Grime and Punishment

They say that a layout is never truly finished. I’m afraid I managed to disprove that supposition with my last layout, which I definitely did finish. Now I’m bored, which is why I’m embarking on a new layout. Like the last one, this will be a micro.

 IMG_0823_2Hopefully this mock-up gives you some idea of the sort of thing I’m going for. The setting is basically going to be somewhere in London’s Docklands, with brooding warehouses looming on all sides, two-level track and a small canal basin. I’m not aiming to be even remotely realistic here, aiming primarily for atmosphere. You see, I’m a great fan of grime and rust. I’m weird like that. I love sooty, crumbling brickwork, corroded metal, abandoned buildings and places where I shouldn’t be. This is going to be a version of the Docklands that celebrates that. A Dickensian caricature of reality.

There is quite a bit that’s not so obvious from the photo. Under the bridge, I’m planning to have the canal – all silted up, maybe a grounded barge. There will be a similarly decrepit crane or two, a reminder of better days. The sheets of card will be hacked into giant corrugated iron warehouses. Were there ever warehouses that big made of corrugated iron? In this version of reality, of course there were. And they were never maintained, either.

It’s a scrap box project, that is to say, I’m trying to make it using mostly things dredged up from my scrap box with minimal expenditure. The signal box and pagoda shed are both Wills, the bridge is Hornby, the buffer stop is Peco. Track is Hornby. The water tower is from Hornby’s Thomas the Tank Engine range, and is perfect for light and industrial railways.

The baseboard cost a grand total of £4.50, being the frame from a dirt-cheap artist’s canvas with a sheet of foamcore mounted on top. I’m planning on adding at least two more sheets of foamcore, partly for the sake of strength and partly so that the canal will have a bit of depth when I hack it out.

You’ll recall that I mentioned corrugated iron warehouses. These were inspired by a lucky find in an art materials shop in Soho (Cass Art of Berwick Street, if you’re interested). They had corrugated card in A4 sheets – slightly overscale for 4mm, but again, this ain’t reality. In any case, it’s cheaper than plasticard and easier to work with than plastic sheets. The sheets are available in several colours; I went with white, as I plan to paint the Dickens out of these things.

I’ll keep you posted.


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