New Year's resolutions

Well, the Christmas break came and went without any forward movement on any of the projects I mentioned last time. No excuses. I think I was suffering from the modelling equivalent of ‘Writer’s block,’ coupled to the general inertia that goes with Christmas. It really is so much easier to sit and watch a succession of those innocuous movies where an American girl encounters a handsome English-speaking Prince from some obscure ‘European’ country with a name ending in ‘ovia’, and where they get off to a bad start before the inevitable happy ending. So, I blame Hallmark and Netflix for my lack of modelling progress!

Once the festivities were over, I did begin some more scenic work on the ‘N’ gauge Staines branch shelf layout. I’ve reached as far as the bridge over the SR lines now, and quickly filled in the sloping incline that takes the branch up over the Southern lines to Windsor. The bridge is double track width but when the line was under construction the company ran out of cash and only one track was ever laid.

I ‘scenicked’ the incline using some scraps of insulation covered with plaster cloth. To match the bridge, I made the whole thing double track width. I did not need to consult my reference pictures. I just built it how I knew it was. A derelict platelayers hut stood close to the bridge and it was only when I looked at pictures of the hut, I realised that by failing to consult my references, I had made the incline too wide.
A moment’s thought made me realise my mistake. The company was short of money. It had already built bridges wider than necessary. It was time to be realistic. Why spend yet more on matching approaches? The incline was clearly single-track width and since it is a very obvious man-made feature, it really does need to look right. There was no alternative but to rip it up and start again.

A week after New Year, and I was back to where I started, with the rebuilt incline waiting for some static grass. Checking those references also showed me that the post-and-wire fences did, indeed, mark the double-track width they it would have been if there had been a second track. It is important to get these things right.

The next jobs to tackle will be how to make those fences in such a small scale and how to create the wooden post fixed distant signal which dominated the branch at this point. It seems odd that, even in 4mm:1ft scale there is no readily available kit for a fixed distant signal, the common GWR equivalent of a ‘Caution’ sign. I solved that problem in the end, by modifying a Ratio plastic kit.

The picture I should have looked at, taken on the day the branch closed in 1965. Today, the area to the left of the railway contains the M25 motorway and a reservoir.  CHRIS LEIGH

The picture I should have looked at, taken on the day the branch closed in 1965. Today, the area to the left of the railway contains the M25 motorway and a reservoir. CHRIS LEIGH

The result of  not  consulting the references first!

The result of not consulting the references first!