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  1. I haven't commented so far, but this is an excellent little build with a good theme. I had considered the use of a desk tray, but deemed the height to be too restrictive (on my desk at least, and in OO scale); you seem more determined! As for the installation issue, could you have the upper portion of the rockery removable so the tray can be inserted and then the scenery placed on top? Might be a bit tricky to hide the join, but an irregular seam could be disguised as a longitudinal crack or similar. As you say, I don't think a cutting is quite going to cut it.
  2. A month later, and I'm back again! This time, continuing with the theme of adding functions-on-a-budget, I've added lighting. I think every model railway benefits from realistic night lighting. Since I don't have access to a soldering iron here, I went with a simple solution: a string of 15 battery-powered warm-white Christmas lights. 6 of them are poked through holes crudely cut through the low-relief factory just under the canopy, so the actual LED and the messy hole isn't visible from most viewing angles. 3 are going to be installed along the right hand side somehow, and the remaining 6 are either unused or stuffed into the base of the water tower. I should probably try to put one or two lighting the sign, or the big windows of the main factory. The battery box sits in the void space beneath the layout, roughly under the water tower. This makes them easy to turn on and off whenever I please. At some point I might change the lights. This set, being from a cheap retailer over 5 years ago, has many dodgy connections resulting in an uncontrolled dimming and flickering of the whole set. Battery power also isn't very economical long-term, so I might look for USB-powered ones instead. And one of the unused lights still has the snowflake lens on it, since I can't pull it off. Luckily, its easy to change the set of lights whenever I want to - pull the old set out of the holes, and thread a new one in! Overall, this has proved to be a quick and cheap way to add buckets of atmosphere to a tiny shoebox layout. Shame about that loose brake pipe!
  3. Looks like an excellent little diorama so far. I think the underbridge lends itself more to crossing a road. A rutted farm track/unmade road might be best; softer than a tarmacadam road, but blending into the (very neat!) square stone abuntments more naturally than a river would. Whatever you do I would avoid a solid road, as there will already be one over the track at the right-hand end. Speaking of which; the minute I saw the station overbridge, I thought of Bidford-on-Avon on The Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction Railway. It had a similarly positioned two-arch bridge, with the second arch used to form the small booking office on the platform. There are some good pictures on WarwickshireRailways.com: http://warwickshirerailways.com/lms/bidforduponavon.htm It's an unusual design that I think might work well here, albeit mirrored from the original. It helps keep the rural feel of the whole layout, by leaving the majority of the platform fairly plain and open.
  4. Still looking stunning! I'd say only two sides for the backscene, to keep the open feel and variety of viewing angles. Also I think track stopping at a blank backscene looks very odd. The layout could also do with a small amount of carefully-yet-randomly placed clutter; a handful of rotting sleepers, old rail ends lying in the 4 foot, a depleted pile of ballast, barrels and pallets...
  5. Feel free to steal whatever ideas you want from my threads, it's what they're there for! And to make sure I actually build the things... You've made a good start with the solid base here, and you should be able to get a surprising amount of detail into the space. The other important thing I'd suggest is to always try buildings out as simple mock-ups first, to make sure everything fits and looks right. And with such a small horizontal area, use as much vertical space as possible so the trains don't dominate the scene. I hope this layout goes better than the last one!
  6. I've just had a read back through your thread. You showcase some fantastic computer work and an unusual approach to creating a model railway! My guess (as a civil engineer) is that the extra straps on the girder plate bridge provide reinforcing roughly where the girders meet the stone plinth they sit on. Using the extra parts from the kit for a water tank is a great idea, although it looks like it may be too high and possibly masked by the layout's fascia from higher viewing angles. Perhaps bringing it down a storey or two would help. The tank can also be used as an excuse to run random bits of piping around the layout, perhaps even a pipe bridge from front to back to softly break up the length of the scene. Have you got plans for the inside of the mills, at least the left-hand one which has slightly more depth? Overall, it looks excellent so far; I'm looking forward to seeing you computer aided designs become reality!
  7. You want ideas, I've got them... what follows is the result of a student downloading AnyRail, and having lots of time (read: procrastinating) but no space or budget at that time. Maybe this thread could be used to collect other track plans for this size into one place. All of these plans are pretty track-intensive, supposedly representative of urban goods yards or similar, but they might work as more rural layouts as well. First, a fully self-contained box. Back left is a warehouse with loading platform, with canal and crane at the front of the scene. The left-hand end can be open or could be a further warehouse, perhaps with one or both of the tracks continued to hidden sidings behind doors. On the right the sector plate is concealed by a taller warehouse with wagon-turntable accessed hidden siding. Rope or chain shunting is essential to make this layout work, and makes for very "hands-on", not auto-uncoupling, operation! The second layout requires a fiddle-stick or traverser, but provides easier shunting. It's effectively an inglenook with a kickback siding, allowing an engine to haul a train in, run round, shunt, and leave again, all on stage. The canal basin was the primary function of this layout, but it could be removed and the front-left point replaced by a Y, to slew the headshunt forwards and give a more open feel. In both cases the track adjacent to the canal could be inset, but further away modelled as in poor condition with typical industrial-grade trackwork. I've also drawn out a couple of 2-box layouts. The first is an expansion on fairly common two- and three-point layouts; in fact, both boxes here would work on their own, to an extent. It features a run-round loop and multiple sidings that can be "destinations" for various wagons or industries. The fiddleyard/stick could be at either end, or both. The final plan is pretty that of one of @NHY 581's fantastic layouts, which I felt had a believable but interesting trackplan when I saw it at the Cardiff Small Show earlier this year. I can't work out exactly (or roughly) which layout it is, but I'm pretty confident it's NHY's or at least inspired-by, given it's saved to my computer as "sheep lane"! Feel free to build any of my drawings, as it doesn't look likely I'll get the chance to soon, and it'd be excellent to see them in 3D rather than flat lines!
  8. Thank you @OhOh and @D2000! The "murky sky with silhouttes" might be perfect, and there's no harm in trying it. I'll see what I can do. I though I'd add that this evening I added on two "wing walls", ready for a backscene. Simply large pieces cut from a cereal box, they're fixed to the inside of the layout lid, so they fold flat against it and then the whole lid still folds down when the buildings are removed to pack the entire layout into one box. They also help make a "light box", and prevent stray light creating shadows on the layout. Finally, I've added a crude paper shade over the desk lamp to help soften the shadows. The layout is now presented as follows: Finally, during a quiet period, D2280 gets some TLC whilst Fred catches up on the news. This is one of the reasons I enjoy building model railways; the opportunity to craft photos like this to my liking. Whilst it's not quite what I had in mind before I built the box, it's absolutely perfect to me. All I need now is to learn how to weather the pristine rolling stock!
  9. It's looking excellent already! Although arduous, ballasting and ground cover really helps a layout-under-construction look much more complete than it is, as your forecourt already shows. The staircase idea sounds good if you can pull it off; alternatively, you could model it in disrepair, construction or renovation, so most of the treads are missing or stacked up somewhere nearby. I'm enjoying watching this scene develop, and look forward to seeing what random "waste" you can incorporate next!
  10. Now THAT'S recycling! I love modelling without spending anything, and that's an excellent re-use idea. This should be a good layout.
  11. Looks like a good re-start! How about adding some 3D-relief to the building, perhaps by cutting out the windows and doors and setting them back a bit form the wall? Windowsills, drainpipes and signage also go a long way in a small scene like this, and lining up the track with the end door rather than a bufferstop would help make the railway look as if it "goes somewhere", even if it doesn't! Anyway, I think I'm going to enjoy watching you develop this little scene, it's got plenty of opportunities!
  12. Welp, I've been working on my placement year for a month already! Only 11 more to go... It's been far too hot to be outside today, so I played with my trains instead. I've (finally!) shot and edited a video, with both shunting and the crane in action. It's a bit rougher than my previous videos, and I'm not sure what my phone's autofocus was playing at, but it gets the idea across. The layout is lit with my fluorescent-tube desk lamp, which is just the right size for this single-shoebox layout. The fiddle-stick also seems to be holding up well, although I'm pondering how to make a sturdier and quicker system than relying on plugging fishplates. Last weekend I went hunting for a local model shop, and came back with some Ratio Coal Sacks and a Parkside 21 Twin Bolster/Plate wagon kit. Having never tried wagon-kit-building before this was going to be interesting, especially given the limited tools I have available here; hence why I chose a fairly simple flat wagon, one which doesn't look too bad without painting. It didn't come out to badly; it looks good and rolls well, so something must be right. At present I haven't added the bolsters, as it's a general PWay use flat wagon. When I was building it I noticed as soon as I fixed the sides on that the floor wasn't flat, so there's a slight rock sometimes. And the wheels can drop out easily if the wagon is lifted or to much pressure put on it, but other than that it seems sturdy enough. The lack of couplings means I can't actually shunt it around the yard just yet, but it has reminded me I was going to experiment with 3-links. And finally, I still need to buy and fit a backscene. I'm not quite sure I've found what I need yet; I'm looking for something roughly representative of a late-50s industrial city, not necessarily photo-realistic, but that will look good next to the main factory and folded forwards 90 degrees for each side as well. Any ideas anyone?
  13. Excellent weed and weathering work there! Instead of buffers on the front (or rear) siding, you could place a sleeper or two, chained or tied to the rails. Perhaps even a stack of sleepers and rail where the siding carried on, but has been truncated and lifted. Cheaper than buying a proper bufferstop too, both in the model world and the real one!
  14. I've included a pipe gantry on a shoebox layout, and I'm pleased with the texture and detail it adds to the edge of the scene. I think it will be even better if it looks like it "goes somewhere", e.g. a water tank, a building etc, rather than just into the ground or on pillars on both sides. Whatever you choose, I'm looking forward to seeing what you can do with your small space.
  15. And, nearly a week later, it's (almost) complete! Two major things happened this week: the first is the completion of the ground cover. For ballast, I used what I had most of - dry sand, from Swansea beach! It looks surprisingly good to me. The concrete hard standing was also painted, and scored in a grid pattern that completely disguises the separate crane unit. The other addition is the end warehouse (finally!). I used a modified front wall of the free Scalescenes warehouse - shortened in both height and length, and with one door blocked off. The remaining sliding door actually slides - it's suspended from behind on a tab which slides outside the box, and card "rails" above and below the door keep it flat against the wall. I also took the opportunity to design and print various signs, which have been added around the scene. Finally, a small crossing was added as a continuation of the hard standing to provide access to the factory's lower door. And now, the nearly-finished layout, complete with incredibly simple fiddle stick - two sections of Hornby track PVAd to some double-layered corrugated card, with the power supply from the controller soldered on. Another short length is added to act as the inside of the warehouse. Why "nearly-finished"? Well, I still intend to add a backscene to bring the end walls to the same height as the back, and I want to experiment with lighting as well. And besides, when is a model railway ever truly finished... For now, everything you see (except the contoller itself) is packed away within the box, ready to go south with me for the next year. Thanks everybody for your comments and advice!
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