Decided to bring the baseboards in out of the garage this week so I can make a proper start on the layout, having figured that the additional woodwork (addition of backdrop, fascia, proscenium arch etc.) can be carried out at a later date without requiring too much serious manhandling.
I really need to make some sort of portable stand(s) so I can work on it at a comfortable height - I just need to make a trip to B&Q. The plan is for 3 or 4 hinged A-frame free-standing supports on which the layout will simply rest, possibly with some sort of makeshift effort to prevent it getting knocked off if needs be!!! All a bit Heath Robinson-ish I know, but if it works...! Ideal viewing height for me is probably around 4'6"-5' but I may need to make a bit of a concession to make working on the layout more practical. Anyway, for now the basebaords are sitting on the floor in the spare room!
I've covered most of the surface with 1/8" cork sheet to help absorb running noise and also provide a slightly raised sub-surface into which the buildings can be set.
During the process it became obvious that the surfaces of the two boards weren't actually lining up quite as accurately as I'd thought, partly due to some minor warping of the ply (which worried me a little - hopefully bringing them in out of the garage should prevent this worsening) but mainly due to the horizontal placement of the alignment dowels being slightly off. Rather than try to realign the dowels (it was enough hassle just getting them lined up with each other, let alone trying to get the surfaces level as well!!) I decided the simplest option would just be to build up the surface of one of the boards where it was a couple of millimetres lower than the other, using layers of paper roughly torn to shape and glued down one on top of the other. I know it's a bit of a bodge but it seems to have done the trick OK and having laid a few lengths of track over the join to check it, it seems to be quite adequate.
Next job then is to make a start on the trackwork. I've printed out two full-size Templot track plans. One of these will be glued to the baseboard surface as a guide, the other will be cut into sections and used to build the track in manageable chunks away from the layout, which will then be pieced together on the layout using the guide trackplan to line it all up. That's the idea anyway! As with everything on this layout, it's going to be a case of trial and error.