Eddie Reffin, my fellow operator, is good at the ‘what if’ scenarios. He is also also a very good operator, a shrewd observer of modelling life and a very talented modeller too. He quickly identified a problem with the hidden staging yard on Dudley Heath. When something goes wrong under the scenery, sorting it out turned out to be awkward, as realised when the layout was exhibited at Doncaster last month. Despite the best track laying I could manage, my usually optimistic take on things and a determination to ‘make it work’; one or two errors with running trains in and out of the hidden staging yard disrupted the smooth flow of trains a couple of times. So, on my return, I ripped out the scenery that I had started and had a go at lift out panels.
Made of hard board, they are light weight and strong. hardboard is ideal because it can be bent to gentle curves and easily cut and shaped to fit awkward areas too. However, disguising the flat appearance it has requires some texture. I used hanging basket liner, cut into small pieces, trimmed and glued into place as an initial under layer of scenery.
The flat appearance of the lift out sections is being well covered with texture. Woodland Scenics fine turf is sparingly applied over the top using firm hold hair spray to secure it. Tress and bushes follow – snipped up pieces of Woodland Scenics foliage.
At the time of writing, the work on this side of the layout is nearly complete. The platforms are in the paint shop for a first coat of light grey; station lamps are being made up and I have dozens of little figures to add to the layout too.
It should all be nicely glued down by the time the car has to be loaded for the long haul to Wood Green and Alexandra Palace! And that hidden staging yard is now completely accessible. You know, there won’t be a single derailment in those staging sidings and those panels will stay in place the whole time!