Sunday, 17 May 2015

Train spotting...

Well, I've been talking about getting a model railway, for about 5 years.

And at last it's come to pass.

Now the rub for me is that:

1. I spend every working day, painting and basing wargames figures,  at weekends, I want to do something else.

2. My skill with electrics is ZERO (or less).

3. I have never attempted a layout.

Taking the above into account, it seemed to me to be a good idea to let a professional handle things, but at the same time I wanted to breathe some life into it to make it my own.

And so I decided to find a company who could build the boards, lay the track and do all the landscaping up to grass level, including the scenic backdrop, and wire up all the electrics, including automated points.

Enter 'The Fiddle Yard' and the capable and experienced hands of Ollie, the head honcho and former member of staff at 'Rails Of Sheffield'.

A quick look at the company website will show you why I chose Ollie to build things for me...

But what sealed it for me was the fact that Ollie tells it how it is and communicates very thoroughly with his clients to make sure that their expectations are met without tears.

I gave Ollie a brief idea of what I wanted - originally planning on depicting the railroads of 1980s America. Over time I decided that I'd really like to depict a UK line of the early 80s. Ollie had drawn up some ideas for me, and despite my um-ming and ah-ing reworked the plans several times until w got a plan for a layout in N gauge (1:148) which was 8 feet by 2.5 feet, based on a traditional loop, but with half of it hidden from view to give the sense that the viewer is looking at a section of main line adjacent to a freight yard or similar (I actually have some pictures of a section of track near Bilston, which looks just like the plan Ollie devised, before I had purchased the book containing them) and which looks like this:

Once Ollie has completed the layout to that level, it will then come to me for finishing. Now, don't for a moment think that I don't think Ollie could do that, because I can assure you that he can. But, I want to be able to potter about in the studio adding buildings, trees, figures and super detail myself. Hopefully I'll enjoy it and it will not be too much like my day job. We shall se, but I am very confident...

It's two weeks since I paid for the layout and I have been amazed at just how much Ollie has already achieved - including adding a 'wave' to the tracks in the foreground to reduce the 'toy town' look that you can sometimes get in circuit type layouts, after I enquired if he could adapt the plan a little last week.

Anyway, here's a pic or two, just received from Ollie:

Now, I am a notoriously difficult customer to please, so when I say that I could not be happier, that's quite a statement. I look forward to taking ownership of the layout in the Autumn, and will periodically add a post or two to this blog, along the way. Now I know that I claim that this is a blog about wargaming, but the creation of miniature worlds on the tabletop, is shared by gamers and model makers, so I think it's quite a suitable way to take things now and again.