Fancy gradients and spectacular curves are all very well, but the railway still has to perform. Hence the trial run with a narrow-gauge train to ensure that nothing falls off, derails or looks too silly. Fortunately a pass was recorded against all three criteria, and we were cleared for takeoff.
After a bit of a lay-off for Christmas, the New Year and some sort of Indian adventure, the layout is progressing steadily, particularly on the narrow-gauge front. This egg-shaped bit of board will eventually be the site of a castle, surrounded not by a moat but by a complete circle of 009 track, wigglying its way up from the exchange sidings at the far end. And yes, we do know we have just made the wiring a bit more complicated that we originally intended.
And this weird bit of origami is a mock-up for the still house, just to show we are thinking ahead:
The bolts having arrived all the way from the southernmost model railway shop in England (according to the advertising anyway) we lost no time in putting them to use. There are a multitude of ways in which a bolt, two metal dowelling-things with teeth, two washers and one wingnut can be assembled, and we lost plenty of time in trying them all. Eventually a satisfactory combination was found, and thereafter steady progress was made in joining up the boards.
Note the appearance of the wall-mounted to-do list, using the somewhat low but reliable technology of paper and pen.
Whilst waiting for delivery of the special baseboard bolting appliances, the workforce started on the elevated base section for the distillery. Nominally a foot wide, the inevitable dimension creep somehow resulted in a surface area up to 50% larger than originally planned. We will just have to make the model bigger, on the basis that the only thing better than a small whisky distillery is a large one.
Clearly a serious business, as can be seen further in a newly-released video clip, certificate U/S: MOV00035
Sometimes an artist's skill is called for in making a model railway. One such occasion was in the design of the narrow-gauge section, when tight curves and steep gradients needed to be imposed on the bare canvas of the new baseboard. The use of a lamp flex to get the correct transitions was slightly unconventional and will probably not feature in Railway Modeller any time soon. But it worked, so far at least.
Just to prove last Thursday was no fluke, this week we did it all again, with frames topped with hardboard and cork tiles laid where the track seems likely to go. The second-hand trestles don't fit exactly, but not badly enough to warrant adapting them. In fact they confer a potential benefit, by providing space for bijou shelfettes on which to rest controllers, coffee cups, half-eaten fairy cakes, etc.
And to show we have A Proper Plan, here it is.
Sometimes drastic action is needed to kickstart a project, to give it the impetus which ensures momentum is generated right from the start. For SMRS, it was a decision to open up a new modelling day in a busy calendar, namely Thursday afternoons. And almost as soon as it was suggested, four members dived in at the deep end with saws, drills and screwdrivers. Within a couple of hours or so we had the frames of six baseboards stacked up in the corner, glue getting drier by the minute. It remains to be seen whether such enthusiasm lasts, but one can but hope.
After an extended fallow period (so essential to modern layout building don't you think?) work on the layout has re-started, using a new trackplan and new boards.
The meeting last Tuesday approved the design, and baseboard construction will start next month, when we have recovered from the exhibition.
In the meantime the Chairman leads from the front, building a whisky bond.