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Wellwood


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‘Wellwood’ will be the final section for my wall-hugger ‘Shelf Island’ for the time being, probably until I move house. I am not sure how this part of the layout will turn out, but I can at least start a topic to show off the baseboard and write about how the scenics might turn out to be.

 

The baseboard is just shy of 1.5 metres long, and has a shape along the front to complement the front of the ‘Shelf Marshes’ section to the right:

DSCF2052.jpg.c42de73e894b7ace331be4d21468c4f4.jpg

 

I think, there are some things in our lives which we do not enjoy doing and are not very good at. For me one of these is woodwork. I can cope with modest building tasks like undoing a household door frame and re-aligning it with wedges, but such a thing is of course fixed to solid masonry. A model railway baseboard I find incredibly difficult because I want to make something which really does have truly flat and straight parts, and which I am trying to make from materials full of curves and warps.

 

This particular baseboard is the hardest I have ever built, but I did change the design twice along the way. Roughly speaking it is the simple open-top design drawn by John Ahern in the 1950s ("Miniature Landscape Modelling"), but built upside-down so the longitudinals are on the top and able to hold the railway on an embankment. I built the embankment first, with the ply track bed pinned and glued to only one longitudinal, glued but not pinned to the other a few inches away, and the assembly placed on the floor of my office, which actually is pretty well flat, and left under eight concrete blocks to set solid:

P1030718.jpg.4711d36fd7c5cd7c8b6dddac863711dc.jpg

 

After this, I fixed on the curving front at its left end first, left to fully harden ...

P1030752.JPG.3457f65352b24db0dde8852711ff0ce6.JPG

 

... and then hauled and shoved and fixed into place at the front right.

 

The backscene is a bit shallow but I have fixed it on with screws so I can have a taller one another day. The backscene solves the last millimetre or so of vertical curvature in the spine of the embankment:

DSCF2036.jpg.eb9164f1ff5339abb8499c116bd7303e.jpg

 

DSCF2038.jpg.806894a03ad5b3907d5fcab9188852a3.jpg

 

So, I am using 4 mm ply as a track bed, expecting it to be flat, as a backscene, expecting it to hold itself upright, and as a fascia expecting it to hold a reverse curve. I expect, a carpenter would do the whole thing in an afternoon, without any fuss. Me, I took ten days. I do think the pine stripwood I used is a worthwhile purchase over the usual spruce, but the rest is best worked out by the individual modeller. This baseboard follows a prototype I built on a flush door:

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blogs/entry/24296-wellwood-provisional-version/

 

The flush door is far easier to do, but the embankment would have to be added on the top and not be an integral part of the baseboard structure.

 

It is perfectly possible, this baseboard will never get any track beyond some sections of Kato Unitrack resting along the embankment. The scenic area is about 4 1/3 square feet so a little over the limit of a micro but I think the project belongs here as a diorama of some kind. For the scenics I can imagine quite a few different treatments:

 

  1. An 0 gauge test track with a point and a siding
  2. The setting of the local railway preservation society (in H0 of course), again some track and a siding
  3. A length of 009/H0e track to run my modest NG collection
  4. A siding from the main line, descending a little in front of the embankment to serve the model oil depot I built for Shelf Marshes and ran out of space to include. This would let me use this section as a temporary fiddle yard while I work on the original baseboard of “three intertwined micros”.
  5. A scenic section without man-made structures, good for photography where the trains set the scale of the landscape.
  6. A scenic section with perhaps a watermill and a pond, but again no railway part.


I should add, I did try to make this as a narrow bridging section only 200mm or so wide throughout, but in my hobby room it made 'Shelf Marshes' look like an afterthought I had decided to connect to the rest of the system.  Hence the curving front:

DSCF2050.jpg.275cb8ba7a7a369a46d1e7a3ab7045d3.jpg

 

Goodness knows what I will end up with.

 

More suggestions for the scenics would be good.

 

- Richard.

Edited by 47137
Added lost photo (eight concrete blocks holding things flat)
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  • RMweb Gold
2 hours ago, Kevin Johnson said:

Richard I do like the construction of your basedoard.

I suppose I like it now it is done but I cursed a lot during its gestation.

 

Harry cat (previous photos) belongs to my neighbours but likes my garden and house probably more than theirs. He even sleeps on my bed.

Harry is not allowed in the hobby room, and he knows this but probably not really quite why (incompatibility of 1:1 cat and 1:87 model trains).

Harry sat quietly watching me wrench this baseboard into being.

Perhaps Harry thinks this is a monster of some kind, for bigger creatures like me to have to fight with, and this is why he must not go into the hobby room.

 

- Richard.

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  • RMweb Gold
17 hours ago, Kevin Johnson said:

Richard I do like the construction of your basedoard.

 

I much prefer open top designs to solid tops, because the ground surface can go below the railway as well as above. Also they are much lighter. Even something as mundane as an area of hard standing has a fall on it, and the open top design forces me to add this as an item in its own right and not use a patch of the baseboard top. The open top is easy to build on a permanent layout, harder for a portable design.

 

I have got to leave the broad diagonal in place, this stops the forces of the curving facia pushing the baseboard frame apart. But apart from this, I should be able to cut out and add other braces at will, as I decide on the final shape of the landscape.

 

I wanted to build this from a uniform cross-section of stripwood throughout, but the material on offer at the DIY chain was of a poor standard. So I bought two different sizes (to get the better bits) and added two more sizes using up offcuts I kept under the bed.

 

- Richard.

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Your carpentry looks way better than mine so you have no worries there. 

 

Re the options for how you use the space; I would be careful about considering O gauge, the O gauge bug is infectious my case is incurable and I have infected a friend as well to the point we are both selling up from 4mm. Joking aside you can have fun with a small o gauge layout but it depends what you want, 1.5m is really short unless you can get some sort of "fiddle stick" arrangement on one end?

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30 minutes ago, 37114 said:

Your carpentry looks way better than mine so you have no worries there. 

 

Re the options for how you use the space; I would be careful about considering O gauge, the O gauge bug is infectious my case is incurable and I have infected a friend as well to the point we are both selling up from 4mm. Joking aside you can have fun with a small o gauge layout but it depends what you want, 1.5m is really short unless you can get some sort of "fiddle stick" arrangement on one end?

 

I do like the look of 0 gauge because I think it gives me a better chance of making model trains, and I like the substance of the models and the perfect running too.

 

0 gauge will always be quite limiting to me because of a lack of space. I do possess a small RTR loco and two wagons, but whatever I build in the way of a layout will be some sort of light railway, and quite a lightly trafficked affair. Probably one engine in steam, with analogue control.

 

All of my 009 and H0e locos are analogue control and I cannot imagine converting them to DCC.

 

Meanwhile 'Shelf Island' is built and wired for DCC with a changeover switch for occasional analogue operation (all tracks live all the time), using this facility means shuttling all of the DCC locos off to Fairport and pulling the plug on their track feed. Quite long-winded in practice.

 

So really, my options for an 0 gauge test track and for a NG scheme would both need a dedicated analogue controller and this is clutter I want to keep away from the layout. So I will cut them out. Anyway, my Peco 0 gauge point was quite an expensive thing and it deserves a layout not a test track.

 

My option 2 'preservation society' would give me an extra few feet of track to display my locos which are otherwise out of period for the main layout. Nearly all of these are DCC.

 

I agree 1.5 metres is very small for 0 gauge. I am rather inspired by the work of @JimRead, he has built a succession of 0 gauge micros in around 1.5 m or slightly less. The key being a clever traverser which creates a run-round loop as well as the usual fiddle yard storage. He has some videos on YouTube and layout topics here.

 

I am fortunate in that I have already sold up most of my 4mm to move to British H0. The H0 is quite a niche thing, and in a way this justifies my layout blog. I would be reluctant to give up on it because I am five years into the project and I still want to enjoy running trains on it.

 

- Richard.

Edited by 47137
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On 22/09/2021 at 13:59, 37114 said:

Sounds like you have thought it through well, my own O gauge layout is less than 5ft without the fiddle yard and is fun to operate. 

 

I have thought through chunks of it. My sticking point at the moment is the era to be portrayed. I rather fancy around 1875 or 1880, but it seems prudent to take this forward to around 1890 to let a few RCH 1887 wagons trickle into the scene. This then becomes a slippery slope because moving forward another ten years to the start of the 20th century lets me have a better range of tank wagons, but the one-off wagons which might have belonged to my (imaginary) railway are probably superannuated and written off. Incidentally I am happy enough to discuss 0 gauge matters here. I know so little about the subject everything helps. The task for Wellwood probably reduces to "decide then build", the best I can hope for is a visually pleasing scene. I am enjoying browsing Peasevern.

 

- Richard.

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I have trains running on Unitrack along the baseboard, this is long overdue for my layout as a whole.

 

My current thinking is to use Wellwood to represent the coastal mud flats I ran out of space for on "Shelf Marshes". I could put these and a sea wall along the right-hand part of the new baseboard (the narrowest part).

 

Then an occupation crossing (marked by the van) and a private road to the oil depot I also ran out of space for:

DSCF2081.jpg.ccbd19f30ec6a1128d33a18f7b8ea577.jpg

 

Nothing terribly special here. This board for use at home, I don't need to hide the exits of the track at the ends, but another ID Backscenes backdrop would be good. On a taller board.

 

Just something pleasant to watch the trains pass through.

 

- Richard.

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  • 5 months later...
  • RMweb Gold

To wrap this topic up: "Wellwood" made no progress during the last five months. The module still looks okay in photographs but the aesthetic in real life was wrong to me. There wasn't enough room for the scenic development I wanted to try, the fascia jarred against the front of "Shelf Marshes", and the track was too close to the backscene board. And above all, the module only existed to connect Shelf Marshes to the rest of my layout.

 

So today I removed the Wellwood module and dismantled it. The backscene board is good for another project. The timber was pine stripwood from B&Q and despite my best efforts I never hauled it quite straight enough. The track bed section was okay for Unitrack but not flat enough for a P4 test track (which was the only new use I could think of) so I have disposed of the rest of the module.

 

So, the end of Wellwood, and free space in the room for something better.

 

- Richard.

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