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Manatee Bay

"Manatee Bay" is Eddie Thompson's winning entry in the MRC's 2015 layout challenge.

Manatee Bay 3612

It's a fictitious H0 marine terminal (part of a larger layout) located on a river estuary on the Florida Panhandle operated by Seaboard Air Line Railroad.


The inspiration for the layout came from the March 2014 edition of Model Railroader which included an article 'Build an easy car float' (float = barge in English). The hull is made from shaped MDF and I thought having never scratch built anything 'I can do that'. The track which is welded to a steel deck was made by modifying Peco inspection pits with plasticard laid between the tracks to give the impression of a solid steel deck. H0 cleets, bridge hooks and track bumpers were sourced from the American marine modelling company Frenchman River Models and the finished article sprayed matt grey with aerosol primer paint and lightly coated with rust coloured wash.  


Manatee Bay 3619

To my delight the April 2014 edition of Model Railroader included detailed instructions of how to build a freight house from plasticard which I modified and finished by cladding the walls with balsa. The overbridge building was built from foam board and covered with scale plastic corrugated iron cut to size having researched the standard size of American corrugated iron sheets which were smaller in the 1950's than today. The finished building was placed on a steel girder structure made from glueing together countless pieces of plastic girder sections with the finished article spay painted with matt red primer paint to which rust streaks were added.

The water followed precisely the instructions given on the YouTube video "Building Water on The Seaport Model Works Display" which I found delivered exactly what is says on the tin! Magic for a modeller who has never attempted to model water before. You can imagine my delight when viewers complemented the modelled water.

Not being much of an electrician I found the electronics a bit of a puzzle as for the first time I used my NCE DCC system to operate both the locomotive, the Tortoise switch motor and the electrofrog turnout through a NCE Switch-it decoder but thanks to some advice from the Putnam team I was able to get the wiring right. Manatee Bat 3610Manatee Bay 3613

Whilst I was surprised with the finished article and even more when the layout was considered good enough to win the competition I am only too aware that I have a long way to go to reach the standards of modelling achieved by some MRC members. However as was explained to me before I started, the challenge is designed to encourage members to try something new, out of their comfort zone and to that end the competition was an outstanding success.