So this week…



There’s been quite a bit of progress this week, due in part to some extra time available to me while I recuperate following a small but painful operation and some time of work while I nurse my sore bits!


I wasn’t going to add point rodding and was looking for the right point levers to purchase when I stumbled over a small second hand signal box in my local model shop. There is something very satisfying about point rodding, however so many layouts just don’t have it, due, I think to its fiddly nature and the delicate nature of the parts. This is a shame, as it is often the small details which bring a layout alive. So now I had a signal box, I would need some point rodding. Fortunately, Wills have come to the rescue with their packet of parts which are really nicely moulded. I haven’t finished this task yet but it is all going in the right direction. It is probably totally overkill in my little layout but I do think it will another dimension to the overall finished layout.




The cork was finished this week and given two coats of Woodlands Scenic concrete paint. This has dried to a very bright colour and will need some toning down and weathering in due course. For now, it has been given a gentle sanding with some clean sand paper to remove any high spots of paint or lose cork fragments. This has left the cork smooth and ready for weathering.



I like to spray all my track with Humbrol dark earth once it is laid. I think it is at this stage that the track loses its toy appearance and starts to look like a model representation of something else. I’ve been spraying my track with dark earth for a long time now and like the shade that the sleepers and track take on. Other colours can be used and will be used in due course as the rails get painted and other areas get weathered.




I do take a lot of pictures. I find it’s good to keep a record of the progress and it’s fun to look back at the various stages of construction. There is, however, another useful benefit to taking pictures. It’s said that the camera never lies and so I like to look at my modelling through the lens to see how things look close up or from another angle. I’ve often spotted things that are not right or things that need a little bit of attention. These can then be attended to before it’s too late.

Here’s a few pics from the last few days. I know I’m not going to win any prizes for them but they do show the recent activity.


It’s Corked!

There are a few ways to represent the concrete that surrounds rails to give the embedded look. You can use card, plastic or even poly filler type materials.

I decided to use cork after seeing other layouts where this method has been used. The cork gives an interesting texture just by being itself and a close look shows that it’s not to disimilar to the aggregate that you would see in a block of concrete. I had to lay two layers of cork. One to reach sleeper height and one to reach track height. Strips were also placed between the tracks to complete the effect. Another thing I picked up was that you don’t have to lay it in a big piece as concrete is often laid in sections with expansion gaps. These will be weathered and may have some grass growing in the gaps.

I still had some concrete paint made by Woodland Scenics so I have given the cork two coats of this. I now have some very clean concrete so it will be weathered eventually using the airbrush when it comes to the final detailing stages.


So, now to get the point rodding finished!



More Progress – Track complete!

It’s always good to get certain parts of a project done and I’m glad that my track work and basic wiring jobs are now complete. I say basic wiring as I mean the bit from the track only. The control panel is a project for another day!

I have not started to think about other features that need to be completed before the track work is ballasted or even painted.

I have started to stick some more cork down to raise the height of the concrete which will go between the tracks at the front of the layout. I will be trying to emulate the technique used by Kelvin Barnes who uses cork to represent concrete to great effect.

I have also started to build the basic structure for the bridge that crosses the entry to the small yard. This has been made out of hobbycraft foam board – a light and easy to use material which is good for lots of different purposes. This will be covered in slaters brick plasticard and then additional details will be added such as the metal bridge section which I will be scratch building out of various bits of plasticard. I’m quite looking forward to this and really enjoy the modelling aspect of the project.

Let there be light

I wanted to have some lamps on my layout since it’s inception and knew it had to be one of these.


These are made by CR signals and I think they are really gorgeous.  They are undoubtedly very fragile but come with a magnetic bottom plate.

Installation is easy, I drilled a hole for the two fine power wires and cut away some of the cork to provide space for the lamps base to sit flat Once the cork was out of the way, I superglued a small magnet onto the plywood and allowed the glue to dry.

Once the glue was dry, I lifted the lamp onto the magnet and Hey Presto, a nice upright lamp. I will ballast around the lamps base in a way that does not interfere with this mounting.

As the lamps is not ridgedly fixed to the board, any slight knocks will just result in it lifting gently and falling onto a wagon and not bending in half where it is struck. I know it will be a delicate addition to the layout but I love it! Continue reading “Let there be light”


I wanted to have the layout’s name on the scenic box and have previously seen this done with painted letters, computer cut letters and some large layouts with amazing fascia panels.

I was in a discount book and craft shop and saw a box of computer letters and thought it might be good for my O gauge layout so I purchased a box. I think it was less than £5.

I laid the letters out on a board and gave them several coats of white paint from a spray can. I also had to cut an apostrophe symbol from another letter.

I then clamped a steel ruler to the fascia box ensuring it was level and stuck the letters to the box using super glue.

I’m quite pleased with the result and feels it gives a quality look to the layout.

What do you think?



Winkle’s progress

I haven’t posted for a while but I have not been idle, in fact, I’ve been quite busy with the small OO project, spurred on by the possibility of an exhibition opportunity next year if it makes the grade.

I spent some time spraying my new fiddle yard board to match the scenic box and then the surface of this was covered in cork.

I also had a very important job to do on the main scenic box and that was to cut out the hole for trains to run through. I had a jigsaw but most of my blades appeared blunt so I resorted to drilling lots of close holes until the section could be pushed out. The external side the scenic box and the hole was made good and tidy by the addition of some L shaped moulding which was glued so that the cutting was all covered up. Eventually, the hole will be a part of a bridge and the short distance through the wood will be clad in brick effect plasticard. The moulding was also sprayed black to make the presentation clean and stylish.


I have now started to lay track and will post a few more pictures in the next couple of days showing the progress with this and the layout name now placed on the box.

Come back soon for another update and leave a message if you have any comments or questions about my methods, materials or suppliers.







Back on Track!

I’ve now started laying track. I’ve decided to use the new Peco Bullhead track but it is very fine and delicate.

I started off by laying the points which will lead into and out of the small yard. Holes have been drilled for the point motors which will be fitted eventually when I make a start on the underside of the board and the electrics.

Power feeds and isolated switch feeds have been soldered to the underneath of the rails in the hope that these will eventually disappear under ballast and I won’t have any visible lumps of solder on the edges of rails as this is so often seen on many layouts.

Magnets for the Sprat and Winkle coupling system have also been sunk into the cork and held with super glue. The cork helps this to be done.

There is much to do yet but the track is going down steadily and with a lot of care. I want this to be good and reliable so I am not rushing it. The track is stuck down with PVA glue and weighted down until it dries. Further ballast will help to keep it in place. I like the idea that you will not see any unrealistic track pins on the scenic area.

Once the track is in place, I shall start to add the scenic details that need to go down before the ballast and hard standing areas appear. These will include buffer stops, point rodding, ground shunt signals and some rather special lights. I’ll save those for another day though!


More progress on Winkle’s Yard

The preparatory works have continued on the baseboard for Winkle’s Yard.

The cork is now finally stuck down and I have continued to give serious thought to the track plan and how to make the operations and viewing interesting.


On the back of the base board I have painted an area white and hope that this will provide enough space for an integral control/mimic panel for points and isolating rails. By having all the wires within the one board, I will not need a separate control box for points and hope that this will avoid electrical connection problems at home or exhibitions.

Tim Horn was kind enough to deliver my new traverser, given that I do not live too many miles away from his base. While I don’t appear to have taken a picture of the traverser yet, I do have a couple of pics of the connection plate being fixed to the scenic box. This was a simple task as I just had to choose where to place the plate and then glue it to the box. I chose to align it with one existing bolt hole and held it in place while wood glue stuck the wood connection plate to the box. Once the glue was dry, I drilled another hole which will be used to bolt the traverser to the scenic box when they are being used.

You will be able to see two thick wooden circular disks. These also help to align the scenic box and the traverer together. This is a great piece of design work by Tim and his boards are really well built.

Whilst much of the above work has taken place outside or in the garage, I have started to make some terrace house backs using the Scalescenes model downloaded kit. I did spend a while thinking about this given the different textures and makes of buildings, however, I don’t think you would see the brick texture from the front and there will be lots of other details that push these buildings into the back of the scene. I’ve always liked the Scalescenes kits and the way the model already has some weathering added into the designs. I will need to make quite a lot of these and then model the rear gardens etc.


I think I now have much of what is needed to start laying some points and a few pieces of track. I mustn’t forget the unfinished O gauge projects though!!!