'Ashburton' - MR239

 The trees are ready-to-plant imports from China. Tony has found scratchbuilding laborious, particularly when having to create multiple copses.CHRIS NEVARD

The trees are ready-to-plant imports from China. Tony has found scratchbuilding laborious, particularly when having to create multiple copses.CHRIS NEVARD

Tony Minchin moved from ‘OO’ to ‘N’ in a bid to conserve space. Thirty years and many layouts later and he’s never looked back.

During the reign of the GWR branch line layout, Ashburton was one of the most popular locations to model. But the increasingly varied selection of ready-to-run stock available now means that modellers are no longer bound by Western Region prototypes.

For some, however, the romantic notion of an Ashburton layout still burns brightly. And it’s a good job too, because Tony Minchin’s delightful 1:148 scale take on the Devonshire classic is too good to miss. And if you attend this year’s International N Gauge Show (p84), you won’t miss it!

It was an impromptu purchase of Great Western Branch Line Termini (Vol 2) by Paul Karau that inspired Tony to model Ashburton. He recalls: “I’ve never visited Ashburton, but I have been on the South Devon Railway, and that’s where I bought the book.”
Tony describes himself as a serial layout builder. In fact, he reckons he can average two layouts per year.

“I’m retired so it gives me something to do,” he explains. “‘Ashburton’ took me around six months to complete, but I was able to work on it most days.” Like most modellers, Tony started building in ‘OO’ gauge. He moved into ‘N’ gauge around 30 years ago so he could better indulge his layout building habit. “We live in a small house so I had to economise,” he says...

Find out more in MR239 - OUT AUGUST 24

 Period specific vehicles help to portray the early to mid-1950s setting. CHRIS NEVARD

Period specific vehicles help to portray the early to mid-1950s setting. CHRIS NEVARD