the Glenthorne Lido

We think that this is the first time that a lido has been built for a model railway. At one time they were very popular but now, only a few are still in use and in good repair. We used this excellent website as a reference. The ground floor of the building is based on the art deco Morannedd Cafe at Criccieth, North Wales.

Further inspiration comes from the Saltdean Lido near Brighton. The lido will be refreshed by a seawater pumping house which also has filtration. It will sport a rakish diving platform.

click on image to enlarge

The windows are a very distinct feature and a slightly different construction method is called for. The window frames are printed on clear glossy vinyl which is attached to clear acrylic formed to the shape of the building. We eventually changed the number of windows and their proportions which improved the look of the building in model form.

The structure is built on plywood. The pool area is clear. The sea wall will surround it.

The building and sea wall was made using foam board.
The interior of the building is fully detailed and lit.

The completed building prior to detailing the exterior

The Lido at nightfall

The Swimming pool

Making the lido building was an enjoyable straightforward task. I only wish I could say the same about the swimming pool! I wonder how many modellers have ever tried to make one. I certainly hadn't before. I rather question whether pre-war sea water swimming pools were as clear and enticing as most pools are nowadays. I did find some early colour photos of the Saltdean Lido in Brighton and at least in that case, the water looked wonderful.

The Glenthorne pool is a scale 110 feet long and is built with scale depths. There are a few people in the pool and I sought to make the water as realistic as possible. Firstly, I wanted to have shadows playing along the bottom and I discovered that this necessitated using two resins of differing refractive indices to achieve this. The first resin did not cure properly and the entire pool had to be removed and remade. The new polyester clear cast resins worked better but reacted with the pool walls. Eventually, I discovered that these types of resins abreact with titanium dioxide, an ingredient used in mixing the paint colour of the pool. In the end, I made seven pools and painted seven sets of little people. The problem was only solved when I had resin gel mixed specially for me to colour the pool walls! The entire process took a bit over a month!

The final pool, finished with coloured gel coat, awaits the resin pours.

I am delighted with the final result but it only goes to show that what appears to be a simple task can easily turn into a nightmare.