All is quiet …

Maybe it is better to say that all has been very quiet, as it’s half a year ago since I published my previous post. So, what have I been up to, you might wonder … assuming that somebody is still reading the stuff I write …
Well, I have been busy with the new addition to our family … a beautiful baby girl, who arrived at the end of last month. This meant that we had to do an internal move at our place and so, I  spent a lot of my time redoing the bedrooms of our kids. It also meant that I had to give up my hobby room and needed to move all my stuff to the attic.

French farm in 1:76 scale

So for now, I have put the Koala Creek layout on hold a bit, which means that there is also little progress on the HOn30 Shay. I am slowly redeveloping the 3D printed parts for the Shay, but at the same time I am still not happy with the current quality of Shapeways … so just be patient.
In the mean time I have started to work on a bookshelf  layout, as I should be able to fit one in a corner of my home office … where I am also freeing up some space for a workbench. The theme of the layout has nothing to do with sugar cane in Queensland, but probably a bit more with the title of this post …

While browsing the web, I bumped into the following interesting video on Youtube.

It shows the U.S. operated 60 cm gauge Light Railways in France, during America’s brief 19-month involvement in Word War I. I became quite interested in the subject and after ordering and reading “Narrow Gauge To No Man’s Land” by Richard Dunn, I started looking at creating a small layout, showing one of these American operated lines running through a small French Village in the Menil-la-Tour area. Something like this …

A 2-6-2t Baldwin running through Corniéville, France

From what I have been able to find-out, most of the rolling stock is available. The scale is a bit different however … it’s all 009 … which is 1:76 scale stock running on 9mm gauge.

US Army 2-6-2t Baldwin - 60 cm gauge

The 2-6-2t Baldwin is available from Five79, while the gondola, boxcar and flatcar are available from Meridian Models. The only thing missing is the tank car, but it should be possible to make it, using a Meridian flatcar as a base. I also went looking for the right figures to use for the layout and bumped into W^D Models. They have a great range of 1:76 figures, including French soldiers and American engineers. I already bought some and tried to paint a couple of French soldiers as a test.

French soldiers by W^D Models

As mentioned, the US operated line will run through a small French village in the Menil-la-Tour area. These villages mainly consisted of farms like the ones below. Similar buildings can also be seen in the second image of this post, where a Baldwin 2-6-2t runs through the French village of Corniéville.

Damaged French farm during WWI

The layout will need quite a few of these, so I have been looking for a simple way to make them and decided to laser-cut the parts out of 3.5 mm Styrofoam and 0.38 mm Laserboard (resin impregnated kraft paper). After making a design for a first test building, I visited my friendly neighbourhood laser-cutting company with the materials, which ended up like this.

Lasercut parts

The final result can be seen in the first image in this post … and as you can see, all is quiet on the Western front …