Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge

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HARRYMALLARD
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Re: Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge

Postby HARRYMALLARD » Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:10 pm

Nice work on the contours, you've cracked that belivable look, so they look like they were there before the railway,
Cheers Harry :)
My layouts:

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Gasworks Lane micro layout

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StevieDay
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Re: Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge

Postby StevieDay » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:24 am

Lovely piece of poly sculpting Alan, looks like a winter wonderland.

I totally agree Harry & with your comment on with being able to model below the railway line. It makes the setting look more natural, with the railway built into the scenery.

One small detail, though lines can be very straight. I think a gradual sweeping S curve would look better in your setting. As well as more natural look, it also gives you a slightly longer length of track.

Its a mistake I made in my layout :roll:
Regards,
Steve

My Layout;- Rayne St, Fictional N-Gauge Layout viewtopic.php?t=30856

alan_r
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Re: Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge

Postby alan_r » Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:49 pm

Thanks for the positive comments! :)

Yes the tracks are just completely straight. Bear in mind however that I have only made one layout before this, and that comprised only of setrack, so S-curves may prove a bit too much at the moment! This 'layout' has no points, curves or anything complicated, so I can try a few ideas out with regard to scenery. What I learn here I can apply to the next attempt, and adopt some of your suggestions for gradual S-curves, etc.

By keeping this one simple, I should be able to finish it in a decent timescale, and actually get to run some trains, instead of forever planning my perfect layout. As you can see, this is designed so I can just sit and 'watch the trains go by'.

Thanks for the encouragement, and keep the advice coming :D

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BROADTRAIN1979
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Re: Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge

Postby BROADTRAIN1979 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:50 am

very nice indeed looks to be a great layout and i like the snow effect cliffs :)

Mark.
Youll never find a 501 like mine.

alan_r
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Re: Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge

Postby alan_r » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:58 pm

Latest update, and looking a lot less 'snowy' :)

Polystyrene filled with lightweight filler and painted all over in brown paint to hide any trace of white in case any of the scatter later on falls off, or leaves any gaps. Cardboard strips have also been laid down along the trackbed to give a better surface to stick the track to.
Cardboard painted grey to form the concrete sides for the road bridge, and a very fiddly-to-make set of steps from cut matchsticks (though with this camera, you will have to trust me on the steps!) The steps will give access from the road to a cut-out in the embankment where I will fit a coloured light signal, hopefully operated by an IR detector.
a51_PaintedLeft.jpg
'Concrete' bridge sides and steps
a51_PaintedLeft.jpg (472.25 KiB) Viewed 1970 times

a52_PaintedCtrLeft.jpg
Stream bed and road bridge
a52_PaintedCtrLeft.jpg (503.82 KiB) Viewed 1970 times


Tunnel opening is Peco painted with more 'stone-like' colours. As before, let down by my camera!
a53_PaintedRight.jpg
River bridge and tunnel approach
a53_PaintedRight.jpg (532.35 KiB) Viewed 1970 times

alan_r
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Re: Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge

Postby alan_r » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:11 pm

A long view along the whole scene...
a54_PaintedViewLeft.jpg
Long view left
a54_PaintedViewLeft.jpg (540.25 KiB) Viewed 1970 times

The ripples in the backscene look terrible in these harsh photos! The softer light of normal viewing makes them mush less noticeable, honest!

...and the other way...
a55_PaintedViewRight.jpg
Long view right
a55_PaintedViewRight.jpg (528.78 KiB) Viewed 1970 times


Tunnel approach and mouth (a marginally better view of the stone detailing?)...
a56_PaintedTunnelApproach.jpg
Tunnel approach
a56_PaintedTunnelApproach.jpg (549.57 KiB) Viewed 1970 times


Road and signal access steps...
a57_PaintedRoadAndSteps.jpg
Road bridge and signal access steps
a57_PaintedRoadAndSteps.jpg (488.19 KiB) Viewed 1143 times


View of the main river bed, the bridge supports and the join in the boards in the river! The idea will be to hide the river board join with a pedestrian bridge. The gaps on the land will of course be much easier, with bushes etc.
a58_PaintedRiverBridge.jpg
River bed and bridge support
a58_PaintedRiverBridge.jpg (523.66 KiB) Viewed 1143 times


Although difficult to see in the picture, by picking away at the polystyrene, the beads left are a nice rock-size at this scale, so when painted up, should look like rocks (fingers crossed!)
Last edited by alan_r on Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

alan_r
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Re: Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge

Postby alan_r » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:16 pm

A coat of green follows, to take the edge off of the brown.
a59_GreenRight.jpg
Long view right
a59_GreenRight.jpg (545.51 KiB) Viewed 1969 times

a60_GreenRiverBridge.jpg
Main river bridge concrete support
a60_GreenRiverBridge.jpg (556.56 KiB) Viewed 1969 times

a61_GreenRoad.jpg
Stream and road bridge
a61_GreenRoad.jpg (547.82 KiB) Viewed 1143 times
Last edited by alan_r on Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

alan_r
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Re: Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge

Postby alan_r » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:35 pm

Ok, now to fill in the horizon with some hanging basket liner, up against the backscene. Although hopelessly overscale for n-gauge, it seems to look nice and rough/random from a distance, so might work and certainly snugly fills the gap between the baseboard and the backboard. Also included is a farm track in the front field, and a country path leading to the rivers. You can hopefully also just about make out the start of a rocky waterfall behind the road bridge to the far right(?)
a62_GreenFarmTrack.jpg
Farm track, rough grass on horizon.
a62_GreenFarmTrack.jpg (543.29 KiB) Viewed 1967 times


Now a dilute wash of black paint on the stream bed, the country path either side of where the pedestrian bridge will go, and lots of rocky outcrops. The pedestrian bridge will hopefully hide the join between the boards at the river - the only thing I could think of the cover this up! :D
a63_GreenSmallRiver.jpg
stream, path and rocky outcrops
a63_GreenSmallRiver.jpg (573 KiB) Viewed 1967 times


View of the cliff face, with two additional tributary waterfalls into the river (to get around the fact the main river is quite wide, but that would be hard to hide going off-board at the horizon!)
a64_GreenMainRiver.jpg
Main river and cliff face
a64_GreenMainRiver.jpg (582.79 KiB) Viewed 1143 times

Again, a dilute wash of black paint on the river bed, and further country paths either side of another pedestrian bridge to hide the board join on the river.

Black wash to highlight the eventual waterfall path down the cliff.
a65_GreenTunnelApproach.jpg
Tunnel approach andbend in the main river
a65_GreenTunnelApproach.jpg (571.74 KiB) Viewed 1967 times
Last edited by alan_r on Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

alan_r
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Re: Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge

Postby alan_r » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:54 pm

Long view showing the two river beds and the cliffs
a66_BothRiversLeft.jpg
Two rivers in a long view
a66_BothRiversLeft.jpg (581.99 KiB) Viewed 1143 times


Long view along the track. Here you can see the long join between the storage yard cover and the track. Bushes and trees should hide this later on...
a67_LongViewRight.jpg
Rivers and road bridge/road tunnel
a67_LongViewRight.jpg (587.22 KiB) Viewed 1964 times



A few bush tufts stuck along the river sides to look like waterside plants...
a68_LongViewLeft.jpg
Slightly different angle.
a68_LongViewLeft.jpg (588.55 KiB) Viewed 1143 times

Now the risky experimental river - pouring a thick layer of varnish into the riverbeds! :? I've also fitted the two pedestrian bridges made from Peco fence sections and sprayed grey.
a69_RiversAndPedestrianBridges.jpg
Varnish rivers and Peco fence bridges
a69_RiversAndPedestrianBridges.jpg (618.62 KiB) Viewed 1964 times


Seems to be a success! The pedestrian bridges cover up the board joins in the two rivers when viewed from most angles. (I will have to get a better camera! :oops: )
a70_RiversAndBridges.jpg
Pedestrian bridges hiding the board joins in the rivers
a70_RiversAndBridges.jpg (532.4 KiB) Viewed 1143 times

The rivers will need a long while now to dry, followed by several more layers. Should give a nice transparent river, with a proper profile to the bed and sides.

I hope you like it so far! It is certainly turning out better than I had hoped. :D
Last edited by alan_r on Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mika
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Re: Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge

Postby mika » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:06 am

Looking very good, Alan.
The landscape is very nice and has an amazing open feeling to it. It will be lots of fun to watch the trains go by.
I'm looking forward to seeing this one develop.
All the best,
Michael
My layout 'Sudbury-on-Sea'

My German layout 'Zinnroda (Thür.)'

Danny
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Re: Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge

Postby Danny » Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:21 pm

Hi Alan

Well done on making the topography look very believable, it definitely looks as if the railway and road are later additions in the natural landscape.

The water also looks quite good, however I've heard of people having problems with the varnish drying when a lot is poured in one go; cracking, rippling, might be something to watch out for.

Are you going to paint the inside of the railway tunnels? I think it might be a job worth doing sooner rather than later as scenics might start to get in the way, unless this is going to be made easy by the lift out sections that is.

Rgds,
Danny

alan_r
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Re: Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge

Postby alan_r » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:24 pm

OK - a bit more progress to show :)

Finally getting some track down. I first painted a 50:50 dilute wash of brown watery paint along the track to take away the standard black plastic look of the sleepers. The wash is thin enough to be applied quickly and easily (can't be doing with painting individual sleepers!), yet thick enough to give some colour without smothering the moulded texture/detail. It seems to work well enough...
a71 left first track.jpg
sticking the flextrack to the trackbed
a71 left first track.jpg (545.45 KiB) Viewed 1143 times


Top view showing the piped stream under the track. The pipes were made from wall plugs cut off and painted. The flanged end makes a great pipe flange - pity it won't be easily viewable from the front of the layout. The stream is made from clear varnish poured into the stream bed and left to dry, before repeating with more layers. I bought some scenic 'tufts' in two colours for river plants, which were placed along the stream before pouring the varnish.
a72 left second track and piped stream.jpg
second flextrack track glued down and view of piped stream
a72 left second track and piped stream.jpg (777.38 KiB) Viewed 1808 times


I was quite disappointed when the varnish got soaked up into the tufts, completely swamping them, sucking up loads of varnish almost by a capillary-type action. However, once they dried, there is no sign of the flood, and they look fine: a lucky escape for me!

Track ballasted and the start of some scatter. With the scenics under the bridge done, the road bridge can then be fixed in place...
a73 left track ballasted and scatter.jpg
a73 left track ballasted and scatter.jpg (697.32 KiB) Viewed 1143 times


Similarly with the rail crossing of the main river, the scenics have been laid first. The river has formed nicely, from thick pourings of varnish. This has given a rippled effect as it dried and shrank, which has enhanced the look (luckily!). The final layer of varnish was diluted with a little white paint to give the look of foaming rapids...
a74 river and underbridge scatter.jpg
main river and underbridge scatter and scenics
a74 river and underbridge scatter.jpg (735.46 KiB) Viewed 1808 times


Once the river and scenics were complete, the railway bridge could finally be built and the trackbed extended and made flat...
a75 river bridge trackbed.jpg
railway bridge over main river
a75 river bridge trackbed.jpg (743.79 KiB) Viewed 1143 times


The bridge is simply made from cardboard. The sides are Peco standard bridge sides, spray-painted grey and weathered with a wash of very dilute black paint
Last edited by alan_r on Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

alan_r
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Re: Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge

Postby alan_r » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:31 pm

Starting to look a bit more like a proper landscape now...
a76 all bridges in long view.jpg
a76 all bridges in long view.jpg (711.46 KiB) Viewed 1789 times


View with some of the sections removed...
a77 long view with sections removed.jpg
a77 long view with sections removed.jpg (707.95 KiB) Viewed 1789 times


Then to start laying the other side of the track, now that the bridge is built. The flextrack is kept straight with a long steel rule, until the glue sets...
a78 right first track.jpg
a78 right first track.jpg (737.02 KiB) Viewed 1143 times

The second track is aligned to the first a day later, using a track-setting gauge...
a79 right second track.jpg
a79 right second track.jpg (748.49 KiB) Viewed 1789 times


Then stick on the cardboard base ready for the road. The cutout in the polystyrene is for the wires to the signal that will be fitted alongside the track...
a80 cardboard roadbase.jpg
Cardboard roadbase, with signal wiring cutout
a80 cardboard roadbase.jpg (589.59 KiB) Viewed 1143 times
Last edited by alan_r on Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

alan_r
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Re: Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge

Postby alan_r » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:03 pm

Next to finish off the scenery for one of the storage yard 'covers'. This includes a section of road approaching the bridge, a farm track to access the field, and a country path leading to the pedestrian bridges. As you can see from the outline of the section, the join edges on this one are very zigzagged, to lead the eye away and hopefully fool the viewer into not seeing the joins...
a81 cover with field and road.jpg
Storage yard 'cover'
a81 cover with field and road.jpg (483.84 KiB) Viewed 1143 times


Then ballasting of the right side of the track, and scatter over the fields, embankments and the tunnel cover section (shown slightly offset to the final location to prevent the glue sticking it where it shouldn't be!). Applying scatter to the sections when lifted off the layout base means that I can really bury the PVA glue with excess scatter. Once dry, I simply upturned the section over newspaper and caught what fell off for re-use. The same goes for ballast.
a82 right track ballasted and tunnel cover section.jpg
Scatter on the scenery section and ballasted track
a82 right track ballasted and tunnel cover section.jpg (548.21 KiB) Viewed 1786 times


Some views of the sections drying out having had scatter applied. I drew some roads on my computer using powerpoint to give dashed white lines, drain covers and double white lines for the road tunnel approach. These were then printed onto normal A4 paper, cut out and stuck down. The road continues quite some way into the tunnel - only really possible due to the tunnel cover being removable...
a83 computer printed road glued and more scatter.jpg
Sticking down the road
a83 computer printed road glued and more scatter.jpg (703.56 KiB) Viewed 1143 times


Scatter now done, so here is a view of the track from the front...
a84 scatter layout left.jpg
layout leftmost section
a84 scatter layout left.jpg (752.21 KiB) Viewed 1786 times


...and a view of the centre section, with the smaller stream. The zigzag will be hidden by a fence/bushes to show the edge of a field. This is right alongside the zigzag join between the two storage yard cover sections, so the later bushes should hide the join line. The same will apply to the two diagonal joins in the hill/road tunnel cover section at the back. The only join that I can't hide is the one between the two sections in the centre across the trackbed, but with continuous scatter alongside them due to the scenic section spanning the join, the eye should be distracted. From this angle, the pedestrian bridge in the foreground hides the long join between the boards that crosses the stream...
a85 scatter layout centre.jpg
layout centre section
a85 scatter layout centre.jpg (792.12 KiB) Viewed 1786 times


I hope you like the latest progress. Next update should include fences, bushes, trees, crash barriers, some computer drawn road signs and a working colour light signal.
Could this mean it might actually get FINISHED and played with? Let's hope so! :D
Last edited by alan_r on Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

alan_r
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Re: Reusable, modular layout base in N-gauge

Postby alan_r » Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:08 pm

Final stages of scenery now, including clump foliage in two colours for bushes, some wire trees in a number of colours (from China via ebay) and some Peco fencing.
Here is the tunnel cover section, with trees around the edge to hide the transition from layout to backscene. The flash on the camera has bleached the pictures, as it looks better than this in the flesh!


I found that making the scenery in expanded polystyrene has paid dividends for placing the fences as all I had to do was position it where it looked right and then just push it into the ground! Once the thin 'skin' of scatter/pva/paint has been breached, it goes down in nicely, without having to drill and align holes with a drill, no glue required as the polystyrene seems to grip the fencing well, and the whole thing takes no time at all - quite good fun in fact :D

Here we see a lot of trees to the left to hide the tracks going off-scene through the hole in the backboard! I made some road signs on my computer and stuck to wire, and a crash barrier on the corner of the road made from a strip of corrugated plastic (two corrugations) stuck to some track pins and pushed into the ground. I've also placed my modified Tomytec lorries on the road, with their UK-liveries.
a87 left.JPG
Layout left, with traffic on the road
a87 left.JPG (750.84 KiB) Viewed 1733 times


View of the road entering the road tunnel, and the piped stream. Can you see the four baseboard joins in this picture? Hopefully not! :D
a88 centre left.JPG
Road tunnel and small stream
a88 centre left.JPG (774.63 KiB) Viewed 1733 times


Major bridge over the larger river...
a89 centre right.JPG
Rail bridge over river
a89 centre right.JPG (793.63 KiB) Viewed 1733 times


Then the railway entering the tunnel. I've lined the tunnel with brick paper, surrounded the tunnel embankments with fences and put a stile in the field fence for the path to cross it.
a90 right.JPG
Layout right, with tunnel
a90 right.JPG (794.51 KiB) Viewed 1733 times
Last edited by alan_r on Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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