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Watchford - OO Gauge GWR in a 77L Really Useful Box (plus a bit...)


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Here comes another big ol' post...

 

Firstly, a side-project - literally! This has been in the works for some time but has yet to appear on these pages.

 

The layout is permanently set up on it's own shelf unit, next to my desk. Said shelf unit is about 4cm higher than the desk, and the board is about 4cm deep, meaning the track is about 8cm above the desk. And the desk is very long, and quite deep, and isn't really used for work that often anymore. And these embankment photo-planks are all the rage it seems... I think it's obvious where this is going! Some quick cardboard hacking and this was set up:

13.Theembankmenttakesshape(1).jpg.f90674c7ab9d24ddafef929968d02daa.jpg

 

It's not as direct as it first seems, there is a slight taper to take the track from the layout to as close to the wall as I can manage. The base also has to slim down behind the monitor, and rise up and over the base of the desk lamp and the extension cord. So taking all this into account, I assembled this:

13.Theembankmenttakesshape(3).jpg.0a8503996a50a7ad80c6305328241e0e.jpg

 

Multiple layers of corrugated card for the base, thick honeycomb card for the frame, and thin hardboard for the surface, all PVA'd together. And it sits on the desk like so:

 

13.Theembankmenttakesshape(4).jpg.098e5f70db3b7a6cbda8ae3726bdd511.jpg

 

Then things get interesting. The area over the desk lamp required some more precise formers to get the shape correct. I also decided to incorporate a bridge (dimensions purely based on the bit of card I grabbed to make it out of, and the Outer Home signal for Watchish - because in case it wasn't obvious, this section is fully connected.

13.Theembankmenttakesshape(6).jpg.08344a3baab0dc7c6d3231cf44f18bd1.jpg

 

Next up was forming the ground surface, using my preferred techniqu of papier mache over the card formers. I just find this method easier (and more readily available) than hacking about polystyrene, and also keeps the structure hollow for later access beneath. And perfectly stong and lightweight, I can pick it up with one hand!

13.Theembankmenttakesshape(7).jpg.78e5b9fa376924365092c02576e46117.jpg

 

Finally, today I added a first layer of ground cover. This is fine turf, held in place with watery PVA. I attempted using an old spray bottle, but this didn't work as well as I'd hoped - the glue kept tension, so rather than spraying into droplets, it came out in a single stream! Back to the old ways with a paintbrush.

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And so finally, what we've all been waiting for - what does it look like with trains on it? Pretty good...

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Clearly it still needs work - most obviously a backscene of some form, and a proper bridge. But it's getting there. I'm also keen to use this as a test-bed for static grass before using it on the main layout, but probably not for a while yet.

 

Meanwhile, speaking of the main layout, there has been bridge progress here too - the Langley Models bridge arrived this week. It's two sheets of vacuum-formed plastic, giving the bridge arch and wing walls. Here's the pile of bits all cut out - now to carefully prop them all up...

14.Assemblingthebridge(5).jpg.102040a81aa70394b68928fc016210fb.jpg

 

...Like so! The bridge in it's stock form is actually quite tall, so I carefully removed the bottom two courses of stonework to bring it in line.

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Just in case anyone was wondering, yes this layout is only 22cm deep - not noticeable from the front, but end-on, it shows!

14.Assemblingthebridge(3).jpg.e4a62ce37b347fd44ed13398bc8670b8.jpg

 

Since the kit has no inner walls, I also bought ordered a "rough stone" embossed sheet at the same time, intending to use for other walls around the layout. This turned out to be quite large, intended for both OO and O gauge; whilst it will be perfect for under the bridge, it might not be great for the other buildings. It's also transparent, which made cutting it surprisingly difficult!

14.Assemblingthebridge(1).jpg.18224a029abc5805ffe00f0f4621259f.jpg

 

So out I trekked to Wilko, to buy some grey primer. Probably not the most perfect paint or indeed application of said paint, but it's good enough I can actually see what I'm working with now.

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And once again, all propped up:

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Looking much better alread. Especially with a train underneath it!

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The stonework is exactly what I was after, and it has a slight arch to the roadway too. The thin vacuum-formed components mean it's going to need a rigid frame to be assembled; I need to give more attention to the track ends first though (the "glue, solder and hope" method has unsurprisingly not held very well). The biggest challenge though will be painting it convincingly; I've only ever attempted embossed brickwork before, and even then not with much luck, so any tips would be greatly appreciated!

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  • TechnicArrow changed the title to Watchford - OO Gauge GWR in a 77L Really Useful Box (plus a bit...)
  • 2 weeks later...
  • RMweb Gold

Having built my first layout (Radcliffe) over a radiator in my bedroom back in the late 60s I can't recommend it. The timber warped, no modern wood is truly seasoned, dark marks from heat rising and the track expansion was an issue. Actually in reverse as knowing it would I laid it warm therefore when it contracted the gaps were huge. I have no photos of it sadly.

 

I quite liked the track plan of it so one day a reincarnation of it as Radcliffe New Street might appear!

 

Edited by john new
A misspelling corrected.
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Thank you @john new for the words of wisdom! I'm well aware this is not an optimum position, however it is not going to be long-term by any means. And the whole structure is loose enough I can move it around to deal with any expansion, although how well that works when I start fixing the track down we shall see. I haven't really worked on the extension recently; I need to revisit the run-round loop structure until I have enough faith in it to use it regularly.

 

But in the meantime, I have embarked on a sidequest - the signals!

 

I have three on the layout - the Starter, a disc signal mounted to it acting as a Calling On for shunting purposes, and a separate ground Disc controlling exit from the yard loop. From my reading, I believe this ground disc should in fact be yellow, since it can be passed at Danger to enter the goods shed - but I also read that the GWR "didn't really bother" with yellow ones, so red it shall stay!

 

My first task was to assess what I have. They are all constructed entirely from bits of Ratio kits I have accrued over the years, including the operating mechanisms that go beneath them. The main post has two operating levers, one for the main arm and one for the disc; the ground signal has just the one.

Since the disc signals must be operated from the opposite side of the pivot compared to the main arm, the levers are constructed as mirror images; I needed to dismantle one of the existing levers in the base of the Starter to achieve that, and my was that a headache!

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Since the Starter already exists, I have been focussing on the ground signal. The disc is from the plastic sprue box, and is slightly overscale, but this allows me to make sure it works. It has a variety of holes drilled, using miniscule drills and a pin vice - the central hole for the pivot, the two lens holes (the lower green one being elongated), and the operating wire hole. And a second operating wire hole when I got the first one in the wrong place!

The disc is mounted to the bracket from the Ratio kit, with the counterbalance glued in the back. Following some research I mounted the bracket on an offcut of sleeper, carefully aligned with a sleeper from the pointwork. With some dry ballast sprinked around, it certainly looks the part!

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Right up until I tried to run a train...

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That ain't gonna pass! To resolve, I had to brush away the ballast, and widen the hole in the baseboard so I could slide the signal over. That's better. I did try to dig a new hole further away from the point blades too, but immediately ran into some supports under the baseboard... gues it's staying where it is!

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With the mechanics sorted out, I duplicated the disc for the one for the Starter post, and then it was onto painting. Simple enough, a couple coats of white, and then the red applied using the end of a coctail stick for precision.

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Now they're visible, I put them all in position for a little Sight Lines test - and yes, you can see them all, just about! The Calling On disc only needs to be visible for shunting anway so I'm happy enough.

 

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But I don't just want them to operate - oh no. I have more illuminated plans... you may remember back in April I purchased some tiny LEDs, which fit inside ModelU lamps. After deliberating over power requirements, I have realised my main lighting rig has a spare switched 12v supply that I can hijack. A little workbench testing proves the brightness is acceptable, with 3 LEDs in series and a 1K-ohm resistor. The brightness is further lowered by the lenses, as seen on this test arm.

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I have added lenses to the discs using Glue'N'Glaze, which I bought recently and tested on a few other items and a failed attempt signal first.

 

Next steps include colouring the disc lenses, actually mounting the Calling On disc onto the Starter post, and then fitting the LEDs into the lamps... plenty of fiddly fun for these dark winter nights!

PXL_20231119_162805816.MP.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Why have one side-project, when you can have several?

 

Firstly, a quick bodge I've been planning for a long while. I've been operating the layout with a standard Gaugemaster Combi, which I find has excellent form factor, but the twin cables - 16vAC power in, and two track power out - are somewhat annoying. I have noted they sell the Walkabout, which is effectively the Combi but with a long cable instead... so one piece of old telephone cable later, and we're sorted! Since the Combi has screw terminals for the outputs, two of which are effectively a pass-through from the 16vAC in, it is a very simple task to attach the wire without any warranty-voiding soldering needed. I did drill a small hole in the casing to keep it tidy, and a cabletie to prevent the cable being yanked out.

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At the other end, the cable passes through a neat hole in the baseboard, before the track feed wires are soldered to the the track (surprise suprise), and the 16vAC to a spare two-pin socket that the transformer can plug into safely. The overall effect being a walkabout controller! I wasn't intending on having the cable be this long, but it is quite useful...

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The other side-project of choice is rolling stock. Firstly, the easy way - buying it. A week and a half ago was, of course, Warley, the fruits of which can all be seen in the photos! We have my old standby 3705 hauling a fresh-out-the-box Fruit D (a Dapol model with more weight than I was expecting), as well as a Collett 63' corridor to double my GWR standard coaching stock. The station has also gained some GWR spearhead fencing, not that it even has a proper platform yet!

3705pullsintoWatchford.jpg.f3714c84e67ff4b6b17beeab3df29ac4.jpg

 

Secondly, the not-so-easy way - painting. Spending the day recovering from a family-wide stomach bug, and inspired somewhat by @MAP66's work (but with nowhere near the time and dedication), I pulled the lid off my airfix Autocoach and made some improvements. I started with the seating and walls, using Revell "wood brown" colour; whilst not overly detailed, this is enough to make the features stand out from their default plastic colour, and I won't be fitting lighting so won't be overly noticeable.

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Then, with the windows removed, I used "Reddish Brown" to colour the droplights. I considered mixing a colour to be closer - but using one already in the pots was easier, and again it's close enough! A final touch of blue to the axleboxes, and a black wash to the doorframes and end details, and the results are pretty good!

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The paint job is far from perfect, but adding these little spashes of colour and weathering help make the model feel deeper than the default cream colour of the base model. Now I just need to build a proper station for it to call at... one day, once I've exhausted the list of things I can procrastinate with!

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Good work on the autotrailer as the Airfix model responds well to some attention with a paint brush and a few little people. I've no idea why Airfix painted the gong in a metalic coppery colour, when the prototype was body coloured and a quick flourish with an appropriate cream lifts the front end further into reality.

 

Looking forward to your continued story.

 

Best,

 

Bill

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Let There Be Light!

 

This weekend I vowed to complete the signalling, if nothing else to clear them off my workbench. Last time I posted, the main arm and the ground signal were mechanically complete. Over the past few evenings I have been fettling the Calling On disc into some semblence of operation. It's still got a sticking point somewhere so it doesn't always return to Danger properly, but it does move.

 

So onto the lights! I decided the best power supply would be the same unit that drives the main lighting rig - this being a 12v supply intended for "RGB" LED tape, but since I'm using White/Warm White tape, it has a "spare" outlet. Using this unit means one less thing to find mains for, one controller can manage both daytime and nighttime lighting on the layout, and the bonus that I can connect it to the rest of my smarthome stuff! To give the LEDs a safe voltage and current, after some consultation with the resident electronics engineer (dad), I settled on a series circuit of three LEDs and a single 1k Ohm resistor. This means from the 12v supply each LED gets about 3v, which is about right, although does restrict me to needing to add any other LEDs in circuits of three at a time. AllLitUp.jpg.19130beecb261a74f68aa810ee31b32b.jpg

 

The LEDs themselves are "SMD" surface-mount types, that are incredibly tiny, but bought online with pre-soldered wires. I secured three inside some ModelU signal lamps. The lamps serve two purposes - they're scenic items, and have a fairly small lens hole to channel the light to exactly where I want it. The LEDs were fixed inside and the bases sealed with glue, followed by a coat of black paint, to cut out any stray light.

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Then it was a case of mounting the lamps in the right places behind the lenses. The main arm was simple enough, since the spectacle plates are quite large, and the new working lamps are the same size as the kit's original moulded ones (which were cut off). The discs were trickier - the lamps were a little too large, meaning the light didn't align with the spectacles. Both the lamps and the mounting brackets needed to be careflly reduced to bring the lenses in line, as well as being carefully glued as close to the back of the disc as possible. The ground signal worked quite well, the calling-on arm not so much, especially since it still wasn't quite working mechanically, so the lamp was left loose for the time being.

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Then it was soldering time. So much chaos for such little things!

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I threaded the wires, hooked everything up and dry-tested - all working. Then I soldered up each joint, turned the power on again, and... the main arm lamp was off. But the other two weren't, so it wasn't a broken circuit - the damned LED had failed! An LED that was glued inside a lamp, on the side of a signal post... it all had to be dismantled, the lamp removed, the LED dug out. This time I soldered up a new LED before I glued it in place, just to be sure, but luckily we got all three lamps lit.

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Then I could re-glue the LED into the lamp, and the lamp onto the post. Fiddly work that I really didn't want to redo, since it was never quite as good as it was the first time around! But once it was all sorted, I linked up the strings and levers again, and turned off the main lights, and the whole thing is suddenly worth it. It's tricky to get decent photos of lit signals after dark at this size, but I tried anyway...

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I'm really pleased with how little light spill there is, especially from that ground signal - the most light you can see is through the lens (which isn't coloured yet, hence it's just white). The CO arm lamp is obviously loose, but the main arm lamp light is all red - it's just unfortunate it spills onto the backscene, but there's not much can be done. I might have to fix a tiny shade on the arm or something.

 

By daylight, the ground signal is definitely the star of the show - I'm really pleased with this little chap, it's the smoothest and neatest of the trio. I can't wait to get some ballast down and it all bedded in.

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So, I almost completed my challenge. I have got the signals off my workbench, although only two of the three actually work, and the discs still need coloured lenses. Still, I can now move onto something else, and enjoy the little pinpricks of light glowing in these dark evenings.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, it's another new year, and therefore one year since I started this project. I've returned to my lodgings after a christmas with the family, so it's a good time to take a fresh look at where I am with this layout - and set some goals for the coming year!

 

Review

FIrst step, is to give it a shakedown. I took everything loose off, to see the layout in true bare-bones form. Not as much is fixed down as I'd like! But it is good to confirm we do do have functional trackwork, points and signals, and of course the backscene and lighting rig.

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Then I could do a premature spring-clean - these layouts are excellent dust-traps, aren't they? I gave the rails a good clean, and propped up the layout to brush off all the loose debris - rubbings, wood dust, and loose ballast all make a lovely mix.

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Laid flat again, I re-stocked with buildings in their various states. That's a bit better! The signal box is the most complete, followed by the overbridge, then the goods shed and station which are still placeholder shells. Also at the front is a new idea - the yard area was feeling cramped, so I plan to build a road-only "add-on" to the front of the layout, not extending any further forwards than the lighting rig, just to give a bit more road area. It can also provide somewhere to put a front fence and gateway for photography.

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Just for fun, here's a shot from January last year. Plenty has changed, but it's still definitely the same layout!2.TriallingLayouts(4).jpg.cde0c133b455415f6edbd4cc39b796c3.jpg

 

Rolling Stock
The eagle-eyed may have noticed what's pulling into Watchford in the Overview shot above. My first new loco purchase for over 2 years, I now own a Rapido WR 15xx!

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I've been contemplating one of these beasts for a long time, then a certain someone pointed out Hattons were selling them cheap... I bought it myself, but put it under the tree for Christmas morning anyway! It is a maginficent beast, with complex valvegear topped off with unmistakeable GWR flavour. I have 1506, in plain BR black; I may add BR decals to the tanks, I'm undecided. As a Newport freight engine, it's a little bit out of place on this branch passenger set, but I call Rule 1 :-p

 

The passenger stock is also new, being a Hornby Collet 57' coach in BR crimson. This was another unmissable Hattons offer, and ideal for this branchline setting.

 

Finally, I have retrieved some more stock from home, to run on Watchford - a Bachmann GWR 45xx Prairie, and a pair of Airfix B-Set coaches.

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Finally, some proper GWR branchline power! The 45xx runs reasonably well, but has excessively high start-up torque which I will investigate. I also plan to upgrade the Airfix B-set, given the success I had with the Autocoach. They may well be exchanged for more Hornby 57' Bow-Ends in the future, but for now I can at least tidy them up a bit.

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Coming Up

So, what's up for this layout in 2024? This is mostly for my own reference, I find organising is easiest with lists. But there does need to be some semblence of prioty - there are many jobs which I want to do, but are held up by previous ones I don't!

 

Watchford:

1. Build the platform structure

2. Paint the overbridge and platform

3. Finish the signal box staircase

4. Ballast and ground cover

5. Goods Shed

6. Station Building

 

The Extension:

1. Build extra cassettes

2. Solidify run-round board structure

3. Install point control

4. Paint bridges

5. Ballast

6. Vegetation - I intend to use this to test use of static grass

7. Possibly add signals to run-round loop

 

There are many more ideas floating around, and even more will crop up I'm sure. And many of my weekends are already being filled up... so I guess I should get on with it!

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A quick little update, maybe I'll get better at these in 2024? Probably not, knowing me!

 

Nevertheless, I have been spending recent evenings painting things.

 

Firstly, the Airfix B-Set. I've made a start on "upgrading" these coaches, by deciding to se if I can manage painting the droplights on one. First up was dismantling it - this proved a challenge, since there are no screws involved, only clips. It is in fact the glazing that is clipped onto the seats; the seats are screwed to the chassis from within, and the press-fit of the glazing into the bodyshell is what keeps it in place. Prising open the bodysides therefore isn't enough to release the clips, it's the glazing that needs to be pulled outwards too.

 

Nevertheless, once it was dismantled, out came the paint!

1. Interior - Benches a coat of orange-brown, and floors dark grey.

2. Sides - Droplights on each door, the same dark red I used on the autocoach. A black wash bled into the doorframes, to highlight the surprinng amount of moulded detail.

3. Roof - Old thick black paint sanded off, and grey brushed on. Upper chocolate stripe tidied up (luckily, as a raised detail, this was easy to keep straight).

4. Bogies - A spot of blue to the axleboxes.

 

I hope the results speak for themselves!

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Since I have only painted one coach so far, we can have a little before-and-after:

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The biggest improvement is undoubtedly the droplights and weathering, which pick out the doors and show just how much detail these old models have. They benefit from having flush glazing, even if it is somewhat thick.

 

For the second coach, I will try to be a bit more careful with the weathering, I may have to return to this first one and touch it up as a less-clean coach. I also need to source some replacement air vents (there are precisely two out of the 18 I should have), some metal wheels in place of the clunky plastic ones, and possibly a close-coupling between them. Other than that, I'm very happy with where these are headed, and far cheaper than buying new coaches!

 

Secondly, the ground signal now has coloured lenses! The original plan for these was to borrow some translucent paint, but I keep forgetting to pick it up. However, whilst I was buying stationery today, I realised a pack of coloured permanent markers would probably do the trick just fine. So I tried them out. the red is red and the green is green; what more do you need?

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A phone camera on 3x zoom is of course incredibly cruel, and also not great at picking up the light the same way the eye does, but I should probably try to tidy the white paintwork a bit.

 

Not photographed, I did also applied some green to the main starter's lens, since I thought the stock one from the kit was always quite washed-out. It turned out very well.

 

To finish this evening then, a quick video - featuing 4527, the repainted B-Set, and the coloured signals. Enjoy!

 

It's definitely getting there... but I should *really* start building that platform properly sometime soon!

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On 02/01/2024 at 09:15, luke the train spotter said:

I like the little scenic section extension at the front a lot. I might have to steal that idea to add a bit more depth to Dalmunach. 

 

Cheers Luke, sorry I missed this just now! Even the small area a lot to the scene; more road space is important for a rural setting, since land would have been cheaper allowing more generous yards. The wedge-shape also helps to draw the eye back into the scene at each end, since it's too late to extend the backscene further forwards.

 

I'm working on building it up using my usual carboard sandwhich method, so it should appear again soon!

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On 08/01/2024 at 22:41, TechnicArrow said:

I'm working on building it up using my usual carboard sandwhich method, so it should appear again soon!

 

We have a structure now!

Screenshot_20240113-131852.png.4a86970928506a134c03f56a636f1f7c.png

 

This is truly a multidimensional cardboard sandwich. The deck is two layers of corrugated card, laid with the corrugations perpendicular to eachother, and topped with cereal box card. The supports are corrugated card with a layer of cereal box card on both faces, cut into strips with the corrugations running vertically, and laid out in a truss pattern. A further single layer of corrugated card forms the base. The whole thing is held together with PVA throughout. Resulting in, as usual, a lightweight and strong box. At some point I'll give it a fascia piece to tidy it up.

 

Now, the shape. It was built as an asymmetric wedge, to mimic the angle of the front siding. This gives a viewing through the gateway on the left:

Screenshot_20240113-142803.png.d6f1d4b143c0a9259ae8676d8ddf051d.png

 

And a nice open yard space in front of the siding, with the front edge neatly matching the photography angle back towards the bridge at the end.

Screenshot_20240113-131918.png.121faa952e4ca390371c5dba0560b0e0.png

 

Now that I've built it, part of me wants to flip it 180, so the main photo view is from the gate! I probably won't - the structure would be upside down, there would be more space outside the railway gates than within, and as much as I like the gate sightline from the Operating end, I need some good views from the Desk end too. Who knows, I might even use the yard space for a crane...

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OK, another long ol' post incoming! It's been a week of dark, cold evenings - which of course means lots of modelling...

 

We started this week with a purchase from Wizard Models. This was initiated by the need for some replacement Roof Vents for the old Airfix B-Set. In the best of traditions, things were added... more on those in later.

 

First, making a mess!

RoofVents(1).jpg.dfe07f75c1c2296cb2a69c10372556a5.jpg

 

I removed the remnants of the moulded vents with scalpel and sandpaper (and tried to remove some of the more offensive paint streaks). Then I added the new vents. They come in a pack of 24, which seemed like a lot given I only needed 9 per coach. I discovered why as soon as I cut one off the sprue - they are very good at pinging off the bench, and are tiny enough to never be seen again!

 

The second coach received the similar treatment, but with a lot less work since the roof is still the original white. I am intending to keep the roofs different colours for a bit of variety, but will probably need to do some form of weathering. And sneaking into this photo is one of the additional purchases - some etched signs, being painted.

RoofVents(2).jpg.9eb63463ae4ac8d3602cfc6692a721c6.jpg

 

The other item in the basket was a whitemetal GWR bufferstop. The Peco Bullhead one I've been using up until now was a little bit too modern and overkill for a rural station, this one fits a lot better.

GWRBufferstop(1).jpg.462004e3a4614ade8c4da425fdb6a654.jpg

 

It is simply two cast-metal sideframes, with some wire for tie-rods, and a wooden beam. The sideframes include the rail in the moulding, to match Code 75; they do need some sleepers to clip into, but I seem to have hoards of them anyway. One advantage is that by butting up to the track, instead of clipping onto it, I effectively gain two inches of siding - very useful!

 

This was a pleasant evening's work - gluing down the siding and sleepers, then fixing in the frames, adding the tie-rods and beam, and giving everything a coat of black paint. The base rail and chairs were painted in the same reddish-brown I've used for the rest of the trackwork to blend it in, and a blob of extra paint hides the gap necessary to ensure the cast-metal frames don't cause a short! Some spare rails stored beneath it complete the look. I still haven't painted the face of the beam, but I might just leave it bare for now.

 

GWRBufferstop(4).jpg.5253f4e6eadce91340a2988ff0869310.jpg

 

The next item I added showed up during a tidy-up of my modelling draw (aka the dumping drawer), and I thought I should add it before I lose it again! It's a point lever for the front siding, since it wouldn't be controlled from the signal box. I cut some extra sleepers to "extend" out from the point, then added the lever and some wooden footboards to either side. It's been placed far away enough that even the Autocoach won't hit it when passing into the siding, not that it should ever need to!

PointLever(1).jpg.71539c0f2b953548bbff0caf06b9b767.jpg

 

Painted up, and with a shunter posed nearby, it adds a lovely focal point to the scene, viewed from the Yard Gate. And oh look, there's one of those signs too...

PointLever(3).jpg.7c84706bf8d04db25979525114247e93.jpg

 

And finally (I did warn you it's a long post) - the bridge. No, I still haven't painted it properly, I've been building some more structure instead. Once again, it all starts by making a mess!

BridgeStructure(1).jpg.4b9b621ba2ca02798989b7c2ca9553ba.jpg

 

The goal here was for the bridge to look (and be) solid, especially with the wing walls - but since the lever frame has expanded to 8 levers, it takes quite a chunk out from where I would usually put formers. It also means the fascia and "Inner fascia" around the lever frame don't really have much to secure to. Nevertheless, here it all is! I've topped it off with a card road deck, and a strip of paper for the embankment; I'll come back and papier-mache that once I've sorted the rear wingwall too.

BridgeStructure(4).jpg.05de5b15c30f66eddc3a4923d877496e.jpg

 

But there's a trick up my sleeve - so that I can still get to the levers and/or trackwork to fix any problems that may arise, the entire structure is removable. Achieveing this meant even more cutting and gluing was involved, to keep it solid without gluing to the baseboard! There are a pair of low wooden strips glued to the board which locate the bridge in position, but everything else is held together with corrugated card formers, UHU, and hope. It's honestly surpringly solid! Now I just need to paint it...
BridgeStructure(3).jpg.ded0a98eb24c167abe315c0199883e20.jpg

 

So finally, can I get this week's work in one photo? Not quite, sorry bufferstop!

AllInOne.jpg.4441e461f67ae7a46ea2e9c495c250d2.jpg

 

, I've just spotted I've got some black paint on the backscene... that's joing to be a right pain to hide. Oh well, you can't win them all!

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  • RMweb Gold

A great update, thank you! Where did you get the buffer stops please? I’m now planning a wee inglenook with Bullhead track and find your comments about the appearance of the Peco versions and the added inches the metal ones allow very interesting. Cheers 👍

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3 hours ago, Andrew D said:

Where did you get the buffer stops please?👍


They were one of the items I bought from Wizard Models (no connection, hadn't even heard of them until last week!).

 

https://www.wizardmodels.ltd/?s=GWR+buffer+stop+&post_type=product&title=1&excerpt=1&content=1&categories=1&attributes=1&tags=1&sku=1&orderby=date-DESC&ixwps=1

 

They do both whitemetal and brass versions, I went for the cheaper! Just needs a bit of tidying up and a few holes drilling you're good to go. From previous experiences of whitemetal I was concerned it might not have much stopping power, but it's survived a few trains being accidentally rolled into it so it's probably fine!

 

 

3 hours ago, Andrew D said:

I’m now planning a wee inglenook with Bullhead track,

 

I'm looking forward to it already 😉

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15 hours ago, TechnicArrow said:

OK, another long ol' post incoming! It's been a week of dark, cold evenings - which of course means lots of modelling...

 

We started this week with a purchase from Wizard Models. This was initiated by the need for some replacement Roof Vents for the old Airfix B-Set. In the best of traditions, things were added... more on those in later.

 

First, making a mess!

RoofVents(1).jpg.dfe07f75c1c2296cb2a69c10372556a5.jpg

 

I removed the remnants of the moulded vents with scalpel and sandpaper (and tried to remove some of the more offensive paint streaks). Then I added the new vents. They come in a pack of 24, which seemed like a lot given I only needed 9 per coach. I discovered why as soon as I cut one off the sprue - they are very good at pinging off the bench, and are tiny enough to never be seen again!

 

The second coach received the similar treatment, but with a lot less work since the roof is still the original white. I am intending to keep the roofs different colours for a bit of variety, but will probably need to do some form of weathering. And sneaking into this photo is one of the additional purchases - some etched signs, being painted.

RoofVents(2).jpg.9eb63463ae4ac8d3602cfc6692a721c6.jpg

 

The other item in the basket was a whitemetal GWR bufferstop. The Peco Bullhead one I've been using up until now was a little bit too modern and overkill for a rural station, this one fits a lot better.

GWRBufferstop(1).jpg.462004e3a4614ade8c4da425fdb6a654.jpg

 

It is simply two cast-metal sideframes, with some wire for tie-rods, and a wooden beam. The sideframes include the rail in the moulding, to match Code 75; they do need some sleepers to clip into, but I seem to have hoards of them anyway. One advantage is that by butting up to the track, instead of clipping onto it, I effectively gain two inches of siding - very useful!

 

This was a pleasant evening's work - gluing down the siding and sleepers, then fixing in the frames, adding the tie-rods and beam, and giving everything a coat of black paint. The base rail and chairs were painted in the same reddish-brown I've used for the rest of the trackwork to blend it in, and a blob of extra paint hides the gap necessary to ensure the cast-metal frames don't cause a short! Some spare rails stored beneath it complete the look. I still haven't painted the face of the beam, but I might just leave it bare for now.

 

GWRBufferstop(4).jpg.5253f4e6eadce91340a2988ff0869310.jpg

 

The next item I added showed up during a tidy-up of my modelling draw (aka the dumping drawer), and I thought I should add it before I lose it again! It's a point lever for the front siding, since it wouldn't be controlled from the signal box. I cut some extra sleepers to "extend" out from the point, then added the lever and some wooden footboards to either side. It's been placed far away enough that even the Autocoach won't hit it when passing into the siding, not that it should ever need to!

PointLever(1).jpg.71539c0f2b953548bbff0caf06b9b767.jpg

 

Painted up, and with a shunter posed nearby, it adds a lovely focal point to the scene, viewed from the Yard Gate. And oh look, there's one of those signs too...

PointLever(3).jpg.7c84706bf8d04db25979525114247e93.jpg

 

And finally (I did warn you it's a long post) - the bridge. No, I still haven't painted it properly, I've been building some more structure instead. Once again, it all starts by making a mess!

BridgeStructure(1).jpg.4b9b621ba2ca02798989b7c2ca9553ba.jpg

 

The goal here was for the bridge to look (and be) solid, especially with the wing walls - but since the lever frame has expanded to 8 levers, it takes quite a chunk out from where I would usually put formers. It also means the fascia and "Inner fascia" around the lever frame don't really have much to secure to. Nevertheless, here it all is! I've topped it off with a card road deck, and a strip of paper for the embankment; I'll come back and papier-mache that once I've sorted the rear wingwall too.

BridgeStructure(4).jpg.05de5b15c30f66eddc3a4923d877496e.jpg

 

But there's a trick up my sleeve - so that I can still get to the levers and/or trackwork to fix any problems that may arise, the entire structure is removable. Achieveing this meant even more cutting and gluing was involved, to keep it solid without gluing to the baseboard! There are a pair of low wooden strips glued to the board which locate the bridge in position, but everything else is held together with corrugated card formers, UHU, and hope. It's honestly surpringly solid! Now I just need to paint it...
BridgeStructure(3).jpg.ded0a98eb24c167abe315c0199883e20.jpg

 

So finally, can I get this week's work in one photo? Not quite, sorry bufferstop!

AllInOne.jpg.4441e461f67ae7a46ea2e9c495c250d2.jpg

 

, I've just spotted I've got some black paint on the backscene... that's joing to be a right pain to hide. Oh well, you can't win them all!

Like the use of card, a very much ignored medium these days.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm a bit late back,but cheers @john new, card is still my default medium!

 

I mentioned in Luke's thread about my ballast, but realised I'd never posted it here, so time for a bit of an update.

 

A few weeks ago, I fancied an evening task that didn't need me to use either a screen or a brain, so I started the ballasting. A while ago I bought some Woodland Scenics brown, and I have a collection of old fire ash, soil and sand. I'd done some dry-tests mixing the ash into the ballast to tone down the colour, so I thought I'd go ahead and glue some down.

 

I started in front of the signal box, working forwards up to the loop line; for the yard sidings I switched to just ash, with some other materials pushed into the surface to represent spot repairs.

received_386701630617077.jpeg.0a7f57abdcf0374b32904cb0493f67bf.jpeg

 

Unfortunately, I have once again been fooled by my poor perception of colour. Whilst I didn't want my ballast to be bright fresh grey, this is very bright brown instead! The ash basically washed out and achieved nothing. To the left is unglued ballast, and the middle and right is glued - nothing here is really the right colour.

received_862801368918861.jpeg.e1144f38a3edeec30299a65772d329b2.jpeg

 

The yard surface has come out nicely, especially with the blend from ballasted track. But looking at other layouts, and especially inspired by @luke the train spotter's painting, I think I need to take up the ballast, give it a repaint, and try again with something more grey. Luckily, the glue was too dilute, so that will be quite easy!

 

But in the best tradition of not making decisions, I've been doing something completely different instead. Namely, the goods shed.

 

Using Wills stone sheets backed onto thick card, I have built up the gable-end and road-facing walls, based on the sheds at Watchet and Dunster respectively. I've used scored card to represent planning over the rail doorway.

received_3631488740424255.jpeg.208e23717272e4b76708a8c1f4a0e4fd.jpeg

 

Then I built up the loading platform, completely guessing at dimensions - using photos from @DRoe96's goods shed, the road vehicles I have, and some rounding to the nearest centimetre! The right-hand door will be modelled mostly closed anyway, to hide the fact I'm only modelling two-thirds of the length.

received_405546025267035.jpeg.11d36c96fca86de2039bbb16f90b4bdf.jpeg

 

You can also see my stone carving efforts on the doorway, to blend the texture around the sharp edges of the plasticard. I'll need to come back and add quoins and archway to this anyway, likely with some thin card.

 

This is about the extents of the model - I'll represent the interior of the rear walls, but the exterior can never be seen so I'm not planning to bother! Still, it's looking good viewed from both ends of the layout.

received_683813617295414.jpeg.25fd7c6c74703ca43e810df5bc67f301.jpeg

 

received_2113613009002497.jpeg.71a0edbd9068023f1a9d42b8eb03b445.jpeg

 

I need to polish up some edges, then glue it all together; a flat card base and the platform keeps the whole structure rigid without the roof. And then, one day, I'm going to have to ruin the whole model by painting it ... As I think I've proven, I'm a typical engineer - good at structures and mechanisms, but terrible at colour!

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  • 2 weeks later...

There has been goods shed progress!

 

Firstly, following a trip down to Antics last weekend, I have obtained some Slaters 4mm stonework plasticard. This was primarily for the station platform wall, but I quickly realised I have plenty, and it would do excellent for the shed interior walls. I cut out and fixed some to the inside of the rear wall (which doesn't have external stonework!), with openings for two windows; these are leftover ScaleModelScenery lasercut offerings I bought for a warehouse on Alexandra Wharf. Then they were liberally whitewashed with acrylic.

received_1084928152706435.jpeg.5dd9dabb1b9b2e2d08998ba0fca0546f.jpeg

 

With this complete, I could finally assemble all four walls into a singular structure, which I did. I also affixed some Quoins to the corners - simply a thin card piece with regular 4mmx6mm cutouts, and painted a brown earth colour to match the stonework, although this won't be the final colour.

received_1578606696230646.jpeg.2cef056d1f7a4c2b61a7999bcb398ba5.jpeg

 

Then I had an idea. Since the structure is a 2/3rds relief model, looking through the open door you just see the end board not a big shed. I have employed several tricks to conceal this, with a half-shut door, and a stack of crates against the "false" wall. But to conceal the lack of a continuing rail, I needeed something else. So I dug out an old Airfix/Dapol kit-built cattle van, and the junior hacksaw...

received_708246848163394.jpeg.087c27d91709a31f2a5769a5580a9e6d.jpeg

 

It's brutal, but I never run this wagon anyway! The remaining wagon still has both axles, so it can sit sticking out from under a bridge or a shed on my other dioramas. Once I'd done the same to the roof, I could fix the stub end to the false wall, and I think the effect is very convincing, especially in the gloom of the shed. It will have internal lighting one day, but probably not soon!

received_1473065019908212.jpeg.442215aa0b12a7070265324d04f9fcfb.jpeg

 

received_421219373603858.jpeg.f80739cfd3b7534d4e2ec78ce63e4a59.jpeg

 

Finally, a few other touch-ups, and we have a complete-looking shed! I've cut the roof from two sheets of Wills slates (which are what defined the maximum length of the shed). I could then add bargeboards, before a touch of cream paint to all the woodwork.

received_761517179376508.jpeg.9a4af0cedbf46f4a39eff660f551a629.jpeg

 

That's where we are for now. Whilst the warm Cotswold-stone colour is quite pleasing, it's not the final goal, it's just what colour the Wills stonework happens to be! I'll need to mix up a suitable Watchet yellow-grey, which could be interesting. I'll probably procrastinate by building something else first!

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  • 1 month later...

You'd never believe it but there has in fact been progress... just quite slowly!

 

Following the decision that my ballast wasn't up to scratch, I've been experimenting, using The Extension as a testbed - that's what it's for, after all! I obtained some Woodland Scenics medium grey ballast, and tried various blends with the Brown, the ash, and other materials. I settled on a mix that is predominantly grey, with only small amounts of added brown and ash. This was glued to the track with dilute PVA as usual, but then I tried something new - a brown "tank track" enamel wash was brushed along the rails, allowed to bleed over the ballast too. This mix has finally given me a track look that I'm happy with, at least for this section of running line. Of course, adding the backscene helps - it was only posed there, I should get it set up properly.

received_1786426655177612.jpeg.af494fa36295f5df84a36591747fcc11.jpeg

 

Since the main layout represents a station and yard, and uses Code 75 rather than 100, I've bought some Fine grade ballast rather than the Medium used on The Extension, so we'll see how that looks.

 

This means the next thing was to remove that Brown ballast I laid back in February. In the process I noticed the yard point wasn't sitting level anymore, probably some loose ballast made it's way under it, so I pulled the fishplates back and lifted the whole thing (with a little help from the Permanent Way crew!).

received_720531183336144.jpeg.d523c7a15d3671ac2237fccea38af872.jpeg

 

I peeled off the top layer of card, leaving a clean fresh base, and relaid it - magic! Unfortunately, the mechanism doesn't quite fully throw the blades in one direction, it's catching on something, so needs more fettling.

received_1570793013700121.jpeg.3a18e944a53b778ab28d4862e81c356c.jpeg

 

Whilst I was removing the ballast I also flattened out some of the yard ash, and applied the tank track wash to the siding rails. It's getting there, but looking at other layouts for late GWR period, I think I need to make this paler and add more grass. Still, it looks good for a spot of shunting.

received_754031546837785.jpeg.5dfb89f2d44090305c6a0bec450eff7c.jpeg

 

Finally, I've been fettling the signals, with proper translucent paints rather than the cheap permanent marker which faded quite quickly. The calling-on disc is a bit dodgy, but the main arm and ground signal work beautifully, and with the WiFi controller running all the lighting I can dim them quite easily. I need to get some lights on the signal box though!

received_7727193597304442.jpeg.24259e52473aa9d7d7804867b39f3ad5.jpeg

 

Progress always feels slow, but looking back in this thread always reminds me how far I've come, and there's plenty more to do. Should probably get on with it then...

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