Chris

Little Lawley

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Huge thanks to Jack at modelsigns4u for the above station sign.

Welcome to Little Lawley, an 00 gauge layout based on Lawley Village Station on the Telford Steam Railway. 

 

The layout will be 72 cm x 20 cm and - having been hugely inspired by City Goods - is designed to fit in one of the Really Useful wrapping paper boxes. The track layout is a simple tuning fork, with a small station that fits one coach and the loco on the main line, whilst the siding will play host to whatever is left there. The layout will not be an exact replica - it is heavily compromised in terms of size for starters - but is designed to capture the essence of the prototype. Handily, the prototype has a ready made scenic break as the station is approached by exiting Heath Hill tunnel, the tunnel mouth being a perfect way for trains to leave the scene.

Edited by Chris
Added info on the layout.
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Today I nipped to a well-known DIY shop to get some timber for my baseboard. Some 2×1 for the framing and 3mm MDF for the board.

I’m not a master carpenter, in fact I’m pretty woeful. However I was pretty pleased with what I came up with in an hour; a 72×21 cm board.

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I couldn’t resist a quick mock up of the sort of thing I’m after. It did highlight just what little space there is but I’ll get what I want from it.

I did hit one snag though. It doesn’t fit in the box I bought for it. One side snags and, by my reckoning, I need to chop about 3mm off one side to make it fit with a little wiggle room.

Luckily my Dad has just the tool for the job!!

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Last night saw a simple yet very enjoyable piece of modelling. At 8 pm I decided to tackle the station name board for Little Lawley. At 8.20 pm it was done. Below is a brief photo account of how it was done.

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1) All the tools I needed and my travelling modelling box. I printed two sizes of the sign out, one 0.8 cm tall and one 0.9 cm tall.

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2) I cut one of each size and backed it on to some mount board. The matches are for the posts to place it on.

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3) At this point I chose to use the 0.9cm sign, having trialled both against the pagoda. 

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4) A Sharpie was used to colour the back and sides and the posts were test-fitted. Having checked against the prototype I’ve since discovered blackening the edges was wrong as the sign has a white surround. Never mind!

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5) The posts were then fitted with PVA.

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6) Finally, a dry run of how they will look together.
Overall, for a quick project I’m really rather pleased!

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I’ve just about finished the station building for Little Lawley. It’s nothing too glamorous as it’s just a simple pagoda building. It’s also just a simple Wills kit, altered so I could fit the windows with a thin sliver of mount board to act as a sill. The eagle-eyed will spot that there is some light weathering to the pagoda in previous posts. Since I took this photo I've dry brushed some dark grey on it. I want to add a couple of tonal variations to it too, just to create some different shades.

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Firstly, I do hope you all enjoyed the Festive season and didn’t overindulge too much, with Santa bringing lots of railway shaped goodies!
Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys are a very guilty pleasure of mine. Therefore it I felt it only right that Little Lawley gets visited by the MP-turned TV presenter. I was put in touch with Mike Pett’s Supercast range of figures and after a quick turnaround they were ordered on the 21st and arrived on the 23rd. Excellent service.
They come in three colour combos – the two I ordered can be seen above – so I ordered two and decided to tweak them to fit in with my own preferences. After 30 minutes or so I ended up with the figures below.

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Another simple project, but enjoyable, and a nice little cameo for Little Lawley.

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When we’ve moved (in around a month, hopefully) the picture above will be my office/railway room. It’s about 6 feet across (the window) and 8 feet deep (towards the camera. I’ve got an idea of how things will fit in my head, with my work desk in the top right of the room as you look at the photo.

There is a reason for me posting about the inside of our new home. The box that has been bought for trains/wrapping paper is likely to stay as a wrapping paper box. I’m not going to argue with the domestic authority as she’s given me free reign on the room above. So, having been impressed whilst watching the micro layout on a Lack shelf, Fairport, I think this is the way to go. It can be placed above the desk, screwed onto the wall and removed when it’s play time. Perfect.

The really good bit of this idea is this; I can get a Lack shelf measuring 110 cm (nearly 4 feet). This means Little Lawley will get bigger (although it will still be little) and should be able to accommodate the Peckett and a Mk1 in the station.

Every silver lining, however, has a cloud. Due to the impending house move I won’t be getting the shelf any time soon. Therefore, any work that is to be done will revolve around tinkering with stock or small kits. There will be none of the layout building process yet. That’s ok though, because I’m still fiddling with my Ratio 5 plank wagon when time allows!

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Hi Chris

Interesting little project.

MK1 go wash your mouth out with soap :D

If your using a Peckett  I would suggest something a bit more exotic with balconies and a platform that's only 15"above rail height

If I may could I suggest remaking the name board with an oil lamp attached to it, and can I steal a copy of the name board.

If you really want to go modern image an 03 or is it an 04 Bachmann makes and a pair of MK1 coaches and yes that really was a passenger train on a very sleepy light railway down in GWR territory so would go well with the pagoda shelter.

You could probably get away with just a MK1 brake composite coach and 03 ? 04 :angelnot:

regards John

 

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Hi John,

I’ve realised I’ve missed out a load of info on the layout that I meant to publish. I’ve now added that to the first post of the topic and it might explain a few decisions.

Little Lawley is based on a heritage railway - Telford Steam Railway and their terminus, Lawley Village. Trains are tiny, a Peckett, a Mk1 and a Toad. 

Feel free to take a copy of the name board, however I’d suggest speaking to Jack on this forum as it’s his work and I’m sure he’d provide you with what you’re looking for, free of charge. 

Thanks for the interest in this budding project. 

Chris

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If you add a removable fiddlestick at the opposite end of the station from the tunnel mouth you could run through trains and operate the layout as a proper light railway with mixed trains dropping off/picking up wagons from the siding. This would make the layout a lot more interesting to operate and therefore more likely to be longer lived than it would be with a simple push/pull train emerging from the tunnel and returning whence it came.

It would be permissible for a light railway train to propel a wagon in front of the loco to drop it at a facing siding but more likely for the wagon to be conveyed through to the terminus and dropped on the return run when the siding would present trailing points.

A small diesel hired from BR could be used to replace the saddle tank when it's being serviced. An elderly coach, like a Tri-ang clerestory brake third, would be the perfect passenger vehicle... And is notably shorter than a MkI.

 

 

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Today I’ve had a look at the tunnel mouth for Little Lawley. I’d previously primed it and today set about making it look a bit better. I started off with a dark grey wash which I covered the whole mouth with before dabbing it with a paper towel to remove paint from the raised areas. This was left to dry before attacking it with various mixes of whites, greys and browns which were all dry-brushed on. Dry-brushing is my favourite technique as I love how it picks up little highlights, which was particularly good on a structure with such rough surfaces like this tunnel mouth.

Generally I’m quite pleased with it although I think I’ll have another look at the smoke marks going up from the tunnel mouth as I’m not overly happy with them.

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Little Lawley plan

I’ve drawn out the plan for Little Lawley. It’s not exactly the world’s most exciting, but it is pretty much what the real Lawley Village has as well. I have said previously that I want Little Lawley to capture the essence of the real Lawley. I feel this plan does that, however what if I tweaked it slightly, like so:

Little Lawley plan altered

This gives me an Inglenook and, with the addition of just one point, plenty more operating potential. I’m a little torn personally. I feel that the real essence of Lawley is more lacking with the extra siding, but the compromise of adding it is far more operational interest and a place to put wagons… which I enjoy tinkering with.

Currently I’m leaning towards the second plan.

Thoughts?

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The TSR (Thompson Steam Railway) at Little Lawley - not to be confused with the TSR (Telford Steam Railway) at Lawley Village have today taken possession of a rather well-known new steam engine.

The 38th book of the Railway Series by Rev W Awdry - and latterly his son Christopher - was about an Austerity locomotive, Wilbert, which was based on the Dean Forest Railway. It was a special request from the Railway after they had named that very loco Wilbert after the Railway Series' creator in 1987.

Wilbert has become quite a celebrity and this has led to the Dean Forest Railway commissioning 200 of these locos from DJ Models.

Mine arrived today.

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First impressions are excellent. The box is great with wonderful foam inserts that fit perfectly. The loco is beautifully finished (particularly noteworthy is the crisp printing on the nameplate), with a few extra details to add. Operational staff at the TSR are said to be extremely impressed.

Sadly Wilbert is currently unable to steam as the fictional TSR have yet to lay any track in order for him to stretch his wheels but all staff are looking forward to seeing Wilbert in action.

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There is a high likelihood that this will be last post for a couple of weeks. With the move taking place this weekend we will have no Broadband (first world problems or what?!) for until early February.

Where does this leave modelling? Sadly it's pretty much bottom of the list. And here’s the irony; because I’ve got no time and no resources (everything being packed away) to do it, I’ve got lots of mojo to model. Typical. The book above has arrived and I’ve had a flick through it. Again, it looks good but potentially not in the same league as the George Dent one. There’s less actual modelling in it than I thought as the book leans more towards prototype discussion. That said, I’m looking forward to diving in properly when time allows. I’m also hopeful that the domestic authority will deliver another Crowood book (Narrow Gauge in Small Spaces) for my forthcoming birthday. Not that I’m planning anything Narrow Gauge, I just find Chris Ford’s modelling very inspirational.

With modelling time being limited I’ve had to content myself with working out a few little projects to tackle when time allows. If I do decide on the Inglenook – I’m currently leaning back towards the prototypical fork arrangement – for Little Lawley then I’ll need more rolling stock. The Bachmann insulated blue van appeals (no reason why) and I’d want to weather it using some tips from Mr Dent’s book. I also want to revisit the Oxford 7-plank wagon and re-weather it using the same book, whilst I’d like to get hold of an Oxford 4-wheel Toad and see what I can do with them.

So, lots I’d like to do. Sadly, at the moment, there really aren’t enough hours in the day.

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We're just about shipshape in chez Thompson, with the last missing link (Broadband - first world problems or what!?) being installed yesterday. My new office has taken shape nicely and already has the board for Little Lawley up. I wasted little time in placing a few items on it to get a feel for what I'm looking to create.

However, modelling is still not something I have lots of time for. That said, as and when time exists I will be able to do things and that's ok with me.

During the moving process I think I've decided against an inglenook and will stick with the prototypical fork arrangement. The station does have Rail in place to suggest a run-round loop is planned in the future, modelling this in-between set-up might prove to be fun.

I'm also in the midst of making a to-do list that includes buying track etc (a birthday next week will hopefully provide funds) whilst I'm also looking at what stock I can work on.

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I've had this MFA for a long time and never really done anything with it. I quite fancy weathering it and using it as P-Way train for the heritage line. Using the George Dent weathering book as a guide (and to try a few new tricks out!) I think that it's going to be my next project!

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When taking the above photo I realised that Wilbert had been neglected and I had not added his couplings or his detail pack, leaving his face somewhat blank.

 

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Ten minutes later all was well and Wilbert's face was looking less blank and far more characterful than before. I am debating trying to get hold of a Hornby 'spare' face from the Thomas range to be able to place on every so often. Maybe, maybe not.

 

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A quick simple job, but one that was enjoyable as it was lovely to do a bit of modelling again. The next project is in the background - although it's hard to tell on the above photo - as I've researched a couple of pics of my MFA 391102 and it's interesting to say the least!

 

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But back to Wilbert. He was placed on Little Lawley and coupled up to the engineers train currently in the station... although with just the one piece of track, how it got there is anyone's guess!

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On my way back to Crewe yesterday - to watch the football - we stopped at Trident Trains. There were a few little bits purchased (ballast, buffer stops and a length of flexi) but I also finally got hold of an Oxford 4-wheel Toad. I know it has faults but, for what I paid, I couldn't say no.

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I wasn't too bothered which make it was as I'm toying with repainting it to match the one at Telford. I will remove the Acton markings though, regardless.

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Finally for today, here is an overall shot of Little Lawley. The point is a set-track one which I think I'll replace. I'm not sure yet. Overall, however, I'm quite happy with how things look.

What's next? I'm not quite sure, yet.

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The left hand insulfrog point I ordered arrived on Thursday (amazing service by Track Shack, incidentally, as it was ordered on Wednesday afternoon). I wasted no time cutting the track and clipping everything together. 

I plugged the controller in, placed Wilbert in the 'tunnel' and out he came, cab-first, chuffing gallantly and proudly towards the point, which was set to go on the siding. He tackled the point blade with ease and then...

Stutter. Stall. 

A quick prod got him going again. This time, going forwards, the point was no problem at all. So I tried him in reverse again. 

Frog. Stutter. Stall. Curse. 

Having looked around it seems the issue is Wilbert's 6 wheel arrangement with short wheel base locks being an issue over insulfrog points. 

Can I solve this in any way?

On a micro I think track laying and running needs to be perfect. I've relaid the point and track to make it as flat as possible. That seemed to cure the issue going into the siding but left the main line a bit stuttery. 

Wiring is not my bag, the thoughts of soldering extra picks ups or extra feeds under the point bring me out in a cold sweat!

Any help would be gratefully received. 

 

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1 hour ago, Chris said:

Having looked around it seems the issue is Wilbert's 6 wheel arrangement with short wheel base locks being an issue over insulfrog points. 

Can I solve this in any way?

On a micro I think track laying and running needs to be perfect. I've relaid the point and track to make it as flat as possible. That seemed to cure the issue going into the siding but left the main line a bit stuttery. 

 

 

Hi Chris

Did you check the point over before laying it good idea to check the tags on the spreader bar are properly pushed in and all other bits underneath are OK.

Some times the little tags that transfer the power from the stock rail to the blades need a little tweek with a jewelers screw driver be gentle they bend real easy and are easily broken.

Also check the back to back measurement is correct on Wilbert that the pick ups are clean and making good contact with the wheels are the wheels clean?

Is the track clean it has to be clean dirt is your worst enemy this will cause HR contacts which makes things stop or stutter.

Layout size doesn't matter the same attention to track work and wiring etc is required for good reliability so check all your rail joints as well.

Its an insulfrog it should not need more wiring however the question does need to be thought about should I have used an electrofrog point for this layout.

At worst you will need to run extra feed wires to the track with some switches and possibly some insulated joints so you can switch off the feed from the area it is not wanted,

You should not need to mess about trying to solder wires to the insulfrog point.

Wiring is not the mystic dark art it sometimes seems to be.

Just do what I did learn a little bit at a time as you need to do something, then more as you want to be able to do something a bit more fancy.

regards John

OH and after thought! is the track fixed down if not that will allow the track to move possibly enough to break the electrical contact

 

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John,

what an excellent reply - thank you. 

Having had another look this morning I think it is your last point, that the track is moving, that is causing the issues. I’ve only clipped things together and dropped them in place at the moment, nothing has been properly laid and I think the movement is causing the issue. When I lay it i’ll ensure it’s all flat as a pancake. 

Thanks again, really appreciate it!

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The humble Peco buffer stop. I'd been toying with some fancier versions but decided I could do some proper modelling using these as the starting point. A few cuts here and there, followed by a whisp of primer and I had the above.

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Next up, using the photo in an old Heritage Railway magazine for reference, came the painting. Burnt umber, red, black and an off white did the trick. I want to weather lightly, then varnish them using matt varnish, just to stop the paint flaking.

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Finally, a test fit. Excuse the poor light (iPhone camera in hazy artificial light) but overall I'm pretty pleased with how they've turned out.

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Today, in an effort to do some actual modelling, has seen me paint my Toad. Formerly an Acton, GWR grey, it is now bauxite, in keeping with the TSR's version.

I've used Humbrol acrylic (no 70) and brush painted. It's taken well and the few areas where the coverage isn't perfect don't overly matter as some weathering will take car of them.

I do want to add the Wellington R. U. letters and any other relevant signs as well - they'll have to be a custom job I think.

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Finally, here's a quick shot just to check how things look overall on Little Lawley. Quite happy if I'm honest, but as Mr Portillo will have quite a climb to get on any carriage currently, I'm thinking the platform should be my next job.

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Today I've done a bit of work on the landscape at Little Lawley. I've decided to experiment and have used floral foam. It's lightweight, easy to shape and easy to cut. The next step is to paper mache over the top and paint it before applying static grass and other green scenic items.

 

P.S. I mentioned doing the platform next on my last post. You'll spot I've started it, however it's a work in progress. Once it's done I'll post about it.

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The more I looked at the platform the more I disliked it. I tried adding the ballast, hoping that would help. It didn't - which is hardly surprising as I didn't like the ballast - so the platform is gone.

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This is the view at Little Lawley now. No platform. No trains. I've decided to start a bit of ballasting whilst I work out how to sort the platform out - luckily I kept the template for the platform top!

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