Filling Gaps

I had a whole precious Sunday today to devote to modelling largely free from domestic chores and family commitments. Yahoo! So I decided I was going to make a new segment of the layout to fill the gap created in Queens Wharf by extending the loop, lay some track and perhaps even have time to take a photo of the new loop with a loco sitting in situ. Ha! I say with lofty disdain. I didn’t even get close 🙂 Four hours work and all I managed was the first step: get the new benchwork completed for the gap and commence getting this installed.

Before I could do anything new on the layout I had to deal with the backdrop…

To make any sense of what is to come can I ask that you note the height of the sky backdrop above the vents on top of the large brick building on the right hand end of the layout. The height of the backdrop above rail height on QW was set about 15 years ago when I built the layout, approximately 300mm (12″). All that’s changed in that time is that about 3 years ago I applied a new photo backdrop to the pre-existing board. This was trimmed to the height of the backdrop that had originally been painted by hand by yours truly. However as usual with my new train room that sloping ceiling was causing me problems and I needed to lower the backdrop so the layout could be pushed closer to the edge of the room so I didn’t have to make the layout any lower.

First order of business this morning was to remove the old backdrop so I could evaluate how best to chop 70mm from the top of the boards. I’ve fretted over this step for a couple of weeks. It would seem logical to simply cut the required slice from the bottom of the board (this is 6mm mdf btw) but doing this would mean I’d lose all the trees and foliage down below the layout edge. I needed a way to remove the 70mm (21/2″) from the top of the sky. I wanted to lower the backdrop, not lower the horizon.

In the end I took a chance and ran the back drops through my table saw (A Triton) face up. This worked a treat with no ragged edge on the sky but I will admit that having a nice sharp saw blade is the main reason for this. I was expecting to damage the backdrops and have to start again which would have been expensive and problematic as this particular backdrop has been discontinued. Note that there is less sky showing above the vents.

After a bit of measuring and fiddling about I cut and assembled the parts for the new section of benchwork. It’s only 1.2m in length but that’s all passing loop! 🙂

After a few hours work this is as far as I got: I had a new frame to lengthen the layout but I’m a long way from laying track. Still this section of layout is fairly close to being track ready. All I need to do is cut and install a length of back drop, cut up some ply for a roadbed, install some new roadbed for a point and then lay and wire the track. Ok, so maybe I was being a bit optimistic this morning! 🙂

While I could have simply bolted the new section of benchwork in place I decided to stay with the portable nature of QW and went for discrete sections using locating dowels and my usual method of using T nuts and bolts to hold the sections together. I’ll cut up a new section of backdrop next weekend and apply the backdrop to this before it’s installed.

Well that’s it for the photo-essay. Nothing terribly sexy to show this week but it feels good to be finally adding something to the layout rather than chopping things up and squeezing them to fit.

4 thoughts on “Filling Gaps

  1. The simple answer is no. There’s no need. There’s nothing through the hatch doors but a bit of empty space which I don’t require access to and never will, not even for storage. This part of the room isn’t where QW will sit anyway. It will eventually be on this side of the room. In spite of this the layout has had to be set a height that restricts access to the doors (there are two, one on either side of the room) and as such they will not be able to be opened.

  2. Trevor, have you considered a curved backscene a la a Rodney James’ or the Prof’s layouts? It could come up to approx. where your current one is in height, and then curve forward and over the layout to meet your lighting bar/pronscenium arch, if you have one. This would give you way more ‘sky’ than a short vertical backdrop.
    Lindsay (in Split, Croatia, on LSL).

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