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I haven’t done any model making since March, but I saw a ‘Lack’ shelf in Ikea last weekend and this has inspired me to have another go at the extension to “Fairport” on my home layout “Shelf Island”.

 

The original model of Fairport (here and here) is a single line terminus, essentially a prettying-up of one end of a 6-foot stick. I always wanted a model of a SLT but now I have one it has proved frustrating to operate every time, even with a section break to let me park a train in the station platform and run something else to an imaginary location part way along the line. I am a bit limited in what layout I can put here because the back-left corner of the model is out of an easy arm’s reach above my workbench. Also I want a short layout so there is a clear transit along the line between here and the main baseboard.

 

So the new version will be a bit larger than the old one, and with a siding as well as the passenger platform. The siding can hold the engineer’s train or one or two wagons. Quite possibly a china clay tanker which can be unloaded by a lorry parked alongside. I can then propel a goods train up the branch, collect or drop off a wagon or two (or both), or run a push-pull passenger train. The branch also provides a headshunt to let me run longer trains up the quarry branch on the main layout.

 

The scenic requirements should be minimal. In “real life” (being the fiction of my layout), “Fairport” is a rail/bus interchange at the end of the branch line towards the airport. There is a short passenger platform here, and a draughty bus shelter. Also a cottage, and now a small goods yard with a siding.

 

So … the Lack shelf is unmodified except for rubbing down the glossy surfaces to help the glue to stick to it. Backscene from 6 mm ply at the back and two layers of 3 mm ply at the left, and a front-surfaced mirror (this bought years ago for another layout) still hidden by its peel-off coating:

post-14389-0-20142300-1511902753.jpg

 

There is a length of stripwood along the back to reinforce the bottom of the backscene, and several lengths of strip wood glued down in front of this to support the track bed. The siding can then go downhill towards the front of the layout:

post-14389-0-63682600-1511902753.jpg

 

The backscene has a chunk cut out of it to fit the Lack mounting bracket:

post-14389-0-16151000-1511902754.jpg

 

This is after two evenings, it’s really nice to get started on a project with a reasonable chance of completion. The entire ‘Shelf Island’ project is going to have to relocate from the Irish Sea to the South Coast because so much of my stock is Southern. The layout will have a Southern feel if I can manage this without having to put a train on it.

 

- Richard.

Edited by 47137
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Hopefully this makes things a bit clearer. The two tracks will be where the two wagons are. Turnout behind the cottage.

post-14389-0-58852800-1511966234.jpg

 

I'm thinking of two platforms along the back. A full-height railway platform to the left, and a low height tram platform to the right. The rest of the layout (which I designed and built as freight line ...) seems to be visually made for a tram, but the curves and loading gauge still take mainline coaches happily enough. For a modern setting, the railway platform can be "out of use" but used for parcels or a cripple bay. For an older setting, the tramway platform will hardly notice for what it is and I could stand a small hut or similar on top of it.

 

I think this project is going to be fun to make - hardly any railway (I have never completed the ballasting on any of my 16.5 mm gauge layouts ...), minimal wiring, and plenty of ways to try to make the surroundings look pleasing.

 

- Richard.

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Hopefully this makes things a bit clearer. The two tracks will be where the two wagons are. Turnout behind the cottage.

2017-11-29 10.08.50.jpg

 

I'm thinking of two platforms along the back. A full-height railway platform to the left, and a low height tram platform to the right. The rest of the layout (which I designed and built as freight line ...) seems to be visually made for a tram, but the curves and loading gauge still take mainline coaches happily enough. For a modern setting, the railway platform can be "out of use" but used for parcels or a cripple bay. For an older setting, the tramway platform will hardly notice for what it is and I could stand a small hut or similar on top of it.

 

I think this project is going to be fun to make - hardly any railway (I have never completed the ballasting on any of my 16.5 mm gauge layouts ...), minimal wiring, and plenty of ways to try to make the surroundings look pleasing.

 

- Richard.

Looking good. Can't wait to see it come to fruition .

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Well for some reason, I feel confident I will finish this one even though the plan is only in my head. I suppose, if I can make the modelling as minimal but as neat as I can, I'll be happy. The structure is already quite a lump to move around - the backscene makes it a lot heavier than the bare shelf I picked up in Ikea's. If I can pull it off, I'll hang the layout on the wall using the metal bracket which came with the shelf. This is a concealed mounting with two steel tubes inserted into the core of the shelf. It occurs to me, if I can get this to work (and really "all it needs" is putting the bracket in exactly the right place on the wall ..) then I ought to be able to store the layout upside down on its bracket, and use it as a shelf. Even the closed end of the backscene would be facing into the room!

 

- Richard.

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I've used six coats of paint to for the backscene - three coats of the acrylic primer/undercoat used for decorating, and three coats of an emulsion called "Sky" from Wickes. The primer/undercoat is also Wickes own brand ... their paint had some pretty grim reviews a few years ago but this stuff was fine. It has more "body" than a lot of these products and I managed to build something to hide the wood grain in three coats. I rubbed it down before adding the blue.

post-14389-0-31392000-1512228316.jpg

 

I put on the coats of blue with a small brush, not ideal so I went over the wet paint with a small sponge to remove the worst of the brush marks and give a sort of stippled effect more like what you get with a roller. I thinned the third coat slightly to help it go on, and also make sure I had enough. Three coats on three square feet from one match pot is pushing things a bit. This particular colour seems to tone nicely with the printed "sky" backscenes by Gaugemaster behind the rest of the layout.

post-14389-0-53779300-1512228327.jpg

 

I put four coats of an acrylic varnish on the other side of the backscene, partly for effect but mainly to try to reduce warping. This stuff was from one of the popular DIY ranges and is called "White Ash", it is okay so to speak but it was a good way to use up a tin left over from another job. It doesn't brush on like a traditional varnish, and while the tin said "2-3 coats" I could have carried on for 5 or 6.

 

The saving grace of all these products is they don't smell much, the coats can go on two hours apart, and the brushes clean up with water ... but the brush I used for the primer/undercoat is scarred for life.

 

- Richard.

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I shall wire the layout for DCC (all tracks always live) but there will be two isolating sections for DC operation (all my engines are still DC…). So the layout needs two section switches, and these are miniature dolly switches put high on the bracing for the backscene. Putting them here I can reach them from the front of the layout at home, and from behind the layout if it goes to a show. Also I see them from a distance.

post-14389-0-29771900-1512418922.jpg

 

This is pretty much the "control panel" for the layout. The point lever will be mechanical.

 

- Richard.

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Looking good. Can't wait to see it come to fruition .

From time to time I read an article about someone "building a layout in a weekend" and I truly don't know how they manage this. I did half of the wiring at the weekend and this will be my next instalment here, but this project took me three days to merely fix up the backscene and get the paint and varnish onto it.

 

When I built "Castell y Bwrdd" (2012) it took me four weeks and the layout was about four square feet ... but I was between jobs at the time. This one is nearer three square feet but there is rather less time available. It would be good to have trains running before Christmas so I can be doing the scenery during the holiday.

 

- Richard.

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The point operation will be mechanical so I will only need to connect the two wires for the controller to let me use the layout.

 

The point lever will end up in a border in the front garden of the cottage, so this sets up the location of the cottage and I have glued down a base for it. I made the cottage for 4mm scale so it has to sit down below the finished ground level to improve its proportions for H0. The base for the cottage is 3 mm foam board. The lever itself will be a cheap slide switch with its changeover contacts wired up to switch the frog. I have drilled a small hole cross-ways through the lever, to thread a piece of piano wire through later.

post-14389-0-17698500-1512494128.jpg

 

I knew the Lack shelf would be filled with cardboard but I never imagined the surface would be quite as thin as it is. So the point lever was straightforward to fit - I cut a rectangular hole in the shelf with a craft knife, pulled out some of the cardboard, and pushed in the switch.

post-14389-0-64876100-1512494128.jpg

 

The “closed top and bottom” arrangement of the Lack shelf means most of the wiring will go on the top surface of the shelf, buried under the scenery. To make this as easy as possible I am collating all of the wiring at a terminal strip inside the cottage. I need four groups of wires: to the track, to the section switches, to the point lever, and to the power input.

post-14389-0-34497800-1512494129.jpg

 

So far I have done all of these wires except the ones to the track. The power input is a 5 mm power socket with a 2.1 mm centre contact, I’ve standardised on these for all my dioramas.

post-14389-0-75691900-1512494129.jpg

 

I think I have now put off track laying as long as I can. I've bought some 5 mm foam board for the track bed.

 

- Richard.

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It has worked out easier to lay in the wiring for the track before the track bed, so I did this wiring next and made it off at the terminal strip.

Red = near rail

Blue = far rail

Green = frog (frogs are green?)

Green = switched sections too because I have run out of every other colour

I always put single breaks for switched sections in the near rail but there is no reason for this except all my layouts are the same.

post-14389-0-63559100-1512819986.jpg

 

This next photo is really to remind me where the wiring is. The two pencil marks here are the intended centre of the track at the baseboard joint and the location of the points tiebar. The strip of wood at the back is 12.5 mm ramin reinforcing the bottom edge of the backscene, and the other strips are 12 mm pine for the trackbed. The difference in thickness means the track bed must stop short of the backscene, but this might help me to make an embankment near the exit from the layout.

post-14389-0-91108100-1512819986.jpg

 

The track bed is the same 5mm foam board I used for "Shelf Island". I like the way I can trim it to shape with a craft knife. Also it is rigid and unlikely to warp with supports ever inch or two. I cut a slot in the board for the point mechanism, then glued it down in three sections. It could have been two but this gives me a better shaped offcut. The wooden block at the right-hand end of the track bed is a bit taller than the foam board, and this is there to give me something solid for the track at the baseboard joint.

post-14389-0-27901900-1512819987.jpg

 

The idea now is to lay in the road bed. This will be the Woodland Scenics foam one because it is so much quieter than cork. I am hoping I can use it as a sort of flexi curve to find the centre line of the tracks. The track bed for the siding (front left) will go in after the turnout is fixed down.

 

- Richard.

Edited by 47137
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I have started to lay the track, so the layout is starting to get some shape:

post-14389-0-04587100-1513009976.jpg

 

I think "sweeping curves" are unusual for a micro, and the track plan is very limited for operation, so perhaps this layout is going to be more "diorama" than "micro".

post-14389-0-79754300-1513009975.jpg

 

The centrepiece of the track is the turnout, this is one of the new Peco bullhead ones marketed for 00. My modifications to this are more extensive than I really intended, and it has ended up with rather a lot of new timbering:

post-14389-0-41472700-1513009976.jpg

 

Building a layout for British H0 for me is much like building one for 00: I feel a need to alter the commercial offerings for track. The plain line is for Fairport is SMP type J (00, timber sleepers) with the ends of the sleepers trimmed down about 0.7 mm each end. This turns the track into a near-perfect 1:87 scale replica of British track, as long as you accept the slightly over scale rail section. Anyway, it looks ok to me, and more "British" and less anaemic than the Peco Streamline with gapped-out sleepers I used on "Shelf Island".

post-14389-0-96940200-1513009976.jpg

 

The reasoning for the strips of wood to hold the track bed above the shelf is probably easier to explain now, and this is the track bed for the beginning of the siding. The track bed is level as far as the yellow pin, and then descends at about 1:50:

post-14389-0-71184400-1513009976.jpg

 

So now I can lay the rest of the siding, connect up the wiring, arrange the point mechanism and I suppose try running run some trains. The turnout seemed ok on a test set up. I am hoping the gradient on the siding will make the layout more interesting to look at, but still be workable for shunting.

 

- Richard.

Edited by 47137
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Hi Richard,

I see now why you used the new Peco point, it's looking good as is the plain track.

More power to your elbow, sir!

Cheers,

John.

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Hi Richard,

I see now why you used the new Peco point, it's looking good as is the plain track.

More power to your elbow, sir!

Cheers,

John.

 

As the layout takes its shape, I can see most of the various set-pieces I want to include. These are currently the following:

- cottage (obviously)

- bus interchange (much as the Mk1 layout)

- passenger halt - downgraded from the old layout, to be more as a goods platform with occasional passenger use

- tram stop - with the track laying half done I've realised this will look far better on the inside of the curve of the turnout

- foot crossing and path between the platform, the tram stop and the bus stop

- secure siding area with gate and hard standing for lorry access

- other siding area for storage of other vehicles e.g. PW train, cripples, and shunting into main platform

- industrial plant of some kind, modelled in half relief in front of the mirror

- a few large trees to block awkward views

 

At the end of the day this gives destinations for quite a variety of different train workings. All will be very short trains, but this is I suppose the essence of "Shelf Island", I want a railway where trains go from one place to another rather than primarily from one place to a fiddle yard.

 

The hardest challenge at the moment is the closeness of the industrial left end of the model to the cottage at the right, but maybe it will all hang together alright at the end.

 

- Richard.

Edited by 47137
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I am happy with foam board for a track bed, at least for a small layout. I've added the siding, this descends at around 1:50 away from the main line: 

post-14389-0-90624000-1513206906.jpg

 

This is the general arrangement now, with a few items of stock to give scale. There might be room for a weighbridge, but already the layout is starting to look full:

post-14389-0-62119200-1513206906.jpg

 

This is how I have arranged the track at the baseboard joint. The rails are soldered to brass screws to hold them in place and to gauge. When I was younger I would have tried to solder the track feeds to the same screws but now I know better and the electrical connections are separate. On a conventional baseboard I would run the dropper wire straight downwards but with the Lack shelf I have pushed it into a slit in the foam board:

post-14389-0-26047200-1513206907.jpg

 

- Richard.

 

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I have added the wire in tube for operating the points, this is 0.64 mm diameter piano wire inside 1/16 inch OD brass tube. Lubricant is molybdenum grease, hopefully this will not dry out like so many household oils:

post-14389-0-44999900-1513287447.jpg

 

This sort of bend is ok with manual operation but it would be much too tight for any point motor I have seen:

post-14389-0-74715300-1513287447.jpg

 

The final work on the layout for the time being is a patch of thin ply to hide the wiring behind the section switches:

post-14389-0-07994600-1513287448.jpg

 

So - I now have the bare bones of a working layout, with the structures and scenics needed to finish it off. I want to make as much of these as I can, so it will be some time before I can add very much to this topic. It would be sensible to start with the most difficult part, which I think will be making something convincing to put in front of the mirror. The passenger platform and tram stop ought to be reasonably straightforward.

 

But before then, I want to hang the layout on the wall, this will let me remove the picnic table from the middle of the room and free up some space to move around. With the layout on the wall I can look at a bridging section to connect it to the main baseboard of the layout. This bridging section will be about 25 inches long and it might be sensible to build it as a compact fiddle yard with a through track and a siding so I can use "Fairport" as a self-contained layout.

 

I am very pleased with the look of the SMP track with shortened sleepers, this might become my "standard" for future projects in the scale.

 

Thanks for reading so far.

 

- Richard.

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The idea including drilling a hole across the switch came from a certain John Dutfield (the chap who founded the model shop in Chelmsford) and I like the simplicity of it.

 

The switch has about twice as much movement as you need for the usual Peco point blades, the mechanism takes up some of the slack but you still end up with enough pressure to hold the points in both positions.

 

The switch is one of the "full size" slide switches with about 4 mm of movement. If buying online avoid the miniature versions because they don't have enough movement and your fingers end up too close to the piano wire as well.

 

- Richard.

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The layout is now in place. The 'Lack' shelf is not really ideal as a baseboard because it is difficult to put wiring inside without lots of cutting and removing the cardboard core. However an installation at home can be quite neat if you are allowed to drill holes in the walls.

 

I cut a batten and fixed it to the wall with a couple of 10 x 100 mm frame fixings, then screwed the Lack bracket (supplied with the shelf) onto the front of the batten:

post-14389-0-10998200-1513545475.jpg

 

The layout slides onto the bracket, the batten goes into the recess in the back of the shelf, and the back scene is tight against the wall:

post-14389-0-56902300-1513545475.jpg

 

The Lack shelf looks so different to the main part of the layout, I am hoping the visual discontinuity will give an impression of distance between the locations:

post-14389-0-97075600-1513545475.jpg

 

I need to make a bridging section to connect 'Fairport' to the main line behind the unfinished engine shed. There is room for another micro / diorama in the space here, extending the track with the U-shaped buffer.

 

I cannot install the new layout upside down as I suggested earlier because the bench is in the way, but I could buy another shelf and slide it onto the bracket in place of the layout.

 

I'm pleased with this, the new 'Fairport' is much larger than the old one but there is a full 260 mm gap above the bench and I don't think the layout will get in the way.

 

- Richard.

Edited by 47137
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Hi,

 

I really like this, simple track plan but effective.

 

Keep up the good work.

 

Jerry.

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Hi Jerry thanks for this.

 

In a way, I wish I had made the layout 150 mm or so shorter, because this would have made the "transit" across the link from main layout a bit longer. I want to create a feeling of trains travelling from one place to another.

 

However, if I am running trains to suit the layout, they will be so short they will fit within the length of the link section (this will be about 600 mm long) or indeed within the length of the new baseboard. Also they travel quite slowly.

 

The field of view to the mirror at the far end of the baseboard is going to be very limited during normal operation, this is encouraging to me because I want to use the mirror to create "depth" (probably a half-relief building) not a repeat of the whole layout.

 

- Richard.

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I'm glad you haven't made this layout shorter Richard. I think it's got a nice sense of space and "balance" to it as it is....
Placing trees and small buildings in front of the track, as you have done in post #2 above, can add to that sense of the train being on a journey, and actually going somewhere.
It's a trick Gordon Gravett used on his wonderful "Ditchling Green" layout many years back. Where space and the balance of the elements within a layout allow -  a tree (or small structure such as chimney or signal box) placed in the right position,
forces the viewer to observe the train as it disappears temporarily, then the viewer is invited to move their own position, to keep watching the train.... this can add to the sense of the train actually going somewhere,
plus it can have the added advantage of making the train appear not quite as short as it is... because we can't see the whole train in one view

Nice work Richard. I'm looking forward to seeing this one develop. I must admit, I'm quite drawn to layouts built on a not overly deep, fixed shelf... but I'm sure Mrs Smith will never allow me to introduce such a feature into our lounge! lol
In her defence, she already has to put up with a Uke, a mandolin, a bouzouki and a bass guitar in there.... oh, and a Double Bass ;) bless her!

EDIT: I'm sure there are some forum members who will say "you're only commenting on this thread cos he's using a mirror, like you do Smith!
PS. Mirrors can really deceive the eye into thinking there's more space than there really is.... and I haven't got shares in a company that makes mirrors... honestly :)

Edited by marc smith
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Well ... when someone introduces a name like Gordon Gravett to your layout thread, you know either you aren't really a beginner any more or you really need to try to up your game, or both. I have one of his books, it presents a series of photos of muddy tracks and puddles and you have to read the captions to see which are the real ones and which are his model ones. Incredible.

 

I have seen mirrors used on exhibition layouts, sometimes well and sometimes a bit forced. So the inspiration for me here actually is Marc's work on a couple of his layouts here on the RMWeb, and I think it was Marc who mentioned the use of the front-silvered mirror. Anyway, it is now my task to make it work.

 

I didn't make a model of the model because the track plan seemed pretty fixed to me - the point tiebar in line with the cottage garden, the rear siding forward enough from the backscene to make a passenger platform, the front siding back enough from the front to make room for a lorry at the front.

 

I'd like the layout to have these features, from right to left:

- cottage

- tram platform (behind cottage)

- bus stop and layby

- passenger platform (length of alloy angle in next photos)

- hard standing for a tanker lorry to unload slurry (the Matchbox truck at the moment)

- some kind of industrial structure across the end

 

Here is a mock-up with these things plus a small electrical substation type building and two trees. The silver birch implying decay and poor growing conditions. The larger tree at the end hides trains as they enter/leave the scene. I could make this all look quite bleak:

post-14389-0-39292900-1513890172_thumb.jpg

 

But I prefer a larger tree near the bus stop. This partitions the view into semi-rural and industrial parts. I'd want a second large tree beside the cottage:

post-14389-0-86429700-1513890172_thumb.jpg

 

Both of these arrangements are about as much as I want on the layout. I've tried adding a shipping container in the goods yard but it seemed to make the scene too cluttered already. Size of the baseboard is 1100 x 260 mm. 

 

The "industrial structure" at the left could be a modern industrial unit from the Wills kit or the old-time cement works by Faller. The building in the photos here is just something I've got to hand.

 

The cottage can move forwards a little if need be.

 

So with my second mock-up, the scene is in two parts, I quite like this but some more suggestions would be great. I am happy enough to build the tram platform and the passenger platform and then add other things around them. Because this is a light railway, I really cannot use an over bridge at either end of the model and anyway I'd like something a bit different e.g. a large tree.

 

- Richard.

 

 

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Yes, I agree, you do have to be careful when using mirrors. I found the trick was not just to plonk a huge mirror on the whole end of the layout
Best to try to hide the front & back edges. On my layout "Hendre Lane" what helped disguise the mirror (and this was the 1st time I'd used a mirror on a layout)
was a carefully placed low-relief chimney and a tree at the back edge. The front being hidden by the frame "proscenium arch" as Iain Rice calls it...
and a sort of half relief footbridge running across the front of the mirror

On my Steelworks at night micro, the mirror on the left of the layout is fairly small - some pipes run across it, and the end of the layout is disguised by an end relief of a generic industrial building
Re your mock-ups, of course, if you have the actual buildings you're going to use (or similar items / buildings) - you don't need to use cardboard mock ups...
It is nice to be able to use the actual structures, and be able to move these around.

I find when I'm at this stage you're at now, it's good to just plonk a few items where you think they look good, take some pics... even run the layout for a bit if you can
Then go back the following evening and try to rearrange the structures, to see if you can put them in a better position.
It's looking good though Richard - keep playing with the positions and taking a few photos :)

Re that right hand end, how about an end relief of a factory or warehouse type building?
I quite like layouts where the entrance is from behind a building as opposed to a bridge etc

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Apologies for hijacking your thread here Richard, and further apologies for the grainy nature of my photos
(why did I set a layout at night, knowing my old digital camera would struggle to capture it and do the layout justice? lol)

The mirror is on the left hand end of the shot, at the back. The back edge is disguised by the low relief and flat relief large buildings.
The front edge is disguised by using an end relief structure. As you can see from the photos, this has a staggered "L" shape to it. I felt this helped make the viewer look around it,
and its' shape helps to convince you there's more depth to it - more of a building than there really is.... It's actually only about 2" deep at its' widest and around 1" deep at its narrowest.
The fact that a mirror is there at all, is partly disguised by the pipes running across it. The surface silvering means that you don't get a "gap" between the layout and its' reflection
this is why I can have pipes running "into" the mirror. A gap here between layout and reflection would be all too easy to spot.

In fact, as the layout was set on a damp, murky night, I did waft some matt varnish over the mirror - to represent a bit of mist... but then wished I hadn't, as I think I overdid it a tad....
On this little layout, the scenic section is just over 3 feet in length (with a fiddle of around 18") I placed another mirror on the right hand end of the scene too
Again, it's not the whole end of the layout - just a small section, behind a loading shed in the foreground

post-2973-0-22942500-1513936420_thumb.jpg

post-2973-0-38449900-1513936427_thumb.jpg

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Marc this isn't hijacking at all - it's more troubling to me when my layout topic has 1,400+ views and no-one seems to want to add anything :-)

 

Here is a photo to show my mirror. The mirror is 6 x 8 inches, front-silvered. I hoped it would hide the corner in the sky, but at the moment there is a hairline gap which shows too much. The backscene holding the mirror is 1/8 inch ply and I put a lamination of the same ply in the triangular area in front of the mirror to hide the edge of the glass. I imagine, I can hide patches of the mirror with paint if I want to reduce the size of it.

post-14389-0-43396300-1513944963.jpg

 

The shadows on the sky here are more from the rather intense photo lighting (mains flash head in soft box) than the lip on the top of the backscene. I may well have to cut the tracks back a bit here to make room for whatever building I settle on. I'm thinking of a square, slender chimney in full relief to hide the front of the mirror, and one or two cylindrical silos in half relief against the mirror itself. I like your idea of pipes going straight into a mirror.

 

Regarding the other end, I see what you mean about a low relief factory end but I think this would have to displace the cottage. I made this model in 1978 and I am still keen to use it a layout ... I'll sleep on it.

 

It is possible to over-think things like the colouring but I quite like the idea of relatively bright/upbeat colouring around the cottage and of course the bus, fading away to something more muted to the left. But this is very much for the layout at home, where the usual viewpoint is at 45 or so degrees to the right. This colouring might look a bit odd if I took the layout to a show.

 

I agree entirely about running some trains as well as making mock ups and I have a "link span" under way, to connect the layout to the rest of my railway.

 

- Richard.

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Perhaps everyone looking at the thread is just feeling a little shy Richard? I've posted many things in the past, and sometimes the ones you expect lots of discussion / feedback from... you get very little
Other times, you post something you're not expecting much from and bingo! - lots of views & comments, and sometimes even a discussion going off at all sorts of interesting angles :)

Anyhow, re your mirror - the simplest solution is something like a chimney... Below is a pic of my old "Hendre Lane" layout. I covered the gap in the corner with a thin card photo of a chimney - or it was probably one face of a Metcalfe chimney, the other 3 faces going on another layout / project. I know on one of my layouts, I had taken some photos of a chimney on someone else's layout... and printed that out, to use on such a corner or backscene of my own - what a cheapskate I hear you say ;)

Anyhow, on Hendre, I hadn't found any surface silvered mirrors - so ended up using a standard rear silvered glass mirror. In the photo, the "gap" between layout and the reflected image is clear to see. Hence the reason I placed a tree alongside the chimney, to help disguise this. On reflection (sigh!) I probably should have used a tree with heavier foliage, to help disguise it even better. I recall building the layout, and getting its' first show invitation weeks before completion - so I rushed a few last minute details at the time. And yes, you're right... no-one ever mentioned this again, and it looked fine at the shows I did with it - so never did get around to planting a better tree... as you say -  we sometimes overthink these things, or at least we worry about details never seen again

This photo also shows the half-relief footbridge I mentioned in my earlier reply. It was modelled as just half a bridge - an "L" shape, as it were. I was careful to paint the reverse side of the corrugated iron sheets, as I knew the rear side of these could be seen. It's one feature of the layout that I was particularly pleased with. Many show attendees didn't spot that it was a mirror - particularly when set in night mode. I had several people comment that they'd seen the layout several times, and didn't know there was a mirror there until they read the magazine article on the layout! 

When using mirrors on a layout, I feel the aim is to just fool the eye for a minute or two, into thinking the layout is just a bit bigger... or the end of the baseboard is just a tad further away than it actually is

post-2973-0-33030300-1513953427_thumb.jpg

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I like the half bridge especially. I nearly went for a half a road bridge here, and half a bus or lorry sliced down the middle on top, then I remembered this is supposed to be a fairly minimal railway operation and the sort of line which would avoid any civil engineering unless essential. Also cutting up diecast models is harder than you expect. And the road would have to be quite narrow with the vehicle in the middle.

 

However today has been important for me on several counts ...

1) I have connected the new layout to the rest of the system.

2) I really do like the tram (a Halling model) and while the layout was always intended to be a freight-only operation, a passenger service will make it more interesting to operate - and the tram is very much in proportion to the size of the model and the gradients.

3) This means, the layout is going to be fairly modern. I've been putting off the scenic treatment on the main layout for too long, because I kept pondering the date.

4) I now have a free choice over whether to include a modern industrial unit or a decrepit old works or both.

 

Here are a couple of shots of the link span. I've always felt if the tram can run over a baseboard joint anything can, because it is mechanically like an engine pulling and propelling two wagons with loads hanging in place of couplings.

post-14389-0-21942800-1513963280.jpg

post-14389-0-88441400-1513963280.jpg

 

I've met my target of a running layout before Christmas. I can now tidy up the huge number of tools needed I have used to build the layout and lay the track, and make space for model-making.

 

- Richard.

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