The ground cover is simply that household emulsion with a mix of Gaugemaster and Javis scatter sprinkled on when still wet. Any bids for freedom by the scatter is then curbed with applications of my hairspray. The terrain is actually completely flat -–there is no built up ground. On an industrial setting such as this I think I get away with it.
There are also wide expanses of muddy yards and unmetalled roads at the front of the layout. I textured the ground first by sticking scrap offcuts of thin balsa wood to the ground. Then I ladled out a load of the emulsion, mixed in some Javis scatter and sand, and pushed it around until I was happy with the texture.
It was then sprinkled with four different shades of fine sand that stuck to the wet paint, and allowed to dry. It shrinks a little when drying; so any that looks too deep won’t be when dry. I then used a tin of yacht varnish for water effects over the top. This also helps stick the sprinkled sand in place.
The cobbles in the warehouse area are Metcalfe card cobbles. Salvaged from the previous layout, I cut the various bits and fitted them between the tracks. The area beside the tracks was built up with thin Balsa scraps to get the cobbles to rail height. A watered down mix of paint makes them look suitably weathered, and blends them in to the muddy area quite nicely.
The oil terminal area was fitted out with bits from the Ratio oil depot kits. Piping is just trimmed sprue off old kits, heated with a lighter to get the bends going the right way. The lamps were old 1970s era accessories from my Father-in-law’s loft. They seem to work, even if they do not actually light up.
The scrapyard was the most fun. The ground cover was done as per the mud described above. Then, whilst still wet, leftovers of long dismantles or unfinished kits were glued and squashed into the mud with PVA.
Once the initial pass of junk was bedded in, I let it all dry. Further junk was then built up using polystyrene cement, and I just kept adding stuff until my scrap boxes were virtually empty. In there is the superstructure off Airfix models of HMS Belfast, Cumberland, King George V, Ark Royal, the Prinz Eugen and Bismarck.
I also had an old Tamiya Leopard tank that donated all manner of bits, along with a Dapol pug kit, an Airfix RAF emergency set and other kits that I don’t even know what they were. Any leftovers from old Ratio kits went in too. Some of the girders were broken bits salvaged off the former model railway.
The fact that a lot of these bits were painted and detailed from their former lives meant that there is a wonderful mix of distressed paint jobs on stuff. When weathered with washes of rust coloured paint and the dirty brush cleaner from every time I cleaned my paintbrushes it all really does look the part. Varnish was then added to simulate water, including pools on some of the junk.
Signalling is almost non existent. The final G3 switch was used to breath life into a Hornby Dublo colour light signal whose base had long since been broken in the mist of time. At the other end a salvaged Ratio semaphore signal is non-working, though the great big hand from the sky can move the arms if ever necessary.
In all, the whole thing cost me around £130 in fresh outlay, and as said before this was almost all in the cost of point motors and wire (it used more wire than I could ever have imagined).
The wood cost £20, and the paint was another £10.99. Any other cost was limited to a couple of tins of Humbrol enamel and a couple of cans of hairspray to help stick the scatter down. A quick tip here is to go for the strongest brand of cheap supermarket own.
You might be amazed at how well hairspray will actually stick things. Don’t use perfumed though, as it is extra unnecessary cost, and the smell will linger on your model.
So far the whole thing has worked well and it has been fun to build. I have deliberately tried to steer clear of anything that screams a specific rigid date, so whilst my favoured period is late 1970s/early 1980s, it would happily work for any period from the 1930s (1920s if the colour light signal is carefully ignored) through to the early 1990s.
The headshunts are long enough that a class 24/25 can shunt it and get access all areas with a single MCO mineral wagon or VVV van, or alternatively an 08/04 can shunt it with two such wagons at a time. I’ve kept all the original Bachmann small type tension lock couplings, and built myself a hand held device that is a flat piece of plastic card on a stick of sprue that is delightfully easy to uncouple stock.
The only trouble is that a single operator cannot reach the controller and uncouple tankers at the back of the oil depot, unless they have much longer arms than I do. Power is provided by a single Gaugemaster Series D controller that allows outputs of 0-12V DC for the trains as well as 12V DC and 16V AC for the accessories.
The end result is effective, and above all, cheap. It goes to prove that making a model railway that is fun to operate doesn’t have to be expensive or take a lot of space. This model was built in OO (similar to HO for people outside of the UK) but the techniques can just as easily be applied to a number of other scales.