If like me your train set sits against the wall when its set up, or if it’s permanent, then the wall is a big feature as is how to deal with it. This is a picture of Wharfedale Road, my current project. It’s unusual for me in that it’s a micro layout, not that I’ve built any large layouts like Roy Jackson’s Retford , though I have helped on a few of that size of layout. Making a Micro has been a challenge, as I found out with Collier Street for the Railway Modeller which was a similar footprint. The surprise I had there was that was in N gauge and the scale didn’t save time, as I originally thought it would. It was like working in 4mm scale only smaller, ( I know, I know, that sounds like Father Ted explaining Cows to Dougal), pro rata I was making the same amount of models and scenery, and I don’t know why but I’d fallen into the ‘its N gauge, it’ll be faster, its smaller’ trap.
Well a similar thing has happened with ‘Wharfedale Road’. The size caught me out. I wanted something that would keep me interested whilst building it, and as it’s for a DVD had to reflect the story we’ll be telling in due course. Paul Lunn has supplied me with a plausible idea and building mock ups. I’d actually started making a different scenic fit for it, which is where the wall came in. With it in its location in the workshop, what I was building wasn’t working for a number of reasons, but the space element behind the layout and filling it well, became paramount, which is something we’ll tell in the DVD.
Changing the scenic side in good time saved the layout and regenerated the enthusiasm to get it right. So, I started to rebuild it, and every day for the past week or so I’ve found something to do on it be it scenery or stock, all sort of fifteen minute heroes, small bites out of the metaphorical elephant. This week has seen the layout ballasted and the loading area concrete infill completed from Das modelling clay. Then there’s been painting the track and weathering the scenery so far, and building the retaining wall and overhead crane. This so far has been really enjoyable, particularly the thought processes of getting such a small compact space to ‘work’. That of course includes choosing the right stock and motive power, that doesn’t just mean choosing the shortest and smallest stock either, that too came as a surprise, and tied into it being a plausible model rather than a cliché.
In getting the space to work has made me think about what’s next for the Albion Yard Forest of Dean theme, I’m now having thoughts about an ‘American’ style layout with multi levels, and a number of stations/yards to replicate some of the Forest network. Key to this is working how to get a narrow ‘shelf layout’ to work visually like this one is now doing. It won’t be a set of micro layouts connected, more ‘small layouts’ joined. After all Albion Yards scenic section is only 8ft long in reality so four of those per level could give me eight or twelve scenic elements if I opt for two or three levels respectively. In N gauge the same space could give really nice spacious feelings to those sections.
One things for certain, it won’t save me any modelling time at all …
I don’t know if you follow many US sites/blogs but this blog over on Model railroad hobbyist has some fantastic modelling and uses some very narrow bench work in places. It’s certainly inspired me to try a round the walls narrow layout.
I think that the time it takes to build a model railway relates more to the available area than it does to the scale being used. I spent at least 4 times as long building a single wagon in 1:32 scale than I would have for 1:64, simply because the detail was more visible, and had to be modelled more accurately – no longer were nuts, bolts and rivets embossed, but were cut from styrene hexagonal rod (this was a BR wagon, so hexagonal was fine for nuts) or round rod. They also needed careful individual placing to be in the right place. If working in S scale, though, I would need four times the wagons for a given area, so there would be little time saving even if they took a quarter of the time each to build..
True enough, I think it also depends on how much ‘modelling’ you actually do. Clearly with RTR/RTP you can save time especially if just un-boxed. I still find I occasionally underestimate the timescales on some projects, as I’ve done with this one. I’ve got stuck into scratchbuilding the buildings now, which is sort of a first as most previous efforts haven’t been as dedicated to that task.