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  1. What a lot of talk for such a little layout! Don't worry, it was an interesting read, and I look forward to seeing what you achieve in this space.
  2. Looks perfect! I'd just position the platform at least a wagons-length away from the bufferstop, which should enhance the open feel. A crude ramp (or just a couple of planks) might help with loading too. Otherwise, your layout is certainly capturing that look to my eyes.
  3. These updates are pretty much weekly, it seems. I wonder if that's something to do with when I have time for playing trains... Anyway, after this particular weekend, the layout looks like this: So not much different! Only, now there's track under those books. Which earlier, looked more like this: It can be seen that I've been playing around with potential structures; at the box join, the old airfix crane boom will now form a vertical support for a pipe bridge I've yet to build from plastruct, with an office/shed building at the foot. This sits against what will become a low wall, the other side of which (in the new box) will be a culvert emerging from below the track. The new box will also feature a skytrex-inspired low-relief northlight factory building, and a skewed road bridge of some form. As for the original box, it's seen the addition of a pair of hidden wires joining the two sidings, a point operating lever cobbled together from card and a paperclip, and the hard standing tidied up. The first two are incredibly sketchy; wires held to tracks with glue not solder, and a card slider barely reinforced that probably won't survive much abuse. But they work well for now, which is all they need to! The new concrete needs painting, but I'm actually quite happy with it being a different colour so I may just leave it for a while. This weeks projects include building that pipe bridge and making a start on the low relief factory and culvert. I should probably add a few more wires to the layout, too; it's possible to operate a loco on every piece of track, but only if all the points are set correctly. Nonetheless, it's already proved successful to me - I can keep the layout set up in a corner, and just pick up the controller and shunt a few wagons whenever I want to. The track plan also means that the loco moves amongst the wagons, rather than being stuck at one end always half off scene. Perfect!
  4. Superb photos, they showcase your absolutely fantastic work. I love that last photo, especially the ground cover - the grass and the fine ground gavel in the regularly used areas look spot on, as does the varying levels of weathering on the entire model. Very well done, and I'm looking forward to seeing more!
  5. I'm glad I'm not the only one! Your layout looks different, especially with the amount of space *not* used for track; I'm interested to see where it ends up.
  6. Here we go, Arrow Paints Part 2. First step: remove existing front siding. This was surprisingly easy to do, as the cereal box card surface layer simply delaminated, meaning the track came up with the ballast still attached, and left a nice clean surface behind with very little extra tidying effort required. In the mean time a parcel had arrived from Hattons, containing a new Gaugemaster controller and a couple of cheap points. I deliberately left the bulky old Bachmann controller at home on the main layout over Christmas, and I already love the lightweight, hand-sized Combi. The points also seem to be in good condition, so a nice find there. Next up, after a visit to the well-known hardware store Poundland, the original front siding could be hacksawed to length, joined to the y-point and the 'concrete' inlay trimmed to avoid the point blades. Then the track was PVA'd down to the base, and left under a stack of Terry Pratchett for a while. Whilst that set, the second box (which isn't in great condition, it has to be said) was prepared; ends and front cut to match Part 1, and corrugated card (the other benefit of parcels: free cardboard) laid down. This time the supports underneath run purely front-to-back rather than zig-zaging, so I can fit stock drawers beneath the layout - might as well make use of that space, and make the whole lot a bit more transportable. Here's the layout at close of play: Whilst I enjoyed the hemmed-in feel of the original layout, I'm already loving how much space I've got to watch trains properly shunt around now. Currently, the second box is being subjected to the stack o' books whilst the various layers of card are glued up. I'm not sure how to hide the join between boxes at the front; I've left as much original wall in as possible for now, and would like to keep something there so the lids can close securely. At the same time, I don't want to block the view of the crossover, as it's literally the centrepiece of the layout now. And next up, I need to buy a LH point and a length or two more track, and work out how I'm going to wire it all up without a soldering iron.
  7. Simple yet stunning! I would suggest adding a light outside over the doorway and steps, but that might not be easy with the LED's you've used so far. I can't wait to see it with the interiors, it should look fantastic.
  8. I like the crane, but I'm not sure it makes sense positioned over the points - you need to park a wagon underneath to load and unload it, but that would block up the rest of the yard. If it can be positioned over the front siding it might make more sense. As for the viewblock, a grounded van sounds interesting. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!
  9. Can't go wrong with an Inglenook! There's a good balance between track and no-track, and the canal adds a level below the track. Could you keep the skew on the canal basin running further back, to give more water and to stop it running parallel with the baseboard edge? Also, consider rounding off the corners on the canal, as (I think) they are frequently on the real thing - I can't remember seeing sharp angles in walls that often. And, for an extra challenge and feature, why not try making the crane work, or at least posable? I've tried it a couple of times, and it adds "playability" if nothing else! I'll certainly be keeping my eye on this thread, it should be a good layout.
  10. Well there's a surprise! I never thought my freelance model would be that similar to something that actually ran on British metals. Thank you!
  11. Plenty of things have been happening with this little layout, both these past evenings and over the Christmas Holidays. Let's take a tour. 1. Freight - A purchase of some Modelscene Parcels finally instigated a tidy-up of my freight collection - everything is now on a pallet, and most pallets have a string to allow the crane to move them. Not all pallets are modelled as full; one has just a few Ratio coal sacks on it, whilst the remaining sacks have been glued discreetly to pieces of paper, allowing the "loose stacks" to be moved as one block and posed against a wall or truck. Much easier than fiddling around with loose bags! That said, two are still loose in case I want to pose one somewhere. Also featured are the stacks of presumably paving slabs that came with the truck, and various other loose goods collected mainly from Modelscene and Ratio. 2. Couplings - I've pinched a couple of tension-locks from a Hornby 4-wheel coach and bunged 'em under the Parkside Vanwide with the mounting blocks provided. I considered doing the same with the 21T Bolster, but they stuck out like a sore thumb and the thing is too long to be used when shunting anyway. This isn't the best photo of the en-couplinged van, but it does illustrate the stacks o' sacks mentioned above, and also just about visible is a Peco bicycle leaning against the office wall. 3. Loco D23 - Has had the wasp stripes repainted, and now it looks fantastic. I tried adding some "machine oil" to the plastic chassis to get it to roll under less pressure. For some unknown reason, said oil neatly dispersed itself to cover the entire chassis, making it all somewhat shiny whilst not really altering the rolling resistance at all! The loco still needs glazing, but otherwise is pretty complete. 4. Loco 13601 - A new one for the layout, it's a slightly wobbly old Hornby 0-4-0 Caledonian pug. I think everyone must have one of these kicking around somewhere! I've taken an unusual decision to solder a pair of ~30cm wires directly to the motor, with a Hornby track connector at the other end. This (should) solve any running issues by taking dirty track and pickups straight out of the equation! This bizarre method will only work on this layout, where the loco is rarely fully on-scene when shunting. I'm also playing with the idea of making the surprisingly accurate, yet somewhat ubiquitous Caledonian Pug body look more like a GWR 1361 class. It's clearly not, especially since it's an axle short for a start, but I hope to at least make the cab a more pleasing shape than the Hornby model. One problem is I would want to repaint the model black once the extra bits are finalised, but looking online the livery of this body seems less common - I'm thinking of looking for a cheap, widely available body that I don't mind knocking about a bit. However it's all pretty pointless now, since the "will only work on this layout" clause mentioned above makes the entire premise obsolete... 5. Layout Expansion - wait, what? When I first started, I never planned to make this more than a 1-box layout, and as such the front siding is not positioned to line up with anything in particular. However, it is at precisely 11.25 degrees to the rear one, meaning if I replace some of the track with a Y-point... It clearly needs a lot of modification to (what will from now on be referred to as) Phase 1 - the front siding and hard standing will have to be completely ripped up and relayed to accommodate the Y-point, whilst still fitting around the crane module. I'm not sure the water tower has a place in the new layout either, which would be a shame; but it's physically in the way of the new track, and I'd rather not have such a bulky view block if the layout's doubling in scenic area. The Plan: 1. Modify Phase 1 with y-point on front siding 2. Prepare Phase 2 box (already sourced, identical to Phase 1 box for tidyness!) for track - build up base, cut ends, match to Phase 1 3. Lay track 4. Arrange Phase 2 buildings around the track; likely blue brick & girder overbridge, a low-relief 2-storey northlight-type factory, and a drainage ditch or culvert under the track front-right (left of current water tower location) to give some height variance and different viewing angles, taking advantage of the 3.5cm depth below the track. Also possibly replace the water tower with a small site office/shed or other small building. 5. Apply ground cover This is going to be different to previous builds I've shared here since I'll be building this in my free evenings and weekends whilst at Uni, rather than in a few weeks over a summer holiday. As I'm not at home I also don't have access to dad's collection of "serious" tools (hacksaw, drill, soldering iron etc), making step 3 the most challenging despite being only two words. Overall there's plenty to be doing, so I should better get started!
  12. Ah, one of @Pikey's amazing RC models! I've been following his thread in the Radio Control section (linked below) for some time, the things he gets up to is quite impressive and has inspired some of my own more mechanical efforts. I can't wait to see the van in action around your layouts, I always find it interesting to see something other than the trains that moves.
  13. I'd say that any fine material will work well, but preferably something finer than the normal ballast. I can recommend garden soil, if you sieve it carefully once it's dried. As for drying materials, leaving them spread thinly on a tray on a windowsill or radiator will probably be sufficient - you're only going to soak it again when you glue it down!
  14. Definitely parallel. However, and I know it's there to hide the scenic break, the central pillar just looks wrong - it should either have corner pillars and two short deck spans either side, or just not be there with one longer span. As for the pillars looking too beefy - I think they're fine for an occupational crossing (foot/animal traffic with the occasional tractor) myself, but if you're concerned then perhaps using a light-and-narrow footbridge-type deck would work, implying the abutments once carried something more substantial but has been damaged. Letting my brain get away from me, perhaps that central pillar has been damaged, so a temporary, lighter, single-span bridge has been placed across the abutments during repair works...
  15. Fair enough! The 4-board plan does look excellent, and the 3-way point certainly helps to open up the options. I'm interested to watch this layout coming together!
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