Cuddle starts to take shape
With encouragement from the Gn15 crowd, by mid-January 2004 I’d got mock-ups of the various buildings for Cuddle completed. I did a sketch from a photograph and Carl Arendt was kind enough to feature this on his site. Over the next few months I was extremely busy with the day-job, but I occasionally tweaked the various clearances and rebuilt parts of the buildings. Then one day, with my wife away on business and looking back on one of the worst business days I’d had for a long time, I decided that I was absolutely fed up with looking at the piece of card that said ‘boat goes here’ and the drawing of a little bridge stuck to the front of the trackwork.
I burned my bridges by ripping the old baseboard apart to use as a template for cutting the new one. The buildings, constructed of a jigsaw of 100gsm thin card, were similarly cut apart. I finished the board that night, then built the bridge the following evening. The bridge is structural, in that it actually holds the baseboard framework together something I will never ever repeat, so it and the scenery had to be in place before I could replace the track. At the end of the second evening, I had the basic scenery for the valley in place, and a cardboard boat (using 180gsm card since I think these mock-ups may be around for some time) that unclipped from the baseboard in the right way.
I put the baseboard back on the windowsill and tentatively ran Pop across the bridge. No ominous creaks, nothing fell off. Thus encouraged, I taped a backdrop in place and photographed it for the Gn15 list. I posted:
Having spent almost nine months tweaking little bits on the original lash-up baseboard, last week when the day job wasn't going too well, I got fed up of looking at the bit of card with a bridge drawn on it, and started to cut up the board for the "real thing".
This morning I got the real bridge in place, and here's the image that makes it worthwhile...
"Pop", still very obviously a creature of balsa and paper, still minus handrails, smokebox and controls, still with the Preiser 'for placement only' figure blu-tacked in place, edges out onto the bridge. And, ta daaa! it doesn't collapse - note that just to make life really difficult for myself, the bridge is partly structural rather than just decoration and the Bachman mechanism is quite heavy. The backdrop, hastily taped in place for the photo, is a real sunset at Kimmeridge taken in June.
Back came the response:
Looks great Andy. Seems a shame now that you have got the bridge built, not to carry the momentum on
Okay, guilty as charged, but I have been working on the concept for a few years now, so a bit longer won’t hurt. However, I did eventually make decent mock-ups of the other buildings, to the point where I felt I could photograph the whole layout.
I did, in making the card mock-ups all in one go, discover that the buildings will break down into modules:
Now, each of those should be independent of anything else, so if I treat them as one-hour projects, I should be able to knock them off in about a fortnight each. More seriously, though, each is small enough to fit on my modelling tray, meaning that I can work on them piecemeal without getting too much mess around the house.