20 May 2020
Small by name, but larger in terms of their ambitions, the Little Layout Company usually builds layouts for other people, but here’s one they’ve made for their own pleasure.
Layout name: Stylson Park
Scale/gauge: 00 Gauge
Size: 9ft x 1ft 4in
Layout type: End to end
As with any business, promoting your product is key. In this industry the ideal place to do this is at model railway exhibitions. We wanted to build the best show layout we could, hence ‘Stylson Park’.
Foremost among our aims when building a show layout is to keep the build achievable for members of the public and to inspire them to recreate similar scenes. As far as ‘Stylson Park’ is concerned, it needed to be compact and in-keeping with our Little Layout Company brand. Although, at only 9ft x 16in, this is the largest show layout we have built for ourselves to date.
We were influenced by a layout named ‘Oldshaw’ which had elements we like such as a station, a canal, greenery and industrial buildings; everything we wanted to capture.
A multi-tiered approach
We designed ‘Stylson’ to be set on three levels; a lower level canal and embankment, the railway crossing these and the high level being made up of large industrial buildings.
The main scenic board was built in two sections, the lower with a canal was built first, then the higher track section built separately. This allowed the canal section to be built with Deluxe Materials Aqua Magic, and left to set while the track was laid and wired on the upper section.
We wanted the track to look as realistic as possible, so hand-built points were constructed to B6 templates using copper-clad sleepers and DCC concepts’ Legacy track. To give the track a realistic finish, we used Legacy N gauge ballast and weathered it with an airbrush.
The upper section is 4in deep, this meant that housing the Cobalt point motors was easy as they would be hidden away but still easily accessible through inspection holes in the lower board.
The point motors are operated through a DCC Concepts Alpha LED push button system - a fantastic system; that’s easily fitted and easy to maintain.
Let there be light
Lighting is really important on a layout, which is why we use LEDs as they last longer and don’t get hot. Different coloured LEDs can be used depending on what part of the layout is being lit or what era you are working in. For ‘Stylson’, we used a fluorescent strip light with a blueish tinge. We would always recommend temporarily placing the LED on the layout to check the spread of light before fixing it permanently.
The embankment is our favourite part of the layout as it breaks up the northern grime with lush greenery. The embankment was created using a base layer of 2mm static grass in several layers, then adding taller grasses with spray mount in the areas required. Further foliage and shrubbery was added for realism and an overgrown look.
We like to add pockets of detail on our layouts; such as a fuel point with lots of grime, barrels and pallets. The station was also packed with lots of station details like passengers and signage.
Keeping public’s interest in a layout is essential for any exhibition. This is why we are proud of all the details we are able to add on our “Little Layouts”. Running the layout is good fun and we use a variety of stock ranging from Class 128s, two-car DMUs for the passenger and parcels stock and a large variety of freight stock from Class 08s, 20s, 37s, 47s and 56s. All the stock is ready to run and has been fitted with DCC sound and weathered by Paul Wright our resident DCC and weathering professional. The fiddle yard is only 2ft and has a single line, which makes manoeuvres interesting with lots of light locomotive moves to the fuel point between small passenger services.
This has been an enjoyable layout to build and has combined all the skills of everyone involved with The Little Layout Company. Our next step is to add realistic signalling, more detail and continuing to build rolling stock for upcoming show.