Morpeth Station Progress

The station building has been progressing nicely since my last postings. Once the bricks were carved and coloured the next big challenge was the roof of the structure. This building is a low relief structure and this type of construction presents some challenges that full depth buildings don’t confront the builder with.

The biggest challenge this building presented was that there really wasn’t enough depth between the backdrop and the track that is closest to the back of the layout for the structure I wanted to build. The distance between the brick face of the platform and the clearance line required for passing rolling stock is a give and the building must sit within these limits and frankly, I was about 2cm short of what I needed to fit the structure into the space available. Low relief structure with pitched roofs must have the peak of the roof relatively close to the prototype location otherwise it will never look right. In this instance I needed 17mm from the front face of the backdrop to the centreline of the chimneys to allow the chimneys to fit and so the roof could fall away somewhat to the rear. I could have chopped the chimneys in half as well but I feel this starts to really impact on the look of the building when you’re looking at it from any angle except directly front on. So the front half of the building must fit between the centre line of the chimneys and the clearance line between the platform face the track.

I stole a little bit of depth (about 11mm) from the width of the platform. The amount you can shave off the width of a platform is limited as it starts to impact on the width you can make the platform awning. If you make it too narrow the realism of the structure is compromised. I gained the rest of the width I needed by narrowing the structure about 1cm. Again, if you go too far it compromises realism  because this affects the building in unforseen ways, shifting the location of doors and changing the pitch of the roof. Like many of the decisions in this hobby this process is a compromise between what fidelity to prototype and the practicalities of working in O scale.

I am quite capable of making a perfectly scaled building that is an exact replica of the prototype structure, the only problem is that it wouldn’t fit on any layout I’m ever likely to build. I enjoy this hobby for a whole range of reasons but it’s the challenge of overcoming problems like this that keeps me actively involved. The fact is that I’m a railway modeller first and foremost and an architectural modeller second: I’m interested in the infrastructure that sits close to the line but to be brutally honest I’m really only interested in the thin slice that faces the rails and a few feet back from this. I would prefer to be able to build correct prototype structures but low relief structures is one of the compromises that working in O seems to throw up a lot more than working in the smaller scales. You have to live with it if you want to work in O inside.

I’ve been working on the roof and fences on the station buildings over the last few days while I’ve been on a break. The roof is essentially a substructure of 1.5mm white styrene wrapped in corrugated aluminium and styrene to represent the actual roof. The chimneys are one of the few parts rescued from the earlier version of this building that have survived to this new structure. They are made from plain styrene and wrapped in Slaters 7mm scale plastic brick sheet. The flashing around the base of the chimneys is made using plain, thick aluminium obtained from the bottom of a disposable aluminium pie tin I purchased from a supermarket. I’ve painted the roof with a Tamiya acrylic colour and this will be weathered and rusted up a bit in a day or two. The fences between the buildings and screening off the ends are styrene posts and rails with more corrugated aluminium glued on. These will also be weathered. I’ve painted and glued in the doors and windows and I will eventually place a basic interior into one section of the main building and place a couple of small bulbs inside to give this a bit of depth.

At this stage I can’t begin work on the platform awning because the cast parts I ordered haven’t been completed as yet. I’ll just have to wait until these are ready before I can start on this final stage of the project. The next stage is signs, seats and figures, all much easier to install before the installation of the awning.

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