I have been the benefactor lately of stars aligning and items being thrown up by the eddy currents that hide things in my house. In this case, the items made it virtually impossible to not make a start on a simple layout designed primarily to beat the inertia this time of the year can bring.
The item that fell immediately to hand was an old 1200 x 600 module built by a friend but passed on to me when he forsook modelling NZR for the joys of North American Gargantuans. Thanks to Cabbage and his magical work van (layout moving a specialty), 3 of these modules were soon tucked away in the mysterious layout building facility located deep in darkest Stokes Valley. Secondly, the Taranaki Mystery Box (on its second region wide tour) divulged a complete circle of well battered but passable setrack curves set to some astonishing radius and enough MicroTrains bogies to run an entire OM fleet (once the designer finishes the etch.....breath is bated as we speak).
So what to do.....obviously a simple loop on the board was the way to go, but what story to tell?
Scribbling quickly came up with the answer; Using the photo on plastic shell techniques described previously, how about a model of (wait for it) The old Patea Cheese Store? (I know! Colour me surprised....). Model it fromthe station side rather than the river and I could recreate this pic of Drews which fired my imagination a few years ago:
So, the goal was decided: Model the building as the centerpiece with the train looping around it in an almost incidental style....put some pretty photo backdrops on, maybe a full proscenium arch, populate it with accurate train consists and it would be enough to keep the interest going for quite a while methinks.
SO......despite an impending overnight outage at work that had me finally crawling into bed at 0430, Wednesday night was set aside for the MMW/Batchbuilt layout building machine to meander into action. Armed with a scale printout care of the KR CAD gurus and their lithograph machine (which disappointingly printed out slightly too small) we quickly laid out the track and held an impromptu planning meeting:
Track laying was slower than anticipated due to endless wrestling with the track geometry, fishplates and a soldering iron, often all at the same time (KIDS: DONT TRY THIS AT HOME).
Once completed, Cabbage pulled his masterstroke; several rolls of double-sided foam tape bought for an incredibly low price from TradeMe. And is this stuff great for tracklaying? Does the Pope s**t in the woods?
Highly flexible it is to, and works a treat in going around even the sharpest of bends.
So here we are at the end of the evening (GoogleEarth style view?)....track all stuck down and immovable with nary a nail in sight.
Thanks to a handy car battery, the first locomotive has circled the track....admittedly with a little smoking, but it looked prototypical. Pity about that SD9 that melted a wheel (gulp).
So there we have it. An evenings work with the result being a quick easy plaything to keep your modelling mojo warm during winter. I can remember back when we both had more hair, I handed Magikan a piece of 10mm chipboard with similar dimensions. He responded by quickly putting down a loop to run his LPA wagons around. At the time I think I dismissed it as not worth pursuing, but having played with this idea for a week now I'm suddenly not so sure.....could this be the quick and dirty way into Nz120 modelling for those who like things "In The Round"?