While battling the "man flu", thought it would be a good time to update the old blog a bit. Been busy with considerable progress since the last update. The studio got some internal stud walls, insulation, wired up and then plastered. Since its a dedicated modelling and layout space, it meant I had total control over what it looks like in the end (ie its not a room in the house that I have to consider keeping it semi house looking). As a totally independent structure, I have creative freedom, so out came the black paint. Once the layout goes in, I wanted it so there weren't too many distractions from the modelled scenes, so blacking everything out that isn't actually layout forces you to view only the important parts (a bit like when you go to a museum and only the displays are lit).
Firstly, all of these progress pics are just quick phone snaps, so excuse the low quality. Life is getting quite civilised in the studio, with the carpeted floor, plastered walls and LED down lights. These LED ceiling lights are low wattage warm white, designed to provide reasonably dim (but sufficient) light for moving around what will be the isles in the room. There will be brighter lighting built into the layouts overhead lighting valance at a later stage. The black roof does a fairly good job of disguising the low ceiling height of the studio, but at the end of the build, not much of the ceiling will actually be visible once the layout roof lines are in place. Not photographed, but a 45mmx70mm timber batten has been mounted right around the walls (much like a dado rail) at 1050mm high to serve as an anchor point and level for the layout frame that will attach above it. Rail height will be approx. 1200mm which allows for cut-away's below track level for things like creeks and hollows in the terrain. Underneath the layout is where a heap of storage cupboards and my various workbenches are being assembled.
I know, that quickly went from being a vacant and spacious room to the image above. I guess since I've being picturing this studio space in my head for so long before being able to get around to building it, I've had plenty of time to think about all the ways I wanted to design it, so when it has now become reality, getting this bench work in place has been a quick process...I didn't have to sit down and think about what I wanted in this room after it was built because I've known in my mind for quite some time how it all needs to happen.
A friend of mine had been renovating their house, so I was able to rescue and recycle a lot of their old kitchen bench tops and cupboard units...all great for my needs. I have about 5m of workbench length now under the layout, so can have a few different dedicated work areas. One area is set up for loco and rolling stock work, the others more for structures and scenery jobs, with relevant materials stored near the associated work area. I was also able to get some granite bench tops from the recycling (seen here under the peninsula area, which will have a sawmill modelled above it). The effort to carry and install this rather heavy material has resulted in a good hard and flat surface for working on. Under layout lighting makes the work zone good and bright for working in. Later when the layout is nearing completion, black curtains will cover these work spaces when running an operating session. The work benches are low at just 600mm from the ground, but is a comfortable working height still as I have a lowered seat for use (not the stool seen in these pics). Ideally I would have liked to have them a bit higher, but the layout would also have to have been higher, and the restricted roof height of the studio would have not left enough height to model my gum trees in effectively. It was preferred to have the layout how I wanted it and compromise to work zones to suit. It looks a bit low and cramped, but ergonomically when siting there it is perfectly fine for me.
I needed to establish these work and storage zones first up so I could demolish my old far from finished "Triple Creek" layout, that was briefly mentioned way back on my first post to this blog. Rather than pack all that stuff up for the move 20 feet out the back door, this new work space was prepared and then everything just picked up and carried out to its new home. A lot of the old layout bench framing will be recycled in the construction of the overhead layout roofing and lighting valance. Who knows, I might even get back into doing some modelling in the near future!