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SKEW BRIDGE - Attic Layout

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I'm trying to get the bulk of the track laying out of the way and then I'll gradually align everything better before starting the task of ballasting. It's taken me the best part of a whole day just to lay the three sidings on the scenic section.


(above) This is a view of the scenic side from the west end of the layout and of the points connecting the loop with the three dead end sidings, each of which should hold a full rake of 36 MGR wagons. I've also added a headshunt for shunting purposes. I've not been as careful laying the track in the sidings because I want then to look a bit crooked. Some of them in real life used to scare the hell out of me.

(below) The buffer stop end of the sidings which I know are too close to the running lines but I need rakes of 36 wagons in here. I may hopefully be able to shorten them slightly once I get a set of wagons in to check for sure but the ink line to the left of the first siding is my measured clearance point for that road which includes the loco.


I think backscene boards need to be one of my next priorities because I would like to see things coming together on the scenic side if only to conceal the awful brickwork and timber struts.


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I've ordered some small bags of scatter material and static grasses in order to try them out before deciding how I'm going to tackle the embankments. In the meantime I've been painting up some more to

A short 60 second video of 60048 and MGR wagons through the new landscape  

Things are now taking shape on the small scenic end section despite me saying that there was no rush to finish this part of the layout. I began this morning by painting the bridge that has been i

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I mentioned in my previous post that one of my priorities was to install some backscene boards to disguise the brickwork and timber struts, well never one to do things in the correct order, I've decided also to install some of that bubblewrap foil insulation above the area of the layout. I know it's not going to 'insulate' the attic to any great extent but I'm prepared to take whatever the weather throws my way as long as I can keep the layout clean from much of the dust that blows in. So even though I've carefully laid track and placed over 100 wagons on track it was time to move everything out of the way in order to begin stapling the foil insulation roll above.


I've almost completed the first layer along both sides and another layer is required at the apex to join the sides together.

You may also notice from the photo that I've acquired some 4x2 MDF sheets for the backscene which are just the right size to fit onto the vertical struts and right up to the foil insulation. I will be priming them before any painting can be done so it's likely to be a few days before they are affixed in their final positions. I really need to paint that end wall to brighten things up too.

Speaking of brightening the place up, I purchased a new strip light to replace a single low wattage bulb at the west end of the attic but upon unpacking it I discovered both of the included tubes had shattered and were in pieces! I had plans to install that today but it looks like the wait will be a little longer.

As I had earlier hoped, I've managed to shorten the three dead end sidings alongside the loop by a few inches so that the bufferstops are not so close to the running lines. It looks better.

More tomorrow hopefully.

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Today has been much like yesterday in that I've spent the whole day completing the insulation on the roof above the layout. It's all done now I'm pleased to say and there's a decent amount left over. It has certainly cut out some of the draughts and it feels much more comfortable. It also makes the attic appear a lot brighter. I'm looking forward to seeing it with the backscene boards in place and then I can really crack on with the layout itself.

I'm not sure what the following photo will reveal other than there's still a lot of work to do but it shows I've now got myself a complete tin roof! It also shows how much insulation I have left over until I can decide where best to put it


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I'm mindful of not wanting to do so much that I create any problems in the attic but I would also like to create an environment that I'm comfortable in on all but the very coldest (or those few warmest) days. The insulation I assume will be fine because there's plenty of air space behind it and I can vouch for there being sufficient airflow! I haven't noticed any signs of condensation to date.

I still had a fair amount of insulation left over after I'd completed the roof section so I thought I might as well add some behind the storage yard area which is normally the direction from which most of the draughts originate.


I had planned on adding MDF sheet along here in a similar manner to the backscenes planned for the scenic section but I may change my mind now and just add a short section along the lower part to create a hard border preventing any stock falling over the edge as the foil insulation isn't fully taught along the bottom. I think it would be a good idea to leave as much visible foil as possible because it reflects so much light back onto the storage area.

It was down to 5 degrees outside today but I was fairly comfortable working in the attic. The fact that it's now more enclosed and brighter raises the comfort level slightly. Now I really need to get on with adding the backscene boards along the other side and they will eventually be painted plain white or probably a very light grey. I don't think there's any need for an attempt at creative art this time - no mountains at least.

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I've made a start on the backscene boards by applying undercoat/sealant to what will be the rear faces. There's an annoying sticker on each board which is difficult to remove cleanly but as they're not going to be seen once they're installed I've simply painted over that too. Saves all the hassle.


Along the scenic side I've also used up some more of the foil insulation and covered the area behind where the backscene boards will be. I'm not sure if that will prove to be a good idea or not but as I had plenty left over it seemed a good idea at the time. It certainly feels cosier.

As the backscene boards dried I placed them up on the layout to gauge the effect...


...should be okay I think.


At the moment in order to keep them from falling over they are angled back slightly and there's probably 3-4 inches of space behind them so the mainline in the foreground wont be so close to the edge as it appears in the above photo. A simple grassy embankment is all I've got in mind for in front of the backscene as well as along the right hand edge.

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4 hours ago, ba14eagle said:

I can hear you cutting up scouring pads as I type Mick!!

Funnily enough I was looking at scourers a couple of months ago in a local 'cash & carry' with the intention of using them on the garden layout. At that time I didn't have plans for proceeding with the attic layout so I'm not sure what I'll use up there just yet. I had thought of trying my hand with static grass along with the more usual indoor scenic materials. We'll see.

2 hours ago, roddy said:

and tissue paper for mountains.

I can guarantee there will be no mountains this time Roddy but I'm not ruling out some elevated ground at the rear of the east end curve. I won't try to describe it as it'll probably only confuse everyone but the curve at the end of the layout away from the solar panel inverter has always cried out to me to build it as a short scenic window bordered at each end by tunnels. Every time I go up there that's what I see. I imagine sitting there watching trains pass along or just videoing the passage of trains. Again, we'll have to see.

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I've been back into the attic today after a day off yesterday which gave me the opportunity to call into the DIY store for a new striplight and MDF primer.

The temporary lighting I've been using left a lot of trailing cables around the attic floor and so one of my objectives by purchasing a new light was to make sure that these were tidied up. The single tube light that I had already installed was moved to the opposite end of the attic and a new double tube light installed in it's previous place. The bulb holder has now been removed completely along with the trailing wires. I've linked the two tubes together to reduce the wiring further so there's now a single switch rather than the two. It's much brighter.

This is the busy 'east' end of the attic with the new light....


...and looking down to the less busy 'west' end with the light swapped over from the east end. The extension cable is no longer required so will be removed.


The backscenes I painted a couple of days ago have now been given another coat of primer so I should soon be able to install them permanently in place which means I can then return to the layout itself.

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With the backscene boards pinned in position I've been using up my reserves of polystyrene packaging to create an embankment/cutting alongside the main line. Lightly glued in place, I've then gone over it with layers of my usual blue tissue paper soaked in diluted PVA to bind it all together.


I wasn't sure whether I'd made it too high but I just wanted to get it done as quickly as possible and without undue delay. I can't really afford to keep sitting there thinking about it but looking at the photo it does look slightly higher than I had initially intended - I must have got carried away. I'll wait until the paper's dried and then give it a coat of paint and see what it looks like afterwards.

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On 01/11/2019 at 09:02, roddy said:

MOUNTAINS!   THat embankment is not too high Mick. There is no fixed hight to determine an embankment or a cutting is there.

It's just that my initial idea was for something a bit lower - a grassy embankment much like Balbeggie - but I've ended up with a cutting.

19 hours ago, ba14eagle said:

Im getting a bit of a Hatfield & Stainforth image in my head, with a big industrial plant on the backscene

I wasn't intending adding anything further to the backscene Iain. I just wanted something plain to allow the trains to be the sole focus of attention. I certainly don't want to start using photo backscenes and I'm not capable of painting that kind of scene so best to leave it plain for now.  The industrial scene will have to reside on the inner section alongside the sidings for now.

The glued embankment is taking ages to dry up in the attic!

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The PVA glue/tissue paper combination just wasn't working for me up in the attic. I'm not sure if it's just that it's cooler up there (although it wasn't that warm when I used the same method in the shed earlier in the year) or whether it's the cheap PVA glue that I've been using but it's taking days to dry out and I really need to add more layers to add rigidity. So I've decided to use a modellers plaster bandage instead and having tried it earlier today, I really should have been using this stuff from the very beginning. It's quick, moulds to shape easily, doesn't rip or tear and most importantly it dries in less than 30 minutes. I've been able to go over some of the embankment I previously covered in tissue/PVA and already it's just about dried out.


I've now added a section of backscene to the end (photo above) but couldn't quite decide how to fill in the corner so I'm going to leave that until tomorrow to give me time to think about it. The ground will be built up to meet the tunnel mouth you can see between the timber rafters creating a scenic break at that point. There will be a low embankment along the right hand side adjacent to the sidings.

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I've been unable to come up with a suitable name for the attic layout so it remains the 'Attic Layout' for now but hopefully something appropriate will come to the fore before too long. I don't want to name it after any real location so it's a case of coming up with something entirely new.

I spent another couple of hours on the scenery today and have completed the base embankment in the corner right round to the tunnel mouth. I'd like to try complete this area before moving along in the opposite direction. Working around the roof timbers is going to be tricky but once the scenery is in place they should be hidden from view.


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Only minor progress since my last update.

I've pinned an MDF board to the rear of the roof timbers to create a scenic break and this has been painted white like the other boards. I've also painted the timbers themselves to help them blend in where they will be visible.


I'm going to be using a couple of plastic bridge portals that I acquired from somewhere - don't ever remember buying them so perhaps they came as part of a job lot with something else. I was in fact going to sell them on but now I'm glad I kept hold of them as they can be used here. I believe they were made by Peco but not entirely sure. I have yet to get round to painting them.

For the tunnel itself I was lucky to purchase some track from 'Track Shack' over in the Isle of Mann and they posted it in a very stout cardboard tube which is just the right circumference to go around the inner part of the tunnel portals. I've used two short lengths of cardboard tube to form the tunnel liner in order to create the necessary clearance as the track is on a curve in this area. Nothing is yet fastened together or glued in place but when the surrounding land is built up around the tunnel portals it should be fine.


The two sections require taping together to hide my attempt at a join but very little of this will show once it's all completed.



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1 hour ago, ba14eagle said:

Forest Bower Sidings.

Lots of trees on the landscape!

You've been spending time thinking about it for me? That's very kind and I'm genuinely impressed with your suggestion. It's given me some ideas for another Scottish themed layout as I'm destined to have a modular exhibition type layout next in order to complete the set! Just love those log trains!

What I've actually been trying to do is come up with a name relevant to the town where I was born. It's how I named all the areas and the two viaducts on Worsley Dale. Many of the place names I've used are now long since gone or are used in a different form to their original.

You mention lots of trees on the landscape well that was my thinking too because there's going to be few, if any, buildings. But what I was thinking of including was an overbridge on the scenic side that would span across the mainlines, loop and sidings. I don't really trust myself to construct a number of buildings but I feel capable of having a go with a bridge and I think I'd quite enjoy the task. Spanning across 6 tracks seemed it might be 'a bridge too far' and so I've been toying with the idea of moving it further towards the bottom end of the layout at the entrance to the sidings in order to reduce the span to a more reasonable 4 tracks. And then rather than the bridge being at 90 degrees to the tracks I thought about 'skewing' it slightly because one of the names I've been considering for the layout is 'Skew Bridge' which is actually the name of an existing road bridge over the canal. It could become 'Skew Bridge Sidings' I guess but I do quite like Skew Bridge. Not 100% decided just yet.

Now how do I make lots of trees?


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The trick is to not make lots of trees, but suggest there are lots of trees.

On BWB, I wanted a thick forest all along the backscene, but it had to be low relief. I used loads of polyfiber, scattered with different leaf material. This sort of looks like different trees in the background. If you add some proper trees in front of something like this, it could look quite convincing. I also had a few nice trees, which went in front of some cheaper examples, where low relief wasn't required..    

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Nothing really of interest to report today. I've added a couple of feet of plaster bandage to the embankment and given the tunnel portal its first coat of paint.

Starting with this...


...and ending with this for now


The inner arch of the tunnel has also been painted although it hadn't been done when the above photo was taken. When dry I'll be adding a dark wash colour and then wiping......?

Not exactly sure I'm doing this the correct way but I'll let you know tomorrow when I've given them their second coat.

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