Friday, 17 August 2007

Heath End - Platform 9¾

We have always made our platforms in essentially the same way since our début layout Tibberton I, but whereas we used to use 2mm card from the centre of cloth bales, this time we used.... you guessed, the vinyl mounting board. If you are not familiar with it, it is 2mm thick, with a hard, shiny, slightly crazed surface both sides, with a firm foam centre; it is easily cut with a sharp knife, and the surface can be textured and scored. The surface [in this case of both platform, Station building footings and roadway, all on the same level] was cut to fit the whole of the baseboard area behind the track on the station board, allowing sufficient clearance for the centre of a 64' BR carriage side to just clear - it was cut roughly to slightly oversize, and a fine marker placed against the side of the carriage and the necessary curve drawn and cut out.

The ramps were separated by a single cut, and a slight score at the ramp top enabled a clean angle to be bent; the stone slab edging was then scored, first with a mortice gauge producing an even depth from the platform edge, then with a sharp blade, scoring the edges of the slabs at right angles to the edge. This was aided by a simple jig made from two off-cuts of the mounting board, one with a concave curve to match the platform edge, then a piece the width of a slab glued at right-angles, enabling widths to be scored consistently. The ramp at the level crossing end was to be partly 'wooden' planks [crossing timbers], so 4mm wide planks were scored, and then the surface textured to resemble wood, and stained with Colron® dark oak wood stain.

Next, platform walls and strips for the vertical subframe were cut 15mm wide: this produced a platform surface 17mm high from baseboard, the result being the typical slightly low country station platform. The walls were faced with Metcalfe® stone card before glueing in position with Dunlop Thixofix®, 2mm behind the platform edge, giving a scale 6" overhang. Another strip was glued in line with the platform rear, and a third glued at the back; this has a long taper to represent the roadway falling to road level. The surface was stressed to comply to this fall. Then short pieces were glued in under the ramp tops, end loading dock wall etc., and the 'open boxes' filled in with long strips scored and bent into a concertina, a quick way of providing a well-supported, light but rigid structure; see photo above for a clearer grasp of this technique.

The level crossing end had a rectangle cut out, and a base made for the Ratio® signal box base to be a good push fit; it too is removed, as are most of the buildings, for transit. The carriage chute was fashioned by adding a second layer of board under the surface and gently bending the slope in, the chute rear edge again being separated from the rest of the surface by a single cut. In the top and bottom photographs, the cattle dock can just be partly seen, built in the same way, with a ramp down to baseboard level at the back. That will be the subject of the next entry.

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