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The junction part of Grathwaite is on the left hand board when looking from the front, although disused and overgrown with grass and bushes. Tucked into the corner by the tunnel is the edge of a farmer’s field complete with barn.

Tunnels at each end of the layout are built from Hornby Skaledale tunnel mouth, with plywood support and plasticard tunnel lining’s. On top of the tunnel we have used polystyrene to give a base and coloured plaster to produce the contours.  Trees are all from the Scenecraft and Skaledale range, although a little on the small side they set the layout well.

New to us was the canal.  This proved to be interesting as we had never modelled water before. After reading many articles we first experimented on an old piece of MDF and some scrap Perspex. A hole was cut into the MDF and the Perspex was glued on the bottom side using clear araldite adhesive. It was subsequently painted underneath with a horrible muddy type colour acrylic paint! Clear polyurethane varnish was then poured over the Perspex and left to dry. This process was repeated a number of times until some depth could be seen in the varnish.

The result was good, but the canal on the layout was going across a baseboard joint! This next stage of the experiment was going to be fun!!

The Perspex was cut out to mirror the shape of the canal and lock pound, it was painted as above and glued in place with clear araldite adhesive. A pair of Langley lock gates were assembled and cut and made to fit into the lock pound.

At the bottom of the lock gate the canal split over the baseboard join and this was sealed using plasticard. Working from the highest part of the canal it was cleaned of all loose material and a layer of varnish was added which covered the Perspex. Further layers were added 24/36 hours later and the process continued over a period of time to build up the depth of the canal. Narrow boats, ducks and swans were all then placed in the canal at appropriate positions and areas of turbulence painted with white enamel paint; the final layer of varnish was then added.

Two things to consider when adopting this method is the temperature of the area you are working in, as it was winter and around freezing point in the garage at the time and not recommended for the varnish to set or the modeller who is trying to attempt the work. The other is to make sure the plasticard is well secured as at one time most of the varnish ended up seeping onto the garage floor!

The overall effect of the canal as can be seen from the photographs shows depth and a realistic colour and is often the source of many comments and questions at exhibitions.

All the scenic boards back drops are covered with sky paper glued down using border adhesive overlaid with two or three layers of buildings from the Townscene range.