We have been building up to this article for a few months now.
Troels Kirk is a landscape artist and the skill he posseses as an artist is shown briefly in the sketches from which he builds his creations. This art background is displayed in full with the completion of each of his works. Construction of his layout in a Garden shed has gone on for about a year and we now present to you Troel’s Layout House.
Since there’s still almost a month till we move to Sweden to live in our new house, AND I get to the house for the future Coast Line R.R, I’ve started serious sketching of track plans. Here’s the building, that will house the layout.
The room is 33′x16.5′, concrete floor with insulated walls/roof. I will probably cut some 4-5 feet in the left end for a garden tool shed, so I now plan with an internal size of 28′x16′. My preliminary design is inspired by Frary’s Thatcher’s Inlet and Art Fahie’s Wharf Street. So I wanted the feeling of being in a boat in a bay in Maine in the 1930′s, looking toward the shore. There’s water in front of all the scenery. A simple staging and reverse loop are separated from the layout. No grades and comfortable radii in the scenicked part, and 24” in the reverse loop. I’ve tried to avoid cramming too much track in, but still have three stations, separated by small rivers. Track height will be quite high, so there’s room under the staging for worktables and storage.
This is a preliminary sketch, and much will be solved when I start building. I like to have track pretty high (around 52-55”) so there’s plenty of room for working at the table (which probably will be on wheels. Or perhaps I’ll drop the garden shed in the end of the house… and gain five feet. Or… I hesitate with having any tracks hidden under the layout. I hate that. I hate crawling on my bad knees… And I’d like having no grades at all. That’s why I didn’t make any scenery on a whole, long wall. But if I could get the return loop and staging on only the right side of the door, I’d be much happier!
The hard part will be finding time to get the layout house ready to start constructing the layout. I’ll have to paint a lot of paintings to pay for the house and renovations needed. The house comes with a 100 year old 110 seats theatre/cinema, where I’ll have my studio/gallery, plus we intend to run the place as a mini cultural centre with concerts, theatre and films and so on. But I’ll try to use the evenings in the train house to get some progress. And now, before we move, I’ll make perspective drawings of the different areas, to make modeling easier.
Here are a couple of first 3D visualizations I’ve drawn of the right side, Teal’s, and the long side, Convers. Some of the scratchbuilt buildings I’ve already made have found a (perhaps temporary) place. And I’m having SO much fun doing this! Modeling with a pencil is so much faster than all the time it will take to recreate what takes minutes to draw…
I will have small industries, from a couple of seafood producers, the ice plant (supplying the reefers of the seafood folks), I was thinking of a block, oar, trawler wire and rope factory, bronze foundry and other sea-related industries. On the big wharf there’s room for inbound or outbound coal, sand, tea, fertilizer, cranberries, pulpwood or whatever. Fish or cod liver oil for stinking tank cars. A crane or two would be nice , yes!
There’ll be a passenger ferry stop, with lots of summer tourism business for railbuses and passenger trains. Berry picking specials. Oh, and I forgot the dear Mr. Ericson importing that fine finnish pine tar for preserving lobster traps, nets, sails, sheds boats etc.!
Here’s the first drawing of the Cranberry wharf, seen from the “east” end and down the “north” side.
Here’s the first sketch of the Cranberry Wharf’s south side (I omitted the passenger ferry on purpose)
The little town of Cranberry, at the root of the Cranberry Wharf, seen from north-east, with the Cranberry Creek bridge on the right. Loco shed and water tower in the back, wharf with passenger ferry on the left.
There’s a bit of stage fright building up to make a fine layout, but I’ll do my best… I’ll keep drawing, both because my modeling stuff is packed away for the move in three weeks, and because it’s so much fun! When the time comes to begin building and track laying, a lot of trouble will be avoided by having drawn the layout in more and more detail. I’m constantly looking through my folder of vintage Maine photos to get the feel of the coastal environment as it was. Afterwards I try to capture the essence in the drawings. At a later stage, I might even do a few watercolors of my favorite spots.
I had to see how a couple of the structures I’ve already built would look in their future location. The Ericson’s wharf and the Convers seafood, as seen from the east. Convers station and depot in the background. The light on the port side of the small harbor entrance will be flashing green, with reflections in the water. Should look nice at night. A reefer for the lobster packers on Ericson’s Wharf has been pushed out the wobbly “trestle” using a couple of idler flats.
The time it takes to finish a sketch depends on the area depicted and the detail amount. The early one’s I made with the long side of Convers took perhaps an hour, because I had to invent a lot of scenery for the first time. Now I have a better idea of how the different areas look, so I now draw much faster. The latest drawing was mainly of already existing structures, so it took perhaps ten minutes to render. Quite the contrast to the time it took to build the models…
The eastern entrance to Convers (on the right side of the long wall), under the Seaview House hotel. Seaview has a steep staircase, and a small armchair incline too, for prominent guests. Philpot’s Mechanical Music Instruments (which I’ve already built) on the right. A small bit of the quay behind Ericson’s Wharf in the foreground left.
I designed the hotel to look big with a small footprint. On top of the steep hill, I’m shure it will be eyecatching. There will we crowded restaurant tables on the porch, people climbing the stairs and at the rail looking through binoculars etc. This is the first, quick drawing I began with. I haven’t yet made the exact plans for the actual construction.
Another prominent feature of the Coast Line RR will be the Teal’s Light to the north. I’ve made this drawing, which I believe pretty much is how it’ll turn out. It’s a free mix of the lovely lighthouses on the Maine coast. There’s a lifeboat house with loft, oil house with bell and foghorn on scaffold, and living quarters. A radio mast for communications. Masonry tower, shingle roofs and clapboard sidings. Few and smallish windows with storm shutters. Weathered white all over.