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Building A Modular Branch Line - 00 Gauge


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Speaking of scenery, yesterday I finished covering the first module in plaster bandage. As you can see in the second picture I also finished off the sides that were previously open so you can't see the chicken wire underneath anymore.

 

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Then earlier today I gave it all a quick coat of brown paint so that, if my static grass ends up being a bit thin or patchy in some areas, at least it'll look like mud/dirt underneath!

 

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On 27/10/2020 at 00:30, That Model Railway Guy said:

In addition to posting about my modelling adventures on RMWeb I'll also be documenting the build over on YouTube - I'm much better at video editing than I am at writing these posts! :D

 

If anyone's interested here's the first "episode". It mostly covers everything I've talked about so far on here but also includes a few shots of my Peckett running over the 4 modules I've built so far!

 

 

 

I've had a number of modular layouts over the years. Definitely the way to go if you have to have flexibility to fit various sizes of available space.

 

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17 hours ago, jimsmodeltrains said:

 

I've had a number of modular layouts over the years. Definitely the way to go if you have to have flexibility to fit various sizes of available space.

 

 

Good to hear! I've got the measurements of the room the railway will most likely be set up in and have already done some experiments setting it up in different configurations on the computer to see whats possible in the space. Also, my plan going forward is that any future layouts I build will have the ability to link into this too - for example the fiddle yard could be replaced with another station for end to end running.

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5 hours ago, That Model Railway Guy said:

 

Good to hear! I've got the measurements of the room the railway will most likely be set up in and have already done some experiments setting it up in different configurations on the computer to see whats possible in the space. Also, my plan going forward is that any future layouts I build will have the ability to link into this too - for example the fiddle yard could be replaced with another station for end to end running.

 

I did something similar with the modular layouts I had, including making the configuration flexible so that they could be in numerous configurations, so I could set up the layouts in various available spaces, from straight to 'L' shaped to 'U' shaped, by simply adding or removing or 'flipping' modules. There were 4 'core' modules, with other ones changed / constructed / scrapped according to space.

 

Track plans / modules of my last modular layout are here if your interested: http://www.jimsmodeltrains.ws/dolton-illinook/

 

Regards, James

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by jimsmodeltrains
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This might seem like I'm jumping the gun but I'm thinking about trees! Yes, I know it’s sounds a bit premature but because (when not in use) the individual modules will most likely be stored on top of each other in some way. Having trees sticking up would greatly increase the amount of space needed between each module. I realised I need to make the trees removable in some way so that I can fit more modules into a vertical space.

 

I’m using the Woodland Scenics armatures which come with a base that the main trunk clips into. From what I’ve seen most people discard the bases but I’ve embedded mine into the landscape (using a bit of left over modelling compound). Once painted brown to match the rest of the board, it leaves a nice hole that the finished tree can slot into when the module is in use and then be removed for safer storage when the module is put away.

 

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As you can imagine I wanted to get this done now before I start putting down the static grass. The eagle eyed among you may also be able to see in the background of the first picture I’ve started work on the ballasting too!

 

Finally I decided to make some trees. I didn’t have to do this now but I’d already opened the Woodland Scenics armature pack to get the bases out so I figured I’d give it a go for a bit of fun. It made deciding the location of the trees a bit easier too. These were my first attempts and I’m pleased with how they’ve come out considering I’ve never made one before.

 

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The Woodland Scenics trees are good but very underscale, even for HO.  A 60ft tree is 9.5"  high in 4 mm scale.  Most layouts feature undersized trees.  I always think it is better to have a few feature big trees than lots of small ones!

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30 minutes ago, Jeff Smith said:

The Woodland Scenics trees are good but very underscale, even for HO.  A 60ft tree is 9.5"  high in 4 mm scale.  Most layouts feature undersized trees.  I always think it is better to have a few feature big trees than lots of small ones!

 

Good to know. I'll "plant" them far away from the line and then say they're in the distance! ;)

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I've spent the last few days finishing off a few details and I'd say this module is now around 95% complete.

 

The biggest job was adding a fence on either side of the line... I had a big bag of craft matchsticks in a drawer so decided to use those to have a go at making my own fence. Two days later I can safely say I've had enough of drilling tiny holes in matchsticks for now. It looks ok (the wire will get dulled down in the future) but I think I might just bite the bullet and get some ready made posts for any future fences!

 

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Here's a wider overall shot of the module as I realised I hadn't't posted one in a while. In addition to the fence you can see I've also added a few bushes and some wild flowers here and there which I think gives it a bit of life and stops it looking so bare.

 

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I imagine I'll add some more foliage in the future to break it up a bit more but for now I think I'm ready to move onto the second curve module. To say this is my first go at serious modelling I'm over the moon with how it's turned out. It may not be winning awards anytime soon but it's leaps and bounds ahead of anything I've ever achieved in the past and if I can carry on at this standard I should have a wonderful little layout on my hands! Onwards :)

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11 hours ago, Jeff Smith said:

Great job.  If ever you consider filling in some foliage using Woodland Scenics Lichen be careful if spraying with hairspray to hold on sprinkled flock as I discovered it can bleach the lichen....

 

Thanks, that's good to know! Haven't used any lichen from Woodland Scenics yet but did use some from WWS for the bushes. I used spray glue on those and so far it all looks fine but I'll keep an eye on it.

 

I definitely need to find some good foliage techniques though to break it up a bit more. I've got some of the turf left over that I used on the trees and bushes so might try mixing that with some clump foliage in a different colour.

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In the background I've quietly been working away on plans for the next module. As this one will connect to end of the fiddle yard I'm planning to have the line in a bit of a cutting with a bridge across the track to create a scenic block hiding the gap in the backscene. 

 

I've also decided to have a couple of buildings up on the hill, just something small. The first is the Wills Forge kit which I painted and built for a bit of fun and I think it'll fit quite nicely on the layout.

 

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The second is one I'm in the process of scratchbuilding! I'm not particularly good at making things from scratch, I built a bridge on my previous layout which is passable from a distance but I'm much more hopeful about this one given the way it's going so far.

 

I'm using some spare mount board and Slaters brick sheets as I found the Wills sheets I used last time too thick. So far it's going well and I'm finding the Slaters plasticard much easier to work with!

 

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Still quite a bit of work to do but even if I don't end up using it I'm enjoying making it. :) 

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Today has been a very productive day! I've been slowly working away on my little barn/toolshed scratch building project and have put the finishing touches on it today. Really pleased with how this looks considering I'm a complete novice at building things from nothing. If you'd have told me I could achieve something like this a year ago I would have laughed!

 

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Looking at the bigger picture, work has now started on the scenery for the second corner module. Currently I have it connected up to the first corner module and it looks a bit like a real life equivalent of when a video game hasn't loaded the next area!

 

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The bridge that hides the fiddle yard entrance is a metcalfe kit which had been built for this purpose a while back, so it's nice to finally see it in place. I've left a little bit of space from the edge of the board so that, if anyone ever looks through the bridge, there's a little bit of scenery behind it rather than being able to see directly into the fiddle yard.

 

Finally, I've also made a start on putting down the polystyrene blocks which are supporting the cardboard road and chicken wire. Just the bit to do at the front of the module now where the two farm buildings will go... hopefully I'll be able to finish this off tomorrow.

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You've made a cracking job of the barn, that's really good.

 

I too much prefer Slaters or EA Finecast sheets they are much easier to work with than Wills.

 

Looking great.

 

Al.

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Finished off the landform this morning and then spent some time this afternoon doing the messy job of putting down a layer of paper mache. The cutting is taking shape even if it is a bit soggy at the moment! 

 

I'll leave this to dry overnight and all being well I'll be able to add the plaster bandage on top tomorrow :)

 

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Put on the plaster bandage this morning and it's now set rock hard! Speaking of rocks, I'll be adding a few small ones to the side of the cutting since I have one of the Woodland Scenics moulds which I've never used. I mixed up some plaster for those a minute ago and am now waiting for them to set. All being well I'll add them to the layout tonight and then paint them rocks tomorrow morning before painting the ground brown in preparation for static grass. 

 

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If anyone's wondering what the flat area of expose polystyrene is on the right hand side, that's where my two small buildings will go eventually.

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9 minutes ago, Jeff Smith said:

Great progress.  How are you joining the rails across the baseboard joints?  Sorry if you've already covered this earlier......

 

Thanks @Jeff Smith. No problem, the rails aren't actually connected across the joints at all. On each module I'm making sure the rails are lined up to markers on my endplates so that they're consistent on every single board no matter which order they're setup in.

 

When the boards are bolted together there's only a 1-2mm gap between the rails which so far hasn't presented any problems with locos. For power, there are bus wires running underneath each module that feed power to the track. These have push connectors on each end to transfer the power from one module to the next.

 

Hope that all makes sense, it's a bit difficult to explain.

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11 hours ago, Jeff Smith said:

Sounds good, it probably wouldn't hurt to add Peco rail joiners, to ensure alignment rather than for continuity.

 

So far I haven't had any trouble with aligning the rails because of the markers on my endplates. There's also bullet dowels in each baseboard which keep the entire module aligned in a consistent way when joining up.

 

That said I have no idea what the longevity of this is, it all works today but in a year or two things might start to slip a little. The rails are soldered to brass screws at each end so I wouldn't expect it to happen but if it does retro fitting fishplates shouldn't be too much of a problem - it'll just make connecting up the modules a lot more fiddly!

 

Long story short: I'll carry on without for now but the option is there to retro fit them in the future if I ever need to. :lol:

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Just a quick update from the last few days... rocks have been made using the woodland scenics mould and have been added to the module with a little bit of modelling compound. These were painted using the leopard spot technique which was mostly successful (though I know what I'd do differently next time!).

 

Once this was dry the entire module was painted brown before I did the ballasting. I'll leave this to dry overnight before I hopefully starting on the static grass tomorrow. :)

 

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