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ColinK

Busch Feldbahn in the living room

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Many months ago we ended up in Clitheroe one afternoon.  My wife decided to look in a furniture shop, not because we needed anything, but just to have a wander round.  She got interested in a nice coffee table which we didn’t need.  I had a closer look and discovered that the top was on hinges and lifted up, there was just enough space for a small model railway inside it.  Having agreed that I could have the hidden space inside, we bought the coffee table.

 

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Edited by ColinK
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It has been in our living room for quite some time while I worked on my other layouts and pondered on what to do with the coffee table.  The space for a layout is just 67 x 42 cm, with a maximum height of just 5cm being a limiting factor. At the Koln Model Railway exhibition Busch had several interesting small layouts on display using their Feldbahn system which is in Hof - that is 3.5mm to the foot narrow gauge on 6.5mm gauge track.  Back home I found out the size of the stock and discovered it would easily fit in the space I had, so a starter set was purchased, along with some extra track and a couple of coaches. My purchases enabled me to work out what would fit in the space I had and I devised a simple trackplan.

 

Next I went to a local  hardware store which also had a timber cutting service and handed over a list of the bits of wood I needed for my baseboard. ‘What are you trying to make?’ So I explained it was a baseboard for a small model railway - effectivly a wooden tray, plus a piece of 3mm ply which I would cut to make the trackbed.  I went back a few days later to collect my baseboard kit - only to be told ‘I’ve made it for you’.  A nice surprise and only £12, a bargain.

 

Over the last few weeks I’ve been using the pieces of track to come up with a workable trackplan and took it all down to the model railway club.  I was really looking for ideas on how to cut the sheet of 3mm ply to make the trackbed.  The conclusion was that it was too difficult to cut the shape by hand, although someone did give me contact details of a company who could laser cut the ply if I gave them an exact plan. Well I hadn’t got an exact plan and all the dimensions were critical, so I tried drawing it out using one of the software packages - my plan didn’t work.  Eventually I came up with a workable version and had to order some more track sections to build it. I still wasn’t convinced about laser cutting the trackbed and decided to build it from the ground up.  The photo below shows progress to date.

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That’s a lot more interesting than the usual folded 8 :) more of a twisted dogbone!

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If the track is a setrack style fixed radius could you get a laser company to laser cut sections to that radius, and some straights so you can build up a bed from parts?

 

Jon

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I'd get a sheet of foam-core board - it's polystyrene sandwiched between thin card, 5mm thick. You can cut it with a knife, and glue it with a hot glue gun. It would be easy to cut the track-bed to shape, and cut vertical supports accurately to set the height, building up the structure accurately. 

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Other thicknesses are available... I use a lot of 10mm. It is easy to cut and very lightweight. 

 

One thing to watch for - some fillers, paints & glues can warp foamboard of all thicknesses. In my experience, I had a (PECO) backscene piece bend concavely around the backscene side, about 5-10 degrees. I had used Deluxe Materials View Glue. Also, GreenScene's textured paint had a similar effect. I get round the former by using a couple of dozen A4 hardback railway books (wrapped in plastic sheets to protect from any glue) as weights and the latter by painting small areas at a time and using laboratory weights to weight the board down as the paint dries. 

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I hadn’t thought of all those ideas, I’ll bear them in mind next time. However, I had plenty of balsa is stock, so I used the ‘setrack’ as templates and made a trackbed out of it. I’ll post a photo  later.

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As promised, here it is.

 

180A0128-6521-4565-8B46-2E80F9D2BE14.jpeg.5b4728190f627620bee4bbb1d67a0f5d.jpeg

 

The next job is to add walls to the raised sections of track.  I’m thinking of first glueing some plain cardboard to the supporting balsa wood stacks, then adding Redutex to the cardboard to give a stone finish.  Hopefully much quicker than painting embossed plasticard.

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Maybe building up scenery around the track, ie small hills for the trains to go round, in and out of sight. Obbiously can't go above the height of upper track .

Although many narrow gauge modellers frown on 'rabbit warren' style layouts they are always popular at exhibitions, especially the young. At least with the way Busch use to help keep their locos running, ie magnets, will make the hill climbs easier.

67cm by 42cm is a nice compact size, easy to store, easy to transport.

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2 hours ago, ColinK said:

As promised, here it is.

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_08/180A0128-6521-4565-8B46-2E80F9D2BE14.jpeg.5b4728190f627620bee4bbb1d67a0f5d.jpeg

 

The next job is to add walls to the raised sections of track.  I’m thinking of first glueing some plain cardboard to the supporting balsa wood stacks, then adding Redutex to the cardboard to give a stone finish.  Hopefully much quicker than painting embossed plasticard.

Maybe Stonehenge had a completely different original purpose to that generally accepted!!

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The railway will actually have an operational purpose, despite it being pointless.  Watch this space.:smile_mini:

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Made some more progress today, the raised sections of trackbed now have walls. These are simply Redutex stuck onto cardboard and glued in place. The bridge abutments still need covering.  Redutex was expensive, but easier and quicker than making the walls out of embossed plasticard then having to paint it.

 

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I like this a lot! I just came across some lovely Nm scale tram models and was musing if I could do something with those and H0f track. Your layout gives me inspiration, I will follow it with interest!

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Some good progress today.

 

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At the left hand side I’ve built up the land using a product I’ve not used before - Sculptamold -  it was recommended on another thread. Its a bit like a mix of plaster and paper machie, sets fairly quickly and is far lighter than plaster or filler.  I found it surprisingly easy to use. I’ve also filled any gaps between the trackbed and retaining walls with it.  I obtained the Sculptamold from the very helpful Abacus Creative Resources in Carnforth.

 

Inside the track I’ve started to build up the ground using offcuts of balsa wood to avoid having large areas of flat land - these look odd at the moment but should (hopefully) be fine when covered over. There will be a couple of ponds too.

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Sunny day so I took the layout into the garden and completed the ‘ground’ inside the track using more Sculptamould this afternoon.

 

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I included some playground equipment in one area. It made from a Busch kit containing some very small components, I omitted the swing as it just didn’t hang right, but the see-saw actually works - don’t think I’ll motorise it though!

 

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Next update will not be for a couple of weeks.

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Back home after keeping my Dad company on a coach tour of Norway; great to see him looking so happy and healthy. But beer at £27 a pint!

 

Today I’ve started painting the ground - it looks a bit of a mess at the moment, but hopefully should improve as more paint and ground cover is added.

 

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2 hours ago, ColinK said:

Back home after keeping my Dad company on a coach tour of Norway; great to see him looking so happy and healthy. But beer at £27 a pint!

 

Today I’ve started painting the ground - it looks a bit of a mess at the moment, but hopefully should improve as more paint and ground cover is added.

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_09/6F0F7E12-AA57-4242-8102-1EDF10CF832F.jpeg.ac4a805ecd068edf3fb4b12612e1e1fb.jpeg

Next time take a cruise. For £19 each per day Sherry and I were able to drink as much Cava (Spanish sparkling wine), and many other drinks, as we wanted on board. And we feel we saw quite a bit of Norway, too!

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A slightly frustrating day, I had packed the car to go down to the Romiley Model Railway Club to do some work on the layout, but luckily checked the roads before setting off - the motorway was blocked and the diversionary routes gridlocked.  Instead I did some work on the layout, but without the ever helpful feedback and ideas from Club members.  Here the track is laid loosely in place which gives a better idea of the trackplan.

 

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Another thread on here mentioned WWS had a static grass sale so I bought their small and medium sized applicators plus glue and grasses.  Today I used them.  I struggled to get good results with the ‘Precision Applicator’     so I turned to the larger one.  I had problems with this too, first I applied the glue then I added the grass, but it just wouldn’t stand up straight.  I completed two areas, one didn’t look too bad, more like rough grassy land, but the other was just not right.  I then discovered why - I had forgotten to put the battery in the applicator!  So I removed the grass I had put down and tried again - success.

 

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The next step is to fill the ponds with ‘water’.  One of my friends managed to get some ‘Aqua Magic’ for me, but I’m struggling to find ‘Solid Water’ for the larger areas.  Once that is done I can lay the track - but I can’t do that until I get some Busch Feldbahn isolating fishplates, I only need two, but they are proving elusive.

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Progress on the layout came to a halt as I could not find any isolating fishplates.  However one helpful RMwebber came to the rescue and let me have some, many thanks Simon.  Today I got down to the model railway club and started laying the track, quite a challenge as the tolerances in such a small space with setrack are very fine.  I started on the left side as this is where one long straight fits exactly, then working from it in both directions. The computer generated trackplan said I would have to shorten one straight by 11mm, however when the actual track was lightly pinned down, I had a 10mm gap in the circle.   With a bit of adjustment to the joins and chopping a few sleeper ends off I eventually got everything to fit.  The fishplates are very small and bend easily making the job quite challenging. My wife had to drive home as my eyes were very tired after all the close work - wearing variofocal glasses doesn’t help.  So here we see the layout as it currently stands.

 

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The next step will be to ballast it, the sensible approach seems to be to start at the left hand side and do one section at a time,  letting the glue set before moving on. That should allow me to adjust the lower right section where there is more wiggle room.

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Track all laid and most of it ballasted.  I did have to do a little bit of civil engineering first and remove a bit of embankment to give enough space for the curve.  This did prove that Sculptamold was fairly easy to work with, just a knife cut from the top and another from the side and he presto, a widened embankment.

 

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For the ballast I used Javis fine stone and used Ballast Bond to fix it down.  While this glue was far more expensive (£6.50 for one bottle that is enough for the whole layout) it does work really well, it does not disturb the loose ballast and firmly sticks it down.  I have left one short section unballasted as one of our Club members wants to learn  how to ballast; I’ll take the layout to the Club next week so he can have a go. 

 

Having left the glue to set overnight I’ve just run the hoover over the layout to remove any loose chippings. I was a bit worried as its a fairly powerful machine, but no problem, the ballast remained stuck as did the static grass.

 

Next job is the wiring.

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Took the layout to the Club on Wednesday, showed another member how to ballast - it was painstaking work and I  think it put him off ballasting his large N gauge layout.

 

I’ve also made progress on the wiring, even though it will be battery powered with just power on/off, there are more wires than I expected; on/off switch, direction clockwise/anticlockwise, a button to press to start the train when its in the station and an overide switch that keeps the train running through the isolating section in the station.

 

I’ve gone down with a nasty chest infection, but having to stay at home has enabled me to make a little bit more progress on the scenery. One job I’ve done is use paint washes to make the figures look less plastic.

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Chest infection turned into a bad dose of flu with almost 3 weeks off work and still on ‘light duties’. I managed a few short sessions on the layout which is almost finished. 

 

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I’ve still got to finish off a couple of areas, some details to add and work on the rolling stock.

 

One thing I could do with, but can’t find, is a model of Margaret Thatcher (don’t ask) around 4mm scale. Does anyone know where I can get one?

 

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Edited by ColinK
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That's come out well. The zoo is an excellent setting for this type of layout, although the RSPCA may have something to say about the size of the enclosures :laugh_mini:

 

What did you use for the water?

 

Hope you're feeling better...

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