Felixstowe Area “N” Gauge Group

Overseas Railway Event 11th June
Our next public event is our ‘Overseas Railway’ show on 11th June. This is a replacement for our normal June exhibition. It is being held in the Welcome Hall (Open Day venue) and will run 11AM – 4PM with free entry.
We will have 6 layouts plus trade and a demo layout from Scograil. We have a couple of visiting layouts from Ipswich Railway Modellers (Clintons Bend) and Colin De’ath with his Glacier Express Layout. Some members are bringing their own personal layouts and the clubs own ‘Sutherland’ layout. We are short of operators, particularly for Sutherland (and provide relief for others). Therefore, we need some volunteers to step forward. Does not need to be for the full day, so if you can only manage an AM or PM that’s fine. Please let me know if you are able to help.
The Sutherland layout is quite straightforward to setup and operate and we have all the stock that’s needed to operate it. The layout is out at the worldwide event 14/15th May, after that we can get it back to the clubroom / setup and arrange some training sessions before the show.

Other events: The Ipswich Transport Festival will be running again this year. The original date was 25th June, but has been brought forward a week and is now Saturday 18th June.
For those who have not been before it’s a joint event between Ipswich Railway Modellers, Model Engineers, Transport Museum & the model shops, with vintage buses running between the venues. One ticket gains access to all events and the buses. Details at Ipswich Transport and Model Festival 2022 - Ipswich Railway Modellers Association (irma.org.uk)

Colin De’ath is organising another of his charity shows in October. Saturday 22nd October at the Memorial Hall, Trimley St Martin. As this is very close to our own Open Day we are supporting this with members own layouts rather than group ones.

For a long while I’ve had in mind to make a display track/diorama, for the purpose of taking photos of new items or to have items on display at shows. Mostly these are standard gauge, but I’m getting interested in narrow gauge in N scale so a single line of z-gauge 6.5mm track will be included too.
I started by looking for an appropriate box, and a friend of mine was throwing out a display box for some rally cars, after placing his cars in another display place. The box has a flip up to just past 90 degree, so the lid maximises the best view of the items to be shown. All I have to do is create a railway base and a background in the lid.

Starting off I found some old flexi-track and broken points, no good for layouts anymore but fine for static use. Then I made a base using wooden framework, card, a few bits of foam board and some cork sheet. All of these now form a removable track bed part that is the base of the display.

After ballasting the base and setting it aside to dry for a day, I moved on to the backdrop. Using cereal packet card I formed a curved backdrop using two pieces with some foam board ribs behind to add strength. While that dried, I cut and shaped a hillock of polystyrene as a foreground piece to mount such things as trees, bushes and fences.

Next the fun part: painting the back scene. Using some lessons learnt from watching many Bob Ross painting tutorials (If you don’t know of him check him out on YouTube - it’s a wonder to watch him paint), I tried my hand at his ‘wet on wet’ technique. This is designed for oil paints but if you are fast with acrylics the technique works just as well.

Starting with a sky blue background, I began with the distant mountains and working my way towards the foreground. Building up the layers and levels as best I could, using Bob’s style. I’m happy with the basic scene I was able to make, but I still have some colour matching to do for the blending between hillock grass, bushes and trees and the nearest painted hills. As well as a lot of trees bushes and other details to paint into the scene.

On next to some trees: Another friend of mine gave me a pack of 10 plastic tree frames. The frames are all the same shape and this set me to wonder how to make them different enough to not look the same when done. Thankfully this solved itself as I was doing them. I first sprayed the frames a basic brown, to get rid of the nasty plastic sheen they had. Once dry I used a spray adhesive on the limbs to stick some sheet matting, normally used for ground heather type plants. These different shades and sizes of the torn matting providing a nice difference in shape and size to each of the trees I made. Then a gave the tree another spray of adhesive and dipped them in a tub of multi-tone loose tree flock, tapping off the excess and patting the remaining amount onto the matting so it held in place. Lastly each tree is sprayed in a generous mist of watery PVA and left to dry overnight. The end result is some good looking trees that have fluffy looking foliage but without any bits dropping off.

After using grass sheet on the hillock, the trees are pushed into place, as you can see the colours of the backdrop are yet to be matched better with the hillock shades. But I’ll get to that another time.

Adding more detail to the track base, I made a retaining wall from the higher-level standard gauge 9mm track, and the lower-level narrow gauge 6.5mm line at the front. This was out of 1.5mm card and painted a concrete grey for now. As this is a country scene, I have used static grass between the lines, which is common in many countries out in the countryside.

At either side of the display, I used the clear insert plastic from the Dapol boxes are a buffer like boundary, to stop stock from just rolling off if the display is knocked. The Dapol inserts are great for window and other uses of clear plastic in modelling.
Overall, I’m happy with this stage of the build, its good enough to be used for photos, but I can improve it again in the future with more details, better colour matching and weathering.

LAYOUT PROGRESS by Another Chris
Not much had happened up to the last newsletter on the layout progress, hence my lack of report!
However, I have managed to push on with the new layout and get a circle of track down using the new radius jigs I detailed in my last article.
Just a single track round at the moment, but will be double. This is just a temporary line to decide where I want everything to go. Once I've finalised the track plan, the ply top which is only held down with a couple of temporary screws in each section, will be lifted and taken into the workshop to be cut to the shape of the trackbed. The non trackbed ply will then be fixed back in place on the frames in the same place it came from and the actual trackbed ply will be raised nearly 3" all the way round to create an embankment. From track level, the surrounding land can then go up or down as required.

In the photo, the room is extremely untidy, but you know how it goes once you get into something, more and more bits come out - they should all get put away again straight away, but it doesn't always happen like that...
Under the board, on the left you can just see where the shunting layout lives and on the right, you can see the work bench on wheels which rolls out into the middle of the room, ready for use.
So that's about where I am at the moment on that, having a circle of track does help to get some locos run in - my own personal method is slow running and one hour in one direction, one hour in reverse, then turn the loco round and repeat, four hours running in. I do find this makes for a very smooth-running loco - as long as the loco wasn't a 'Friday afternoon' loco in the first place of course, if that's the case - then it goes back to the dealer.
Now you'll understand why I was unable to keep my 8' long viaduct layout, there just wasn't room for it!
That layout has a new home with the Kings Lynn model railway club, they have great plans for it I'm told! I'm pleased it's gone to a good home, layouts have a habit of becoming part of you, well - maybe that's just me...

NEW TOYS Some new models recently purchased by club members:

We have been able to get a new train load of European GATX bogie tankers by Fleischmann: 4 packs, 12 tankers in total.

Fleischmann 825813 – 3-teiliges set, Kesselwagen, GATX.

I've picked up a couple of additions to my loco fleet lately.
A new Dapol class 27 and a previously enjoyed B1.

My main modelling interest is the early BR years, steam from 1948 to green diesel era.
Saying that, I can deviate a little from that time, and have a growing collection of LNER stock as well as some representation of the blue diesel era. An EWS, class 66 has also joined the ranks, 'It was too good to pass up', was the excuse i gave the wife!
Enjoy your modelling folks & remember, run what you want, it's your railway! ??