The new layout extension is finished, and almost ready to re-fit to the leg panels. The top has been fully replaced with much lighter 3 mm MDF board decorated in vinyl steel checker-plate wrap, and reinforced with gold painted picture frame edging to stop it from warping. Getting it to sit flush atop the removable backdrop and front perspex panel however, required me to trim 5 mm from the height of the painted sky backdrop and clear acrylic perspex. Something which was much harder than it sounds. An afternoon of cutting, sanding, checking and sanding again, finally achieved the above neat fit.
After trying to remove the vintage aluminium station destination names from the now scrapped staging shelf, and discovering they either bent out of shape or gouged holes in the timber, I had to make a decision on what to do next. Going nil from four was hardly the vote of confidence I was looking for before trying to remove the 4 station names on my main layout ahead of re-painting the timber fascia. So I thought I would hold the freshly painted Indian Red extension roughly in place alongside the original layout to see how closely the paint matched. As you can see in the two shots below, I decided it just wasn't worth the risk of stripping back the layout to re-paint it.
|A close-enough match. My original timber-stained layout on the left, and the freshly painted layout extension on the right.|
|The new section doesn't really have a front timber fascia, as the scenery will fall down to the waterline.|
From the front of the layout, the new extension only has a short strip of timber along the front where the scenery will drop down from rail height to the waterline. The visible timber fascia is a whole lot less noticeable than the mismatch of colour I had on the old staging shelf, and I think that the Dulux Gloss Indian Red spray paint is a great match for the darker areas that timber stain seems to take to in different ways, depending on the grain of the timber.
|And even though the rear is rarely going to be on display, it looks like a uniform match.|
The three leg panels that are going to hold this layout up are now painted in the same Gloss Indian Red as the layout extension in the left of the above picture, and waiting downstairs in my garage to come back up into our apartment and be reassembled. All that remains is for the gold trim at the base of the layout to be removed on the side where the two sections will join flush and share the same leg panel. I can then get to work laying track and having this running in time for May's Brisbane Model Train Show.
|A flashback to when I first drew up plans for an extension to replace the staging shelf. I re-used the leg panels, salvaged the signs and dumped the rest straight in the rubbish bin. The main layout scored a new top, but remains untouched.|
Best of all, as I no longer have to strip, sand and spray paint the timber fascia and frame of my layout, I can now just concentrate on replacing the desk that stands beneath the layout. Starting tomorrow with a trip to IKEA to buy the first piece that will stand beneath the new extension and finally get all my train crap up off the floor that can be seen in the right of picture. I can then reassemble the layout above it, and look at replacing my current desk with something more practical.
Of course, the advantage to building a small layout, is that an even smaller extension is not going to take me that long to complete. For the few model train shows that I will take Philden to in 2018, I'll be reversing the backdrop and displaying my layout from the other side, with the new extension operating as hidden staging. Come 2019, and I'm sure that Philden and the Phills Harbour extension will be 100% complete, by which time I'll already be stuck into building that new desktop N scale layout I've been hinting at. But as usual, I'll let that be a story for another day.
See also; When paint doesn't match...