4mm Morfa - The race is run.

Discussion in 'Layout Progress' started by Neil, 18 June 2010.

  1. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Morfa - Victory from the jaws of defeat

    Some of you won't need this, but some might, so here's a cut and paste from my blog that describes my favourite waste of time.

    ' I've been looking back through the blog and it appears that I've not made mention of my big trainset. I've either been very lucky or very good but the fate has smiled upon me in the shape of a large playroom which I'm free to fill with toys. In it I'm building a model of Morfa Mawddach, the junction of the Cambrian Coast and Dolgellau lines. Actually I'm building a part fact, part fiction version of the station; I might at some time be persuaded to divulge the back story but for now all you need to know is that I can cherry pick the bits I like and conveniently ignore those I don't. '

    morfa hoc 1.jpg

    Morfa has been on hold for several months whilst I've concentrated on some narrow gauge projects and whipping our cottage into shape for holiday letting. Looking back it started to stall due to difficulties caused by its reorientation in my playroom; thanks to a trip on the train up the real Cambrian Coast yesterday I can see a way past these problems, so more about my big toy should appear fairly soon.
     
  2. 28ten

    28ten Guv'nor

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    Wonderful location, one of my absolute favourite areas :thumbs: and a big project. I can understand how enthusiasm ebbs and flows, i think the key is to keep the momentum going, having said that I am the worlds worst procrastinator.
     
  3. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    I've uploaded a panoramic shot of Morfa here which should illustrate the problem I faced; I should warn it's big and you'll have to scan from left to right to follow my description. Morfa will be roundy roundy, the section of baseboard missing at the moment is the fiddle yard, which from the start of the panorama at the left will be where Barmouth bridge starts. You should be able to discern a broad sweep into the platform at Morfa Mawddach, where the DMU rests, to the right of this is the junction where the freight only branch towards Dolgellau forks. To the right of the junction a loop headshunt parallels the running line, this is as far as the track goes at the moment. Past here there's some more straight baseboard, and at the right hand end you should be able to pick out that the line needs to curve back on itself to avoid spoiling the view from the window and getting in the way of my workbench. I'd put up with workbench compromise but the view is non negotiable. The width of board for the turn back towards the fiddle yard is just five feet giving a two foot six radius curve if I push the line to the edges of the board. The rest of the layout has gentle sweeping curves and to go straight from that to what is a pretty tight radius could easily wreck the impression that the rest of the layout gives. Thanks to yesterday's trip up the coast I've got the idea of separate scenes; Morfa will stop a short way past the headshunt end, the sharp curve round the end of the room will feature the line snaking round the Dyfi estuary taking a lot of the cues from Abertafol harbour and the line near picnic island.
     
  4. Scale7JB

    Scale7JB Western Thunderer

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    Have to say, I've loved everything that I have seen about this layout in, uh-hum... the other place...

    Please keep up the good work.. Something I can't wait to see finished ! Going to be mega !

    JB.
     
  5. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    I've just returned from a rather splendid and productive day out. Instead of doing the shopping at Machynlleth we drove the extra fifteen miles to Tywyn. On the way there a stop was made at Abertafol, where a scramble down a steep path brought us to this inlet.

    estuary 1.jpg

    Found this gorgeous wooden yacht there in a condition that could head towards glorious restoration or creeping decay. In a lot of ways I'd be just as happy to see decay as varnished splendour.

    estuary 2.jpg

    After walking back up to the road I found this viewpoint that hints as to how I hope this section of the model will look.

    estuary 3.jpg

    Right, I'm off to find my tape measure and sort out how much timber I'll need to buy on Monday to complete the baseboards.
     
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  6. Dan Randall

    Dan Randall Western Thunderer

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    That looks like a beautiful part of the country Neil. I especially liked the picture of Abertafol Harbour - with the high ground behind the railway and a tunnel for trains to vanish into, it's purpose made for modelling. :)


    Regards

    Dan
     
  7. 28ten

    28ten Guv'nor

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    Yes, that is indeed modelling inspiration. I think the final shot along the estuary will be harder to pull off simply because of the depth and height required to do it justice, but given the space you have it should be possible to have a damn good shot at it :thumbs:
     
  8. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Morfa - An Introduction.


    Not yet; we've probably got another weeks worth of work on the cottage to do (I'm a slow worker :rolleyes: ) sorting out the details, but I'll let you know when we're up and running.
     
  9. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    No photos, but I've just spent the best part of two days mucking out my playroom, which has given me plenty of time to ponder the exact shape and disposition of the boards that will finally bridge the gap between the two ends of my trainset. Tonight I've made a start cutting wood, but it's a bit late for making loud drilling noises so it'll be tomorrow or Sunday before i join all this nice new timber together. Previous experience leads me to believe that the tidying up will prove to have taken twice as long as building the baseboards; it's hugely surprising how fast non portable baseboards come together.
     
  10. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    Well perhaps I spoke slightly too soon about the rapidity of the progress I'd make. The main extra board is in place, but I've yet to start the box beam for the trackbed and likewise the non-scenic bridging piece.

    morfa 002.jpg

    The time taken (yesterday evening and this afternoon post grand prix) has also allowed my thoughts on the scenic presentation to further develop. I'd hinted previously that ideas were heading towards separate scenes and in my mind they would have been separated by by both backscene curving round and fascia extending up towards some form of lighting rig. An idea not mentioned was that the new board would show the Barmouth end of the bridge from toll cottage to tunnel. You can see the idea here with the near building standing in for the toll cottage and the far for the lifeboat house.

    morfa 003.jpg

    Now I'm no fan of the restricted viewpoint style of layout presentation; the real thing is expansive and set in a big landscape, diorama boxes feel very claustrophobic and work against any notion of space that one has managed to achieve. The mind is a brilliant tool, editing out all sorts of stuff we'd rather it didn't linger on, and I'd like to give it a helping hand to imagine that it's outdoors where there's no framing to a scene.

    morfa 007.jpg

    So at Barmouth I've concocted the idea that the bridge (which I don't have room for) will be replaced by a decent section of Cambrian timber viaduct which will give the right feel and won't look too unrealistic unless one becomes too aware of how short it really is. Photos really p!ss on the proverbial parade in this respect as they bludgeon the mind into accepting what's really there rather than what the mind would otherwise be happy to be fooled into believing. I reckon that snaps just showing one end of the bridge and the line leading to it will work ok. Thanks for sticking with the logic, have another photo of chipboard decking.

    morfa 005.jpg

    This is a view that I'm particularly looking forward to realising, the board here is four feet wide and six feet long and the view across the water to the railway in the distance is rather delicious in prospect. It's also a quick way of filling a scene, a broad expanse of water comes together really quickly.

    The other join between scenes, Morfa and the Dyfi estuary, I hope to accomplish with a line side stand of trees (Morfa) that will blend into a rock outcrop (Dyfi) but there's woodwork to be finished before I start to get too excited.
     
  11. marsa69

    marsa69 Western Thunderer

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    I'm looking forward to seeing this develop ;)
     
  12. 28ten

    28ten Guv'nor

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    I like the idea of separate scenes, I think that could work really well. I also agree that you need to do everything possible to make it open with 'big sky' by the looks of it you have enough space to achieve that. I cant quite picture the bridge concept (but thats probably me being dim!) an old Cambrian bridge sounds nice though :thumbs:
     
  13. alcors1

    alcors1 Guest

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    how did you do the chain link couplers on you loco and stock?
     
  14. Dan Randall

    Dan Randall Western Thunderer

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    Shame you don?t have room for the bridge Neil. I saw this rather nice 7mm version at the Telford show last year?.

    [attachment=0:1n6k40bx]SNV32870.JPG[/attachment:1n6k40bx]
    It was big mind and I can see even in 4mm scale, it would eat into a lot of space, especially given the need for approaches each side. :)


    Regards

    Dan
     

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  15. 28ten

    28ten Guv'nor

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    I is more do-able in 4mm though....
    Isnt Geoff Taylor working on something based on Barmouth?
     
  16. Brinkly

    Brinkly Guest

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    I is more do-able in 4mm though....
    Isnt Geoff Taylor working on something based on Barmouth?[/quote:387vmztr]

    Oh Barmouth to Ruabon thats a nice line! Don't tempt me! :D

    Nick
     
  17. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    There's quite a few commercial suppliers of 3-link couplings in the UK. The main disadvantage with them is you need pretty generous curves or else the buffers can cross past the ones on the next wagon or the loco and 'lock', causing derailments. The second disadvantage with them in 4mm scale is the tiny size, which was one reason I moved up to O scale to model UK railways- so I could see the darn things!! :shock: :headbang: :p
     
  18. Ressaldar

    Ressaldar Western Thunderer

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    Hi Jordan,

    I thought that you would be a Kadee man through and through and not worry about links and screws :laugh:

    regards

    Mike
     
  19. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    Well on US stuff, of course :thumbs: ... but somehow British outline stock just doesn't look 'right' with buckeyes (if it should have 3-links) or any other auto-coupling, come to that. :?
    A few years ago now I did a bit of British HO modelling (yes 3.5mm scale :shock: THAT was a lonely furrow to plow!!!) and I standardised on the Kadee #58 coupler for everything. I have to admit that not only did it look out of place on 1960's Era stock, I actually got bored with magnetic uncoupling when shunting* - I wanted something to do besides twiddle the controller!! I'd tried scale 3-links in 4mm years ago and knew I wouldn't get on well with the small size, so as I was also moving into US O scale it seemed logical to also move into UK O scale, and I sold off my HO collection.

    * So far with my US O scale I've done all the uncoupling by hand, with a small cross-head screwdriver.

    Sorry, thread Hi-jack over... :oops:
     
  20. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Morfa - An Introduction.

    I've been away for a few days visiting my children and parents so there's been no progress this week but I'll try and clear some of the questions up.

    morfa bridge.jpg

    This sketch might help. I don't have room for anything like the full Barmouth Bridge (if I did there's the risk it would be spectacular but dull), but I do have space for about three foots worth of Cambrian timber trestle with a walkway to the side. If one was to see just one end of the bridge and its adjoining land mass there'll be a reasonable representation of the Barmouth or Morfa ends, though the Barmouth end will be wooden trestle rather than the two steel approach spans to the swing section. Looked at as a whole the illusion will fall flat but it's a price I'm happy to pay to avoid physically splitting the scenes up into three. It gives a near forty foot sweep of railway with very little apart from plain running line, something I've always wanted to do. The alternative of splitting the scenes into three smaller diorama boxes just doesn't appeal as much.

    The couplings themselves are mainly Smiths, three link, instanter or (locos and the odd brake) screw. I use a home made pole to manipulate the links on and off the hook. I'm fairly good once I get my eye in, but it can take a while to get up to working temperature.

    It is, but if I had, I'm not sure I'd use the space for the bridge as other aspects of the Cambrian Coast interest me more. This is the advantage of not pursuing total fidelity, I can edit out bits that don't turn me on, add stuff that I think would be good and generally bugger about with whats there according to whim.

    He is, I've seen it and it's very nice indeed. His layout is focused on Barmouth Junction too, though set in the days of steam rather than those nasty blue tin boxes that I prefer. There's a bit about it on his website here.
     

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