Thursday, 20 October 2011

54mm railway station

Last year I was commissioned by Grey Goose Collectibles ( , the European distributor of Figarti's range of metal toy soldiers, to produce a diorama to display their new range of World War  Two German trains at the London Toy Soldier Show. You can imagine how big a  1/30th scale locomotive is so the display ended up being 6 feet long and about 3 feet deep- a real whopper.
Most of the photos of the diorama are taken at the London show so you will see some lights, price tickets and sales literature but look through those and enjoy the layout of the station and the trains themselves.
the quite before the storm!
Clive, at Grey Goose asked for 3 rail lines, two of which ran the whole six feet across the layout, a crane, some warehousing with sliding doors, a gantry over the railway, a platform for passengers and a road bridge across one end of it as well as lots of open space to display the figures and vehicles.
This job involved far more forward planning than I am used to. I had to make sure the trains fitted next to platforms, the buildings fitted into their area properly and really that everything worked.

The first thing I had to do was track down some railway line that was the right gauge and get a sample of the train so I knew how much space I needed to give the track. Once I had that then I could work everything else out. I used G gauge track and was lucky enough to find some 'starter' set that was just right for what I needed and didn't cost alot of money.
I am not a model railway model maker so had no idea what German railway buildings look like so I trawled the Internet and borrowed books from friends until I came up with interesting buildings- buildings that would catch the eye. The water tower, station buildings and the control building are all based on actual buildings. Everything else I made up.
The station and control building behind the Figarti loco
There is a lot of brick work with this layout- all the bridge, the water tower and parts of other buildings all were made from brick. I usually carve the brick work in this scale as I do with stone (see my earlier posts for how it is done) but this tends to be a little irregular and uneven- ideal for old and run down brick work, but this was efficient German work and I felt it had to be clean and perfect.
All that brick work!
I decide to use a new technique that I had picked up from a Dolls House fair. Using a brick stencil and brick compound. Bromley craft products ( supply a range of stencils for adding brickwork to walls. You spray one side of it with tacky glue and then lay it onto your wall. You then apply their brick mixture with a knife and pull the stencil away. Leave it to dry for a couple of hours and you have a brick wall. You keep repeating until finished. I found it gave a great result. If you got it wrong you could wipe the mixture off before it had dried and then go again.
The result was good for this job- it is big and industrial but it wouldn't work with everything so you need to pick and choose when to use it.
One of the other eye catching pieces I made was the crane. I think I got a bit carried away with it in the end but it was worth it.

the crane was big!
I looked at loads of pictures to work out a design for a believable looking crane and in the end I came up with the above. The arm mechanism was one I found in a book somewhere and I thought it looked powerful and usable. I added legs and made sure the body could move on top of the legs. That was the only thing that did move on the crane and we never tested if it could carry any weight but my guess is that it couldn't.
The whole thing was built from plasticard and strip of various shapes and sizes and then painted grey. I added a large white stripe to give contrast and lift it a bit. The rust and water marks also help to make it one of the talking points of the diorama.
The gantry was all plasticard as well.
Finally, you can see on the above picture two pillars. These, again came from the Dolls House world. Sue Cook Miniatures ( make wonderful plaster architectural details in lots of different styles. They are a great source for some amazing detailed stuff. Unfortunately the popular dolls house scale is 1/12th with 1/24th scale coming in second so alot of what she does is too big but if you pick and choose then you will find useful things. Also a fireplace in 1/12th scale makes a great doorway in 1/30th scale. In this case the pillars frame the doorway nicely and gives the eye something else to look at rather than bricks!
That is it for talk... here are the rest of the photos.....
view from the bridge

good view of the gantry.

the metal doors at the back open and close

posters from the Internet

a feel of a busy station- except for the price ticket on the vehicle!

the ballast on the track was cork chippings

a view of where I work- my attic

a birds eye view

this was the only tank I had when I was photographing at home

again, ignore it isn't German- it gives you an idea how big the building is

the wholes thing

a good view of the steps down to the platform

the sliding doors now open

the crane in action

the big clock face!

Finally, finally... this job taught me a good lesson. I work in the attic so everything has to leave via my attic hatch. I have extended it but I must remember that at least one dimension of the finished job has to be less than 2 feet otherwise I can't get it out! This is never a problem with smaller scale of work but 1/30th work is a different matter. In this case the boards were both 3ft x 3ft so the buildings couldn't be taller than 2 feet. The water tower had to be taller and the clock tower ended up being over as well. Fortunately I remembered and designed them to come off the boards. One day I will forget!

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