Monday, 1 November 2010

The Schneider Hangar

 Well I've been able to continue with the layout tonight and have followed up on someone's suggestion of how to fix the hangar door problems I was having and have started to make some good progress.

Basically the idea was that a trench would be dug for the doors to sit into, and two guides for the hangar doors to slot between attached to the roof of the hangar. The result mean not only doors where they should be, but result in the hangar looking to be sunk in the ground, and more excitingly it means I can have the doors in any position I wish - open or closed! I have also painted the hangar which makes it look much more presentable.

My parcel of two packet of Silflor arrived in the post today. Silflor is a product I've wanted to try ever since I heard about it. On first inspection it looks pretty good, albeit the spring grass will need toning down a bit! I'll need to experiment to get a good blend of hanging basket liner and Silflor.

You will also see that I have started to paint the two new bogie open wagons a nice green to match the covered goods wagon.

I hope I'm not boring you with all these photos as I have had rather a lot of updates recently! I've added a couple arty shots at the end to make a change.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

A WWII Theme

After having taken delivery of some stuff for the layout I opened the parcel which, amongst other things, contained two WWII narrow gauge bogie rolling stock opens. These were promptly constructed and now await painting. Inside the box were 2 more packs of corrugated iron (the shop had run out of corrugated asbestos so I decided to go for the wriggly tin instead as it is a close match). This allowed me to spend this afternoon building the hangar. This hangar has caused me a lot of grief so far - mainly because the doors keep falling off despite internal bracing. Therefore in the shots below they have all been balanced and are not glued hence any funny positions. Also, the roof has been a pain to build due to silly mistakes I kept on making and has also been balanced on top! The hangar does look a lot better than yesterday and once a coat of paint is on it it should look a whole lot better. The Plastruct sections from my original radar tower will be used as detail for this hangar. Still quite a bit to do but it's slowly getting there...

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Something I've never seen on a model railway is a radar tower - well here's my unfinished version!
Need to add a ladder, railings, and a proper support for the radar itself. I really need to sort the castle out.

And to keep you up to date I have rethought the radar tower and given it a sturdier tower from an old Hornby pylon:

Hangar progress...

Slowly getting there, but I've run out of corrugated asbestos sheets - annoying because there was only one pack left at the model shop. Never mind - I shall have to source some from an online retailer - along with some plasticard sheets and some more Plastruct bits, Silflor, 009 couplings and some cement rendering plastic sheets.

In the photos below the roof and lattice truss on the hangar has been balanced on top of a Parmesan cheese tub.

This shot looks bad in colour, but quite good in B&W:

Now I need to paint and assemble the pipe bridge in the background, and once I have everything I need, fully assemble the hangar and paint it a whitish colour. It also looks like I need to get some glaziers in to do the castle windows! Then the coastguard buildings on top of the castle will be built along with the quick firing guns before being painted.

An alternative (i.e more stable) radar tower? Spot the RTPlonk product!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Late night dodgy photos!

Today I'vebeen able to pay a visit to the local model shop and pick up some Plastruct sections and some corrugated asbestos sheets (and a length of 009 track for the new fiddle yard when I get round to building it!).
This is the result:

Tomorrow should see some more progress on the new hangar, pipe bridge and castle radar buildings.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Where I'm headin' next...

It's been a fair few weeks since I've actually done anything productive on the layout. The only thing I have done is print out the information panels! I'm now looking to do two major things:

  • Sort out running issues
  • Add some details
Sorting out the running issues
After a very quick scour over the layout, the probable source of the running issues has become clear. Firstly, there is a tiny amount of glue between the stock rail and the check rail of one of the standard gauge points. Secondly, despite masking the track, paint from the grey aerosol for the inset track has managed to get on the rails in quite a few places - notably in more inconvenient spots. The NG seems to be running OK with only a couple problems to attend to.

Adding some details
I've drawn up a plan which shows the next step in the construction of the layout. Part of this can be seen (in a bad sketch) below:
Basically the idea is that at the moment, the layout does not give a big enough flavour of the prototype location as it may have looked in about 1944-45. To achieve a greater realism I  have decided to add:
  • RAF personnel - cycling, in RAF vehicles, around guardhouses and gates, opening hangar doors, on slipway
  • Parked RAF vehicles, aircraft undergoing maintenance, perhaps a small vessel by the sluice at the rear of the layout, a jetty with crane
  • Other details such as crate, supplies, aircraft spares
  • New structures such as radar tower and associated buildings on top of the castle, water tower near the scenic exit, a couple of stores around the outside of the castle
  • New stock - this is a possible rather than probable suggestion because the prototype only had two types of wagons. I would however like some larger wheelbase stock to cope with the points better
I'm hoping this will make the layout much more interesting to look at and bring back a feel of what it really might have been like. A couple of things on which I am struggling include creating a way to disguise the scenic exit (I'd love to hear any suggestions!) and filling the area to the right of the hangar, behind the goods platform.  So far I can only think of an oil tank surrounded by a concrete wall. However, another idea is to make the platform larger to form a  kind of interchange between standard gauge and narrow gauge.

Oh yes, almost forgot -  I intend to build a new fiddle yard based on experience of exhibiting the layout so far. This will include half a loop of NG to be able to run NG trains around whilst shunting the SG. I expect the SG part of the fiddle yard will be a traverser although I have not fully decided.

The sketch above is an idea for hiding the scenic exit as are the photos below

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Information Panels

If there's something I have learnt from exhibiting it's that people love information boards. If you are able to captivate their attention by creating some information panels then you are likely to have people hanging around for that bit longer. Not only that, but I have found that people are more willing to talk to you about the layout!

Thanks to a suggestion made by someone on NGRM, I have created my own:
The next job will probably be to create a layout guide for exhibition managers so that I can just hand one out instead of handwriting all the information every time I'm asked to an exhibition!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Landford Show report & future plans...

With a 16 minute drive Dad and I arrived at the venue as the last ones there half an hour (or less!) to opening time. Layout took about 15 minutes to set up (which also meant we were first away!). This is exactly why big isn't always necessarily better (although I would love a roundy-roundy).

The show seemed very friendly and the exhibits were arranged so that there was plenty of space between them so people could move freely. Unfortunately big crowds never materialised at it seemed to go very quiet from about 12 onwards which is a great shame as it was a lovely little show! Just hope there are more people next time.

A varied selection of lovely layouts were on show ranging from N to 0 scale IIRC. I'm pretty sure I'm right in saying that the show was intended to be of a selection of local layouts and this did seem to come through to me. There were a couple of trade-stands which were useful as I needed some track for the fiddle yard! Seems I brought the fishplates but not the track Posted Image.

It was a joy to exhibit at and I came away with a few ideas and a couple of exhibition invites. One of which is to Exbury Gardens & Railway where I will be based in the locomotive shed with Calshot MkII. See here: Exbury 'Steam in the Gardens'. Should allow me enough time to get a few more details onto the layout but I doubt it will be finished due to college work!

Although I didn't take any photos of any other exhibits I did manage to grab a few of my own layout which should help show how much I had completed by the show:

And one final thing. You may remember in the title it has the two words 'future plans...' well I suppose I'd best briefly explain. Looking at other layouts at Landford and after the experience of my first time spending more than 10 minutes operating Calshot2 I came to a few conclusions;

1. There would not really be enough room for two operators (and finding a willing helper may prove difficultly anyway)
2. The fiddle yard is completely inadequate! No room to store stock or safely manoeuvre whole trains etc.
3. Operating the NG and SG simultaneously will only end in tears.
4. To solve 3. I could make a new fiddle yard to include a loop of NG track for lazy running or when I'm dealing with the SG.

Hence my future plan will be to make a new fiddle yard that is likely to include a semicircle of track to form the rest of the loop of NG. Also I've got to design a way of hiding the scenic exit and I will be trialling putting a mirror by the sluice on the backscene to be able to view the sluice better.

Well I think that's everything I wanted to mention.
Thanks for taking interest!

Friday, 3 September 2010

8 hours and the Landford Exhibition

Well as the title suggests I've got 8 hours* to finish the layout ready for the Landford Exhibition tomorrow.
Loads more to do but I'm sure we'll get there. I've had the whole family helping me for the final push - something I did not expect!

So here are some preview photos to show where I'm up to. Once the rest of the castle is scribed I'll be even more confident than I am now.

I appreciate the photos show up a lot of gaps and imperfections but these will all be tidied up!

See you there!!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

6 days left - The Latest Update

Another day, another chance to get some modelling done.
Feeling more confident than I was yesterday about finishing the layout on time, I just hope I can get it up to an acceptable standard!

I have prepared a short video for you with a couple locomotives running.
Just one photo for tonight as I'm in a rush!

Friday, 27 August 2010

A little blue engine...

As requested from a couple people a few close up shots of the little blue engine made by Matt.

"The chassis of the loco is a GF 4-6-0 castle. The body is a stretched Lima 2-6-4 fairburn tank as the boiler was the right diameter. This has been overlayed with Plasticard tanks and plasticad details such as lowered buffer beam. The chimney has been made froma piece of brass tube, cab and backhead is plasticard, dome is from a broken thomas the tank in my bits box. "

Thursday, 26 August 2010

7 days left and I'm pushing my luck!

Well I've only got 7 days left to complete the layout. This means I have had to work for long periods of time on the layout recently. Firstly I have had a friend round to do the wiring for me which I made the control panel for.

Today I've been scribing walls and scribing the gatehouse on the castle. I've also made a start on painting a basic sub-coat of colour to the stream area.

I have also completed all the infilling and areas where DAS clay has been used. You can see the slipway below all marked out with paving slabs. You can also see the scribed walls at the front, the ex-communication building on the left and the castle taking shape on the right. Eventually all the white areas will be painted.

And a new locomotive built for me by Matt. Looks the part and makes a brilliant addition to the layout. The backscene has been temporarily held in place by a willing assistant!

Hope you have enjoyed the update.
All the best,