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!

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