Thursday, 31 October 2013

Micro Layout Design Part 2 Position of Sidings

Micro layout with curved sidings leading from the branch line
 
As mentioned in my blog post dated 25 October 2013, many people choose to design a minimum space N gauge branch line model railway in the form of an oval layout.  One or both of the straight lengths of track at the sides often tend to be used to create sidings which fan out within the oval.

When a circular track plan is used to build a model railway layout the amount of space required is often reduced dramatically.  If creating a true N gauge micro layout in very limited space Peco Setrack first radius curves and points are often used.  Using first radius components, sidings can easily be created running from a curved branch line towards the outer edges of the railway layout but not towards the inside of the circuit.

This strengthens the case for the inside of the branch line circuit to be used as an area to accommodate a station platform if a station is required for passenger trains.
 
 
Cramford micro layout curved siding and loading platform
 
If the outer areas of the layout baseboard are available to accommodate goods sidings, first radius N gauge points may be incorporated into a circular branch line circuit in many different arrangements.  The two sidings on the right of Cramford micro layout have been curved to allow the sidings to fit into the limited dimensions of the baseboard and still allow creation of access roads and the desired scenic development.
 
 
Cramford N gauge independent quarry sidings and loading chute
 
The sidings on the left of Cramford serve an ‘offstage’ quarry.  People often design branch line model railway layouts with all of the sidings connected to the circuit of track.  Note that the quarry sidings on this N gauge micro layout are not connected to the branch line.  Instead, they lead straight out of the fiddle yard and under the bridge to enter the scenic area.  This makes the model appear less crowded and enables two trains to be operated simultaneously if required, one shunting the quarry sidings whilst another travels around the branch line.
 
 
Bridge where quarry sidings and branch line connect to the fiddle yard
 
There are many circumstances where running separate sidings, or even just a single length of track which is not connected to the branch line can add operational interest.  By separating certain portions of track from the branch line circuit the ‘spider’s web’ appearance can be avoided whilst enabling track planning to be kept simple.  Whilst it is nice sometimes to cram as much into a micro layout as possible, the key to a pleasing overall appearance is to create an aesthetically balanced arrangement.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Cramford Trains 4

N gauge class 14 D9555 under Cramford quarry loading chute
 
Class 14 D9555 beneath the loading chute in Cramford quarry sidings.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 14 model locomotive photographed is product number 372-950 from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Littleford Trains 30

N gauge class 35 Hymek shunting goods wagons
 
Class 35 Hymek D7001 busy shunting the local pick up goods wagons in Littleford sidings.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 35 model locomotive photographed is product number ND084R from the range by Dapol Ltd.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Littleford Trains 29

N gauge class 04 D2264 viewed through the trees
 
Class 04 shunter D2264 is glimpsed through the trees whilst pausing at Littleford station with a two coach passenger train.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 04 model locomotive photographed is product number 371-050A from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Cramford Trains 3

Side view of N gauge class 42 D815 Druid
 
Class 42 D815 Druid at Cramford station with a passenger train.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 42 model locomotive photographed is product number 371-603 from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Littleford Trains 28

 
Class 08 shunter 08 748 calls to collect a ballast wagon from Littleford goods yard.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 08 model locomotive photographed is product number 371-015 from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Micro Layout Design Part 1 Curved Platforms

Aerial view of Cramford N gauge micro layout
 
Many people plan an N gauge minimum space model railway as an oval arrangement so that one of the straight lengths of track on either side may have a platform built alongside it.  If the need for a straight platform is abandoned a circular track configuration can be used to create a model railway.  Model railway layouts built as a circular arrangement can often fit into a very small area indeed, well deserving of the term micro layout.  If the scenic area is confined to a half circle with a fiddle yard at the rear this can disguise the ‘round and round’ appearance significantly.
 
 
Cramford curved platform and station building
 
Cramford N gauge micro layout has a curved platform positioned within the first radius track components which form the branch line.  This allows a deep station platform to be constructed enabling greater choice when selecting a station building.  Model railways built as micro layouts are often planned as shelf type linear arrangements to save space.  Shelf style model railway layouts are often built with thin platforms which often only leave space for a small, thin station building or a platform shelter.  I looked at creating a slim station building for thin platforms in my blog post dated 22 February 2012.
 
 
Cramford station viewed from the front of the layout baseboard
 
Cramford station platform can comfortably accommodate a locomotive and a two to three coach train.  The N gauge station platform is deep enough to accommodate a fairly large building and still offer opportunity to add a few vehicles alongside and at the rear.  The station building in the photographs is built from the Ratio Plastic Models kit 204.
 
 
N gauge flower bed and imitation enamel advertising signs
 
A platform built within curved track is often longer than one would imagine when planning the model railway.  This is handy as it is important to have room for a few small accessories such as a flower bed, seats and milk churns to create interest.  For more information on Cramford see my recent blog posts dated 13 October 2013 and 19 October 2013.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Cramford Trains 2

N gauge class 47 D1500 shunting in Cramford quarry sidings
 
Class 47 D1500 shunting steel mineral wagons in Cramford quarry sidings.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 04 model locomotive photographed is product number 371-825 from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Cramford Trains 1

Eye level view of N gauge class 04 shunter D2258 shunting a vent van
 
Class 04 shunter D2258 shunts a vent van in Cramford goods yard.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 04 model locomotive photographed is product number 371-051 from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Littleford Trains 27

N gauge class 14 D9555 with a train of mineral wagons
 
Class 14 D9555 travels past Littleford station with a train of mineral wagons.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 14 model locomotive photographed is product number 372-950 from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Littleford Trains 26

N gauge class 35 Hymek D7042 with a train of mineral wagons
 
Class 35 Hymek D7042 in charge of a train of steel mineral wagons passes a fish van at the loading platform in Littleford goods yard.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 35 model locomotive photographed is product number ND084M from the range by Dapol Ltd.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Littleford Trains 25

N gauge class 04 shunter D2258 shunting in Littleford sidings
 
Class 04 shunter D2258 shunts a ventilated van past the loading platform in Littleford sidings.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 04 model locomotive photographed is product number 371-051 from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Cramford N Gauge Micro Layout Model Railway Part 2 Use of Scratch Built Model Trees

A vehicle glimpsed between the scratch built N gauge model trees
 
Whilst re-modelling Cramford N gauge micro layout I decided to test a theory.  I wanted to find out if I could make Cramford appear more realistic by adding many more scratch built model trees, some of which were considerably larger than those used originally.  When landscape designers plan a small front garden, a technique used to make the plot appear larger is to add a few carefully selected large plants amongst numerous small ones.  Whilst this would seem the opposite way to approach garden design the method usually works very well.  I therefore saw no reason why application of this principle would not create the same effect in model form.  I also wanted to use trees and bushes to disguise all of the edges and the skyline of the model railway layout baseboard.
 
 
View through the branches of the scratch built model trees
 
I noticed some time ago that scratch built model trees can be packed into a model railway layout landscape to produce very dense woodland.  This is because the branches and foliage clusters are more irregular and fit in between each other in a more prototypical manner than many of the more regularly shaped, ready-made model trees.  I described the benefits of using scratch built N gauge model trees in my blog post dated 19 April 2012.  By constructing model trees with space between the branches it is often possible to see quite a long way into wooded areas.  This benefit sometimes enables photographs to be taken which appear as though the photographer was standing within the miniature landscape.
 
 
An N gauge taxi visible through a gap between the model tree branches
 
I did not realise quite how many trees would be required to create the appearance I wanted, if I had I may have been put off!  There are 40 scratch built trees of assorted shapes and sizes on Cramford, even though this micro layout measures only 60cm x 45cm!  I have positioned the model trees very carefully, adding one at a time whilst testing photographic opportunities.  It would be too easy to think only of photographs and leave some scenic areas bare, but equally, some gaps in the scenery were too valuable to plant so densely that they could spoil photographs.
 
 
Rear of Cramford station seen through the model trees
 
Whilst creating the scratch built N gauge trees I took the opportunity to create some seasonal interest.  I mixed scatters to create a few trees modelled with foliage which suggests a late summer to early autumn period as the leaves of some species start to acquire yellow and russet tones.
 
 
An N gauge taxi placed in dappled shade created with the model trees
 
Other model trees have been created to appear laden with berries such as rowan, cotoneaster etc.  This is a way to add colour to a model railway landscape which appears natural.  Personally, I prefer to model the early autumn period when quite a few tree species retain their green leaves.  The riot of colour to be observed during mid to late autumn can be used to create a model railway with a very different appearance which other people may prefer.  The prototypical dappled shade which can be created with scratch built N gauge model trees is another benefit which makes the very time consuming construction process worthwhile.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Littleford Trains 24

N gauge class 35 Hymek D7001 with a freight train
 
Class 35 Hymek D7001 passes through Littleford with a short freight train.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 35 model locomotive photographed is product number ND084R from the range by Dapol Ltd.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Littleford Trains 23

N gauge class 35 Hymek D7042 with a mineral wagon train
 
Class 35 Hymek D7042 passes through Littleford with a train of 16 ton mineral wagons.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 35 model locomotive photographed is product number ND084M from the range by Dapol Ltd.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Littleford Trains 22

Class 04 shunter D2264 shunting in Littleford goods yard
 
Class 04 shunter D2264 busy moving wagons around in Littleford goods yard.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 04 model locomotive photographed is product number 371-050A from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Littleford Trains 21

N gauge class 35 Hymek D7001 with a mixed freight train
 
Class 35 Hymek D7001 rattles through Littleford with a mixed freight train.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 35 model locomotive photographed is product number ND084R from the range by Dapol Ltd.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Littleford Trains 20

Distant shot of N gauge class 35 Hymek D7042 shunting
 
Class 35 Hymek D7042 shunting a small selection of wagons in Littleford goods yard.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 35 model locomotive photographed is product number ND084M from the range by Dapol Ltd.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Cramford N Gauge Micro Layout Model Railway Part 1

Cramford N gauge scenic model railway micro layout aerial view
 
I recently altered one of my old N gauge model railway designs to create a very similar but significantly improved layout.  I have chosen the name Cramford for this branch line location because many railway related features have been crammed into a very small area.  The scenic area of this N gauge micro layout measures only 60cm x 45cm.
 
 
Cramford N gauge micro layout quarry sidings and loading chute
 
One of the minor alterations was to the area between the two quarry sidings which has been re-designed as flat ground where N gauge road vehicles and figures may be placed.  The flat ground in this area is more logical so that access is available for workers to maintain track and perform maintenance tasks on the quarry loading chute etc.
 
 
Puddles in flat ground between Cramford quarry sidings
 
I took the opportunity to add puddles as described in my blog post dated 26 March 2012, the highly reflective surfaces intended to capture the reflections of N gauge locomotives, rolling stock and surrounding features in photographs.  The reflection of locomotives as they pass by whilst operating the model railway creates a little extra visual interest.
 
 
Cramford N gauge micro layout goods yard
 
I shortened the loading platform to enable a small yard area to be created at the front edge of this N gauge micro layout.  This allows the camera to be placed lower down to create more interesting photographs of N gauge locomotives and rolling stock.
 
 
Close up of puddles on front edge of Cramford N gauge micro layout
 
Again highly reflective puddles were created in this area in the hope that they will help to create interesting photographs.
 
 
Small pond on the left of Cramford N gauge model railway
 
The pond next to the tunnel has been created in the same way as the puddles and may also enable a few interesting reflections to be seen in photographs, though there is limited space to position the camera appropriately in this area.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Littleford Trains 19

N gauge class 08 shunter 08 748 light engine passing Littleford station
 
Class 08 shunter 08 748 ambles through Littleford light engine.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.
The N gauge class 08 model locomotive photographed is product number 371-015 from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Littleford Trains 18

N gauge class 35 Hymek D7001 front view
 
Class 35 Hymek D7001 passes through Littleford with a train of 16 ton mineral wagons.
Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.
The N gauge class 35 model locomotive photographed is product number ND084R from the range by Dapol Ltd.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Littleford Trains 17

N gauge class 14 locomotive D9555 in Littleford sidings
 
Class 14 D9555 in Littleford sidings.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 14 model locomotive photographed is product number 372-950 from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Crowley Trains 8

OO class 03 shunter D2009 shunting a brake van
 
Class 03 shunter D2009 shunting a brake van.

Crowley is one of my OO gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The OO gauge class 03 model locomotive photographed is product number 31-361A from the range by Bachmann.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Crowley Tains 7

OO gauge class 47 D1677 Thor at Crowley station
 
A crow perched on one of the Crowley station chimney pots keeps a sharp eye on class 47 D1677 Thor.

Crowley is one of my OO gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The OO gauge class 47 model locomotive photographed is product number 31-656DC from the range by Bachmann.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Crowley Trains 6

Close up of OO gauge class 03 shunter D2009
 
Class 03 shunter D2009 stands idle in the sunshine between shunting duties.

Crowley is one of my OO gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The OO gauge class 03 model locomotive photographed is product number 31-361A from the range by Bachmann.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Crowley OO Gauge Scenic Model Railway Layout Part 22 Model Wildlife

OO gauge rabbits on Crowley station platform
 
With little activity in this quiet location two rabbits feel safe to hop around on the well clipped grass at the rear of Crowley station platform.

There are many fully painted N and OO gauge model animals available which can be used to enhance a model railway layout with a rural theme.  Generally I find that most of the ready painted model animals are quite expensive, though admittedly they do tend to be fairly well finished.

If a person is going to photograph parts of their model railway layout it is worth remembering that the camera is very unforgiving, particularly in macro mode!  In photographs it is sometimes disappointing to see circular moulding marks and lines on models showing where the moulds have met during manufacture.

It seemed a waste of money to buy fully painted model animals, only to scrape through the paint in order to smooth off offending ridges or circular dimples, therefore I bought some unpainted white metal castings to enhance the model scenery on Crowley.  The models are obviously very small but were very cleanly moulded and only required minor fettling before painting.

I have added a crow, three red squirrels, seven rabbits and a stoat so far.  I also bought a hedgehog, badger, ducks and chickens but will use these on another model, moderation in all things!

Usually, the quieter the location the more wildlife can be seen and heard.  I like to create a tranquil rural appearance which is why I tend to place relatively few road vehicles on my scenic country branch line layouts.  Old photographs taken prior to the rationalisation of the railways often show a single car or lorry parked in a station car park or goods yard.
 
 
OO gauge rabbits in a vegetable patch
 
Two rabbits are having a great time munching their way through the vegetable patch in the garden next to the bridge.
 
 
OO gauge stoat chasing a rabbit on Crowley lineside
 
On one part of the lineside I have tried to create the moment a stoat pounces and a rabbit only just manages to evade the attack!
 
 
OO gauge crow perched on a chimney pot
 
A single sharp eyed crow observes its surroundings from a chimney pot on Crowley railway station.  I am not that inventive when choosing names for model railway layouts and it was only when a crow landed on our shed roof that I came up with the name for this quiet country branch line.

I have also placed a couple of red squirrels near to the trees which are next to the station car park and one in the garden which is next to The Railway Inn.

Crowley is one of my OO gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Crowley Trains 5

OO gauge class 03 shunter D2009 with a short freight train
 
Class 03 shunter D2009 saunters through Crowley with a short freight train made up of a single chemical tank wagon and a brake van.

Crowley is one of my OO gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The OO gauge class 03 model locomotive photographed is product number 31-361A from the range by Bachmann.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Crowley Trains 4

OO gauge class 47 D1677 Thor at Crowley station platform
 
Class 47 D1677 Thor rumbles through Crowley.

Crowley is one of my OO gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The OO gauge class 47 model locomotive photographed is product number 31-656DC from the range by Bachmann.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Crowley Trains 3

OO gauge class 03 shunter D2009 with a train of mineral wagons
 
Class 03 shunter D2009 ambles along Crowley branch line with a train of mineral wagons.

Crowley is one of my OO gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The OO gauge class 03 model locomotive photographed is product number 31-361A from the range by Bachmann.