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James Hilton

Canal Street Wharf in 006.5...

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I don't know what it is about the scale, but I just love 006.5 and it's mesmerising slow speed performance, diminutive little engines and complete layouts in small spaces...

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With Vowchurch complete, and with starting designing the next batch of 006.5 projects I found myself itching to build a third micro layout, with lessons learnt from the previous two! So yes, the Busch points do work, and I can prove that on both, but they also can cause problems and I don't use them much anyway so this third layout is purely and simply an oval.

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A disguised oval though, with the same idea of central spine of buildings and trees to split the layout in half. The advantage of less track should be slightly more non-railway related scenery. Although I don't like building structures, I'm planning on a few non-kit items on the layout...

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So what's the concept? Well it's Tim's fault, as usual, he has built a sprawling sand quarry layout that features an old abandoned caravan... the thought of this poking out of the undergrowth, sat next to a warehouse, by a canal... the creative process kicked in and I started doodling. These sketches are from different stages of the process, but show the basic concept coming to life. Initially I didn't really have a back story, but a casual read of the Hampton and Kempton book gave me the idea of a water works railway. The original purpose to transport coal to the boilers for pumping engines, coal brought in by canal. Well in the period my layout is set the coal is now brought in my a standard gauge siding, loading direct into the wagons. The store remains, and the end of Canal Street provides road access to the wharf, and features a row of typical 'council' garages. 

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I've ordered the track and some more stock, and have some of the kits for structures, and others on order too... I need to scratchbuild the garages and office building, and work out a way of in-laying the Busch track without a decrease in performance.

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The whole thing will be stored in another under-bed storage box I think, meaning that with the three layouts, I could actually exhibit a trio of very different micro layouts showcasing the possibilities of this lovely scale. More soon...

Edited by James Hilton
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I have done inset track for 6.5mm gauge in my 3D printed range. I tend to prefer code 100 rail(it is not that obvious), but have tried code 75. I suspect the Busch rail is actually smaller than that, but there are ways to join them. The dual cross can also be done quite easily(is the standard gauge powered or static?). Problem is knowing whether the magnetic strip would still work under the 3D printed plastic(only about 1mm thick).

Obviously being a wharf, I would prefer to see it cobbled not tarmac.

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Not sure what I'm going yet... it won't be cobbled though, think Hampton and Kempton wharf rather than an old canal side wharf. I am thinking I'll do the crossing as a cast iron plate style, like at Crewe works.

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I like to see how models are going to look, so it starts with sketches and then moves to physical mock ups...

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The track arrived for the Busch 006.5 loop, so I've added a Provender store, plate layers hut and some 'stand ins' for the office and wall/garages. The caravan is larger than I had imagined, but works well, and the standard gauge wagon gives some physical mass. I think this will work, with the standard gauge crossing, although I may ditch full-size buffers and go with a sleeper bolted across the rails. Work can't continue now though until I source a box for it to be stored in, and the wood is cut for the baseboard. More soon...

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Hi James,

 

I'm following with interest - I loved the look of Creech Grange, and can't wait to see your progress here. One quick question: I think I'm right in saying that the Busch track has magnets between the rails for greater adhesion - do your locos make use of that or are they powerful enough without them?

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

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Mark - the locos use Busch mechanisms, so make use of the 'magnadesion' effect yes, and it certainly helps with slow speed performance when using the Gaugemaster W controller and a 6V AC adaptor.

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As a professional model maker it's sometimes hard to switch off from the day job, as such I like to have little personal projects on the go... with a self imposed 2 week Christmas holiday (I really need to recharge after a busy year) I've made a start on my own little layout, one I shared sketches of on here a few weeks ago...

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Although I had ideas for the basic layout, I'd not really decided on the size. I was pondering using the same wooden boxes that house Creech Grange and Vowchurch - however, I decided to get another aluminium flight case instead, so that Canal Street Wharf is actually smaller than the previous two 006.5 projects (although still larger than Kisten Torfwerk).

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That has limited the board to 42x30xcm, but I think the compromise will be worth the portability of a truly versatile miniature layout. There should be space in the case for a small stock box and controller too... The whole oval is skewed on the board, the canal at the front. Along the back of the standard gauge siding will be a brick wall. Behind this a small woods, with a drainage ditch. Behind the warehouse and caravan the track is raised above the surrounding land, as if it's a bit damp here... there will be a small water tank and coaling point here.

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The board is just 3 laminations of 6mm MDF glued together and now sealed with paint, waiting on some filler to begin to add the landscape before gluing the track down. More soon over the holidays...

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My Christmas holiday project is taking steps forward every day, and I've made a start on the scenery now the track has been laid on the board...

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I've wanted to try out DAS clay for a muddy yard for a while, and I decided I'd try and model a cinder/ash covered yard on the layout. I've read how Chris Nevard uses the clay, and on the surface finishes used by the Inkerman Street layout project in Model Railway Journal (1990s). 

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At this stage, the clay was pressed in around the track, and the flange ways, checked. As this isn't 'inlaid track' there is no need for a check rail. The stock just cuts it's own groove in the ash ballast of the prototype. Since this is a coal transhipment area, it seemed more fitting than a cobbled or concrete wharf, more in keeping with a down at heel water works railway. More soon...

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Well the good thing about Christmas projects is that they tend to progress quickly, and that suits a micro layout. The downside is waiting for things to dry...

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So I wanted to represent the quayside as a dirty crushed cinder/ash ballast around the rails. The problem was, how to get a matt, mottled finish that was too scale and still had some texture. The answer came in a 1990 issue of Model Railway Journal, talking about the seminal Inkerman Street. The solution, a mix of Humbrol enamels painted over the clay, and then seived fire ash over the top (see above) tamped down and left to dry. Well of course I was a little impatient, and perhaps didn't leave it quite long enough, anyhow, I brushed and vacuumed off the excess and success, a lovely textured finish.

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Just what I had hoped to achieve. As well as the surface, you can see I've added a wall to the canal side from a few materials, all Slaters embossed sheets. The longest section is 7mm corrugated iron, looks like the sort of stuff I see along canals these days. Then a short brick section, where a drainage pipe will come out from the brook the other side, then a section of 4mm corrugated and finally a short section of 7mm planking.

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The yard looks great, I'm pondering whether to seal it with dull-cote, as I don't want it to change colour really and I think Dull-cote might darken it.

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Finally, I've started adding some ground cover, the base of which is 20 year old packets of Woodland Scenics, coarse turf (yellow) and fine earth blend over the top, secured with some Peco basing glue, and then sprayed over with their layering spray. Once there is a little more done I'll add some static grass, but I must get on with the structures, I need to build a brick wall, decide if I'm going to add an office or a corrugated iron hut, and paint the buildings. More soon...

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Thanks!

 

This morning I broke out the scenic materials and now the new layout has all the basic ground cover complete...

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This is a mixture of ground foam and static grass, with deliberatly subdued character, no bright green at all! I started with 20 year old Woodland Scenics, as I mentioned yesterday. Spread on some basing glue from Peco, add yellow grass course turf on the ballast shoulder and slopes, and then earth blend fine turf all around, tamped down. A touch of yellow grass fine turf sprinkled on the transition and I used burnt grass, which is greener, for the lower sections of grass behind the shed, and on the banks of the brook. The track was masked and then a spray of Peco layering spray applied to set it, and blow off any loose bits. The next step was to apply some static grass, using the layering spray. I started with Mininatur 4.5mm autumn fibres with some Peco 2mm winter fibres. I then added some 6mm Mininatur 6mm winter fibres in places, built up slowly with applications of layering spray to set it in place.

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So what next? Well I can't put it off any longer, I need an office building, a bridge and some walls built, so that's the next job. Then I can paint the buildings in one sitting, before planting them. The canal retaining wall will need attention then, some retaining rails, a drain pipe and a few odd details. Then at this stage I can then begin to add the finer scenic ground cover, grass in cracks between the rails etc before adding trees and bushes. 

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I've been reading the Wild Swan book on the Wantage tramway, another 'inspiration' behind this sort of light railway, and I'm going to base the office on the micro layout on the one in the lower yard at Wantage.

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Finally a few shots of the texture I've managed to achieve so far, I'm really happy with the variation in colour and texture of the grass, and I love the speed in which you can work on a micro layout. Although this is my own Christmas project, I'm happy to build micro layouts on commission, so you can get in touch if you'd like to discuss a project.

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In the meantime, more soon...

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Today I've added the wall to the rear of the yard, this is an important scenic feature as it separates the two sides and gives a very different feel to the wharf, compared to the countryside...

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The plan is a small copse of trees behind this wall that will further visually separate the layout. Anyway, around a core of 1.5mm styrene I used Slaters 4mm English bond brickwork, and added a stepped feature to the base of the wall. On the other side there are some abutments. This was then painted over with a thinned mortar mix and when nearly dry wiped off with a cloth moistened in white spirit. Once dry, I drybrushed Humbrol 70 over the surface. The same was done to the office base too...

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To plant on the layout I added some scenic basing glue to the base, and then blended in with flock and static grass, taking the opportunity to add a few weeds in the yard as well. More soon...

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At this rate James you'll need another project for next week. 

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Ah well yes, perhaps! There is still a way to go with this one, but something Norh American might appear on the work bench before the end of the hols!

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I've finally used up the last of my Dad's hand made trees on the new layout. Despite it's small size, I've found space for 5...

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They provide both a view break and also frame some views around the small baseboard. There is still a lot of work to do, but I always think they make the layout seem so much more finished.

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The section here at the end of the wall will need more work. The crossing definitely needs rails for the standard gauge between the rails of the narrow gauge. I originally planned the wall to continue on the other side, I may add a fence post, possibly a sign here...

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Round the back, the tree behind the warehouse wasn't planned, but it seemed necessary to balance the small copse at the other end of the line. The caravan looks good here, and will need weathering to 'green it up'. The plate layers hut needs further work, at the moment it's pretty much as it comes... it might end up just painted!

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Back on the wharf, with the Hudswell Clarke disappearing in the distance. The crane is massive compared to the narrow gauge stock, but will be finished with a large 'bucket' on the end from when it was used to load the narrow gauge stock with coal from barges on the river/canal.

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Finally, here is an overview of the layout - it's just 42 x 30cm, and fits perfectly in a £19 aluminium flight case. More soon...

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After a busy week, today was the first day I had chance to sit down at my workbench, and so I decided to move Canal Street Wharf a few steps closer to completion...

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It's still quite a long way to go, but I do enjoy the scenic work, so it's all good fun. First of all, I have weathered the caravan, well started to weather it... I sprayed dull-cote on, when dry I used a green wash from Games Workshop, and wiped it off as it dried. I then added further detail painting with the same wash as dribbles from the rain strips and around the windows.

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I have also begun to paint the buildings, here you can see the first coat of white on the window frame and the roof (corrugated asbestos) painting of the base colours. I mixed Humbrol 64 and 110 in varying proportions and painted a sheet at a time, to give a bit of variation. Here you can also see I've begun to add fencing, a signpost and a gate to this side of the layout.

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Here you can see the foot bridge, this is rescued from my childhood layout, my Dad built it for a small stream on the branchline. I remember him building it, so it's nice to re-use it on this layout.

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This shot of a deserted wharf is exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to recreate, and there is more detail to add, but the colours and setting are beginning to look right to me. Finally, a shot of the store, which has also been painted with Humbrol 64 mixed with 110, to appear as concrete with an asbestos roof. I used Humbrol Matt 30 for the gutters, doors and windows. This will need some more weathering.

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More soon...

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Not all my 006.5 modelling is for the 6point5 range. Sometimes I just like making things for myself! I had a Busch braked skip wagon chassis left over from my last purchase. This was missing the magnetic coupling loop so I had removed the skip for use on the new layout, overturned and rusty in the field but the chassis languished on my workbench...

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Then I wondered if I could build something on it - and the idea of a small workmans caban (a Welsh word for mess room / canteen - but more than that, a place where working men came together and talked, debated etc) came to mind. Hunting through my bits box I found a FR workmans coach - this looked promising. It's a touch wider than my usual loading gauge but still tiny. This is destined to be used on Canal Street Wharf initially, so the loading gauge isn't too much of an issue, and the idea that its a coupling converter, with a magnet at one end and a pin at the other, also means I can run mixed sets now. I set about modifying the kit... 

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I removed one plank from the window end, and then balanced this on the side of the door, reversing this for the second side, so that the doors are opposite one another. I then filed a 45degree chamber on the inside, so that they'd mate with the ends of the coach. The roof and floor were also shortened, and modified to fit the chassis.

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I added some spacers to the top of the Busch chassis, and glued the floor to this - meaning the body is removable. I also added a stove chimney from styrene and in the picture below you can make out some handles and handrails. I also added a magnetic coupling to the plain end.

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Next job some paint! Above you can see the relative merit of 006.5, it's diminutive size compared to what is also a small 009 locomotive, my version of Rocket, based on the Tomix Percy. More soon...

 

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Although Canal Street Wharf is still not finished I've been 'testing' the new 6point5 Brede coal wagon and scratch built caban...

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The wagon has been painted in Humbrol 27 with black metalwork and 110 natural wood interior, then washed with Games Workshop Nuln Oil. It runs very nicely and tracks well on the 'trainset' curves of this micro layout.

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I'm particularly pleased with the washed out colours of the scenery, and the opportunity to get photos like this - and I must make more progress on the wharf side in the coming weeks.

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Finally, the new Hudswell Clarke runs into the wharf past the stored caravan. This is now available as  a kit from Narrow Planet in the 6point5 range. More soon...

Edited by James Hilton
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Looks fantastic James, I've been thinking of doing the same sort of thing in 009, this has started me wondering about 6.5. I have seen people rigging up controllers for their Busch locos, rather than the on/off of battery control, is this something you've considered or are you happy with battery?

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Hi there, I've already got a Gaugemaster W rigged up with a 6v AC (rather than 16v AC) transformer giving wonderful control of these models.

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11 hours ago, James Hilton said:

Hi there, I've already got a Gaugemaster W rigged up with a 6v AC (rather than 16v AC) transformer giving wonderful control of these models.

Did you figure that out yourself James, or did you fid the info . as to how to do it online? I have had a look around for idiot-proof instructions but failed to find a good 'how to' article via Google.

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From a fellow modeller on NGRM who spoke to Gaugemaster about it - it was what they recommended. It gives 0-4.5V so you have to he be careful to not go over 60 on the throttle but I've had no trouble in the year I've used it on this and my other pair of 006.5 layouts, Creech grange and Vowchurch Quarry.

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