N Gauge

LAYOUT INFRASTRUCTURE: General Items


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17 October 2017

The lower level electrics on the layout are getting close to completion, so I've been turning my mind towards getting the scenery work started. Part of this involves building Evercreech Junction station (EJ), although the platform shapes have been in place for quite some time already - see Building Bournemouth West for the S&DJR Part 5.

This new infrastructure thread will largely cover the modelling work needed to build, paint, and detail items that will go on the layout, allowing the 'building' thread itself to cover layout construction work. As a first entry it's a bit of a monster because there's quite a bit to cover, all of which has been taking place this year.

I started off in the early summer by working on the loading gauge for the EJ Goods area behind the station, and the water column that will sit between the tracks at the station. Both are white metal kits from Lytchett Manor Models, so both were washed in soapy water to remove any film and then they were tidied up. The water hose was shaped and moved about to try and reflect the shape adopted by the real thing when not in use.

Layout infrastructure work

The base that was supplied with the kit (upper centre in the photo below) wasn't a suitable match for the real EJ so I replaced it with a piece of plasticard (the white material in the centre of the photo). Two holes were drilled for the water column and wheel post, and a square for drainage. Brass drainage covers from Langley Models supplied the nearly-correct drain cover for the square hole.

Layout infrastructure work

Fully assembled, with the heater on the right and drain cover in place, the entire kit was undercoated.

Layout infrastructure work

The loading gauge was an easier prospect. That needed several coats of white due to poor coverage but eventually looked like this:

Layout infrastructure work

Four more drain covers and manholes were needed to mask screw holes in the EJ platforms, where I'd had to screw the balsa wood platforms into the layout to get them level and secure (I'll do the same for the platforms at Bournemouth West but will screw up from underneath, so there will be no surface holes to cover). The drain covers will hide the screws, but will still allow the platforms to be removed if necessary.

Layout infrastructure work

Research was carried out to try and pin down the right colours for the water column. This fairly worn-looking creamy colour was achieved by painting a layer of enamel white over the undercoat, and then adding acrylic flesh colour over the top without any sealant. The main column base was painted black in 1959/1960 up to the third ring, so this shot is an 'after' correction to remove most of that black - it took a while before I discovered the change. The heater beside the column is suitable blackened and sheened with a layer of rustiness.

Layout infrastructure work

Unfortunately, the paintwork was largely complete when I found a black and white photo showing the water column in what seemed to be SR green. That photo was dated in the 1930s, so it was far more appropriate for the period I'm modelling (1930).

I should have realised that because the SR ran the infrastructure side of the S&D and left the loco side to the LMS, the infrastructure items would be painted in SR colours. The 'flesh' colour was used later, once BR's Western Region (ex-GWR) had taken over. So a re-re-paint was in order. I also did the water column for trains heading in the other direction. Chains were added afterwards. These were used to swing the column hose over and up to the fireman on the tender so that he could insert the hose into the water tank.

Layout infrastructure work

Another job more easily done was to add stone paper to the inside of a tunnel - aka used toilet roll.

Layout infrastructure work

The station platform sides also received paper - stone where necessary but also quite a bit of brown brick paper too. The platform edging was essentially bare brick at this date. Painted white lines were a wartime introduction to ensure that no one walked off the platform in the blackout (the same thing goes for black-and-white poles and kerbs).

Layout infrastructure work

The loading platform at the back of EJ was also added. This isn't strictly accurate, but I'm working with limited space for my yard, so I can't model the real yard in full detail.

Layout infrastructure work

One water column installed in place at the end of the platform, along with a drain cover and a suitable amount of ash from the heater.

Layout infrastructure work

This mini-me platform is actually the cattle dock. It sits at the mouth of the EJ goods yard, with access from the field that will sit behind it.

Layout infrastructure work

To compliment the toilet roll tunnel, the tunnel mouth that'll sit in front of it was painted. This was an unbranded resin tunnel mouth bought via eBay. I wish I knew who the maker was as I need one more.

Layout infrastructure work

A far more complicated job was building the Ratio station footbridge kit. The instructions are extremely vague, and the bridge also needed a good deal of customisation if it was going to match the real EJ station footbridge. That work started with scribing vertical wooden panelling on all of the sides, and then adding the cross struts over the top which were cut out of microstrip. Needless to say, this took many evenings of work.

Layout infrastructure work

Layout infrastructure work

The bridge support columns also needed 'wooden' cross-struts added (the white crosses inside each light brown piece of plastic). By now a one-piece-a-night approach to constructing the bridge was starting to show progress.

Layout infrastructure work

With the main body finished (and this took several weeks, mostly because my main job at this time was on the SECR Farish Carriage Conversions), I could add thicker microstrip sections to mimic the three support arms under the footbridge.

Layout infrastructure work

The final additions at this stage were the smoke deflectors (one over each track) and a chunky post in the left-hand inside corner. The real bridge retained its original steps but the span which crossed the tracks was replaced by the SR with one of their new concrete bodies. A thick wooden post was added at each corner, on both sides, to secure the bridge span to the old steps, something which is easily mimicked with matchsticks. Only one was painted the same cream colour as the bridge. The rest were unpainted, so these will be installed after the bridge has been painted.

It seems to be impossible to know exactly when the concrete span was installed, but a date between 1925-1935 is realistic. There are almost no photos of the bridge from that period, at least not online, so there's a bit of guesswork involved. I opted to go with it because it's almost an exact match for the Ratio kit, meaning no customisation (for once!).

Layout infrastructure work

Here's the real thing for comparison. It's not an exact match but it's pretty close. Any ideas how I can mimic the four bolts in each post, near the top...?

Evercreech Junction footbridge

Finally, here's one for the future. Most of this is either Ratio or Peedie Models. Peedie provided the etched brass windows and doors - a custom order - plus five-bar fencing and two sheds (you'll see what they're for), while the LSWR platform benches (far right) come from Shire Scenes and the rest is Ratio - white palisade fencing, telegraph poles, station lights, and roofing.

Layout infrastructure work

Right now I'm adding slate tiles to the roof sheds and have started on the level crossing gates seen just beyond the footbridge in the live photo above...

13 December 2017

Although there's stuff happening on the Grouping Workbench thread, most of it involves long-term projects that are rumbling on very slowly. Infrastructure projects, on the other hand, seem to be fairly easy to push through quite quickly.

For now I'm concentrating on fixtures and fittings for Evercreech Junction (EJ), starting off with a set of benches. These come in etched brass and have to be removed very carefully (I found out that Tamiya do a set of specialist scissors for this sort of thing, but they're not especially cheap).

Layout infrastructure work

Benches assembled, and the first of two Peedie Models garden sheds needs some work to turn it into one of the wooden huts on EJ's platforms. All it really needs is a slate roof, so individual courses of paper are being laid one over the other, with scoring to show the tiles on each strip.

Layout infrastructure work

With one hut done successfully I can start on the other one. The benches are being painted, but quite slowly as I hold onto one end while painting the other end.

Layout infrastructure work

Huts done - I won't be painting them until I finalise the SR stone colour to use on the bodies. The benches are also fully painted and varnished.

Layout infrastructure work

The Lytchett Manor Models level crossing white metal kit would have been okay to use if I'd stuck to the original plan to have a non-opening, non-accurate level crossing. But as I've studied photos of EJ I've learnt more and more about the details on the real thing and want to transpose them to the model version.

So the gates had to be longer and also working. That means combining the double-track version with a single-track version to get the length of gates needed, and then fitting the posts onto the layout so that the gates can be made to open before I paint anything. There will be more to come on this...

Layout infrastructure work

Something that was easier to get on with, although their instructions for assembly were very ambiguous, were a set of gas lamps for EJ's platforms. These are in flexible - but fairly fragile - plastic (one of the stems actually snapped in half with very little effort required). They also needed a brass 'crossarm' to be attached. Drilling through the stem would have been ideal rather than attaching them at the back, but a couple of trials showed me very quickly that this wasn't going to work.

Layout infrastructure work

Here's the full set for EJ. I could do with about four or five wall-mounted lamps too, but I haven't found a supplier for those yet.

Layout infrastructure work

 

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