Saturday 20 March 2021

Saturday Ramble: New layouts

 I think I've found the answer. 

I had one of those Facebook photo reminders: 'this is what you were doing a year ago'. This focused the mind slightly as it was a picture of two packages of White Rose baseboards. Wind back a couple of days and I could have replicated the same scene by the front door. This either proves that I'm stunningly accurate with timing or exceedingly tedious and un-bending... take your pick. Self mockery aside what it proves is reason. I've been kicking a couple of 4mm scale ideas around for months with some progress, but little enthusiasm. This can probably be put down to the current social climate - what or who am I building it for? 

These annual packages of plywood are different. Over the last 10-15 years I've built a number of layouts on my own or with Mr. Hill. These have covered most of the popular subjects and a couple of the unpopular ones as well; but they all have one thing in common - they were built for exhibitions. Contrast that to the last two years and now: two layouts built in quite short order... because I had to. The target point in both cases was the November RM and Warley (more of that in a mo) but I didn't have to go through all the head scratching and angst about would this work and what did I want. Both these two layouts were utterly useless to me on a personal level: one has been sold, the other is waiting for a buyer. The point is, they got built. I wasn't trying to prove anything or do something new, they just needed to be efficient in execution.

The above photo is baseboard 1 of 2 for the new Peco in-house N gauge project; it's been started. A small brace of buildings have already been pre-built to act as spacing tools. I have to get this done for a copy deadline of August and possibly Warley should it happen. I'm not staking my life on the later as yet another local show pulled the 2021 date yesterday and of course I'm only seeing the ones to which I had outstanding commitments. The August line is however hard and fast. My answer from the top of the page then is that if I want to build a layout I have to get someone to tell me to do it and give me a finish date.


  1. Even I find that I need some sort of deadline to push a layout through to (sort of) completion and I don't really exhibit my stuff. "Challenges", while they've started me off on a number of projects, don't cut it...although I have managed a few entries, more have fallen by the wayside, for example the 009 challenge set by your good self a couple of years ago is still bereft of track although at least I built the baseboards!
    Which is the local show? As far as I know, the event at the Bredgar and Wormshill will be going ahead and I suspect the one at Tinker's Park will (as it did last year) but I haven't heard about anything else.

  2. Possibly Burgess Hill Simon. I got an email saying they've reluctantly cancelled the 2021 exhibition. I need a deadline too, otherwise I slow right down on the current project, go off-piste and start thinking about the next layout or three. British HO (if I can find where on earth I put the inexpensive stock I collected for it a couple of years ago), 1:35 trams on 32mm track. It goes on...

    1. Thanks Les...I've only been to the Burgess Hill show a few times, it's a good show. Hope it returns next year...
      I'm trying to build/convert enough EM rolling stock for a layout once I have room for one as well as finish the 009 Not APA Box Inglenook. The latter may go to a show later this year.

  3. Fits and bursts, although I agree that a deadline, externally, or otherwise, does greatly help. With no actual end date, things can be pushed into the long grass... things like my current British HO. Problems with stock production have lead me down a BR (SR) rabbit hole. Toying with the Scottish one ending up as a German one..... a chance to run all those odd diesels and steam locomotives, possibly even the Glaskasten!

    Unknown (AKA Andrew Knights)

    1. Know what you mean Andrew. I ended up with 3 Lima 33s, a couple of 4Fs (for conversion?), a class 22 of dubious parentage and hopeless mech and a Fleischmann diesel-hydraulic. I believe the polite description is "eclectic". There are others...

  4. Exhibitions? Do I miss them? Yes and no. Currently Compass Point has one outstanding invite in November. I agreed cautiously but if it doesn't go ahead I won't lose any sleep over it. Meanwhile I've been happily pottering away building two very different layouts, switching between them when the mood takes me. Maybe they will appear at an exhibition one day, but to be honest, I'm quite happy just to share my progress on the ng forum and on social media.

  5. Indeed, I agree regarding exhibition ambivelance. I do miss thecomments and conversation, I don't miss the car loading and early morning drives, the unloading, loading and such.
    It is quite pleasant to, now I have a set of "Sitting Room Legs" that allow layout erection with no furniture disturbance, playing with and building as, when and what I wish.
    Would I return to "The Circuit"? Very probably but not to the extent I did in the past (he says boldly!).

    Andrew Knights