First Layout Underway - Lower Salterns Halt

Post pictures and information about your own personal model railway layout that is under construction. Keep members up-to-date with what you are doing and discuss problems that you are having.
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GoldenOldie
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First Layout Underway - Lower Salterns Halt

Postby GoldenOldie » Thu Dec 16, 2021 4:55 pm

It's done. After lurking on the forum for a while I've taken the intial steps towards building my first ever model railway layout by purchasing a few scenic items. :)

Okay, I'll admit it. It's going to be a very small OO layout - around 30 inches by 15 inches. Micro-sized some would say. And there's nothing at all original about it either. It's a straight up copy of the beginner's layout featured in a number of videos on the 'World Of Railways' website (https://www.world-of-railways.co.uk/tec ... p-by-step/). But I'm thinking it may well be helpful for fellow 'newbs' if I create this thread so that they can hopefully learn from where I go wrong, as I'm sure I inevitably will.

Why this layout?

There are a few things I knew I wanted in my first layout but much is still not certain. What I am certain of is that there'll be a few cock-ups along the way. My assumption is that the bigger the setup the more expensive and/or time-consuming these mistakes may be to fix. So it makes a lot of sense to start small and work my way up. My second consideration is cost. Starting any hobby from absolute scratch is expensive however one plays it and the smaller and simpler the layout, the less I figure I'll need to spend.

With this reasoning in mind when I came across the branch line terminus layout linked to above, with it's step-by-step video explanations, I got very excited.

The layout has a lovely little countryside halt (something I am keen to model), a goods shed on which I can cut my scratchbuilding teeth, requires just a few wagons and a small shunter type engine, and although it has just a few feet of track it does have a couple of sidings to help add operational interest. There's even a small dock and water element. Perfect!

More than that, there's obvious potential to include the layout in my next build simply by changing the line that goes to the fiddle yard into one that connects with the second, larger layout.

Blooming shortages

Step one if I follow the videos should be building the baseboard for the layout, but thanks to... no, I'll avoid any non model railway rants. Thanks to 'a national shortage' of building supplies, my local DIY supplier has no plywood available. So while I'm trying to source some without paying the earth for delivery, and working out the best way to do the cutting work myself, I decided to have a stab at building the station halt and the goods shed.

Lesson one - read the reviews

As mentioned above the latter is scratchbuilt, so I've ordered some sheets of Wills brick and corrugated plasticard online. The halt is also a Wills kit and is apparently pretty simple to construct so I've gone and bought one of those too. First lesson - always double check suppliers. I initially wanted to go with a small supplier, really just to help keep them going by giving them some business. Prices seemed competitive compared to a larger, well known trader, but just before I hit the 'confirm purchase' button I thought I'll just check the comments on their Facebook page. I'm glad I did. They were scathing. Orders not fulfilled or only met in part. Promised refunds not forthcoming. Delayed deliveries. A real tale of woe and proof that smaller does not necessarily equal better in terms of personal service. I shut the page down and instead placed my order with the larger firm.

While I await the postman I now need to gather together a few other modelling/painting items and I'll be on my way. It's all very exciting. And you're most welcome to join me on the ride.
Last edited by GoldenOldie on Sat Jan 15, 2022 12:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Dad-1
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Location: Dorset - A mile from West Bay.

Re: First Layout Underway

Postby Dad-1 » Thu Dec 16, 2021 8:38 pm

Hi GoldenOldie,

A sensible approach as it will be a learning curve. Starting small is for all the reasons you mention
a good idea. If I may take the liberty to make a few comments/suggestions.

I'd go for a layout length of 48", simply because that's the width of a ply sheet. I also think it is the minimum
to have some operational length. Keep away from Set-Track pointwork, although they are more compact with
a tighter turn radius and seemingly ideal for the shorter layout they are not good bed fellows with small locomotives.
Please go for live frog pointwork otherwise your small locomotives will tend stall on points leading to operational
frustration !!

I know Wills sheets of brick & stone are good quality, but they are thick and hard, making them difficult to cut. I use
Slaters embossed plastic sheets over a core of standard plastic. Much easier on the fingers when cutting.

Be prepared to ask questions, you'll often get differing views, but until you try you don't know which approach will suit
you. There will be a lot of trial & error, which tends to be some of the fun of a multi facet hobby.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
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GoldenOldie
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Re: First Layout Underway

Postby GoldenOldie » Sun Dec 19, 2021 7:33 am

Thanks for the response Geoff.

Dad-1 wrote:I'd go for a layout length of 48", simply because that's the width of a ply sheet. I also think it is the minimum
to have some operational length.


That's good advice. Ideally I'd like to keep the layout smaller, but I'll check out beforehand what width the plywood I eventually purchase comes in.

Dad-1 wrote:Keep away from Set-Track pointwork, although they are more compact with
a tighter turn radius and seemingly ideal for the shorter layout they are not good bed fellows with small locomotives.
Please go for live frog pointwork otherwise your small locomotives will tend stall on points leading to operational
frustration !!


I'm onto those points (excuse the pun!) It's my intention to go for Peco Streamline Code 75 track, which should cover off the issues I've heard about with pickup for smaller locos passing over the point. What has caught me a little is the increase in track cost since I was a lad!

Dad-1 wrote:I know Wills sheets of brick & stone are good quality, but they are thick and hard, making them difficult to cut. I use
Slaters embossed plastic sheets over a core of standard plastic. Much easier on the fingers when cutting.


I'll definitely check out Slaters next time around.

bootneckbob
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Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:56 pm

Re: First Layout Underway

Postby bootneckbob » Tue Dec 21, 2021 9:13 am

Hi, well done on taking the plunge.

Some sound advice there from Geoff. I use Slaters on most of my scratchbuilds so far, but have some Wills and it is really hard to cut with a scalpel and is probably better cut with a modelling saw. If you can get around the effort of cutting it I think the Wills is better as the texture is there and really visible when you get down to painting and weathering.

Anyway, I sometimes wish I was as constrained in my first layout but I wasn't. It's been incredibly expensive but its what I wanted to do. Making smaller layouts as a build up would be more expensive in the long run. Making mistakes....well I think that's part of the hobby. Not that you need to make them, but there's a wealth of knowledge out there on forums like this or just searching Youtube and the like. My layout (hobby) is a journey not a destination (despite actually being modeled on a real destination)!

Have fun with it.

MrH
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Re: First Layout Underway

Postby MrH » Tue Dec 21, 2021 12:20 pm

bootneckbob wrote:Hi, well done on taking the plunge.

It's been incredibly expensive but its what I wanted to do. Making smaller layouts as a build up would be more expensive in the long run.

Have fun with it.




I have no idea what you mean! :lol: :o :roll:
My layouts and workbench

Trucks in a Tizzy
my wOrkbench

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GoldenOldie
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Re: First Layout Underway

Postby GoldenOldie » Wed Dec 22, 2021 7:56 am

bootneckbob wrote:I use Slaters on most of my scratchbuilds so far, but have some Wills and it is really hard to cut with a scalpel and is probably better cut with a modelling saw. If you can get around the effort of cutting it I think the Wills is better as the texture is there and really visible when you get down to painting and weathering.


Thanks Bootneckbob, I'm going to check both brands out and see which I prefer in terms of look.

Meanwhile, there's excitement here as my first rolling stock has arrived. Yes, I couldn't wait and ordered a locomotive. I'll be looking at if for a while but it'll hopefully add to my motivation to keep things progressing.

My eventual aim is to have a larger Southern Railway circa 1935 layout, so it makes sense to buy rolling stock for my micro layout that can be used as things develop. With that in mind I've opted for a Hornby R3847 SR 'Terrier'.

Image

It should be perfect for the little shunting layout like mine, and is relatively inexpensive. At some stage I'll be looking at weathering it a little and getting some crew sorted, but that's in the distant modelling future.

I've purchased one new. I was tempted to go down the pre-owned route but the fact is I don't trust myself to be able to fix any minor issues that may come with a secondhand locomotive, and I've always been an advocate of the 'buy once, cry once' way of looking at these things. Saving a few quid at the risk of buying a poor runner isn't something I want to do right now, although as my knowledge increases it may become more of an option.

Baseboard is my real priority though and I've managed to find a reasonably local DIY store that has 9mm plywood in stock so an order has been placed. It feels like I'm properly underway now.

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GoldenOldie
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Re: First Layout Underway

Postby GoldenOldie » Mon Dec 27, 2021 4:53 pm

Time for an update.

The 9mm plywood baseboard is now cut out and just needs assembling. It's held up slightly because I'm awaiting the arrival of my Peco track before I cut out the dock area (see image below for what I'm aiming towards, image credit to World Of Railways). I was going to print out and use the downloadable point templates from the Peco website but the site didn't seem to be working for me.

Image

I've assembled the station halt and it now just needs painting in suitable Southern colours - I have a question pending in the 'Scenery' area of the forum regarding appropriate paints before I go ahead with the paint job, then some light weathering.

Oh, and I'm already getting a little twitchy about layout electrics as I'm after electric points - I'm starting from ground zero here - but I do have the Peco 'Wiring The Layout' booklet on it's way to me which I'm hoping will help.

Dad-1
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Re: First Layout Underway

Postby Dad-1 » Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:43 pm

Hi GoldenOldie,

What a good choice of Loco, the little Terrier is very popular for good reason.

Don't fret over the track/point electrics it shouldn't be a problem. If in doubt ask.

I'm looking forward to your scenic work, I like the plan and it should be fun to
create.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
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GoldenOldie
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Re: First Layout Underway

Postby GoldenOldie » Fri Dec 31, 2021 4:27 pm

My Peco Streamline Code 75 track has arrived so now I can plot out the layout on my baseboard knowing exactly where the small dockside area will be.

As you can see, one of the advantages of a micro layout is the small amount of track required. I've ordered two Electrofrog points and two straight sections of track. To be honest one straight section would have almost certainly been sufficient but I figured I'll use it on my next layout if not on this one, and it's the points that are the pricey items.

Image

Here's the baseboard with track layout drawn on it:

Image

The approximate position of the small station halt is shown, and the goods shed that I'll be scratchbuilding will be situated on the siding that runs 'under' the branch line on the left hand side of the dock.

One minor change I intend to make to the setup shown in the World Of Railways videos is to the slipway (not yet marked out in the photo), which on my layout will be longer. To my mind the original one is much too short and steep.

Costings

I also thought that, since this is a beginners forum, it would be useful to include my expenditure. The cost of track was quite a surprise to me and knowing how much it costs to create a layout from scratch will hopefully be helpful to other newcomers looking to dip their toes in the railway modelling water. Of course things can be done cheaper by buying secondhand etc, but buying everything new here's what I've spent to date:

9mm Plywood Baseboard £15.00
Peco Streamline Code 75 Track including rail joiners £40.18
Hornby SR 'Terrier' 0-6-0T W14 'Bembridge' £88.00
Wills Station Halt with Waiting Room £6.00
Wills Corrugated Asbestos Builders Sheets £4.00
Wills Flemish Bond Brickwork Builders Sheets £4.00

Total (excluding postage) £157.18

So far only slightly more than it costs to watch three Chelsea home games from their cheapest seats :)

Dad-1
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Re: First Layout Underway

Postby Dad-1 » Fri Dec 31, 2021 9:28 pm

Remember that little Terrier will be working for you for years so can
almost be looked on as an investment. It'll be worth that much second-hand in
10 years time !!

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
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joshv8
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Re: First Layout Underway

Postby joshv8 » Sat Jan 01, 2022 7:17 am

A fantastic shunting diorama to hone your skills on.
Yes, the cost of railway modelling seems to keep increasing and the availability of items becoming less and less.

Really looking foward to seeing your progress and hope you enjoy it!
Cheers
Josh

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GoldenOldie
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Re: First Layout Underway

Postby GoldenOldie » Wed Jan 05, 2022 7:33 am

joshv8 wrote:A fantastic shunting diorama to hone your skills on.
Yes, the cost of railway modelling seems to keep increasing and the availability of items becoming less and less.
Josh


Thanks Josh, yes, I'm looking forward to a little bit of shunting on this one although it's really to build my modelling skills and knowledge first and foremost. All being well my next layout will be a small branchline station with a larger goods area where I can do some proper shunting!

(And yes, things are definitely getting more expensive. I've just seen the latest Hornby prices :shock: )

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GoldenOldie
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Re: First Layout Underway

Postby GoldenOldie » Wed Jan 05, 2022 7:41 am

The baseboard is built, seems pretty sturdy. IKEA cupboards shown for scale LOL. The slipway is cut out and I'm currently testing an offcut with Mod Podge for a water effect with different shades of grey for the water. Not yet convinced by it but so far only one layer has been applied.

The last few bits and bobs for the track arrive later today I hope at which point tracklaying will commence :o

Image

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joshv8
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Re: First Layout Underway

Postby joshv8 » Thu Jan 06, 2022 7:28 pm

When I was doing the water for our Lemmington layout I tried a number of methods... without purchasing more expensive scenic water effects.
I couldnt get results I was happy with, with the modge podge method.
I used the water based varnish method and ended up with 5 or 6 coats and it looks convincing.

For quick, high gloss results you will need to paint on a primed or sealed surface though. For example if you're painting straight on wood like I did, the woods porous and that porosity effects you having a sealed wet looking layer of paint as it shrinks back when dries... hence more coats are needed.

Cheers,
Josh

Dad-1
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Location: Dorset - A mile from West Bay.

Re: First Layout Underway

Postby Dad-1 » Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:33 pm

Hi GoldenOldie,

Water, always a problem to try and get looking as you want.
I note Joshv8 keeps away from expensive products, but some of my best results have been from Deluxe Products, from the bottle
Aqua Magic, although before I used that I tried a two mix resin that I was also very pleased with. The original 2 mix could be
over layered and was easily coloured with a little food colouring !!
If you don't need true depth then varnish works fine and probably best for smaller projects, or ones where the sheer volume
would be prohibitive on cost grounds.

Looking forward to your progress.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
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