Sunday, 16 August 2009

Mouse Attack

Earlier this week we noticed a funny smell in the garage - that's right, mice. So out came the traps, and this afternoon with the help of my father-in-law we did a spring-clean, checking every box and sweeping out. I guess it wasn't a surprise to find the mice had been at Pen-Y-Bryn Quarry, which was stored in the garage.


The polystyrene forming the hills had been excavated (quarried?) and carried along the track all over the model, and small black droppings littered the hillside (in O gauge they might have passed for scale sheep droppings!). The little blighters had nibbled the rock-face (cork bark), and even tried some of the people and animals (tell-tale flashes of whitemetal!), plus other people, animals, and details were strewn about, flattened by the giant rodents. I did take a picture on my phone but it didn't come out, so the one above shows how it looked before the damage!

This evening I pulled off any loose details for safety and hoovered up the polystyrene and mouse droppings. I guess it could have been worse; the foamboard structure is intact, no wiring or track or buildings are damaged, it is just scenic damage. Some touching-up of paint, and sloshing some dilute PVA around with ballast and flock should not take too long, then putting the details back. But right now I'm not sure what to do, after all I still don't have anywhere better to store it; it is too large to go through the loft-hatch and since our second child arrived there is no space in the house. A 50cm cube is pretty large when you look at it.

It looks like I need to make a secure wooden box from MDF or hardboard, that will keep the dust, spiders, and especially mice out, so I can safely keep the layout in the garage. But then I think what's the point? If it is boxed up in the garage it cannot be seen or operated, it's not that likely to come out for exhibitions, so I might as well salvage what is worth keeping and get rid of it. After all I have 2 further layouts in the loft, another part-completed (and perhaps never will be?) layout in the garage (bare MDF and track wasn't as attractive to or easiliy damaged by the mice), as well as Awnagate in the dining room! Maybe it is the end of the line for this one ...

7 comments:

stephen said...

If you can patch it up easily it might be worth trying to sell it? It's a nice layout and it would be a shame to see it broken up.

Zabdiel said...

That's the trouble with cube layouts, even a small cube takes up a lot of space.

I agree about selling it - I'm sure you could find a buyer for such a nice layout.

Michael Campbell said...

Thanks guys, I'd definately consider selling it but I wonder if such a specialist layout would attract much interest. After all, operation gets a bit tedious! Any offers anyone? :-)

One-Ten said...

I'm not sure you could construct a mouse-proof box from MDF; in fact I'm not sure you could construct a mouse proof anything. They've even nibbled their way out of the humane mouse traps I tried to use.

I ended up resorting to poisoning them. But perhaps if you connected one of those Relco track cleaners that always give you a nasty shock and left it live, the mice would learn that a Pen-Y-Bryn is not a safe place for them!

Michael Campbell said...

I fear you are right about that, although these mice didn't seem to have started on any woodwork! And I do use HF track cleaners (Relco but by Gaugemaster!), but I don't generally leave power connected on layouts in storage, anyway fried mouse could be a fire hazzard!

I can't be bothered with humane mouse-traps (they're not human), but one of the blighters had caught his foot in one, got half-way accross the garage before putting his head in another. Apologies to the squimish!

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Michael Campbell said...

Thanks for your kind comments Patricia!