Saturday, September 5, 2009

Leafy Bay

Too Small To Be A Branch!

I can hear Martin now explaining the name of the popular shunting layout which he exhibited for a time prior to his more recent effort, Leafy Bay, which is a more ambitious project than Twigg. Not that Twigg was not fun, photogenic or entertaining, it was that and more. Martin’s natural edutainment style of interaction with the public at exhibitions is a bonus for managers and to be honest, a display like Martin’s should be included in every show floor plan. (Note to self, find pics of Twigg.)

With Leafy Bay, Martin Murdon has managed to combine a terminus, small wharf, yard and beach into a very natural looking model display which would fit into many small cars and more importantly along a short wall in a small room in most homes. And yes, I could handle having it in my home.

This model is so complete that you can stand in front for hours watching the action and easily imagine the train heading off back to Melbourne and not actually stopping in a fiddle yard. Did I say fiddle yard? Martin has incorporated a Train turn table, basically a rotating table top which has tracks to hold 5 complete trains. Once he has used all 5 trains and managed to have them all facing the wrong direction, he simply rotates the table 180 degrees and begins again. Trains are short, so changing a few wagons or indeed a whole train every so often will only take seconds, allowing even greater variety.

The track plan bears some resemblance to the classic “Timesaver” designed by John Allen of “Gorre and Daphetid” fame and the execution of the plan is neat, tidy and believable. He has resisted the urge to cram track into every available corner and the scenery enjoys a rather hefty slice of the available real estate. More importantly, it allows the operator just enough room to break up his train and make up a new train for the return journey. I like the way that trees have been used to divide the station from the wharf as well as hide the opening to the fiddle yard. The trees themselves are large enough to realistically hide the train as it passes.

The thing which makes this model look more natural than many others is the track work. All roads are obviously short but notice the station is not laid parallel to the base board edge. Curves have been used to advantage in the centre portion and the whole scene wraps around the beach which does tend to distract the eye requiring that you look again and again to see everything.

Something like this is a perfect starter railway and could easily be managed by many beginners and incorporated into the great network we all have planned for one day. Not many have the room to build a huge empire, but here we have something we could all find a space for. I plan to show you many more like this.

Photos courtesy David Bromage