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Industrial accidents are expected to decline in both number and severity now that Mr. Anneka has finally got around to having a loading dock built. 

 

 

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Reminds me of something I read years ago, probably in Railway Modeller, about "atmosphere";

Very difficult to quantify or define, it doesn't depend on layout size, or perfect modelling, & cannot be glued on, but some layouts just have it, & others don't.

 

This one has it in bucketfulls. :sungum:  :locomotive:

 

 

 

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I've just spent a good couple of hours playing trains!:o

 

I used some bits of paper to represent each of the boxcars etc. and dealt them out at random to determine where everything needed to be and then shunted the cars about until I got there. Then I shuffled the papers and started again. It's amazing how much of a head-scratcher this can turn out to be at times (amazing to me that is, as I have never tried operating like this before). 

 

I may have to do this again ;).

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Posted (edited)

Well, I’ve got to that stage now where the layout feels nearly complete (but it will never be finished of course). I need to add some figures and maybe a vehicle or two but I have been putting that off due to cost. Being “furloughed” from work (and therefore feeling slightly anxious about longer term job security) means that I am being cautious about certain purchases no matter how small but I think I can probably stretch to a few Preiser figures as a treat :).

 

In the meantime, I thought I would share some of my reflections / observations / lessons learned etc. from building the first layout (actually the first modelling of any sort) since I was about 15 (37 years ago) and some ideas for what to do next. So, in no particular order…

 

What I have achieved is not as good as it looked in my head but it is far better than I really thought I could achieve. The likes and positive comments that people have made have been very much appreciated and if I have managed to portray some of the flavour of those photographs that inspired me to start on this journey then I will consider it a job well done.


I am happy that it all works but I think next time I may actually wire up the turnouts so that they do not rely on the point blades for electrical continuity; one of them did need some fettling after all the scenic treatment was done. 


I wish I had spent a little more time planning the scene. What I did was build a few structures, decide on an inglenook track plan and buy a shelf. Then I tried to arrange things in a reasonably pleasing manner whilst making it up as I went along. I was very lucky in that the slightly haphazard arrangement probably helps give the layout some “charm” and I have ended up with about 4 separate scenes which, whilst actually very close together, make things look bigger than they really are in photographs. Next time though I think I will do a bit more planning and try some mock-ups first, although I will still make some of it up as I go – that’s in my nature.


I wasn’t consistent in my use of materials or techniques. Each time I did something (for example, painting and weathering corrugated tin) I tried a different technique. I also used what materials I had to hand and varied them to see which I liked best. I don’t regret this approach - I think it maybe adds some realism and certainly adds to the visual interest – and I will do it again. The difference next time will be that there are some techniques I won’t bother with again but some new ones that I want to experiment with.


I am pleased that I managed without any kits or bought items for the buildings and details other than door and window castings and a ratio chimney. Some of the details may be a bit crude but I am happy that I was able to create them with some lateral thinking and household junk. Examples include the switch stand made from rawlplugs, the antique gas pump made from bits of ballpoint pen, the utility poles made from sprue and the assortment of bits on the small 2-8-0 such as the cable tidy generator and the 13 amp fuse air tanks.


Cardboard is a wonderful medium to work with. I used everything from cereal packets to Noch textured sheets although my favourite is probably mount board and thin card from The Works. Much of what looks like wood on the structures is painted card. The Noch sheets have a grid on the reverse which makes cutting easy but there isn’t enough variety there to use too much of them. They can be painted and leave some of the printed and embossed grain showing through however.


I used balsa wood a fair bit because I had it lying around. It’s not as good as basswood but it is easy to work with, is easier to cut than coffee stirrers and takes a stain reasonably well. I will certainly use it again, at least until I have run out of it.


Ballasting isn’t as painful as I thought it would be if one takes one's time. An advantage of a small layout is that one can take time and still get the whole thing done in a day.


Static grass is ace! I’d never used it before but I bought some Peco (re-branded WWS) grass and a Hornby (re-branded Noch) puffer bottle. I had no problems using the bottle; the secret seems to be to fill the bottle up to about a third full and give it a really good shake before applying it onto neat PVA. It worked for me anyway. I ended up applying much more grass than I had thought I would need and then vacuumed up and reclaimed what seemed like even more than I had used, if that makes sense.


An inglenook is far more operationally interesting than I thought it could be.


So what’s next? I need to make the fiddlesticks for either end of the layout (although it can be used fine without them) but I have a cunning plan… 


I fancy building a waterfront scene and I am considering building a small diorama that could attach to one end of the layout as a separate scene and act as a “scenic fiddleyard” for Apocrypha  whilst Apocrypha  becomes a “scenic fiddleyard” for the waterfront – I know what I mean even if I’m not explaining it well. I’m currently looking online for some inspiration (so if anyone has any ideas they will be gratefully received) and will keep you posted if there is any progress.


Watch this space…

Edited by SonOfMike
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On 22/05/2020 at 13:27, SonOfMike said:

I fancy building a waterfront scene and I am considering building a small diorama that could attach to one end of the layout as a separate scene and act as a “scenic fiddleyard” for Apocrypha  whilst Apocrypha  becomes a “scenic fiddleyard” for the waterfront – I know what I mean even if I’m not explaining it well. I’m currently looking online for some inspiration (so if anyone has any ideas they will be gratefully received) and will keep you posted if there is any progress.


Thank you for the whole summary - lots of really useful points and the layout really is a winner.

 

With regards to the ‘scenic fiddle yard(s)’ idea one option I saw on the carendt.com micro-layout website a few years ago was to place the back scenes on alternate sides so that you could only see one or other of the micro layouts - rather than having them side by side (which could look more like a pair of dioramas).  I share the idea in case it’s useful, but it really depends on two things:

 

1.  How your ‘operating space’ is arranged - if it’s a shelf against a wall then that idea means you have to turn the whole thing round to use the other side.  If it’s on a table, you walk round to the other side (for some proper “big layout” experience), and...

 

2.  What you want.


Quite a lot of published American model railroads have a small dock scene or wharf somewhere, so you might find a picture of one  on a larger layout that could be modelled by itself as a micro-layout.  Just a thought.  Keith.

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Whilst I can't offer any inspiration for the new board, I do like the sound of it, a separate scenic entity which utilises the space of the old one as a fiddleyard and visa versa. Waterfront can be a hard thing to do in a small space, but by no means impossible and I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

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Posted (edited)

@Keith Addenbrooke I have seen the arrangement you mentioned, plus one which is back-to-back inglenooks connected by a sector plate and I really like them both. Unfortunately, at the moment, the usable space I have available means that operating from both sides would be difficult. However, I'm thinking that if the second module / micro has a fiddleyard / fiddlestick entrance and either end like Apocrypha does then they could be arranged in different configurations depending on the space available. The new module / micro could go at either end of the existing one facing forwards or backwards or it could be placed back-to-back with the current one and connected via a sector plate, traverser or curved section of track. The last idea could then be expanded to both ends to provide continuous running.

 

As I type this, I start to see other possibilities (so thank you very much for the inspiration). I don't have space for a large permanent layout but potentially, as long as I can find places to store them, I could build a selection of micros that could be connected together in varying configurations depending on my mood / space available. It's certainly food for thought... I think clear out of my cupboards may be on the horizon ;)

Edited by SonOfMike
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5 hours ago, NickBrad said:

Waterfront can be a hard thing to do in a small space

 

I think that's the reason I am drawn to the idea :lol:.

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I seem to recall saying something about planning when I come to do the next module. Blow that for a lark!. I have a fuzzy notion in my head and that will do for now... what's the worse that can happen if it doesn't work out?

 

Anyway, I have started on a structure; this is just the mount board shell. I'm working using my normal principal of "it will probably look OK once I've clad it and weathered it". The roofs are just held in place by gravity alone and the doors and windows are stuck in with a bit of tape behind them for now, all if which makes things look a little wonkier than they really are. 

 

I'm not sure what this is going to be yet. Each section is going to be a different material; that's mainly because I don't have enough of anything to do the whole building. I've been frugal with the doors and windows because I'm low on them too and I have no idea why I decided to recess the door on the left had side. There will probably be a loading dock on the centre section, a lean to on the right and a water tank and other bits and bobs sprouting from the rooftops. Who knows?

 

Anyway, at least I have started building something again. Which is nice.

 

 

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You will probably end up with something just as nice as if you'd planned it down to the last detail.

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It's starting to take shape. I still have no idea exactly what shape it's actually taking but it's definitely a shape of some sort. An irregular polygon of some sort, anyway. Most of it is still held together by gravity alone at the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm still gradually progressing. Here are a few snaps; it was difficult taking photos as the light is so poor these last couple of days and it's a bit wet and windy to risk taking it outside.

 

There is still a lot to do including but not limited to: Fixing each of the 3 sections together and hiding any gaps, finishing off the roofs with bargeboards etc., a loading dock at the front, another raised deck and lean-to roof on the right-hand side, a water tank on the roof, signage, finishing off the cyclone dust collector on the left-hand end and adding various other details.

 

 

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I’ve just discovered this thread. What a superb little layout you have made. Buckets of atmosphere and I love what you have done with the steam engines. Just brilliant.

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Your scratchbuilding skills are outstanding.

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Respect, lots of respect: anyone who can get an MDC Shay to run properly without engaging in some sort of magic deserves respect. I've got one that runs but only because two of the four gears have been removed so I only have to synch two axles...

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On 13/06/2020 at 17:08, SD45T-2 said:

anyone who can get an MDC Shay to run properly without engaging in some sort of magic deserves respect

 

I think I was just lucky. The kit was a birthday present from my parents, I think it was my 16th. I had heard the horror stories about the running qualities but I didn't care - I just wanted a shay and this was the only option other than expensive brass models. Somehow it ran perfectly the first time it was tested and it still runs, although it does need some lubrication now as it's 36 years old and has spent most of its life in a box until recently.

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On 09/06/2020 at 09:30, DanielB said:

Your scratchbuilding skills are outstanding

 

Thank you very much for saying so, although in truth I'm very much in the "measure once, cut 3 times, swear quite a bit and then bodge it until it looks like I meant it to be like that" school of construction. The "architecture" and construction of this building in particular is very much dictated by what materials I have at hand. I didn't have enough of anything to do the whole lot so I just went a bit freestyle. I'm happy with the shingle roof on this one. The shingles were cut from strips of cheap masking tape and then all coloured with splodges and streaks of black and rust washes before they were applied. Then I gave them all a light dry-brushing to give them a sense of cohesiveness.

 

I took a similar approach with the corrugated iron; each piece was painted and weathered separately and then the whole was dry-brushed ti bring everything together.

 

The name on the left end was a result of me not having any transfers or decals. I googled some Louisianan surnames and chose one that was four letters long and all straight lines so that I could  mask the letters with tape whilst painting.

 

The dust collector is made from bits of ballpoint pen and sprue. Its frame is made from bits of a window moulding.

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Thanks to a generous gift from my Dad, we can see what Apocrypha looked like during the 80s. Basically nothing had changed at all ;).

 

 

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No updates yet I'm afraid but I did just want to confirm that I haven't given up. Returning to work has meant that I haven't had quite as much free time and I have also been devoting my attentions to another of my hobbies. I'll be back here before you know it I'm sure.

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