Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Rounford Halt N gauge Scenic Micro Layout with Continuous Run Part 7 Loading Platform

Aerial view of Rounford Halt N gauge loading platform
 
The small triangular area next to the siding at the rear of Rounford Halt, my latest N gauge micro layout, was the next part of the landscape to be developed.  This included construction of a short length of platform.
 
 
N gauge loading platform and surrounding model scenery
 
Small structures such as this can be used as a loading platform or could have detail added to make a locomotive servicing area or cattle dock.
 
 
N gauge loading platform made using Peco NB-27 concrete platform edging
 
Peco NB-27 N gauge concrete platform edging was used to build the loading platform for Rounford Halt.

Two coats of grey acrylic paint were applied to the platform edging followed by a thin wash of yellow.  Many thin washes of brown, green and black acrylic paint were then applied to create the weathered appearance of concrete covered in dirt from smoke and diesel fumes.  I used the same painting process used to weather the concrete pillbox detailed in my blog post dated 13 March 2014.

The upper surface of the platform was textured with fine sand and painted with a couple of coats of medium grey acrylic paint.  Brown paint was then dry brushed onto the textured upper surface to replicate the muddy marks which are often left by road vehicles.
 
 
Dirt track access road to the rear of the miniature loading platform
 
Vehicle access to the loading platform was provided via a dirt track modelled at the rear of the feature.
 
 
Class 03 shunter D2011 and coach passing Rounford Halt loading platform
 
 
A class 04 shunter and passenger train passing a class 03 shunter at the loading platform
 
The short siding at the rear of the layout could be used to create interesting scenes with trains running past on the branch line.
 
 
Class 03 and 04 shunters alongside Rounford Halt loading platform
 
 
Shunting locomotives alongside Rounford Halt loading platform
 
Locomotives could be stored in the siding when not in use.  Two shunting locomotives could be stored in the siding or one large locomotive such as a class 47.
 
 
Class 03 shunter D2011 at Rounford Halt loading platform
 
 
Class 08 shunter 08 748 at Rounford Halt loading platform
 
Alternatively the siding could hold three small wagons or a shunting locomotive and one small wagon.  If single coach passenger services are operated, the coach could be left in the siding when not in use so that it does not have to be lifted off the layout.

Space to keep a couple of extra items of rolling stock is very handy when operating such a tiny model railway.

I intended to add Peco NB-45 flexible fencing alongside the access road during the last stages of construction to enhance this part of the model railway landscape.

Rounford Halt 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, 27 December 2014

Cramford Trains 47

N gauge class 14 D9555 next to the buffers in Cramford quarry sidings
 
Class 14 D9555 ready to undertake the days shunting tasks 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.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Rounford Halt N Gauge Scenic Micro Layout with Continuous Run Part 6 Elevated Scenery with Imitation Rock Formations

Crescent shaped elevated N gauge model railway layout scenery
 
A crescent shaped hill was constructed along the inside of the branch line on the left of the site for the station platform.
 
 
Aerial view of the raised model landscape within the circular branch line
 
Almost half of the branch line circuit is obscured when the layout is viewed from the front at track level which helps to disguise the circular nature of the track plan.  The rear siding and much of the curved track at the rear is hidden from view.  Equally, when viewed close to track level from other vantage points different parts of the layout are hidden.  It is often annoying to see the same scenic features in photographs or video footage of model trains.  Screening off areas of the layout ensures that parts of the miniature landscape are not visible in all of the images.
 
 
Model rock face next to the branch line with sloping scenery behind
 
Creating an elevated landscape within a small area can sometimes be quite difficult.  A hill with sloping contours on all sides can end up very shallow, but sloping sides which are too steep can make such a feature appear unconvincing.

Modelling one side of a hill as a rock face can enable the landscape to be elevated further within a limited amount of space.  A rock face can be very steep or almost vertical and can be built very close to a railway line.  When building some railway lines engineers often blasted a path through rocky terrain using explosives to enable a more direct route to a destination.

Model scenery created using this method requires only one sloping side and can therefore often be used to gain enough height to allow trains to be hidden by areas of the landscape.
 
 
Textured and weathered imitation rock face viewed close to track level
 
Imitation rocks can be textured and painted to replicate any type of formation making miniature countryside scenery much more interesting.  The model rocks on Rounford Halt have been textured and painted to resemble old, weathered sandstone.
 
 
Irregular skyline created along the top of the raised N gauge model scenery
 
I took care to create irregular contours along the top of the elevated scenery.  Elevated scenery modelled with a smooth outline can look very dull and boring but creating a few contours can break up the skyline to create a much more interesting appearance.

Trees and bushes added along the top of the elevated landscape during the final stages of construction could also add extra height and help to create a more realistic skyline.

Rounford Halt 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.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Rounford Halt N Gauge Scenic Micro Layout with Continuous Run Part 5 First Scenic Work

Rounford Halt N gauge micro layout with model scenery added
 
Constructing model railway layout scenery can be approached in various ways.  Sometimes I build most of the structural features, for example platforms, roads, ponds etc. before scenic scatters are added to any part of the model railway layout.  With other layouts I find it better to bring some scenic work to a semi-finished state before starting work on neighbouring areas.  If I am certain that part of the landscape should be built in a particular way, creation of that area or section can influence how I approach making the adjacent model scenery.
 
 
Crescent shaped model railway layout scenery at the front of Rounford Halt
 
The first areas of scenery I developed were the crescent shaped strip between the branch line and passing loop and the wedge of space behind the siding on the left at the front of the baseboard.
 
 
View over the front of the layout towards the site for the station platform
 
Whilst I made progress with the scenery along the front of the N gauge micro layout I started to make more detailed plans for the landscape surrounding the station halt.  It became clear that it should be possible to watch trains pass one another using the passing loop through gaps between wagons in the goods yard.  Photographs from such a vantage point could look quite nice, especially if some of the model scenery within the branch line were raised to form an attractive background.
 
 
View over the front of the micro layout towards the site for the level crossing
 
At this stage I decided to use a level crossing to take the road over the branch line to Rounford station halt.  I have used bridges to provide vehicle access on many of my other model railway layouts such as the one created for Hampford Halt detailed in my blog post dated 24 January 2014.  A level crossing would help to make Rounford Halt a bit different to my earlier layouts which use similar track plans such as Crowley, a OO gauge micro layout with continuous run detailed in my blog post dated 07 November 2013.  The rear right corner of the layout baseboard was a suitable site for the level crossing which I felt would be a better feature than an extra siding.  At this point I also started to plan the position and shape of a water feature which might capture the reflection of trains as they pass over the crossing.
 
 
Front right corner of Rounford Halt goods yard and sidings
 
I wondered if a goods shed or other large building might be at odds with the open landscape at the front of the layout and ruin the illusion of space.  I began to think that it might be better to place smaller accessories next to the siding on the right when the scenic work was complete.

 
Rounford Halt goods yard and sidings viewed from the front right corner
 
I was pleased with the general appearance of the goods yard with lots of space to create freight handling scenes.  I was also pleased with the appearance of the curved sidings leading from the passing loop.  Locomotives busy shunting could look quite nice trundling around the front of the layout.
 
 
View of the site for a crescent shaped hill within the circular branch line
 
A crescent shaped hill created within the branch line to the left of the station platform would allow locomotives and trains to disappear for a while before reappearing near the level crossing.  Creation of this type of scenic break would also disguise the circular nature of the layout when viewed close to track level.
 
 
Front view of space for model scenery inside the circular branch line
 
When viewed from the front a long hill within the branch line circuit would also hide the siding on the left of the layout at the rear.
 
 
Imitation puddles built into the scenery along the front of Rounford Halt
 
 
Model puddles next to Rounford Halt goods yard sidings
 
The puddles next to the sidings helped to create the appearance of wear and tear.  The puddles also offered the means to capture the reflection of trains in the passing loop or shunting locomotives as they are busy moving wagons around in the goods yard sidings.

 
Crescent shaped railway layout scenery within the curved passing loop
 
 
Low scenic contours with scenic scatter added
 
To give the landscape a realistic appearance contours and dips were created before scenic scatters were applied.  It was important to create an irregular surface over the waste ground as such areas are seldom level.
 
 
View over the front of Rounford Halt N gauge micro layout
 
The low model scenery behind the textured and painted goods yard helped to create a very open appearance over the front of this micro layout.  The open landscape made the 20 inch wide baseboard appear much larger when viewed close to track level.

Rounford Halt 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, 10 December 2014

Rounford Halt N Gauge Scenic Micro Layout with Continuous Run Part 4 Track Laid, Weathered and Ballasted

Rounford Halt N gauge micro layout with weathered and ballasted track
 
After much deliberation over which type of scenic features would be created and where I would locate each of them I fixed the Peco Setrack components to the railway layout baseboard.  Wire droppers were soldered to the outside of the rails where necessary so that I could wire the layout for DCC control if desired.  I painted the rails to create a weathered appearance.  When the paint had dried I carefully brushed ballast chippings in place and secured them with diluted PVA.  Tufts of crushed foam were added to represent weeds and to cover the blobs of solder where wire droppers for DCC control had been added.
 
 
Aerial view of Rounford Halt passing loop and goods yard
 
Whilst working on the track I also created the goods yard area along the front of the model railway layout.  Over the years I have found a few techniques which can be employed to make a minimum space layout appear larger than it really is.  Whilst designing Rounford Halt, I created a goods yard which covers the entire front edge of the layout baseboard.  Though the goods yard is very narrow in places, using all of the front edge in this way created the illusion of a much larger space, the deeper corner areas enhancing this effect.
 
 
Corner area where a goods shed or provender store could be placed
 
The front corner on the right could accommodate a small goods shed or provender store which would add a bit of height and interest, though I began to wonder if adding a building could ruin the spacious, open effect of the flat tarmac running along the front of the micro layout.
 
 
Imitation puddles created in front of the goods yard sidings
 
 
N gauge class 35 Hymek D7001 reflected in the yard puddles
 
Whilst creating the goods yard I inserted pieces of glass into holes cut in the baseboard to create highly reflective puddles.  I wanted the imitation puddles to capture the reflection of locomotives and rolling stock as trains move around.  When building Finchley, another N gauge micro layout, I used glass to create realistic puddles detailed in my blog post dated 26 March 2012.
 
 
Rounford Halt curved goods yard sidings
 
Curved sidings were created rather than straight ones to complement the curved branch line and passing loop.  Straight sidings at the front could have created not only a discordant but a contrived appearance to this model railway.
 
 
Peco ST-5 and ST-6 first radius points forming part of the branch line
 
The ability to fit first radius Peco Setrack ST-5 and ST-6 points into a circuit of first radius Setack curves is a tremendous benefit when designing continuous run micro layouts.
 
 
Short siding at the rear of Rounford Halt
 
 
Triangular space which could accommodate a short loading platform
 
The small triangle of space next to the rear corner siding appeared large enough to accommodate a short loading platform.
 
 
Painted and weathered Peco ST-8 N gauge sleeper built buffer stop
 
A Peco ST-8 sleeper built buffer stop was added at the end of each siding.  Details on how I painted and weathered the buffer stops can be found on my blog post dated 13 March 2012.

Rounford Halt 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, 3 December 2014

Rounford Halt N Gauge Scenic Micro Layout with Continuous Run Part 3 Revised Track Plan

Revised track plan for Rounford Halt scenic N gauge micro layout
 
The track plan I designed for Rounford Halt, an N gauge micro layout is similar in some aspects to the one I created for Crowley, a OO gauge minimum space layout built some time ago.  The track plan for Crowley is detailed in my blog post dated 11 September 2012.  Crowley’s compact, circular design has a passing loop and five sidings enabling a considerable range of operating opportunities.  I particularly like the ability to relax and watch trains trundle around the branch line circuit when I am not in the mood for shunting wagons.

Whilst building Crowley I jotted down a few ideas for other layout designs with slightly different track plans which would allow alternative features and model landscapes to be developed.
 
 
Aerial view of Rounford Halt N gauge model railway layout
 
I was confident that the track plan I designed for Rounford Halt would allow interesting and varied operation.  The challenge was to fit a number of scenic features into the landscape in an aesthetically pleasing manner.  For me, a track plan fails if there is no opportunity to develop equally interesting lineside features and scenery.

After preparing the track bed detailed in my last blog post dated 26 November 2014, I pinned the track back in place to help confirm which sidings I would keep or omit in accordance with ideas for the surrounding scenery.  Ideas for creating model scenery which had been sketched out on paper required thorough investigation before the track was permanently fixed to the layout baseboard.
 
 
Rounford Halt micro layout viewed from the front of the baseboard

 
 
View from the front right corner towards the site of the station platform
 
The front of the layout would be where nearly all of the rolling stock movements and shunting would take place.  Many track plans naturally lead to a logical arrangement of surrounding features.  The fact that the middle of the branch line within the passing loop was the most practical location for the station halt and was also directly behind the sidings in front of the passing loop illustrates this point.  When shunting wagons in the sidings or running locomotives around trains left in the passing loop I thought it would be nice to look across the tracks onto a station halt within the branch line circuit.

I decided to create a flat area of tarmac around the front edge of the sidings which would allow model railway accessories to be swapped and changed to create different scenes.  I have a number of Ratio models including a yard crane, coal staithes and yard huts which are not fixed to any of my layout baseboards.  To help maintain interest on small layouts the small collection of accessories can be used in alternative combinations.
 
 
Rounford Halt goods yard viewed from the front right corner
 
The goods yard was designed with one deep corner area where I could place a goods shed or storage building.
 
 
Rounford Halt goods yard viewed from the front left corner
 
 
Crescent shaped scenic areas at the front of Rounford Halt
 
The thin wedge of scenery between the siding and passing loop on the left of the layout was to be developed as a grassy area with a few bushes.  I felt that adding another flat area to expand the goods yard would probably unbalance the ratio of tarmac-countryside scenery for this particular layout.
 
 
Rear siding viewed from the left of the layout baseboard
 
 
Rear siding viewed from the rear of the layout baseboard
 
The short siding at the rear of Rounford Halt had a small triangle of space next to it which could be used to create a loading platform, cattle dock or locomotive servicing area.  At this point I had decided to keep the siding on the left rear corner and use the right rear corner for scenic development.  It should be noted that by removing a buffer stop the siding at the rear could be connected to another baseboard in order to expand operation at a later date.  This is an important feature to ‘future proof’ a layout to some degree, allowing it to be developed when time, budget and other factors permit.
 
 
View towards the rear corner where the road will cross the branch line
 
Examining known factors helps when making decisions about how to tackle challenging issues.  With the location of the station platform decided and plans made for three corner areas only a few options remained to enable the road to pass over or under the track.  Options for the rear corner on the right were considered at this point, including installation of a level crossing or a bridge.

Rounford Halt 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, 26 November 2014

Rounford Halt N Gauge Scenic Micro Layout with Continuous Run Part 2 Marking Out the Track Bed

N gauge micro layout baseboard with track bed marked out
 
The model railway baseboard detailed in my blog post dated 19 November 2014 offered a very restricted area to accommodate the track plan I had designed for Rounford Halt.  I wanted to build an interesting N gauge micro layout with continuous run in the smallest space possible using first radius track components.  The self imposed limitations would later force the use of significant creativity to make the most of small scenic areas, a challenge which kept work interesting at each stage.

When designing a model railway layout it is important at the beginning to mark out the whole area of the track bed including the ballast on either side rather than simply marking along the ends of the sleepers.  This enables a much more accurate understanding of how much surrounding space is present which can be used to develop scenery later on.

This is particularly important when designing tiny micro layouts which require every area to be studied very carefully.  Features must be moved forwards, backwards or sideways to determine best position or best fit, sometimes mere millimetres making a crucial difference.  Only when the best fit of each feature is decided should track be fixed in place.

I placed the track components onto the baseboard built for Rounford Halt and marked out the track bed.  The track bed was painted with two coats of grey acrylic paint and sealed with a coat of PVA.

I left the very minimum amount of space outside the track bed along the rear and sides of the layout baseboard but allowed just enough room to add a few accessories next to the sidings at the front.

To create a layout which would allow interesting rolling stock movements I designed the front of the model railway with a large passing loop and two sidings.  The passing loop was needed to enable a locomotive to run around its train so that it may travel along the branch line in the opposite direction.  Incorporation of the passing loop also ensured that a variety of interesting shunting operations may be undertaken.

I designed the goods yard at the front of Rounford Halt in a similar way to Cramford, another N gauge micro layout, but created sidings by fitting points into the passing loop rather than the branch line.  Many design considerations taken into account when creating Cramford sidings and goods yard, detailed in my blog posts dated 31 October 2013 and 13 November 2013, were applicable when creating Rounford Halt.

I planned to add a short, thin platform in the middle of the circuit so that I may operate one or two coach passenger services.  Curved platforms such as the one I created for Cramford, detailed in my blog post dated 25 October 2013, make good use of the space within the circle of track which forms the branch line.
 
 
Flat surface restored around the edges of the railway layout baseboard
 
Modelling putty was used to fill the screw heads and restore a uniform flat surface to the edges of the baseboard.
 
 
Corner siding created at the rear of the model railway layout
 
Corners are easy to disregard but are often able to accommodate an additional siding.  I marked out the track bed with a siding in both corners at the rear.  I knew that I would probably lose one siding in order to allow a road to pass over the track but was not sure which corner would be used for this purpose.  Marking out both corners allowed me to visualise scenic development before the track components were fixed in place.

Rounford Halt 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.