The presents in the open wagon on 'Christmas Tree Halt' were troubling my mind a few weeks ago. The reduction in size of the originals was the obvious solution at the time but part of me wondered if the eventual solution was to have a sack of presents represented in the wagon. I thought nothing more of it until I took a trip to a local model shop that is sadly closing at the end of the year (http://www.thegoodsyard.co.uk/). I was hoping to get some 009 flexi track but they were out of stock, however I did pick up a few bargains...
Saturday, 20 November 2021
Wednesday, 10 November 2021
There is a distinct recycling theme here, construction of the bottom half of the box used some 8mm ply from an old box that a friend passed on to me in January 2020, having held vintage car parts, in the days when things were packaged properly! The hardboard for the base came from the back of an old wardrobe disposed of when my daughter moved in January this year and the thinner ply diagonally in the corner and dividing the main box is some of the last bits of lovely veneered ply that came from a wardrobe disposed of many moons ago.
The lid is a further piece of ex-wardrobe hardboard with 25x12mm timber surrounding the edge, this was new material purchased specifically for layout-boxing, with the Avalon Brickworks layout in mind at the time. If I could have found some suitable material to recycle...
The pizza layout fits in neatly in the large compartment, and the two trees fit in the smaller compartment, retained by a system of trunk peg holes and special supports in the centre. The smaller compartment top-left is intended to hold the battery pack and any other bits and pieces that need to stay with the layout. I need to devise how the pizza can be padded into the space, it is deliberately not too tight a fit!
Along the back edge of the box can just be seen the two pieces of thin aero-ply that cover the encapsulated nuts that allow the lid to be secured in place. Holes were carefully drilled through with the lid clamped in place, then opened out from the inside to hold the nuts. The nuts were Araldited in place and the thin ply plates, with holes punched using a hole punch rather than drilled, were fixed in place as a belt-and-braces approach to stop the nuts falling through in the unlikely event the Araldite failed.
With the lid in place and secured the box ought to provide adequate protection for the layout, I just have to remember that unlike the covers for my other layouts that bolt to the baseboard, this one cannot be stood on end! All timber surfaces and hardboard edges have received a coat or two of yacht varnish to protect them from moisture and it has really lifted the appearance of the plywood sides.
Overkill, maybe... but I've actually quite enjoyed the build process.
Sunday, 31 October 2021
Saturday, 23 October 2021
Monday, 11 October 2021
Whether applied at full thickness or the PVA mix, the filler was smoothed into place with a putty knife (or in the case of inside the circuit, butter knife...) and textured using a stiff paintbrush. A wet brush was then lightly run over the top to smooth the texture a little. I'm not sure the amount of texture is quite right in places and I may smooth any really high spots with fine wet or dry before adding the final colouring.
Some of the left over filler/PVA mix was stippled into the previously smoothed area between the rails which has given a much better finish in this area. I now need to clean up the rail edges and have a test run to ensure it still works! Attention will now turn to painting the Wills halt building, some fencing and the rock faces before the next stage of snow work is attempted.
Sunday, 26 September 2021
With the track embedded I added the bases of the roadway and platform from card, and created the raised central area from polystyrene, subtly different in shape to the original. New features on the Mk2 version are some rock faces made some time ago using Plaster of Paris in improvised foil moulds, and a Wills station halt shelter, left over from the 'Humberston' diorama. Don't panic about the black blobs, they mark where the trees go, marked in felt-tip pen and then wetted during scenic treatment. In the background of the picture above can be seen some early trials of snow mix using Vallejo Foundation white and the new filler.
The Wills shelter has had a few tweaks to make the parts sit a little more comfortably and give the impression of framework over the doorway. The original station sign and bench should sit to the left. Platform edging is very thin balsa, overkill maybe as it will be covered in snow, but the original build lacked relief in this area.
One of the plaster-cast rock faces. This has been blended into the polystyrene landscape using some white modelling clay that had originally been bought to bed in the track, but was not shall we say the market-leading brand and seems to shrink quite a bit, causing me to go back over the gaps a few days later. It will all get a covering of snow in due course! To hold everything together all exposed polystyrene and some of the clay was covered in strips of kitchen towel fixed in place with dilute PVA.
So far so good, the next job is going to be to create sound fixtures to plug the trees in, I'm thinking of cutting into the polystyrene to add pre-drilled wooden blocks that a dowel in the tree base can locate into.
Just in case anyone thinks this is madness in September, I'm enjoying doing it with time to spare and better conditions for things to dry out. I'm also fairly certain I can be finished in time!
Saturday, 4 September 2021
A week away in North Yorkshire gave the opportunity to visit Scarborough's North Bay Railway in it's 90th year. Journeying from our holiday park by a combination of buses and cliff lift, we found 1931 'Neptune' operating services as it had for all that time, with only a break during hostilities. The second train was operated by 1932 'Triton' as it had done for 89 years, apparently I had missed seeing relative youngster 1933 'Poseidon' in operation by a day!
One interesting thing that came to light after my visit was that there is a model of the North Bay Railway being documented on YouTube. I am not sure of the scale but it uses 9mm gauge track and Dapol A3 Pacifics and is quite convincing, this is just one of several videos on the channel of Harold Thompson - one to watch...