Friday, 23 May 2008

Track laid!

Finally I have laid the rest of the track! So what, you might think, nearly 9 months after starting this layout I have laid some track. Well for various reasons it seemed better to have the major buildings defined first, and anyway finding the time to do noisy jobs like cutting track without waking the baby isn't easy!

The first picture shows the fiddle-yard entry track. This was laid from the station entry point, accross the board joint and the "cassette terminal" in one piece. Strategic placement of copper-clad strip between the sleepers stuck down with Bostick (some track pins may follow) should keep things solid. Once everything is stuck and soldered in place I cut the rails at the board and cassette joins with a slitting disc in a mini drill. I'll explain the cassette fiddle yard another time but it is the same design I used on Pen-Y-Bryn Quarry.

The rest of the track was stuck down onto a layer of PVA glue, with track pins to hold it where required (later removed). "N"-gauge granite ballast was sprinkled on to give an initial covering, later further ballast was added to the sleeper tops and diluted PVA dripped on with a pipette in the usual way. Actually it's the first time I've ballasted this way, most of my layouts have featured the track buried in ash/mud etc. rather than ballast!

After vacuuming off the excess and picking any ballast away from the rails, points, sleeper tops etc, the result is below. One point had stopped working - to my horror - but it turned out the spring had popped out of the slot in the tie-bar, with a bit of work I got it back together.

The ballast and rails will need painting, not sure how to tackle that yet, but first I need to install point motors and start wiring. I'd best make sure it all works before going any further!

This last picture shows the wrinkles in the backscene around the corners, fortunately I think I will be able to hide them behind buildings.

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Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Backscene and Buildings progress

I haven't managed to publish any updates about progress on the layout for a couple of months, and with family and other comittments, and keeping the wife happy by sorting out the garden, there hasn't been a lot of time for model making. However there has been some progress ...
Last weekend I had a second go at sorting out the backscene. I had cut fillets of foamcore board and fitted them into the corners as shown, then fixed two layers of lining paper to form the continuous curved backscene. I stuck it in place using a spray-on impact adhesive from Bostik, which worked fine until I gave it a coat of white emulsion, as an undercoat to painting the sky. Then the paper shrank and wrinkled, and the glue came unstuck!
So I got a roll of sky-paper from Townscene (advert in RM). I ripped off the lining paper and cut and stuck a new piece in place, this time using wallpaper paste. Then I stuck the sky-paper to that, also using wallpaper paste.
Once the glue has dried and the bubles and wrinkles straightened out, it doesn't look too bad. However the sky-paper is very thin, and despite my best efforts some creases crept in whilst fitting it in place around the ends. I'm hoping I can hide the worst when I fit the cut-outs of buildings for the skyline.
The pictures also show the buildings progressing. The station and goods-shed is now painted, and pretty well complete. I have recently been putting together some Metcalf card kits for warehouses and house-backs, these are the first card-kits I have used in 15 years or so, and I was sceptical. However they are not at all bad, I've taken care to paint the visible edges of the card to match the brickwork. They may not stand too close a scrutiny but they will look fine from normal viewing distances, and most importantly will allow me to complete the layout in reasonable time!

The buildings need some finishing, and when I get chance I will finish laying the tracks, then we should really see some progress!