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Monday, May 19, 2014

HM Dockyard 6

Hi there blog buddies,

Sorry about the slight delay from the last blog to this blog but life has a way of interfering with the hobby we so like to indulge in.  This time I am starting with the dockside track work and how I created the concrete roadways that were so loved buy the military when building bases.

 There were a few things I wish I had thought of before starting and not after. One of them was to pre-colour the plaster mix to roughly the final colour so that in the very likely event of the plaster getting damaged setting up the layout for shows then a glaring white edge would not be as obvious. 

I did read an article on imbeding railway track which said to remember to ensure that the track should be slightly proud of the plaster level as this makes cleaning the track so much easier and the track rubber does not rub  the roadbed surface away.

The plaster was just the cheap self mix type from Dixons which ended up being a bit too soft to carve so if doing it again I would have chose a plaster of Paris type which would also dry quicker.

I wanted to leave a gap over the rail joints until I had completed the wiring which should have been done before the plastering was started. 

I wanted to try and achieve the affect shown in the image of Chatham dockyard with the track set into a concrete roadway the has been broken and repaired many times over the years.

The siding track beds were to be similar to the track work shown here also at Chatham dockyard with ash covered sleepers and lots of vegetation.
I wanted to design some new factory buildings for my modeling business ( so these were roughly put together with mockups to give me the right feel I was looking for before I cut out the dry dock base. The road going vehicles are a AEC Matador Artillery Tractor Royal Navy and an AEC British road Services lorry and the loco is  class 14 "Teddy Bear" I also extensively tested the rolling stock over the baseboard joints before finally plastering them over. 
I now started to lay the rails for the dockside cranes. Unfortunately during cutting out the trenches in the roadway I accidentally cut one of the drop wires. 
This was easily fixed with the application of some solder and the cable was re-buried.
 The crane rails were laid along both docksides and overlapped at the very end of the dock to give the cranes the maximum run of the docks for loading and unloading.
Now that the board joints are all lined up and thoroughly tested and all the section drop wires have been soldered in place for DC section control I can now turn my thoughts to ballasting the layout. For the main line coming in and the run round loop I have used N Scale ballast which looks just the right size. 

For the rest of the layout I wanted a mixture of ash and sand for the ballast as the siding sleepers (Ties)  would have been almost buried over the years due to lack of maintenance as the military rail link was coming to the end of its useful service due to better road access. I applied the ballast using a small tub with a hole in it, all very technical. I then spread it using a small paint brush and a Q tip and spray glued it in place using a diluted mix of water and white 
glue from an old spray bottle.

The first and foremost consideration when designing the layout was for as near perfect running as possible, so with this in mind I spent a long time ensuring that all the ballast was sited perfectly in place and would not foul the points (Switches) or rolling stock. The fine sand for the sidings came from Georgian Bay in Ontario where the sand is wonderfully fine and we had a great day out colllecting it.

One thing to remember when spray gluing the ballast in place is to cover everything you don't want sprayed and straight after spraying, clean all the inside edges of the point blades before the glue sets and causes electrician problems.

A view looking towards the dockside end of the layout. The main line runs in through the middle of the layout with the run round loop to the left and all on the level. The kickback siding on the right rises up to a mid level point where there is a siding for the naval research station and then forward to a higher level above the dock where the naval stores are situated with a small loading and unloading platform.

I had decided to site the signal cut into the banking of the stores siding as shown on the image. The signal box was a download from one of my competitors and is actually quite nice. It will suffice until I can get round to designing one of my own. 

The hole was cut and boxed in with card. The walls will be lined with my own brick paper and the walls topped with coping stones carved from balsa wood and painted to represent the sandy coloured sandstone of the local area.

The box is slightly forward of the supporting wall as to build the box straight into the banking, with the layout based in the North west of Scotland, it would have been a bad idea with the amount of rainfall we have would have amounted to a very damp and wet box basement.

The retaining walls needed to be completed at the dockside end. These were made from balsa sheets and glued and pinned in place then plastered into the surrounding landscape. 

The retaining walls will be covered with my own brick walling and topped with coping stones made from balsawood.

This view shows more of the mock up buildings in place which will eventually become part of my building kits. This view give you a good idea of the numerous grades built into the layout to create a bit of operational interest. At the far end is the naval research facility which has its own sidings before the kickback siding runs downhill towards the dockyard.
Now the dockyard is starting to take shape as I cut out the dock basin and start adding the mock up buildings and crane base to ensure that everything fits. Mock-ups are  great way of testing out ideas using cheap and disposable cardboard. The printed windows and doors are from my range and give the mock-ups a bit of realism.
The retaining walls were now built for the various ancillary buildings on the layout such as the fuel pumping station, the fuel holding tank and various offices and naval workshops.

The retaining walls are again made from balsa wood and covered in my own 3DK brick papers which if I do say so myself are extremely good, ops I just did.
The mock-up for the ships fuel pumping station has been placed roughly where it will finally sit and checked for sizes and clearances. The small pumping station office and workshop is opposite the pumping station and is well on its way to finishing and will be added to the range of downloadable building kits.

 At the end of the layout the design for the naval top secret research station has been chopped and changed to roughly what you see in the image. The large engineering works will be sited at an angle on the rear wall facing the tracks.
 And to end this HMS Dockyard blog, a look at something slightly bigger but along the same vein as mine, Chris Mead's Overlord, representing D-Day preparations in 1944. wonderful and so atmospheric.

Thanks for joining me in my rambles.

And the thought for today is: “War does not determine who is right
only who is left. “Bertrand Russell



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