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N Scale Ballywillan, Co Longford.

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The railway station at Ballywillan has long fascinated me. In spite of being closed since 1960, it is amazingly well preserved, apart from a few huts and the tank on the water tower, all the buildings are still in place and very well preserved.  If it were still open it would be my local station seven miles from home. My local station now is Edgeworthstown, 18 miles from home. Every time I head for the train at Edgeworthstown I pass Ballywillan and always take the opportunity to curse Todd Andrews.

 

This will be first attempt at building a proper layout. I got into the hobby about 4 years ago, and became a big fan of Scalescenes downloadable kits. It has taken me that long to go from building kits to scratch building.  I now feel ready to try an actual layout of an actual station.

 

So far I have completed the Station House, next part of the project is the good shed.

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Look's great, I explored the Cavan Branch between Inny Junction and Crossdonney Junction on a Summer Holiday day trip from Dublin in 1985, at the time Ballywillian was a pretty unspoiled Midland Station the only thing missing being the track and signals.

Gilligan's pub/farmhouse inspired a 4mm model but I never got round to the other buildings

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Thank you all for the kind comments and positive feedback.

I started my railway modelling career in OO but soon developed a bigger interest in modelling buildings rather than railway modelling itself. That pushed me to make the switch to 2 mm scale. Being late middle aged this was challenging on my eyes and would not be possible without my headband magnifier. The great advantage of working in 2 mm scale card modelling over 4 mm, is that it halves the amount of card that has to be cut. This is a blessing for my late middle aged hands.

My scratch building really took off when I discovered the Chandwell YouTube channel. Michael, the host works in 2mm scale and he is creating the most amazing scratch built layout I have ever seen. He uses the free windows graphics program Inkscape. His work inspires me and makes me constantly strive to up my game.

https://www.youtube.com/c/Chandwell

My most ambitious scratch build so far is Bellmont House, in Coothill Co Cavan, in 2 mm scale. Not quite finished but getting very close.

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Edited by Kevin Sweeney
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Both your buildings excellent. N gauge is a difficult scale to work in as many features are small and fiddly to make and afix to buildings.  I really like the stone work on the Ballywillan station.

I watched the tutorial video on the Chandwell link in which Michael demonstrated making a low relief building using Inkscape. While the method was involved there were a lot of good tips that could be used in any model making scenario.

MikeO

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On 14/2/2022 at 3:51 PM, jhb171achill said:

Triple wow from me! That is truly spectacular even in a larger scale, never mind N! You've the colours and subtle shades off to a T as well. Truly inspirational work.

 

On Bellmont I used all Scalescenes Texture sheets. On the Ballywillan Station house, I created the stone work from photos of the building, using Inkscape. The slates on both buildings are Scalescenes.

23 hours ago, David Holman said:

Superb in any scale and hard to believe it is in 2mm. One of Angus's 5p pieces maybe?😁😁😁

Well done!

I will include a coin in the next photo I post. I will post some more photos of my completed buildings.

4 hours ago, MikeO said:

Both your buildings excellent. N gauge is a difficult scale to work in as many features are small and fiddly to make and afix to buildings.  I really like the stone work on the Ballywillan station.

I watched the tutorial video on the Chandwell link in which Michael demonstrated making a low relief building using Inkscape. While the method was involved there were a lot of good tips that could be used in any model making scenario.

MikeO

N scale is fiddly and in the case of Bellmont I had to simplify the portico, which has a lot of fine carved detail, I could not replicate in N but could be done in OO.

The biggest problem I had to overcome was impatience, cutting corners in my rush to see a finished product. It helps that I am a musician, it is like mastering a musical instrument, or a musical genre, keep repeating until you get it right and eventually you develop muscle memory.

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Three more of my models

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This was one my first scratch builds. The thatch is made with cotton wool, mixed with watered down PVA glue and acrylic paint, compressed between two panes of glass.

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The gate house at Lough Crew, Co Meath. All textures are Scalescenes. 

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Another early scratch build. A conjectural model of Finea Castle, which once stood next to the famous Bridge of Finea.

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Joining this forum has really energised me and helped to lift me out of the post lockdown blues. I have made good progress the last few days on the goods shed. Only the main doors and the downpipes left to do.

I am off shopping tomorrow and will buy a small roll of 0.6 mm mild steel welding wire. The plan is to paint it black and use it for downpipes. It will be a bit over scale, but working in N scale some compromises have to be made and it should look OK.

Next part of the project will be the signal box.

I am waiting for a bright overcast day, to head back to Ballywillan with my drone. The plan is to take photos looking south so I can experiment with the back scene. This will make for a very picturesque backscene with Lough Kinale, Lough Sheelin, Mullameen and the hills of Westmeath as a backdrop. I will have to return in the summer to catch this scene when the trees are in leaf.

I also want to photograph Gilligans pub and the barn, sheds and farmyard, and the railway cottages. All of which will be included in the layout.

The baseboard will be 7 feet by 2 feet. There will be some compression on the north end as I want to include the bridge that carried the railway over the road in the layout. Without compression the baseboard would be 9 feet long. I am also thinking of using some modellers license at the south end and including the crossing keepers cottage which is about a mile to the south.

 

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Edited by Kevin Sweeney
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The only thing that has changed visually in those photos in 37 years is the Guinness sign is gone from the barn. i will have to include the sign in my layout. While Gilligan's pub is closed the building is still intact, although an extension has been added to it. There was also a pub the Mill Tavern, down on the main road which is also closed. Two pubs in a rural townland is a good measure of how much of an economic asset the railway was to the local community.

While the railway is gone 62 years it remains a part of local culture and folklore. Old people in the area still tell stories about it.

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4 hours ago, Patrick Davey said:

This is a great thread, thanks for starting it Kevin, from one musician to another!

The more i think about it the more connections I see between making music and making models. Both require technical and artistic skills.

I'm an acoustic blues guitar player, there are so many old blues and folk songs that refer to trains and railways. Lots of lyrics about leaving on a train, gotta catch that train, I hear a train a coming, if you miss the train I'm on, meet me at the station etc. Great songs like Freight Train and Railroad Bill.

I have a good friend, a brilliant blues harmonica player, he can reproduce train whistle sounds and the clackety clack rhythm of a train running on old style tracks. 

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26 minutes ago, Kevin Sweeney said:

The more i think about it the more connections I see between making music and making models. Both require technical and artistic skills

Oh dear. I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket - explains a lot about my modelling….

I have actually derived much pleasure from having music on in the background when modelling. Bach works well for precision and style. But in truth I think the Sligo Leitrim ran to the music of Carolan : listening to O’Riada I can almost see the 7:20 mixed rattling along near Manorhamilton, dark clouds of smoke emerging to each beat of the bodhran…..

 

Edited by Galteemore
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3 hours ago, Galteemore said:

Oh dear. I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket - explains a lot about my modelling….

I have actually derived much pleasure from having music on in the background when modelling. Bach works well for precision and style. But in truth I think the Sligo Leitrim ran to the music of Carolan : listening to O’Riada I can almost see the 7:20 mixed rattling along near Manorhamilton, dark clouds of smoke emerging to each beat of the bodhran…..

Music and modelling are similar in that they are both crafts, we all start out raw, the more time and effort we can invest the better we get. We all start out making the same idiot mistakes, but we learn each time and hopefully do a bit better the next time. So long as we are having fun it's all good. The three chord trick player can have just as much fun at the house party as the virtuoso player.

O'Carolan and O’Riada were both musical geniuses. That's a lovely image of a steam train running to the beat of a bodran. Although on a bad day it might be more Percy French than O’Riada.

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5 hours ago, Kevin Sweeney said:

The more i think about it the more connections I see between making music and making models. Both require technical and artistic skills.

I'm an acoustic blues guitar player, there are so many old blues and folk songs that refer to trains and railways. Lots of lyrics about leaving on a train, gotta catch that train, I hear a train a coming, if you miss the train I'm on, meet me at the station etc. Great songs like Freight Train and Railroad Bill.

I have a good friend, a brilliant blues harmonica player, he can reproduce train whistle sounds and the clackety clack rhythm of a train running on old style tracks. 

If you’re a blues man, I’m sure you know my old friend Dermot Rooney from Belfast….

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10 hours ago, jhb171achill said:

If you’re a blues man, I’m sure you know my old friend Dermot Rooney from Belfast….

Only played in Belfast once. I played with quite a few Belfast bluesmen in the monthly Blues Jam in Monaghan but don't recall ever playing with Dermot. Belfast is a great city for the blues.

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Almost there with the signal cabin, just the downpipes to do. I'm going to leave out the finials on the roof. The bad weather is keeping me indoors, so making good progress at the moment.

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Below is a screen grab from the O'Dea collection in the National Library taken on October 12 1959, about a year before the line closed. The man in the photo is Neal Fearon. Originally from Crossdoney, Co Cavan. He spent most of his working life at Ballywillan. After it closed he was transferred to Mullingar. He still lived at Ballywillan and I'm told cycled to work in Mullingar, a mind boggling round trip of 50 miles. They were tougher people back then. He had a big family most of whom emigrated, but one of his sons is still living in the townland.

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Next job is the water tower.

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Continuing on the theme of the connection between music and modelling.

Famous musicians who are (or were) also railway modellers include.
Johnny Cash
Eric Clapton
Phil Collins
Roger Daltrey
John Entwistle
Merle Haggard
Jools Holland
Elton John
Frank Sinatra
Bruce Springsteen
Ringo Starr
Rod Stewart
Pete Waterman
Neil Young

George Harrison while not a modeller, was a trainspotter in this youth.

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Again not quite modelling, but Joe Brown was a loco fireman in his youth. Dvorak was also a spotter and was incensed when his son-in-law deputed for him one day at Prague station and took down the tender numbers instead!!! Honegger and Villa-Lobos also wrote railway themed compositions. And a regular staple of BBC radio was this…

.

Edited by Galteemore
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11 minutes ago, Kevin Sweeney said:

Continuing on the theme of the connection between music and modelling.

Famous musicians who are (or were) also railway modellers include.
Johnny Cash
Eric Clapton
Phil Collins
Roger Daltrey
John Entwistle
Merle Haggard
Jools Holland
Elton John
Frank Sinatra
Bruce Springsteen
Ringo Starr
Rod Stewart
Pete Waterman
Neil Young

George Harrison while not a modeller, was a trainspotter in this youth.

And two more...

 

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Yes, Kevin, I am a great fan of and take a great interest in Signal Cabins and signalling. That Signal Cabin is terrific for 2mm. I have went back and forwards between your model and your 1959 photograph and the model is very, very impressive. Looking forward to the Water Tower.

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