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Author Topic: Teignbridge, Langstone & Holcombe- early '60s BR, 4x2 with multiple scenic areas  (Read 57746 times)

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Offline scotsoft

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I know it can be very frustrating and infuriating making mistakes, then I remind myself of how much more knowledgeable I have become by making those mistakes and fixing them.

cheers John.

Offline MikeDunn

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I'm still (very slowly !!!  :() working on my 4x2 layout ... but both that gradiant and those curves leave me ... ... ... well, concerned is too mild a word  :smiley-laughing:

Mine is based on a Freezer layout, and I know I have some issues with the lighter gradiants & wider curves !  I dread to think how my stock would cope on your layout :confused1:

Mike

Offline E Pinniger

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I'm still (very slowly !!!  :() working on my 4x2 layout ... but both that gradiant and those curves leave me ... ... ... well, concerned is too mild a word  :smiley-laughing:

Mine is based on a Freezer layout, and I know I have some issues with the lighter gradiants & wider curves !  I dread to think how my stock would cope on your layout :confused1:

Mike

Thanks for the reply - which Freezer plan is your layout baed on?

None of the curves on the main line are sharper than the minimum radius Setrack curves (some of them are made using the latter) - they're definitely way too sharp for prototype practice but all of my locos/stock have any trouble with them. Having said that, all my locos are (for reasons of budget) older models acquired second-hand and I suspect some of the newer main line steamers from Dapol/Farish would have problems - but I'm not intending to buy any of these at the minute. If I ever did buy a brand new N gauge model it'd either be a DMU, railcar, or small steam loco (Dapol Terrier or 14xx) all of which should be OK.

The branch line is another matter entirely :confused1:, but (as mentioned in a previous post) an 0-6-0 can haul a couple of coaches or a short goods train up it without much trouble - which is all I'm intending on running (it's a light railway mostly intended for mineral traffic). The main line oval is the main focus of the layout - the branch is really intended as an extra to add more operational interest, much like some layouts include narrow gauge lines.

Offline E Pinniger

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Over the last couple of weeks I've been experimenting with scenic modelling as well as trying out different ballast mixes. Here are a couple of test pieces I made, using expanded polystyrene foam coated with household filler (Polyfilla type) applied with a small spatula.







This is my attempt at representing the distinctive red sandstone cliffs of the southeast Devon main line. I used photos found online as a reference for colour, and mixed about 5 different shades (of cheap acrylic craft paint) until I got a colour which looked right to me. The polystyrene/filler scenery was painted with a couple of coats of this and then given a heavy wash of diluted oil paint (burnt umber and ivory black) to highlight the crevices and give a less even appearance. Finally, I added patches of scenic scatter to represent vegetation (most of the actual cliffs are quite overgrown) and some chips of real sandstone around the base.

I'm reasonably with the finished results, but one thing I'll definitely change when modelling the cliffs on the layout is to apply the Polyfilla with sideways rather than vertical strokes of the spatula; this should give an appearance more reminiscent of the horizontal strata on the real cliffs. The test piece I made has vertical "strata", which doesn't look very convincing.

The layout will have these cliffs around the tunnel ends of the junction side, blending gradually into a sloping hillside (like the one below) in the middle. The town side (loosely modelled on Exeter) will also have a few small outcrops of sandstone.







This is a "hillside" made using the same method, painted with a muddy earth cover then covered with static grass along with other scatter material to represent brambles, weeds and patches of exposed soil/bedrock.

Overall I'm quite pleased with the results I've got using these basic + inexpensive materials, and am planning to use this method to model most of the scenery on the layout (though I'm going to make a few more practice pieces first). First, though, I need to finish laying the track! I've now laid most of the branch line (though it's not wired up yet) but still have the junction station's yard to do. I'm also intending to ballast the track before doing any scenic modelling; I haven't yet decided on the exact material to use but will probably go with a mix of about 2/3 Gaugemaster and 1/3 Noch ballast.

I've also been working on a few items of rolling stock, and have got a couple more coaches and a few PO coal wagons painted + weathered, these will hopefully be shown in the next post.

I'll post another update once the track laying is finished; hopefully this won't take too long but I've learnt the hard way that even apparently simple track/wiring jobs can end up taking hours! 

Offline galway

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I'm impressed, looks really good to me  :thumbsup: I can see that the final layout is going to be extremely well done
Is féidir tú a choinneáil ar eascainí an madra nó is féidir a lasadh coinneal duit

Offline Darren

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wow, just wow - the detail on the hillside is outstanding!

Offline Gordini5

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Your hillsides look very effective indeed. Good luck with the incline, as others have suggested you may have a few problems but half the fun is finding things out for yourself.  Your Warship looks very good and fair play with the repainting. Takes a lot of heart to have a go first time around.

I look forward to more as time goes on.

David

Offline E Pinniger

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Haven't posted an update for ages, but I've been doing plenty of work on the layout over the last few months. Rather than take time posting step-by-step photos of my fairly average workmanship, I thought I'd wait until I'd got all the basic work done and then post some overall views of the railway!

Since the last update I've :
Laid almost all the track, including the station yards and the rest of the branch line including terminus, and installed the relevant wiring + switches
Painted and ballasted all the track other than the branch line
Added the central scenic dividers and a few other bits of woodwork (such as the removable cover for the engine shed sidings)
Modelled the scenery for the main line sections (the branch line is still bare wood)





With the scenery and ballast, it's starting to look more like a model railway (albeit a very unfinished one) and rather less like a collection of track stuck onto a wooden board! The scenery currently has a very stark, artificial look but with the addition of grass, vegetation and trees along with a weathering wash on the exposed sandstone, it will start to blend together and look more natural.
All of the brown-painted areas will be completely covered with grass or other ground cover; some areas of the sandstone will also be heavily overgrown. Grey paint indicates areas where buildings, roads etc. are likely to go in future; once I've decided exactly where these are going to go and what shape/size they'll be, much of the grey (particularly on the rural junction side) will also be grassed over.
The backdrop has been painted a neutral light bluish-grey colour. Later on this will be shaded to give a fairly unobtrusive overcast sky effect. I'm not planning to use a printed/photo backdrop, as I'm not sure how this will work with the two-level baseboard setup!








The main station side has the same track plan as seen in previous updates, but looking a lot better with ballast. The "head shunt" is the one area of track not fully laid yet. Eventually it will be extended further to the left to serve a small industrial structure of some kind. This was originally going to be a brewery, but due to the limited space in this corner I'm now leaning towards making a small gasworks instead, or possibly a railway oil gas plant (there was one of these at Exeter); I need to find some good plans/photos first!

Most of the town side will be occupied by buildings (with half-relief structures obscuring the scenic divide) so there's less scenery modelled here, but what's there is fairly substantial. It's loosely inspired by the wide cutting and tunnels east of Exeter Central (the again loose inspiration for the station on this side) with the railway tunneling through a large sandstone outcrop.



The tunnel will have a SR-style concrete portal. This is a resin casting, 2 of which turned up in a lot of bits I got on eBay - not sure of the manufacturer, or if it's a homemade casting? It will be repainted and weathered before it's finally fixed in place.






The junction station's yard is a lot simpler than the one for the main town station. It will have a small engine shed (on the siding adjacent to the main line), a cattle dock, and possibly a goods shed. The switch bank next to the siding in the corner will likely be hidden by a derelict or re-used atmospheric pumping station (a distinctive feature of the South Devon line).
The tunnel portal at the station end will be substantially lower than the current foam "portal", and will be a scratchbuilt structure based on Parson's Tunnel near Teignmouth. The tunnel at the other end will probably use a modified Peco portal.






One area I changed since the last update is where the branch crosses the main line. Originally, it was going to cross the line on a bridge, several inches in front of the main line tunnel portal. However, to ease the curve on the branch sufficiently to allow anything bigger than the tiniest 0-4-0s to run on it, I had to move it much closer to the tunnel, with less than an inch of separation at one end. This really didn't look very plausible to me (this sort of track configuration seems unlikely outside a crowded inner-city location) so instead I extended the tunnel portal forward of the branch crossing - still rather dubious in engineering terms maybe but it looks a lot more convincing to me.
I also decided to add a short tunnel on the branch line to give a more obvious separation between the two sections of the layout (branch and junctions) which represent (as with the junction + town sides) separate geographical areas much further apart than they appear on the model. It does have a rather "train set" look to it at the minute but this should be reduced once the scenery has progressed further, with scatter and vegetation added.

I still haven't decided what (if anything) is going to go in the corner next to the branch line curve, hence it's still unpainted. I'm thinking of a small holiday cottage, based on the Kestrel bungalow kit, with a garden backing onto the railway; there's otherwise a distinct lack of non-railway structures in this section (though this is partly intentional, as it's meant to be a typical GWR junction station miles from anywhere.



The branch terminus is simpler still! The "main" line is the one curving round into the corner; the passenger station (which will be a very minimal affair with a single platform and a corrugated iron station building) will be adjacent to the point, and the remaining 6" or so is for the granite loading bay. This is seperately isolated and switched, allowing a (short!) freight train to be held there whilst a passenger train is in the station. An equally minimal engine shed/shelter will go on one of the two storage sidings.
There will be a road (crossing the track via a level crossing) and a handful of village buildings on the open space next to the station. The small river (crossed by a simple girder bridge with railing sides) will have sculpted rocky banks added later on, not to mention water! There's also a small stream further down the branch (it can be seen in the overall photos), which goes under the track via a culvert.

The branch line has no scenic modelling beyond the tunnel (it's also unballasted) as I haven't yet settled on how I want this area to look when finished.

Offline E Pinniger

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Before ballasting, the sleepers and rails were painted using homemade mixes of cheap craft acrylic paint. Sleepers are all a dark, slightly greyish black-brown, the rails are a dark rusty brown colour with a slightly lighter, rustier shade used on sidings and the branch. The branch line track also has weathered sleepers (drybrushed with various shades of lighter brown and grey), but most of its rails are as yet unpainted.

Ballasting in N gauge is a very tricky job - at least, I found it was! Grit and sticky glue are the last things you'd want to get anywhere near N track (especially the expensive, fragile and finicky points) but without ballast it just doesn't look right, so it's a necessary evil! I experimented with putting double-sided sticky tape under the track then sprinkling ballast on top, but I found this really didn't look convincing, it looks like the track is sitting on top of the ballast rather than in it. I practiced with some spare lengths of flexitrack before settling on the techniques I used to ballast the layout itself. What I eventually found worked best was a three-stage process:
- Lay ballast between the rails using a small spoon/scoop, then use a stiff bristle brush to spread it along the track and even it out. This results in a minimum of grains above sleeper level. Also make 100% sure there are no grains in point mechanisms or check rails/frogs! Then apply use a pipette heavily diluted PVA with a bit of detergent added, and leave to dry overnight. Once dried, vacuum up the excess, then use a wagon to test the track and remove any grains on the inside of the track with a toothpick.
- Next, the ballast to the sides of and between the tracks, and the yard surfaces - just paint somewhat diluted PVA where this should go, scatter on the ballast and vacuum up excess when dry.
- Finally, the shoulder - paint undiluted PVA along the edge of the cork underlay, then scatter ballast carefully onto this. Once the ballast has soaked up the glue, use a spatula to "sculpt" it into shape. This stage can usually be done the same day as the latter.

I tried to keep ballast completely out of the working areas of the points (around the switch and blades).






The ballast material I used is mostly Gaugemaster and Noch N gauge ballast mix. The junction side uses a mixture of about 70% GM and 30% Noch, the town side has a slightly different mix (as it represents a different location) with some Peco buff ballast added to the mix. Yard surfaces are mostly Gaugemaster with Peco "soot" powder added to the mix to represent ash/clinker. The branch line is, so far, only ballasted for a short distance beyond where it leaves the main line. The ballast on the finished branch will likely be a lot less neat and weed-free than the main line!

Once more of the scenic modelling is completed, I'll add "weathering" to the ballast such as oil stains, ash, and weeds (the latter only on rarely-used sidings and the branch; in the period modelled, the railways were generally much better maintained)




The modelled scenery is all made from expanded polystyrene foam spread with household filler (Polyfilla). The above photo shows the branch incline/overpass area in its early stages. After shaping using a hacksaw and sharp craft knife (a very messy job best done over an old newspaper, which can be rolled up every so often to collect the foam granules; also have a vacuum cleaner handy!), the foam chunks were stuck in place using strong double-sided sticky tape, then the edges and joins were spread with slightly diluted PVA glue; once this dries fully, it bonds the foam to the wood very strongly.

On the areas that represent exposed sandstone, I used the spatula to sculpt a rough representation of "strata" which should hopefully look convincing when painted and weathered. Both the sandstone and earth colours were mixed from various shades of cheap acrylic craft paint (same as used on the track). The sandstone was mixed up using photos of the real thing as reference, though I made it a bit darker as I thought the actual colour looked too bright and stark in model form. Really, the muddy brown "earth" paint colour should also be reddish, but it's basically an "undercoat" for the static grass which will be added later, and won't be visible except in occasional spots.



All of the sandstone was given a weathering "oil wash" to darken it, accentuate texture and represent shadows. This is a mixture of black and burnt umber oil paint heavily diluted with white spirit - more or less the same sort of thing I use for weathering stock, only more concentrated and applied with a much bigger brush! I first applied an overall coat of the wash, then when this had dried used a smaller brush to add a second coat to small patches of the rock, to give a less uniform appearance.
In the above photo, the right-hand side has been oil washed and left-hand side is untreated. The photo doesn't actually show up the difference that well, probably as it was taken under artificial light.


One thing conspicuously missing from all the photos is trains - these will be shown in the next update (I've made a number of new acquisitions as well as repainting and weathering a few more of my existing collection) along with further progress on the scenery. Since taking the above photos, I've made a start on adding the grass + vegetation, so in a few days you should see some photos of a slightly greener-looking layout!

Offline galway

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Plenty of good progress  :thumbsup:  thanks for the detailed account
Is féidir tú a choinneáil ar eascainí an madra nó is féidir a lasadh coinneal duit

Offline longbridge

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The layouts progressing well and looking great  :thumbsup:
Keep on Smiling
Dave.

Offline Newportnobby

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Super update with plenty of  :greatpicturessign:

Great scenery, and I really look forward to seeing it develop with your scatters etc :thumbsup:

Offline tim-pelican

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Very strong and distinctive look to the scenery, great progress!

Offline E Pinniger

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Thanks for the comments. I'm definitely pleased with how the scenery is looking so far, it's turned out far better than I expected. I'm certainly "sold" on the polystyrene + Polyfilla scenery modelling technique; it's very versatile, cheap, and the finished result is very lightweight. Also messy, but so are the plaster + gauze and PVA-soaked newspaper techniques!







Some more photos, this time with rather more trains visible! As you can see, I've now added grass to the scenery. It's mainly static grass with the addition of other materials such as flock and gravel. I made up a variety of slightly different mixtures which were applied in a patchwork effect to avoid the "green carpet" effect you can get when using a uniform scatter mix over the whole layout.







This grass mix is effectively the "base coat" for the scenery; later, I'll add details such as patches of weeds and denser vegetation, shrubs, brambles, etc. as well as overgrowth on the sandstone cliffs and patches of gravel/loose rock. A fair amount of the remaining grey-painted baseboard will eventually be grassed over, once I've determined the "footprints" for the various buildings.








I've painted + weathered some private owner coal wagons, so with the Lima 4F and the BR brake van I've already reworked, I can now run a (short) fully weathered + detailed goods train. The wagons are weathered first with oil washes to highlight the planking, then with weathering powders (ground up chalks). I also painted the interiors as heavily weathered + faded wood, and the underframes in matt black. Any PO wagons surviving to this date (late 1950s/early 1960s) would likely be in a worse state than this, but I wanted to keep the original liveries at least recognisable! I have a few more PO wagons, as yet unweathered, which I might use to experiment with more extreme weathering.







Also repainted, detailed and weathered is this Class 37 (Grafar), originally BR blue and in very tatty condition. I repaired the body shell and added some extra detailing such as handrails and windows glazed with "Kristal Kleer". The Mk1 suburban coach is also weathered. The 37 (Poole chassis) is a good runner but has trouble with some of the yard sidings due to its 6-wheeled bogies; main line running is fine, though.






And this Minitrix LMS dock shunter - one of 3(!) I have now - which has been repainted to represent one of the light railway branch's two locos. The livery is dark blue with red lining (rather inspired by the KESR!), rather grimy and oily to represent a rather run-down light railway. The lining was done with bow pen, rather wobbly in places but this is my first attempt at using this technique in N (I practiced on some scrap plastic + old OO bodyshells first)
Realistically, a Col. Stephens-owned light railway would be more likely to have a collection of decrepit pre-grouping locos than relatively modern tank engines like this - but there aren't many of the former around in N, other than the Dapol Terrier, which is definitely on my wish list! TVLR stands for "Teign Valley Light Railway"; this was inspired by the Peco open wagons it's hauling. Since the line is set in south-central Devon and is primarily for granite traffic, these wagons are a perfect match! I have 2 so far but am keeping an eye out at shows for another couple. They will eventually get weathering and removable loads of granite chippings.



A new acquisition is this GWR railcar (the later, more angular design), a Langley metal kit on a shortened US diesel loco chassis. Bought at a show for £20, I thought I'd got a bargain until I gave it a closer inspection and test run, and discovered how crudely the chassis had been hacked up to get it to fit the body. After a lot of work (dismantling + reassembling the chassis, with additional reinforcement in the bogie clips) I've got it running smoothly and reliably. I also dismantled the metal body and re-assembled it with reinforcing strips of plasticard to give a more robust structure. Now all it needs is some filling + sanding on the body seams, a few additional details, painting and glazing. It will be finished in BR crimson/cream "blood + custard" livery (I'm not really a fan of the BR green livery on GWR railcars, it makes them look even more boxy than they are - though it's certainly a lot easier to paint)

More photos soon hopefully, since taking this lot I've added some more detail to the scenery (and a few trees!)

Offline Sprintex

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Really coming on a treat this layout  :thumbsup:

Keep up the good work, and the updates of course  ;)


Paul

 

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