|Foamboard and ply contruction - light!|
|The whole layout (without fiddle yard)|
|360 degree fiddle yards reduce stock handling|
|Track down and platform under construction|
To make up the plans for the points, I used the inexpensive downloadable software called Templot. Whilst the initial learning curve to get the best out of this package may be a little steep, there is plenty of online help though the Templot Forum and RM web. Actually to be honest, one very kind soul sent me an email with precise instructions to create exactly what I wanted! The resulting crossover is around 2 feet long, and is pretty well scale length, it being the minimum I could get away with to unsure no buffer lock when propelling a 4 wheeled 16 ton mineral wagon with a long Western Class 52 diesel when using scale couplings.
|Ballasting with Air Clay, nowadays I'd suggest Das|
|'Mainline' ballasted with beach sand|
Be inspired by the real thing!
In the days of steam, only the main running lines were ballasted with granite chippings. Sidings were usually ballasted with fine clinker or ash. This is an area often ignored by the most dedicated of rivet counters.
|The view that greets the motorist|
|The real Catcott Crossing in the 1930's|
The cottage is made up mainly from plastic card using commercial available brick effect sheets. The roof has several hundred small ‘slates’ made up from junk mail stuck on individually. This really doesn’t take very long if a fresh pointed hobby knife blade is used to position them. Nothing comes close in my opinion, not even strips of scribed paper which look like just that. A bluish grey enamel paint was used to complete the effect. Chimney pots are made up from rolled up paper, and the sash windows are thin strips of self adhesive label stuck to clear plastic sheet.
The brick effect, after painting it in ‘brick red’ (whatever that is) was then washed over with magnolia matt emulsion and wiped off to leave it in the groves. Colour pencils were then used to create further variations of brick colour. The wonky guttering and downpipes are from plastic strip and some leftovers from a Wills good shed kit!
|Watiting at the crossing|
The little good shed, is a quickie, it starting life as the well known Wills kit. The base has been changed to stone and the moulded tile roof slates have been replaced with corrugated iron.
|Standrad Southern Railway pre-fab platforn and shelter|
The thought of carving out the platform supports filled me with dread until I found that Monty’s Model Railways aka Dart Castings produced them in white metal. A quick look at there website would suggest that the rear section is now not made any more (please prove me wrong, for there’s a business opportunity for somebody!). To aid construction if what could be a very weak structure was built up on a 2mm plastic base to allow me to work ground up allowing me to drill holes to accept the supports. The concrete platform tops are made up from little squares of 1.5mm plastic sheet. Rather than scribing one long sheet for the surface, using individual squares like the real thing allowed the slightly wonky effect often seen on the prototype.
The shelter, again based on Stourpaine & Durweston is scratchbuilt from plastic card using photographs of the real thing. Like with the platform, it is a standard design still seen on the former southern Region.
The concrete effect seen on this and other structures on the layout is a doddle. It is just white, red, grey primer and matt black misted on from aerosols from a few feet away. The slightly speckled effect is dumbed down with buff coloured interior matt emusion washed on then mostly wiped off. Simple!
|Backscene, composed from 6 photos, printed 8 feet long|
Taking pictures for *Hornby Magazine has also made me very aware of layout backscenes, or frequently very low or even total lack of. Unlike in the magazine where I frequently have to remove the layout owners front room or garage from the pictures digitally and then pop in some kind of sky in place, I was very keen with this project not to have too do any clever electronic jiggerypokery picture wise, wanting the viewer at a show to see the layout for real just as it is here.
I’d been messing about merging photographs in the past – usually panoramic scenes taken off the top of buildings when on holiday and whilst these had been fun technical exercises they were really of little use. At last though I had a plan for the technique, and a visit to the actual area on a nice summer’s day (the 9th of July 2007 actually) allowed me to take a selection of photographs with a good overlap – and what better way to commemorate 40 years of the end of steam on the Southern?
After a little work in Photoshop using panorama tools I ended up with a 7 foot by 14 inch file, and through a connection of our very own ‘Ed’ Mike Wild, a week or two later I ended up with hard copy on sticky backed plastic. The seamless 7 foot long photograph was pressed into place onto the curved plywood backscene base and then sprayed with matt varnish to make it ‘wipe clean’ and to get rid of the shine.
|A rare visitor to the branch, |
note the canal winding along the front
My quest is the impossible task to make model railways ‘cool’, OK, I’m probably asking too much so will settle for ‘tepid’ if nothing else and I try to get the bits right that will appeal to the unconverted – with scenery being one element at least that most can relate too. The public usually perceive model railway enthusiasts as grown men dressed as engine drivers playing with a train set on the dining room table, though increasingly I find that when they see the scenic aspect of the hobby if done well they’re frequently gobsmacked. My sister in law, who has always treated this pastime with suspicion, looked at Hornby Magazine recently and said “I never knew that this is what it’s all about – what a great hobby, I might try it myself!”
|Static grass is an important feature with a layout like this|
|Flowers are great, but limit them to small areas|
|Canalside grasses, plumber's hemp was used here|
|The remains of teh Glastonbuey Canal, note the lilies|
|A unusual visitor|
(written 19 Aug 2012) Catcott was a chance to try lots of new techniques, but above all provide a bit of theatre in a pint sized area whist trying to represent something that gives the impression of much bigger space, the big sky being the key ingredient.
|The local preservation group is running steam on the peat tramway, must be a Sunday|
|The photographer's car, posed in front of the mixed train from Bridgwater.|