Back in October, I decided to get the mojo going again by building something, anything for the first layout that could propel me back to activity. I decided to start with something so simple I couldn’t really get it wrong. I can’t help but think of a Baldrick cunning plan at this point. But often the biggest hurdle to starting something is me! In my mind there are a million plans waiting to be materialised but very few of them have ever or will ever reach fruition. So the idea to get back to the modelling table popped into my head when I was browsing Peco’s website.
No bearing in mind I am predominantly a 2mm modeller I decided to build this in 4mm. This is due to a number of reasons. Partly because I started the foam board layout and I’m not sure why but I decided to base it around a Loco that was gifted to to me or swapped, I can’t quite remember now and that was a GWR Pannier Tank Loco and although I am not a Great Western modeller I have had vague leanings since a trip out to Pendon in my early years and spending hours looking at the Bridge scene. In fact I seem to remember being left there to watch the trains go by, I have no idea where the parents were, and that inevitable time to leave and not wanting to. It just seemed to me that this Loco would be at home in an urban location.
West London, off the beaten track somewhere. A little yard serving a local community, from a time when the rail network served the nation. This is partly due to my time living in London and always fancying building something from that location, where the railway is built up against just about everything. Also along with their family friend who I introduced to the joys of 2FS, had intentions of building something based around popular in the East End of London.Which was served by both the GWR, LMS and LNER. However that’s a whole other story.
So coming back to the original point of this post, and the reason to build the yard office, I settled on this as a simple structure that could be easily modified to the needs of the space that I was going to build. This building was he really there to oversee traffic in and out of the yard and to make sure no funny business went on. I haven’t messed around with the materials used. It is mainly to try out some techniques, and use in a way that gives more detail to it. I have also decided to build three iterations because I want to use different materials and techniques. I started out with the intent of using only what I had around me, this being food packaging, which is freely available. I simulated a board siding in order not to have to use a brick papers or other materials and also because I liked the look and this fitted in more to the location. The next iterations will be using that card and paper, and then I will return to the final build with the things I’ve learnt from building the previous versions and will be the one that goes on the layout.
The process of colouring was interesting. I knew from past experience with colour matching in the digital world that a lot of it is subjective to the time of day and the conditions that one is painting and also to what the viewer sees. Also I think it must’ve been decades since I last broke out paints and mixed up colours. it’s funny how wide the knowledge we have as modellers is for all the different mediums of this hobby. With the wonders of the internet one can get very detailed information on liveries etc, but in order not to get distracted and trying to achieve perfection I deliberately made myself just do it. I knew that this was purely a test and that there was no pressure for it to impress, me or others, and that freed up the progress. I think by the third one i will not only have a model I’m pleased with but will have got chops up to speed again.
I’ll leave you with a few pics from the build, and as I finish up this post I will be settling down to cutting out the next basic carcass on the way to another opportunity to learn those rusty skills.
I came across this gem of a video on YouTube which started me off on a journey down memory lane.
Although I never knowingly saw the steam era as I came into this world on this day, in the year it was phased out and lived in a region where electric commuter trains had long been running the bulk of railway services. The fascination and romance had sown its seed though. Maybe subconsciously but it was there. Now I know the reality as told by my parents and grandparents was a different tale but still I can’t help think that I would have enjoyed being one of those kids who bunked off school to watch the trains rush by, or be standing on platforms as trains strained there weight away to far flung regions. For the record I never really collected numbers as I was more interested in watching trains go by. Even to this day it’s more about the experience than the detail. Not saying collecting numbers is bad, lets face it humans seemed designed to collect things! But for me it’s just the roar of a passing train. The sights and smells of a steam train on a heritage railway. Or the well observed layout at a model railway show.
What about the video then? Well not only is it a snapshot of a time long forgotten. But also a record of a railway near to my childhood. I long dreamed of being able to explore the Settle to Carlisle route which is in that region. With its rugged scenery and remote stations that I had long read about. As a youngster though I had no way of attaining this goal due to the inability to get my self about to these far flung quarters. In fact to date I still haven’t managed to ride the illustrious S&C Railway. Maybe once this global event has passed I will finally manage to put a tick on the list.
But this video also gives little detail at its fringes that a photo could never do. I know I have said previously that I now try to take the periphery as well as the focus. As I know that is what will be interesting to me and hopefully others in the future. There is no excuse with modern tech to now be able to make a reasonable record of the passing of time. Looking at the video though it’s always been an idle thought of mine that had Beeching not slashed his red pen through the map of Britain’s railway lines in the 60s and some forward thinking minds had kept the idea of goods transport links alive. Could we now have had a more goods by rail. Probably not. But doesn’t harm to let the mind wander. In fact if one wants to go really left field, how about a modern day narrow gauge system. Much like the Swiss system that I so admire. But that is really pushing it and very off topic.
I love the fact that there are little trains. Contrary to popular opinion (probably!) I love the little local goods trains. Most of these images were taken at the end of the railway boom and the steam era and were on the whole hanging on for grim life. But they did serve remote communities that survived on goods shipments for their livelihoods in many cases. The internal combustion engine was now in the ascendancy. Road travel and transport was seen to be much quicker, cheaper and just more sexy. Just look at the the Mini adverts from the 60s.
But I love these little finds and the mental journeys it can set me off on. Just not to get sucked too far down the rabbit hole. There’s something quaint about the 16mm footage that makes one realise how spoilt we are now with the technology in our pockets. The fact you knew you had limited resources and that timing really mattered. In this day and age of “all you can eat” it sometimes is all too easy to lose concentration.
I wonder what it will be from this age that is left for prosperity.
In an attempt to get me back to blogging I am going to try doing some micro blogging, where I can just put up a short post just to keep the flow going until I reach critical mass and can keep the habit going. I enjoy writing these posts as it is a way of bringing thoughts together in a way that isn’t really possible in other mediums. But I have banged on about this enough and probably loads of times before so will keep my ramblings to a minimum.
The point of this post is to mark a milestone that is a major step forward for me. Some time has passed since moving to this new house and getting to the point where I have a space to play trains in. For so long I have been procrastinating about the fact that I didn’t have or couldn’t do but now I have no excuse! “You need to build a layout” I have been told!
The YouTube channel I started and probably why I post less here is a great carrot and stick in that it motivates me into getting things done and feeds the doing. It is however also the stick and is the beast that must be fed. Although I don’t profess to be one of those fancy full time YouTubers or someone who really knows what they are doing, one does get a little interested in the analytics. But to become a slave to them would be the death of a hobby I think. But I did make a commitment to myself to do a consistent content upload and on the whole I have kept to it.
I really like the process of creating the videos and although I know nothing about film making and editing I stumble on trying to get a little bit better every time I make one. Yes I know there is a tonne of stuff out there but I thought I would try and find my “way” before I start being influenced by others. It’s thinking about how one is going to tell the story of what’s happening in front of one, keeping it interesting to me as well as an audience is quite a tricky thing.
All of this is to say that my latest effort marks the start of hopefully many layout builds on my space constrained shelf. For me variety is the spice of life and boredom is the enemy of creation.
As a slight side note, in this time of uncertainty and restrictions I and pondering will I have enough resources to complete the build but for the time being I have enough to keep me going for quite a few weeks, hopefully to the point of near completion.
If you care to find out my efforts you can see them here
So until the next micro blog, stay safe and hopefully enjoy a bit of your own hobby time.
It’s been a year since arriving at my current spot and now is the time to finally sort out my space. It’s the first time I have had the time and a space to be able to mould to my plans and so I have drawn up some ideas to help me decide what goes where. Now normally I’m guessing that most people have a reasonable amount of room to set up their model railway but in my case I have about 7 feet along a wall for layout and about the same for a bench, so some might think rather compact. With a bed the usable space becomes even more restrictive but then the challenge of how one goes about deciding the optimal use case is part of the fun for me.
First of all everything needs to come out and the room prepped for a coat of paint it’s been a bit of a drawn out process picking the colour as I wanted something darker not only to reduce light levels in the room but to also make a bit of a backdrop for taking photos and maybe some video in the future. As it is a north facing room light levels are lower but this works to my favour in that going for the “low key” effect a darker hue reduces the reflections. I know this is not necessarily railway modelling related but I definitely subscribe to a holistic approach and taking into account things like room environment is maybe something that is not given much though in the genesis of a railway room, it is as much about a bit of theatre as just a room to run a railway. Also I will probably only get one chance to setup as I want as the disruption of reinventing it would be too costly and time consuming.
Much of the room furniture needs to be configured to the need and as such I’m unlikely going to roll up to Ikea and return with a flat-packed solution. Due to the limited space I have measured up the workbench and desk to allow for a comfortable work height and depth and as can be seen from plan the idea of a fold up extension is to give me a good depth when modelling but can be folded away to not interfere with layout operation when I am playing trains! The idea of having to get out and put away may be onerous to some but for me it will be a help in that my natural tendencies to clutter and chaos will be curbed.
So now that I have the plan in place and have mocked up with CAD (and that’s cardboard aided modelling) I need to get on with the doing. Over the next week I’ll be making a start and will post on the progress.