Clean your lay­out

He’s not the ti­di­est per­son in the world, but Chris Leigh has re­solved to turn over a new leaf and start by or­gan­is­ing his rail­way room and his lay­out.

Model Rail (UK) - - Contents -

Chris Leigh de­cides it’s time for a fresh start by spring-clean­ing and or­gan­is­ing his rail­way room and lay­out.

I’m not a tidy or or­gan­ised per­son. My col­leagues, Ge­orge, Chris and Richard are. But I lurch from one project to the next, of­ten with­out pause for breath, never mind stop­ping to tidy up. But there’s no deny­ing that a project goes more smoothly when you’re or­gan­ised, your work­bench is clear and you know ex­actly where all your tools and ma­te­ri­als are. Of course, the par­tic­u­lar re­quire­ments of work­ing for Model Rail pro­duce pres­sures which other mod­ellers don’t have. I cur­rently have no fewer than seven Model Rail projects in progress, plus a num­ber of other projects which are not for the mag­a­zine and mostly con­cern my Cana­dian lay­out. I sus­pect most mod­ellers fit into one of two cat­e­gories, ei­ther the ‘neat and tidy’ like my col­leagues, or the ‘un­tidy and dis­or­gan­ised’, like me. One of the prob­lems with be­ing un­tidy and dis­or­gan­ised is that the amount of mod­el­ling ‘kit’ that one has grows ex­po­nen­tially. I no­ticed this as I built ‘Pol­wyd­de­lan’, my ‘OO’ gauge Cor­nish har­bour lay­out. As the need arose to find cer­tain ma­te­ri­als, ac­ces­sories and scenic items, my ex­pe­ri­ence var­ied. For in­stance, I have a stor­age drawer for boats and har­bour-re­lated items. This in­cludes lots of Har­burn Ham­let de­tail items, plus small de­tails such as an­chors, fair­leads and bol­lards and lengths of chain and thread in vary­ing sizes and colours to rep­re­sent rope. As a con­se­quence, the har­bour con­struc­tion and de­tail­ing was an easy and en­joy­able job.


On the other hand, my much larger col­lec­tion of sta­tion parts, de­tails and ac­ces­sories is spread all over the place – some in my mod­el­ling room, some on the work­bench, some out­doors in the shed. I knew that I had such things as Ra­tio GWR spear fenc­ing but when I came to need it I couldn’t find it, so I bought more. A week later, guess what I found? Mul­ti­ply this across the vast range of ‘OO’ ac­ces­sories and it is no won­der I have boxes and draw­ers full of the stuff, none of it or­gan­ised. Well, I ex­ag­ger­ate slightly. I have or­gan­ised my stocks of styrene sheet, Ever­green and Plas­truct styrene strip, de­cal sheets and brick pa­per so that I know what I’ve got and where it is. I only did this af­ter years of frus­tra­tion at not be­ing able to find things when I needed them. I have items for ‘OO’ British, ‘HO’ Cana­dian, and ‘O’ gauge British, and as read­ers of MR246 will know, I’m now ven­tur­ing into ‘N’ gauge too. I try to keep all the items in their own scale-spe­cific stor­age ‘bins’. I have or­gan­ised my tools in a sim­i­lar fash­ion as I have three tool­boxes – one for cut­ting tools, files and drills, an­other for paint­ing and fin­ish­ing tools, and a third which is kept upstairs be­side the lay­out so that I don’t need to keep go­ing up and down the stairs to fetch tools for rou­tine main­te­nance, track­lay­ing, and for hang­ing up my lat­est rail­wayana pur­chase. I do a lot of model mak­ing, but I sus­pect my out­put is nowhere near that of Ge­orge Dent or Dave Low­ery. I’ve seen their tidy work­benches. Mine is so clut­tered that I can’t use it, and I do most of my mod­el­ling on the din­ing room ta­ble. I eat meals on a tray, on my lap!

Even in a fairly dust-free en­vi­ron­ment, a lay­out needs go­ing over with the vac­uum a cou­ple of times a year. A soft brush at­tach­ment and a lot of care are nec­es­sary for del­i­cate fea­tures, such as Chris Leigh’s tim­ber tres­tle bridge.

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