Narrow Gauge Modelling in HOn30

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My first modest attempt to model Narrow Gauge in HOn30

"The Layout"

Portable Micro-Mini Layout
I decided to build a portable micro-mini layout as my first attempt in HOn30, as my existing HO Layout (3-rail Marklin Digital) is exactly as it was 2 years ago. Mind you I have been away from home (South Africa) most of the time to work in Turkey (Iskenderun Power Station), so the zero progress is somewhat understandable.

I found an ideal Micro layout on the Micro Layout Design Gallery, done by Frank Saunders, called Pacific Island, of a Sugar Mill. The general layout was slighly altered to reflect the needs of a sawmill somewhere in the Knysna Forest.

Extruded Polystyrene
The base of the layout is extruded polystyrene (50mm thick x 600mm wide x 900mm long) "encased" in a chipboard frame. Rubberised cork (3mm) was used throughout as a base onto which N scale track was glued. I will however, not recommend glueing the track to the cork base, (I used a contact adhesive) as it can not be removed without damaging it.

The Sawmill and the use of Mock-up Paper Structures
Before I started with the scenery, I made all the buildings out of paper to ensure that they all fit together and look acceptable. The sawmill is roughly based on the Geo Parkes sawmill in Knysna (now called Woodmill Lane).

Mock-up structure
Mock-up structures made out of paper help you to check the
composition and position / layout of your structures prior to building them.

I marked the outline of the buildings on the extruded polystyrene base and built the scenery around that. Ordinary polystyrene was used to create some hills around the buildings and to 'frame' the scene.

The idea was to make all the buildings out of styrene, but time did not permit and I used corrugated cardboard instead. This is far from perfect, but the desired effect has been achieved.

Corrugated cardboard buildings
A view of the layout showing the slighly weathered corrugated cardboard buildings

Gravel used as a ground cover
The polystyrene base was covered with normal gravel / sand glued onto it with an Alcolin (cold wood glue) / water mix. I have always preferred to paint the gravel afterwards (some people would disagree) to an even colour. This is achieved by adding pigment (paint dye) to white interior acrylic PVA paint.

At least I can say that a modest start has been made!

Modest start
A closer view of the Sawmill buildings - the wetmill is on the right
with the boiler house in the middle

My next goal is to add rolling stock, some loco's, do a bit of super detailing and get the track to work properly.

Herman Steyn
18 September 2004

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