Posts Tagged ‘Langley Models’

This latest “A view from the line”  post takes for the first time a closer look at Canute Road Quay and more specifically the track work inset within concrete along the quayside.

USA Tank No. 72 shunts across the inset track. Picture copyright and courtesy Model Rail / C Nevard.

There are a number of methods of re-creating inset track and this post describes the method I have used on Canute Road Quay and hopefully its relative simplicity and the effect gained will be of use to other modellers. Although I have covered the process before in multiple posts about Canute Road Quay I thought it would be useful to details the steps I used in one post.  The trackwork on Canute Road Quay  is  a mixture of open sleepered and inset track as seen around such docks / quays to give some variety to the surfaces. For the open track I have used C & L Finescale flexitrack whilst utilising Peco small radius LH / RH  and ‘Y’ turnouts and within the inset track areas plain Peco track.

Stage one.

Stage One

To start with check rails were added inside the running rails, by gluing with lengths of code 75 rail, obtained from C & L Finescale,  to every 3rd or 4th sleeper using cyanoacrylate glue (super glue). Then the first layer of 2.5mm cork, the approximate height of the sleepers, was  glued down either side of the track, and also a strip added between the check rails.

Stage Two

Stage Two

Another layer of  cork, this time 1.5mm thick was then glued on top of the original base layer of cork from stage one, that also extends right up to the outside surface of the main running rails totally covering the sleepers. Any gaps were filled using air drying modelling clay. I was careful around the one inset point to ensure that the check rails and the cork were spaced to ensure that the switch blades can still operate correctly (this does leave a slightly larger gap than one might ideally want but it is a necessary compromise).

Stage Three

Stage Three

The surface was then painted with Green Scenes textures concrete paint ,I also smoothed the texture slightly once dry as to my eye it was slightly too textured for the effect I was trying to achieve, but was a good starting point. It was then slightly weathered.  A representation of the expansion joints between the concrete panels was drawn on, pushing down into the painted cork surface, using a sharp HB pencil , spaced every 60mm to represent 15 foot concrete panels. Then weeds,  creeping grass and the such like added using a mixture of grass tufts and static grass. Etched brass Drain and manhole covers, from Langley Models (F73), have been also been inset into the surface at relevant locations.

USA tank No. 68 passes the quayside office. Picture copyright and courtesy Model Rail / C Nevard.

I hope this post helps explain the process I used in simple stages and will be of use for any others looking to replicate inset concrete trackwork.

Check my exhibition diary here to see where Canute Road Quay will be exhibited next. At the time of writing it will be Railex organised by the Princes Risborough and District MRC, on the 26th / 27th May at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Stadium Approach, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP21 9PP


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A particular pet hate of mine is viewing layouts that have no backscene, even simple a plain blue or grey painted back board is better that nothing. The last thing I want to see is the clutter behind the layout and the midriffs (being kind) of the operators. A good backscene helps create impression of depth and finishes the overall illusion that we are trying to create with a layout.


Salisbury Cathedral has been slightly moved north on Fisherton Sarum

There are a number of methods that can be used to create the backscene from the simple single colour plain painted board to full wrap around photographic images that are now being very successfully used on  layouts such as: Chris Nevard’s Catcott Burtle, Paul Marshall-Potter’s Albion Yard and the RMweb team behind Black Country Blues.

Scenic materials help hid the join with the backscene

Scenic materials help hide the join with the backscene

In between these two extremes variations include: fully hand painted, commercially available printed or photographic images such as available from PECO or International Models.

On Fisherton Sarum I am indebted to fellow High Wycombe and District MRS member Ron North who, from a couple of grainy black and white images of the rooftops of Salisbury and its cathedral, kindly and superbly hand painted my backscene. This not only uniquely helps create the illusion I was after but also places the layout as being based on Salisbury so well, even if we have moved the cathedral to the north of the line!

A mix of low relief and hand painted cottages add to depth

A mix of low relief and hand painted cottages add to depth

In addition to the hand painted scene, at the western end of the layout I have a row of low relief terraced cottages backing on to the line that have been constructed from Langley Models vacuum formed mouldings suitably painted and detailed fixed to the backscene. Their back gardens and yards are on the layout itself.

Again the scenic materials soften the join

Again the scenic materials soften the join

The illusion of depth is further maintained by avoiding where possible sharp angles between the back of the layout and the backscene itself. This can be achieved by a number of tricks such as; curving the ground level up on the backscene, carefully placed fences or hedges, or the use of perspective with slightly smaller scale models just in front. It is also good practice to avoid things roads meeting the backscene at or near 90 degrees as this is very difficult to blend with a backscene (it is better to curve the road into a backscene to allow the actual join to be concealed behind a hedge or similar).


Hinton Parva uses adapted PECO backscenes for its townscape

Away from Fisherton Sarum on Hinton Parva a 32’ long exhibition layout of the High Wycombe and District MRS a number of different techniques are used including hand painted sections, low relief retaining walls, fencing to hide the joins and also to help with the creation of depth the PECO printed sheets were fixed to 2mm mounting board to lift them slightly from the surface of the painted sky.

Hinton Parva also has hand painted sky and country area

Hinton Parva also has hand painted sky and country area

To avoid too much repetition with the townscape over the length involved the PECO sheets were modified to remove some of the obviously repeating items such and chimneys, gas holders and church spires etc., even some of the buildings were reduced in height by a story or two!

I hope the pointers and tricks above have been of interest and perhaps will avoid some future occurrences of one of my pet hates…

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