Superquick? making track? Surely they make railway buildings and des rez in cardboard?, They don’t do track do they …
Well, technically that’s true, but in preparation for a DVD project with Paul Lunn and Chris Walsh of Activity Media http://www.model-railway-dvd.co.uk/ I wanted to get one of the demonstration sections up and built quickly. The following images show some of the work which has only taken a few hours to complete. Now I can already hear some cogs whirring wondering how that layout section could only take a few hours. Obviously its small (and that helps) but if you use different techniques from ‘the usual way’ you can save time and effort.
Saving time and effort is always one of my key objectives hence the use of C&L Flexitrack, Peco ‘Streamline’ points and Woodland Scenics underlay. The reason for the mix of track types is I wanted to see how the two looked and worked together. The Code 75 range of points I know work well having used them on Albion Yard. I know friends who are very quick at building copper clad points, but part of the remit was to use easily accessible components for speed and partly because they are an element of the story we will be telling. I’d been recommended the Woodland Scenics underlay by two modelling mates, Al Reynolds and Peter Marriot, who both spoke highly of its properties and general usefulness. I’ve used the Peco underlay myself and found that the section I’ve got seems indestructible, but its incompatible with the C&L track. It seemed as good a time as any to try the Woodland underlay, and it was only a small layout so if it went ‘pear shaped’ I could recover it easily or start again.
I used a quick drying no more nails type of adhesive as it dries quickly, allows a little bit of adjustment and has good final strength. The underlay is a dense foam with a ‘ballast’ shoulder cut into the side. The ‘HO’ product I used cut easily with scissors or a knife and can be laid in gentle curves without cutting it to help form the radius. Mine are roughly Peco medium radius curves. Any tighter and I’d cut the strip in half lengthways (there’s a ready made cut line provided) and lay two narrow strips side by side, as they recommend.
So what made the track ‘SuperQuick’? Well I like taking a risk sometimes and am usually happy to try a new technique or two if I think it has value. What I’ve done with all the track here is to fix it down with low viscosity Super Glue! You do have to have a clear plan of where the track is going to go and have prepared any point motor locations and things like wiring runs. The points here are all powered with the Peco PL10E motor which has the extended pin. These are mounted on the point motor base plates screwed to the underneath of the board. I like the PL10 family, they are cheap, robust and effective particularly when used as designed with the Peco point range. I’d prepared all the separate track components cutting the rail to length and removing some of the webs to vary sleeper spacing. I started with the lead in curved point, gluing it in place and then each new track panel or point was added. The beauty of using superglue is it sets very quickly, so I did have to make sure I wasn’t straying in any of the alignments, which is no different to normal track laying. The C&L panels are fixed using a couple of places along each length to get them in position, and then I return to fix every sleeper.
The points are fixed in a similar manner. The glue cures very quickly and still retains the acoustic and cushioning properties of the underlay. There is good strength too, you can move the board slightly just holding the track. I also managed to drop the board face down whilst soldering the wiring with no ill effect on the track, so I’m very happy with this method, and in particular with the underlay. You’ll also note the headline image, one of Dave Franks’ new cast whitemetal bufferstops. This is a Midland Railway version, beautifully cast and comes with components that allows either OO or EM/P4 build. This works really well with the C&L components and will give another focal interest point, and will ‘place’ the location to a degree. There are a good range of prototypes available and in progress, well worth a look for something a bit different.
Now I’ll be starting to detail the track prior to paint and ballast, things like point rodding or levers and fishplates. The layout only has a very small footprint which I may widen by a few inches, as its more of a working diorama than a layout. It is I suppose the first ‘micro’ or mini layout I’ve built, which is a challenge in itself to think really compact and bijou! What I’m hoping to capture is something like Albion Yard below, and get a feeling of realism, depth and distance. I’m quietly confident with the way the layout has gone so far, I’ll be able to show that to good effect.
C&L Track http://www.finescale.org.uk
Peco Products http://www.peco-uk.com/
Lanarkshire Model Supplies http://www.lanarkshiremodels.com