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SKEW BRIDGE - Attic Layout


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A cold night last night with the outdoor temperature down to 0.1 degrees but not feeling as bad as I imagined it would be up in the attic this morning. It's not warm by any stretch of the imagination but I could cope with it.

I went into the attic to get some enamels in order to give the tunnel portals another coat of paint. I thought if I could get them done early enough then hopefully they'll dry pretty quickly enabling me to get at least one of them planted in position on the layout and the ground around it built up.

Using a liberal coating of 'roof dirt' I did small sections at a time

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And then using a paper towel I dabbed away to reveal the stone colour beneath, leaving the dirt in the cracks, crevices and mortar lines.

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And once completed they look like this. I'm quite happy with the result. 

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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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9 hours ago, Storm trooper said:

Very impressive Mick

Thanks Dean.

The first tunnel portal is in place and I've built up the ground around it. I almost left it for today because I really wanted to ballast the track before fitting the portal but I haven't yet decided which ballast to use. I realise I can't keep putting things off while I think things over so it's in and I think I should be okay ballasting from each end.

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I really need to crack on and get the major work out of the way. It's a large layout but there's only scenery along one side, and very basic at that,  so it shouldn't be too difficult. Goodness knows how people cope with elaborate exhibition layouts.

The plaster bandage sets nice and firm pretty quickly but it still takes a few days to properly dry out. Until it dries I can't really do much more with it and the temperatures up in the attic aren't too favourable at the moment so it's a waiting game.

Ballasting is another area where I seem to be dithering. I need to decide which ballast to use but I know that once I start there's no going back and I'm not 100% satisfied that the track is in best alignment. Again, do I just jump in and do it or wait just to be sure? There'll be little chance of adjustment once the ballast has set.

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2 hours ago, Storm trooper said:

I have never ballast my layout I have used roofing felt, I would imagine you can’t move the track once the ballast has fully set. I used tracksetta tools and long straight edges...

Well this layout is up in the attic Deano so there's no roofing felt here but you're correct in that once you've fixed ballast in place there's little chance of making any alterations without digging the ballast out again. I suppose the best advice would be to wait until you've been able to thoroughly test the layout out via some intensive running sessions to ensure it's as you want it to be before fixing it all in place.

I've sometimes used Tracksetta tools too in order to lay the track as well as various long straight edges but when you're working around the track afterwards it does tend to get knocked out of alignment in certain areas. As I've only lightly pinned it at intervals there's the distinct possibility of doing so.

As for the outdoors I feel that ballasting is an integral part of the garden layout and has always been high on my list of priorities. It just gives the layout a greater degree of realism. Here I've learned it's important to have a solid base and so I wouldn't attempt to ballast on top of roofing felt that's used as a covering over a timber structure. The roofing felt doesn't remain stable and leads to ballast cracking. I do however use a narrow strip of roofing felt underneath track laid on top of masonry bases, firmly glued down with bitumen adhesive and it's worked fine so far.

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Hi Mick, wow you are going great guns with your Attic layout, I can only dream to have a permanent staging that long , how high are those tunnel portals, will 4 inches be plenty of clearance, what my tunnel be, make my own.

I  have finished the back of the layout curve and all I need to to do now to complete the northern ramp is a link both curves with a bridge, will have t wait for a cooler day for that, be a stinker of a week hottest day being 38 degrees could go hotter lay week we had a 40 degree day ouch living in down under.

Tony from very hot down under 

 

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1 hour ago, aussietmrail said:

Hi Mick, wow you are going great guns with your Attic layout, I can only dream to have a permanent staging that long , how high are those tunnel portals, will 4 inches be plenty of clearance...

Thanks Tony - keeping moving forward as some might say!

Sorry about the following poor photo - difficult to hold the tape and take the photo. Yes 4 inches would be plenty! I assume the Peco tunnel portals are overscale to accommodate train sets and height wise they are generous.

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For my purposes I'm overlooking any out of scale proportions here. I'm sure there are tunnels just like this somewhere.

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The scenic side of the layout itself is now beginning to come together and I've started adding the embankment alongside the siding area.

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I've had the idea of adding a low backscene above this embankment using the same MDF boards used for the tall backscene opposite - just a few inches high and fastened at the same angle as the roof timbers. It should help with the viewing experience and with any photos or videos I get to take should I ever complete it all and reach that stage. I might try it out and see how it looks later.

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I've continued building up the embankment alongside the sidings and if you count the gaps between the roof timbers you'll find that I've just about completed 6. I thought I'd done pretty well until I realised there's still another 6 to go. I'm halfway!

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The photos below show my thinking regarding adding a backscene board above the embankment beside the sidings. I've used two offcuts of hardboard type material firstly alongside each other to give a small rise and then on top of each other to give a taller one.

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I think the shorter backscene looks better but the taller one hides more of the timbers. Having said that the taller one would make it more difficult leaning over to access the tracks as and when required. Painted white or 'sky' colour they'll blend in nicely, especially with some shrubs or bushes in front of them.

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37 minutes ago, mick said:

I've continued building up the embankment alongside the sidings and if you count the gaps between the roof timbers you'll find that I've just about completed 6. I thought I'd done pretty well until I realised there's still another 6 to go. I'm halfway!

20191110_171150.thumb.jpg.4636a1044cdb5a68aeae583944877979.jpg

The photos below show my thinking regarding adding a backscene board above the embankment beside the sidings. I've used two offcuts of hardboard type material firstly alongside each other to give a small rise and then on top of each other to give a taller one.

20191110_155742.thumb.jpg.f49697a76ff3faf7d450f6e13d460276.jpg

20191110_153644.thumb.jpg.4b0a3d80de9eb894fd9605f58b1610f7.jpg

I think the shorter backscene looks better but the taller one hides more of the timbers. Having said that the taller one would make it more difficult leaning over to access the tracks as and when required. Painted white or 'sky' colour they'll blend in nicely, especially with some shrubs or bushes in front of them.

You answered your own questions. They were my first thoughts too.  I do agree that a low board does improve things

 

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2 hours ago, ba14eagle said:

But how many times will you be pointing a camera, back towards the sidings?

It's the sloping roof timbers that I'm wanting to conceal Iain so that they don't encroach in videos and photos taken along the length of the layout. My thinking now is that I can add the low backscene and paint the timbers the same colour and by careful positioning of the camera I may just about be able to hide one timber behind another. Looking at the first photo of the three posted above it might be possible?

I've even considered having an easily removable backscene (or should that be frontscene?) at a greater height. I'm going to have to have a play around and see what works best.

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I've had a change of heart and, having tried it out, I no longer feel that the 'frontscene' boards would be too high or prevent me accessing the tracks as and when required. In fact they simply rest in place and there's not really a need to fix them permanently in position. This is what they look like using one of the 'backscene' boards cut down the middle at a width of 12 inches and given a first application of undercoat.

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I can disguise the remaining timber further by painting them the same colour as the boards. They hide a lot of distracting background and enhance the railway cutting effect.

Other than that I've completed another two sections of embankment along the sidings so there's just another four sections remaining. Here's a wider view of the scenic length that shows how everything fits together. I probably still need to paint that end wall.

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Now unfortunately one of my striplight tubes has just given up on me and I don't have any spares hanging about so I may need to go out for a replacement. I do like plenty of illumination.

 

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I should go for an LED replacement (using the same holder). A wiring modification is needed and the starter choke etc. is binned. A professional electrician did mine but it wasn't expensive and the light is much brighter.

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46 minutes ago, Riddles said:

I should go for an LED replacement (using the same holder). A wiring modification is needed and the starter choke etc. is binned. A professional electrician did mine but it wasn't expensive and the light is much brighter.

Yes I was looking at an LED replacement and saw these advertised online

https://www.any-lamp.co.uk/osram-substitube-value-em-16-2-865-120cm-daylight-incl-led-starter-replaces-36w

Reading the description it leaves me under the impression that these are a direct replacement for my standard 36w tubes but now I'm wondering if I've misunderstood it. There's no mention of any wiring modifications required. What's your reading of it?

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Yes that does look as if  it is a direct easy replacement. Apparently there are two ways of changing from fluorescent to LED, "Plug & Play" and "Retrofit".  Doing it one way ditches the ballast unit etc.

There is a YouTube video which explains the difference. Its obviously not British but I'm sure the principle is the same.

 

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1 hour ago, roddy said:

Looks like a direct switch to me Mick. Change the starter too.

I'm going to have a closer look at mine first Roddy because although a direct swap there's apparently one type of tube for a conventional ballast fitting with a starter and another for the electronic ballast fitting with no need for a starter. I threw the instructions for the light away, typically, but just looked online and I believe my light fitting has an electronic ballast so I'll take it apart tomorrow and have a look to be sure.

There's just too much choice these days!

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I'm getting a bit carried away. Another two sections of embankment completed but I'd better stop for now because I'm at the point where I need to think about including space for my proposed skewed bridge. If I don't include that then I'm going to have to start thinking of another name for the layout again! Here's the current view along the scenic section with some embankment to the rear awaiting my attention.

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And from the point where the front embankment currently finishes I'm left with this area for the skewed bridge. My initial thoughts were for a free standing structure but looking at it on the photo it's probably a good way of creating the scenic break at this end of the layout. I really only need to build a half bridge then. I am reminded that I still have the headshunt to complete here.

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It feels like I've made some good progress today, not because of how much I've done but where I've managed to get to.

If you look back at the photo above taken yesterday it's not easy to see where things are heading and to be honest I didn't really know myself. I knew there had to be a bridge in there somewhere but I hadn't even begun to think about exactly where it would go. Today it all looks different and even I know where the bridge is going now!

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The scenic break is in position and the 'skewed' bridge will be built at an angle in low relief over the cut out. I've not thought about how just yet but that's something I'll be sitting down and contemplating soon. I always work this way - very rarely do I know what I'm going to do until I actually go and do it.  Most of the embankment on each side is just about finished too, only the final section that will join up to the bridge remains.

Here's a closer view of the remaining section just in need of a bridge of some kind.

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I wouldn't have got this far had it not been for the plaster bandage I began using. It really has made building the landscape so much easier and quicker.

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I've taken a break from building embankments and thinking about bridges in order to work on the end section where I intend building a short scenic section or 'viewing window' as I prefer to think of it. It will comprise just 3 or 4 feet of visible track and a landscape through which we can watch trains passing. Today has been a day of boxing in the sides and rear wall and priming the MDF sections. I've also splashed a bit of paint onto the upper visible part of the breeze block end wall. Visible timbers will be painted eventually to blend them in.

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As is my usual practice I've got no plans just yet for how I'm going to kit this out. I'm going to have to shorten the existing tunnel section slightly that connects the main scenic section of the layout in order to gain maximum track space in the window and create a similar exit on the right hand side into the storage yards. I believe once the surrounding ground around the tunnels is built up that the fact that the 'sky' area slopes inwards towards the top will be less noticeable. I opted for sloping end boards in order to create maximum space.

I'm not sure what to do with it. I thought initially that it would be a simple rural landscape continuing the theme from the main section, but it could perhaps be something different. I enjoy seeing limited space layouts where something similar in size to the above would comprise the entire scenic layout but I'm fortunate in that I have a large area of track and storage sidings that can provide a variety of trains to feed this short section.

It's not something that needs doing immediately, the layout can be fully operational without doing anything further here but it's something I can work on as time, ideas, and inspiration allow. It would be nice to install some form of overhead lighting above, as I intend doing over the layouts main scenic length, and then turning off the main attic lights so that only the layout itself is illuminated. 

 

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