Nicks workshop mutterings

Various railway orientated modelling projects in my new workshop/railway room.

Archive for the category “Layouts”

Lananta- a new planned compact layout

Not another one you may say! Since I dismantled my first Broad Gauge layout- Bagborough West- I have no where to run my Broad Gauge stock. My permanent layout – Eggesford- is only standard gauge as is my small shunting layout- Shades of Grey. 

I decided to make a small, compact layout which could easily be run at home and be available for exhibiting. I have decided that this will be my last exhibition standard layout after over 30 years of showing.

The plan is based on Lelant sidings on the St Ives branch from St Erth to St Ives. This was the last Broad Gauge branch to be built by the he GWR and the first part as far as Lelant was built with mixed gauge to serve sidings to a wharf on the river. Lananta is the old Cornish name for Lelant. The inspiration comes from a layout built in 7mm by John Hewlett, the Trade Officer of the Broad Gauge Society. 

The two main boards are 700mm x 300mm and are designed to go in a plastic box for transportation. The inspiration for this comes from the layouts of Maurice Hopper which he fits in a smallish box which he can transport by public transport. For more information see his blog on RM Web. My box is a bit bigger and wont go on public transport but on the other hand it won’t take up all the space in the car!

Here is a picture of the actual station at Lelant;


Below I show a plan of the proposed layout and a picture of a half size model I have made to see if it will work;


The sailing smack ‘Mary’ (see my last posting) will be alongside the wharf. The wharf itself is based on one that used to be in the middle of Newquay harbour which is shown in a few old photographs of the harbour;


I hope to blog more on the construction as I progress,

Eggesford report

As I progress to rework the scenery the original painted plaster is really looking tired. Recently I have been revamping the area around the station and river. 

Considering the buildings are over 25 years old they are in remarkable condition and have needed very little work other than a repaint from Southern to LSWR livery. I have now done all the paintwork around the station as well as freshening up the surface of the platform as well as the road. The platform surface, as described before, has been done with talc sprinkled into wet Humbrol no. 40 gloss grey. This is the method described by Gordon Gravett in his marvellous book on modelling grassland; a book I would thoroughly recommend. The road surface is a lighter grey with chinchilla dust added to the wet paint. It still needs further weathering with weathering powders.

Goods shed with signal box in background. The grass is a mixture of long and short static grass. The road surface is the original and will eventually need some re-working. 


The next photo shows the original scenery in the foreground with the hill in the rear re-worked with scatter materials and new  hedging. The trees come from the original layout but have been freshened up with a dusting of new fine Woodlands scenic scatter. The second half of the river is waiting for a new coat of varnish similar to the bit seen in the distance.


I am really pleased with how the scenery is improving with relatively very little effort mainly due to having such a good base to start with. I am now looking forward to adding more details and atmosphere to the scenes. 

Eggesford progress

I have now finished the 3mm Society/Malcolm Mitchell kit of a Great Western 517 class tank which is now running on Eggesford with a rake of 4 wheel coaches which are also from 3mm Society kits.


The picture below shows a busy time at Eggesford which, I’m afraid, has become rather “Westernised”! The 517 can be seen on a Down local passenger with a  steam rail motor on an up service and a LSWR Ilfracombe goods shunting the yard


A Merry Christmas to all my readers. I look forward to progressing more in the New Year with reducing my store of flat pack kits!

Lakebank – update

As many will know, Lakebank was featured in the latest issue of Model Railway Journal, no. 250. Since it was published we have added more details to the scene. These include fencing along the edge of the lakeside, advertising around the station and steamer office and the appearance of the Swallow and the Amazon. 

These two dingies were made by making a balsa wood former for the hull and covering it in aluminium foil. Strips of cartridge paper were then glued with paper glue around the former, each one being overlapped to represent clinkers. When the whole had dried the former was removed. This was easy as the paper glue did not stick to the foil. The hull was then completed with seats etc using thin card. The mast is a thinned down cocktail stick and the sail is cut from paper and painted.  The details of the two dingies were found on a website devoted to all things ‘Ransome’. A Google search will find it. 


The next job will be to provide some more road vehicles and then to augment the freight wagon stock. 

Eggesford-fiddle yard finished

The fiddle yard/traverser is now complete having added the storage cassettes. I now have an up and down continuous run and a third position feeding up and down cassettes. When not in use these will be stored on a shelf under the layout. The cassettes themselves sit on small brackets that hinge out from the side of the main boards. Electrical feed is done using small bulldog clips.


The next step will be the installation of the signals and their servos and linking them up to the locking frame. This will finish all the electrics. Then there is the updating of the scenery, more locos, more coaches, more freight……………..

Lakebank show success

Lakebank was shown at the Minehead exhibition run by Exmoor Modellers yesterday the 6th August. This was its fourth outing and many of the earlier glitches are being ironed out. So much so that we were awarded Best in Show judged by the lovely Maggie Gravett. Comments were made on the overall atmosphere especially the Lakeland clouds and the windy effect on the water of the lake. 


Sorry about the bloke holding the plate!!!

Eggesford- more progress

The scenery that the late Jeremy Dixon had done on Eggesford was very solid when I took the layout over. The finish was mainly done by painting the scene and lacked much texture.  The pictures below show the state before I started;


I have added texture to the rough area on the left along the river bank with Woodland scenics coarse scatter and bushes and to the field on the right with various grades of static grass mixed in with fine turf scatter. I have improved the trees using a mixture of scatter from green scenes and Carrs. Finally the river has been given a new coating of varnish.  

Eggesford progress

It has been quite  a while since I reported on the progress with Eggesford. The trackwork is all finished and trains are running well over the complete circuit. The locking frame has been installed and the points all operate from Hoffman. Point motors. The signals have yet to be connected to the frame.


The next stage is to install point ridding and start on the job of ballasting. In the past I have done this by brushing in he ballast then fixing with dilute PVA, always a horrible messy job! Talking to a member of the scalefour society at a recent meeting of the Devon Finescale Group it was suggested I try furniture polish. There is a good thread on the scalefour website forum about using Johnsons Klear liquid floor polish. I had difficulty finding that particular make but got an equivalent at B&Q. When the polish is dropped neat along the edge of the ballast it seems to be quickly sucked into the ballast without disturbing it at all and best of all it drys quickly. I decided to do a comparison test with two lengths of track.

The first picture shows the test after five minutes;


The next one is after two hours. The polish has dried but the PVA is still wet and mucky.


Finally by the next morning both are dry but the PVA one shows very shiny sleepers where the glue has dried and the ballast has been very disturbed. The one fixed with polish is more even and neater and would not require too much in the way of weathering.


The winner is the floor polish method. Now to do the whole layout!

50 Shades of Grey 

Great load of photos thanks

sed30's Blog

I had the privilege of operating Nick Salzmans 50 Shades of Grey at St.Albans exhibition yesterday.

Built to celebrate the 3mm Societies 50th year in 2015, Nick has now winterised the layout which given the weather yesterday was rather topical. I joked that he had left the roof off overnight!

It was amazing to watch people’s reaction and colour photos do not really do it justice so I suggested they take them in Black and White or even Sepia which some folk did.

I took a number of photographs from various angles some of which follow.






A true masterpiece.

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Shades of Grey- Winter arrives!

At the Thorncombe show in November I was inspired by a layout called ‘Hounslow Sidings’ which I see is featured in the January edition of the Railway Modeller. This layout is modelled with snow, and talking to the owner, Ray Norwood, he gave me details of a company called Precision Ice and Snow. They produce a snow effect scatter and a liquid that can be applied to represent ice and frost. It seems this is mainly used by military Modellers

Having sent away for some of the product and testing it out on some old models I was very impressed and decided to take the plunge and turn shades of grey into a wintry scene. The whole ship was removed to be done separately and after masking out the water and back scene I sprayed the whole lot from above with hairspray and then sieved the scatter on. I have applied it quite sparingly to give the effect of a light snow shower over a frosty ground. The ship was treated similarly and then replaced in the scene.


By applying it sparingly it is possible to build up a thicker layer by respraying and adding more scatter. Once dry the snow adheres quite well but I need to avoid tipping the layout too much as some loose stuff can collect in ‘drifts’. Car tracks were added by running a vehicle up and down by hand as well as foot tracks by scraping with an orange stick.

Overall with the atmosphere created by LED lighting and the dull grey finish, the application of the snow really adds to the feeling of a horrible, dull winter’s day.



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