Matthews Corner, a Chris Krupa classic.

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Matthews Corner, a Chris Krupa classic.

Postby Gerry Bullock » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:29 pm

This is the classic that has been overlooked; here is Chris Krupa's opening post relating to the Expometrique show in November 2005. Layout was built earlier that year.


Having just returned from a weekend in Paris exhibiting my Gn15 layout Matthews Corner, I thought that I'd write a little about my experiences. However first a little background.

For some ten years or so now we, the Greenwich and District Narrow Gauge Society have been participating in Expometrique which is organised by a French club, Gemme. For many of those years, I have been taking layouts, mostly a different one each time. These have become very popular and I hope that I am not being immodest in saying that they (and other GDNGRS layouts) have influenced the direction of French modelling considerably. This has been aided by the enthusiasm of the staff of the main French narrow gauge modelling magazine, Voie Libre and its parent Loco Revue.

This year's contribution was Matthews Corner, my first Gn15 layout. Measuring about 30 inches by 9 inches and depicting the horticultural department of a large country estate, this has been built over about the last year. Nevertheless, trains ran for the first time only last Wednesday morning (and we were leaving on Wednesday evening!). A great deal of midnight, not to mention pre-dawn morning, oil was burnt in the ten days leading up to our departure. It is not surprising therefore that a number of gremlins made the trip to Paris with me.

The first one showed up when I tried to run a train just before opening. Despite clean wheels and track, running was jerky and control was poor. Most of my stock uses new Tenshodo Spuds and a bit more track and wheel cleaning didn't seem to help. Luckily the party included three (count 'em) professional electrical engineers. The problem was soon diagnosed -- smoothed DC was being produced by the old Mainline transformer unit I had brought with me. Feedback controllers like AC or at least unsmoothed DC. In no time at all the top of the transformer was removed, the offending circuit board consigned to scrap and the leads resoldered directly to the output of the transformer (don't do this unless you know what you are doing. Mains voltages ain't pleasant in the wrong hands). The first gremlin capitulated.

With the first one vanquished, the second gremlin made itself known. The only point on the layout is a resleepered small radius Peco Set Track item. Things started to fall off, particularly when going around the curved section. The problem, this time diagnosed by the club's most experienced trackwork man, was the back to back dimensions. Set Track points are meant for coarse scale train set stock and the finer flanges on Spuds and Steve Bennett's wagonry were causing derailments because of the over-generous flange ways. The solution was to glue strips of 20 thou plastic (we used Evergreen) into the check rail flange ways. The second gremlin then went away to bother someone else leaving the field clear for the third one.

This one started to have fun with my 11/15HP Simplex (again Spud powered). Sometimes it wouldn't run at all. At other times it was jerky, stalled at unexpected places and lacked power. The nemesis of this gremlin was brought about by Kay Butler of Wrightlines who had the neighouring stand. The answer was a split gear. Kay had a replacement and vast experience of dismantling Spuds (bits fly in all directions when I try it). With the aid of the club's loco engineers, the offending gear was drifted off the axle and replaced. It ran perfectly after that. It is lucky that one of the contributions the club makes to Expometrique is modelling demonstrations so a full consignment of workshop equipment and expertise is available.

With the consignment of British gremlins vanquished in the first hour or so of the show, the layout settled down to a happy and successful exhibition. I knew that the operational capabilities of the layout would be limited but they were enough to demonstrate to enthusiasts who then wanted to ask questions and discuss ideas, whilst members of the public had seen enough after I shifted a couple of wagons around and brought all the locos out. There was much peering into the open doors of my sheds which have fully detailed interiors and many remarks along the line of "c'est superb".

Overall, I am happy with the performance of my Spuds and with the use of Steve's chassis for most of my stock. I have learned a great deal about modelling in this large scale.

The public and enthusiasts at French shows do not demand operation all day every day, being happy to appreciate the artistic quality of the modelling. This is in contrast to many British exhibition goers (including some enthusiasts), who don't care how much work you put into something as long as it moves. They are also often not respectful about prodding and poking (I prefer the French approach myself.)

French exhibitions therefore provide opportunities for the operator to take a break without the need to find a substitute to keep things moving and to keep fingers away. There is much pleasure to be had from just talking to people, enthusiasts or not, who have come to look at and appreciate the modelling and not make demands (and go off in a huff making derogatory remarks when they aren't provided).

The French model railway press likes my layouts and many pictures were taken. You will find them in Le Train and Voie Libre eventually (in January probably) as well as on the internet in PtitTrain and the Gemme site. There were lots of cameras around so there will almost certainly be other sites with pictures (try googling Frederick Delaitre as well).

So where to with Matthews Corner now? I don't have any more exhibition dates for it although it will as a matter of course probably appear at the March (Cambridgeshire) show eventually. It won't be next year though, when I will be taking something else. It is transportable on trains or buses so if your local show is thus served, doesn't require a long walk from the station or bus stop and you would like to see it let me know.

I'm going to add a few more details and I have plans for more locos and stock. I won't be extending it although it may eventually be able to be attached to the next Gn15 layout I have in mind (don't hold your breath though).

If anyone has questions or comments do ask.

Chris

Chris didn't have the capability to post photos.
Last edited by Gerry Bullock on Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Gerry Bullock » Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:40 pm

Steve Bennett's response:


One word Chris, WOW, it is superb.

The first pics I have found on Fred Delaitre's site here:

http://www.fdelaitre.net/Expom05-2.htm

So much wonderful detail in such a small area and it doesn't look crowded. I really like the way your modified track came out and I could go on and on about the details, simply wonderful. Sounds like you took more than your fair share of gremlins with you and glad to hear that you managed to sort them out, must have been a frustrating start to the weekend.
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Postby MickT » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:01 pm

Here's the first batch of photos that I have unearthed of Chris Krupa's Gn15 Matthew's Corner. These were taken at NG South West, Shepton Mallet February 2007

I have another set taken at Pewsey same year to follow.

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Postby MickT » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:05 pm

This set of Chris Krupa's Matthew's Corner was taken at Pewsey, MOMING 07, August 2007

Mick

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Postby Gerry Bullock » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:09 pm

Another post from Chris:

The flower pots came from several shops selling things for dolls houses. I don't know the situation elsewhere, but over here, dolls houses are a very popular hobby and there are many accessories suitable for 1:24 scale modelling. Mine came from, amongst others, Maple Street Miniatures, which has an internet site and a large free catalogue. They do not stock all the sizes I used and I do not remember the name of some of the dealers.
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Track details

Postby Gerry Bullock » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:11 pm

Chris explains track details:


I used Peco and Hornby set track which is ready shaped. In order to fit it to my track plan it was necessary to cut pieces from the ready made sections. I removed two sleepers, left one, removed two, left one etc. I did this by removing the sleeper only. I left the web under the rail in place so that the piece of track retained its basic integrity. I then glued strips of Evergreen styrene either side of the remaining sleepers. There is no absolutely similar size in the Evergreen range. The nearest is either too thick or too thin. I therefore used the thinner which produces an interesting sleeper shape akin to something made from cast iron. Sir Arthur might have approved.

Each sleeper requires six separate pieces of styrene -- two either end outside the rail and two either side between the rails. If you remove the web of course, you will need fewer pieces but the track integrity will be less. My way also retains sleeper spacing. The sleepers on the resulting track are probably a bit too short but fairly liberal application of ballast conceals that. I also glued each separate piece of track permanently with styrene cement to a strip of cork tile slightly wider than the sleeper length to further aid integrity and make somewhere else for the styrene strips to adhere to. There's a picture taken by Steve of an offcut of one of my bits of track somewhere on this site. Another picture will almost certainly appear in the article in Voie Libre early next year since Francois Fontana photographed it.

I ballasted the track with cork granules made from offcuts of cork tile run through a coffee grinder. This produces a variety of different grades which can be separated by gently shaking the container. I used the finer grades for ballasting. However since the granulated cork is the same colour as the cork tile to which the track pieces are glued, it doesn't matter if there are bald patches -- these just look like packed dust.

I used Copydex rubber adhesive to glue the ballast because it provides a softer, more easily altered, result than PVA, as does the use of cork rather than a variety of mineral stone. These in my mind produce too hard and unremitting an effect. Any pieces of misplaced ballast may easily be prised away from rail sides, flangeways etc if cork/rubber solution is used. Cork is also less likely to cause problems if sucked up into the gear trains of locomotives. A final application of very very dilute acrylic grey over the ballast finished everything off.

Chris

Last edited by chris krupa on Thu Dec 01, 2005 1:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Postby Gerry Bullock » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:12 pm

Steve Bennett's response:


Here is the photo of Chris' track he is referring to:

Image


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Postby Gerry Bullock » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:15 pm

More information from Chris:

The left hand end (assuming the left hand end as you face the layout) has two apparent exits -- one real and one simulated. The real one goes behind the grey wall with the gate posts topped with a ball. The hidden track is about the length of a loco and four wagons although three would be better. The wall is just high enough to conceal the top of the HAWE driver's head.

The simulated exit simply ends in a dummy entrance to the grey building which is only about half an inch deep. The fact that it is a dummy is disguised by the open doors and a very short section of a wagon -- it's only about half an inch long -- protruding from the dummy door way.

On the other end, that ends in buffers soldered up from brass with a piece of strip wood glued to it.

Posted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:31 am    Post subject:
The grey building with the auto in it is about two inches deep. It has the dual purpose of concealing the backs of the power sockets as well as being an interesting scenic item. The back of the shed therefore incorporates a box which covers the sockets. I originally made a stack of cartons to hide the fact that the shed wasn't very deep but when this was complete, it didn't work visually for me and I sought something else.

Although it's slightly unlikely that an auto would be repaired/restored on this side of the track, it does make an interesting cameo. I will eventually put a pile of timber somewhere near the car to suggest that this was used to help it over the track. There will also be an open tool box. I went for an old car (the layout must be set post 1963 since this is the date of introduction of my 11/15 Simplex) again for visual interest. Old cars are also relatively higher, shorter and more upright than modern ones making this car suitable for my purpose. The kit is the Revell BMW which is rather similar to the British Austin Seven.

I cut it off immediately in front of the dash partly because this was convenient place and partly so that I can use the engine and radiator to build a locomotive in future. It also means that the most bulky part of the car is there to conceal the lack of depth. The car ends about 3/4 of an inch from the back of the shed, butted onto the box concealing the sockets so there is not quite enough depth for the whole car but enough to fool the eye. Just to ensure that there is no visible join at the front of the car, a piece of light coloured canvas made from toilet paper soaked in superglue is draped over it just in front of the windscreen. Underneath the car I have placed a "Gnoil" box downloaded from this site. This means if you peer under the car there is also no easily visible join.

The guy in the yellow T-shirt stands in front of the only remaining gap. His yellow T-shirt is an arresting visual 'stop' attracting the eye away from the shallow shed. The whole of the interior of the shed is painted a dense matte black to hide any remaining doubts about its depth. The paler, detailed exterior contrasts with the interior to keep the eye involved with the outside.

Most of my modelling is thought through extensively and there is very little that is there by pure accident or for the sake of novelty.

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Postby Gerry Bullock » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:16 pm

Final post from Chris:

Posted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 4:32 pm    Post subject:
I think that dolls house stuff is sometimes overlooked as a source of useful accessories in the larger scales. I hope perhaps that I've prompted people to see some of what is available.

However, the seed trays are scratch built from very thin ply (1/64th?) which I purchased in a greyish wood which doesn't require much weathering. They are a little bit fiddly to make but I've got through seven so far and I'm still moderately sane! Incidentally if you can't see the seventh, one look closely at the flowerpot shed and on the floor is one full of broken bits of flower pot (made from pieces of reddish plastic from offcuts from a Wills 4mm scale pantile roofing sheet). This box was my first attempt and is a non standard size so it is not around the rest of them.

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Postby Gerry Bullock » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:17 pm

Over to you Gnatterboxers for any comments.
Last edited by Gerry Bullock on Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby franckcombe » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:26 am

I confirm, it's a great layout and many layouts of Chris inspired me.

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Postby DCRfan » Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:53 am

I must admit this is one layout I have often thought of copying. Heck I was so impressed with it I took out a second mortgage on my house to purchase the August 2007 Railway Modeller which featured the layout (you may have guessed RM is very expensive in New Zealand :P )

It was a great pleasure to meet Chris when he visited New Zealand several years ago and see the little red jigger that he brought with him. Naturally I had lots of questions on Mathews Corner.
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Postby Si » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:42 am

It looks like a wonderful layout, full of interesting detail and atmosphere...hats off to the creator.

But I have a question...I notice that the photos show it at an exhibition, and that the track plan is extremely simple. Does the operator not get a tad bored with the very limited operating potential when running it all day at a show? I ask this not as a criticism, but just that I was thinking of doing a nice simple track plan like this and worrying that I'd get bored with it ten minutes after finishing it!

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Postby Bilco » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:05 am

I saw Chris and Matthews Corner at the 2007 MOMING, and thought the layout was as fantastic in the flesh as it had looked in photos. Chris was able to chat and do a little running at the same time, but there was so much detail that I could just spend time looking it over without worrying about movement.

I'm very glad you put this layout up again Gerry - it's a perfect example of the best of Gn15 - small space, simple track plan, and lots of detail.
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Postby Gerry Bullock » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:47 am

Si wrote:It looks like a wonderful layout, full of interesting detail and atmosphere...hats off to the creator.

But I have a question...I notice that the photos show it at an exhibition, and that the track plan is extremely simple. Does the operator not get a tad bored with the very limited operating potential when running it all day at a show? I ask this not as a criticism, but just that I was thinking of doing a nice simple track plan like this and worrying that I'd get bored with it ten minutes after finishing it!


Hi Si,
I'll endeavour to reply for Chris as it's unlikely that he will (just hope I'm proved wrong).

In a way I'm re-iterating what Bill said in previous post. There is so much detail on the layout that you can look and talk with Chris for awhile without being bored.
In other words the French approach where the lack of operating potential isn't an issue.
As all Chris' layouts are under the arm jobs in terms of getting to Exhibitions a separate fiddle yard is out of the question.
However if one were introduced at LH end using a traverser the operating potential would be enhanced.
I have PMd Chris hoping that he will find a way to participate; otherwise I'll speak with him at EXPONG.
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Postby Boghopper » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:24 pm

I will second, or third, what you said Gerry. Yes, the lack of operating potential would be a consideration if all you wanted to do was play trains but I know that Chris loves building and talking about what he's done, how he's done it and anything else narrow gauge besides.

All his layouts, of multiple scales, tend to be simple, but as they are always exquisitely modelled there is always plenty to look at, even when nothing is happening. A lesson there for us all. :roll:
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Postby DCRfan » Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:43 am

Si wrote:Does the operator not get a tad bored with the very limited operating potential when running it all day at a show? I ask this not as a criticism, but just that I was thinking of doing a nice simple track plan like this and worrying that I'd get bored with it ten minutes after finishing it!


Si,

I have a similar simple layout, admittedly it has twice the number of points - two. http://forum.gn15.info/viewtopic.php?t=4183&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

But it is not boring to run.

- run up an down slooooowly

- talk to public

- change rolling stock

- talk to public

- run train a bit

- let train run off end of line :oops: as your talking to public

- now drive train with controller monentum turned on. A whole new experience.

- pick up layout and turn it 180 degrees. Its then different to operate and your explaining different things to the public. Unfortunately you also get to drive off the other end as well :oops: :oops:

My enjoyment at exhibitions is interaction with other people, not being introverted just playing trains.
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Postby Broadoak » Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:55 am

I also owe Chris a debt of gratitude, for after seeing his article about Matthew's Corner in Railway Modeller it inspired me to try something in a large scale in a small area. At the time I was looking for something a little different from my HO scale American style switching layout. I saw the layout and talked to Chris at Pewsey in 2007 and that convinced me to have a go in the larger scale, 1/32 in my case and that's how Two Sister's Farm came about.

The layout looks even better in the flesh, and the lack of operating potential is not noticeable due to the excellent modelling.
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Postby rue_d_etropal » Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:36 am

had not realised it had been that long, only seems like yesterday seeing it here.
I sometimes wonder why people get so hung up on operating potential. 20 years of exhibiting has shown me that how ever much is moving some will not even look if its not OO or N. Having something that attracts attention of others (dare I say quite often partners or children along for the ride).
For me main concern is ease of transport, ease of setting up and clearing away. Tried various combinations, but best for me has been a combination of auto run and a bit of shunting, so can talk to people at same time as having something moving. Space usually defeats me, but the APA module I am taking to Sedan as both, so should work.
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Postby chris stockdale » Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:39 am

I love Matthews Corner. For me it offers a whole host of things in one small spot that press many of my favourite buttons. Let me try and explain.

- it's small: so that's handy for carrying, for completing (relatively) quickly, for storage, for copying in other scales/gauges

- there's plenty of detail: stuff to look at and admire the quality of the modelling, the art of positioning things 'just so' - check out the plant pots, the hotchpotch of small buildings

- operational potential: as someone who (still :oops: ) only has his 12" to the foot 7 1/4" gauge line across the patio - with just a few yards of track and one point - let me say that there is an awful lot that can be done shuffling goodies to and fro or shifting one wagon in front of t'other and then back again

- a tiny off scene bit: surprise your friends and confound your enemies by bringing the weird and wonderful on and off 'stage' at a whim

All in all, what's not to like? I love it.

cheers,

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Postby Jon Randall » Tue Sep 03, 2013 4:11 pm

Barry and myself regularly exhibit four layouts between us. Our two Gnine roundy-roundies and (because my puppy has chewed a good chunk off Eastgate Farm ) Barry's Mouldings Lane and The Ship Inn which were both built by Richard Andrews who was inspired by Mathews Corner. I don't think we've got bored yet, not even on the two day shows although we did swap layouts for a bit of variety :roll:
We have one set of wagons on the siding, bring a new train in and swap the two over while changing the order of the wagons in the rakes.
I find it more challenging than train 1 to siding C, train 2 to siding B, run round etc as there is less free space pro rata.
When one of us goes for a walkabout then there is still three out of four layouts still entertaining the punters.
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Postby Gavin Sowry » Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:45 pm

See next post.
Last edited by Gavin Sowry on Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Gavin Sowry » Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:47 pm

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Chris's speeder on its 2008 World Tour, seen here on Haywards Estate, which was on show at Napier NZ.
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Postby johna » Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:51 pm

I remember seeing the layout in Railway Modeller and think I did start to build a similar one. In fact , the baseboard is still around somewhere so all this chat has made me want to start building it again. I must contact Peco to find out if it is still possible to buy the August 2007 of RM.

Would make an interesting project for this coming winter. I wonder how Chris made the greenhouse?

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Postby Si » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:17 am

Thanks, everyone, for the info regarding operation of relatively simple layouts. You've convinced me....you see I've an old base board under the bed that is virtually that size and shape, event the stepped back scene is the same, plus I have enough off cuts of track to build something very similar....although I might throw and extra turnout in.


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