A recent feature of BRMA exhibitions is the interest in British outline DCC Sound. As such, it was discussed that a demonstration layout be developed to more appropriately display and demonstrate the members' DCC sound equipped locomotives. To that end Neil Woods and I elected to construct an appropriate "layout" that could be used to appropriately display British outline DCC equipped steam and diesel locomotives.
While not a particularly exciting layout, this essay into DCC Exhibition Standard display layouts is an example of the work required to exhibit at any "professional" venue and as such has been outlined here as a "way of going about it" for those interested in building not only an exhibition display but also a quality home based layout suitable for DC and DCC alike.
The board was made out of 12mm plywood with 19mm x 42mm batterns screwed all around. This was done with a built in countersink bit (courtesy of Festool Germany - my chosen power tool) and ably assisted by my 2.5 year old Lachlan (I hold the drill; he squeezes the trigger!).
The 12mm plywood was ripped down to 300mm wide from a 1200mm long board. Given that there were no complications of pointwork and controls required the 42 x 19 was deemed more than sufficient in bracing this "light weight" model railway structure.
This base board took approximately 1.5 hours to construct (with the help of aforementioned 2.5 year old). Once completed, the track road base was affixed using neat PVA glue (Selley's "Aquadhere" Interior). The track-bed is a closed cell foam underlay produced and marketted by DCC Concepts from Perth in Australia. I had already procured a box of this particular product prior to relocating across country from Perth to Melbourne. I duly marked out our double track mainlines and then glued the track base in place using a small offcut of the track base to spread the neat PVA glue along the underside of the foam product.
I then transported the board around to Neil's house (12 minutes - gosh I love Melbourne!) where Neil proceeded to apply his scenic magic in the form of polystyrene formers with plaster impregnated cloth to create the fantastic back drop to this fictional layout.
Once the foam was applied complete with plaster cloth application, Neil then utilised his suite of "earthy tones" to apply suitable natural variations in earth colour including a spectacular out-cropping of rock from commerciallly available mouldings. This feature was required, not only to provide a scenic backdrop to our DCC sound demonstration, but to also enhance reflection of the sounds produced by the locos out to the viewing (listening?) public.
While the relatively small size of these images prevents you from seeing the full detail in the scenic work, Neil has done a masterful job in creating a rock-hewn cutting by which the sounds from the DCC equipped locos shall reverberate thus enhancing the listening experience of the DCC Sound listener. (me amongst them!!)
This view along the track bed gives an indication of the strata that Neil has created - reminiscent of perhaps coarser scapes of wee bonny homelands I'm sure!
It was at this point that Neil and I agreed (over a pleasant lunch of your finest "Nando's") that it would be a fine idea to document (on MRF) this essay for those who care of such things. Additional complication was created when Neil advised me that the layout needed to be able to be connected to by other future BRMA essays. As such, the track at each end of the layout needed to be robust (to allow for different boards to be attached along the ways.)
As such I decided to go for robustness and include copper clad sleepers soldered to brass plated screws (at track ends) with track soldered to these copper clad sleepers aswell. We decided on PECO code 75 Streamline track in nickle-silver as a suitable comprimise given that we were unable to ascertain the flange dimensions (and subsequent coarseness?) of club members' locomotives. ( My preference would have been for C&L Finescale's Bullhead 75 flexitrack however some of the recent rolling stock does not rate a mention on this track due to its propensity to "smack" its flanges onto the beautifuly cast chair detail.")
This shot shows the robustness of the soldering technique while extolling the virtues of being able to finely adjust the height of the brass screws to ensure the copper-clad sleeper is fully aligned with the rest of the permanent way.