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  1. Righty then. Time to get this layout of mine on the go again. I left the layout on March 20th having roughed in and mocked up a general idea of the layout, and that is quite literally what I did. I just left it there. It sat, I did nothing to it. I even bough a couple of US outline O scale freight cars whilst mooting a Proto:48 project. Every so often I'd go and look at the mock up and see if I still liked the idea. So, six weeks have passed and every time I take a look at the mock up. I still like it. I still believe in the concept. I know many others have built very nice SLT's. But I had to be sure it was right for me. My model railway layout building history is full of half started concepts and half finished layouts that haven't sustained my interest beyond the initial phase. So, when I took another look today, (a very rainy day just right for dabbling in a bit of model railway work), I saw this... ....and was happy. I decided to go one step further and add the basis of the rear background, the hill sloping up to the backscene and see how that feels. Nothing too clever in the construction here so far. Just some expanded polystyrene formers with strips of thin card crisscrossed over them to get a base for the slope. Hopefully in a couple of days when I get a day or two off work I'll cover this with the old "paper towels soaked in PVA" method to get the shape finalized. and if I still like that after a few weeks then I'll get on to the next step.
  2. OK then. Other commitments have kept me away from this project but some spare time today allowed me a chance to get started on this experimental concept. I glued the cork underlays in place, and trimmed the styrene to the shape of the platform. I figured it would make a good base to build around. That section of track in front is a short length of Scalefour track. The section of track in the yard there might stay or might not. I could shove an engineers train in there once in a while for varying the operations. Liking this view I may have to change my decision on making the layout totally end on viewing. The background hill mass is too tall. This too is a not bad looking scene. The Wills "Tin Tabernacle" substitutes for a station building. Enjoy! IAn
  3. Yesterday, (March 1st) the APA Box layout received its first outing at the Granite City Train show in St. Cloud, MN. This little layout was probably the most labour intensive of the layouts I've shown there. The coal loading really making it a 2 person operation for smooth running. The working coal loader really grabbing peoples attention. A couple of people asked about the rolling stock as it was British outline, but most people were just content to watch the layout work. The coal loading was, as I've said, quite a labour intensive operation. We found it worked best with one person operating the railway watching the position of the wagons under the dispensing chute to see when they filled, and the other person actually doing the filling. Something that definitely needs to be worked on is cutting down on the spillage around the chute. This led to a lot of derailments very quickly and many breaks had to be taken to clear the coal away from the rails. Another thing I learnt is that the couplers on the Dapol hoppers were not as effective as the Bachmann ones in constant push-pull situations. The direction to take with the uncouplers needs to be worked on. I made a couple of hand uncoupling tools out of styrene before the show and they certainly did the job. I'm sure I'll get well meaning suggestions to use "Sprat and Winkle" or some other auto uncoupling brand, but they'd have to be shipped over from the UK and when you have to pay more for postage than the item its just not cost effective. I could use Kadees but they don't look right on 1960's UK stock. The Bachmann ones are surprisingly unobtrusive so I might just stick with them. There is a supplier in Canada that I get my Bachmann stock from. The next plan will be to rebuild the loading screens out of styrene and get a bit more detail into the structures. A fiddle yard rebuild is also on the cards. It was just a tad too short as it was. I'll try to rig up a three road sector plate for the next time. The next Granite City Train show is on November 15th so there is plenty of time. All in all, a good day out. I did come away with an O scale US outline boxcar kit. Who knows where that will lead? Above: This photo shows the layout ready for display. The layout rests on a couple of plastic "milk crate" type containers that are used to carry the stock and equipment into the show. Set up and knock down time was about 10 minutes. Below: These pictures centre on the loaded coal hoppers.
  4. I said yesterday that today's plan was to work on the lighting and paint the frontage. As good as my word that was what I did. In the end I opted for a light grey to paint the display rather than a black which I thought would be too overpowering. For the photo I also knocked up a quick nameplate on my computer. It looks OK. The lighting is not so good in the basement where I work usually so please excuse the darker lighting but it does show how effective the IKEA "KOMPLEMENT" lighting strip is at lighting the scene. A sneak peek behind the pelmet shows the KOMPLEMENT strip fixed in place as per the fitting instructions. Though I did use some slightly longer (3/4") fixing screws instead of the 1/4" screws supplied. If I'm being hyper-critical the lighting strip needs to be angled a bit because there is a slightly darker strip at the very front of the layout. But that will be less noticeable in the exhibition hall, I expect. A few more bits and pieces and I'll have a very presentable layout for Saturdays show.
  5. One week to the Granite City Train Show. There hadn't been much progress over the past few weeks. The Winter Road Rally season had been in full swing and the wife and I had been competing and organizing around Minnesota and Wisconsin. Highlight of which had been sliding into a snow bank on a forest track that when I got out to push turned out be a three food deep ditch full of snow! But I digress... Today I was lucky enough to be able to devote the whole day to working on the layout. The important thing was to wire up the fiddle yard and get the layout running. Which was achieved without too much difficulty. Then, as per usual I got carried away creating a whole boxed up self contained system. This first picture shows the boxed up state. The fiddle yard tray sits ontop of the roof which when inverted and placed at the end of the layout forms the base of the fiddle yard. The lid comes off, the front protection door unscrews, opens and then screws to the fiddle yard base. An operation that only takes a couple of moments. then you wire up the layout pop some stock on the track and away you go. Total time setting up the layout? Five minutes maybe. LED lighting will be added and the bare wood will get a coat of paint tomorrow
  6. That Newcastle location Dave, is very neat.
  7. You can't beat a proper Dremel

  8. Bob: Here's a Google Street view shot that gives a good view of the extent of the Structure. The Hornby model with a canopy and a scratch built shelter addition at the end might just do the job most admirably.
  9. I thought I'd best do a quick double check Bob, and through the magic of Google Earth I see that the Liskeard Branch platform building is about 110' long, 440 mm almost 18". Much, much longer than I ever expected it to be. That Skaledale pavilion is rather nice. Very Colonel Stephens I think.
  10. As I'm currently working towards getting another layout ready for a train show (My APA box interpretation of British Oak Coal loading point described elsewhere on here) time is spent thinking through things. I like thinking. I like to have things sorted in advance so construction goes smoothly, (famous last words). So this Station building has been bugging me a bit. The size of the prototype in 4mm scale is about 450mm long, which I think will be too long. So something shorter is called for. I think this could make a good basis. Window patterns are very wrong. But I think that if I add a canopy to it it might just work.
  11. Scenic effect. Nothing more. :)
  12. New arrival this morning.. :) A real beauty. Destination blinds read Keswick and Penrith. Both places I'm familiar with.
  13. I was mulling over building this in P4. It started with the idea of laying a short section of P4 track for the dummy main line because I do have some track panels in the scale from earlier abortive attempts in the scale. Then the idea sort of expanded...All I'd need really is an Ultrascale conversion kit for the DMU (I wonder if they make one) The curve exiting to the fiddle yard might end up being a tad tight though...
  14. Enough of this American intrusion onto my slice of England!! Today I was off work, and under the weather. So I dragged myself down to the model railway room and set to to work on something for the layout. I've been quite taken lately with the idea of a workman's halt for the layout. A nice short, timber platform sort of thing. I had plenty of styrene sheet and section around so it became a "make it up as you go along" sort of thing. Working on the idea that if it looked right it was right progress sped along - all afternoon. I worked on the project until it was finished. Five hours later. It needs painting, of course and some details. But other than that I think it will serve the purpose quite admirably.
  15. Oh, all right Bob. Subtle hint taken. Some pictures of the (now) Minnesota Iron Range Iron Ore loading point... In the first two pics a DMIR SD45-T (Athearn) shoves a quad set of ore "jennies" (also Athearn) into the receiving siding. This is where the Bachmann GE 45 tonner takes over and shoves the cars over to the loading points to be filled. A Baldwin S-12 switcher would also be a good choice for this duty as they were owned by the Oliver and Erie Mining concerns on the Iron Range.