A fork in the road

Whilst walking in my local park on a beautiful sunny morning, with the glimmerings of spring seemingly around the corner my mind turned to which notty road to follow. Since returning back to my YouTube channel with renewed enthusiasm I have kind of left myself a bit of a quandary. Once the infrastructure, i.e. the shelves are finished and I have space to start building my first layout, I am faced with this choice. In the blue corner, is the current intended project. This is the lightweight foam board layout I started last year. In the red corner, is the new upstart. The project I committed to maybe last year or the year before, I can’t remember now, with my friend Richard. However not happy just to commit to a project that had a deadline I decided to pile on the pressure and come up with, in a blinding flash of inspiration, the plan to sign myself up to the same challenge. Now granted I am only making “some” track for my friend, but the fact that he is/will be waiting on me before he can really get on and to the scenic side has added a layer of pressure.

Now to my own folly. Around the same time as a visit to this part of the world, we happened to realise that well know Steam Loco Tornado was working the local heritage railway. This then triggered a conversation about the line, history, and my thoughts and ideas about it. Some of the plans I daydreamed about as a youngster were still in the back of my mind. For whatever reason this small rural tiny backwater line had me gripped from a young age. I have talked about this obsession in previous posts before but all talking and noodling just re-awoke it. Having brought every book on and tried to accumulate any pictures I could all with the end goal of one day producing a layout of it. Its not an original idea and there’s been a number of layouts in the model railway press over the years but its an itch that just needs scratching.

Bringing that back to the current day I am faced with the option of abandoning my “mini” idea or hurl myself headlong into this. What is this idea we are talking about? Well, it is the Diamond Jubilee Layout Challenge of the 2mm Association. The deadline is late June 2020 and by my calculation, that is about 4 months. Now as I have previously said I have a number of tasks in my room that I need to finish, like some coving to put up and some paint touch up to be able to get to the point where I can start anything. Realistically that is probably going to be into March by my current rate of progress at which point I have to decide which path to take for the YouTubes. There is, of course, a plan C option, which is to run the project alongside but to document the DJLC for later, after the event, as a kind of retrospective. I’m guessing that this is the sensible thing to do, but then when have I ever been sensible! Also, the thing that has been flickering through my mind recently is that I could also do an idea I have also had in my head for a long time, portraying a seaside station on the south coast of England. This was hatched in a moment of madness when I brought a 2 car DMU and that I got wheels turned down for 2FS. That has also been gnawing away at me to build.

I’m not sure whether one or the other of my ideas would harder to complete than the other so I guess it boils down to what makes the most sense. Given that I have the rolling stock for the latter it would seem more feasible to move that project forward. I seem to be talking myself into this, but like all the cliches about “no pain, no gain”, “cracking eggs to make omelettes” blah blah blah… It might be a fools’ errand, but there’s nothing like being under pressure to produce some results.

So now some doodles of the ideas I have and maybe some ideas will flow from them.

First Idea

2FS Rural Halt
A rural halt in the North of England in 2FS

Second Idea

A modern seaside town in 2FS

So with all this in mind, I have to sit myself down and work out how, when and if I need to do this. So in the coming weeks, I will follow up on this as this is more of a sounding board to myself which I enjoy being able to do as in other formats it is harder to formulate these ideas without having to project rather than reflecting on. My not sure an hour of babbling on about a concept, track plan and execution would be that interesting to many people. I also like that here on the blog I can have these ideas and they can percolate through time without having to have a definite end. Quite often ideas can last for decades.

However, as the years’ tick by it is becoming more apparent that these ideas need turning into reality. In some ways having a restricted space is limiting, but in conversation with a friend yesterday I said that it actually fits my character much better. When I look at my modelling inspirations, Rice, Gravett and Nevard, to mention a few, on the whole, their layout output is on the more compact size. But the level of captured reality is inspiring. Thus proving one doesn’t need huge amounts of space.

In the time I have and the space constraints (around two feet in length) I think I can achieve something in 10-11 weeks. Anyway, we’ll see how that pans out. As my grandfather said, “Never sit at the front and never volunteer for anything!” From a man who volunteered for Bomber Command during WW2.

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