And finally, the micro layouts. These were mostly entrants to the Diamond Jubilee Challenge layouts. The 2mm Scale Association ran a layout challenge to celebrate their Diamond Jubilee in 2020. Entrants were required to build a small 2mm scale layout where the footprint of the scenic area must fit within a rectangle 60 centimetres x 9.42 inches. The dimensions chosen reflect the peculiar mix of imperial and metric that is so typical of the British railway modelling scene and represent the 60 years since the 2mm Scale Association was founded and the 9.42mm track gauge used to represent British standard gauge track in 2mm finescale modelling.
No doubt a 2 year delay to the jubilee enabled a few more layouts to come close to finishing!
End of the Road is a remnant of the Milwaukee Road, a couple of sidings at the end of an old branch line. This layout featured real US finescale, as the track was built to the correct (for them) 9mm gauge. And the sound included a large bass speaker under the layout, that massively improved the quality of the loco sounds.
I liked The Coal Hole, though still a work in progress, cleverly modelling part of a loco shed.
British Oak models a real location in West Yorkshire, but is heavily compressed. The NCB industrial lines deliver coal to the canal barges below.
Ale Dock models a corner of the Burton-on-Trent beer railways, and came all the way from Australia for this exhibition.
Callington is based on the real Southern branch terminus in the Tamar Valley.
Clyde is set in the shipyards of Glasgow. Altogether a rather clever concept!
Line No 16 Ripple is a standard/narrow gauge line in the Kent hopfields.
I liked the conservatory on the back of the house on Merchant Bridge.
Port Jubilee was still in its box, but I pinched this from the 2mm website. This is a classic Inglenook shunting puzzle track plan, with three sidings capable of holding 5, 3, and 3 wagons. The setting is rail served pier somewhere on the Scottish coast. It has an oval baseboard.
Last of the layouts are two narrow gauge models. This little Irish pizza (is that one with potato rather than pineapple?) came to the ESNG show a few years ago. It’s Z gauge, but using 2mm finescale standards.
And the last layout was definitely my favourite from the show – even better than Freshwater. I’d read about it on RMweb, and followed its construction, so it was a treat to see it in the flesh – and it was even better then the pictures threatened. Gakunan is a Japanese industrial railway near Mount Fuji. The builder hangs this little layout above his desk in the office, and as at the show, a railcar shuffles to and fro automatically. He’s wondering whether to program it to run according to the real timetable! This shows the full layout, with a small ‘keyhole’ to concentrate the view of the layout.
The model is built to the correct Japanese gauge of 3′ 6″ – about 7mm in 2mm scale. This is quite easy to do if you build your own track, and use the Association wheels that can be regauged. There’s still some overhead power lines to add, but the detail is already delightful.
All these little layouts gave a lot of inspiration as to what can be done in a small space. Maybe I’ll try a little something myself……
Also on display was this lockdown project…
We’ll end with a picture of 2mm finescale at its best. A scratch built SDJR 2-8-0 on Evercreech Junction. I’ll never achieve this sort of modelling, but I came away from my visit to the show suitably inspired to do more, and, if possible, do it better.