Felixstowe Area “N” Gauge Group

It will be of no surprise that events previously listed in my diary slot have all been cancelled for the foreseeable time.
Looking at the websites for the various clubs the majority have simply cancelled this year and moved their show to the equivalent 2021 date.
Regarding our own exhibition, after discussion with the committee I’ve taken the decision that we should cancel for this year and move to a 2021 date.
A number of our members are isolating and unlikely to be available for June and I’ve also had some external exhibitors / helpers who have decided to pull out for this year.
Therefore, we do not have the exhibits / manpower to run the show (even if restrictions were lifted).
Given the unpredictability of the current situation it’s impossible to plan for a date later in the year so following the model of other clubs in deferring by a year is the only sensible option.

Every cloud has a silver lining. I’m one of those that received the NHS letter to stay at home for three months, so I have plenty of time on my hands!
I’ve been doing some kitbashing, and the results have, I think, been pretty good.
I loved the look of the buildings in a Scalescenes kit, designed to be a 00 boxfile layout – basically everything packs down into a box file for transit/storage.

Having downloaded the kit, I printed it out at 51% to bring it to N gauge.
I wanted to use it as a low profile factory on my back scene, so it had to be “straightened out”.
The rooftop hopper is only a quarter modelled in the kit as it is in a corner, so that had to be built out to half scale.
I had to modify the building that it sits on too, and then as a final touch I scratch built some upper storeys for the flat roofed building at the extreme left.
A little bit of fettling and alteration here and there, and this is the finished result.

I’m going to use it as an agricultural chemicals factory I think.

OLD – NEW LAYOUT (part 1) by Trevor
I had been planning to bring along a surprise layout to the exhibition in June. However, as this will now not happen, I thought I’d write about in instead.
First a bit of background / history. Some 10+ years ago the Ipswich club (IRMA) held a series of summer exhibitions which latterly was held in the hall near the Rushmere water tower.
For one of the last events a challenge was set down to members to build a small layout with a fixed baseboard area.
This was set as 8 square feet for OO gauge with pro rata sizing for other gauges i.e. 4’ for 2mm / ‘n’ gauge or 14’ for O gauge.
I teamed up with another member to produce an ‘n’ gauge layout (and I built an O gauge dock side myself as well).
Whilst most people opted for a simple rectangular layout e.g. (Iain Taylors City Road which has visited our shows in the past), we worked out that by building a circular layout it would be possible to have a continual run layout instead of the more common shunting type.
Checking the rules, it was permitted to have a baseboard with a central hole, so a layout resembling a Polo Mint was possible.
Setting the inner hole to have a radius of 12” a simple bit of pr2 of the outer circle minus the inner hole gives an outer radius 18”.
This means that the baseboard is a strip 6” wide. By offsetting the central hole, a baseboard 3” deep on one side and 9” depth on the other is possible.
Based on this configuration a layout was designed.

The final design has a circle of track around the outside of the layout which passes through the station area and under a hidden area included a sequential fiddle yard with two sections.
The station has a branching line which goes to a hidden circle around the inside of the layout incorporating a three section sequential fiddle yard which then re-joins the outer loop under the hidden area.
The layout breaks down into three main parts; single piece flat baseboard, circular backscene / inner yard cover and a scenic hillside covering the outer fiddle yard.
Difficult to explain, but the accompanying images should help explain this.
As the fiddle yards are hidden, they are automated so that once a train leaves the yard, the other trains move forward to take up the vacated space. A future article will explain how this was achieved.
My part of the project was the creation of the baseboard / trackwork and the electronics. My clubmate worked on the scenics and provided suitable rolling stock.
The layout was shown at the summer exhibition and performed reasonably well. Variations in the speed of stock for a given controller output did cause some trains to overrun fiddle yard sections.
There were also a few glitches in the control circuits causing false running.
After the show my friend used the layout for several years as a home layout / test track. Due to space limitations and a young family member the layout has returned to me.
My plan was to refresh the layout and convert to a UK based layout for our exhibition.
The size available does mean that the scenic capabilities are quite limited, so I might now use this as a testbed to perfect the control circuits.

Layout images;

Overhead view of the baseboard minus covers. At the bottom is the station area with junction tracks and goods siding.
At the top is the hidden fiddle yard area with two section on the outer loop.
The inner loop requires a diamond crossing to enter / exit the inner fiddle yard with three storage sections.

The baseboard was cut out of a sheet of plywood using a router with a circular adapter.
Rectangular ply sections were then used to stiffen the circle with thin 1mm ply wrapped around the inner and outer circles.
Image also shows the control circuits.

Station area with backscene and yard cover in place.

Fiddle yard cover.

Rear view of fiddle yard area.

MY HOME LAYOUT (part 2) by Mike

The first time I built this garage kit, around five years ago, it was one of the first kits I had attempted.
It took me two days, and went onto my home layout.
I had a big spare area on Weston, the exhibition layout I am building now, and decided to use it for a run down back street car mechanics and sales yard, so it was back to the garage kit.
It took me just three hours this time! Not only that, but it is a much crisper and cleaner build – the benefit of five years of modelling experience!