Railways and WW1

Darryl Foxwell talks about his First World War layouts.

Up to 1995 my knowledge of the use of narrow gauge railways during the First World War was virtually zero, but I have always been interested in the weapons of war and have had a special interest in tanks and artillery pieces. So, when Airfix reintroduced its model of the First World War British tank and Plateway Press bought out its first book on the First World War narrow gauge railways the die had been cast: I had to build a First World War layout.

By 2000 I was exhibiting 1917, a layout with both standard and narrow gauge tracks. I then followed on with The Village 1918, The Harbour 1918, Dogfight – light, sound and aircraft and a stand-alone board with a crane unloading from standard to narrow gauge.

Why 1918? Simple. It allows me to incorporate all the vehicles, aircraft, shipping and people used in the First World War. Since Plateway produced its first book, a number of similarly themed books have come on to the market, many of which I have used and have detailed in this article.

All my boards are framed with 2in x 1in softwood timber. This gives a solid frame that’s easy to join to other boards using locating dowels, and is cheap to make. The top boards can be made using thin ply, insulation board or any other durable material.

Back scene boards can be made of thin ply. Paint with light blue emulsion then use water-based acrylics applied using scrunched-up paper towel to create a variety of clouds. Not an artist, I hear you say – nor am I, so I let my architect daughter do the first few. When I asked her again she said: ‘No, you have to learn’. So I have practised then tried again and again.

For the full article, see the May edition of Modelling – available now!

For a complete list of stockists and how to get your copy, visit: www.railwaymagazinemodelling.co.uk/distributors