A Suitable Piece of Real Estate

As the SE Qld NMRA convention’s self drive layout tours and Morpeth’s visit to Armidale for the New England convention race toward me like a speeding goods train it seemed like a good time to actually finish the scenery on Morpeth. The layout does need a few projects completed, one of these was the now complete control panel, however before I moved to my current home 18 months ago, I hadn’t yet completed the last small patch of scenery where the pier module butts up to the main layout at a right angle.

This last small corner of Morpeth has sat unloved and minus scenery for over 3 years, around the time I made the mill building you can see in the right background. This shot shows the patch of ground prior to any work being done this week. The land-form is complete and I painted this and added a layer of basic ground foam the last time I worked on it but it’s sat like this for almost three years.

This section of the layout has been in progress for a few years but there’s nothing like a deadline to help get work moving. The small segment of shoreline and a short length of yet-to-be-ballasted track were crying out for a bit of attention. After this the last two jobs left to complete will be the portable train turntable/fiddle yard MkII, which will butt up to the layout just beyond the building you can see in the photo (where those wires are running on the permanent part of the layout) and the ship model and associated pier detailing.

I didn’t just want to cover this transition point with ground cover and foliage alone. I felt it needed a small feature to draw the eye away from the obvious 90 degree angle of the layout’s fascia. I’d got half way through assembling this hut over 2 years ago but it had sat in a container for the intervening years. So much time has passed had passed that I seem to have mislaid its roof and some details for the model so I was forced to scratch build a replacement along with a set of new steps. I’ll find the missing parts the day I complete this scene 🙂

I set to work this week and completed assembling a small kit of a watchman’s hut that had been intended for the gap I’d left in the scenery when I last worked on the area. However I couldn’t just plant the hut, I also needed to fill in the gaps behind the retaining wall that hold the lead track out to the pier. It was the work of a few moments to fill these gaps and glue some paper towel over the gap but then I discovered that the inch or so of paint at the bottom of the tin I knew I had left of the colour I use for my ground base colour had set solid in the can. This required a trip down town for a new can. The mix had been written on the can when I bought it about 8 years ago so it took no time at all to fork out way too much money for this vital colour. I’ll be using the whole can and then some when I commence work on the permanent layout’s scenery.

This shot shows the hut in place in front of the freshly painted ground and newly laid ballast. It was so new that I’d only finished flooding the ballast with white glue and water about 2 mins before I took this photo.

I wanted to get this little section of ballast glued down because it normally takes about 36 hours to dry. I’m visiting a friend tomorrow so everything should be nice and dry and ready for a base layer of foliage and perhaps a bit of tree planting on Tuesday when I next get a chance to work on the layout as I’m very unlikely to get any work time on it tomorrow.

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