Why Have One When You Can Have Two?

I mentioned in a post the other day that I was working on a new control panel for the storage sidings on Morpeth and work on this objective continues. However in working on this project I’ve had niggling away at the back of my mind that Queens Wharf also needs a control panel. What kept going through my mind was that if I was making one control panel I may as well make two because making two at the same time is only marginally more work than making one… isn’t it? 🙂

As I was going to be installing new control panels on Morpeth I decided it was time to do a few upgrades while I was about it and labels on the diagram and hinges on the panels were a definite must have. Not that you can see either of these in this photo. The labels will be applied when the other panel is at the same stage and while the hinges are installed you’ll have to take my word for it 🙂

Thinking about making a couple of control panels is easy, actually doing the job throws up all sorts of problems. Not the least of these is that while the storage siding’s panel sits on top of the layout and only needs an angled wooden housing (made from 12mm ply) before it can be installed, the QW panel needs to sit on the outside face of the layout’s fascia. As no fascia has actually been installed on the layout yet the first order of business was to install some which will allow the installation of the control panel. So in making a move to install a control panel I end up installing fascia!

Before I could start installing about 8m of new fascia I had to first remove the last of the old fascia from Queens Wharf’s days as an exhibition layout. This was at A where you can see the silver/grey of QW’s aluminium benchwork. I then tested the location of the new control panel by temporarily clamping the 12mm ply housing into position at B. C is new layout and I decided to add fascia here because as I’m installing it along the front of the layout anyway, doing a bit more is only marginally more work than doing just one section! 🙂

After a bit of testing and tweaking I cut up some 1×1 battens which would be screwed along the front of the layout in soldier fashion to which the new pieces of 3mm mdf fascia would be attached. I’ll paint this mdf to match the overall yellow base colour I use for the scenery before I attach such items as throttle holders, plug points for the throttles and control panels.

This shows the battens installed to the front of the layout. They are all 1×1 pine cut to a length of 170mm.

I cut two lengths of 3mm mdf from a sheet I’ve had in storage for just this purpose and carried these up and down the stairs a few times while I chopped holes in them to run wires and allow for the installation of plug points and the like. I could probably do this cutting in the layout room, thus saving me trips up and down the stairs, but little metal wheels don’t like mdf dust any more than my lungs do so I carried them downstairs and attacked them with a jog saw down there.

After cutting the fascia to fit I clamped it into position and began screwing through it into the battens. I used 30mm & 40mm long wood screws to attach the battens and 12mm long screws to attach the mdf fascia to these being carfeul how deep I drilled the pilot holes so I didn’t blow through the thin fascia material. This photo shows the job about half done. The A shows the position of the control panel when it’s installed.

After a recent bathroom and wardrobe reno I had some of those little plastic buttons carpenters use to hide the heads of wood-screws in chip board left over. It occurred to me that these might be used to cover the heads of the screws giving the fascia a much neater appearance than left as is. In the past I’ve always used Polyfilla to fill such imperfections but this is always a messy and rather drawn out job. After I screwed the fascia into place I installed the plastic buttons and I’m very pleased with the look. You can just see these in the photo above along the far piece of fascia. I’ll give painting the whole thing a test, mdf and buttons, to see how it looks. I can always go back to the filler if the little plastic buttons don’t work out or won’t take paint. You can get brown ones but they are far too dark.

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