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The Goldshire and Westfall Railway


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*** Fast forward to the 2015 reboot by heading to post 17 here ***


I'm starting work on a "side project" this afternoon, following an unplanned trip to The Gamers Guild in Redhill (well it was a while till the bus came...).

I wasn't really quite sure what I was going in to look for, let alone at. But I was bored so I did. As well as an interesting selection of unusual board games, they also cater to a lot of fantasy wargame enthusiasts (D&D, Magic the Gathering etc).

Seeing a selection of whitemetal figure, gnomes, orks, faeries, warlords and demons, an idea began to formulate. I play World of Warcraft (an online game set in the fantasy world of Azeroth) and it crossed my mind that several locations in the game have (albeit non-functioning) railway systems, often based around mines - think Indiana-Jones style mining carts, twisting tunnels that disappear off in all directions with uneven track that isn't exactly laid but more like dropped into place.

I thought "maybe I could come up with something out of this", so I bought a selection of figures and some paints, and wandered off to catch the 430 bus down the hill.

I've done some calculating and come up so far with this.

The Dwarf figures are nominally 28mm high - and according to accepted game lore, a Dwarf is generally around 4ft tall. That makes 7mm:1ft. which is convenient.

If I use N gauge track in 7mm scale, that works out at about 15" track gauge - suitable for a lightly laid railway system. Having put a figure next to a BachFarish 37 it seems that would work too, although I'm not sure Gnomish engineering on Azeroth has quite reached the levels of English Electric's finest yet. This works out, I think, as O-9 narrow gauge or thereabouts.

Using something simple like an N scale American 'switcher' loco and some wagon chassis, I reckon I can make up some suitabley 'rustic' looking wagons for the switcher to pull - whether it's extracting stone or mineral ore from the mine (ore is often brightly coloured and very shiny, although Fargodeep Mine in the game is just gold). Inflowing traffic, of course, will be empty wagons and, of course, the staple Dwarf diet - beer.

The basic plan, which may even end up on an odd-shaped board I have spare approx 4ft x 3ft, is going to be partly underground (with viewing panels) and a couple of sidings in the open, which head off under a bridge (scenic break) to who knows where - I haven't figured that out yet! I've also decided I need to incorporate a water feature somehow, partly to test out the bottle of scenic water I picked up last week!

The underground part will have several branches and tunnels heading off, and of course that gives plenty of opportunities for specific lighting effects, wooden 'scaffolding' and all sorts of other interesting Dwarven mining techniques, lifted partly from the game, partly from the general realms of fantasy gaming.

If I can find some suitable wagons I may incorporate the odd passenger train, but that might start getting a bit too silly. Although the

runs in-game between Ironforge and Stormwind, I think that's probably a bit too complex to incorporate.

Above-ground I'll be trying to model the Goldshire Inn, which is a well known gathering place within World of Warcraft, just south of the capital city of Stormwind. It's got lots of interesting features which will be fun to model.

I'm sure this sort of 'silly project' has been done before by people with much greater skills than I, however I've not actually seen one myself. I'll add to this thread as things develop - I've not abandoned the other projects, but I wanted to work on something simple that isn't going to cost too much money as I have plenty of stock - it's just a few scenic bits, maybe some more figures and some balsa wood I need).
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I'd be interested to see how this one progresses


It's going to be a slow process :) Looking at some new techniques that I've not used before. Currently got a short length of track with some clay smeared between the sleepers to represent a stretch that's sorta sunk into the grime drying on top of the radiator at present, which I'll then paint with some earth colour to see whether it'll work or I need to go back to the drawing board.


I'm not quite clear whether I'm allowed to post pictures here too but if you google "Fargodeep Mine" you'll find plenty of videos and pictures to see what I'm trying to achieve.

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Oh I'm quite familiar with Fargodeep and it's inhabitants ;)


Thought about doing part of your layout of the kind found in Netherwing Ledge, where much of the track is suspended on elevated wood platforms?


I hadn't... yet... but there's really no reason why not I guess, is there? After all, US railways had wooden trestle bridges so I'm sure that an enterprising goblin somewhere would have come up with a similar concept... the only thing would be hiding a point motor on it if necessary but there's no reason why it shouldn't be a non-operational (as far as I'm concerned) branch heading off down there - maybe a rockfall closed the spur or something :) Now where's my Woodland Scenics "Talus"?

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According to one quote I found, "Gnomes and goblins are good at engineering, but they mostly tinker or blow stuff up. Dwarves look at machines with a more industrialised view."


You're probably right :)


However, before I start working out who built what, I need to get some track down :)

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Sounds like an interesting project, warcraft will definatly give plenty of inspiration for buildings and scenery.


I used to play warcraft but I packed it in a few years ago as it was soaking up too much time and ruining my social life. Its one of the best decisions ive made, it was hard to go cold turkey mind after playing most nights then nothing. People dont realise how addictive that game is.


Still miss playing it sometimes but id never go back though :lol:

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It's meant to be a fun distraction layout, something I can chuck together fairly quickly and cheaply, using a few new techniques I haven't tried before, and possibly something not quite unique but certainly not often modelled (although of course small space narrow gauge mine layouts are).


You're right, WoW can be time consuming but then again aren't most hobbies and interests if you let them?


Next question is what do they mine on this project? Stone, Ore... jellybabies? Some "small barrels" arrived from Skytrex this morning so at least the incoming beer supplies will be covered, as will gunpowder for the goblins to blow things up with...

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A visit to the pound shop this morning uncovered some "My Super Dragons" models, and a Hippogryph which will make an excellent accompaniment for the flightmaster I can now add to my proposed scene, when I finally get round to figuring out the trackplan I want and whether I want a 4x2 board or a long thin layout instead.


Progress continues with painting the figures, I'm awaiting delivery of some N gauge 15ft wagon chassis so I can build some wagons, and then my final problem is going to be what to use as traction. I'm contemplating a Farish "20" chassis as traction, with a scratchbuilt plasticard body. Need a trip to a shop to get some balsa wood for wagon sides and pit props at some point soon as well.

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  • 4 years later...

Good grief.  Is it really four years since I first contemplated this silly project?


Although what I outlined above never really got much further than an idea, it's one that's been sat at the back of my mind for a very long time and, whilst I continue to play WoW, the railway didn't progress. 


However, that has changed.  I've modified my idea to OO-9 instead, and the principle behind it remains.  15mm fantasy figures, whilst not quite as popular as the 28mm ones, work out similar sizing when using 4mm as the 28mm ones do for 7mm. 


I've gotten hold of some random Parkside wagon kits which will be repurposed (a flat wagon, for example, now carries three beer barrels, which any self-respecting dwarf knows is one of the essential "tools of the trade" for any work that may (or may not) be being done anywhere at any time, a Peco "Jeanette" which I'm attempting to build for the passenger service I plan to run, and a Narrow Planet Baguely shunter for in the mine. 


There are many "new things" to me in this project which should provide a useful distraction from the OO Modular project work I'm doing - although of course a lot of the skills and items are interchangeable.


- I've always avoided kitbuilding in the past as my airbrush skills leave a lot to be desired.  However on this occasion, as most things will be a single livery with black underframes I reckon I should be able to manage something passable.

- Modified track - using Peco N gauge but by removing every other sleeper (and using a coffee stirrer as a spacing tool) gives a more 'rustic' effect on plain track.

- Underground mine gives opportunity for multiple levels, and lighting and smoke effects not previously dabbled with.


I'll also be using my "tree trick".  I've got a lot of nice trees, which are on pins and thus removable.  These can be removed for transport, but also reused on any layout I happen to be using at any given time.  Although I will be making a lot of sea foam ones as well here and there.


The overall plan at present is probably 8ft x 2ft, although there is potential to make it 12ft if I can come up with a reasonable justification.  The mine will be on just one board though - multi level track alignment is not something I relish!  I'll also be "recycling" the legs from my OO modular fiddle yard, as it's highly unlikely that both layouts will be in use at the same time.


Hopefully as the months pass I will be able to share some progress pictures but my big problem at the moment is working out a track plan that gives enough playability without overcomplexity, whilst remaining true to my original desire to model an area of WoW.

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Ok just to prove something is happening, here's a few pictures of my work so far.


First up, my "dynamite van", which started life as a Parkside DM5 Glyn Valley 4 wheel goods van.  Note the obligatory penny to give an idea of size.



Next, a stone carrying wagon, which is a Parkside DM07 Snailbeach District Railways coal wagon.  The stone load is Woodland Scenics 'Talus'.



Finally,  a Parkside DM23 L&B 4 wheel chassis which is carrying three barrels of "supplies" for workers down in the mine.



To finish, a picture of the standard N gauge track with standard sleeper spacing, then the "wide spacing" I intend to use.  I think it works. 



Don't expect fast progress - at the moment I'm still working on track planning but I do have something "in mind" based on the road from Goldshire Inn to the gates of Stormwind.  The line will come out of a hole in Stormwind's walls next to the gates, follow the road down, swinging round the forge and into the area currently occupied by the Darkmoon Faire where the station will be.



The station will be adjacent to the Goldshire Inn, a well known meeting place in World of Warcraft.



Finally, meet my level 90 Dwarf hunter, Melonie.  Hopefully I can find a figure approximating her to feature in the layout somewhere.



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A chance discussion on Facebook has suggested a modification to the plans, which having done some quick investigation, seems perfectly possible even if I do need to redraw the map of Azeroth a little bit.


Instead of Fargodeep Mine, the layout will now extend to the adjacent region of Westfall, and include the area known as Deadmines.


Why?  The Goldshire and Westfall Railway, with its green locos (and ready-made transfers) has a certain appeal...


I've dug out one of my 28mm figures, given her a coat of copper paint, and she'll become a statue on a plinth in the town square.  Might need to tone it down with a light wash - will see how it looks once she's been mounted.




It's also interesting what you find in your "spares box" - I didn't know I'd bought a Hornby R8781 Public Drinking Fountain some time ago and never used, it will go nicely in the square too I think.


I'll also add a TARDIS in the woods somewhere, well you never know when The Doctor is going to turn up...

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  • 1 month later...

Great layout idea, having been a WoW player many moons ago it seems like an area yet looked at in Model Railways.


Have you checked out Warhammerr Fantasy figures yet? The new ones coming out have an insane amount of detail that would look great on a layout such as this.

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There are a few 'oddball layouts' out there but generally "serious modellers" tend to look down their optivisors as such frivrolity - but seemingly completely made up layouts in narrow gauge seem acceptable.


At the moment I'm still in the "working out what I'm doing in a new scale" stage and building a few kits to get a feel for how much space things will need (and, of course) the tight radius curves that the stock can cope with.


I'll be investingating some of the new figures but at the moment have a large quantity of older figures that will suit for background and crowds, from a local gaming store that was clearing old stock out.


Progress will be slow until the autumn whilst I concentrate on the OO modular project and our meeting at the end of June so don't hold your breath just yet...

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Honestly, alliance? Were you one of the... Charming fellows who would stand by my level 20 corpse? ;)


Though I jacked it in when that ridiculous panda stuff happened, I often wondered what might happen if the goblins got their hands on the iron horse.

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I've never really been into pvp so tend to retaliate/defend rather than attack first.


I don't play anywhere near as much as I used to, in all honesty - partly due to lack of time.


Oh, and the fact I keep dying because I don't have all the best gear because I don't like playing in random large groups of people.

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I hated pvp, but my mate insisted on playing on a pvp server. And I never had the best gear, because my guild was rubbish.


We gave up when one of the raids had so much trash that it took 45 mins to get between boss fights.



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