Page last revised/updated 24 May 2017
This is a build log covering what began back in 2008 as my first attempt at building a seasonal layout for the Christmas period; the inspiration coming from several seen on the internet. The idea for doing these festive layouts appears to have originated in the USA and is a stateside tradition I am glad to see crossing the Atlantic. To see and read about other examples, as I did, visit Carl Arendt's website.
The latest update post will be added sequentially. Their earliest entry is at the top of the page or alternatively to read the latest project update click here.
NB Disclaimer - Any similarity to an actual organisation with 1224 dot com forming all, or part, of their web URL is accidental, the fictional/fictitious entry mentioning it is coincidental and does not represent endorsement or otherwise of their operations.
Sequential diary notes (Start point) | To the latest update
1) Sunday 9th November 2008*
Having seen some American Christmas fun layouts on line I have started to dabble with the idea of building a Xmas layout this year based around a Santa theme. The ideology behind it will be based on my story, "Sultan's Christmas" (Synopsis here) which was published as the Christmas fiction feature in the January 2001 edition of Railway Magazine. Track plan will be basically a roundy roundy "pizza" style and the overall aim; just to give myself a bit of non serious, light hearted winter modelling.
However I have a slight dilemma over the scale to use for the layout at this stage I will probably call "Norte Ornyce". The reason is I have some 009 stock left over from a long scrapped project and also some US outline N gauge items bought cheap with the intention they were to be used as a donor chassis and bogies for an O9 project but they do make a train (freight only).
Thought is - as the gauge for both is 9mm why not make a pizza and split it so that depending on the half being used at the time as the front either set of stock could be used. For a fiddle option use the other half as the fiddle yard. Have asked on the RM Web forum if anyone has ever done this and are there other issues to think through apart from the obvious one that loading gauge clearance on the N side has to be sloppy enough for the larger narrow gauge stock be that either 009 or 09 to run through?
Although the N option was my first idea this dual scale 50/50 sharing a baseboard thought has now occurred to me hence floating it on RM Web to see what others think.
(* NB this section is now as edited for grammar content on 19 November)
2) Monday 17th November
Interesting feed back received on RM Web. However I have found a snag myself, the OO9 track I have to hand is either flexible or the ex-Jouef 6in radius stuff. At this stage I have decided not to waste the flexible and the 6 inch looks a bit tight. However, all is not lost. I think I will either bury the sleepers on the non-N side or cut some of the Set-track sleepers away and that half can be either 009 or 09 depending on how I treat that slice of the pizza when I deal with it as phase 2 later on.
Since posting into this thread on RM Web about humorous layout names I have also decided that Norte Ornyce is probably a bit too cringe worthy a name and the Christmas theme name will be "Reindeer Falls (24th December)". A Google check indicates that there are several Reindeer Hills towns in the USA but no Reindeer Falls (as yet).
I also bought a better loco for the train on Saturday (A second hand Bachmann GE U36B in Santa Fe livery) and hopefully construction can commence this week after I finalise the exact track position on the board.
3) Tuesday 18th November (Update 1)
Today was a lay-up of the track day and the Jouef has had to be rejected finally for use to create a working siding off the main loop of the layout. Reason testing identified that some of the N gauge stock hits the raised point motor housing due to overhang if the point is used with a curved approach run. That was actually a downer as earlier comparisons identified the straight length was an exact match at 62mm for one of the bits of N gauge set track I have (Make unidentified - no name moulded on) so a side spur and a section of this 6 inch radius track had been looking possible after all.
However I have progressed today, the two points will give an opportunity for a bit of minimalist shunting and provide a side spur on the N sector with two siding roads at the end plus the pizza circle. The other element will simply be a bog-standard, no point work pizza slice - as yet TBC - the scale for scenic treatment (probably 09).
Baseboard size to be approx 2ft square and made from two fruit boxes plus stiffening. This layout is not expected to be be long-term permanent and therefore can be the next step in my trial use of predominantly cardboard baseboards. See step 1 here. That experiment stalled last year and although the board survived storage in the garage from the dampness aspects something fell on it resulting in some twisting. First lesson learnt therefore make sure the monocoque shell is adequately braced against twisting as well as the more predictable bowing and sagging.
This ends the planning phase for Reindeer Falls and hopefully over the next few days I can start some construction work.
4) Tuesday 18th November (Update 2)
A is where the Jouef 6 inch radius track would have fitted with side spurs from a second point entering stores buildings. This section of the board is likely to see the inside of the sleigh loading hanger. The Jouef track may still be laid but with a dummy point leading to the outer circle. The line of the scenic break will evolve as the scenic aspects are added.
Also O9 is now looking a clear favourite over 009 as the GE U36B can be converted to look a bit like one of the RHDR or R&ER diesels with just a drop over cab extension pending more detailed conversion later.
5) Wednesday 26th November. (Edited for external URL changes May 2017)
My thought processes have been refining and resolving several issues over the last week as the last steps before I commit to the build phase.
- Size of boards – for issues relating to stability I have decided to use both the salvaged fruit boxes in full rather than cut one down. The end result will be a baseboard size of 780mm x 590mm (30” x 23 ¼”). This is small enough to be stored for the over Christmas period on the spare room bed when not in use and also to fit in the car in one piece.
- Final track plan determined after a further trial lay up of it onto the boards and it will be a slightly evolved variation on the first sketch. On the N side the influence will be an American short-line, one example of which is the Ballard Terminal line in Seattle. For more information on the Ballard line see these external web sites Ballard Terminal overview and a modellers page giving a walking tour. (Both Ballard links updated for URL change May 2017)
- For the 09 (or even G9) section I am aiming to do a mail terminal with some card body mail wagons and locomotive bodies made to drop on over the N gauge items pending use of those items later in a permanent conversion project. My next challenge is trying to design the concept sketches for what Santa’s sleigh looks like allowing for practical working with empty in, lightning fast change over of the reindeer team then off and away with the next full ‘un.
- Stock exchange. The siding at the right hand side back in the photo will terminate inside a hollow building so that the rolling stock can be exchanged on a straight section of track. The loco is standing on what will be a Ballard Style loco stabling compound.
- Running round - slightly unprototypical but I remember reading about reversing circles in a 1950s era railway modelling. mag' (Probably Model Railway News) and will utilise that concept for running round as the light engine movements will add variety.
Construction has commenced. Initial step is to glue the two fruit boxes together to make the base frame. There is some slight bowing and gapping so as well as the PVA I had originally intended to use there will need to be a fillet of hot glue dropped down into the gap. The fall back option for this, if gluing fails to be strong enough, will be to overlay both sides with photo mount card, pierce through and then pop rivet! The underside strengthening will encompass experience gained here and hopefully minimise twisting & sagging.
I have two plastic sheet poster advertising boards retrieved after Weymouth Youth Music Theatre's last show and they will be overlaid later to form the top surface. I will also add strengthening strutting in due course on the underside of the boards once the top skins are attached. Whilst the first lot of glue is drying consideration turns to putting on the top skin. A quick bit of on-line research suggests No More Nails from Unibond is a better bet than PVA for gluing the non-porous plastic sheet to the cardboard bases.
(This section revised Fri 28th) Also as an update to yesterday's note about reversing circles I had recalled reading of a site in the USA where box cars were taken to an island site by ferry and the layout of the yard was circular with side spurs into the warehouses. The consequence was I could not recall if it was a true site or a railway modelling. " could have been" idea. Thanks to feedback to a question on the excellent RM Web forum I now know it was a real site built in the Bronx, New York as the Central Railroad New Jersey's Bronx Terminal. A website with a photo and details of building the terminal in HO scale can be found here, well worth the read.
7)) Weekend Sat/Sun 29 - 30th
Saturday - Construction continues. The two fruit boxes were fixed side by side to make the base frame and left for over 24 hours to thoroughly dry out. The slight bowing of the boards had left a gap in the centre. The centre gap mentioned in update (6) was packed with thin card slivers today and a fillet of hot glue dropped down into the gap. The two plastic sheet poster advertising boards (Modern plastic For Sale boards would be similar) have been cut to fit and overlaid to form the top surface. This will add strength across the centre seam as the skins overlap that joint. I have experimented with No More Nails from Unibond for this process, my first use of this type of glue. Time will tell if the trial use of this media mix proves durable enough, yesterday's suggested fall back option with rivets was not implemented. Incidentally this was also the first use of my new glue gun and I was surprised how little coverage I got from the melted glue strips and the underside will now be done with PVA not hot glue, despite the longer drying time.
Observation on fruit boxes - As I am sure anyone who handles these at work already appreciates the size, shape and variety arriving in the green grocery section of your local store is large. I had not been aware of this previously, assuming there would be set sizes to aid mechanical handling, but have discovered it now. If you are going to use boxes in multiple therefore it is essential that you get enough of the same size at the same time or stick to those being used for a regular product into the store to give you a chance of getting identical extras on a future date.
Sunday - intended activity postponed to Monday.
8)) Monday 1 December
36 hours after gluing on the top* I removed the weighting used to keep it all flat during the drying time. The structure appears to be adequately sturdy yet is very light to lift and is flat The planned next stage of further strengthening/stiffening with additional underside strips will be postponed. If considered necessary a strip may be added later along the red line shown. The finished layout sub frame is shown below.
* A minimum of 24 hours drying time is recommended by Unibond.
9) Thursday 4th December
Substantial update today as major progress made and second significant milestone passed.
a) Track, ballast and double sided foam tape - The lack of a daily update since Saturday is the result of a somewhat frustrating few days evaluating how to fix the track down and how to ballast it , in the end also realising the proposed option was a flawed theory. By end of play on Sunday track was loose laid on the board and trains had run. This should have been the start of phase 2.
Intending to experiment with using double sided foam tape rather than track pins I then realised that ideally I would also need the glue to be used for the scenic ballast stage to have some give to it. The outcome would be a slight bonus in that that the road-bed should stay slightly flexible like real ballast even after the completion of scenic ballasting step as an aid to running. Fixing down was hampered firstly as in trying to get my 30yr old old PECO insulfrog point to give a consistent/reliable contact at the tie bar end I managed to break the blade pivot at the frog end! Back to the model shop.
Also as I recall years ago reading an article in an old RM, MRN or MRC mag' about ballasting with something odd like ground up bits of cork and rubber carpet underlay all fixed down with rubber solution I did not want to use the PVA/granite method. The use of cork sheet as an underlay and the common method of gluing it all solid with a PVA/granite chip mix for ballast makes for very noisy layout and is difficult to dismantle at the end of layout's life cycle hence my rejection of it. The only benefit I think it gives to justify the time/cost is raising the sleepers above base board datum so as to give a shoulder to the ballast. You see now where the double sided foam tape comes in to the picture.
I turned to the RM Web forum for advice. The reason being (a) no idea when or which mag' to search for (b) like Cow Gum the relevant products are probably long out of production/renamed and (c) most importantly. as no one I knew uses it as a track fix method it probably didn't work! However it is lurking there in my mind hence considering a flexible glue. The outcome being discovery that the rubber based Copydex adhesive seems to be the best adhesive to go with for ballasting if PVA is not being used. This thread is one of the helpful older one's on RM Web
b) Update on the d/s foam strip proposal. After traipsing all over town yesterday (Wednesday) and failing to find the shop from which I had bought the, now part used, roll I had in stock I discovered most of the obvious stationery type shops stock it; but only in little squares! On returning home I searched on line and to get enough of it is either mail order from Maplins or possibly 3 short rolls from B&Q. At this point also second thoughts occurring as to whether it would look right on the 9mm track given the base idea, the Ballard Terminal Line, was mostly inset or ground flush trackage.
So having re-thought the issue I will be using ordinary double-sided tape today for speed as I have a reasonable amount in stock. That will get the track anchored where it is wanted and get layout to running stage. Time moving on towards Christmas deadline day and ballasting with Copydex later, if time permits, can do the final fix. Also the height would need a lot of ballast and I think on 9mm track the shoulder would be far too high, although in 4mm would be OK.
As a side issue one of the problems of changing scale/gauge is getting used to the differences.
c) Track laying - at last 'tis done. I managed to do a bodge repair on the PECO point sufficient for it to go onto the loco spur where the least amount of switching is likely to occur so that was a bonus. The tide is swinging back in my favour. The photo update will follow in tomorrow's update when I have the time to crop and resize them.
d) Name - I am also considering a final name amendment to Reindeer Landing.
10) Friday 5th December
To summarise progress; the "orthodox" side of the layout has found a prototype in the Ballard Terminal Railroad in Seattle on the West Coast of the USA. The layout's name has evolved to a suitable conclusion after starting out with a project name of Norte Ornyce (Based on Naughty or Nice), ultimately dropped as perhaps a bit too cringe worthy. Final evolution was via Reindeer Falls to my final choice of Reindeer Landing, a name I feel sounds authentically western USA, matches the US stock I have and to the best of my knowledge is not an existing place. Base unit is completed and track is down with scenics and 09 rolling stock construction to be commenced.
As a reminder the layout is a pizza style variant to feature both 9mm standard gauge modelling. and 9mm track in 7mm scale, representing a Heywood-esque 15" gauge system.
My aim is to complete the 09 side first as my 2008 Christmas theme layout and then spend 2009 building up the N Gauge side as an orthodox layout, albeit also set in a time frame of late December, so that by Christmas 2009 both sides will be completed.
Above - a view of the 09 side and the stock that will be used underneath drop on 7mm bodywork. In addition there is an 0-6-0 shunter available as seen in the N gauge image. The tippers are an Arnold item of an unknown standard gauge prototype and will be used, as is, on both sides. Below The last picture in today's update is the N side, showing all the available stock and the line's point work. I am sure some of the stock is chronologically anachronistic but I need to learn more about USA prototypes before I will know.
11) Wednesday 10th December
Longish gap since last update as a lot of mental planning has been in progress resulting in the final plunge tonight of hitting the white base with the marker pen. Main features will be a glitter processing plant, covered loading dock, open loading dock, Naughty or Nice Office, wrapping shed and possibly an overhead gantry plus loaded freight sled!. Lots of work done in my head, crash building programme of scenics next week. Picked up some big figures today at the 99p shop, very slightly over scale but hopefully I will get away with it. I am sure going straight to 3D mock up work isn't the way to work but this has had my creative side rushing in overdrive!
Above - overall view, N scale side at the top to be worked on in 2009, below is the O9 side only. I am experimenting with the slanting back scenes leading into view blockers to see if this draws the eye in and makes the scene seem deeper. The O side will be a diorama with trains for movement.
12) Monday 15th December
A longish gap in this blog since the last update due to seasonal distractions. As I know the whole idea of building one of Santa's distribution network, sleigh refill sites won't suit everyone as it is pure freelance, although hopefully plausible, therefore I thought I would recap one of the key reasons for starting it. As a returnee to the hobby a significant factor is the opportunity to try out scenic techniques, and O9 loco adaptations of N gauge items, on something no one can say is wrong, even where I know full well it has gone t**** up and not come out as I intended!
Time is running out but I should be able to do a burst of full-time modelling. on it this week and get outline buildings in place. Over the last few years I have learnt something about my psyche, and approaching deadlines. I think I work better under pressure. However the whole project is growing on me, the original idea of quick build structures will have to do for 2008, it is all there is time for, BUT I am fairly sure now I will be replacing those with proper scratch built structures after Christmas because the pictures in my head include too much detail. I want to get it done, and done as a serious piece of modelling. not just a seasonal interlude.
Today's progress was installation and painting of the split scene divider and tidying the wiring. I have gone for matt black blackboard paint on the O9 side at this stage as the buildings will be half relief at an angle to the divider and any image will need careful thought as to perspective. It's that looming deadline thing again, cuts through procrastination, decision made, work done! Same with ballast, I have decided to go back to an old tried and tested method of "budgie grit" fixed in with PVA. It isn't one I have personally used before but experience with club layouts of the green granite problem has put me off using most commercial model ballast; time will tell if I come to regret that.
Other relevant mentions for today:-
(a) Hot glue gun. Not used one before this project, extensively used today when fixing the divider so I am now a convert.
(b) Fixing track with double sided tape. Some of it lifted as the adhesive had dried so not sure that was a technique to repeat, the PVA ballast mix should cure the lifting.
(c) Photo - will be added with next update. Although I took some with flash today the matt black needs to be photo 'd in daylight and the flash shots are unusable to show progress.
(d) O9 loco. A photo of the Ravenglass & Eskdale's battery electric locomotive reminded me of the NER electric No 13. That is not suitable for scaling down for a Bo-Bo chassis (as it was a 4-6-4) but I have manipulated a drawing of the Shildon Bo-Bo type and produced a very quick and dirty paper overlay for the GE U36B.
(e) Recycled rocket sticks - Some rocket sticks fell into the garden on bonfire night, and a pair was worth recovering for reuse. One cut up and used for bracing blocks on the divider today continuing the recycle/reuse theme started with the base unit.
12A) Tuesday 16th December
Should I have dared ballasting on the thirteenth blog update? That was today's main activity and it is now completed and drying. I also located, thanks to a link on RM Web, the website of the Illinois Historic Preservation Society, an excellent source for scale drawings on historic American buildings downloadable as HO card kits. I have still got to build them but a research hole plugged. Ballasting was with a rough 50:50 PVA/water mix and a smidgen of washing up liquid and whilst I had some made up I also coated the figures and two motor bikes with a wash of the mix. It works on polystyrene kits as a primer for water colour painting later on. Sets were 99p each at the 99p shop. One other job started, the road crossing as I needed to fit the ballast around it; centre timbering will be added later. The grade crossing timbers used up the other rocket stick (see yesterday's update). Finally as a research check I viewed the Mack Trucks website for wheelbase details. good job I did, I had seriously underestimated their width and would have made the crossing too narrow for American trucks
14) Wednesday 17th December
Readers of yesterday's blog will have realised, the full time modelling. week I expected to get on Reindeer Landing has fizzled out in the morass of pre-Christmas activity plus work relating to deadlines surrounding an SLS Centenary Year philatelic first day cover. I thought retirement was supposed to give you free time, it does, but you fill it with the work you want to do rather than the work you have to do!. There will be a Christmas layout, apart from anything I promised SWMBO she would have one. I have enough material to get something sorted but to avoid distractions I will stay off the Internet, RM Web and Gnatterbox over a cup of coffee all to easily lead to an hour's browsing/ The next blog will therefore be after Xmas showing what I finished. Oh yes, one more thing. For the same reasons as the rest of modern industry Santa has joined the dot com era, 1224.com* now handle the "back office", but so far without any loss of the "Naughty or nice list" data. Here is a sneak preview of two of their bill boards from the 2008 campaign.
Seasons greetings to you all.
* NB Disclaimer - Any similarity to an actual organisation with 1224 dot com forming all, or part, of their web URL is accidental and this fictional/fictitious entry does not represent endorsement or otherwise of their operations.
16) Monday 29 December 2008
The first photo in this update is of the layout as it was on 23rd December, the last modelling. done to date on the scenic aspects.
As can be seen from the photo above the sketch modelling. of structures, in-situ, to check proportions etc., made some progress. Sketch modelling. as a phrase was recently used in a UK Railway Modeller magazine article by another writer in a very different way, to clarify I use the term sketch here in the way artists use it. i.e. as a rough draft of their ideas prior to the final make. As you can see the stone 'Naughty or nice list' office block needs more work as although I want a narrow building the window/door spacing here is wrong I also had to widen the striped roller door proportions on the Wrapping Shed building as the originally drawn door looked too small. The black divider does need a second coat of black.
Post Christmas Day - With the modelling. tools packed away I have spent some time with Photoshop working up ideas for freight stock and my ideas for the battery electric locomotive with the first build started. (Very much reduced copy of the work in progress artwork below)
Overall during the holiday period I made substantive progress but family activity prevailed over hobby activity leading to considerably less modelling. time than anticipated. Also as a returnee to the hobby I am finding everything takes longer than I anticipate, I guess because I am now taking far more care over what I do than previously, together with a rose tinted view of past modelling. activity selectively compressing the time taken/required.
Locomotive ideas for the RLRR
No 1 - Dasher - This will be a steam tram style engine over a Jouef 0-4-0 Decauville 009 engine. It may not get built as the under engine has not run for a while and my memory of it is of a very noisy mechanism.
No 2 - Dancer This will be a diesel of some format. It will have the Bachmann Davenport 0-6-0 chassis bought for the purpose. Current thinking is to loosely base it on Meolwyn of the Festiniog Railway as I have the basics. (see my card modelling. page)
No 3 - Prancer. Work commenced on detail for the final printy kit. Bo-Bo battery electric inspired by the R&ELR No 1. (see 12 Dec update also)
The Santa Mail truck artwork finished for the sides but not the ends (see below). The ends will be put through my crimper to give a corrugated effect so will also need to be higher to compensate. Practical experimentation will determine the extra height required on the final print. Mail bags will be added as a load. However I know I have not got the proportions right yet; the body width was too narrow in version one, therefore I widened it but version two is now much too wide and needs to be reduced to half the difference as real stock to these dimensions would be too wide to be stable. My own fault, when I did the loco I used stretch and forgot to leave the bogies out of the selection!! The loco' drawing also needs tidying up around the edges prior to the final print and the bonnet tops adding. (Low resolution extract from my working drawings is below)
17) 31st December (NB An update posting on New Year's Day is unlikely so a Happy New Year to one an all)
With my daughter home from University and my tax return deadline looming modelling. time is predictably short this week. This update therefore covers mostly peripheral scenic musings. On the stock front. since the last post, I have worked on the width issue and done some tidying up of the drawings but I aim to get the tax form out of the way as my priority However as there is no chance of the 09 side being finished soon knocking up some festive buildings for the N side is an option so that I can say something in keeping with the original aim of this project did run during the Christmas period i.e. before 12th Night (6th January).
As I am guilty of not having read the early on-line writings about the Hull MRS 009 layout "The Roth Valley Tramway (A.K.A. Stealth Bomber) the triangular shape musings in the current Rly Modeller (Jan 09 edition) came as a pleasant, vindicating, surprise. On Reindeer Landing I have also gone for an unorthodox triangle shape. albeit much smaller in size for similar reasons (See 10th December update) In my case I had been exhibiting at the Fareham MRC show at Wickham (Oct 08) and by coincidence of the show floor plan most layouts in one hall could be viewed both front ways on (as designed/intended) and end on. In almost all cases the end on viewing with depth was much better than the intended narrower view. That factor also reminded me of the excellent 009 layout Newton Halt (by Andy McMahon and Sheila Perry) I exhibited alongside at York in 2006 where I first noted the benefit of using an end on viewpoint. Add into this mix my close up exposure to stage set design (my wife does Stage Management at Weymouth Pavilion) and the result is that with Reindeer Landing I am experimenting with maximising depth in the viewing planes by setting the scenic segments in a triangular format. Time will tell if it has worked.
Buildings and back scenes - As already mentioned in the 16th Dec update I was pointed in the direction of a site covering US prototype buildings and this RM Web forum thread has now been expanded to include additional links. I have never been to the USA so cannot use my own photographs therefore will have to rely on either downloadable textures that look American or self designed. The problem with textures is they can become cliché images quickly. An example being the CG Textures, they look useful but I have recently seen the Wood Bros building and other textures from the buildings, industrial section of the CGT site in layouts featured in the Gnatterbox and RM Web. Unfortunately it is not possible to add a working short cut to the specific thumbnail.
So cliché images brings something else to ponder. Whilst reading the Gnatterbox a topic that came up was disguising exits to avoid the "mouse hole" effect. This is the solution to the four exits on this project.:-
(1) & (2) Will be behind buildings (N Gauge side of the layout)
(3) Will be trees PLUS a matt black equivalent of a stage play style side wing flat.
(4) This exit will be a bit more conventional, into roofed loading shed. The cheat is the open loading bay on the side wall visible to viewers.
18) 2 - 4 January 2009
From 18th December - "There will be a Christmas layout, apart from anything I promised SWMBO she would have one."
From 31st December "However as there is no chance of the 09 side being finished soon knocking up some festive buildings for the N side is an option so that I can say something in keeping with the original aim of this project did run during the Christmas period i.e. before 12th Night (6th January)."
Outcomes - Back from a second New Year break away after taking my daughter back to Uni on Friday due to the farce of our UK railway network closing just when nationally so many family members need to travel! I know all the reasons for off-peak maintenance closures BUT Christmas/New Year is hardly an off-peak weekend. After 7 hours on the motorway network on Friday outbound and another 6 today coming back I only have time tonight to update the blog briefly and more thoughts will come tomorrow, plus pictures, to finish of the 2008 saga.
However result of the trip was because I took some modelling. gear with me I finally managed to get a decent 7 hour slot of uninterrupted modelling. time on Saturday afternoon/evening (2nd January) making over 20 of the card buildings previously downloaded from this site. http://www.thortrains.net The buildings were scaled to a nominal N scale (2mm to foot) based on doorway heights and when printed out on white card are in the Biltezi sheet style.
I finally got enough done to be satisfied with on Saturday evening and had an hour playing with the trains. Therefore I did make the target of a Christmas theme layout running before 12th Night.
19) 5th January 2009
As you can see from yesterday's update I did meet my target of a Christmas themed layout running before 12th Night. Additional images are in a separate album. So a time for reflection:-
Split scale - I don't think this will work after all as the hole in the back scene and other clearances required for the 09 stock becomes too big to easily hide in N. .As you can see from the photo below, where two storey buildings are inadequate to mask the back scene "mouse hole" the height of the tunnel necessary to clear 09 stock would require three or four storey buildings to mask the exits and this would make the layout visually "top heavy". See also my observations regarding working with N scale following.
Sketch/cartoon modelling. - This was fun and a refreshing change from the expected, or normal, approach to modelling. of highly detailed scale structures etc. It will therefore be the basis of the 2009 layout. If you have read the build blog above it will be clear that this had been the initial aim for 2008, but the theme of the layout took over side-tracking the project for a while into more serious areas. They will now be followed up but with adequate time allowed.
US theme - I also found the challenge of modelling. something based in the USA of interest and aim to keep this option open into the future. The 09 items will be built with drop on bodywork so that, at least as an initial trial, the underlying N stock remains available as an N gauge item
N gauge/7mm - working with N was an interesting change but the experience has confirmed that N may not be my mainstream scale. Too small for me to be comfortable working with it. However if I do a 2009 Christmas layout it is likely to be another US themed layout as for a quick sketch/cartoon modelling. project I think N is ideal. I admire the skill of my fellow modellers able to work in 2mm finescale but that level of micro-engineering is beyond me. The move up from 4mm to larger scale narrow gauge outline was positive, backing up last year's experience with Pebbles End and the Sand Hutton coach therefore will be continued.
Summary - I enjoyed building Reindeer Landing for this Christmas project and it will continue to be built. However the split scale element is likely to be dropped during 2009.
20) 6th December 2009
I haven't done any physical modelling. on this project this year although as you will see purchasing bits and pieces for it and planning have proceeded on and off over the last year. However this year for a variety of reasons I knew that my model making time in the lead up to Christmas was going to be restricted so to ensure a project could be completed I decided this year to do a quick build exercise. In it I could try out some new techniques learnt about, but untried, for making snow so as to be ready for this bigger project. The resultant 2009 Christmas project is Abbotsea Gardens which has it's own page. Hopefully Reindeer Landing can progress through the year and it might make it for Xmas 2010 with at least one side finished!.
So this 09 project isn't dead, and during the year bits of stock have been bought for it as and when seen at a good price and I have decided the split scale idea didn't work with N so it will all be 09 (see entry 19 above). Several new Ideas for progressing Reindeer Landing are now in my head. The factory idea for building on what last year was the N scale side is now set as B Ling & Co, glitter grinders. The product will come in as glitter bar on open bolster trucks (Chrome/Bako foil rods) be hauled around as part formed slab slices in V skips (Sequins) and go out as crushed glitter (Glitter). The outgoing glitter will be sheeted down so humped formers with lots of loose glitter glued around for spillage!! The layout will stay as a split sided layout - (Side 1) transit/refill depot for Santa's work and (Side 2) B Ling & Co.
The stock purchases for this layout over the year include several figures, an Avalon coach kit, a loco kit from Steve Bennett, a Bachmann US style 2-8-0 loco and a second Bachmann US bogie diesel, the locomotives to be adapted to represent miniature railway style items.
21) 22nd April 2017
This project, along with Pebbles End, was put on hold in late 2011 as I initially lost my interest in modelling. I then started a media degree together with research projects into full-size railway history consequently I had no time to return to this layout. Sadly the project has hit a massive snag during the subsequent lay-up period in my slightly damp outside storage areas. The experimental cardboard based sub-structures are fine but a significant proportion of what had been glued to the white plastic Corex sheets used as the experimental topping has failed. That technique will not be repeated.
However, the concept of the project remains a valid one and although rebuilding is required this is likely at some point in the future. It has also been noted that what is shown as the N-Gauge side above is the basis of a small-shunting puzzle layout. The excellent Micro-layouts website, started by the late Carl Arendt, covers this with both Inglenook (2-turnout) designs and Timesaver designs featuring a run-round loop option.
As mentioned in in update 21 above the bases were looked at recently and sadly part of the track had been damaged and this together with the problems associated with the Corex board led me to decide today to strip the boards and recover the track together with an attempt to remove the Corex topping. Both actions were successful and only one of the track sections was broken badly. The rails however were undamaged, (only the plastic base being wrecked) and the rails will be retained for possible reuse later with copper clad strip replacement sleepers. A new card topping will be added in due course to replace the Corex.
The card baseboards for both this and the South Coast Steam project have been retrieved from storage and assessed with the idea of using them as a combination. There was a height difference but that would have been surmountable; however the combined size will not fit as easily into either vehicle available for transportation and therefore it may not be pursued.
All the bases will however be paint sealed for the long-term and probably used again for another layout.