Sunday 29 November 2015

Train Set versus Model Railway

Continuing the vague theme of 'train set vs. model railway', a little post on something I'd made last year.  With the Foster Childs moved in, surprisingly all three females combined an interest in both girly tat with mechanical items.  Particularly, eldest Child wanted a train set at Christmas.  So I decided to build something.  Small house, so needed to be small and self contained, relatively basic but with play value.

As a legacy from the Britannia Model Village I had a quantity of some now-not-produced items known as XTS Train Sets.  These were a marvelous, modular system of coarse-scale N gauge mini train layouts.  They were rather nice items which originated in America I believe, not too heavily imported into the UK but they turn up on Ebay from time to time.  With nothing else planned for them, I set about working out what to make.  As the above pic shows, with all the components (and a few more off Ebay) a somewhat sprawling layout was vaguely planned, but I decided to scale it down a bit.

I decided to mount it on an A3 noticeboard to save a bit of time (it had green felt which made a nice grass covering, and saved me having to build a baseboard, and could be hung on the wall for storage).  Bluntly, doing the old Self Assessment Tax Form delayed starting on the project, so it needed to be achieved quickly.

Trial-fit of components proved I'd need to do some hacking and sawing of the tracks to get things to fit, providing a suitably exciting layout.

Trackplan sorted out, and track modified to a more customised shape, it still looked a little bland and boring.  This wasn't exactly going to be the pinnacle of railway modelling, but I didn't want something so basic.

A nights work, and the above was the result.  The felt/card board was sliced through with a scalpel, a second sheet of tougher wooden board glued on underneath, and a passable representation of a river was created.  A road from black foam, and some toy buildings from an ancient, rather battered Thomas train set bought cheaply online, and a few trees from the model railway bits-box, all providing a bit more landscape.

Its not going to win prizes, and its not going to get the golden trophy at the Warley Show or anything, but it serves a purpose, hopefully to be a gateway to more model making (Eldest Child is quite practical at that sort of thing), but equally if she decides to just be interested in boyfriends, phones, and unicorns, it won't be too much time effort or money wasted making it.

It has quite good play value too, as demonstrated by the fact that (in time honoured fashion) the adults spent more time playing with it at Christmas than the Childs did.  Two trains can run at once, with the possibility of the inevitable collision adding a note of drama to proceedings.

It was well received, and has proved reasonably robust.  And to this year; Middle Child has gone straight onto the 'dolls, ponies and boys' route to growing up stereo-typically, but Youngest Child want a train set.  So something similar, a bit simpler, using some of the other XTS components is under construction in time for this Christmas.  More to follow...

[assuming this blog still has any regular readers, given its sporadic updating, apologies.  Couple of commissions and the Self Assessment have rather slowed down photography and model making of late, but I'm trying to get back into the swing of things.  A solution to the storage problems for built models should allow me to get making again, with a couple of big projects to complete, not to mention a ton of Airfix kits bought in last years Black Friday sale to build...]

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