Sunday, 28 August 2016

A New Layout Arrives At The Dark Tower

This Wednesday past, I had the joy of receiving my latest layout from the talented Steve Hornsey of Lincolnshire.

I cannot sing his praises highly enough, as once again Steve has turned my sketches and disjointed email rantings into everything I envisaged and more.

 I am a painter of miniature figures in my day job, but when it gets to the end of the week, I really don't want to paint wargames figures (my 35 year hobby) for myself. So, I thought a model railroad in N scale, was a great way to 'keep the hand and eye in'.

However, I am useless with electrics and the thought of track laying for me, is a horror scenario.
Therefore I had the trackwork and basic groundwork done for me. I will then add the buildings, scenery, trees and things of that ilk.

I am aiming for 'sometime in the 80s' and the two layouts are set just either side of the U.S/Canadian border, in a fictional 'Amalgam U.S.A' tradition, derived from growing up here in the UK on a diet od 70s and 80s National Geographic magazines, Snoopy cartoons and those 80s films where it always seems to be Autumn.

The smaller shelf layout which you've seen before, I know, is 6 feet by 13 inches and Represents 'Dogpile, Alberta'. It's a kind of backwater town and the layout is a small yard on the edge of the rough side of the tracks, populated by down and outs, train hoppers and the seedier type of humanity. It's wired for dcc with manual turnouts.

The larger layout is 12 feet by 30 inches. As you can see it's essentially late Summer into early Fall. There'll be a LOT of seafoam trees and I have a 60 litre box of the stuff under the tables. The foliage you can see is simply scenic padding.

To the rear are the yards at Asenath, while to the right is an industrial area (probably the most 'modern' area on the layout at Lovecraft Bend. To the front is Whateley Point, which will be a scruffy and characterful harbour. I'm mixing red brick with older wooden structures, and aim to use DPM and Bar Mills with a tickle of Artitec and Modeltech, as well as lights by Woodland Scenics. This layout is again DCC with automated DC turnouts this time due to the size of the layout.

I'm really looking forward to bringing the work of Steve Hornsey to life and I hope you'll find my w.i.p post to be a fun distraction.

I reiterate, that I am trying to get a lot of 'American Character and Charm' into the layouts and ithe layouts are not based on any single real place.

Anyway, here are a few pics of the starting point layouts, installed in their rightful places in my studio, with fittings, curtains and DCC all finished.

This project cost me £1300 plus a few bits that I paid for and asked Steve to include, and the smaller one was about a thousand less. Both are powered by my NCE Powercab with an additional CAB06 engineer's throttle to allow for two or three operators on the layouts. Turnouts are operated by stud and probe switches.

I am guessing that I will need 75-100 buildings for the large layout, which at an average of £35 each, is going to be quite an undertaking indeed, but one which intend to relish. This railroading lark makes wargaming look like a weed habit compared to one of angel dust.

Lighting is going to be expensive, but I made a start on Friday when I saw the TAG Models in Doncaster was offering the Woodland Scenics 'Just Plug' range as a 3-4-2 deal, which meant I saved around £30 on this little lot:

Now, if you will excuse me I need to go and soak in a hot bath with an improving book, as it is my 23rd wedding anniversary (28th year together) and we are going to go out and celebrate with a good Thai meal this evening.

Enjoy your weekend!


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