Archive for the ‘Canute Road Quay’ Category

As I reported in my last update post here about Canute Road Quay it made is first semi public outing and a days running in anger so to speak at the RMweb annual South West Area Group members day in Taunton at the end of April. This is not really an exhibition as such but a gathering of like minded friends and modellers for a day of informal chat with some trains running at the same time.

Caunte Road Quay makes its debut at the RMWeb SWAG meet in April. Picture copyright and courtesy Ava Hay

The day proved to be a success from my perspective with Canute Road Quay operating as intended (I am as ‘happy as Larry’ shunting wagons around) during the day and the layout  being  well received with plenty of positive comments from those that stopped by for a look.
From a transportation and setting up perspective, being of course much smaller, it is much quicker and easier all round than taking Fisherton Sarum to shows. I also thank my friend and fellow modeller Simon Paley for helping me play trains during the day.

Shunting in action on Canute Road Quay. The vinyl cut lettering on the proscenium arch can be clearly seen. Picture copyright and courtesy Ava Hay

I certainly believe that when exhibiting layouts at shows,  presentation, just as with lighting that I discussed here,  is just as important and should be carefully considered.  Canute Road Quay’s overall presentaion is aided by the design of the Tim Horn baseframes with the proscenium arch giving a letter box style view. The whole board is supported on folding adjustable trestles which does allow a range of viewing heights to be chosen, although I will generally opt for the higher viewing position. As the trestles are wider than the 12″ of Canute Road Quay I have also cut a length of plywood to act as a shelf at the rear of the baseframe for the all important cup of tea and also spare stock etc.
Around the bottom edge of the baseframe I have glued a Velcro Strip to attach one of the curtains that I use on Fisherton Sarum to hide the trestles etc.   To match the curtains the outside faces of the baseframes have been roller painted matt black with Vinyl cut white lettering in Gills Sans, from vinylletteringonline for the Canute Road Quay name across the top of the proscenium arch.

A view of the simple compact fiddle yard of Canute Road Quay. Picture copyright and courtesy Ava Hay

I operate Canute Road Quay from the front of the layout, at obviously the left hand end as that is where the fiddle yard and control are located, as with Fisherton Sarum operating from the front allows for easy interaction and conversations with the public at shows and is very much part of the exhibition experience that I enjoy.

The observant amongst you might also have noticed the subtle change the exhibition side bar to the right of the page which has had a title change and includes the fact that off the back of its Taunton appearance Canute Road Quay has been invited to attend the excellent Exeter MRS exhibition at the The Matford Centre, Matford Park Road, Marsh Barton, Exeter, Devon EX2 8FD over the weekend of the 1st and 2nd July.

P.S. Are you fed up withe the ‘quay’ puns yet, I am kind of hoping so as I might be running out of them….

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Since my last post showing progress on Canute Road Quay, with respect to the concrete road area and inset trackwork along with making the grass ‘grow’  I have been busy completing the rest of the buildings and adding a mix of details.

The left hand front office building is yet to be affixed to the layout

The two main front buildings have been assembled from the excellent laser cut card components from LCut Creative these have now been initially painted and external details such as gutters and downpipes added from a mix of Peco LK-78 buifdings details pack and Wills SS46 Buildings Pack A. These buildings are not yet permanently affixed to the layout as I am still to add the internal details and also some lighting.

The main warehouse loading platform also has a representation of its underside wooden support beams. Photo taken before the gantry was fitted

I gave the LCut Creative buildings a coat of Humbrol grey acrylic primer prior to dry brush painting the brickwork using a pallet of  brick work colours from Precision Paints mixed with a little dirty black and also picked out slightly different brickwork such as the window brick arches a slightly lighter colour.

The gantry and A frame has been added to the right hand warehouse

The main warehouse loading platform has been made using Wills floorboard building sheets rather than the LCut Creative card items as I was making the platform quite long and the Wills plastic sheets are larger and stronger. This has been painted a weathered greyish brown colour.

To give access to the upper floor loading doors I have created a gantry hoist supported on the quayside by an ‘A’ Frame. The block and tackle / pulley would run on the smaller section ‘H’ girder mounted below the main cross girder, to either lift items to and from open wagons and or in theory the girder would be cantilevered over the quayside to lift items from moored vessels.

Another view of the warehouse and freelance gantry hoist

I have made this somewhat freelance design from scratch using two different sizes of brass ‘H’ section soldered together with some corner bracing details added from thin brass sheet embossed with a number of rivets.

The engine shed nestles in the roar corner of Canute Road Quay

The engine shed tucked away in the back right hand corner assembled from Skytrex Model Railways resin parts is now complete and suitably painted. The inside floor of the shed has been painted to represent a concrete floor and outside the shed a mix ash, using real ash from my wood burning stove, ballast and coal around the coaling platform, a Hornby Scaledale product,  have been glued in place using the usual method of diluted PVA glue. The water crane is a Kernow Model Centre commissioned SR style made by Bachmann Scenecraft.

USA tank No 72 crosses the quayside access road

A few people and black wing gulls have been suitably positioned around the layout from Langley Models, I have also used their etched drains and drain covers in suitable places. The SR barley twist post style gas lamps, from Gaugemaster, are yet to be wired in although the transformer, voltage regulator and input wiring is already place to do so.

The end of the right hand warehouse and loading platform

Other details items such as wooden crates, oil drums, sacks and fish crates have been added from cast plaster items from Ten Commandments suitably painted.

In my last post about Fisherton Sarum attending the Epsom and Ewell exhibition last weekend, Canute Road Quay makes its first almost public appearance this coming Sunday at an RMweb forum members event in Taunton. I would like to thank all those readers of this blog who came by Fisherton Sarum at the excellent Epsom and Ewell exhibition, it was good to speak to you all. On the whole from the layouts perspective the show went well despite a couple of electrical niggles, and I am looking forward to hopefully a good day with Canute Road Quay on Sunday.

An overall view of Canute Road Quay showing its curtrent state of progress

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Just like a good backscene; see my A view from the line post regarding Fisherton Sarum’s backscene here, or my Canute Road Quay backscene post here; another area that I think is vital for any model railway layout, especially if being exhibited, is good lighting. There are a number of reasons for this: firstly and the main reason, is of course to show of your modelling efforts and skills in the best light (pun intended) possible, and secondly due to the fact the ambient lighting at exhibition venues can be variable at best. One key area to bear in mind is the colour / warmth of the lighting that you provide, more of which below…

Over the years a number of methods have been used with mixed results, such as using a number of spot lamps, fluorescent tubes, a mixture of the two and more recently LED strips. I am generally not a fan of multiple spot lamps especially facing in different directions as they can give unrealistic multiple shadows. Note also that technically you plant bulbs but use lamps as a light source in a luminaire…

colour-temperatureThe colour of white, might sound odd but in fact it’s actually a thing, or rather the colour temperature is. This colour temperature is measured in Kelvin (K). The slightly unnatural yellowy orange tint of a classic tungsten lamp would be in the 2700K (warm white) range, with the light becoming colder and whiter and slightly more natural, up to around 6500K for a cold blue light and even more blue up to 10,000K.
Many of us find doing actual modelling or craft work under a daylight cool blue white lamp (the daylight lamp I use is around the 4000K mark) easier on the eye and also better for rendition of other colours under this artificial light, this especially useful when painting.
Therefore the lighting that we use on our layouts will also benefit from being at the more daylight blue and more natural end of the white temperature spectrum.

A split image showing lighting on Fisherton Sarum from the public’s view (top) and operator’s view (bottom)

A split image showing lighting on Fisherton Sarum from the public’s view (top) and operator’s view (bottom)

On Fisherton Sarum I use, mounted inside the overhead pelmet (painted white inside), two daylight / cool white range (6500K)  florescent tubes to give the overall and even illumination, with two additional spot daylight rated (approx 6000K) spot lamps to give additional illumination to the front corners of the layout specifically around the shed and houses areas (these are far enough apart and carefully angled to prevent any unwanted / unrealistic odd shadows).

Many modellers are now using LED lighting for layout lighting and usually via the increasingly widely available strips of surface mounted LEDs that you simply cut to length. They either come with a transformer and or a controller of some description. This is what I have chosen to use on Canute Road Quay. Just like lamps and fluorescent tubes these LED strips can be obtained in a variety of  white colour ranges usually: warm (between 2700-3200K), daylight (4000-4500K) and cool (5000-6200K).

A view from the inside of Canute Road Quay with the LED strip installed in the underside of the pelmet

A view from the inside of Canute Road Quay with the LED strip installed in the underside of the pelmet

I obtained a metre long, cool white, self adhesive LED strip, plug and play kit complete with plug mounted mains transformer from LED Hut this was inexpensive, already the correct length and very easy to fit. The kit came with a simple plug and socket connection to the lead from the transformer, which I have extended to enable me to mount the socket under the baseboard.
With the overcast greyish sky backscene and drab industrial colours I am using on Canute Road Quay I opted for cool white as the more yellowish warm white would conflict with the overall layout colouration and appear to be less natural.

The even lighting of the LED strip can be seen in this picture of Canute road Quay as it currently stands

This strip has given a very even natural looking light, that alone slightly too bright for what I will want if and when I exhibit Canute Road Quay, I have therefore now added added an opaque strip of plastic in front of the LEDs to reduce the brightness slightly.
Some of the more expensive LED strips on the market allow you to control both the brightness and colour range, which would also give rise to changing the lighting to represents different times of the day etc.  and I can see such effects being utilised more and more in the hobby.



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Following on from completing the basic ground and the inset concrete trackwork areas on Canute Road Quay as detailed on my post here, I have now in addition to adding some ballast in around the point work and also the headshunt,  started to add the next stage of the ground cover and colouration of the concrete inset track.

Earth and Static Grass areas

A vew of the backscene looking to the LH corner. the still to be completed ground cover is evident

Green Scenes texture paint has been used to give the base colour to the earth and concrete areas

Once I was happy with the air drying clay used to form the basic formation of the ground cover, I used earth coloured textured paint from Green Scenes to act as the base and have now applied a couple of initial layers of static grass.

Static grass uses fibres to represent individual blades and strands of grasses etc. that is applied via an applicator. The applicators are usually battery powered,  that charge the fibres with an electrical charge. The applicator is also connected to the layout, near to the area being applied via a lead either using a crocodile clip attached to one of the rails (as in this case on Canute Road Quay), or to a small nail temporary inserted locally into the scenery to provide the opposite charge. This results in the fibres when shaken out of the applicator standing up, just like grass, with they land on the thin layer of rapid drying conducting PVA style glue on the scenic area. I prefer to use the excellent static grass applicator and fibres from W W Secnics. Their ‘Pro Grass applicator is made in the UK is lightweight, powered by a 9V battery, an illuminated on-off switch and has interchangeable sieve heads to handle a range of fibre lengths from 2 to 12mm.

The initial couple of layers of static grass have been applied

The initial couple of layers of static grass have been applied

Static grass comes in multiple lengths, and colours ranging from springs to summer  / autumn more yellowish colours, the reason for this is that you build the grass up to achieve a realistic looking grass and varity of tines to suit the location and time of year you wish to represent. I find that a lot of the available fibres are often a far to bright green, which is one of the reasons why I like the fibres from W W Secnics and even then I then to use their more muted summer and autumn colours.

Looking the other way to show the grassed area between the loop tracks

Looking the other way to show the grassed area between the loop tracks

Now that I have stated with the initial build up of the grass I will add further layers, where appropriate and also additional textures using some Woodland Scenics materials in due course for further complete the scene and the effect that I am looking for. I will also add some discolouration / dirt / oil stains etc. on some the grass where it has grown up between the sleepers on the track itself.

Concrete Inset Track

The expansion joints have been added to the concrete inset track area

The expansion joints have been added to the concrete inset track area

The Inset track area, having been initially built up with layers of cork has now also been a coating of textured paint from Green Scenes this time their concrete colour.
For such a large area of concrete, in real life it would soon crack due to expansion and so in practice it would be laid as slabs with a bitumen based expansion joint between to allow for any movement of each slab.  I have therefore added such expansion joints to the concrete area in the foreground of the layout leading up to the dock edge. IN practice the distance between expansion joints is dictated bu the thickness of the concrete slab and in this instance I have gone with joints set at 15ft intervals which would be appropriate for slabs up to and around 8″ thick.

Another view of the concrete inset track area and the expansion joints

Another view of the concrete inset track area and the expansion joints

To create the impression of the joints I initially scribed the joint lines into the surface of the concrete with the edge of a small screwdriver blade before running a soft pencil down the scribed line to give the weathered grayish look to the jointing bitumen. Some of the joints towards the edges of the slabs, i.e. those areas not seeing much vehicular traffic, will also get some fine turf Woodland Scenic material added in due course as I further detail the scene.

The overall view of Canute Rod Quay as it current stands is below, more updates to follow soon…


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I have spoken before in a view from the line post about my views on the need for a backscene on a layout. Even simple a plain blue or grey painted back board is better that nothing. A good backscene helps create impression of depth and finishes the overall illusion that we are trying to create with a layout. The style of presentation, on Canute Road Quay as I have utilised an excellent laser cut Tim Horn baseboard, the back and sides are an integral part of the overall baseboard module.

On Fisherton Sarum, as can be seen on many of the images on this blog, I am indebted to fellow High Wycombe and District MRS member Ron North who superbly hand painted my Salisbury based backscene. On Canute Road Quay, being a bit of an industrial dockside scene, I thought an grayish overcast sky would give a simple effect and not draw the eye too much from the layout itself. I therefore opted to use a photographic overcast grey sky from Photo ID backscene from Art Printers.

A view of the backscene looking towards to the RH corner

A view of the backscene looking towards to the RH corner. The engine shed in the rear corner is only half complete at the moment with no roof or inside wall in place.

I opted for their Premium range of Photo ID backscenes that are printed on tough Polypropylene that are stated as being waterproof,  scratch and tear resistant. They are self-adhesive, which is how I have affixed them to the primed plywood rear and sides of the layout;  but can be used without removing the backing film and applied using a non-aqueous glue if required. This has on the whole been a success, although the self adhesive backing was not quite a strong as perhaps I would have liked, but time will tell.

A vew of the backscene looking to the LH corner. the still to be completed ground cover is evident

A view of the backscene looking to the LH corner. the still to be completed ground cover is evident

On the rear right hand corner of the layout I have allowed for the backscene to curve slight rather than be an 90 degree corner to help trick the eye to not seeing a sharp corner but on the rear left hand corner due to the proximity of the high low relief warehouse building, and due to the length of the supplied Photo ID backscene I have simply left a 90 degree corner as it is less noticeable.

Although the Photo ID Sky backscene itself is just I was looking for above the mix of low relief buildings (mainly Bachman Scenecraft) , that are also positioned to form part of the backscene, it would not look right on its own in the gap between the buildings where the roadway supposedly heads off the scene.
This is due to the fact that in reality at such a location you would not simply see the sky finishing at the near horizon. I therefore initially wanted to fill the gap with a scene of a suitable warehouse style building in the near distance.
However, I was not able to find a suitable photograph of any warehouses that were taken in the right period, most images I was able find were of old warehouse as they appear now, either  to dilapidated, renovated, changed use such as apartments and or with modern items in the scene such as street furniture etc.

The orignal terranced houses Black and White image before manipulation in Photoshop

The original terraced houses Black and White image before manipulation in Photoshop

I did manage instead to locate an old black and white image of a row of terrace houses that I could manipulate within Adobe Photoshop to fill the gap and meet my needs, in fact since the addition of the low relief public house a row of terraced houses fit into the overall scene quite nicely.

The final image shaped and coloured before printing

The final image shaped and coloured before printing

The first step was to reshape slightly to both fill the gap and give the perspective I wanted; and secondly to re-colour the image including the brickwork, slates, chimney pots and windows but leaving the colours slightly muted as if being viewed from a distance.

The final image cut cutout in place on the layout next to the low relief public house

The final image cutout in place on the layout next to the low relief public house

The path and roadway have been matched as close as possible to be the same colours as applied to pathway and road on the layout itself. This was then printed onto art quality paper and carefully cut out before it will be finally affixed (as I have not yet permanently affixed it yet whilst I finish some of the scenic groundwork) to in the gap directly onto the sky backscene.

An overview of the Backscene on Canute Road Quay as it stands at the time of this post

An overview of the Backscene on Canute Road Quay as it stands at the time of this post. It still requires the ground cover to be completed

Details of the LED lighting I have used on Canute Road Quay will be the subject of a future post, as I am still experimenting with defusing the lighting slightly to enhance the overall slightly drab, overcast visual effect I ultimately want. The level of brightness at the moment is good for working under, in the photographs it should be noted the backscene appears slightly more bluish than in reality it is to eye, so watch this space for more progress.

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I thought it was about time I posted an update on some progress on my new little timesaving / timewasting project Canute Road Quay. Since my last post here that spoke of the wiring commencing and the completion of the fiddle yard   and a slightly earlier one about the buildings and inset track starting to take shape progress has been ticking along.

The main wiring is completed on the underside. Black tape makes the approximate position of the track above.

The main wiring is completed on the underside. Black tape makes the approximate position of the track above.


I am pleased to advise that all the main wiring has now been completed and fully tested with track feeds, points (Cobolt point motors), frog feeds and the Dingham electromagnets for uncoupling all working as they should.
I have added a couple of DROK voltage regulators, one for the Cobolt point motors to give a smooth 9V DC supply, as I have found that they work much better and quieter with such a regulated supply; and also one to control the voltage to the yet to be fitted street lamps and a few interior lights within some of the buildings,  enabling me to easily control the voltage to give the most appropriate brightness levels once installed.
It has been both fun and reassuring at this stage to be able to run a loco or two and shunt a few vans around.


The cork for the inset track is not complete and modelling clay used as the base of the remaining ground cover

Inset track and ground cover

The final layer of cork sheeting has been put in place in the areas where the track is inset and last weekend I made a start on the other terrain areas such as the areas just off the inset track, roadways and also to represent the basic earth / ash style unkempt ballast (rather than stone chips) of the non inset track areas, using air drying modelling clay.
To apply the clay I first apply a thin layer of PVA glue to the baseboard surface to assist with the clay keying to the baseboard top.  I then simply mold the clay in place using fingers and where required smoothing down with a little water, it’s a bit messy but the inner child in me finds it fun.

Looking the other way and one of the puddles can be seen between the loop tracks

Looking the other way and one of the puddles can be seen between the loop tracks

To give a few further points of interest I have created a few puddles in the lower lying areas between the loop tracks and also around the water crane on the shed road. These are simply small pieces of 20 thou clear plasticard painted black in the underside and fixed in place before shaping the puddle edges with the modelling clay.
The inset track areas will now be painted using textured paint from Green Scenes to represent concrete. In addition to their concrete textured paint I also intend to use their tarmac version for the roadway in front of the public house going off to the rear of the layout and also their ‘yard filth’ and ‘general muck’ for some of the other terrain areas, once painted these areas will also receive undergrowth and static grass to complete the scene.  The coaling area in front of the small locomotive shed will also see real coal (as nothing looks more like coal than coal) and ash (real ash from my word burning stove) used to give further texture and colour.

An overall view of the full 4 foot of the layout as it stands at the moment

An overall view of the full 4 foot of the layout as it stands at the moment


The low relief buildings on the backscene (which itself will form the topic of a future post) the have now been glued into place after I added black plasticard to the rear and also some partitions between the floors and rooms so that it is not possible to just see right through the buildings, especially as I intend to have a couple of rooms, such as the lounge bar of the public house internally lit.
The walls for the engine shed from Skytrex Model Railways resin parts have been assembled and received an initial all over coat of red oxide colour plastic primer to be the base for the final painting of the brickwork.

A front on view of Canute Road Quay, with the ground cover now awaiting painting

A front on view of Canute Road Quay, with the ground cover now awaiting painting followed by various forms of undergrowth

More updates to follow soon…


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With the Christmas festivities out of the way for another year, I turned my attention the last couple of days to the fiddle yard and wiring for Canute Road Quay.

A package arrived from Tim Horn the week before Christmas that contained a 1ft x 1ft baseboard specially manufactured with the baseboard top dropped by 4mm to accommodate the depth of the loco cassettes from my Fisherton Sarum layout.  Yesterday I made a start on putting the fiddle yard together.

The Tim Horn laser cut fiddle yard baseframe is assembled, painted and affixed to the main board

The Tim Horn laser cut fiddle yard baseframe is assembled, painted and affixed to the main board

The kit from Tim is designed to have three full height sides but I wanted to modify this and also cut out a section of the front face to accommodate the little control panel and also the DIN 5 pin socket for the controller.
Hopefully the picture left will explain all, after allowing the glue to fully dry it received a  coat of primer including the underside  followed by a top coat of black to match the main baseboard.  The rear full height panel will then incorporate a couple, or possibly three shelves that have been made from the off cuts from the sides. By today the finish pained fiddle yard board is affixed to the main board, although I have still not fitted the shelves as this requires a trip out to get some brackets of some kind.

The wiring between the input feeds fromt he transformer box via the control panel and to the main board is taking shape.

The wiring between the input feeds from the transformer box (right) via the control panel and to the main board (left) is taking shape.

I have also made a start on the wiring from the control panel to the jumper cables. In the picture below,  taken looking from the rear of the underside of the fiddle yard board towards the back of the control panel housed within the front face, the left hand cable goes to the main board for the control of the four track sections (yes I am still a DC Luddite), five Cobalt point motors, six uncoupling electromagnets and the power feed for the gas and building lights (yet to be installed). The right hand chocolate block will be connected to the cable that will come up from the transformer box that I also use on Fisherton Sarum to provide the required 16V AC and 12v DC supplies.

As you can see I am using 25 way D cable connectors with one half of the plastic housing screwed to the baseboard side to hold them in place. I have also soldered the 25 core cable for the main board to it’s 25 way D connector (am I alone in hating doing that job?) but have not yetinstalled it and this will a job for later this week. I still have the short jumper cable to solder to its pair of 25 way D connectors…

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