Neil's HO workbench - pounding the pavement

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by Neil, 12 December 2016.

  1. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    For some time I've had a few card building mock ups floating around my playroom. They're all buildings from Ghent which have intrigued me over the last couple of visits. Here they're lurking in the background of this photo.

    belgian building 02.jpg

    Time I thought to make a start on a proper rendition in plasticard. Today I started on the easier workshop/warehouse structures glimpsed between the loco and fish van by transferring the measurements from card to brick embossed sheet, or at least as near as the brick courses allowed. As the front will be the most detailed elevation I started with this.

    belgian building 01.jpg

    At the moment it's drying under weights in an attempt to keep it reasonably flat. Once the window and door openings are pierced I'll be able to assemble it into a self bracing structure which should resist any desire to curl up.
     
  2. allegheny1600

    allegheny1600 Western Thunderer

    Hi Neil,
    I like this.
    What scale is your embossed sheet, please? I've always struggled to find it for H0. Not criticising if it is 4mm by the way, I wouldn't blame you for using it!
    So, H0 modelling IS allowable on WT then!?!
    Cheers,
    John.
     
  3. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    I'd like the think we're scale/gauge agnostic and the more eclectic the better!
     
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  4. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Thank you John, thank you Adrian. I think the embossed sheet is 4mm scale, the label said that it was Wills Finecast and it's a vac forming of slightly larger footprint than the Slaters sheets. To be honest I wasn't that enamoured with the sheet as it came as the bricks were a bit blobby and rounded, but after lightly sanding the surface a bit flatter there has been an improvement. To my eyes it now looks a bit more like slightly irregular old bricks than the Slaters sheets do.

    Here's a photo of the original building taken on my hols this year.

    belgian building 03.jpg
    As you should be able to see the brickwork looks in pretty poor shape. Most of this I hope to do with paint affects, one area where the smaller scales (4mm and under) score over the larger ones. I imagine that there would be a lot of work to get 1/32nd brickwork to look this dilapidated. That said it would look stunning and I see that Elaine's Trains still have the brutish gauge 1 Henschel diesel shunter in stock.
     
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  5. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    The building has now gained sides and rear. Hopefully you'll be able to see that it's an unusual shape, deeper at one end than the other. Equally hopefully my geometry is correct and the roof angles will all line up.

    belgian building 04.jpg

    Because I only have photos of the the front elevation I've had to concoct a plausible rear. My plans for its location mean that it's most unlikely the rear will be seen, but as plans can alter I thought it would be a shame to put in a lot of effort to the front then end up regretting that I couldn't fit the building in another place if a change of plan warranted it.

    belgian building 05.jpg
     
  6. steve1

    steve1 Western Thunderer

    Is your rebuilt Eastern European diesel shunter going to appear here?

    steve
     
  7. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Quite possibly Steve but not as front line power. I have other stuff which runs a whole deal better and will likely see more use.
     
  8. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    A few more days and some more work on the building have brought it to the state shown in these photos.

    belgian building 06.jpg

    belgian building 07.jpg
    Though it's not easy to see from the pictures, the internal walls and floors have gone in both to make the structure more rigid and to avoid light filtering through from where it shouldn't do. I intend to light the interior with fibre optics so I need to be careful with the order of construction and painting to make sure that the fibre optics go in at the right stage.
     
  9. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    The riverside building has edged closer to completion and has reached the stage where I could install the experimental fibre optic lighting. Not being one to unnecessarily splash the cash I bought a cheap and nasty fibre optic lamp from the pound shop some time ago. All the fibres used here have been harvested from its head.

    fibre optic 01.jpg

    I mixed up a batch of five minute epoxy using blobs on the ends of individual fibres to represent bare bulbs, though one strand was treated to a plasticard disc shade seen here in the left hand room.

    fibre optic 02.jpg

    Seen from the floor above the routeing of the fibres is obvious. Each 'lamp and flex' is held at the right distance from the ceiling by another blob of five minute epoxy. The box like structure top right contains a very basic office with pale internal walls and a dressed windowsill just to create basic silhouettes when the light is on.

    fibre optic 03.jpg

    Initial tests have been a bit mixed, on the positive side there's none of the dazzling glow that a lot of internal lighting gives but it's perhaps a bit too subdued although the buildings location will be down a gloomy backstreet rather than main thoroughfare.

    Returning to more solid ground where standard techniques serve I've painted and glazed the windows, both front and rear so with the installation of the lighting I can press on and fix the roof in place.

    belgian building 08.jpg

    belgian building 09.jpg
     
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  10. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    Neil,
    One advantage of cheap fibre optic is that you can 'flame polish' the ends in the same way that Peter did his rivets, here: Finescale - of a sort?! | Western Thunder

    This should give you better light transmission than blobs of epoxy, if you find you're still fighting for light.

    Steph
     
  11. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Thanks for the tip Steph, I'll give it a whirl when I progress from the mean streets to more public places.
     
  12. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    The increasing speed with which the August bank holiday approaches combined with my promise to appear there with a layout has concentrated my mind this week. Now that I've installed another workbench I should be able to get on with layout production. To kick matters off and bearing in mind the deadline I've decided to go micro-ish. Though I've had an idea what I want, when every centimetre counts it pays to do some full size planning. I deployed a roll of lining paper marked off into 30cm squares got out a selection of Peco points and some old bits set track and started to mock up at full size. Initially I represented buildings with 2D card shapes.

    plan 02.jpg

    However I struggled to properly visualise the proportions so I decided that some form of 3D visual aid would have to be created. Easy for the warehouse/workshop which is almost complete, but the other structures less so. I had a bit of a head start though as I'd bought a number of resin building facades whilst on holiday in Utrecht. Though of Dutch origin they're a good match for the similar style employed in the north of Belgium. I made simple card boxes stuck the facades on, ten minutes work and I had a much better idea of the overall look that I'd planned.

    plan 03.jpg

    plan 01.jpg


    plan 04.jpg
     
  13. allegheny1600

    allegheny1600 Western Thunderer

    Hi Neil,
    Those building facades do look nice, there's no wonder they look similar to the north of Belgium - originally, it was all one country! "The United Kingdom of the Netherlands", Belgium as we know it today only came into existence in 1830: Belgian Revolution - Wikipedia
    I have been reading up as I have (re)taken an interest in Belgian railways again - they had some wonderful diesel shunters/trip locos that look awfully familiar to British eyes.
    Here for example: Die Diesellok 8524, ebenfalls mit Stangenantrieb, konnte am 12.09.09 zum Tag der offenen Tür bei der - Bahnbilder.de
    Cheers,
    John.
     
    Neil likes this.
  14. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    'Originally'? 'Briefly' would be nearer the mark as it existed only from 1815, I believe. Recent in railway development terms but really very, very short-lived in the terms of the various bits that were part of it. Petty, yes, but I'm a medieval historian and it is one of the things I do. All of which reminds me, I must restart those Italian projects...

    Adam
     
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  15. allegheny1600

    allegheny1600 Western Thunderer

    Hi Adam,
    No worries! Not petty at all, only accurate. Thanks for the addition! I only went back to 1830 as that is pretty much the start of the railway age! I do have a book about European history since the middle ages but have forgotten most of it.
    Cheers,
    John.
     
  16. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Being reasonably happy with the arrangement of the townscape, it looking enough like bits of Belgium to spark off happy memories, I thought testing some of the practicalities of construction would be a good idea. The plan calls for a diamond crossing and as I'll be using code 100 track (yes I know not very finescale) I have a couple of ready to use options, the first was a short diamond crossing with dead frogs, the second a set track crossing of the same angle that I'd already made a half hearted attempt to turn into a live frog crossing. Neither had been tested by running one of the short wheelbase shunters I intend to use over it. The short dead frog crossing caused the locos to stall every time so the converted set track crossing was dusted off and some extra copper clad sleepers inserted.

    plan 05.jpg

    plan 06.jpg

    Without permanent wiring in place I jumpered though connections to enable testing, fortunately all worked well. I realised that there was potential for the crossing nose to droop where I'd carved away plastic to allow new rails to be inserted. The sleeper depth is a convenient 2mm and as I had some 80though black plasticard in stock it was a simple matter to cut out a couple of triangles and stick them in the relevant places.

    plan 09.jpg

    So far so good but I wanted closer spacing of the track centres than the set track diamond would give so the leg which is to be joined to the Y point was trimmed back as far as I could and still allow a decent join with the fishplates.

    plan 10.jpg

    Finally here's an overview of the full sized plan which shows how I envisage the whole scene fitting together.

    plan 07.jpg
     
    Last edited: 26 April 2017
  17. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    There's a military adage that no plan survives contact with the enemy; I hadn't put saw to timber and already change was on the cards. Over at the other place discussion on what was or was not a cameo layout prompted me to offer the view that it was a layout in a box. Voicing such an opinion made me realise that's exactly what my bit of Belgian riverside was becoming. Small boxed layouts can have a jewel like quality about them, as they get larger this charm fades as they become more unwieldy. I'd also started to worry about the enforced flatness of some of the proposed structures given the constraints of the box, so I've tweaked the plan to allow a different style of presentation I thought about a few years ago but have done nothing with since.

    plan 11.jpg

    Here I'm transferring the revised plan from paper to ply using a whippy piece of stripwood to get a smooth continuous curve. Just under the hammer lies the section I've tacked on to the original to allow for full depth buildings behind the river and railway. I'm looking forward to modelling a back alley to link them up.

    plan 12.jpg

    I marked out the front edge 25mm wider than the plan, this is to allow the river to under lap the front edge of the wharf by that amount to ensure a firm fixing.

    plan 13.jpg

    Whilst I was at it I added a small extension which should give the trains somewhere to go besides shuttling from the fiddle yard to the wharf.

    plan 14.jpg

    Here I've cut freehand through the plan with a sharp craft knife into the plywood surface, this gives an indentation for the pencil to follow.

    Upstairs I now have set of component pieces to start glueing together having cut out all the ply sections and trimmed some pine to size at the Corris Railway's workshop yesterday.
     
  18. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    At the beginning of the week I had a pile of timber and the baseboard tops cut to shape out of 6mm ply with the step down for the river at the front incorporated. On Tuesday I took the component parts with me to the Corris Railway's engineering hub at Maespoeth. In between fixing panelling to the inside of our new build carriage, my mate Graham helped me to assemble the bits into fully formed baseboards.

    strong stable 01.jpg

    The design is for table top mounting, why bother with the cost and effort of building legs and their transport when most venues can supply tables? To set the layout at a decent height the ends, of 12mm ply, are 185mm high, the 6mm ply surface is supported by a spine of paired 12mm ply strips 100 mm deep. The underside of the small end board should make the glued and pinned construction clear.

    strong stable 02.jpg
     
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  19. y6tram

    y6tram Active Member

    Interesting project there Neil,will follow the build.

    Alan
     
  20. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Yesterday morning I awoke a touch under the weather, not seriously incapacitated but just enough to decide that slogging away at redecorating the back bedroom would not be a good idea. DIY's loss was the trainset's gain as I used the time to faff about cutting and bending flexitrack to size and shape in readiness for later fixing. After an hour and a cup or two of restorative tea I'd got to this stage.

    plan 15.jpg

    plan 16.jpg
    The last photo in particular should make clear that the layout will have a B side as well as the more obvious view from the river side. Bringing the siding round the rear of the warehouse is an important visual link between the two sides, and while it means a bit more work than layouts designed to be seen from just one side, I effectively get twice the view.