This stunning layout was created by Gary Livesley. Named ‘Tunnel Top – Yew Tree Farm’ as part of his ‘Westmorland’ layout. When initially posted to the WWScenics Facebook group (WWScenics Model Railways & Diorama Scenics), we just had to get in touch to find out the inspiration and processes that led to this beautiful landscape.
The Modeller Behind The Scene
Check out Gary’s Youtube channel ‘SettleCarlisle68 ‘, where he showcases his modelling techniques:
- WWS Textured Plaster
- WWS Concrete Dust Weathering Powder
- WWS Black Soot Weathering Powder
- WWS Light Brown Fine Dry Mud
- WWS Clear Model Water
- WWS Large Grey Stones
- WWS Fine Red Stones
- WWS Light Earth Weathering Powder
- WWS Muddy Static Grass
- WWS Summer Static Grass
- WWS North Euro Static Grass
- WWS Wild Meadow Static Grass
- WWS Basing Glue
- WWS Layering Spray
- WWS Micro Applicator
- WWS Precision Applicator
- WWS Tuft Paper
- WWS Tuft Glue
- WWS Summer Static Grass
- WWS Dead Static Grass
- WWS Patchy Static Grass
How Did You Start Getting Into Modelling?
I guess I’ve had a keen interest in modelling as a hobby since my early teens when I used to model (but not very well) WW2 military dioramas in 1/72 and later 1/35 scale. Then in late 2019, nearly 40 years later from my last modelling venture I decided to give it another go now that had more free time on my hands. I decided to take up the hobby again and model a scenic railway layout. However, there was a hitch I first needed to find somewhere to build it as we had no available space in the house. Around this time, I started to do my research into my new hobby and watched lots of model railway and scenic modelling YouTube channels to gain knowledge about when it would eventually become a reality. This is when I first came across what turned out to be my go-to channel for scenic modeling, ‘Peaks 47’. The channel by Sam Jones provided me with a wealth of superb, hands-on scenic tutorials for the similar sorts of scenes that I wanted to create on my future layout. In early 2020, I embarked on my new modelling journey as I had just completed the conversion of the back of my garage to make a new model railway room.
What Inspired This Specific Project?
This specific project in the photo is called ‘Tunnel Top – Yew Tree Farm’ and was so-called named as a result of the whole top of the tunnel on the layout being removable to gain access to the trackwork below, not a very original name though but it stuck for a mini-series of videos that I did for my own YouTube Channel SettleCarlisle68. The name ‘Yew Tree Farm’ then recently followed which is my own model interpretation of the most famous Farm House in the Lake District. The scenic side of the project itself was inspired by the many visits that my wife and I have made over the years to the Settle to Carlisle railway and its surrounding area. It’s not just about the steam trains for me, it’s a beautiful part of the world to spend a day out and gain inspiration for what to scenically model next! The idea for this particular project was to create a summer moorland farm scene that is found in many parts of the Lake District or Yorkshire Dales. Its white-washed painted farmhouse, the abundance of dry-stone walls, the field full of large grass tufts, and the free-roaming sheep are all typical things you would see on a day out to either area. Hopefully, I’ve managed to capture the scene and recreate it in a model form from the many photographs and reference material? I first used this principle to model with my previous farm scene, a modeling build that won me the WWS Farm competition back in August-2021. It was back then my interpretation of the ‘Ravenseat Farm’ from the TV show ‘Our Yorkshire Farm’ which we had visited a number of times.
How Long Did This Project Take?
This particular part of the layout named ‘Tunnel Top’ has taken me roughly about 2 months to get to this stage. I am not sure of the actual hours I’ve spent on it but my best guess is about 50 hours of work. The scene now is virtually complete but for a few minor details and some weathering applied to the farmhouse. The next part of the project is to finish off the Viaduct scene below the Tunnel Top with the continuation of the stream down the hill from Tunnel Top. In terms of the model railway layout itself, I actually started its construction back in March 2020 and I would say it is still only 60% complete to date. I reckon it will take maybe another couple more years or so to have it fully completed as to how I really want it. I am continually changing things as I have fresh ideas and learn new modeling techniques and skills but it’s the part of the hobby that I most enjoy!
What Products Did You Use?
For this particular ‘Tunnel Top’ scene in the photograph and the quarry face that you see below a great deal of WWS scenic products have been used. These products were used to generate the hard landscaping, the stream (not in the photo), and the scenery. Starting with the hard landscaping for the hills and stream bed, these were made from shaping and carved insulation foam and polystyrene sheets that were then coated and sealed with a combination of plaster bandage and WWS textured plaster. The quarry and rock faces at the bottom of the photo are made from carved insulation foam to recreate the effect of limestone, these are then painted with a grey acrylic spray primer and then subtly weathered with a combination of WWS Concrete Dust and Black Soot weathering powders. The actual tunnel top scene above the quarry then had a liberal coating of brown poster paint applied to seal the plaster landscape. WWS Light Brown Fine Dry Mud was then applied over the prime coat of brown poster paint in the required areas, I also wanted to have a muddy farm track over a small model railway bridge crossing over the stream to the right of the scene, of the picture. A number of layers of WWS Clear model water were then applied for this shallow stream with WWS large grey stones used for the stream bank and surrounding area. A further thicker coat of WWS Clear Water was then applied and then WWS fine red stones were pressed firmly into the still wet WWS Clearwater. This was done to recreate a trickling peat red/brown rock-stained stream that I had seen and photographed on my travels.
The farm track leading to the farmhouse on the left was modeled using WWS Fine sand, stuck down with PVA modelling glue. Once dry it was painted with various shades of brown acrylic paints and finally finished off with some WWS Light Earth weathering powder. I then moved on to the Static grasses which were then applied over the basecoat of brown paint and mud with some patches of the mud left showing for scenic effect. A number of the WWS Static grasses from the 2mm range were selected and applied in layers to give the look of a summer moorland. I used a variety of colors to create this look, these being a base coat of Muddy, followed by some Summer and North Euro then finally some a covering in areas of Wild Meadow. These static grasses were all applied using the WWS basing glue followed by the WWS layering spray. The static grass was applied using the Micro and Precision WWS applicators. For the numerous grass tufts on the scene, I actually made my own from scratch using the WWS Tuft paper and Tuft Glue, and once again I used the WWS static grasses for this. To make these specific moorland tufts, I use a mixture of 2mm Summer, 4mm Dead, and 4mm Patchy applied to the Tuft paper/glue blobs with my Pro Grass Micro applicator. Then the final scenic details are applied to finish off the scene, I used a number of scenic materials including various types of scatters, bushes, and fine leaf foliage from a variety of scenery manufacturers in several different colors and size grades. The trees are the last items to be added to the scene and these are made from suitable tree-sized Seafoam pieces, painted matt black, then applied with WWS layering spray before a sprinkling of light/mid-green course turfs. The scratch modeled ‘Yew Tree’ white farmhouse was added last of all to complete the overall scene.
What Is The Layout Called?
The layout itself is called ‘Westmorland’ and is based upon a fictitious location on the Settle & Carlisle Railway. The layout is based in the summertime in the 1960s, which is the late British Railways steam era. The layout is only 2.5 meters long and an average of about 1 meter wide. I have achieved my initial goal for this layout by including many elements of the Settle Carlisle Railway into the relatively small available space available without it becoming too cluttered with the track. The layout incorporates two tunnels, a viaduct with the stream, two farm scenes, a mainline model rail station, a large goods yard, and even a small steam loco depot and I’ve still managed to incorporate lots of scenery which was the main goal!
What Scale/ Gauge Is It?
The layout is 1:148 / N Gauge, so it’s a very small scale to work with, whereby I find I have to apply a very different approach with the modeling of the scenery compared to the larger 00 scales to make it not look too oversized and looking unrealistic.