Monday, 30 November 2015

Sandy Shores - Baseboard Pt. II (+ Trackplan Explanation)

OK, time for the second part of the baseboard construction now that the jigsaw battery finished charging. Concerns were raised (and rightly so) about not being able to run around trains for the return trip off the layout once wagons have been shunted. This (surprisingly for me!) was actually intentional. Allow me to explain the usual operation:

1) The train comes in from the FY (top right in the photo below) hauling 3 wagons onto the headshunt (jetty, left out of shot)
2) The loco then reverses, pushing the wagons into the two sidings on the right of the layout  and shunts as deemed necessary
3) As you may have noted, the loco will now be the wrong end of the train. Either the train will push the locos onto the FY, or it will marshal the wagons to the position shown below so that a loco from the engine shed can take over from the other end, the previous loco either sitting on the end of the jetty. (I'll make sure to include an isolation section on the end of the pier long enough for a loco), or retreating back to the sidings on the right out of the way.
4) The other loco can then haul the train back into the FY.

And so back to the baseboard. Let's take a look at the progress. As you can see the trackbase has also been cut out. As said previously, I've made critical areas wider than necessary (around points) to both hide the holes for the point motors, and also to allow for any misjudgement from the point turnouts/spare track.

Also you can see the final building to be mocked-up, the lighthouse. As mentioned previously, it will be based on the Spurn Point Low Light. It's a tall structure (but quite short given typical lighthouse heights!) for the size of layout. But the contrast between this and the small buildings around it I think is very appealing visually. Of course, the sea hasn't been dug out yet so it will in fact sit a couple cms lower anyway. I won't decide on the final size of the lighthouse until the pelmet is either made, or a mock-up of it made. Then I can begin to really understand if it is too overwhelming.

The project is coming along nicely, I feel!

Sandy Shores - Baseboards Pt.1

Work has begun on the baseboards. I'll admit, neatness is not my forte, and my baseboard construction techniques have never been very good. Nethertheless, here are some photos and I'll try to explain as I go along!

I didn't want to buy more materials than I had left over from various projects so it really will be a bit odd. I decided that since I had a load of polystyrene left over from a failed OO project, I would use this as the base (as on Old AGWI Rd.).  Two polystyrene layers form a sandwich with a thin (haven't measured the thickness) bit of ply in between. This ply will hopefully give enough rigidity and also help provide a stable base for the turntable.

You may note that I haven't actually made the turntable overhang. I figured that the extra space gained isn't worth the hassle that leaving it overhanging might cause.

Below: The two polystyrene layers

 Below: Using a point motor template from Old AGWI Rd. I started marking out the holes for access to the point motors.

Below: Before these could be cut out, a template of the trackbed was created using "layout paper" which is thin (think tracing paper) enough to see the pen beneath it. I made the template wider than it needs to be to allow for any errors that the point templates would possibly have caused (the geometry could be a bit out). You can also see the thin bit of ply between the two layers of polystyrene.

Below (two photos): The point motor holes are carved out and marked onto the ply beneath, before being cut out with a jigsaw.

Below: The jigsaw ran out of battery (ply is a tough material to cut, so I always find the batteries never last long!) so I set about marking out the trackbed onto the left-over ply.

More to come later (once the jigsaw has charged)!

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Converted Railway Carriage - First Mock Up

Edited: See bottom for latest images!
Here is the beginning stages of the little grounded railway cottage mock ups. Only the basic carriage has been done so far, no extensions yet! I have to say I think I chose the correct prototype, it really suits the scene well, so thank you to the good folks at NGRM for sharing their concerns at the large size of the original carriage.

Sorry for the low light photos as usual with the photos on the layout itself! The back of the carriage has not been drawn for two reasons. Firstly, it will have an extension on it. Secondly, it actually won't be visible from any public viewing angle - you'd have to have you head over the layout to see the back of the carriage. I would probably still put minor detailing on the finished model though for photography reasons.

I think it really sits nicely in it's current position, much better than its' predecessor!

Edit: Latest images

The porch is a little bit too tall, but apart from that I think this set up looks quite nice (maybe the porch could go around the back though?:

A grounded carriage - Sandy Shores

I've had a bit more time to think about the kind of converted grounded carriage that I'd want to try and model on the layout. This is my first idea. I'm not sure whether to put the lean-to extension towards the back, or onto the front. Nor whether to have the extension full length, or 3/4 length. If it was to be at the rear (as shown below) I'd have it full length. If the extension was to be on the front I would have it 1/2 or 3/4 length. I suppose a mock up would help make a decision - I may even end up having a small porch on the front (or end?) and a full extension on the back. And yes, I know less is more!

LCDR/SECR - 4-wheeled Brake Second/Brake Third

SECR Brake 2nd/3rd - 6 wheeled, 4 compartment

And now with a wooden boat hull on top!

Friday, 27 November 2015

A little waiting shelter - SSLR (Sandy Shores Light Railway)

So armed with an idea as to how I wanted the little platform shelter to look, I set about drawing out a mock-up on a bit of paper. Using measurements from a small garage I had made, and the height of the coach seen in the photo, I marked up the first elevation. This is all guesswork, although I tried to keep the proportions looking nice.

Then it was time to add on the roof. Spot the stupid mistakes!
I had very much forgotten just how difficult it is to work out angles for hipped roofs. It really became apparent when it came to cutting it out and sticking it together. Oh bother!

So now mightily perplexed, I wondered how on earth you are supposed to work out the right angles. In the end I just took a ruler to the approximate angle and found the point were all 4 sides met. This was I think at a length of 4cm from corner to top. A bit of basic deduction (the sides are 5cm long, and the halfway point thus being 2.5cm) meant I had something that was around about right...ish!

So here is the mock-up in place on the layout. It's surprisingly small, but as with many cases in modelmaking - less truly is more! 

And finally you can see the size of it compared to the old garage I made (but never got around to painting!). The walls are 1cm taller, but the roof about 1cm lower. The length of the waiting shelter is also shorter -5cm compared to 7cm of the garage.

Overall I'm really happy with the dimensions and I think it'll be a welcome retreat for the passengers at Sandy Shores! Let me know your thoughts.

Edit: 8:55pm
Feedback suggests that actually its too big. I looked at the photo above and then realised - I hadn't taken into account the height of the platform - thus the walls are a scale 3m high instead of 2m!

Back to the cutting mat:

At least I got the roof correct (ish) this time!
That little lot folded up into this, with an old Hornby (I think) figure for scale.

At first I was a little concerned that I had gone too far the other way and made it too small, but I don't think it's too far off, but at this size it will have to be set back from the platform edge a way.

A final shot shows the two mock ups side-by-side. And I thought the original one was small!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Sandy Shores - Drawing a Nice Plan

I've spent a pleasant time tonight drawing up the final plan for the layout. It took rather longer than I had anticipated, but personally I think it was well worth it. This plan will be used for any write-ups or exhibition guides etc.

But wait... something has changed has it not? Actually, two things! The eagle-eyed amongst you may have realised a small building at the top right of the scenic area. It suddenly occurred to me that a platform and small waiting shelter would be needed at Sandy Shores. Sure, I could just have assumed it was off-stage, but I quite like the idea of building something like this. Just a simple timber platform edge with gravel infill behind and a corrugated waiting shelter that's probably seen better days!

Initial mock ups suggest it will fit in nicely and help add to the tatty, but somewhat delightful seaside atmosphere I hope to portray.

The second change is that the pond at the back has been shown in full rather than the rest presumed off-scene. The main reason is because I wasn't sure how to convincingly carry on the rest of it onto the backscene, and I want it to blend as seamlessly as possible. A happy circumstance of this change means another place for something interesting as a cameo - in this case a small broken wooden jetty. Probably a bit pointless now I think about it, but it should make for a nice scene nonetheless.

Overall I'm really pleased with how this plan has turned out, and if I can pull it off I think it will be a nice little layout. Here's hoping!

Sandy Shores - Final Layout Plan

After a lot of trial and error (and suggestions from the helpful guys over on NGRM), I think I have come up with a design I am happy with. It's probably quite hard to see thanks to the bright white polystyrene but the plan is set out below.

The turntable has been reduced back in size to 1'. This does however mean that only 9 short wheelbase items of rolling stock can be handled in total in the fiddle yard. Looking at the first photo, I guess if need be spare items of rolling stock can be placed to the left of the turntable. A lip would be needed to stop rolling stock flying off!

On the right of the turntable the 3 loco roads can be seen, and on the right of that a space just about big enough for a cup of tea - very important at exhibitions. Again, there will need to be lips/barriers to prevent accidents!

And here's a close up of the fiddle yard - the line curving from the scenic area via the top right. The blue line marks the backscene. The space for the loco roads can be seen, as well as the space on the far right for extra rolling stock. If I put track here it would not have any power as I don't see the point. If I didn't put track, the height would be brought up to the rail head to make transfer onto the turntable easier. (I hope that makes sense).

Monday, 23 November 2015

Sandy Shores - Laying it out

Following on from Michael's suggestion of a different fiddle yard position (on the NGRM thread), I think I've worked out the minimum size of the layout with that configuration: 105cm long x 70cm wide. Sorry part of the image is cut off, I was balancing precariously on a chair to take this photo. (The measurements include the bit accidentally cut off in the photo)

As you can see from the diagram, average train lengths will be a loco + 3 short wheelbase wagons.
I'm probably going to be trying a various configurations over the next day or so to figure out what is the best board shape (both practical and visual wise). I'm tempted to straighten the backscene (the blue line) on the right hand side to run parallel with the fiddle yard tracks.

This shows the typical view (I need to mock up that lighthouse though!) that a visitor may see. I love how the track curves at both ends of the layout - the siding on the right, and the loco shed headshunt on the left. That "ambulance wagon" on the left sited on the loco shed headshunt may be an almost permanent site. At Calshot there was one stored at the loco shed carrying spare parts for the engines! It would make a nice scene if I can work out how to careful model one of the doors to be open.

So overall, whilst 105cm x 70cm is a bit wider than the original plan, at least I now have a usable fiddle yard. Plus, it's still easy to carry/store at this size. I think with this configuration I can actually get away with having the layout as one board. As Michael says, it saves a lot of hassle!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Presenting: "Sandy Shores" - A tatty sunbleached seaside railway!

Setting: The layout will be set somewhere on the South Coast (probably a fictional location if I'm honest). Sand dunes are a feature of this particular strip of land which I have supposed is a spit heading out into the sea. It's inspired by various locations (which have been outlined below).

I have suggested that the line was originally used by fisherman to haul their catch inland down the spit, but was eventually taken over by the military at the outbreak of WWI until the end of WWII. The military held possession of the spit for a number of years, building concrete sea defences and bunkers. I will be building one half-sunken into the sand somewhere on the layout to reinforce this idea.

I've decided to set the layout just as WWII had ended, the military now slowly handing over the spit to a preservation group who plan to repurpose the line as a tourist railway.

With apologies for my wonky sketching, here is the proposed overall view!
Instead of hiding all large structures at the rear of the layout I've decided to try something a bit riskier (according to the "rules" of small layout design!) and have the tall (360mm to be precise) lighthouse at the front of the layout. 


The lighthouse design is likely to be based of the old low light at Spurn Point, although instead of the current water tank it has on top, the original lantern will be fitted. Prototype: CLICK

Other notable sources of inspiration are; Dungeness (converted railway carriage, general atmosphere), Studland (sand dunes - I did my A level coursework here which helps a lot with research!), Rye & Camber Tramway (general atmosphere), Calshot (Yup, again!).

I've also taken a huge amount of inspiration from Neil Rushby's "Little Point Tramway", and of course "Shell Island". Funnily enough, the bay at Studland is called "Shell Bay!". Anyway, I digress, the layout will be called "Sandy Shores" in both a literal sense, and also in reference to a location in a favourite video game!

Trackplan: This is inspired by Little Point's crossover, although I've added my own twist on it. It has a fair amount of track (4 points and one crossing in total) but I've designed the layout to be quite fun to operate. I've tried to make it appear that the railway company had very little space at the end of the spit and had to work around this. Hence the headshunt for the loco shed had to cross the siding approach, resulting in a nice quirky arrangement!

Well that's all I have time for now, but please do write down any thoughts or criticisms you have!

Edit: Latest plan!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Micro doodles - a slight tangent!

No this isn't about miniature dog poo or something, but about micro layouts. After sketching out ideas for my diorama/test micro layout I came up with something a bit bigger than my original intentions. I put this as a tangent post because I won't be building this (unless I'm pressured!).

The board shape I have designed as a "pointy oval" rather than your bog standard rectangle, and at the widest point it is 35cm (just over a foot). The length (as test roughly with point templates and old track can squeeze into a minimum of 90cm (3ft). Although that means the headshunts can only handle a small loco and one four wheeled wagon!

My original intention was to have the building at the foreground to be a loco shed, but as it now forms a run around loop, this is improbable! A wagon repair/maintenance shed would be suitable. You could probably find a variety of uses for the buildings to be honest.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Befawley - Mock Ups!

Yesterday I stated laying out my fourth design onto a sheet of A3 paper. It did fit but it was probably a bit too crampt for my liking...

But having found and cut out some polystyrene offcuts in the shed I decided to go for the max size I could get away with. I have overlaid the A3 sheet of paper to give you an idea of 18cm gives us on length. I also drew out two 009 point templates to give a much more accurate layout. Doing this has made me realise I can fit in two sidings, each able to hold 3 wagons. If I do go with this design, the track may need a little bit of adjustment to give a bit more clearance for the turntable. The loco on it now has a very large overhang at the rear (the entire cab overhangs which is why it looks off-centre on the turntable).

Either tomorrow, or later on tonight I'm going to carve out the approximate positions of the pond and quay as well as the embankments on the left. This should give a much better idea of whether the turntable makes it too crampt or not!

Reading inspiration:

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

"Befawley" "Diorama" - Designs continued!

So suffice to say, the "diorama" has started looking suspiciously more like a mini-layout! It was only a matter of time. Which in this case turned out to be 2 days!

Anyway, with that in mind, I've come up with a few plans. My favourite so far is the last one (no. 4) even if it is a bit complex compared to my original designs! And in fact, I think in order to do it justice (and to avoid it being too crampt), I will probably make the board slightly bigger than the A3 sizes I've drawn out below. I have tested out various bit of track and stock, although I haven't yet printed out 009 point templates which are slightly longer than the current points I've tested it with.

Still, it would still easily fit on a table - even my current one which is very small!

Whilst there is quite a lot of track on the last design for the size of board it is on, I think the fact that almost all the track will be infilled should help make it look a lot less "busy" than if the track was ballasted.

Update 14th:

I had a great idea!

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Befawley - A Diorama to Practice New Skills!

It's been a while, hasn't it!
5 months to be precise - I can't believe where the time goes. The truth is, that although I only planned to have a month break, my life has been somewhat interrupted by things out of my control. Thus, it has been very hard to get back into model-making!

I decided to pop back onto both RMweb and NGRM-online today to see what I had missed in the last few months, and as I expected I had missed out on a lot of advancements on projects I had been following with interest. Thus this sparked the creative part of my brain and I realised it had been too long since I had done any model-making and that I should really get on with it!

That left me with a slight problem. Old AGWI Rd. had to be taken down to make space for new occupants of the house, and I have very little space now with which to work on the project - and anything I did work on would have to be packed away at the end of every session. Another problem I face is that I am now at the stage on the layout where I can start to add texture and colours, but this is something I have very little experience of. With my old layout (Calshot), all I did was spray one basic colour on the layout to represent concrete. With this layout, I have grass, mud, water, salt marsh, brick, concrete, cobble, trees, vegetation... the list goes on - and very few of these I have had much luck with in the past.

For this layout, I want it to have a more realistic outcome in terms of scenery by using techniques I have never used before - such as static grass, and properly painting stonework etc. But I have no idea about any of this, and I didn't want to risk experimenting on what I hope will be my last layout for a good number of years!

The solution? A test bed/diorama/micro-layout, of course!

I'm someone that is very reluctant to try out new techniques through fear of messing up spectacularly. So I figured that building a little test diorama (which I can also use for stock photography later on) would be a good compromise without wasting many resources, and causing potential damage to the main layout.

This is what I have so far (click to enlarge):

I've basically tried to add as many elements as possible from Old AGWI Rd. that I either want to better my skills in, or that I've never had to model before. So there's a bit of everything on this test bed; from producing relatively lifelike water, mud, saltmarsh and vegetation, to stone walls, concrete, wooden posts and corrugate iron structures to learn painting techniques.

As for size, I'm not really sure at this point, but I definitely don't want it to be any bigger than it needs to be to get every element in. I'm hoping for a rough size of 1ft x 3ft, but we'll see how that turns out - it might even get smaller!

Comments, questions and suggestions are very welcome!

Oh, as for the name "Befawley"? Well it's "before Fawley" since Old AGWI Rd. is based on Fawley Oil Refinery!