Jump to content

A micro military layout in the 50s


Recommended Posts

  • RMweb Gold

Hi,

In the Jan 2000 issue of RM there is another article by Keith Harcourt describing the use of Kappaboard for baseboards, a very helpful guide.

 

In lieu of genuine Kappaboard, I have a pack of 5mm foamboard from Hobbycraft and I intend to follow Keith's principles except to use some 25mm polybead insulation to add rigidity without any noticeable weight penalty. Keith suggested hardboard bases for the track subroad bed but I have some lightweight aeromodelling plywood that can take screws for the point actuation.

 

The major restriction is the size, I am using two RUB 77ltr Christmas Tree which has an internal dimension of 1135 long x 232 wide x 340 deep or in old money 44.68" x 9,1" x 13.38", rather than using the SMS baseboard kit which uses the 232 /9.1" as the width, instead my board will slide in sideways in order to take full advantage of the 340/13.38".

 

There will be a full depth backscene that is removable.

 

Has anyone used foamboard for baseboards, was it successful and any comments, please?

 

Ignore the scale of the sketch, it is purely for illustrative purposes.

 

Pottendorf1b.jpg.12fbccd39e374b0b373000a086834be3.jpg

 

 

 

 

Thanks

 

Edited by Jack Benson
Typo corrected
  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

Take a look at the Shalfleet Quay - Isle of Wight thread in the Layouts forum - lots of information there about building a baseboard from 5mm foamboard.

 

(Despite my best efforts, I still cannot work out how to put a direct link into my post, but you will find the thread on the first page in the Layouts forum!)

 

Steve S

Edited by SteveyDee68
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I have not seen the article referred to in RM but I have been making baseboards from mountboard and foamcore for the last decade. However I am not convinced foamcore on it's own is stable or strong enough over the long term and with both materials care needs taking to avoid and allow for edge-on damage. Usually I use mountboard ( £10 for 4 A1 sheets from the Range) or make a sandwich of the two, the mountboard serving as the outer skin for strength and surface resistance. Multiple thickness is mostly used for strength with the top surface covered in cork for added resistance to damp from glue & paint used for the track/ballasting etc.

 

The big issues with foamcore in particular, and especially that from Hobbycraft, which I also use, is that it is very easy to crush/depress it - and it won't recover - and that if you use anything other than small beads of glue on the surface, say coat it to glue to another layer of any type, then it can warp badly, the surface contracting a lot. You have to allow for this in the basic design & construction.

 

The maximum size of board I have produced is 60" x 16". There were two hinged lengthways to get 60" x 32" for a small circular 2mm layout. Mostly though they have been single board jobs with often 'plug-in/plug-on' fiddle boards, again with a maximum length of 60" and width of around 10-12".

 

The big advantage is the fairly clean and easy way boards can be produce with the minimum of tools and the lightweight structure that results. Most of my shunting plank layouts weigh just a few kilos when finished so are easy to move around.

 

 

  • Like 2
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This has got me thinking. Maybe this has been done before but my gut tells me that laminating layers of foamboard and thin ply and possibly finishing the edges with thicker strips of ply would be quite sturdy for small baseboards

  • Like 2
  • Agree 1
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I used Kappaboard extensively in my design work for lightweight exhibition displays, up until the 1990s - panels up to 4ft x 6ft. A metal edge strip was available to reinforce the edges and some displays are, surprisingly, still in place today.  I would normally have only recommended these boards for short term/ limited display. The large boards do warp over time and the surface is liable to damage when depressed, but for small layouts, I think sandwiching three layers of board with a timber edging and batten reinforcement on the underside could be quite stable! The thicker foam board panels used in roof and wall insulation is another option, which is popular with modelmakers... the ability to carve out your landscape could be an added bonus, but a plywood base, with batten framework might be needed for stability. I feel the length of layout, you are contemplating, would require the foam board to have some kind of reinforcement, to prevent warping. It is a challenge!

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1
  • Informative/Useful 1
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

In the mid 90s, after some conversations with Mr KH as it happens, I built a rather rough prototypes of All Kappa Board baseboards just to see what was what.

 

The remnants of one of them are still as "good" as they were when built  - and that includes living in a shed, under a pile of junk for some 15 years.

 

I think it was originally 60 x 12 inches, and  I did use a lot of the board.....not much engineering thought went into it!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m building an N gauge minimum space layout 4ft x 6inch - using foamboard. I’ve sandwiched strips together them assembled a framework like a conventional baseboard. Glued together with a hot glue gun and lots of triangular bracing pieces

The whole thing is faced with 3mm ply to protect it. The layout couldn’t be lighter and so far seems good. Can lift it off the shelf one handed!

  • Like 4
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn’t take any photos of construction but I’ll try to take some of the underneath. 
the other benefit was that it could easily be made in the spare room with basic equipment during lockdown so didn’t need to buy anything. It was a great project to destress for a hour or so coming home from working at the hospital 

  • Friendly/supportive 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Have to agree with Izzy. The foamcore I used from Hobbycraft warped badly part way through a layout build. Did not want to scrap my work so i had to make up a wooden frame to replace the foamcore frame and then use clamps and strong glue to get it back flat? It worked but it is not ideal. The advice about laminating it may help resist any warping but personally I would not use it again without some additional support from a more substantial material. Hope that helps.

  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Woody C said:

Have to agree with Izzy. The foamcore I used from Hobbycraft warped badly part way through a layout build. Did not want to scrap my work so i had to make up a wooden frame to replace the foamcore frame and then use clamps and strong glue to get it back flat? It worked but it is not ideal. The advice about laminating it may help resist any warping but personally I would not use it again without some additional support from a more substantial material. Hope that helps.

 

I had similar with the Hobbycraft-sourced 5mm foamcore sheet on an H0 micro about 3' x 1'. Annoying, it warped badly enough that I junked the layout after less than 6 months. 

 

I'd used pva and hot glue (to tack things in place while the pva went off). I also sealed all surfaces (both faces of the foamcore) - I think my mistake was using a water-based paint as it warped after painting.

 

I've seen Keith give a talk/demo on his foamcore boards at a show (CMRA skills day, most likely) and his boards were very well engineered from a higher quality sheet than the Hobbycraft stuff I think. 

Edited by CloggyDog
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

If you plan to use 25mm poly for rigidity would you be better using styrodur on it's own? I use 40mm styrodur which is totally rigid and other than a cork tile surfacing I use as is. The sheets I ordered came in 4 x 2ft  that split nicely with a knife to give 4 x 1 micro layout sheets. A picture paints a thousand words.

PS trying to edge with foam board was fine but not as a backscene as paint caused it to warp.

20210208_083830.jpg

20210208_083840.jpg

Edited by bazzer42
Missed text
  • Agree 1
  • Informative/Useful 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I used foam core and Extruded foam for my layout. There are photos in RMWeb if you search for Jenswell (or click the link in my sig.)

The main baseboard was a 50mm slab of Knauf pink foam 1200 x 500 mm with a layer of aeromodeller light-ply beneath the track.

I used Hobbycraft foam core wrapped with Fablon for the layout surround. As noted it is not as sturdy as other brands and it does warp if it gets wet/pva.

I had used Hobbycraft foamcore for a building base. It bent like a banana and had to be replaced with mount board.

 

I used Staples black foam core for some of the structural modelling, platforms, ground surface and loading dock. Also for my Fiddle Sticks.

This is great stuff, it stays rigid and has a better paper/card surface than Hobbycraft white foam core.

I would use Staples black foam core again.

 

Cheers,

 

Chris

Edited by Chris_nicole
added link to my layout
  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

Hi,

 

Unfortunately, Staples black foam core board is no longer listed.   Click on link

Foamex is available by mail order but no idea of its suitability.

 

Maybe this new product at Hobbycraft will be more suitable Click here?

 

The decision to limit our purchases to Hobbycraft board and polybead is solely driven by availability in West Dorset (remember lockdown) therefore care will be taken in the construction not to use the boards as a structural item for legs etc. Instead a couple of readily available ironing boards will suffice.

 

Thank you

 

 

Edited by Jack Benson
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jack, 

 

I wrote about using Foamboard in another thread, as follows: 


 

Foamboard is an interesting material to work with, you definitely need to clad it in some sort of Ply if you're planning on moving the layout through around, as it's not very knock resistant. Make sure you use PVA and a hot glue gun for the joints, I've gone back in a few places where I just used hot glue during construction to add a bit more strength to the joints.

 

Also be mindful of if you're going to have an integral backscene or not, on Shalfleet Quay I've only got a backscene on two sides, which means they layout doesn't really act like a 'box' when lifting or moving it, so I had to go back and put a few more supports in some areas underneath to reduce deflection of the boards, as picking it it up and moving it placed a lot of stress through one of the supports underneath. The stuff is very easy to work with, so there's no need to scrimp on under-baseboard supports and bracing. I'd probably use 10mm stuff if I was to do it again, purely because it's so light, and you might as well use a material that's thicker and stronger to start with, but 5mm was totally fine for Shalfleet Quay. 

 

I would also consider putting down some sort of base for the track bed, possibly ply or something that wouldn't warp as this would add more strength and give something less shock absorbing for SEEP point motors to mount to, if you're using them. This would also mean that it would be easier to take up and put down track should your plans change halfway through. Having said this, I don't think it's essential to do this at all. 

Chris Nevard's photos on constructing Catcott Burtle are also very useful for baseboard construction, he used 5mm stuff and that's what I based my plans on. 

Hope that's of some use. 

Will

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

Thanks Will, 

 

Others have used Hobbycraft 5mm board without issue, thanks to adequate support and bracing, if the local Hobbycraft branch has the black foamcore board in stock, it may be an alternative. However it will still be appropriately braced and supported without any need to use the boards as part of the support, a pair of suitably modified ironing boards should be adequate and easy/cheap to procure.

 

The ends of the boards will be laminated with 3mm lightweight plywood to protect/provide support for the joints and alignment dowels as the layout has two boards. The backscene will be a separate device as the RUB boxes as too shallow. 
 

Normally the transformer and DCC systems gubbins would be mounted underneath a plywood layout but these will be external and merely a plug-in using a multi connector mounted on a piece of plywood laminated onto a baseboard. Similarly lighting is a couple of cheapo ‘Anglepoise’  copies with LED filaments, both separate from the layout.

 

Finally, for ease*, code 75 turnouts and Peco BH plain track with Peco basic motors mounted under the 3mm plywood track bases completes the set up.

 

Thanks

 

*If only Peco offered smaller BH turnouts.......

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

In hindsight and having checked my posts, I may have unfairly slandered Hobbycraft foam core.

I actually got my larger problematic A1 foamcore sheets from The Works.

 

I still stand by the black foamcore from Staples. That's good stuff.

 

Cheers,

 

Chris

Link to post
Share on other sites

I built a small baseboard from foamboard. It was 297x840mm (two A3 sheets). The frame was assembled from 60mm deep strips of foamboard and glued with regular pva. I used some triangular fillets in the corners to helped keep it square. 

It was very successful, and very light. It was a bit to small when my plans changed,  to be superceded by 50mm Celotex with plywood edging. Much more robust and not very much heavier. 

I make use of foamboard as a base for all my handbuilt track, and for a lot of other scenic elements. 

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...
  • RMweb Gold

As an apologetic postscript, the lack of reliable, better quality foamboard pushed me towards 6mm plywood, the weight penalty is offset by the durability. The boards fit sideways into RUB 77ltr storage boxes more normally used for Christmas trees, this differs from the format used by SMS whose modular boards fit in the boxes upright, which limits their width to just 8” whilst sideways is 13.5”. Moreover, the SMS module is a self contained unit just 42” long whilst mine are handed left and right to create a potentially infinite length, in reality a 84” two module diorama.

 

Rather than self supporting, we plan to use whatever trestles/tables are supplied but plonk the boards on the carrying boxes to gain 14” in height, a nice green cloth will cover the boxes. Again, lighting is not self contained, we bought two cheapo anglepoise lamps which sit on the trestle tops. All power supplies are remote from the boards, we use a freestanding DCC module (held in place by rubbers bands) whilst the power supply is a wallwart. 
 

We chose not to add unnecessary gubbins to the boards in order to save weight and to provide an opportunity to forget something. 
 

Unfortunately we have absolutely no idea what trackplan or subject to pursue, we have no intention of building yet another quayside or MPD, neither does the Forest of Dean interest us but a move away from urban industrial grot to rural industrial grot is appealing and a refreshing change......

 

3DE4A559-CA2E-4BBC-BFED-330DC458DC8C.jpeg.6fc8a4b555bdb66e78074a8fa5f817c3.jpeg

 

StaySafe

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think with small modules ply really isn't that heavy. I'm trying 10mm Foamex braced with additional strips, which is nice and rigid, but the weight saving over ply isn't that significant (it was more a case of not being able to get decent ply cut o size locally).

 

Rural industrial grot is always appealing - there seems to a fair few South West rural industrial scenes of late (I'm sure there must be other prototypes from different areas though). There's always the exchange sidings for coal/ironstone etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold
35 minutes ago, ManofKent said:

I think with small modules ply really isn't that heavy. I'm trying 10mm Foamex braced with additional strips, which is nice and rigid, but the weight saving over ply isn't that significant (it was more a case of not being able to get decent ply cut o size locally).

 

Rural industrial grot is always appealing - there seems to a fair few South West rural industrial scenes of late (I'm sure there must be other prototypes from different areas though). There's always the exchange sidings for coal/ironstone etc.

Agreed, the savings in weight are nullified by adding extra bits such as DCC paraphernalia, power supplies, integral lighting etc. Instead we intend to remove these bits and transport the boards as ‘cleanly’ as possible with all the gubbins in separate crates. 
OK, rural industrial grot, we also have a favourite subject the George Jennings South Western Pottery  that was on the edge of Parkstone and Poole Harbour. Once rural, it is utterly forgotten but the blog tells its tale. The upper exchange sidings have been attempted as a model but the ‘factory end’ of the line remains relatively unknown luckily we have a collection of unpublished images. Only one loco is needed, Hornby’s Peckett will do and we have found an old trackplan from a local map.

 

StaySafe

 

A5E461D6-006B-465A-A686-CA71F96D027D.jpeg.a04c13fb1c0f7b881ef2eb3899ceab30.jpeg

 

1E315B87-5EC6-40AC-A35D-5FA45D2134F8.jpeg.514ebd8315d5a085da95306297838d70.jpeg

  • Like 4
  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm no expert but that looks like a  W4 Peckett to me  -  The pipework is slightly different, but the Hornby Charity Colliery  Peckett wouldn't need much work to be a pretty good likeness.

 

I look forward to seeing the layout develop. Are you adding a section of the narrow gauge tramway?

  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

Hi,

 

The choice of ‘what to build next’ is the factory end of the pottery line. We have adapted from a large scale map which is pretty accurate and the enclosed trackplan shows what can be done with just 84”x13.5” .

4368E7CD-8745-4F27-8ECE-20719CC86380.jpeg.9490c041109d910f264ee9557edf14c4.jpeg

 

There is scope for some interesting 19th century industrial grot, whilst a Hornby ‘bargain’ is on its way from Rails. The result isn’t so much a layout as a diorama with movement but it does represent a lost slice of Dorset heritage. A short section of tramway from the clay workings will be somewhere on the diorama.

 

StaySafe

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

great topic guys, plenty of info, all my layouts apart from the box file have been built on foam board from either hobby craft or the range. the only real warping has been on the back scene after painting. I tend to build the layouts with about 2 inch depth similar to if was using ply and top with  a layer of foam board usually held together with hot glue gun. They are all fairly small layouts and I do move them about a bit and store them on their ends. none so far have actually fallen apart which is reassuring.

I do get the odd dent but as I don think any will be appearing in the model press or on the exhibition circuit  they hold up pretty well. extra bracing under the layout as you would with ply is a must but for cheap and light micro's it works well in my humble opinion.

Tony

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Dear RMWebbers,

 

Can't speak to the poor experiences noted above, but down here in the Antipodes,
inspired by Keith H, Mike Dannemann, Keiran Ryan, and others,
5mm Foamcore of various makes has been used extensively to build exhibition and home layouts,
some now clocking up over 2 decades and 1000s of kilometres of touring-circuit travel without issue.

 

Many of these have been documented online, Google any of the following:
- "Camp 4 Foamcore layout"
https://www.zelmeroz.com/album_model/members/klyzlr/Camp4.pdf
- "ChicagO Fork"
https://lone.net/trains/carendt.morphoist.com/scrapbook/page97a/index.html#chicago
- "ChicagHO Fork"
https://lone.net/trains/carendt.morphoist.com/scrapbook/page103a/index.html#chicago-fork
https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/magazine/mrh-2013-09-sep/layout-chicago-fork
- "Toorong"

https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/18802?page=1#comment-157401
https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/18802
- "Brooklyn 3AM"
https://lone.net/trains/carendt.morphoist.com/scrapbook/page87/index.html
- "Wood'n'Days" (On42 logging using Dead-rail and actual-wood rails!)
W4D_Pre_Con_Birthday.jpg

 

It's also worth checking out:

- Wetterall Food Services
http://mmrrc.blogspot.com/2014/04/wetterau-food-services-micro-layout_26.html
- Herrin Micro

https://herrinmicro.blogspot.com/

 

I've integrated Lighting, Control/DCC, 10s of discrete power-circuits + smoke gens + "Botex" laser-crab lighting effects, and even complete 2+2.1 speaker rigs _into_ the foamcore modules,
and have not experienced any weight or longevity issues which might prompt the nneed to "strip out and transport seperately" said equipment. ("Brooklyn 3AM" weighed in at around 12 kilos complete,
well within the 20 kilo "single man lift" rating of Aussie "WorkCover" OHS specs,
or a large bag of dry dog-food).

 

While I've not been picky about Foamcore sources,my latest/last "bulk order" of Foamcore was a 25-sheet carton of 3A Composites 5mm thick 60" x 40" foamcore. This scales out delivered at approx AUD$12 per sheet.
FWIW it only takes 2x sheets + a 60x40 sheet of matteboard to create a 5' x 2' x 2' "full proscenium" module which weighs in at under 7kilos "naked" (ready for track).

 

(Wanna try a free 1/10th sized example?
Download this PDF, print and glue to cereal box cardboard,
then cut out the components and tab/slot/glue together...
Straight_Foamcore_Module_1Tenth_scale.pdf )

 

My current build is another Foamcore multi-section exhibition layout,
and hope to have it ready for General Public exhibition debut for Oct... ;-)

 

Happy Modelling,
Aim to Improve,
Prof Klyzlr

  • Like 4
  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • RMweb Gold

Hi,

 

 All the good intentions to use this or that to make the new baseboards have been severly dented by reality and a trip, this afternoon, to the nearest Hobbycraft seems to be the best option.

 

I wonder if Wickes waterproof PVA is the best adhesive to use, it is easy to buy in bulk and doesn't affect my allergies.

 

The core intention to use the two RUB 77ltr containers remains. The trackplan has been tried with Anyrail software using a mix of medium and small Peco turnouts, there are no turnouts on the centre join and the curve is visually pleasing. 

 

spacer.png

 

 

StaySafe

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Jack Benson changed the title to A micro military layout in the 50s

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...