baseboards of County Gate
Construction is of 1/2" plywood with a 1/4"
track base and cross members. The baseboards have fixed aluminium backdrops.
The backdrops are higher than is usual as we feel this gives greater realism.
The drawing below shows the design process we undertook to develop the
click on image to enlarge
Always easiest to lay it out on the floor.
The station and main line was laid out at an angle across the board. We
felt that this made the presentation more dynamic.
We find that we can design a baseboard as
often as we like, but when we start to actually build it there are always
a lot of changes. It just seems that this kind of thing is a bit organic. We also
have 3 dimensional chess problems with some of the boards. It may be
helpful to make a
small scale model using foam and Modrock with a sample backdrop to ensure that viewing angles
give an acceptable interface between the backdrops and baseboard.
section 1 baseboard
the baseboard fully wired up
The track and basic structures are installed
The units are easily
demountable for transport. We carry them in a specially adapted trailer
and our baseboards are up to 7 ft 6ins long X 30ins wide. This for me is
important as I wished to minimise the unsightly joints between
We use mould makers' register
pins and sockets which are often advertised in the magazines to align
To fix the
boards together, we first opted for Securit toggle
catches which attach one board to the next. When erecting at an
exhibition, each stand is first assembled, (about 2 minutes each), the
lights are then added before
the baseboards are fitted. The stands can then be easily rolled into the
hall and the railway joined together in situ.
We found that the Securit toggles were
not sufficiently strong to completely pull the boards together. They were
also not adjustable.
We have now installed heavy duty adjustable
toggles which do an amazing job. They can be obtained from
First fitting of section 1 and 2. The
new exhibition stand is away for powder coating so we made do. One can see
the white plaster section that has just been laid to ensure accurate
continuity between boards. The backboard is actually temporary,, the final board being
taller and made in aluminium. A photographic sky background is then
onto the board. The original traverser can be seen under the hotel.
The early catches can be clearly seen. After cling-wrapping the scenery on section one, we can then make
up the scenery in plaster up to 1/16" of the surface.
The original wooden
traverser can be seen. Despite early promise, too much play developed in
the wood slides, and some movement in the plywood resulted in poor track
register. This was then replaced with a 3/16" thick aluminium plate
mounted on Accuride ball race drawer slides (type 0201).These slides are
good value and absolutely dead accurate with no side play whatsoever. The
traverser ran as smooth as a 7 series BMW until there were temperature
changes when it would move up and down a little and trip up trains! It has
now been removed.
Here the finished hotel section can be seen.
The backdrop was based on a high resolution 360 degree panoramic we took
when there was a good 'moody' sky without contrails. Details such as hills
and trees were added where required using Photoshop. This process took a
lot more time than one would think. The printing was done on self adhesive
vinyl then laminated with a mat surface vinyl film. This last process is
essential as it gives the sky some depth and luminosity and the delicate
inks are protected. The corner of the backdrop behind the hotel is bent into a 6" radius
curve. With the correct lighting it is indiscernible.
protecting our 'back passage'
County gate is actually a 'rabbit warren'
layout that poses as an end to end. There are over 33 ft of hidden tracks.
the County Gate 'back passages'
There is always the fear that something
dreadful will happen and valuable rolling stock plunge to the floor. The
passage is now protected by 2mm clear plastic acrylic which is hinged with
self adhesive book binders hinge tape and fastened by Velcro.
'back passage' protection - keeps spiders