Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Building a Goods Platform


After trying to decide what size goods shed to build on my layout, I first had to determine exactly how much space I had. So I figured the best way to do so was to start by building the goods platform. This project is meant to resemble a common timber platform found beneath railway goods sheds throughout Australia, but more specifically, a surviving NSWGR goods platform that sits on solid cast concrete pillars

My simple supports for the platform are made to resemble cast concrete pillars and timber posts along the outside edge.

Sitting alongside the No 2 road and with a stub-ended goods siding finishing hard up against it, I had exactly 300 mm x 90 mm of space to play with along my layout edge. So I pressed ahead with designing a 200 mm x 80 mm goods platform using 3 mm balsa wood, that would leave me with several options for what type of goods shed I can build on top of it later. Working with the floor height of a HO scale V/Line VLCX wagon as my reference, and following a pencil line I had drawn onto the layout to indicate my locomotive clearance, I cut 9 strips of 15mm high x 60mm long balsa to act as my cast concrete pillars, and glued them straight onto the layout base spaced 25 mm apart as shown above. I then followed by cutting some strips of 3 mm x 3mm balsa, also to a height of 15 mm and glued them onto the layout base set 10 mm from the outside of the concrete pillars. Once dry, I painted the concrete pillars in different shades of grey, and the outside timber posts in a motley collection of brown-grey.

Add the ground cover base before adding the platform on top of the stumps.

While waiting for the paint to dry, I pressed ahead and put down a thin coat of stain using nothing more than the dirty water I rinsed my paint brushes in. The area will next be covered with ground cover before I add the platform on top of the stumps, something I will explain in more detail in a later post.

Be sure to paint the underside of the platform base before cutting it into strips for the timber deck.

Again using the 3 mm balsa, I next cut the 3 strips of 200 mm long x 26 mm wide balsa that would make up the base for the platform. At this point, I slapped a quick coat of hodge-podge brown-grey paint onto what would be the underside of the platform, as the underside of the model is going to be visible when finished. Once dry, keep 2 of these pieces as they are, as when glued to the outside of the model they will bridge the gap between the timber stumps along the edge and the concrete pillars in the middle. The other piece I cut into strips approximately 6 mm wide. When glued into the middle of the model they create nice-looking gaps between what will look like timber planks. I then etched 6 mm lines lengthwise into the other 2 pieces, so that when complete, the eye is tricked into thinking they are all individually laid planks.

The 2 x 26 mm solid lengths are the glued to the outside to bridge the gap, while the 6 mm strips are glued in the middle.

After gluing the 2 outside 200 mm x 26 mm sections into place on the outside of the model, I glued the 6 mm strips in-between. There should be 2 mm of play as 3 x 26 mm equals only 78 mm which is just shy of the model's 80 mm width. I then used some bottles of glue as weights to hold it in place while it dried. Finally, I cut 2 posts for the buffer stop on the goods siding using leftover strips of 3 mm x 3mm balsa from the timber posts, and glued these between the rail ends and the concrete pillar. I'll finish the buffer stop at a later date, but for now I at least gave the posts a coat of white paint.

I made a watery mix of artists acrylic and applied it as a stain rather than a paint to the individually outlined timber planks.

Once dry, I used the outside posts as guides to etch timber joint marks on every second plank using the blunt side of a hobby knife. Repeat the process again using a different post as a guide while you work your way lengthwise along the model and a neat pattern emerges. The etched outlines then make painting so much easier. Using a mix of burnt umber, grey and white artists paint, I dabbed around on my artists palette to get several different shades resembling weathered timber, and then added brush-fulls of water to each one so that I could apply it more as a stain than a paint. I kept playing around while overlaying the entire surface several times until a pleasing bleed of colours was left. The trick is just to ensure that no 2 colours rest side by side. Finally, I cut a very thin strip of 200 mm x 4 mm balsa to act as capping for the long side of the model and glued it along the edge of the platform. As a finishing touch, I also etched timber join marks above every second post and placed a deliberate kink into one end so it looks like the timber capping has sagged over the years, and stained this too.

My finished goods shed platform awaiting a goods shed. But it still looks good with an empty wagon parked alongside.

The end result, though simple, is effective. Ignoring the ground cover which I will explain later, the goods platform has quickly changed the appearance of my bare layout. What you see in the above photo took most of a day, and would have been a much quicker project had I not kept stopping to watch the football. Next up I'm going to finish ballasting the track on my layout, but as usual, that is a story for another day.

See also; Goods Shed Part One

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Thanks for taking the time to visit Philden. I hope you'll book a return ticket soon. Cheers, Phil