Good progress was made on Cottingfield in 2020, and perhaps with another month or two before the layout had to be hibernated it may have been ‘finished’. Although equally I know a lot of modellers who would tell you a layout is never finished.
So what does it need to be ‘finished’?
That’s a very good question, the short answer is more detail in places, and something to fill the empty space by the road tunnel.
The depot area is almost a licence to go crazy with detail, as in real life it is a busy and complex area.
The main depot is certainly missing some core details. To address this the first item on the shopping list is two packs of the listing jacks made by Graham Farish. These would fill a void in what is otherwise currently a sparsely populated depot building.
Does anybody work here? At present despite the cars and vans in the car park you would be forgiven for thinking the answer is no! Hence the next item on the shopping list. As part of the Scenecraft range Farish do a perfect set. Entitled depot workers the set of people also includes a nice detailing item.
Catalogue number 379-311 as well as including the all important figures the set also includes a typical red mobile tool chest. Two sets of these gets me two tool chests. Perfect for a two line maintenance building!
This is the type of further detailing needed to the depot area. Options abound in the era of 3D printing and lots of cottage industry type sellers. One such seller is Red Imp Railways on eBay who do some very nice, finely detailed prints. There is also a wide selection of items on Shapeways.
However one word of caution on this route, always check the reviews carefully. This is coming from a man who has failed to do so before, and leads me on to another topic.
Challenges with 3D printing
In due course I will write much more on 3D printing i’m sure. As a topic it is becoming more and more prevalent and important in our hobby. However done badly it can be very disheartening.
What to watch for
Issues with scaling. This is possibly my number on bug bear with 3D printed models. I have on a number of occasions now received models that clearly have not been resized correctly. When dealing in N Scale, this makes an under or oversized item very obvious.
One such example of this is pallets. I have purchased a number of these over time for different projects. On Cottingfield at one point I tried to build a stack of them outside the stores building. And yes, you’ve guessed they were all different sizes depending where I had bought them.
Low quality printing
The expression ‘ribbed for pleasure’ does not apply in modelling. A problem I have come across time and time again with people printing items at home is ribbing on items. This is where the printer has built each layer up on top of each other. Seemingly lower qualify printers can then leave a banding effect on one or more sides. Next time I receive an item like this I will update the blog to show you what I mean.
The banding or ribbing is not an insurmountable problem, but it is time consuming. A high number grade of wet and dry paper and some patience, the issues can be removed to improve the looks.
Not every 3D printer has these issues though, and some fantastic items are available. I would encourage you strongly to read the reviews, and remember the adage ‘buy cheap, buy twice’
The Vacant Lot
Getting back on topic for a moment after the talk of 3D printing. At I sit here I’m not quite sure what is going to go in the vacant lot. I’ve seen some lovely kits which I fancy having a go at including an Aldi supermarket, and a car sales showroom. I also wonder if I fancy doing something a bit different though.
One idea I am seriously considering for the vacant lot is a building site. This would feature a part completed building, which is a great detailing opportunity inside and out. As part of this you then have the potential for ladders, vans, piles of sand and mess. A perfect opportunity to go nuts and really work on one area.