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whitebelle - 00 gauge layout for exhibition in September

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After a few years of service our club's existing Children's Layout had seen better days and over the winter suffered from poor storage and the boards warped out of shape so a replacement was required. With this years show 6 months away (28th September) a new layout was needed. Yes, a "childrens" layout can be built very quickly, and simply but, that isn't what we want or offer in our club. Our club tries to inspire the next generation of modellers so having a rough and ready layout just isn't going to work it needs to instead look the part. That means proper scenery, working signals and more.


Whitebelle is going to be the new club's children's layout and construction has just begun. And it needs to meet the following requirements:

- simple track plan to minimise failures and running issues on "show" day.

- supports two trains running to allow two children to use it at the same time.

- be robust and able to withstand a certain level of bumps, knocks and bashes.

- be portable and able to be stored underneath our permanent layout "Whitewebbs Park" in our main club room.

- be big enough to be interesting to use but small enough to fit into the corner of one of our exhibition halls.

- feature working signals to add interest.


Based on all of this - the layout will be 1200 x 1200 mm in size (4ft x 4ft) entirely scenic that splits into 2x boards 1200 x 600  (4ft x 2ft) sections that can lock together into a cuboid for storage.


The track plan is shown, with two simple sidings but mainly its just two running loops with a tunnel to add a bit of the surprise factor.


The boards are constructed from 6mm plywood with 42x21mm pine framing spaced at 300mm intervals for strength.





Edited by SamHill
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As its a children's layout - what is better than having it made by children for children. Enter Isabelle (hence the "belle" part of the name, the "white" comes from the name of the club - Enfield Whitewebbs).


Isabelle is 6 and will be lying all the track, creating the scenery, the ballasting, the buildings and all the painting!

What she won't be doing is the woodwork (saw's are a little dangerous) or electrics (less dangerous as the power can be turned off but a bit fiddly)...


Here is Isabelle having laid out all the track marking around it to show where to paint in black to go under the ballast.


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And completing the outlining of all the track.


You can see here the layout of track more or less matches the plan above. with the tunnels being tested. Trusty "annie" and "calarabel" were used for testing the track was all ok.


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Once the black has dried it was time to relay the track and nailing it all in place. This took... quite .... a ... while....! And a lot of miss hits - but, remember she is only 6...!



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11 minutes ago, calvin Streeting said:

any chance you could do a split level aka one loop over another to get bridges ? (just an idea)


and i assume no join between tracks to minimise crashes ?


There are joins between the tracks as baseboard splits into two sections for storage but these are managed, no split level as its a bit tricky for a child to build and not robust enough either for the level of use it will get at our show.

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  • SamHill changed the title to whitebelle - 00 gauge children's demo layout for exhibition in September

That scenery looks great & shows that age can be irrelevant

Excellent example of introducing younger modellers into the hobby.


We have discussed a small layout built by junior members at our club...but they all want to join in with the one we're working on, which they are more than welcome to do.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another week (and a bit) here is our latest progress...


So, a bit of cheating by using a landscape mat for the large green areas, its very uniform and will be subsequently toned down with scatter. Lots of glue was spread, matt rolled out and cut to fit the areas then power controllers (basic Hornby ones) were installed. Then moved onto making the tunnel using lots of polystyrene!







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This shows the current overall view - one board is further on than the other (it splits into two 4x2 boards) however trains are running!


Total time spent: 9 hours.... Roughly:


1 hour baseboard construction.

1 hour track planning and marking.

2 hours painting the board and sky back scene.

2 hours on installing the track and electrics.

1 hour on landscape mat fitting.

30 minutes on installing the controllers.

1 hour on making the tunnel.

30 minutes fixing down the first set of buildings.


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  • 1 month later...



It's been awhile - 6 weeks since last post here is the latest look ... scenery is mostly done a few trees still to place, the town buildings are placed, the tunnel finished and next it's to install working signals one is in to the left of the station one to go and switches are still loose too.


on the hill top will be a field of horses.



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And... here is how we got to the photo above...


1 - firstly ballast spreading.:




2. Glue dribbling...



3. Waiting for glue to dry...



4. Making the tunnel portals..





5. and hiding the buffer...





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  • 2 weeks later...

Latest update - continuing work on the scenery a horse field added (whitebelle ... its a bit like black beauty in name, which was a horse... ) and someone hanging out their washing.


Nearly finished now - just some more trees to plant and an awkward empty space in the middle to fill in.



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  • 3 months later...

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