I'm currently on hold while waiting for the track bases from Shapeways, and the back panel from the laser cutting firm. I've a fair few other projects to be getting on with, but really want to progress this one before I do too much else and it gets put to the side again
I've been thinking last night and today about how to hide the 180 degree curve around the processing shed, and make it a bit less obvious that the trains go nowhere. On the original, the sap shed was much further forward, with a big tree in the way to cover the entrance to the track at the rear.
This would look a bit daft on my effort given the industrial nature of the model, so I've decided on a tall circular tank instead. I'm going to use a piece of plastic downspout pipe for this, covered in paper with rivet detail to represent steel sheeting. I'll get the long suffering laser cutter to make me an mdf top and bottom for it, then add pipework, valves etc until it looks "right". The basic pipe, salvaged from a pile in my back yard, looks like this:
I'll trim the ends so that it's square tomorrow morning when I nip down to work to feed the cats. As the height of the processing shed has had to increase, I can add a very small access door (an ice cream factory I worked in between school and university had a roof access about 2' 6" square, so I've prototype for it) and a catwalk across to the top of the tank. The tank will rest on two fairly solid steel beams set on the concrete apron, with supporting steelwork.
I was also thinking about another, smaller tank above the sliding door, and thought an Airfix / Dapol OO water tank might do the job, again supported on suitable steel supports. I was fairly sure I had one from too many years ago in a box of spare bits, but of course can't find it for love nor money. While in the loft looking for it I did however find some other bits I'd forgotten I had, so happy there.
Once safely back down the loft ladder, I sat and looked at the model with the mock up buildings in place, and actually LOOKED at it, rather then just looked. I've decided that a tank of some sort is needed above the door, just not a square one (as well as that the Airfix one is easy to spot, and a bit of a cliche, in my mind, anyway). So I've decided on a cylindrical tank, mounted horizontally, made in the same manner as the bigger, vertical one. The catwalk to the top of the bigger tank can pass over the top of this one. For access to it, I'm thinking of nothing more than a long ladder kept conveniently somewhere out of the way.
I want the scene to look plausible, without being cluttered, which is a fine balance to achieve, so will mock everything up, look at it, think, and look again before I make anything permanent.
In the same rummage for the Airfix tank, I found a stash of plastic tubes around 1/4" outside diameter from a skip hoke last year, which I'd forgotten about:
This will do nicely to carry the power and control cables through the baseboard and foam to the track and all of the other places they need to be. I wasn't sure if the extruded foam could be drilled with an HSS drill in a piller drill (to ensure a vertical hole) without making a terrible mess, so I did an experiment on a scrap bit:
As it happens it works perfectly well, and the plastic tube is a nice fit in the hole. Some hot glue will secure the underneath end to the ply base, all being well the diameter of the drilled hole will keep the upper piece in place in the foam, but this can be glued if needed. The top edge of the tube will be 1mm or so below the top edge of the foam. A faint bell is ringing to tell me not to run wires directly through foam without a tube of some sort as insulation, but I can't think why this is or find a link to it. Better safe than sorry, though, and it will look neater as well.
With a piece of track placed experimentally (this is OO Hornby settrack) the tube disappears quite well:
and will be invisible when either covered with ballast or as will be the case with a lot of the track on this model covered by model concrete.
So, very little progress on the model, but lots of background work done.
Sorry for a very long post