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Uphill - a GW Branch Line Terminus


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Welcome to Uphill!  Uphill is a simple OO Gauge Great Western Railway Branch Line Terminus I’ve started building using a 4’ x 1’ micro-layout board:

 

803832305_17Station2.jpg.b47f54838c3c288812e5a72870030af6.jpg

 

196004758_16Station1.jpg.33a7faedddde8575b3f6a0c0b30fc3bc.jpg

 

It will be accompanied by a second 4’ x 1’ scenic fiddle yard that represents the rest of the line (and, when needed, all of the Great Western Railway and beyond).

 

2072203577_19FiddleYard1.jpg.34d6de62dfdc390d7cf6939e5a5ba12b.jpg

 

As a model, it is an 8’ x 1’ adjunct to a project design I’ve been developing for a continuous run GW Branch Line in a space 8’ x 4.’  As that will be an ambitious scenic project (for me at least), this is a chance to try out various techniques before I transfer them to the larger layout: it is a practice piece. 

 

The two layouts won’t connect – but as a micro-layout I think this may have some merits of its own: I certainly expect to learn a lot trying things out.

 

2135215557_5TestTrackBIllustrated1.jpg.a70d66e875f4bb769bbe17946362ecbc.jpg

 

604469744_6TestTrackBIllustrated2.jpg.f1714d9126d6006c9f12bc78b3451d73.jpg

(Note Basic Layout Drawn in Anyrail: illustration added - trains not to scale)

 

1262755295_15OverallView1.jpg.fb4f4954578bc0c1430f5e7eb6c0393d.jpg

 

Uphill has been designed to use some spare Setrack I have.  The station layout has the advantage that there are no S-curves, which helps visually and operationally.  More could be fitted into the space if I wanted to run shorter trains, and clearances for larger locomotives are tight, but I like the look and feel of the plan.  I understand the design dates back to an early Peter Denny model.  I looked at various alternatives, but this seemed to fit the ethos of the bigger layout best.  Cutting these baseboards into longer, thinner strips within micro-layout dimensions might be an option for some, and I’ve also looked at this, ( 2 Simple Micro Ideas ) but 8’ is my working length and I want room to test scenic techniques, so retaining some width is important.

 

I’ve used two Peco ST238 curves at the Fiddle Yard end (the ones designed for use with Y-points, Hornby R628 are identical).  They take the fiddle yard fit onto a diagonal and breaks up the straight lines that might dominate the layout, as it has no hidden section.  Some straight Setrack pieces need to be cut.

______________________

 

A bit of background (mainly so I don't forget how I got here!):

 

In 2019 I started a thread for a GW micro-layout based on a compressed version of the BRM Project Layout Edgeworth designed to fit around the dimensions of an IKEA Billy Bookcase:  "Short Edge - a Micro Layout" . There was a lot of encouragement when I shared the idea on RMweb (Thank you), but I had to rethink after the bookcase, and the space for it, were repurposed.  Instead of a display model I could set up to operate, it would be a portable layout I’d be getting out to run.  Short Edge could become an 8’ long ‘shunting puzzle’ with an extension module, the Short-Age Brewery, but while I find shunting layouts an enjoyable diversion for an afternoon or so (which I’ve explored recently: "Shunting on the Sagatukett River RR"  and  "Billy goes West(ern) - a Bank Holiday Inglenook), for me personally to sustain interest, I want to run both goods and passenger trains as part of a transportation system.  In this respect, there were limitations with Short Edge: the run round loop at the Station and the fiddle stick were too short.  For me, it was time to ask what I really want in a layout.

 

The story that followed has been well documented in the Layout Design and Track Planning Forum: GW Adventure - a track planning tale  with this layout appearing as a suggestion for a practice piece.  I've really been encouraged by the expert advice I've had for a larger layout, so will benefit from a practice piece.

 

Note:  like many modellers, I have more than one interest – plans for an American outline urban diorama remain separate: Union Station - an HO Diorama .

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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Uphill - The Story

 

Uphill is a coastal village on the Southern edge of Weston-Super-Mare.  A small harbour used to serve the mouth of the River Axe, and an old quarry was cut into the hillside.  It did have a Station (Bleadon and Uphill, opened in 1871) but this was beyond the village on the mainline south from Bristol.  The railway first came to Weston in 1841 as a short branch from the Bristol & Exeter Railway. Apparently, Brunel himself stayed in Weston while this part of the Bristol & Exeter was being built.  In 1866 the original station was replaced by a bigger one, still a terminus, with the present station and loop opening in 1884.

 

In my alternative reality, a feeder branch to Uphill was also built as part of the original 1841 project, with access to quarry stone for the railway, and to the harbour for trade across the Bristol Channel with South Wales (Weston being an emerging seaside resort rather than a harbour town).  I’m suggesting the line followed the first part of the route later used for the Weston loop, before curving out to the coast.  To accommodate locos on through coaches from Weston, I’m going to imagine the landowners insisted the short line from the Weston loop to Uphilll station (not harbour or quarry) be built to mainline standards – so smaller red route engines could perhaps appear – it wouldn’t have cost much, and savings were made on signalling by keeping to one-engine in steam working on the Uphill branch.

 

1177807486_14UphillMap.jpg.aa912ef0fe7ca263091d364cba813b27.jpg

 

I’m not modelling the harbour or quarry sidings in this micro-layout, but imagining they are accessed via a goods only kickback that requires trains to come into the terminus to reverse first, giving scope for goods trains to come and go without needing an on-stage destination for every wagon load.  As a result, the terminus only needs minimal local goods facilities.  The station building is the first kit I had when I moved up from N Gauge modelling to OO nearly thirty years ago, the Hornby model of Dunster Station (now in the Gaugemaster Fordhampton range).  It’s stood the test of time, and while it is pre-coloured plastic, the colours give a good enough representation of GW stone for me, and being from Somerset is also local.

 

I have many fond memories of family and holidays in Uphill, which is an extra layer for me too.

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Baseboards

 

Not the most exciting topic – but I include a couple of photos to show how simple my approach is, using a couple of old pieces of Sundeala Board framed with spare 2” x 1” softwood.  I need to store my boards in a cellar, so I’ve painted both the top and underside.  Hopefully this will mean that any moisture from the paint is also equally distributed on both sides, as well as sealing the boards to reduce the risk of warping over time (note: I’ve had these boards unpainted / unframed for a decade or more with no trouble).

 

1261414985_8Baseboards.jpg.95d7b8d6237f11a25ed12e1a0286e740.jpg

 

 

This is the traditional approach I grew up with – there is no budget for this layout, and I’m not in a position to invest in the wonderful laser kit boards available that can really enhance a micro-layout.  At one time, Sundeala Board was widely recommended for baseboards, but changes to the specification over the years and success with alternatives (esp. plywood) means I’m still using it because I have it.  The larger layout uses 12mm plywood, and the paint is just what they had at my local discount supermarket.

 

Moving on to roadbed, it must be nearly 40 years since I last tried to stick down some cork – when I checked on it the next day it looked like I’d modelled sand dunes (and it was supposed to be for N Gauge trains).  With my flat boards, roadbed will give some profile and allow modelling of a ballast shoulder.  My local supplier only had 2mm or 6mm cork when they reopened.  I went for the thicker option, so hopefully there’ll still be a decent ballast shoulder after scenery is added around the OO gauge tracks.

 

1183664957_9LayingRoadbed.jpg.6ce7e1cd87009746e13d37e60fcb7cdf.jpg

 

I used plenty of PVA Glue, weight and wait (24 hours).  Even so, some of it needed another attempt to get it to stick – I’d left a small overlap between two pieces which meant they didn’t bed down flat first time.

 

A key thing at this stage is somewhere to make a mess with paint and glue where things can be left to dry.  In my previous two homes this could never really work: here I have a space – so it’s time to use it!

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Track

 

It’s well known commercial OO Gauge track is full of compromises, from the gauge itself, the height and profile of the rails and the size and spacing of the sleepers, through to the geometry of the curves and points.  But one thing I’ve not looked at closely before are the differences between principal makes.  There are variations in sleeper style between common types of Code 100 rail:

 

1366800184_10Track1.jpg.a6d06bb17e97461caa41a9dc9e584900.jpg

 

56C157A7-37C4-4F34-B20A-18B43FC175AC.jpeg.202cab8b5ac0f526429c2c7d6e89da93.jpeg

        

Because Setrack pieces are designed for adding other features (such as power clips and uncoupling ramps), they have more complex sleeper patterns – particularly for Peco Track it seems: not just the sleepers at the end of each piece to fit round the fishplates.  I’d not noticed the differences in sleeper spacing between Hornby and Peco Setrack before, or the thicker Peco Setrack sleepers.

 

While it’s no surprise Streamline has uniform sleepers, they are still spaced at about 7mm – which at 1’9” (in 4mm scale) is less than prototype.  They also have the alternating plastic webbing under the rails.

 

I’m guessing a small line like this probably had track laid in 60’ lengths.  Sleeper spacing varied within each section (being closer near the ends).  As I’m gluing down my track, I removed the webbing and re-spaced the sleepers to see how they look when laid next to the points (which I’m not altering).  I’ve gone for 9mm spacing (scale 2’3”).  It’s not exact, but will hopefully look proportionate to the gauge:

 

1255707855_12Track3.jpg.1c98174d95f15eb500f1099411cb635d.jpg

 

1533160693_13Track4.jpg.68ba1e5befbdd2e725bc3384067a3095.jpg

     

I have to be honest: cutting away the webbing was a thankless task.  A lot of sleepers just broke apart and I ended up throwing away several pieces of track, although some of it was nearly thirty years old.  I’m not sure I’d risk it with new track, or on a bigger layout (where viewing can be from further away anyway).

 

I'm using up some old, over-sized ballast I have in stock (it was sold for use on an OO Gauge layout, but I've since learned that many modellers 'trade down' for a finer result).  I did give the bag a good hammering before I used it, but some chunks remain:

 

1932671629_21BallastedTrack2.jpg.a17b4ca1ea4f54abd54af7370e66b351.jpg

 

I’ve not yet painted the railsides – with oversized ballast I’m not yet convinced it’ll make much difference.  Given the size of the ballast pieces, I've steered well clear of the points.  It looks a bit rough at the moment - because it is, but I have been able to run trains on it successfully.

 

You'll see I'm using an old Hornby Train Set Controller for this layout - again, I can live with this as it's a practice piece.  My intention is to hide the power clip under some form of lineside hut.

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
(duplicate photo)
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  • 4 weeks later...

Like many of us on this Forum, I don’t have space for a permanent layout.  With the boards for my portable layout project(s) packed away until the summer, I can look at some kit building.  I’d started a Ratio platform awning kit for a BR(W) diorama some months ago.  There’s plenty to go at with these kits: each subassembly here has ten separate pieces:

 

CF863397-CDB0-4876-954D-1DD0E8AFBEE4.jpeg.296f3c061b5d40c310a24cf7b02b02ef.jpeg


Trouble is, having stalled on that project, I now want to backdate it to GW colours to go with a Ratio Station building kit I also had in stock as part of getting going again.  This has meant repainting those parts of the awning I’d already done, from chocolate and cream into GW Stone colours: 

 

C827AB03-36E2-4E5E-B392-2006936EE7FF.jpeg.dc456da0095806316b8211ae73f1775a.jpeg
 

I’d been told there are quite a lot of pieces in Ratio kits, and for the two combined I’ll be quiet for a while.  Each of these sub assemblies has 9 pieces, and you don’t even see them when they’re done:

 

FB90C4E9-6427-43C1-ADF8-762DC1379121.jpeg.5aa660840047cf9785a3b9f19776aaf1.jpeg

 

That’s only half of them, which I’d made up previously.

 

 I’ve been pre-painting a few pieces each day for several days already and it looks like I’ve have hardly started.

 

A766C3F0-35CB-4A38-93B3-B180DC036372.jpeg.3cb2c7e71813e5e0f49aba3713e440ba.jpeg

 

The hardest part of repainting the awnings were the triangle gable ends I’d already assembled:


11C4A7F6-3F6F-43C6-84BC-FA99DDBEF77A.jpeg.2e5449785b458d6072e46fc3eaf655d1.jpeg

 

These aren’t for Uphill, which already has a Station building, but are good practice anyway.  Be nice for them to have a layout when they’re done though...

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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27 minutes ago, MAP66 said:

Keep on going Keith, its looking great. My apologies if I've influenced you on starting this again in GWR colours.


Thanks - no problem: it was a good call, the layout(s) I’m building are to be solidly GW and I was ready to get started.  As I’m using enamel paints, plenty of drying time for each bit is a good idea.  I just wouldn’t have had the patience when I was younger!

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3 minutes ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

I just wouldn’t have had the patience when I was younger

 

I'm 100% with you on that. Having recently started modelling again for the first time since I was a teenager I have definitely found that compered to then, what I lack in eyesight and dexterity these days I more than make up for in patience. You win some, you lose some :D.

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  • RMweb Gold

When I'm painting, I tend to not be too precise in the coverage, as I try to start the weathering look straight away.

 

It's not to everyone's taste, some like a pristine finish before they start to weather, but I'm a) not that good and b) lazy.

 

This is coming on nicely though.

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On 15/07/2020 at 15:38, Stubby47 said:

When I'm painting, I tend to not be too precise in the coverage, as I try to start the weathering look straight away.

 

It's not to everyone's taste, some like a pristine finish before they start to weather, but I'm a) not that good and b) lazy.

 

This is coming on nicely though.


Thanks for this - it’s a really good idea: if I spend ages getting a building looking as pristine as I can (however rough that actually is), that alone is enough to put me off the thought of getting it dirty again.  
If however I were to set out to make it look authentic from the start -  and consequently it’s never tried to be perfectly neat and tidy - then I won’t feel like I’ll somehow “spoil” it if I try and weather it.
 

From what I’ve seen on RMweb of TF (in particular), your results are fantastic - always look forwards to seeing T-CATS updates.

 

Keith.

 

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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continue to be impressed with these Ratio Station building kits - there’s plenty to go at and they are stretching my very limited skills.  The moulding is excellent - looks like really good value to me.   From a normal distance (12”) these doors look OK to me:

 

F265A54F-0FA7-4A5B-95F8-7FEC056BE8E2.jpeg.b75f405094ea451705cd63fb88bc2d2c.jpeg
 

Close up though the camera reveals how roughly I’ve actually painted the panel edges! (although the tarnished brass I tried on the door knobs does begin to show):
 

A820DF83-962C-4AAD-843A-4C3265FADDC4.jpeg.6f63e8b9985658430b8770ae90f36e5d.jpeg

 

My first attempt at painting the walls shows both the advantage of plastic (over card) and the disadvantage - on the plus side there’s clearly a 3-D feel with the plastic, but on the downside my painting is totally uniform (card kits look less toylike here):

 

DB8BD387-BEFD-4862-A3B6-DADC1D48ABDD.jpeg.84687a0236efb33ee40481d4248ced26.jpeg

 

I decided the quoins shouldn’t have been painted in GW light stone - it all looks too much like a train set building at this point (nothing wrong with that, but it’s not what I’m after here).  
 

Full credit to Ratio at this point however - the instructions explain how to weather the building effectively yet simply.  So although I’ve never tried weathering before, I’ve had a go at basic dry-brushing with a darker grey while inserting the door and window frames:

 

EB356AB8-27CA-4539-B8AD-47A9976D0B7A.jpeg.7ef9f7624af5b9744a91245b3a57b344.jpeg

 

I was a bit heavy handed in places, but it was a simple job to tone it down by dry-brushing over it with the same light grey I’d used for the walls.


I’ve not glazed the windows or doors yet - it seemed sensible to do this after gluing the frames in place.  I’ve used no fewer than six colours of paint so far to try and get a GW colour scheme, but the hardest bit was trying to paint the white plastic window frames with a white base layer - could I see which bits I’d done?  No chance!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I take my hat off to the modellers who we often see on this Forum producing models in what seems like no time at all.  I’m not one of them, but I’ll take ‘slow progress’ over ‘stopped’ - at least it means I am still modelling :D.

 

Something I learned from card kits is that I can generally put together sub-assemblies reasonably, but pulling it all together is where the gaps start to show (literally).  I’m therefore surprisingly pleased with how this plastic Ratio station kit is coming together - it’s a lovely model to build:
 

5AE58D82-32C0-45A1-9249-E7B9C7AE871C.jpeg.3e12c38beedca34106335e7554580c80.jpeg

 

ABB99C8B-AE62-4E96-8E75-F772029F2F55.jpeg.94bb89024afdb5df945811b434fe423a.jpeg

 

There’s a long way to go, and a lot of detail to add (plus the awnings), but if you’d shown me this even five years ago I wouldn’t have guessed it could be my handiwork - and ten or twenty years ago I wouldn’t have thought of looking beyond the Hornby shelf in a model shop (I had a Ratio wagon kit for twenty years before I tried making it!)  I therefore share it in the hope of encouraging anyone else like me - if I can do it, anyone can.

 

Mind you, what this kit really needs is a layout - Uphill already has a station.  Ooh - but I’ve said that before...


 

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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1 hour ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

I take my hat off to the modellers who we often see on this Forum producing models in what seems like no time at all.  I’m not one of them, but I’ll take ‘slow progress’ over ‘stopped’ - at least it means I am still modelling :D.

 

Something I learned from card kits is that I can generally put together sub-assemblies reasonably, but pulling it all together is where the gaps start to show (literally).  I’m therefore surprisingly pleased with how this plastic Ratio station kit is coming together - it’s a lovely model to build:
 

5AE58D82-32C0-45A1-9249-E7B9C7AE871C.jpeg.3e12c38beedca34106335e7554580c80.jpeg

 

ABB99C8B-AE62-4E96-8E75-F772029F2F55.jpeg.94bb89024afdb5df945811b434fe423a.jpeg

 

There’s a long way to go, and a lot of detail to add (plus the awnings), but if you’d shown me this even five years ago I wouldn’t have guessed it could be my handiwork - and ten or twenty years ago I wouldn’t have thought of looking beyond the Hornby shelf in a model shop (I had a Ratio wagon kit for twenty years before I tried making it!)  I therefore share it in the hope of encouraging anyone else like me - if I can do it, anyone can.

 

Mind you, what this kit really needs is a layout - Uphill already has a station.  Ooh - but I’ve said that before...


 

Looks great Keith, nice work. Slow and steady wins the race.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't frequent here often anymore; but having read your thread from start to finish I believe you should be proud of your achievements!
I am certainly going to subscribe for more updates!

Take it slow & steady and you'll get there - can't wait to see more.
Kind Regards,

Gary

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Thank you for the kind words and encouragement:

 

On 07/08/2020 at 15:47, MAP66 said:

Looks great Keith, nice work. Slow and steady wins the race.

 

On 17/08/2020 at 07:53, Matloughe said:

I don't frequent here often anymore; but having read your thread from start to finish I believe you should be proud of your achievements!
I am certainly going to subscribe for more updates!

Take it slow & steady and you'll get there - can't wait to see more.
Kind Regards,

Gary

 

21 hours ago, eastworld said:

There are some good things going on with this little layout. Keep up the good work!

 

Stu

 

Afraid nothing has happened for the past week or so - though I did a little bit of temporary layout planning while off-line on holiday :D:

 

1183600101_Sandcastle2.jpg.feee71878aa95e461553f6100866791c.jpg

 

Sandcastle.jpg.b251c2a28c89e0bdc3e6faf16990bb86.jpg

 

There will be more - but I need to catch up with a long list of work / home things first (fair enough - it was a great holiday).  Keith.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

For my next installment on “How not to build a model Railway”...

 

My Uphill micro accompanies a larger project.  One reason progress has been slow is planning the larger layout went through several iterations, mainly as increased home-working restricted available space (and time).  As a result baseboards have been rebuilt three times over the summer, to accommodate the new directions the bigger project has taken.

 

Applying the micro-layout principle of a minimal budget, I acquired a tin of paint on end-of-line discount that’s big enough to repaint all sides of all the boards, hooray!
 

Unfortunately, mango green isn’t turning out to be quite the Railway-friendly shade I anticipated:

 

AADC71AF-855C-41E3-ABF2-B2AB099E8ADC.jpeg.33e2d615dce4c497a1d3cfd0c0f1cba7.jpeg

 

At least it’s for a country branch line: I’m not trying to model urban grot :rolleyes: !  And it will encourage me to get on with scenery.

 

Although the project will be 76” x 66” (overall) each board also follows the micro principles of being no larger than 38” x 16”, added to which the layout requires no new expenditure on track, rolling stock or buildings - it’s a chance to use what I have.  Four of the six boards have also been (re)designed to look like dioramas as I’m at home with small layouts and micros.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I’ve been gradually progressing three parallel projects this year: as well as Uphill (now waiting for the others to catch up), I’ve been planning a compact (but larger) GWR branch line layout and my HO Union Station Terminal.  The boards being finished in mango green are for the GWR branch line, but as a perpetual layout planner I wanted to see what a layout for both the other GWR stations I’ve got might look like in the same space (as mentioned above).  This would use my unfinished Ratio Station (also above) and a Wills Halt I built a few years ago:

 

9643C5C8-9984-425C-B9E5-06441BCD8598.jpeg.66a263b623b3e2c12d88a194e004cbf3.jpeg
 

This would be one way to do it:

 

CDD58D71-BE35-4879-8ABE-03A2B88857F9.jpeg.ef85c13bd800c717dea1ef915ba1b040.jpeg

 

I (re)designed this for this Forum: four of the six boards could be built separately as scenic dioramas.  The (dummy) junction board at the left (36” x 14”), the halt (38” x 14”), the scenic lift-out section (34” x 16”) - it is the only board with a viewing point on both sides so makes a photo plank with a level crossing scene, and the engine shed board (34” x 14”).  Only the two boards for the main station need to be done as a pair.  Minimum track radius is Setrack R3 (19.88”).  
 

The track plan is not very prototypical - the dummy junction doesn’t go anywhere, and the headshunt behind the engine shed is not on the Goods Loop (to minimise tracks over baseboard joints), but I quite like this as a set of scenic cameos.

 

 

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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It looks like I’m jumping around things a bit at the moment, but to tie up a loose end here.
 

I’ve always thought the doors on my Hornby Dunster Station seemed a bit big (and the curtains only covered 2/3rds of the windows), but I’d never really worried about it.  The kit was a gift when I traded up from N to OO years ago and I assembled it as a stand-alone project in 1993, long before I had any OO people or other buildings to compare it with.  However, I read recently that it is over scale, and placing it next to the Ratio Station does rather confirm this:

 

7B9690FB-1EEA-47FC-AC4D-97998E4DEE64.jpeg.db36c2003f5b2da267497f32eaaa7a69.jpeg
 

So although the kit has lasted very well (just one bit of broken detail on the porch roof), and has the emotional attachment of being the first OO kit I built - as well as being a gift - I’m not sure it’ll stay on the layout, despite being from Somerset.*

 

I wonder - is the Gaugemaster reincarnation of the kit similarly oversized (and was the Skaledale version)?

 

Keith.

 

*The Ratio one, being of Castle Cary, isn’t from too far away either.

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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I've used the Hornby kit on my 'big layout' at home - it was probably one of the first kits I built too (or rather, supervised my Dad building!). I always felt the forecourt-side doors were a little big, but I don't think the platform-side is too bad - so perhaps it depends on which face of the building is going to be more visible. I would suspect the Gaugemaster kit uses exactly the same moulds, although I have nothing to confirm this.

 

And if you don't include it on this layout, why not make a photo-plank model of the real Dunster, so the model can still be used?

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