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Shelf Island

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Mock-ups and First Structures

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I seem to have spent most of July making mock-ups of the main structures for the layout, this helps me get a feel of what the whole layout will look like. The mock-ups include finished models, pieces of kits, paper cut-outs and oddments like film canisters. The model is evolving into its main scenes - urban quayside at one end and rural industry at the other.

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I am thinking of some more silver birch trees to screen the industry area from the passenger halt. I met up with Jacqui (The Tree Lady) at Southwold yesterday, she explained these grow like weeds around industry. I like the airy appearance which lets you see through them to the railway behind. The gap behind the platform will be cliffs.

 

In the past I have thought it is important to get a consistent level of detail across a layout. I think for Shelf Island (still aiming for three micros intertwined, not just one layout) the important thing is consistent colouring, with the models in the foreground reasonably well-detailed (to try to tie-in with RTR trains) and the background models having less detail. In particular, the “linking” structures, which tie the three micros together, can be fairly anonymous - so people will notice them, perhaps look past them to the backscene, but then look back to one of the “micro layouts”. With this in mind I have made a fairly neutral tunnel portal:

 

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The portal went through four versions - a Langley moulding (which was much too large - probably big enough for S scale), a modified version of this, a paper cut out and then the final model.

 

At the other end of the layout, the refuelling point is a Bachmann Scenecraft model - I am wanting to cut this down a little for HO, but still look bearable with an 00 loco. I seem to have struck lucky with the workshop building - this will be from the loco shed by KS Laser Designs. If I had made the model from scratch it would have been the same height and width - the only real modification will be to shorten the long sides and take out one window from each.

 

The water tower is a Wills kits - I bought this for the other end of the layout, but it looks better here. It is the only structure of any substance I can think of to put near the front of the model here. I did ponder a Dapol/Airfix dockside crane, but it was too big. The four-wheel loader in the photo is a scale model by Siku but unfortunately it is too small, around 1:100. It is also a tunnel construction vehicle and rather out of place here. I would like something familiar like a JCB 3CX, to unload wagons into a barge below the dock side. If I could get hold of 1:76 as well as 1:87 models this would be ideal to help set the scene to suit the trains.

- Richard.

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