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building a 2mm finescale layout

Entries in this blog

"You're just wasting your time"

Obvious quote from "Oh, Mr Porter" describes this morning's activity. Using some plastic card and some printouts from Scalescenes, I started on the interior of the Station Master's house:     And what can you see once it is in place?  

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Freshwater gets a Station Building

The station building that fronted Freshwater Station from 1889 until it was demolished to make way for a Co-op supermarket, was the largest and grandest of the stations of the Freshwater, Yarmouth and Newport Railway. It comprised the two storey Station Master's house, with single storey booking hall, waiting rooms and conveniences, and was extended at some time to add a parcels office. It was red brick, with tiled roof rather than slates. The brickwork was quite ornate around the eaves and arou

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Signal Success for Freshwater

Following general scenic work completed in time for the Basingstoke exhibition, a start has been made on some detailing and buildings. One important detail item is the starting signal. Fortunately there is only the one proper signal on the layout, as it has taken 6 months to build it. The two ground signals required will be another story.   I wanted to build a typical SR rail-built upper quadrant signal, operational of course. I purchased some etched brass signal boards, counterweights, bracke

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

The story so far

I started chronicling progress on this layout on another blog, but have decided to move here, where people seem to actually read blogs. I will start by recycling what I wrote before, to catch up with the current situation.   24 Feb 2009: The 2mm Scale Association laid down their Golden Jubilee Layout Challenge to build a layout of 9.42 sq. ft. or less in time for their 2010 Expo. I then spent a year and a half thinking about it, leaving a year and a bit to actually build something.   The t

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Look out, its the copse

Freshwater will have more trees than any previous layout I have built, so I wanted to get some planted in time for the Farnham show (and 2mm Scale Association AGM). Previously I have used plastic tree armatures from Heki and Woodland Scenics. These start off as 2D trees, the branches of which need to be bent to produce a not very realistic 3D tree before attaching bits of foliage.   This time, I wanted to try new techniques. I had purchased a tree-making kit from Ceynix many years ago, and I h

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Magnetic Uncoupler Mechanisms for Freshwater

18 July 2010: Following the Expo, I can now get on with adding the uncoupling magnets. I had always intended using permanent magnets, following their successful use on Brunswick. I bought some small magnets from Merg, but they were nowhere near powerful enough to operate the DG couplers from below the baseboard. Now I have purchased 50 'rare earth' magnets via Ebay. These are really powerful for their size (about 5mm diameter and 3mm long) and come with all sorts of warnings. 'Rare earth' magnet

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

More woodworking for Freshwater

As I have said before, woodworking is not my speciality, but I am building my own layout instead of helping build a club layout, so I have to do everything. Before advancing with scenic work, I really wanted a secure case or lid to protect the layout in transit or storage, and before the next exhibition, I wanted to have adequate lighting in place.I looked at what we had done previously, and what other exhibition layouts are using, and then decided to do something completely different. I decided

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

A Bus for Freshwater

Not that sort of of bus - a layout control bus. DCC is really good for controlling trains, but is less suited for controlling points and signals and the like. A separate bus for operating accessories means that a short circuit on the track does not cause points and signals to change at random. The separate bus can also use systems that are more suited to train detection and route selection.   I initially joined Merg (Model Electronic Railway Group) in order to access their servo controller kit

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

The Railway Shed

When I moved to a new house, I purchased a shed to house all my model railway stuff. Initially all sorts of junk got stored in there, until I could not even get in the door. After 5 years, some of the junk was removed, and it was used to house some computer servers, poorly cats, spare furniture, etc. Finally, enough room was made to set up Freshwater to work on it (still no room for a chair though).   So, nine years later and the original paintwork was starting to look tired, so I finally fulf

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Would you like to see my etchings?

Well, I am really proud of my first attempt at producing artwork for etching. This arrived today from PPD, Special Delivery:     It all looks crisp and clear, and, more importantly, the correct size. Here are the window frames for Freshwater signal box (top) and the magazine stand (centre and bottom):     And the solebar overlays for the LBSCR 4 wheel carriages:     And finally, some fold-up buffer beams and the guard's lower steps:     I have actually 3D printed some buffer

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

A Terrier for Freshwater

As anyone who has seen my layout at exhibitions can tell you, so far some very unlikely motive power has been operating the Freshwater line of the Isle of Wight. I do intend to rectify this, but getting the layout operating smoothly, and scenery added were higher priority. I have acquired some Dapol A1X Terriers (one at least with the correct extended bunker) ready to be converted to 2mm finescale. Many months ago I started work on modifying the original chassis, as per an article in the 2mm Sca

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Freshwater's Second Outing

A busy last few weeks in the run up to exhibiting the layout at the 2mm Scale Association Expo in Keighley saw the completion of the woodwork, and application of paint to protect it (and cover up my poor joinery skills).   Setting up on the Saturday morning I was pleased to find that I had not left any important bits at home, and everything fitted together as planned. Even though I did not clean any of the track, it ran really well, with just on sticky bit through one of the points to be looke

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

OXRAIL 2019 and a third Terrier

Just shown Freshwater at OXRAIL 2019 in Abingdon. I finally got around to adding some more details to the layout a few weeks before the show, mostly adding further vegetation along the river Yar, and the brook that runs behind the platform.     I had some extra operators, so I managed to just sit and watch shunting operations, for a change.     And an additional detail added was a pair of benches, a ModelU scan of yours truely, an

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Right back where I started from

It is over 12 months since my last posting on this blog. A quick recap of the project so far is in order.   Way back in July 2010, the 2mm Scale Association celebrated its Golden Jubilee with a special Expo in Oxford. Prior to this, a layout building challenge was issued for layouts up to 9.42 square feet to be exhibited at the Expo. I built Freshwater for this challenge. As a change from my normal use of relays to operate points, I decided to try servos for the new layout. I joined Merg to ge

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Stroudley LBSCR 4 wheeler set

OK, I know they did not survive into the 1950's but a 4 car set was used on the Freshwater line, so that is good enough for me. The brass etch for the bodies is available from Etched Pixels. They suggest putting them on chopped up peco wagon chassis, but I thought they would look nicer on etched chassis. The GWR 4 wheeler chassis from David Eveleigh is almost perfect for length. I could not figure out how to fit the footsteps provided, and the Stroudley set only had a single footstep, except bel

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

My First Dabble With 3D Printing

Freshwater station only has one platform, but it was extended at various times over the years. The first section by the buffers where the locomotive would stand is very low with plain brick facing. It then ramps up to a more normal height. The next section is typical Southern Railway concrete panels from the Exmouth Junction concrete works, while the latest extension used the Southern Railway lightweight concrete trestles, more standard components from Exmouth Junction.   Modelling the brick f

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Starting the Trackwork

1 May 2009: Not a lot of visible progress for a while, but I have been beavering away building track, using copperclad sleepers and soldering. Having built a couple of points using the jig I have (equivalent to about 3 foot radius) I scanned them, and printed paper copies which were cut out and used for trying to mark out the track layout on the baseboard. Try as I might, I just could not get the track to match the original layout, with the outside slip. So, I decided to revise my plans, a

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Wiring the Layout

6th June 2010: This week saw the completion of the track wiring, and the successful test running of trains all over the layout. Copper tape bus bars run beneath the tracks, and small 'dropper' wires link the rails to the tape (two per length of rail). There was just one missing link wire found. Wiring up the point operating servos is still to be done. From the photos you can see one Merg Servo4 board mounted under the baseboard. Two more of these will be fitted to control the remainder of t

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Water Tower and some more trees

With another exhibition looming (actually, tomorrow 9th May 2015 in Portsmouth) I felt I should do a bit more work on the layout. I had mostly been working on some more suitable motive power and rolling stock for the layout (none of which is finished yet). I had been making a few more trees in spare moments, including a large Elm tree that I am particularly proud of. These have now been planted, but lots more are still required, plus other ground cover.     The old Ordnance Survey map sho

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

And then there were two

Having had a successful weekend running 'Freshwater' on 'Freshwater' at Abingdon, I have now turned my attentions to a second Dapol A1X Terrier locomotive, carefully copying the process that worked with number 8 'Freshwater'.   The chassis is etched nickel-silver, available from the 2mm Scale Association along with suitable wheels and gears and 'muffs'. A Nigel Lawton motor provides the power, and a CT electronics DCC decoder fits in the cab. Some extra lead weighting has been added inside the

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Adding a few details

With the CMRA Stevenage exhibition coming up this weekend, I have been busy adding some detail bits to the rear half of the layout, while it is still accessible, before starting on the foreground stuff. I hope visitors to the exhibition manage to spot them.   The figures are mostly ModelU, except where noted.   The newsagent now has a browsing customer, matching the photo of the real thing that I have.   The old git on the bench is a 3D scan of me.

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Freshwater Point Rodding

One job that I had been putting off for too long was fitting dummy point rodding. It needed to be done before I could get on with adding details to the front half of the layout, as it would be too difficult to access where it had to go without causing damage. With an invite to the Ally Palley exhibition, I really wanted to get it done in time for that. I just managed to complete it before receiving confirmation that the event was cancelled. C'est la vie. Anyway, it now gives me time to add furth

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Yet Another Tiebar Design

26 Jan 2010: I purchased an Easitrack point operator and put it together, and I was impressed by the engineering, and how nicely it operated. The problem with it was, though, that my baseboard (being a hollow door) has a very thin surface and only an inch or so overall depth. I could not see how I could fix the mechanism in place, and much of the operating mechanism would be hanging below the baseboard, where it would be easily damaged in transit.   Up to now, I have used moving tiebars

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Terrier Chassis - If at first you don't succeed ...

Well, I didn't give up. At the end of the last post, I had the chassis running nicely with the controller wired directly to the motor, but picking up from the rails was less impressive, despite the fitting of the 'Simpson spring pickups' rubbing on all the axles. The chassis was disassembled and re-assembled a few times, to no avail, and another crank pin came loose from a wheel and had to be re-soldered back in. Quartering the wheels was trickier as the motor was now solidly in place, but plent

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

A Case for DCC

In my last blog entry, I showed my recently completed Merg CAN-CMD CBus controlled DCC Command Station. The Merg kit includes the PCB and all the components to populate the PCB. For future layouts I will probably just mount the PCB directly to a baseboard and hard wire it in. However, this first one I wanted to keep as a portable and flexible unit.This meant fitting it into a case with suitable sockets, switches and Led indicators.   I found a suitable case on Ebay made from black plastic with

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

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