Sunday 14 September 2008

Let there be light!

I've just had a week off from work, and although having a small toddler to look after and some family days out (I continued his education with a trip to the Bluebell Line) I have managed to find some time to work on the layout, and make progress on several fronts.

The most obvious is the lighting. This consists of two 30W tungsten strip-lights inide the pelmet, as shown in the photo. The ply wasn't thick enough to screw in to, so I stuck them in place with a hot-glue gun. The tin foil (pre-crinkled to diffuse the light) reflects the light and prevents the wood getting too hot. I left the lights on for several hours and the ply was just warm to the touch. They are wired to an in-line connector so the mains lead can be removed, then to one 3-amp fused plug.

The lighting may be simple, but is very effective as the picture below shows. Tungsten light gives the impression of a bright, sunny day, but that matches the blue sky! Othe progress that can be seen is that the ground contours have been built-up, at the back using card to raise the houses and yard areas, and with expanded polystyrene at the front of the layout. I also carved drainage ditches into the cork beside the track. Although essentially a flat area, the subtle changes in level are important to avoid the flat-board look!

On Saturday I went to the Worthing MRC show in Lancing. You can see some pictures here:
There were some good layouts, some average and a few looked unfinished. Trade support was the usual Hornby and toy cars etc., no Squires this year, but I did manage to pick up some odds and ends - chimney pots for the station, some second-hand books, and another Townscene backscene. This has some house and shop-fronts that will enable the backscene to come together, so that is my next job.

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Sunday 7 September 2008

One year on!

So, here I am exactly a year on since I started this Blog, and just over a year since I cut the first sod (wood) on this layout. Despite the distractions of family life, and other commitments I have (like going to work), progress has been reasonably good. The photo's below show that the track is laid, painted, ballasted, wired and working (you'll have to take my word on that, bar one or two gremlins). Also the sky is in place and I expect to have some roofscape shortly, the main buildings are all but complete (except the engine shed), and I've just started cutting Wills granite setts for the factory yard. I expect the inset track will be fiddly!
So how much remains to be done? Well other than finishing the structures and backscene, the scenic ground cover is the obvious thing. Gravel in the yard and by the goods shed, a slight grassy rise to the house-backs, over-grown waste ground to the front of the layout. Also walls, fences, gates, etc. Then it's down to the details - packing cases, a crane in the yard, lamps, road vehicles, people! In addition I still need to fit the lights into the facia, stain/varnish the plywood, make up further fiddle-yard cassettes, and possibly even make legs to support the layout for exhibitions.
While the layout is being built for home use it has been designed with exhibitions in mind, and indeed has already recieved it's first invitation. Well, OK, it is the Sussex Downs group members' day (7th March next year - hope to see you there!) but nonetheless it gives me a deadline. After 2 previous attempts at the EXPO-NG challenges I said I'd never build to a deadline (ha!), but at least it concentrates effort! Actually the layout should be fairly complete by then, even if lacking in some details. I'll also need to find time to service / paint / build some stock too!

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Now, as for the blog, well it has been rather enjoyable posting the occasional updates on progress, plus a few other topics. I try to do at least one update a month, and that is another factor in encouraging progress! It seems that the blog has had nearly 3000 different hits since I started tracking it, so obviously there are a few of you out there taking an interest! (I don't think it's my Dad looking at it 10 times a day!) so thanks for your interest, and your comments. Though I am still waiting for inspiration for a name for the layout, so give me your ideas please!