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Dean Halls Challenge 2015 N Gauge Buildings

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:43 pm
by deanobeano
Hi everyone,

This step into actually building something has been a long time coming - here's hoping I'm ready for it! Scratch Building something for presentation by March and having to show progress along the way I'm sure will help focus the mind (posting is a new challenge too - can someone advise how you insert photos etc?).

The home layout is based on a single line passing through a small port along the New England coast line in the 1950's and at present is represented solely on a flat piece of paper some 7' x 2' with a couple of sticky out bits (partners technical term!).
Having finally mapped out the track plan and the outline borders of the port it is fairly obvious how much space I know have for buildings (which is what I was after - but this much!!).

There are a number of different building ideas currently to choose from, small collection of drive in motel bungalows, white clap board houses, Boat builders workshop etc and a lighthouse (although I have a nice representation of Cromer Lighthouse which looks good - on the flat paper :) .

So what to choose - I think that the drive in motel bungalows (5 or 6) is probably at the top of the list so watch this space as they say.


Re: Dean Halls Challenge 2015 N Gauge Buildings

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:51 pm
by PeterBowen

Your New England coast line theme sounds interesting... and the Cromer Lighthouse is very similar to the lighthouses of Maine.

Inserting images is quite easy if you have your images stored online somewhere like Photo Bucket, Flickr, etc. The code required is something like this

[ img ][ /img ]

You will have to remove the space after [ and before ] for it to work

If you want to make reference to another website the code is

[ url ][ /url ]

You will have to remove the space after [ and before ] for it to work

At the top of the edit window you will see Img and URL buttons clicking on these will put in the code.

Hope this helps

Good luck

Peter Bowen

Re: Dean Halls Challenge 2015 N Gauge Buildings

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 1:13 pm
by torikoos
Indeed, as Peter said, it is easiest to use with a hosting service such as Flickr.
Due to space constraints on our own server we don't allow people to upload to our servers, but rely on external image hosting.

There are tutorials on how to do so in the 'help' section of the forum: see here: viewtopic.php?f=36&t=37

Looking forward to your build Dean!


Re: Dean Halls Challenge 2015 N Gauge Buildings

Posted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 10:44 pm
by deanobeano
Peter / Koos, many thanks for the advice and encouragement - Flickr here we come!!!


Re: Dean Halls Challenge 2015 N Gauge Buildings

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:03 pm
by deanobeano
Good Evening,

Just to show I haven't forgotten this challenge please see below the 1st (very crude) mockup of the Drive In cabin of which I need about 6 or 7 to fill a space on the proposed layout.

ImageDrive In cabin Mk1 by Dean Halls, on Flickr

The intent is a rectangular cabin 10' x 15' x 8'6" with a roof ridge a further 4' skyward. The photo from which I am working from is from a book I purchased over the net - can I post it if I acknowledge the author / book etc as it would certainly add some meaning to what I am trying to achieve?

Either way it could be perceived as a simple build with one door (assumed 7' x 3') and one window 4' x 4' with wooden shutters and a wooden flower box hung below the window (that might prove extremely difficult to model!!). That being said the scale 1:160 is a challenge full stop!!

The mock up is simply cardboard from my favourite breakfast cereal box cut out in a single unit and taped at one point - the roof is a single rectangle of card - the mock up has a ridge height of 3' and its obviously not tall enough hence the plan to raise it another foot.

The whole unit is white clapboard to all faces with the door having a a glass panel split 60/40 (top / bottom).

I now need to consider the real build process, potentials are a balsa wood shaped unit with layers of paper to represent the subtle contours, styrene sheet, possibly plaster? The biggest issue is getting it as square (or rectangular!!) as possible so that it doesn't look crude.

Day off tomorrow so lets see what the morning brings :)

Re: Dean Halls Challenge 2015 N Gauge Buildings

Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:56 pm
by PeterBowen

I would use sheet styrene for construction of the basic building which is quite easy to keep it square. You could draw horizontal lines to represent the clapboard siding or use Evergreen Clap Board Siding

UK stockists: ... tockist+uk

Of course building a larger structure would be easier. I have always liked the architectural style of buildings in New England and Maine and one of my favourite places is Boothbay Harbour in Maine. I have stayed here in the past and think that this building epitomises the style of New England.


Re: Dean Halls Challenge 2015 N Gauge Buildings

Posted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 11:10 pm
by deanobeano
They are super buildings and once i get my flight legs back (DVT!!!) New England is definitely on the places to go list.

Peter, thanks for the tips re the building materials.

Another attempt on Wed saw an improvement on overall shape although I think that it still needs a slight increase in length (to 16') - a trawl through the Internet may provide some guidance.

ImageFlat pack motels by Dean Halls, on Flickr

A flat pack motel room!! - A different type of card (favourite tea blend this time) helped in the fabrication and allowed a wrap round style build (with built in flaps) for attaching the roof panel. Simple pencil decoration gives some indication of look - as Peter suggests this could be replaced with a propriety styrene finish or layers of paper to provide a 3D effect / finish. The subtle use of a scalpel to break the surface tension at the bend points seems to work quite nicely - don't press to hard though or you end up with an extra joint to glue.

ImageFlat pack motels by Dean Halls, on Flickr

The roof in the original picture doesn't show any particular finish - Tar paper perhaps? The whole unit sits above ground on strategically placed stumps of timber or brick - - if i have at least four longer units (one in each corner this will allow me to a) hold it for painting and b) mounting it in the earth.

Anyway, a third proposal to follow and then a look see through suppliers lists to find suitable brass windows and door(s) hopefully.

Re: Dean Halls Challenge 2015 N Gauge Buildings

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:36 pm
by deanobeano
Well that was a long xmas break!!!

This is obviously the last post prior to close of the Winter Challenge and unfortunately it finds my entry wanting and unfinished.

Simply put i needed to have put in more time and this time around it didn't work out that way. That's not to say that the project didn't move on nor is it the end of the intent.

After the last post I took Peter's advice and purchased some Evergreen styrene sheet to use for the clapboard and this added value to the build - i added a brass window from Ratio with the result below:

ImageFinal Motel template by Dean Halls, on Flickr

A step in the right direction but obviously needing more work.

The photo below shows the current state of affairs and requires your imagination somewhat - it tries to depict the right hand back corner of the proposed layout where the line emerges through a covered bridge (in the backscene) and passes the motel enclave which in turn lies adjacent to the main drag into the North East of town.

ImageUpstate NE or the land of Oz!! by Dean Halls, on Flickr

Perhaps the colour palette needs some work but i hope you can see where its going!! ;)

So have I learned from the process? - you bet

Diving into the scratch build without due diligence in planning what it is you plan to achieve and how to do that is bound to cause you some distress along the way.

Intuitive scratch building will only come from experience - experience comes from having a go - Catch 22!!

Take the time needed and dont build if your not in the right mood - its a hobby and its meant to be a pleasant experience

If you dont know - Ask for advice - its free and it tends to be given willingly

If your still reading - thank you - roll on the next Winter Challenge where i hope to learn from my lessons this time around.


Re: Dean Halls Challenge 2015 N Gauge Buildings

Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:01 pm
by PeterBowen
Dean, well done you learn by doing and asking others for help and advice.


Re: Dean Halls Challenge 2015 N Gauge Buildings

Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:15 pm
by deanobeano
Hi Peter,

Thank you for your kind words and help along the way - it's one thing achieving on your own but I've always felt better for being part of a team.

Did you get your cladding sorted on your roundhouse?