The Great Model Railway Challenge 2019 has really hit its stride now, and heat four which aired on Friday 4th October saw Three Millers, The Titfield Thunderbolts and Who’s Counting Rivets competing for a place in the series’ semi-finals. The teams approached ‘Uncharted Territory’ with resolve, armed with creativity and resourcefulness in spades.
Three Millers’ low-tide railway ‘Luctor et Emergo’ (‘I struggle and I emerge,’ the Latin motto of the Zeeland province that inspired this layout) was an adventurous high-risk affair mixing permanent way and floodwater, with surprisingly positive results. The team’s track bed penetrated its Dutch dykes with a railway equivalent of the lock gates you would normally find on a canal, these structures making effective use of Proses’ Brick Pattern embossed PVC sheets (P3D-EB-03).
The surrounding fifties flatlands were beautifully rendered with the aid of several Woodland Scenics products, including Foam Sheets (WST1422 & WST1423), Poly Fibre (WFP178), and Tree Armatures (WTR1121-25) dressed very effectively with Fine Leaf Foliage (WF1132) and Lichen (WL164). For permanent layouts, it is not recommended that you regularly submerge your scenery in this way!
Titfield Thunderbolts’ ‘Drake’s Lost Treasure’ layout reminded the viewer of forced perspective with N scale running at the rear of the landscape, the service comprising weathered POA Mineral Wagons ‘Tiger’ Grey (373-975B) hauled by Farish LMS 3F ‘Jinty’ Tank 7309 in LMS Black (372-210A).
The terrain took abundant Woodland Scenics as its basis, including Plaster Cloth (WSP4140), and plaster castings from the Base Rock Mould (WC1243) using Casting Plaster (WSP4141). SceneArama Spray Glue (WSP4192) fixed the Fine Leaf Foliage (WF1132), whilst Palm Trees (WSP4152) arrived ready to plant.
Who’s Counting Rivets (WCR) became the latest team to extensively incorporate Woodland Scenics’ inclines; five WST1411 packs and one WST1410 were required to achieve the impressive standard and narrow gauge (OO-9) networks on ‘The Deeping Project.’ The effectiveness of this product in providing a solid track bed for consistently good running contrasted markedly with the more imprecise and makeshift technique used by Titfield Thunderbolts, whose build quality and running characteristics were criticised by judge Steve Flint, who likened their helix to a ‘ski-jump,’ unsurprising when derailments resulted!
WCR’s ‘The Deeping Project,’ also known as ‘Journey To The Centre Of The Earth,’ embraced a number of Woodland Scenics techniques and products seen for the first time in this series, including Plaster Cloth (WC1192), Shaper Sheet (WC1179), Liquid Pigments (WC1218 & WC1229), Turf (see the full range here), Briar Patches (WFS637 & WFS638) and Bushes (WFC147). To convey the convincing sense of a working railway environment, WCR and Titfield Thunderbolts both distributed some Trackside Junk (WD202).
As is now customary, a range of Proses ballast spreaders (PBS-HO-01, PBS-HO-04 and PBS-N-01 this week!) were deployed by the civil engineers. Needless to say, the 25-piece Modelmaker Essential Tool Set (MM014) retained its 100% appearance record.
The European dimension brought by the Three Millers meant three Netherlands Covered Goods Wagons from the Liliput range (L235071) were in operation, also making a foray to Zeeland was black LMS Ivatt 2MT 6418 (32-380A).
Who’s Counting Rivets made good use of LNWR Webb Coal Tank 1054 in LNWR Black (35-050), looking very much at home in their gritty transhipment yard, where Factory Workers and Foreman (36-403) imparted a human dimension.
Some seriously impressive work from all three teams!!! Congratulations from Bachmann to heat four’s victors, the irrepressible Who’s Counting Rivets. What will they be required to dream up in the semi finals?
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