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Smith's dream - a short bush tram layout

Posted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:40 am
by PeterH
My Huia dairy factory layout turned out less interesting as a thing in itself than I hoped because:
- it could all be seen at a glance
- the horizontal and vertical lines of the building, baseboard and track seemed to resist my adding curves and diagonals (which can make things interesting).

These things seem to be inherent in the small 'picture frame' layout, which is fine if you are modeling a yard or sidings, but not so good for me because I like layouts that go from one place to another. For example, Carl Arendt's Les Peupliers (a picture frame layout which must be looked at from the front) does not seem to me as interesting to look at as his square foot estate railway (a squarish layout which can be looked at from two sides).

Smith's dream is a small layout for me to practice modelling water and bush, and to try making a curvey layout that can be viewed from all directions (though some views will be more interesting than others). Here is my mock-up. It is under 60 x 20 cm; about a square foot. The lollypops will become bush.

A loco and V-skip take crushed copper ore from the bins to unload at the wharf. Here is the loco at the bins:

And now they has arrived at the wharf. In between they passed a cutting, a bridge and another cutting.

Any comments or suggustions ?

Posted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:56 am
by Artizen
The concept is excellent because to get the full story you need to look at the model from two sides. I want to see this built!

Try to incorporate the dairy factory as well - a truly excellent model - perhaps as a recycled warehouse?

Posted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:24 pm
by DCRfan
You could have won the Cardboard Challenge a few years ago with that concept model :lol:

Looks like it has lots of potential

Posted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:37 pm
by Glen A
Hello Peter,

Its a great concept, and I love it.

My advice would be to make it slightly wider at the bins end, and add a siding in front of the bins.
This would allow you to have two different wagons and change them over if you want, which would allow for some operation. You could have two different types of V skips; or a V skip for the coal going out and a flat wagon for supplies coming back from the wharf.

And you should make sure the rails on the siding go all the way to the end of the module. This means you can add on another module on the end in the future if you want to (by turning the siding into the main line).
Maybe a new mine will open up further inland??

This will mean breaking your 20x60cm rule, so not sure if you can live with that or not…

Posted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:45 pm
by Hans H
THis is a realy good idea, will follow this closely as I'm figuring something like this my self, but I had in mind three small boxes, pic's later

Posted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:04 pm
by Artizen
Beat you to the three small boxes concept Hans, my new layout is across at least three rooms (each 1200x500x500mm) at the moment with the ability to expand further if I still have the interest after laying 9000 handmade bricks!!!!

Peter - why is this layout restricted to just 600x200mm? Can you not, as Hans suggests, continue the layout across several 600x200mm boards as you feel inclined in the future?

Posted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:10 pm
by Hans H
:shock: And my moduels..ehum :roll:
Is 500 by 200 mm each it would make it the longest layout I have ever made :lol:

My fisrt one was in a Micro stuff :D

Good luck

Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:13 am
by PeterH
Glen and Ian:

This is my second layout and I have never made trees or water so I'm thinking of this as a quick and simple model to give myself confidence.

I like your idea of having several modules and will probably do this in future, with modules for a wharf, bin, mine, scenery. It seems that only by starting something and discussing it that more good options appear.

1 If I make the 'ground' out of card strips glued together covered with PVA-soaked paper or cloth, is this strong enough to hold trees and stop them from wobbling. Or should there be a second layer of card a few centimeters below the ground to anchor the trunks ?

2 Where my water meets the edge of the baseboard, is it best to have the profile board extend up a millimeter or so above water level to act as an edge/frame, or have the water extend right to the edge ?

Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:24 am
by Artizen
Yes - small modules or rooms are the way of the future for me. I can model something in a reasonable amount of time to a finished state and the next module or room does not need to have any scenic connection at all with the other modules either side. However, I am modelling a consistent style of presentation so that it all looks much more better good.

Question 1
A second layer will anchor the trunk more securely. Otherwise glue a lump of polystyrene or florist foam underneath for the trunk. Nothing worse than wobbly trees!
Question 2
Depending on what you use for water and how deep it is going to be, an edge will prevent damage. But if you intend to have water more than 10mm deep so you can model the fish, a clear edge to see through the water would be gnice.

Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:21 am
by Gavin Sowry
PeterH wrote:Glen and Ian:

1 If I make the 'ground' out of card strips glued together covered with PVA-soaked paper or cloth, is this strong enough to hold trees and stop them from wobbling. Or should there be a second layer of card a few centimeters below the ground to anchor the trunks ?

:D Yes :!:


This is Pauls layout 'that I am minding' for him, it is cardboard base. Check out Pauls Carboard Challange.

Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:39 am
by PeterH
Thanks for the answers.

Gavin Sowry wrote:Check out Pauls Carboard Challange.

Don't worry, I have done that.

The mockup teeters up:
... now with the final base - 6 mm corrugated cardboard PVA'd either side of 12 mm bead foam. Glued flat on glass. I trimmed it to size on my bench saw to ensure the edges are vertical. Glued foam is not particularly strong but it will be OK when the profile board is on.

I made an earlier base with precut corrugated cardboard shaped either side hot-glued to strips of wood in the middle. The glue set faster than I could line up the cardboard, so it ended up misaligned and warped, also somewhat heavier than the foam version.

Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:29 am
by DCRfan
One word of warning, don't leave it in direct sunlight, like in the back of a car :oops: as the foam and cardboard expand at different rates resulting in rather bad warping.

Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:49 am
by PeterH
Excavations for the bridge piers and the bins at the wharf:

I am thinking to glue my wood sleepers direct to the white bead foam and then spike the track down. My sleepers are a hardish native wood. Even though I predrill a fairly big hole, the sleeper squashes down into the foam a bit when I push the spike in. Though somehow it seems to grip the rail OK. Has anyone else tried this ?

Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:57 am
by DCRfan
Personally I would lay a track bed of cork due to the almost certain eventuality that some sleepers will push down in the foam as track pins are pushed into the sleepers. Also the track bed even on bush tramways is invariably higher than the surrounding ground level.

Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:08 am
by Glen A
:idea: Or if you don't have any cork, you could try some thick cardboard and see if that works. You will need some dense stuff that won't swell up when you put down glue or water when ballasting.

I use the same track laying method, but with 3mm or 4.5mm mdf for my track base.

Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:27 am
by PeterH
Thanks Paul and Glen. I'll use some 1.5 mm mounting card I have, and seal it with house paint.

Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:59 pm
by Willow Creek Traction
Ya know, inflection is everything:
is this a short bush tram layout;
or, a short bush tram layout?

Okay, yes, I have too much free time today :lol:

Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:30 am
by scott b
I think you may have problems with that type of foam as well, the thin non corrugated cardboard should be perfect, I have also been dipping my track spiked in thined glue when putting them in.

I like the layout, perfect way to learn new skills and have an operational layout, especially learning how to model water, you are brave :shock:

Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:17 am
by PeterH
Willow Creek Traction wrote:... a short bush tram or, a short bush tram ?

we are not amused

Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:55 am
by Willow Creek Traction
PeterH wrote:we are not amused

:lol: Dunno, third head to right might possibly be: difficult to be certain under bushy beard.

Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:58 am
by Artizen
Makes you realise how labour-intensive narrow gauge timber-getting operations were back in the day - 16 blokes, 3 dogs just to run one loco and one wagon!!!!!

Must be a layout idea in there somewhere?

Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:02 am
by PeterH
For the track base, I experimented with a thick mounting card and sealed little bits with glue, acrylic glaze, gesso or house paint. Soaked an end in water for about 15 minutes, then let to dry. All swelled and delaminated. Oops.

So I read Paul's Waitakere layout thread, that his local DIY had cork tiles. And mine did too, so I went with that. Cheap, easy to cut, water resistant, though I had to do some ground work to allow for the increased height.

Here's the sleepers PVAd to the cork, with the wood bridge mostly done:

Makes me realise how small this all is, and to admire those who make the bigger layouts.

Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:38 am
by DCRfan
That is the advantage of modelling in small sections - quick progress.

It will be great to achieve your aim of learning how to model water and bush.

Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:04 am
by rockershovel
Willow Creek Traction wrote:
PeterH wrote:we are not amused

:lol: Dunno, third head to right might possibly be: difficult to be certain under bushy beard.

he'd need a sense of humour to go out in a hat like that :D

Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:25 am
by DCRfan
rockershovel wrote:he'd need a sense of humour to go out in a hat like that :D

I can just hear him 'Aye Jimmy, don't ye dinna gie ma wee bonnet a heed tim' :lol: