Monday, 22 January 2007

More expansion and some Great Western leanings...

Over the weekend I printed out the new track plan at full size and laid the two plans out side-by-side on the living room floor to "compare and contrast"! On comparison, the newer plan definitely scored more highly. The flow of lines just looks 'right' compared to the old plan which felt a bit like it had been shoe-horned into the available space.

There have been a few further developments in my thinking. First, I decided that I should rebuild the baseboards. This may sound drastic given the number of hours that went into constructing the first set, but they ended up being a bit of a botched job with the frames being too small (which would pose a problem when it comes to attaching a backscene since the baseboard overhangs the frame by 3"), and the 'lightweight' construction method actually means that there is very little in the way of 'solid' wood in the frames for the fixing of things such as baseboard joining bolts, alignment dowels, the aforementioned backscene, etc. I've decided that the advantages of the lighter weight baseboards are not really sufficient to merit their use unless you're going for significantly larger baseboards than 4'x2'. I also don't think that using solid lengths of planed timber is likely to lead to serious warping of the baseboard surface since any warping would usually occur horizontally rather than vertically, which I don't see as presenting such a problem (of course, I may yet live to regret those words!). Also, rebuilding the baseboards gives me the opportunity to add a further 6" to the length by having two 4'x2' boards rather than one 4'x2' and one 3 1/2'x2' (as I explained before - the result of my being too hasty in the first instance!)

So to the plan above. It's largely the same as before with one or two very minor adjustments to make better use of the space (there's no substitue for printing the thing out at full-size in this regard). The one obvious difference is that I've added a third baseboard! Again, this is a prime case of something starting out small and growing... My thinking is that I can begin with the left and centre baseboards, then move onto the third at a later stage (perhaps when the garage is ready to provide the layout with a more permanent home). I realise now there's no point pretending this is just a 'stop-gap' project. It's already grown well beyond that even before I've laid the first piece of track, so I may as well plan ahead now to eventually be able to use all the space I'll have available in the garage.

The other big consideration currently on the table is whether to stick with my original idea of modelling a fictional S&D branch (as I previously described from Bridgwater to Nether Stowey) or whether to move to a post-nationalisation GWR branch line scene instead. This train of thought (pardon the pun!) is largely due to my recent aquisition of the first two parts of Stephen Williams' "Great Western Branch Line Modelling" (published by Wild Swan) which contain a huge amount of reference material (as well as heaps of inspiration) and which have made me realise that, by comparison, the scope for modelling a fictional S&D branch may be somewhat limited (in particular the choice of buildings and structures available to copy). I'm sure this debate will rage in my mind for some time to come so don't expect a definitive answer just yet! The most pressing 'need-to-know' factor relating to this is that if I decide to go with the GWR then I'll need to use 2-bolt chairs on my track rather than 3-bolt chairs (and that also means I can't use the C&L flexi-track so would have to hand-build the plain tack as well......).

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