Category Archives: From the archive

From the archive #4 The quay to making puddles and something about gulls…

Although it could be said that I cheated with Canute Road Quay when I modelled the quayside wall as part of the front facia of the layout; this was not to avoid having to create the water but in fact to maximise the space available with a 12 inch deep baseboard.

One of the puddles has attracted the attention of Gerald the Gull
Another quayside puddle and gull some gloss varnish add to the effect of some water running by the edge of the concrete
Step 4, The scenery or ballast is added to form the edge of the puddles
The finished effect including a larger puddle in the shed area due to the water crane
large and small gulls can be seen if you look close enough
A real life Gerard who misread the sign, he thought it said “free herring test”

There are however a number of representations of water on Canute Road Quay in the form of a few puddles, this post is a quick explanation of the method I used to create the effect of standing water.

Note: the initial steps are carried out before any nearby ballasting or scenic work is carried out, so needs a bit of forward planning / vison of where puddles might naturally occur, remembering that puddles will only form in depressions, hollows, ditches and low points and water finds a horizontal level and wont form on a slope!

Step one, is to paint one side of a thin sheet of clear plasticard with gloss black paint, I used good old Humbrol enamel. It’s a good way to use up a few offcuts.

Step two, cut the now painted plasticard into the rough shape, but wider and longer than the maximum length and width, of the area of the puddle you want to create.

Step three, glue the plasticard paint side down, i.e. the clear plasticard side up, in the location you want the puddle.

Step four, start to build up the required terrain, at this stage you create the final shape of the puddles which is why the plasticard is cut larger than the size of puddle you want and so the terrain edge is on the surface of the plasticard. I generally used Daz air drying modelling clay, see picture left, and used the terracotta colour rather then white or grey so it already has an earth like base colour. In and around the shed area I used a mix of ballast and real ash from my wood burning stove.

Step five, add the foliage as required, I used a variety of lengths of static grass, using the lighter greens and straw colours as wild grass is rarely dark green. In some areas I represented wet earth / concrete using some gloss varnish.

Step six, remember to dust the puddles every now and again, especially before taking any photographs…

Some people have occasionally mentioned the size of the some of the ‘seagulls’, of course they are not seagulls but Herring Gulls and I have used those available from Springside Models. If you want to really see just how bit a real life adult Herring Gulls stand at the sea side with an open bag of chips you will soon find they are much larger than you think!

I have used both their 4mm scale  versions and at the rear of the layout a number of their 2mm versions to assist with perspective. Those on the backscene were drawn on in flight as curly ‘W’s with a pencil.

Gerard the Gull was not so much wild when I glued him place but furious… (with apologies to Not the Nine o’clock News…)

And I didn’t even mention ‘The Gulls’… oh Doh! #COYY




From the Archive #3 Making an exhibition of myself or Fisherton Sarum’s first outing, 10 years on…

November this year sees the 10th anniversary since the first exhibition outing for Fisherton Sarum. Wycrail 2006, the annual exhibition of the High Wycombe and District Model Railway Society, was the first public appearance, and was the first time the layout was actually fully operated.  I was however able to set the layout up for the very first time at the Society’s clubrooms the week before and some very last minute corrections to wiring etc. (thanks again Mark!) ensured that on the day itself things went pretty much to plan.

Fisherton Sarum’s first exhibition appearance at Wycrail 2006 with yours truly, my Dad, Daniel and Simon at the helm looking a tad younger!

Getting a new layout on the exhibition circuit for the first time can sometimes be tricky owing the chicken and egg conundrum that to get exhibition invites you often need to be already seen on the exhibition circuit. Being a member of a Model Railway Society or Club is often a way, as in my case, of getting an invite to the Society’s own Wycrail show and therefore that first public appearance.

Visitors to Wycrail view Fisherton Sarum, the fiddle yard always gets a sneaky look too…

I have always been indebted to members of the HWDMRS and my own family for assisting with the exhibiting of Fisherton Sarum and its first outing was no exception although Simon and Daniel, now somewhat grown up working for Network Rail and being at University respectively, probably wont thank me for showing them here in their younger days…

In the ten years since that first outing I have enjoyed exhibiting across the country, at now nearly 30 shows, ranging from Wadebridge in the South West, Manchester, Hartlepool, Doncaster in the North, The Warley NEC show, Tonbridge and Worthing in the South and of course on Salisbury station itself.

Since its first few outings many things have changed, developed and been added to the layout, usually as a result of the operating team making suggestions over a pint or two, such as:

Another view of the layout at Wycail 2006, I wonder where the young onlooker is now?

Fisherton Sarum returned to Wycrail in 2014 and will also be making an appearance at the High Wycombe and District Model Railways Society’s open day on Saturday 21st May 2016 see here for more details. I will continue to exhibit Fisherton Sarum, as it has always been enjoyable, but have always limited its appearances to approximately 3 shows a year and the current small number of booked appearances can be found here, although a couple more are in discussion so watch this space.

From the archive #2 Fisherton Sarum at its spiritual home

Most railway modellers are used to operating layouts either in parts of their homes; lofts, sheds, spare rooms etc, and in various exhibition halls, often the likes of school halls, gyms or village halls, but on the Saturday of the first May bank holiday in 2009 Fisherton Sarum was exhibited at a slightly more unusual location. 2009 marked the 150th Anniversary of the first passenger train that traveled from Salisbury to Gillingham. To mark this, a member of staff from South West Trains had organised an event on the station. A small number of layouts had been invited along to setup on Platform 4 of Salisbury station so pretty much the spiritual home of the layout.

Fisherton Sarum is viewed by visitors to Platform 4 at Salisbury (picture and some text courtesy Mark Riddoch)

Setting up and operating on a station platform had some unusual challenges; the surface is not exactly the most level to start with. The layout was located under the station canopy, so rain, had there been any would not have been a problem, The glazing in the canopy meant the layout was very well lit, with the lighting  rig hardly being required. Wind is something not normally an issue when exhibiting Fisherton Sarum but here paperwork etc. would easily blow around the station if care was not taken. Noise was another issue, when a class 158 pulls into the platform a few feet away you realise just how loud these things actually are. Fortunately Fisherton Sarum has a system of indicator lights to communicate between the two fiddle yards, so this did not affect operation.

The Salisbury Journal published a report of the event including this photograph showing my Dad, Daniel, Mark and myself by Fisherton Sarum

There was a mixed bag of visitors through the day; those that had made a special visit, railway staff past and present and bemused train passengers that arrived off the very frequent  Saturday train service at Salisbury to be greeted by the sight of four model railway layouts on the platform. A reporter from the Salisbury Journal also attended and their report of the event can still be read online here.

So this was Fisherton Sarum’s first visit to its spiritual home at Salisbury but it is not perhaps going to be the last. I hope to post some news of a future visit to the area in the next few days…

From the archive #1 Fisherton Sarum’s humble beginning

Fisherton Sarum was started back in 2005 originally as an interim layout, as time and space does not permit the building of the other layouts I have planned, as a means to display some of my locomotives and rolling stock.  This is the first post in a series looking back through the archives of Fisherton Sarum’s  over the last seven years or so.

The turntable board under construction

First up in this series are a couple of early construction pictures. The two scenic boards can be seen here after track laying and early scenic forming. The trackwork has been sprayed with ‘weathered wood’ colour paint, and the rail sides painted with Precision Paints ‘track colour’ (note not a red rust colour as is so often incorrectly seen on models). The basic scenic form is a mix of cut and shapes polystyrene and plaster Mod-Roc over a lattice card framework (old cereal packets).

The coal stage take shape with the shed inspection pits also in place

Also the imposing watertank building and the coal stage in their early stages of construction can be seen temporarily in place to check clearances and ensure the scenery blends in correctly around them.

I hope you enjoy this look back in time and the series will also include Fisherton Sarum’s travels around the country and showing how the layout has evolved through time.