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What a great little project and you have made an excellent start. I love that Scalescenes building, it looks just the part, and the crane is fantastic!

 

Look forward to seeing further progress in due course :good_mini:

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I'll echo the praise for the crane - it really increases the operational interest. I suspect most viewers won't know enough about cranes to be able to say it shouldn't be in the UK, I certainly didn't. The rest of the layout is looking good too.

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Thank you all for the lovely words. It took longer than I expected (as does everything), but here's the promised video of the mechanical crane.

 

(It only took an hour to upload; it must be the wifi here, uploading was much quicker at Uni!)

Both scenes the crane is set in were temporary. The first scene was created a while ago using the Metcalfe Brewery kit I stole off the main layout, and the second is identical to the one at the beginning of this topic. Both are built from various bits of card sitting on top of boxes, to bring "ground level" to the same height as the crane's mechanism.

 

As for the new layout; a range of shoe-boxes have been dug out of the garage, so now I need to pick one, and start putting things in it! 

I want to model the water tower's base with an open door and an interior. Does anyone know where I can find a picture of what's inside one, if anything? Might the space have been used for a workshop, or left completely unused?

I'm also wondering what to do with the right-hand end of the layout. My original plan was to keep it as an open face, to imply the yard continues and not restrict viewing angles too much. However, now everything's in 3D, it's apparent that viewing from that end will invariably mean looking through the gaping "fiddle stick" hole. I'm considering building an end warehouse or retaining wall, with a closed door/gate across the rear track. This would make it near impossible to look through the hole, but also might create a claustrophobic feel, something I'm trying to avoid. Of course, I could just open up the box anyway, and create a removable end building if I feel the need. What are your thoughts?

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11 hours ago, TechnicArrow said:

 I'm considering building an end warehouse or retaining wall, with a closed door/gate across the rear track. This would make it near impossible to look through the hole, but also might create a claustrophobic feel, something I'm trying to avoid

 

I think that's an excellent idea. Gates suggest something beyond. Ideally, you will want to achieve a belief that the world continues beyond the limits of the shoebox. Have you ever seen Marc Smith's use of mirrors on his layouts? That is an excellent way of achieving that and is something he has utilised on a number of his micro layouts. He is somewhat of a king of the genre in my humble opinion! 

 

David

 

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8 hours ago, south_tyne said:

 

I think that's an excellent idea. Gates suggest something beyond. Ideally, you will want to achieve a belief that the world continues beyond the limits of the shoebox. Have you ever seen Marc Smith's use of mirrors on his layouts? That is an excellent way of achieving that and is something he has utilised on a number of his micro layouts. He is somewhat of a king of the genre in my humble opinion! 

 

David

 

Another possibility would be a cable or pipe bridge which would give you a more open effect but would distract the eye.

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7 hours ago, d&h said:

Another possibility would be a cable or pipe bridge which would give you a more open effect but would distract the eye.

 

That's already my plan for the left-hand end of the layout, between the factory and water tower (which is nearly complete by the way) to disguise the fiddle stick exit. I'm thinking about the right-hand end, which originally I was going to leave completely open and has nowhere for such a feature to run to.

 

15 hours ago, south_tyne said:

I think that's an excellent idea. Gates suggest something beyond. Ideally, you will want to achieve a belief that the world continues beyond the limits of the shoebox. Have you ever seen Marc Smith's use of mirrors on his layouts? That is an excellent way of achieving that and is something he has utilised on a number of his micro layouts. He is somewhat of a king of the genre in my humble opinion! 

 

David

 

I hadn't considered a mirror. I've used one to good effect on my main layout to disguise how incredibly narrow a platform is, but I'm not sure one would work here - the factory would look odd when mirrored, and the front track running at an angle and finishing with a bufferstop wouldn't make sense either. 

However, the wall idea has grown on me. I think a section of wall with a working (of course!) gate, and the option to replace it with a warehouse or remove it completely, will work best. This allows the rear siding to continue into another fiddle stick or layout extension if I wish. The slight issue is it makes the triangle of land between the sidings difficult to access, but it was going to be left empty anyway. Thank you both for the input!

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Finally, the water tower - the second of the two main buildings in the scene - is complete. I though I'd share some pictures of it's very simple construction.

 

As a reminder, the plan here is to use the tank section of the standard Hornby building, with a scratchbuilt base. I tried to find a real building to base it off as you should never build a model of a model; I drew inspiration from Alcester and Stratford's towers (http://warwickshirerailways.com/index.htm), but this model is going to be pretty freelance.

 

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I started by making this card sub-structure, with dimensions based on the tank, other water towers I have, and the bits of Wills brick sheet I have. I only gave it three walls, as the fourth is going to be up against the backscene and I'm lazy economic with materials.

 

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This shell was then clad with the Wills brick sheet. At this point I experimented with a lintel between the components as well.

 

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Next up we have the lintel glued to the base of the tank, and the brickwork has been painted - a mixture of PVA and black poster paint, brushed on and wiped off the surface of the bricks leaving the paint in the grooves and a slight dulling of the surface.

The ladder is only balanced there temporarily, that'll wait until the building is planted before I fix it.

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The tank can also be easily lifted off, crucial for this box layout. The two extra card strips under the tank's lintel fit perfectly between the base walls to hold it in place.

 

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Next up it's windows - once again, sharpie-on-clear film. I had remembered just before I painted the brickwork to add some thin strips of brick to the sides of the window openings. I'm also experimenting here with placing a level indicator, stolen from an incomplete ratio kit in my bits box.

 

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I tried all sorts of things for corner capping, but settled with Metcalfe ridge tiling! I have plenty left over from various kits, including one sheet of slightly weathered "tiles" on thicker card. I ran the sharpie along the white edges and I think it looks pretty neat.

 

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Finally it's positioned on the temporary diorama, compete with window ledges and lintels (thin strips of Metcalfe self-adhesive platform edging) and a door.

 

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Here's one view I'm hoping to incorporate, with the meccanno structure in the background representing the pipe bridge across the fiddle-stick exit.

 

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And finally for a topic with "shoebox" in it's title, how did it take this long for one to appear? With ground level set at the correct height for the crane, both buildings can split at the same level as the top edge of the box. The right-hand wall is the one I'm wondering whether or not to cut off. I'm also devising a working order for how to build up a solid, glue-proof base layer.

Anyway, I'm off camping this weekend - in Glasgow, where it's raining. Oh well, see you all on Tuesday!

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On 07/07/2019 at 06:49, JamesGWR101 said:

Looking good so far. Will you be using steam or diesel?

 

Thank you! For motive power, the crane sets the period to circa 1960, an era only two locos in my collection fit: an ex-GWR Collet Goods 0-6-0 tender engine, and a BR class 04 diesel shunter. Given the size of the layout, guess which one will get run! 

I have however been using that 04 for the past year on Green Lane Wagon Works, and shunting with it on it's own for another year will likely get dull. I'm investigating updating an ancient Hornby 0-4-0 chassis I have; either with the same "pug" body repainted, or the freelance diesel shunter from Budget Model Railways

 

Over the past week, very little has happened with this layout. I have however PVA'ed the ground layer onto a lattice of supports, and left it under weight to dry. With holes cut around the box, the scene is looking similar but a little more permanent; here are a few hasty phone photos. 

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I'm away again for the next 6 days; when I get back, I'll be fixing down the buildings, then the track, and finally installing the crane module. After that it's just general scenic treatment. I'll only have two weeks at that point, so here's hoping it gets done! 

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Hi TechnicArrow I love this little layout and especially the working crane. The 04 loco looks at home on the layout and I’m looking forward to seeing more of your work.

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  • 2 weeks later...

2 weeks later, and I've got some progress to show! 

149367599_7.Permanancepipebridgeinsettrack(1).JPG.2e6240a6808e0fe3d85a00fc74e4673c.JPG

So much has happened to this small space.

1. The buildings were fixed in place 

2. The track was PVAed down - the second-hand section I purchased was just the right length, the only left-over rail is on the conflat!3. A hole was cut out to install the crane "module"; it's not glued in place, to make repairs and the module's use on future layouts easy.

4. I decided to inset a portion of the front siding, from the right-hand end to the crane - it allows the space the Bedford truck is parked on to be accessed, and I really enjoy looking across inset track. So far only the front apron is fixed down, a further sandwich of layers of card. This means there are now 4 layers of card, of varying thicknesses and strengths, in some areas!

5. Work on the pipe bridge has started; I dug around my collection of empty sprues to make some pipes of suitable length, and also found the lattice boom of a broken-down Dapol dock crane in the bits box, which I trimmed to length and added to conceal the fiddle yard exit. If you ignore the yellow box, which should be plain card when I get around to building a fiddle stick, it should be quite effective.

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I have yet to give much thought to the right-hand wall, but it's almost certainly going to be a warehouse or continuation of the factory at this point. I even like looking into the layout with the front wall "closed"; completely the opposite of the original plan, where both front and end were wide open!

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Coming up: this week I need to get the ground cover finished and a fiddle-stick sorted out, before I move back to Uni (well, a year-long work placement between my 2nd and 3rd years) next weekend. Once I've settled in there, additions planned include an industrial backscene to match the height of the main factory, a string of battery-powered Christmas lights to provide night illumination, and replacing the tension-locks with 3-links, for hands-on shunting; all ideas to get more involved with this tiny layout!

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And, nearly a week later, it's (almost) complete!

Two major things happened this week: the first is the completion of the ground cover. For ballast, I used what I had most of - dry sand, from Swansea beach! It looks surprisingly good to me. The concrete hard standing was also painted, and scored in a grid pattern that completely disguises the separate crane unit.

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The other addition is the end warehouse (finally!). I used a modified front wall of the free Scalescenes warehouse - shortened in both height and length, and with one door blocked off. The remaining sliding door actually slides - it's suspended from behind on a tab which slides outside the box, and card "rails" above and below the door keep it flat against the wall. I also took the opportunity to design and print various signs, which have been added around the scene. Finally, a small crossing was added as a continuation of the hard standing to provide access to the factory's lower door.

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And now, the nearly-finished layout, complete with incredibly simple fiddle stick - two sections of Hornby track PVAd to some double-layered corrugated card, with the power supply from the controller soldered on. Another short length is added to act as the inside of the warehouse.

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Why "nearly-finished"? Well, I still intend to add a backscene to bring the end walls to the same height as the back, and I want to experiment with lighting as well. And besides, when is a model railway ever truly finished... :rolleyes:

For now, everything you see (except the contoller itself) is packed away within the box, ready to go south with me for the next year. Thanks everybody for your comments and advice!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Welp, I've been working on my placement year for a month already! Only 11 more to go...

It's been far too hot to be outside today, so I played with my trains instead. I've (finally!) shot and edited a video, with both shunting and the crane in action. It's a bit rougher than my previous videos, and I'm not sure what my phone's autofocus was playing at, but it gets the idea across.

 

The layout is lit with my fluorescent-tube desk lamp, which is just the right size for this single-shoebox layout. The fiddle-stick also seems to be holding up well, although I'm pondering how to make a sturdier and quicker system than relying on plugging fishplates.

 

Last weekend I went hunting for a local model shop, and came back with some Ratio Coal Sacks and a Parkside 21 Twin Bolster/Plate wagon kit. Having never tried wagon-kit-building before this was going to be interesting, especially given the limited tools I have available here; hence why I chose a fairly simple flat wagon, one which doesn't look too bad without painting.
It didn't come out to badly; it looks good and rolls well, so something must be right. At present I haven't added the bolsters, as it's a general PWay use flat wagon.

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When I was building it I noticed as soon as I fixed the sides on that the floor wasn't flat, so there's a slight rock sometimes. And the wheels can drop out easily if the wagon is lifted or to much pressure put on it, but other than that it seems sturdy enough. The lack of couplings means I can't actually shunt it around the yard just yet, but it has reminded me I was going to experiment with 3-links.

And finally, I still need to buy and fit a backscene. I'm not quite sure I've found what I need yet; I'm looking for something roughly representative of a late-50s industrial city, not necessarily photo-realistic, but that will look good next to the main factory and folded forwards 90 degrees for each side as well. Any ideas anyone?

Edited by TechnicArrow
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What a brilliant little layout, full of atmosphere and interest.

 

I've got a wagon kit waiting to be built, but it's currently languishing in the "probably too difficult" drawer. What I have done though is take a sheet of glass from a cheap clip-frame that I can use to make sure everything is kept straight and level when/if I do get around to building it.

 

For your backscene, I wonder if a grey misty-murky wash with just silhouettes of buildings in varying dark shades would do the job?

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