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Paul Robertson

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  1. Today was spent working on the station. I have been trying to create my art deco feel and have tried to create the feel with the canopy and windows. Started off completing the platform level walls (walls all in and balsa edging around canopy edge to neaten plywood) I also felt that the canopy needed some sort of support structure underneath so cut more thin balsa strips to represent cantilever concrete beams holding up the main canopy. A view of the underside with structural supports. Having done this I then created the second storey which is meant to represent a cafe for ferry passengers with a seating area on the canopy. (upper storey and window sills added) (and the other side showing the art deco style picture windows for the platform waiting room and first floor cafe with views out across the ferry terminal. I would quite happily sit there sipping a hot chocolate and watching the transport moving about) Thanks for reading
  2. I'm onto the second to last scratchbuilt building for this layout. This is the station building itself which as mentioned previously I have wanted to build in the art deco style. Some examples I like are as follows: (Surbiton station) (DE la Warr Pavilion) Firstly I completed the platform to give me a base to build up from: (supports put in place behind the Peco edging) (Thin balsa sheet laid on top of the structure) I then started to construct the canopy out of 3mm ply and checked to get the height right. (initial trial of the platform canopy) (and from the other direction) I then started to cut out windows and walls from thin balsa for the waiting room and platform offices (platform wall stuck in place) Need to finish off the other walls and then there will be a second level with the canopy acting as a viewing platform for a restaurant/cafe for passengers awaiting their ferry. Thanks for reading
  3. Various odd jobs around the layout today. The first was an attempt at painting the Dock which utterly failed. My paints were cheap rubbish which I could do anything with so will have to invest in some better quality paints and try again. So with a quick change in plan I set about giving some relief to the railway arches which will form the base of my station. (thin strips of balsa cut out to the arch shape and overlaid on the 5mm ply to give a bit of shadow and then a further strip of balsa to represent brick piers.) The idea is that these brick arches represent the original base of the 19th century railway station at Seahaven Eastern Docks which was subsequently knocked down and replaced by an art deco structure in the 1930's when the original train ferry Linkspan was constructed. Just need to get some n gauge brick paper to cover these. Having completed this the next thing to do was to start the process of building the platform edge. I used the Peco concrete edging as this is prototypical for the southern region. (platform edging in and a cargo wagon out to check clearances) Next will be building the station in an art deco style. I want it to feel a bit like the architect thought of a cruise liner when he designed it. Think de la warr pavilion mixed with Surbiton station Some further shots around the layout at close of play today (dockside) (View across from station) (aerial shot) Thanks for reading
  4. Having constructed kiosks for traffic marshals there was a further one required for the upper linkspan where the control gear should be kept to operate the structure. These are usually small kiosks perched on the end of the Linkspan to give maximum visibility for the operator. Having looked at a few examples I didn't think my standard design used so far would be suitable. The kiosks I I could see on prototypes were more like rounded grp kiosks like those produced by glasdon without a roof overhang. (grp rounded edge design) To create this kind of look I needed it to be all balsa on the outside so I could sand down the edges. I did however provide a bit of styrene strip on the inside to give a bit of rigidity. (initial kiosk looking a bit boxy) Once constructed I sanded down all the edges to give that more rounded feel as well as trying to sand the corners of the windows a bit as well. (neater and more round looking after sanding. Also a comparison to the other kiosk design I made) Then came mounting onto the Linkspan bridge. My first location fouled the winding housing structure so moved along right to the end and built a little landing round the back which will require handrails when I get round to buying some. (initial location too close to upper structure. Managed to knock off legs of structure whilst testing location) (new location right on edge of Linkspan Bridge.) (final location of Linkspan control kiosk) (and a shot from the vehicle deck of the nord pas de calais) (finally a shot down the Linkspan showing both types of kiosk) Thinking about painting shortly might start on the Dock walls first as they aren't particularly visible so can hide all my mistakes! Thanks for reading
  5. Paul Robertson

    Mind the gaps...

    There were lots of large gaps in the ferry woodwork which needed filling. The chimney stacks consist of 3 pieces of 5mm ply stuck together which had been cut out with a jigsaw so not desperately accurate. Whilst balsa helped to cover over the crude edges there were a lot of visible gaps between balsa and ply. With not much time for modelling today (I had a big odd job 'to do' list) I decided that might be a good small job to fit in around chores. I had bought some balsa filler which seemed to offer what I was wanting and set about stuffing it in the cracks and crevices I could find. Initially trying to tool it in but eventually gave up and just use my fingers! (the resulting filled gaps roughly sanded. I need to get some finer sandpaper as what I had left a bit of a rough finish) I've also allowed the upper vehicle deck to slide in and out in order gain entry to the train deck below if there are any derailments. Having filled and sanded as much as I could I wanted to cover the last of the exposed screw heads on the ferry. I had used screws in order to provide a bit of rigidity to main joints but they need hiding from view. Luckily ferries have all sort of detritus stuck around them you can hide a multitude of modelling sins behind. I cut out some large grilles from balsa and stuck them over with a thicker bit of balsa underneath to bulk it out (grille and levelling piece stuck over the offending screw head) Once this was complete it was back to the layout to see how it looked (a neater and less gappy nord pas de Calais in dock again.) Currently pondering winding gear and how to show this without fouling the bridges which I still want to remove. That will be for another day Thanks for reading Paul
  6. So a busy day of modelling today with the aim of getting the Linkspan winding house structurally complete. Firstly I assembled the leg structure cutting the tops and bottoms of theain structural supports to get them sitting at an angle as per prototype. (leg structure coming on ready to be attached to main support structure made yesterday.) Having created the legs a quick check was made to ensure the legs lined up with the 'concrete' pile caps. (initial trial location to check they all match up) Having done that it was time to make the roof. My first time making a hipped roof and lots of scrapping and shaving required to get the fit correct. Once relatively happy with it lots of styrene was used to cover up the gaps around edges! It's amazing what a little styrene will do! Some thin balsa was stuck on the roof to indicate machine access doors should they need replacing and then a personnel door. Finally a walkway was created again with thin balsa with a kick rail as well. (completed winding house with removable roof for later addition of lighting) Below are some shots of the winding house in its proposed location. Just some handrails, winding gear, control kiosk and some stairs up the structure to put in but that can be for another day. I'm pretty pleased with the overall structure. Nothing stuck down yet as I want to paint it all first. Thanks for reading Paul
  7. Paul Robertson

    A start made...

    Starting the Linkspan winding machine house building tonight. This will take more than an evening to complete. My styrene I beam arrived today so could get on with it. Firstly I started with the housing base structure which will eventually stand on legs above the Linkspan bridges. (first stage - styrene beam structure) Once I had finished with this I started on the housing itself made from Wills corrugated plastic sheet. (progress on the upper housing) Next will be a removable roof. I'd like to fixing Led lighting to the Linkspan structure and the housing will be a good place to hide wiring but will need access every now and again. Following the roof I will construct a walkway around the outside of the housing out of thin balsa. Something for the weekend. (where the structure will sit or be it on angled stilts once the winding house is complete) That's it for today - thanks for reading Paul
  8. Paul Robertson

    Found it!

    Researching the structures I'm wanting to build is always an enjoyable part of the hobby for me. Unfortunately if you are trying to build something that has been demolished you are left to scouring the internet for photos, the odd scaled drawing, and perhaps a book on the subject if you are lucky. One online article that has proved a mine of visual information and reference in planning for this project has been http://www.doverferryphotosforums.co.uk/ and an article on the Admiralty Pier Train Ferry linkspan by Nigel Thornton (http://www.doverferryphotosforums.co.uk/admiralty-pier-train-ferry-berth/). I'd forgotten the link which I had come across a couple of years ago when planning the layout but after a quick internet search have just found it again. And not a moment too soon as I attempt to scratch build the linkspan winding house that sits above the bridges. The images show just what an incredible bit of civil engineering this structure was, and what a shame it saw only 8 years service before being demolished and its remains dumped in the old exchange sidings before being cut up for scrap. It would be interesting to know whether the investment actually had time to pay for itself in revenue from freight traffic! (Probably not). Not even sure whether train ferry traffic was profitable at all. Does anyone know? There are some nice images of the Nord-pas-de-Calais actually tied up to the dockside which is useful reference. Most photos linked to the train ferry that I can find on the internet unsurprisingly concentrate on the locomotives and rolling stock coming on and off the linkspan with the structure very much a background object (such as the header image to this entry). In an age of 35mm Kodacolor film when each shot was potentially costly (not only in film but processing as well) you chose your shoots carefully. These days with 32 gigs in a standard digital camera we can 'click' away to our hearts content! Its not surprising with the train ferry operating in an age before digital cameras that those taking pictures around here (primarily train enthusiasts) would concentrate their hard earned negatives on the railway rather than ship! Another useful reference was the scale drawing of the Nord-pas-de-Calais. In my day job I use AutoCAD so was able to take this image, import it and scale it to the correct length (based on the Wikipedia entry for the ship) and then trace its outline. This then formed the template I drew out on plywood for the rear of the ferry on the layout. some additional photos of the ferry I managed to find also assisted (Whilst not in dock this is still a useful reference image of the deck arrangement of the ferry that's helping me to detail all the paraphernalia you would find on the Nord-pas-de-Calais. It also help me get the chimney widths better arranged (although mine aren't completely accurate due to scale width limitations). I also really like the vehicle deck surfacing detail here with the tie down points, yellow linings and tyre marks I assume from the ports own yard tractor units taking off unaccompanied semi-trailers. I bought a Kato n-gauge yard tractor from Osborns Models a couple of years ago and it might work nicely as a little cameo on the layout parked up ready to collect semi-trailers off the ferry. (N gauge Kato yard tractor - Might need some Sealink branding to make it fit in) That's all for now - Thanks for reading Paul
  9. So today I had a bit of time to do some more modelling and advance my scratchbuilding skills. I need a portakabin type structure to act as a combined office for the ferry and train staff on the quayside. Having done a bit of research on sizes of units and suitably scaled them down to n gauge I started to produce the model (my sketch drawings and scaled dims of a standard 12155x4050mm portakabin. I initially cut the floor and roof out of thick balsa and glued together with strengtheners in the corners to give a bit of rigidity. I then cut out the windows from thin balsa sheet and scored the door which I hope the outline will come out during painting. Windows had clear plastic fixed across them as per the kiosks I showed in a previous blog. For the toilet windows I fixed an additional sliver of white paper across the top (Initial shell construction of the portakabin) Having got the shell complete I used thin styrene L shaped strips to pick out the edges and generally smarten up the box structure. The final finishing touch was to build the support legs and structure over the roof again out of the L strutt. The L strutt was actually a mistaken online purchase which I expected to be another form but it has come in very handy. (rear view of completed structure with blanked windows for toilets) (and a front view) (Rough position for portakabin on layout with kiosks in the background located by train Linkspan to provide joint accommodation for the railway and port workers.) I will need to create another smaller one for the network rail workers by the train station. My next task will be creating the winding house for the linkspan. I'm currently waiting for some styrene I beams to come in the post before embarking on it. Thanks for reading Paul
  10. So having created a security kiosk I was happy with yesterday and with only a limited bit of building time this evening I decided to set up a little production line to produce the two others I required. (sort of cabin I was looking to create found on a Google search with some useful dimensions that just needed dividing by 148) By close of play I had managed to complete all three: (three completed cabins) And located on the layout (two controlling the entrance onto the upper and lower linkspans) (and one controlling the access ramps) Following this trial run with scratchbuilding I feel emboldened to perhaps try a portakabin or two which are required around the place. A bit more research required on dimensions and door / window sizes. That and the Linkspan wheelhouse will keep me busy for this week! Many thanks for reading and happy modelling! Paul
  11. Useful tips there. I'm looking to add third rail onto my n gauge mini layout so this will be really helpful.
  12. Thanks for the comment. Whilst the ferry is currently removable my idea was to have it permanently fixed to ensure good alignment between the rails. I'd also have to create a separate 'sea' cassette to go in its place when the ferry had departed. Perhaps a temporary fix for the time being whilst I get the rest of the layout sorted and then I can think of grander ideas. I take no credit for the photos. Just Internet finds that help to illustrate prototypes. Happy to give credit where it is due if I tread on someone's copyright! Xmas 2025 maybe! My father's layout started when my brother and I were still in shorts is still at the baseboard stage some 45 years later! Still he did decide to model the entirety of Ipswich Station and handmade all the track in the station limits. I'm hoping to have something completed way before that although are model railways ever complete?! A subject for a whole different blog me thinks. Paul
  13. Following on from yesterday's scratch building attempt of a security kiosk I had a look at it again this morning and decided I could do a bit better (yesterday's effort was a bit crooked and lacking in detail) I thought the scale looked a bit too big as well and a quick Google found the the height was a bit on the generous side for this type of building. Out with the craft knife and some more styrene angle to highlight window ledges and to make a door and I soon had a more reasonable looking cabin. In the spirit of recycling the peco clear plastic packaging which my plate girder bridge sides came in was cut up and used as glazing. I made the roof a little larger to give a nicer overhang effect and this was the result: (I even managed to incorporate a shelf for the occupant!just needs a spot of paint.) (And located on the head of the Linkspan Bridge to provide shelter to the poor soul who has to control the traffic in all weather's during loading.) Just another two of those to make! Having finished this job off I wanted to complete the last section of Linkspan bridge to the upper (vehicle deck) of the ferry. To do this I first needed to tidy up the ferry stern, straightening edges and filling gaps with thin layers of balsa. Once completed I created the second 'movable' Linkspan section using 5mm ply as a base with peco plate girder bridge sides cut and joined together. A further small section of ramp was include to allow for a smooth transition between Linkspan and ferry deck for vehicles. (completed up bridge deck) (And from the other direction looking towards the ferry) Both upper bridges can be removed to allow access to the lower level. This now completes the major bridges on the layout the next job will be to build the winding gear housing that will sit above the Linkspan structure. This will be a much bigger scratchbuilding challenge but is basically a corrigated shed on stilts! So lots more balsa with Wills corrugated sheeting kit. Many thanks for reading Paul
  14. As well as more work on the civil engineering today I also made my first scratchbuilt building. A security kiosk. I need to make about 5-6 of these so this was just a trial run With a bit of painting and so correct signage I think it should do the job. Greater scratchbuilding challenges lie ahead. (first attempt at a light mast base. Unfortunately couldn't cope with my drilling a hole in it) (attempt no2. Working better. This 5mm diameter 300mm long brass tube scales to a 44m high light mast in n gauge which is about right for a port complex. I'm hoping tomorrow to give the concrete paper a go Thanks for reading
  15. So today has been spent on alot of detail. Taking lots of thin balsa strips and neatening tunnel mouths and providing a bit more structural detail on abutments (additional bridge abutment detail) (tunnel mouth neatened up ready for some 'concrete' paper After a comment from another user here I spent a lot of time checking clearances with two types of wagon before sticking down the walls to the HM customs warehouse (an early train load of taxable goods - probably scotch whisky) heads into the customs warehouse siding to check clearances) It took about 4 attempts in shaving off plywood before the wagons would clear the walls! Another small step on the ferry was to round off the stern to give the end of the ship a more boat like feel. (ferry stern cut and sanded down) I'm also looking at the lighting masts and have created some balsa wood bases for them. The first attempt got destroyed when I tried to drill some holes through them. A second attempt was more successful.
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