Getting started…or, The Sky’s the Limit!

Well the layout boards have had two coats of a flat matt black emulsion which I spotted in a DIY store. I could have painted them with a gloss finish, but I quite liked the matt finish and it was something different. The layout has some final facia pieces that hide all the laser cut joints. I will eventually paint these and put the layouts name on them to add to the overall presentation.

The second thing I did after painting the boards was to attend to the sky. I’ve seen some good skies on layouts and I’ve seen some dire efforts and wondered if people knew what they were exhibiting. I’m no expert, but I’m not sure many modellers ever stop looking at trains for enough time to see what colour the sky is! It’s not very often bright blue, nor its it full of fluffy clouds. These days, this problem is helped by some companies which print scenic backgrounds. In my humble opinion, the only problem with these is, well, they look like a printed background and are just too perfect.

A model railway is a model representation of our imagination or a real place but a printed sky can break that illusion and look too realistic next to our models or pieces of our imagination. Furthermore, one day everyone will have the same sky sections in much the same way as many people have previously used the Peco background sheets that are still around and have been around for ever….you know the ones I mean!

So having ranted, what did I do. Well, I have previously taken notice of Chris Nevard’s approach to sky and his use of DIY paint matchpots and subdued colours. My other layout a OO gauge micro layout Winkle’s Yard also has a plywood scenic board and this was painted with 4 or 5 subtle shades of off white, grey and a tiny amount of blue.

Winkle’s Yard – OO Gauge Layout by Shaun Harvey

On the new O gauge layout, I painted the back boards white to seal the boards and once that was dry I gave it another coat of white and while this was wet I brushed some small amounts of blue into it and blended these in. The horizon line gets lighter so the blue was kept to the top of the board to help with realism.

Prince’s Street O Gauge (under construction by Shaun Harvey)

SO, you can see the general idea for my small terminus station belonging to the small town. The platform is big enough for 3 coaches and a bay platform may hold a couple of parcel coaches or a DMU. There will be a couple of sidings for the odd goods train or departmental train that might make a visit.

While It may look like there is a lot going on, only two pieces of track have been fixed to date and those are at the end of the main passenger line in the station. You can see I’ve put a lot of other bits on the baseboards, but those have really been about marking out and deciding on positions for track and buildings etc. I plan to use a double slip on the station so I needed to decide if the bay platform track was going to bend to meet that or if the main line might bend to meet it. At this point in time, I’ve decided to keep the main line straight along the back and then make the bay platform track bend to meet the double slip…..However, this may change. What I have done already is put in the isolating rail feed wires as I go along, to make life easier. This will be a DC layout for now due to the cost of chipping O gauge locomotives. If I win the lottery, things might change!

So this is the trouble end of the layout or the end that will give me sleepless nights. I have to cut a hole out for a bridge yet for trains to exit to the fiddle yard. I have to insert a double slip as well as install a signal box and some point rodding, Oh, and there’s the need for a coal depot. What a glutton for punishment I must be! Note a clean class 20 and a dirty one. Kelvin Barnes numbered and weathered the dirty one. Now it’s time for me to be brave and do the same to the second one. I look forward to running these nose to nose with some coal wagons. This is the area where I want to build the coal yard. While I have put two tracks in, I might keep it just one track and avoid it being too full. As modellers, we can sometimes get carried away and put too many pieces of track on our layouts. In reality, if the lines didn’t have a function, they weren’t there. Note the industrial buildings. They will go along the back and represent some industrial buildings backing onto the line.

I will post some more pics soon as I want to start making some substantial progress on this layout.

Here’s a little teaser picture – something for another day – probably 105 days!


O Yes! about time too.

After a long absence from all things O gauge, I would like to introduce the new incarnation of Prince’s Street Goods Yard.

My previous layout was my first foray into O gauge and I have learned a lot on my short journey. However, as a layout, it had its faults, the biggest of which was the fact that the boards were just so enormous at 4ft by 3ft. They weighed too much for me and were too large and unmanageable in my single garage.

I would like to use this layout with out exhibition group so it needs to be movable, robust with the wiring and operational aspects well built and sturdy from day one. My previous layout was lacking in some of these areas.

I have used boards by Tim Horn again. In my opinion, they are up there with the best and go together so easily they are a delight to build.

I have used boards with presentation in mind and the boards provide space for lighting units to be installed and kept out of sight from the viewer.

This is the centre board with the left had side scenic board. Behind me is the right side board which also has a scenic edge to it. The fiddle yard/traverser will fix to the board out of sight and trains – DMUs, 3 coach trains or single car services as well as freight – will enter the scenic area under a bridge. I was lucky enough to obtain 12 ft of kitchen base units which sit at an ideal height for the layout. They also provide lots of storage for my stock and equipment. The drawers are ideal for paints, tools and unbuilt kits etc. I’m hoping that some draws will have more space eventually as things go from under the boards onto the boards.

Here is a rough idea of the track plan. There will be two station platform faces with the one at the top being against the back of the baseboard. I hope I can make sense of the double slip as it may save the use of two points at that spot. I am keen to avoid using lots of track in the area being mindful of the limited space. On the right hand side, I have put in two short sidings, however this may look too crowded.

This was my first O gauge coal depot and I really loved it so I hope I can repeat something like this in my new layout.

I need to add some more pictures soon as I have painted the sky now and am nearly ready to lay my first piece of track!

Now, about that decorating…