Sunday, 30 September 2012

More Construction

Well more work has been done over the past two weeks with the main level baseboard down and the curved backdrop made. The baseboard is made out of 12mm ply and is just glued and screwed to the frame.  I made sure the screws were countersunked so when the foam goes on top it will be nice level.

Making the curved backdrop
I always wanted to have a curvered backdrop as i thought it made the flow from the back to top look really nice with no 90 degree joining lines at the top.  I always hoped that in the end it will help frame the layout and bring out the detail of the models in front.

The first step was to make the template of the bracket with a curved front.  The hardest part was to choose how much straight to have at the back before the curved started.  After lots of thinking and measuring i went with 160mm. The curve has a 400mm radius. After making the template i than marked out the brackets on 12mm mdf. The bracket were than cut with a jig saw and than sanded smooth.  Once all six were made i the glued and screwed them to the frame.

The backdrop is made out of 3mm mdf.  I found i piece that was 2440mm x 1200m, perfect size. Having this size meant no joining marks in the middle from using two pieces.  Bending the mdf was a effort due to it long length. It would have been easier with two people.  To help bend the mdf i use a little bit of water on the front and back were the mdf was being bent.  This helped to curve the mdf. Be careful tho too much water will destroy the mdf.  Once curved against the brackets i then nail it in place.  Glue was used along the front and once dry the excess mdf was cut off.

I'm very happy the way it has turned out. I was really worried about getting the dimensions right.  It would have been really easy make it look really small.  When you look at the layout at its future eye level height the curve backdrop really makes a fantastic finish.

Whats next?
Next is to finish the backdrop, this will include nail punching the nails, filling the holes, sanding and than painting the backdrop.  I'm really looking forward to putting some colour to the layout.  Also in the mean time I'm going to practise my cloud painting stills and also work on my secret idea i have for the backdrop?????

Once again please feel feel to ask any question or comments or if you have any photos of bendigo in 60's or 70's please email me at

Friday, 14 September 2012

Construction Begins


Friday 14th September 2012 was a special day for bendigo, construction of the first module started.  After years and months of planing it was great to start putting it all together.  My main focus for my posts are that people with no experience in model railroads can read them and than go and build their own railways. With that in mind i will show a step by step process on how i build my railway.

Step One
Have a plan done.  This is the most important thing. Take your time in this area it will save you plenty of time in the future.  For me i have spent nearly two years planning bendigo. Most of this time was working out different templates for hand laying the track.  Once i had worked that out i was than able to draw a track plan. From the track plan i was than able to design the module. Depending on what you want to do in your model railway will depend on how long it takes you to plan it all out.

Step Two
Start building.  This is were the fun starts. Its always nice to see something in life rather than on paper.  I built the frame from qubelok 25mm square aluminium tubing. This product is made by Capral.  The tubing is a great alternative to timber as it light weight and strong. Below is the process i went through to build the frame work for the module. 

With my plan in front of me it was time to start cutting.  To cut the tubing i used a drop down saw with a 255mm timber blade with 80 teeth.  The aluminium is soft enough to use this type of blade.  Using a metal cutting saw can be used but the metal cutting disc is proned to become full of slag very quickly.  A few things to note when measuring make sure you allow 25mm for the black plastic connectors at the ends of the tube and also don't make out along the whole tube you will lose 2 to 3mm from the blade cutting the tube. (its a very easy trap to fall into). Make sure you wear gloves, goggles and ear protection when cutting the aluminium.

Putting it all together
With all the tubes cut you will notice that there is a blur left over on the tube.  Using a flat file, file off the outside blur. Do Not file the inside blur. We want the inside blur left as it helps hold the connector in place.  The black connectors simply slide into the aluminium tubing.  Than use a rubber mallet to hammer into place. Not much force is needed for this.  Make sure you use the right connector as once they are in place they are hard to remove.

It is very easy to put all together and took me about 45mins to put the module together.  The frame does have a slight twist in it but once i screw down the ply base board it will be all square.  In Part 2 i will go through on how make the backdrop and baseboard. Please feel free to ask any question at

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