A Rural Railway in France
The model is the same sort of scale as my main model railway “Monjouet” – a bit of a mix of O30n and 7mm:ft narrow gauge.
It is built on a wooden base, 24cm square. I couldn’t afford the Ikea light box together with its post and packing costs, so there is no cover for the layout, but I have added a 24cm high back scene which I hope will be considered acceptable under the 24x24x24cm size limitation.
The scene depicts a little of the local French countryside (though sadly trains no longer run around here). A layer of 5mm foam board is glued to the baseboard, with a meandering stream cut out, bordering a large tree. (This was a model olive tree, bought on holiday in Provence, which was intended for Monjouet, but which turned out to be too big to fit on the already crowded layout so joined my ‘one day this may come in handy’ collection of oddments.)
The track is left over bits of OO from older layouts, joined together into a circle. Ground cover is coloured sand with little plastic flowers inserted here and there. Engines and wagons are borrowed from Monjouet and are:- an OO Dapol Pug, adapted to 7mmNg with a bigger cab, etc., and a seriously butchered HO Brawa electric shunter (built up and converted to ‘diesel’). To give the trains somewhere to disappear to, I made a intermediary backdrop of card, fronted with painted trees with lichen foliage.
To add height to the scene, I made a wind-driven water pump using a fan from some long-forgotten piece of worn-out household equipment (another item from my ‘may be useful one day’ store). I decided to make this into something of a ‘has-been’ by breaking off half the fan blades and adding a fair bit of ‘rust’ – I include a photo of the example which inspired this, just up the road from where I live. To fill another bit of space on the back scene I modelled an airliner breaking through the clouds. (I guess the pilot will be hauling back on the stick desperately as he finds himself rather nearer the ground than he would wish for!) The body of the plane is part of a plastic key fob thingy that once contained some little model pigs (now enjoying the open air in Monjouet). Wings and tail are from card and engines are made from caps of super glue tubes (very little gets thrown away in my house!).
No French farm is complete without a dilapidated tractor rotting away in the corner of a field. Mine came with a wire with a small crocodile clip on the end sticking out of it, and was intended to be used a place setting marker at a dinner party.
Finally the figures.
I prefer cartoon figures to the somewhat staid models offered by model railway accessories suppliers, so buy most of mine from street fairs, where maturing children off-load their childish toys to this childish old man! They include two sheep, one of which is interested in the bluebird nest in the tree above, a couple of rabbits, and a farm worker surveying his flock – who is from the Kinder Egg® Magic Roundabout series. These have all come from my ‘people’ stock box. The train drivers, also toys rather than ‘models’, arrived from Monjouet already ensconced in their charges.
No doubt there will be some superbly crafted entries, which will leave mine standing in terms of professionalism, but I hope some readers will find this economy model (the only items specially bought for this project were the sprig of little flowers and the tractor) interesting at least. I certainly enjoyed making it.