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Not sure how I have missed this so far, but enjoyed catching up.  Beautiful track, and a very sensible approach to modelling, if I may say.

 

It is always good to see a Grouping era layout for the colour and panache, and the GW in South Devon in the Thirties is my first and most enduring railway enthusiasm, so it has been a pleasure stroll through the pages.

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Hi John,

 

Lovely photos of the B Set here.

 

I know what you mean about the misunderstanding and potential lonliness of railway modelling. However, after becoming part of the group on RM Web it has been lovely to chat to so many thoughtful and skillful individuals. I've even bumped into some of them whilst exhibiting or trading at shows too! RM Web is like a large extended family - I hope you feel welcome and spend many happy hours here from now on! :)

 

Incidentally, I had one numskull (who is a talented musician but sadly is low in terms of modelling skills or appreciation) say to me once, "do you ever just have pretend crashes or place figures on the track like in a film for the trains to run over? My answer was; "Hmmm, do you ever snip the strings of your guitar on purpose? No, didn't think so otherwise you would ruin your pleasure. Now, take a minute, think about it carefully...you'll have the answer to your question soon."

 

Anyway, keep the photos coming, John. Lovely to see some GWR postings to brighten the day.

Chris :)

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Thanks for recent positive reactions to Stoke Courtenay.. So glad that lots of you seem to like the layout.  I'm a 'lone wolf' modeller, and though I have a busy social life and lots of friends I know nobody who's into model railways (except my son who still takes a bit of an interest).  Down the pub I still get a lot of 'Choo choo!' or 'Where's your engine driver's hat?'.  You know how it is.  I just smile and ask whose round it is.  So until I put Stoke Courtenay in front of the RMweb community I was more or less the only railway modeller who'd ever seen it, and even though I was pleased with some of what I'd done I knew my own view was necessarily subjective. So it's great to have that external check and feedback.

 

I'm now moving on to Phase 2, doing something about the trains.  Tradition suggested I should start with the locos, but I decided that the thing that would make the biggest immediate impact would be to improve the coaching stock, with close-coupling, gangway connections where appropriate, and weathered roofs.  It's also made me get out the airbrush the kids bought me 3 or 4 years ago and learn how to use it.  (Learning curve at the moment re paint consistency - having to clean out blocked airbrush too often.  Sure I'll get the hang of it in due course.)  I started with the branch B-set.

 

attachicon.gifB set 001-min.JPG

 

 

I'd close-coupled the pair with a bit of brass wire when I got them, but since then I've cut away the outer end curved buffer beams and added straight ones from Plastikard fitted with MJT sprung buffers and a dummy coupling hook.  They also have my usual shortened Bachmann T/L couplings. The droplights have been repainted in venetian red (Hornby have them coach brown, which I suppose is an advance on earlier incarnations when they didn't paint them at all) and the roofs had several airbrushed coats of Lifecolor roof dirt. 

 

I know there is still one guard's window too many on one side, and that the underframe arrangement isn't quite correct.  But life's too short, and I fall back on my usual mantra - 'approximation; suggestion; impression; flavour; atmosphere'.  They'll do me.

 

Here are a couple more pics.

 

attachicon.gifB set 002-min.JPG

 

 

attachicon.gifB set 003-min.JPG

 

John C.

 

John -nice work shown well with your photos.

 

I too am enjoying your thread and have empathy with your commentary about the "...loneliness of a lone modeller...". I am only 12000 miles away in NZ, and also a lone-wolf modeller plugging away at my layout Hawkinsfield as and when I can. I enjoy reading the RM web and posting updates when I can and seeking feedback/guidance.

 

Regards Andy R 

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Dear John,

 

What a cracking layout. You've achieved a very natural muted tone to the layout colouring which makes it really convincing. I'm increasingly fascinated by colour rendition, and I think it may be to do with saturation. Quite often layouts are too saturated with colour and therefore look like models. Your approach means the scene is very realistic; trains in their natural environment doing their thing. I also very much like the track work and this again confirms my choice to also model in OO-SF.

 

One question, could you please explain what colours and products you used to produce the static grass. I particularly like the variation and texture in the lush greens.

 

Many thanks

Tom

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Thanks Tom.  Glad you like the layout.

 

The grass beyond the trackside fence (i.e. outside the railway boundary) is all from Noch grass mat, available through Gaugemaster.  There was a good BRM article by Tony Wright a year or two back on using this product. Mine was the 'summer meadow' colour.  Where joins occur they were masked by hedges, fencing, or field paths (made from a smear of PVA on the grass, scattered with a bit of Treemendous 'earth powder'), as shown in the photos below.  

 

attachicon.gifRailway 18 Aug 16 001-min.JPG

 

attachicon.gifRailway 18 Aug 16 002-min.JPG

 

I originally used the same stuff on the embankment and cutting sides, but it didn't look quite right  - too lush - so I got myself a World War Scenics (WWS) static grass applicator and re-covered it all, using a mixture of static grasses from the same supplier, stirred together in a plastic container until I'd got a colour more like the rough grass I was aiming for. (I was very pleased with the whole static grass thing. A big step change from the messing about with dyed lint in my far-off teen years.)  Both types of grass can be seen in the picture below. 

 

attachicon.gifRailway 18 Aug 16 003-min.JPG

 

Incidentally, the substructure for this landscaping was done by the glueshell method described in Iain Rice in his 'Railway modelling the realistic way'.  Profiles are cut from stout carton cardboard (I used Peroni boxes throughout!) attached to the L-girder cross-members and to each other in egg box style with a hot glue gun.  The surface was then formed from a lattice work of thinner cardboard strips from cereal boxes etc. with the glue gun, before the whole lot was covered in a shell of torn up paper towels painted over with diluted PVA.  Quick, easy and a whole lot of fun.  Had no desire whatsoever to monkey around with plaster or plaster bandage!

 

More train pics soon as Phase 2 -  'Tarting up the trains' -  gets under way.

 

John.

 

Thank you very much for the reply. Getting realistic scenery that matches UK shades is very difficult. As I have mentioned elsewhere, the Woodland Scenics products, though very good quality are more US focussed. Your effects are very nice indeed, keep the photos coming! :)

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post-15399-0-92094300-1471637046_thumb.jpg

 

 

Some of you have commented favourably on what you describe as the spacious, uncluttered look of the layout and the muted colours.  This was a conscious aim, so the feedback is very pleasing, but it was achieved by trial and error, and by as much luck as judgement.  From the outset I wanted an impression, on a narrow baseboard, of wide open spaces (cue the Dixie Chicks), of a quiet, sparse, almost austere look to the environment.  I was very conscious that this was the deeply rural southern fringes of Dartmoor in the 1930s and not the bustling midlands or the fleshpots of Torbay.

 

I suppose my guiding rules were:

  • Don’t try to cram too much into the space available
  • Simplify and omit
  • Less is more
  • Keep colours relatively neutral - the layout is just a foil to show the trains to best advantage.

 

I wavered a bit from this as things progressed.  At first I wasn’t going to have any non-railway buildings on the layout, but the Bachmann ¾ view low relief church cried out to be installed in an otherwise difficult to fill corner, and once acquired cried out in turn for a village pub.  The Bachmann ‘Pendon’ series pub fitted the bill admirably with a repaint (not too many bright yellow pubs in the 1930s, maybe?) and the addition of curtains etc.  And anyway, my pals wouldn’t have believed that I could build a layout without a pub.

 

The addition of a garage from the Ratio kit plus a couple of garden shed kits spliced together gave the hint of a village community near the station, and provided a more ‘workaday’ element to take the edge off the chocolate box look that was developing.  I had bought another nice ‘Pendon’ cottage, but decided it was too much and sold it on eBay.

 

The other week I looked round and realised there were now 20 human figures on the layout (though some are semi-hidden), and cried, ‘Whoah, John – stop there!’.  So however delightful current trade offerings are I’m going to resist – this ain’t Platform 1 at Paddington. (But I’ll make an exception for footplate crews and a signalman!).

 

Another early decision was to have only three road vehicles on the layout, one of them horse-drawn.  I half-broke this too, as the back of an Alvis Speed 20 can just about be seen in the garage repair bay. But I’ve resisted buses going over bridges, wedding parties, vicars, funerals, police incidents etc.  They can be very well done and entertaining, but not on this sort of layout.

 

As some have noted, colours are fairly plain and muted (and usually pale).  I use Lifecolor weathered black (really a dark grey like all these ‘weathered’ or ‘dirty’ colours) on anything that’s nominally black, e.g. parts of signals.  I was keen to avoid the ‘noisy’ effect of lots of bright or bold colours in proximity. At present I have a painted and almost completed 1936 pattern telephone box kit which was intended to stand in front of the station.  But I’m now having second thoughts, as its bright red finish might draw the eye on first view and ruin the effect.  It’s another of those cases where something prototypically correct and appropriate can yet look wrong, or at least detract from the illusion.

 

To finish, the one element I’d stress in getting the look I wanted was the backscene.  If you want the illusion of distance keep the profile low. Mine’s  only a printed one from Gaugemaster, seen on many layouts, but the same thing applies to hand painted or bespoke photo-produced versions.  After cutting off the ‘sky’ bits I then cut about ¾ off the remainder – from the bottom – meaning that the distant horizons are only about 3 to 4 inches on average above the trackbed.  It is of course all best viewed – and photographed – from eye level.

 

Hope none of this sounds too didactic – just my way of approaching things.  There are many others equally valid, depending on the effect you’re after.

 

​John C.

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John

 

Super modelling and ever so impressed with both the quality of the build of the trackwork and the artistry of the painting and weathering. Must look stunning in the flesh as photography shows up all the imperfections (of which I can see none)

 

Whilst its a super advert for 00SF, I assume with your building skills it would have looked nearly as good in standard 00 gauge. 

 

How have you attached the tiebar to the switch rails please

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How have you attached the tiebar to the switch rails please

 

Hi John - thanks! Nice that an expert track specialist takes an interest.  (BTW, I like your ‘turnout workbench’ – very instructive.)

 

At the start back in early 2012 I did a lot of internet searching to see how people made tie-bars, so let me pay credit to whomever first set out the method I describe below.  It was very probably someone on this forum.

 

The tie-bars are made from strips of PCB sleepering on edge, moving in a slot below the turnout, so only the thickness of the PCB presents from above.  My track is laid on 3mm cork on top of 2mm medium density black rubber foam.  This provides a bit of sound deadening, enables a decent ballast shoulder, and brings the rail height to match with the Peco track on 4mm underlay in the fiddle yard.  But it also meant I could create the aforesaid slot without having to cut it through the MDF trackbed.

 

post-15399-0-00123800-1471707906_thumb.jpg

 

post-15399-0-76302000-1471707858_thumb.jpg

 

Three short lengths of brass tube are soldered vertically to the PCB strip, with insulating gaps filed between them.  The two outer ones have brass lace pins inserted from below, bent over and cut short, then soldered to the point blade. This provides a pivoting action and avoids stress on the soldered joints.  The middle tube is of a slightly larger gauge (I forget the actual sizes but I’ve written them down somewhere!) to take the actuating rod from the sub-baseboard mounted Cobalt Digital point motor. 

 

Not being an ace solderer (an understatement!) I found this the trickiest bit of point building by far, with several false attempts.  Holding the tie-bar in place with tweezers while soldering it accurately to the point blades (points were already stuck to the layout, having been built in situ) was a bit of a nightmare at times, and had me wishing for three hands, if not four, and it was hard to judge the optimum gap between point blade and stock rail.  Obviously I wanted to get it as close as possible!

 

Anyway, I got there, and I’m pleased to say none have yet failed in four years.  I hope you can make out some of the details I’ve described in the accompanying pics of four different turnouts.  On one or two of the others I’ve messed up the timbering intervals a bit (should have used Templot, I know!), so the ‘pit’ in which the tie-bar sits is a bit too obvious.  But I’m not doing ‘em again.

 

I’ll write a bit more about my track building experience in an upcoming post.

 

​John C.

 

PS. I have no idea why, within the same post, this site sometimes lets me place pics within the text but at the next attempt parks them at the end.  With the latter there's no indication that the pic has been added until one looks at 'post preview' and sees that it's actually there under the heading 'Attached thumbnails' .  Baffling!

post-15399-0-27406900-1471707615_thumb.jpg

post-15399-0-90346900-1471707652_thumb.jpg

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attachicon.gif Railway 18 Aug 16 009-min.JPG

 

 

Some of you have commented favourably on what you describe as the spacious, uncluttered look of the layout and the muted colours.  This was a conscious aim, so the feedback is very pleasing, but it was achieved by trial and error, and by as much luck as judgement.  From the outset I wanted an impression, on a narrow baseboard, of wide open spaces (cue the Dixie Chicks), of a quiet, sparse, almost austere look to the environment.  I was very conscious that this was the deeply rural southern fringes of Dartmoor in the 1930s and not the bustling midlands or the fleshpots of Torbay.

 

 

The picture posted shows how successfully you've achieved that: well done for having a plan and sticking to it. The close up of the point in the last post is informative - looks very neat.

 

All the best

 

Jon

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The pointwork itself was built on Timber Tracks bases (at that time sold via C & L) in conjunction with aforesaid templates, but if I was doing it again I’d use Templot and plain point timbering.  

 

Subsequent turnouts nearly all involved some degree of curvature, so were built in situ, and from then on the whole exercise proved to be very satisfying and enjoyable.  Then it came to ballasting, blithely dismissed in countless magazine articles as having been done by ‘the usual methods’.  Well, ‘the usual methods’ didn’t work at all for me, and I ended up chiselling quite a bit of lumpy, concrete-like porridge off my nice new spray painted track prior to a rethink.  More on this later if anyone’s interested in my blunderings.

 

​John C.

 

 

Dear John,

 

Lovely photos once more. Do you have plans afoot to weather your stock at all? Apologies if you have mentioned previously or indeed if it is weathered and I am not observant enough to see it!

 

Just responding to a couple of points... (no pun etc). Timber track bases, yup, know what they are, but what is plain point timbering, and how would point construction differ using these parts?

 

Did you use C&L turnout kits or did you just use the components and make your own from scratch as it were? I know its also possible to solder your own vees, is this something you'd do?

 

I for one would be very interested to hear about ballasting. Always looking for alternate methods.

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Paper templates from C & L were used to plan pointwork, slitting them part way across and bending them for curved pointwork. (Shame on me – I was too lazy and impatient to master Templot, which might have given me some better alignments in places and saved me from some point timbering errors.)

 

Hi John,

 

There's no shame, but it would actually have been much faster to print the curved templates from Templot rather than fiddle about slitting and curving straight templates.

 

You don't need to master Templot just to print a basic turnout template. In fact you don't need to know anything about it at all -- just follow the video. smile.gif

 

It takes only seconds to make a few clicks and be printing a template.

 

I have recently updated the "Your first printed template" video. You can watch it by going to:

 

 http://templot.com/companion/your_first_printed_template.html

 

regards,

 

Martin.

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Hi John

Nice to see a sensible jumbled up rake of GWR coaches, those new Collett's are excellent but I will be changing the tiny shell roof vents when they go through the weathering shop they are a tad on the small side. 

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Hello John,

 

May I reiterate all the above points regarding craftsmanship and your eye for detail.

 

I've just picked up your thread from comments on Robs ANTB and have spent a most enjoyable and relaxed hour reading through to date.

You certainly have an approach to modelling and great sense of humour which I for one applaud and I'm totally convinced by what you have achieved to date ( no mean feat as a lone modeller !) .

I'm totally hooked and you can add me to your list of followers on this one, very well done and please keep posting your extremely informative explanations and superb photographs.

 

Grahame

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You don't need to master Templot just to print a basic turnout template. In fact you don't need to know anything about it at all -- just follow the video. smile.gif

 

 

Thanks for this Martin - and for your interest.  Have had a look at the video and a bit more of the Templot site.  I'll know what to do next time.  ( I might only have one layout in me, but I wouldn't mind having another go at track building some time when I have the leisure.  I enjoyed it.)

 

Regards,

John

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