Getting creative at last
Having spent what seemed like an age with the electrics, even though they are not yet complete, I really needed to do something creative for a change. The recent focus has been on the back scenes, as these will go a long way towards defining the setting of the layout. However, before that I needed to get the layout set up as it will eventually be when exhibited again. Arigna Town had built in legs on all baseboards, but these required lots of coach bolts, plus I wanted to be able to use the trestles and beams from Fintonagh as storage space in my workshop is tight.
A slight problem is that Fintonagh is just under 3 metres long, while Belmullet [like Arigna] is nearer five. Therefore what I have done is to make extension pieces to the longitudinal beams used under Fintonagh, so they now take the three scenic boards of Belmullet. The sliding/rotating fiddle yard keeps a single pair of hinged legs, adjusted to match the 120cm track height, and piggy backs off the end of the three scenic boards. With that settled, I could then focus on making new back scene boards.
These will eventually be in two parts - a permanently attached 'landscape' layer, with separately attached 'skyboards', behind. If I had gone with an all in one back scene, high enough to be covered by the front pelmet, it would have made the baseboards too big to get in the car for transport. I did think about having the sky on a separate, fabric back scene and may yet still go for this, but the structure the latter would require would be complicated and require more setting up time at shows.
At the moment, the back scene includes sky on it, simply because I am 'blocking in' the main scenic elements, to help me visualise what the scene will look like when it is finished. Had a railway actually been built to Belmullet, like as not the station would have been parallel to the Blacksod Bay shoreline and a right angles to the canal built to join it to Broadwater Bay. Hence the scene tries to represent a bit of the Belmullet peninsula on the right hand side, with it then opening out to the dark and brooding Achill Island in the distance. The latter section is one I'm so far fairly pleased with, but the peninsula section is currently looking too bright - even for Ireland's vivid greens, so will be toned down as more detail is added. However, I don't want the back scene to dominate the model railway.
Other 'blocking in' work has been to make shells for the new buildings and cut out spaces for ones that are being recycled from Arigna. The latter include the signal box, station building, water tower, cottage and barn. The new loco shed and goods shed will both be covered in Wills 'random stone', while in the corner, next to the goods shed will be a 'co-operative' warehouse clad with corrugated iron from the same source. Front left will be a small representation of a distillery - offices full relief, the rest very much low relief. Not exactly prototypical, but it adds a useful extra source of traffic for more interesting operation.
One other thing I've done is to transfer the LED strip lighting from Arigna to the underside of the shelves above where the layout mostly lives. This is important as I need to paint the back scenes in the same light as they will be exhibited - it is amazing how much difference different sorts of lighting can make to your palette.