Monday, 26 March 2012

Towards Stella Gill

Here are a few photos of the Stella Gill end of our layout. This is the area where we have had to compromise. The Stella Gill yard had something like 38 sidings. It collected coal from numerous collieries, served a coke works and was home to a large NCB store. The yard deserves a layout in it's own right. We have had to reduce the space between the line to Consett and the approaches to Stella Gill by curving the six incoming and outgoing sidings. As a consequence Stella Gill Flatts signal box almost backs onto the main line. The latter is built to the correct curve and gradient.

It might have been possible to have the sidings straight but it would have meant baseboards about six feet wide with severe problems trying to gain access to the fiddle yard. The layout is 39ft by 18 ft as it is, so a compromise it had to be.

The first photo gives an impression of the gradient as a supposedly loaded ore train tackles the bank. The second takes advantage of a shaft of sunlight through the window of the hall we were in. Rich's fantastic model of Stella Gill Flatts signal box casts a shadow behind but I think the result is worth it. Like the locos and hoppers, the model of the box is still unfinished.

The final shot shows the degree to which the tracks curve beyond the bridge (a mock-up at present). Please forgive the clutter of tools and materials in these photos.

Iron ore hoppers

Recent weeks have seen a heroic spate of activity from Martin, as Dave Bradwell ore hoppers have been transformed from flat etches into 3D models of the real thing -- we are now up to a grand total of 16.5 out of the 18 we need to run two trains of 9. Once you get the hang of them, they are fantastic kits to build because everything goes together sweetly. However, we have had a problem, and that is deciding what colour to paint them. This has been compounded by the difficulty of comparing photos taken under different lighting conditions, with different cameras, in different places (i.e Teesside and Sheffield)! The photos below show some of our results, with a loaded train setting off on the climb to Consett with a full cargo of 9 hoppers.

The colours we have tried include Humbrol rust, Precision track colour, and shades of BR bauxite. Yesterday, we agreed that Precision track colour, weathered with early BR bauxite would be the way forward. Phil also brought some read iron ore from Cleator in Cumbiria, which will make a realistic looking, and realistically heavy, load for them.

We had the whole scenic side of the layout erected yesterday, and it is looking superb, with the sweep of the lines climbing to Consett particularly striking. More photos to come!