the soils I then painted the cliffs some very light shades of grey and white. Initially my son asked me why I was painting my cliffs

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There'll be bluebirds over...

And so after a few false starts today was cliff building day. The cliff is the only major landscape feature on the layout and hopefully will really set the tone and feel for the layout and give it the character of the Kent coast.    First thing to do was to remove the polystyrene along the back scene which hadn't really worked and replace it with landscape mesh. To set the right angle I used cardboard from an old cereal packet to create some formers.    (cardboard forme

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