Friday, October 7, 2016

Once more unto the breach...

Here we go again then. It appears that I am well on the way to building a new micro layout. The spark generated by the finding of the old munitions layout structures and placing them in an APA box has turned into something more serious.
Having much of the material ready to hand has certainly helped for after a few days I already have something looking like a model railway.
The first thing was to delve into my supply of APA boxes and make one.
I made one change in the build. I didn't put a floor in, just in case access was needed to wiring as well as being able to access coach bolts that would be used to join the fiddle yards. Erring on the side of caution, I also added a brace to the frame. I'm not entirely sure that this is needed, as APA boxes are very well made, and my chosen baseboard material 10mm cork faced foam core is light and rigid. Still, "Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it." I always say.
Box constructed, brace added and holes cut in the sides for fiddle yard access
I came across the 10mm foam core in Michaels craft store quite by accident. I think it was planned to be the basis of cork notice board projects or something similar, But I immediately thought of it as perfect as a micro layout baseboard, much like the APA box. at 30" x 20" it had to be trimmed to fit inside the APA. but it looks good in there.
Baseboard surface in place.
With that in place. I could begin on the track planning. The size of the structure dictated the track plan would be a simple Inglenook. Each siding would hold about three of the wagons based on Bachmann vee skips I'd worked on before.
Concept being developed. Track placed, view blocks being established.
Inlaid track is an important feature of this model. Originally I'd considered making this from 5mm foam core board as that matched the height of the code 100 track I was using. But as I cut more and more of it to test the idea the less I liked it. So I tried styrene sheet instead. Liking that much better as things developed.
But as I test fitted foam core flooring I noticed how good things were looking.
The right hand side. I might model a blast door across the track to hide the exit to the fiddle yard.
Left hand side. The view block room in front hides the exit very well.
I like the angles, the viewpoints, the way the tracks appear and disappear off stage. The two offices in the middle are ripe for being detailed. In my minds eye I can start to see the walls and roof of the cave starting to take shape. Things are going well.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Going Underground: Redux

You all know me. I have problems when it comes to model railways. I have too many influences and come up with too many ideas. Why, currently there are layouts micro layouts in H0 and 00 scale being built, as well as layouts being investigated in H0n30 and Z scale. Add to that Purespring watercress in Gn15 sat in retirement, and and my H0/00 scale Nowhere/British Oak loading point layout in storage and you can see I have issues...
I need a clear out in the model railway room.
I started with the best of intentions.
"Never throw anything away" is one of my mottos. It's probably why I have so much stuff in the model railway room in the first place.
One of the first things I found was some structures from an idea I had for a 1:35n2 underground munitions store layout.
The original Underground munitions store layout concept.
It was one of the first layout plans I posted on this blog, back in 2006. The idea goes back even further than that. I kept the buildings and rolling stock I'd started on because I thought the whole concept was a good idea and I was sure I'd come back to it one day.
That might well have been today.
I looked at the structures and wondered to myself if they would fit into an APA box...
A new layout perhaps?
The result of the wonderings is clear to see. The structures do fit in quite obviously. The track plan as laid is a simple "tuning fork" design. Though it would be easy to fit in an extra siding in front given the short size of the flat wagons I converted from Bachmann On30 vee skips. On the track at back you can see the Eimco compressed air loco I started work on at one point. 
A cave wall would be an interesting scenic development and murky lighting would add to atmosphere.
Clearing out the model railway room has come to a stop.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Life in the old blog yet.

Oh my. Would you just look at that? Four and a half years since I posted to this, the most popular of my blogs. It's not that I wasn't producing model railways. Those were APA box layouts and got posted on the APA box blog. Then my famous Purespring watercress layout got refurbished for its 10 year anniversary and that went into its own Facebook page. Too much stuff going on and too many places to report them. There's a lesson to learn there I think.
But I digress...
One thing that had stimulated my creative juices in the interim had been the discovery of pictures of the Naksup wayfreight in Alaska and its car float operations. I had investigated this quite thoroughly and built up quite a library of reference material. However, life got in the way and the project got shelved.
That was until a few days ago, when I discovered the Saxman Terminal Railroad, also in Alaska. A remarkably compact site, the entire length of the system was be less than a mile in length and there was only one turnout. Model Railroader magazine delights in producing schemes for an 8' x 4' baseboard, well here's an entire railroad you could fit in that size with almost no compression.
Saxman terminal. It looks to be out of use, but the marks of the track can be traced easily.
When I had previously investigated car floats for a layout I was thinking in terms of Z scale so my thoughts were drawn there. You could model the entire location in about 3' 6" x 2'. It's a very interesting locale, from many points of view.
My interest was most definitely piqued. Studying the pictures I realized that the Micro Trains through girder bridge could be used as a basis for the car float bridge. As I happened to have a couple of them in my possession I decided to see if my thoughts were right. I think they were.
Piers were added from 6.5mm styrene tube 
Decking added from embossed styrene sheet.
Of course, the dock is only any good if you can have a car float berth at it. So I gave some thought to the construction of a car float. The pictures that follow are a "proof of concept" rather than a scale model, just to see if it works. I buried MTL roadbed track into a styrene substructure and got this.
Car float model. the cars run on the track and don't derail.
After that it was a natural thing to want to see how everything looked together.
It looks OK, doesn't it?
It's very tempting indeed to want to carry this on and develop it further. Now I need to look further into how I would present an idea like this to the viewing public. Watch this space, or perhaps even the Facebook page The Model Railways of Ian Holmes