It's a good job that I started with space models for the rolling stock, and in particular the locomotive, before I started work on the layout of the buildings. Although I knew from an intellectual standpoint how big 105mm by 42mm actually is and could calculate the clearances, I needed to see it to understand it. I'd already marked the lengths for the buildings onto the lash-up baseboard, but fortunately hadn't cut anything away. All I'd modified compared with the original plan was the addition of an engine-shed at the far end of the track.
I'd originally intended just to terminate the track with a strategically place pile of junkas on my o/9 test track, but the idea just grew and the final catalyst was one by Bill Wilson (new window).
To look convincing, this additional shed needs to be waaay bigger than I'd anticipated and this will certainly have a knock on effect on the central structure, the retort house, although nothing I can't handle. The main problem is going to be the scenic break cum loading position at the left hand side of the layout. This is mainly because I can't work out what type of building it should be.
But I decided to start with the engine shed anyway. This wasn't part of the original plan – I was originally just going to plac some strategic rubbish at the end as on my 0n9 test track. As soon as I put the baseboard up in the window, though, it just made sense and the final catalyst was xxx. It looked as if there was room for something slightly larger right at the end, but that was until I saw the completed loco on the track. What I'm building isn't a scale model of something that existedI wouldn't go so far as to call it a real caricature, but forced perspective and selective compression, whilst they're a great part of the Gn15 scene, do tend to lead to problems.
And problems with the engine shed I have in spades. The first one is the same thing that's causing problems at the other end of the track with the scenic break – in reality the track is sloping the wrong way. Virtually all the hassle would go away if, from the viewer's point of view, the boat was in front of the track and the engine shed behind. Why am I doing it this way round, then? Well, it's to do with the little bridge. This is probably my favourite scene at Kimmeridge, bringing back childhood memories. I have to have it, even in the short scene, so it's become the trestle through which you see the boat. That dictates the track direction, which in turn makes the problems. These are all solved by the longer plan, but for the moment I have to work with them.
It sure does make life interesting, though, and I've made matters even more difficult by putting the track on the window-sill and operating it from the front. I want the shed to have room for a workbench as well as just housing the loco, but from the front I need to be able to see into the windows to stop the loco in the right place. The classic micro-layout solution would be to model the workshop area in low relief, but I want to put myself in the mind of the plant manager. As Christopher Payne said of his “Sutton Wharf”, the trick is to imagine a re-engineered system. In his case it's an old horse tram line where they didn't need a run-round loop until the advent of locomotives, in mine the hand-pushed tubs were left out in the open until Old Man Wanostrocht bought the new loco, which needs a workshop and a place to shelter out of the rain.
So, back to the bar of the Fox. It's at Corfe Castle, I love it and it has the feel of somewhere this kind of discussion would take place, if you wanted more comfort than the site office at Kimmeridge. Old Man Wanostrocht is in a discussion with his civils guy that runs:
"Glass o' port, Dodgson?"
"Don't mind if I do. The gaffer here always keeps the best stuff for you."
"Not at all, he keeps it for my expense account. You can have the patch up land up by the cliff beyond the tailings. Drink up, man, drink up."
"Thanks. But, if I may make so bold, there's no room."
"No room? Nonsense, there's plenty of room."
On reflection, there were four main problems. The first was the clearance between the track end and the board edge (the cliff). More significant were where does the window go for positioning the loco, how do the doors open and, strangely, where does the coal tub go? (the water tank will go on the roof over the doors). But one has to start somewhere, so the first thing to do was work out the space the loco needs. This is known as a small cardboard box.
The remaining major items on the plan are the retort house, the boat and the loading area. These needed to wait until I'd built the flats, tubs and barrels. The problem was with the orientation of the boat and the scenic break for loading. If the boat was in front, the scenic break could be the flats disappearing into a tunnel, under a bridge or behind whatever is used to load the boat. For the next month, the trestle was to come back and haunt me, but I wanted it so badly I could taste it. I remember it from the first time I ever visited the place (it was a much bigger bridge then, of course). Probably it was this incentive that drove me to complete the mockup.