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Boxing Clever

One of the worst parts of Portchullin is the lack of thought I gave to transporting the layout about.  One of its attractions is the curve which makes it unusual but this makes the boards big, cumbersome and above all awkwardly shaped to transport.  It also made them difficult to create packing solutions for and the limited solutions that I adopted have never been good enough which has plagued the layout throughout its life.

It was a mistake I am anxious not to repeat with Glenmutchkin and now that it is beginning to accumulate some finished elements, it is definitely time to deal with this and create some cases to enclose the boards when they are either stored or transported.  My requirements for these were that they provide rugged protection to allow the layout to be transported without risk of being damaged.  I also wanted them to be easier to move, in particular on my own, and to pack away themselves without taking up significant amounts of space.

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There are (presently, there are plans……) six scenic boards and the crate for the first two – for the smallest boards – is now complete.  The concept I came up with is to use end pieces that secure the two boards on top of each other, face to face.  To this, I have added larger panels to close in the sides and prevent these exposed parts from damage.  To try and speed up assembly and also reduce the space that they need, each end is hinged to and end piece but conceived such that they fold onto each other so that they pack into the minimum possible space.

One of the other features I included was nicked from the St Merryn team was to introduce packing pieces to make sure that the ends stand clear of the rail ends.  A simple feature that I had not seen described before.

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To make the combined case and boards easier to transport I have introduced some trolley wheels – the operating crew are pretty excited with this and can hardly believe how much they are going to be spoilt!  The other little trick I am please to have employed is to introduce slight feet to enable fingers to get below the box to lift it.

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I have concluded that only the two smallest boards can be paired up in this manner as they are already quite heavy and will get more so as I add the remainder of the features to their topsides.  Thus the remaining board cases will be slightly different.

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Tracklaying Commences

Definite progress was made with Glenmutchkin over the last 10 days, in that the first portions of trackwork have been laid.  At last, it is an embryonic layout!

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This was started at the two platform faces as in practise this is one of the major setting out points.  This is because it is about the only straight bit of track on the layout and also because the platform needs to sit on top of the most substantial baseboard joint on the boards – where the front and back boards abut.  The platform will be a separate element of construction and will bolt over the joint, hence hiding it from view.

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The scrap tak is seen here sitting in the branch bay.  The branch bay platform face is to its full length, the main line platform face still needs to continue for 500mm – into the trainshed which presently can only be imagined!

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Now that the first few bits of track have been laid, a sense of scale starts to become apparent.  Not for me the “model to the railway boundary only” approach – I am very definitely attempting to portray the railway in its setting.

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The other major setting out point for the layout is the link into the engine shed; which is a single slip from the main line and a cross-over from the main run-around loop.  The baseboard joint is mid-way through the crossover, so deines this end of the layout.

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Timber!

A fairly big day in Glenmutckin’s life today; the start on baseboards.

As I mentioned in the last post; a couple of my team who help on Portchullin made the mistake of both criticising my carpentry skills and then admitting that they ran a joinery business.  I guess you can see that they thus talked their way into a task and we spent day one in doing these today.

I know that a bad workman blames their tools; but by god having all the proper kit makes things much faster and a great deal more accurate!! To say nothing of someone who knows rather more about joinery than I do!!

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The intended design will be predominantly open design around a skin of ply.  Initially a rectangular box is being made, as above.  After we have made the first batch of these we will then laminate a further layer of ply around this to provide the material to support the raised scenery and also to house the rebates for the pattern makers dowels – when we have done it hopefully the pictures will make it more clear.

We got three of these boxes made today; here are two of them – what is particularly pleasing is that they are perfectly level across the joint (see the bit of timber laid across the joint).  This is an area that I really did not get right on Portchullin and I note that lots of other modellers don’t either – right up to the famous person modelling Leamington Spa.

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So thanks Tim and Julian – I am sure some signals can work their way back!

And a small plug for my hosts; if you are looking for a powered loft ladder; give them a try http://www.st-joinery.co.uk/electricloftladder.html?gclid=COfvoN-HyrwCFYWWtAodjCQAcw

Roger Farnworth

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