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  1. And I'm back! The past two days have seen some time spent on building a proper high arched retaining wall, inspired by those around Birmingham New Street. I tried to paint it in subtly different colours to the bridge, but it came out looking the same anyway! The wall is fixed in place; there are cut-outs in the diorama wall to accommodate the recesses. Now I need to start fixing the rest of the scene, which means I need to wait for delivery of a 60mm square mirror that will fill the bridge opening properly. But it's coming together!
  2. A change that makes little difference to the scene, but is nonetheless crucial: there diorama now has a proper box! Made of the usual corrugated card, the base has received a skin of cereal card top and bottom, as will the walls in due course. The scene is also raised up on a small plinth, in order to accommodate batteries, switch and wiring for the lighting. I made the box a little wider than the original area, to allow the landie to fit properly and provide space for the surveyor with his tripod-mounted level. Unfortunately there will be no progress over the next week, but I look forward to returning to this project next weekend!
  3. It's certainly different now, isn't it! I love your comparison photos - they're nicely framed and lined up, and very sharp. Even if they make me wish I was still there (I was doing my university year-out placement with a company in the area until lockdown)!
  4. Thank you both! I briefly considered using two mirrors, but I couldn't work out how to get it to make sense in the small space. In the mean time, the bridge has received a coating of brick-embossed plasticard (Wills I think), with extra care paid to ensuring it's square and true to match up to the mirror. I then painted it with Revell AquaColour 'reddish brown', and when that had dried a coat of diluted grey poster paint was applied and wiped off to leave it in the mortar courses. The overall colour is a lot darker and "smokier" than I intended, but I think it makes a lot of sense for the setting. Nothing in the scene is fixed down yet, so these photos take a lot of balancing to set up! Further additions include the replacement of the right-hand wall with some conifer bark to represent a more natural rock cutting, and the beginnings of the portable work lights. These are cut-down sections of those white marker posts you get with Hornby uncoupling ramps, which I seem to have plenty of. Cool-white LEDs will be mounted on the beams, wired in from behind the retaining wall. It's beginning to come together!
  5. Thank you both! I did consider cutting some rolling stock in half, but it would just obscure the mirror making it pointless. I've mocked up a bridge with a smaller arch, which works better with this mirror but is still big enough for (theoretical) trains to pass. If only the mirror was a bit taller...
  6. I came across the idea of a "Book Nook" by accident last night - you create a scene (usually an alleyway or corridor) to fit amongst the books on your shelf, with a carefully angled mirror at the back to double it's apparent depth. And so I immediately thought, could I do that with a railway... My first trial looked promising. 125mm is clearly too short for any rolling stock, so I plan to pose a set of Bachmann permanent way workers with a vehicle or two. Using an old poorly-built scalescenes bridge and some boxes as placeholders, I was pretty happy with this scene. However, it felt a bit too wide. My second attempt is narrower; it will take up less spaceon the shelf, but results in a more cramped scene and forces the mirror to be at less of an angle, making it easier to see "out" of the scene. I was hoping this could be a quick project, but the mirrors I have to hand are too small so I'll need to order some more. I'm also hoping to illuminate the scene with vehicle headlights and flashing beacons, and miniature portable floodlights.
  7. This wharf layout has recieved a few minor additions recently. First off, a thin strip of backscene has been added behind the end warehouse, which really helps to tidy up the scene. Secondly, the collection of loose cargo has grown to what you see below. These are used across all my layouts, hence why many have threads attached to allow them to be moved by working cranes. They certainly make the layout look busy! And last but not least - I've finally made a video! It took most of the morning to shoot it, and features several craftily-timed cuts to hide the appalling running quality of my very-second-hand trackwork. But it came out well in the end, so I hope you enjoy it!
  8. The yard layout looks really good - I like that you've kept it in two boxes, but shifted the scenic break to give more scenic area, even if (I presume) it means you can't separate them. I also quite like the front wall, creating a full 360 scene - unless it's blank on the inside? If I ever switch to N gauge, building something like this looks like an excellent place to start!
  9. Stunning on the gate and ground cover, as ever! Everything here just looks right. Out of interest, how does the whole layout look now? If you're using paint to crop your photos, then that shrink them too - click "resize" (to the right of the select tool I think), and enter your desired percentage or pixel size. Make sure to "save as" afterwards, and not overwrite the original photo!
  10. Now there's something I've not seen done before! And it looks exactly the same as the one we've got in the porch, although that one's buried under quite a number of of shoes... I look forward to seeing what you come up with!
  11. All done in a day! First off, I cut away most of the material behind the end wall, allowing me to score it and fold it back. I then built up the inset track up to it and the existing 'concrete', using many layers of card: I remembered just in time to solder a pair of wires between the two tracks, to power the isolated front track from the fishplated connection of the rear track. The concrete was then painted and weeded, and a basic interior for the warehouse was built of two walls and a platform, painted white. Finally, the roof is a recycled portion of the Green Lane Wagon Works shed. I'm pretty happy for this for a day's work! Although a lot of the work was already done I suppose, I was just rearranging things. Behind the scenes, things aren't so pretty - the roof is barely balanced on the walls. However, I think this open end is a good opportunity to model the inside of the building - time to brush up my interior skills! The layout has now grown to just over 1m long! Not very micro anymore. But it still packs into two boxes, since all the bits below can be taken off, and the end wall folded back to it's original state: Maybe it's finally time to sort that backscene, I don't think the layout will grow any more...
  12. I've been operating this layout occasionally, and have decided it needs an extension to the right. I need a proper base and interior for the end warehouse, and the headshunt is to short to be realistic. I've started by building the "board", using the same design as the sector plate one - two layers of corrugated card laid perpendicularly, topped off with a layer of cereal box card. This will have the two short sections of track fixed on it, with the current end wall slewed backwards somehow. Whilst that was gluing up, I turned my attention to the sliding door. It's not been working so well recently, and the external mechanism would be in the way of any new buildings. To replace it, I used a scrap of square plastic rod to add a smooth rail above the opening, and hung the door off it using straps of card. A card lever slides in a slot behind the lower guard rail to connect to the door to a pull-tab at the front of the layout. It doesn't run quite so smoothly now I've covered the white plastic rod with black paint, but it still both looks and slides much better than the old version, and leaves more of an opening so van wagons actually fit. Now onto the extension!
  13. I'd say it also depends on how permanent you want your layout to be! I too have never worked with boxfiles, but all my shoebox layouts have used nothing more than two layers of corrugated cardboard (laid with the corrugations perpendicular to eachother) topped off with cereal box card. I'm not particularly concerned about long-term life, since I expect I'll lift the track and buildings to use on something else in the future. If it's only a short-term layout and you don't want to re-use the box later, gluing track straight into the boxfile would probably be fine - but I repeat I've never used boxfiles. Alternatively you could fix the scenery to an insert layer as mentioned above, and if you feel it's still too flimsy then a base could be added to the underside, to retain as much of the depth within the box as possible.
  14. Finally, I've started on the roofs! First I painted an area of cereal box card with various shades of dar-bluish-grey paint. This was then cut into 5mm wide strips: Some of those strips were then cut into roughly 5mm squares, put in a dish and shaken up. I then spread PVA over an area of the roof, and started to place these "tiles", overlapping and staggering each row over the one beneath. Overall, it seems to have worked - the roof has a good texture, and the tiles are fairly consistent but with a little randomness in colour and size as intened. The "Valley" where the roof pitches join was interesting though, and there's a lot of card-coloured edges visible. I'm not sure yet if I want to repeat the process for the larger roof of the other stone warehouse, but I've got the strips cut already so I might as well!
  15. Thanks, I'm glad you agree the scene 'works'! The cameos use plain old Bachmann figures, mostly from the steam/diesel loco driver packs. Only the man upstairs catching things from the winch is glued down - even the pallets and sacks are loose, so any scene can be set up and they can be used across multiple layouts.
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