LAYOUT: Operation Abyss
An old Airfix kit and the setting of two clear goals inspired JAMES STYLES to break the habit of a lifetime and finish this military-themed dockside.
An old Airfix kit inspired James Styles to break the habit of a lifetime and finish this military-themed dockside layout..
Here at Model Rail, we believe nothing can evoke that childlike sense of nostalgia quite like a model railway. But toy soldiers certainly come close. And there’s no shortage of these or boats, tanks and War Department rolling stock - on James Styles’ ‘Operation Abyss’, a layout that would surely delight every schoolboy in the country. Indeed, it’s childhood memories of train sets past that fuel James’ passion today: “We had a large layout in a spare room at home, when I was a child. The memory has stayed with me,” he says. But despite this lifelong love for model making, ‘Operation Abyss’ is James’ first completed layout. “I’ve started many,” he explains, “but this is the only layout I’ve actually ever finished!” So where did James find the motivation to stick with ‘Operation Abyss’? He recalls: “I set myself two goals: to exhibit the layout and to get it featured in Model Rail.” James has fulfilled both objectives, having already exhibited ‘Operation Abyss’ at two exhibitions and, of course, it has now been immortalised in print.
When visiting the layout my eye was immediately drawn to the Vosper Motor Torpedo Boat that sits dockside. James explains its significance: “The Torpedo Boat started the whole layout. My mother and father bought me the Airfix kit and the layout was built around it.” The layout also includes an X-craft midget submarine, which is an ode to James’ grandfather: “My grandfather was in the Royal Navy during the Second World War,” he explains. “He served on an X-craft, which had a crew of just two. He’s the last surviving crew member, and finished his naval career as a Destroyer Commander. “I couldn’t source a kit in the UK, so I ended up ordering a resin kit from Pavla Models - imported from Eastern Europe. “The midget submarine was