Monday, 30 November 2020

Westykits cattle wagon kit

 Slightly on the back of the last but one post and because maybe it's time for another build project on here, I had a rummage in the box. What came out (second, first was another Cambrian 16 tonner) was this Westykits LNER cattle wagon purchased a couple of years back off a club stand for £4.80. Cheap, old, different. 

I don't know much about Westykits though this was marketed by, and possibly made by Ian Kirk. The question that I'm asking is, is this the same as the LNER cattle sold by Parkside (now Peco)? I tend to think not, though there are links. This is not the crisp moulding of Parkside. The diagram is dated as 'drawn by PMW 1980' making the kit 40 years old.

First impressions are good: it looks to be all there, in fact more than there as there are six buffer parts. The instructions are of course typed and copied as was the style then, and are backwards for me starting with the bodywork. The stand-out phase is, '...unless you are batch-building go and have a fag or a cuppa to give the plastic a chance to harden.' This is what is surely missing from modern kit instructions, encouragement to develop lung disease.

I could probably build this quite quickly, but I'll slot in in amongst the other bits and run it over a couple of posts... after I've had a fag...

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Saturday ramble


It can't have escaped many people's notice that Roy Link passed away this week. regulars will know that I have been a fan over the years and that one particular piece of his artwork has featured here possibly more than it has anywhere else before or since. I first encountered Roy when he was working at Pecorama though I didn't realise who he was then and didn't make the connection until a lot later. His illustration work for RM  covered perhaps a decade and included quite a bit more than Plan of the Month designs, including many technical drawings which were very recognisable not least because they often had 'LINK' in draughtsman's style in the corner; this style transferred neatly to the early NG&IR issues and added to the retro-feel.

The RM Plan of the Months were always inspirational, though often contentious in that they were sometimes high on inspiration, but low on actual do-ability. The AotC's issues have been extensively discussed here, but the N gauge 'Watching the trains go by' is often sited as a real turkey in actual operation  terms.  There were real gems in there: would the teenage me ever have been aware of the Spurn Head Railway if Roy had not snuck it into a PoM - I hardly think anyone else would have considered such a minor line as being appropriate for a mainstream  magazine, even now. Though for me, AotC aside, this was the stand-out gem in the set. Roy's death is a sad, loss, though in consolation we do of course still have his work in our hands.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Airfix lowmac

I think most people have a modelling happy place. If I had to pinpoint mine it would come down to two, or a combo of two: kit-building wagons and/or taking something and upgrading it. Preferably some thing low-cost and out of the club rummage box.
I'm not 100% sure where this Lowmac came from; I don't remember buying it, so it must be somebody's cast off. It was all fairly intact except one missing coupling and it ran perfectly. It's pretty much a one piece mould  and it has 'Airfix 1975' on the bottom making it not much younger than me and likely one of the first of the Airfix range. By todays' standards it's crude, but then I could drop it and not worry about it disintegrating and having to take out a loan for a replacement. In other words it fits the bill perfectly. What's more our friendly scouse retailers were still selling them under the Hornby banner until recently here .
A quick bit of research turns up that it's a Lowmac EU (which proves that in 1955 when it was built we were more interested in being friends with people rather than enemies) and was unsurprisingly designed for ferry traffic and was full 'continental' spec. Through air pipe and vac-fitted, with the buffers with the holes.
The holes were easy -  a whizz with a .5mm drill. The brakes are odd. The moulding tries to do everything in one go and everything in line, but not in line with anything at all. Very much of it's time. I sliced off the push-rod parts which should fit inboard, pondered the outer cross-rods and I'm still pondering the pipes. These may go on later. The rest is paint and a new (the last in stock) Airfix-mount coupling. A length of chain and a slice or two of coffee stirrer and she's a good'un.
Happy place.


Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Rhiw something

There's been some tweaking... but not much. I'm very aware that I'm falling straight into Minories territory here, in fact I found myself browsing through an RMweb thread that dissects the CJF plan and 'improves' it. This means that I've essentially done the same. If you want to disappear down the same rabbit hole the thread is here .

The tweak from my original below is a two parter: the throat points have been shifted more to the left to give a little more space at the entry, therefore closing the loop slightly. This will still take three Mk1s... just. This is of course irrelevant as the standard FY roads won't. The second part is that point 1 is changed to a RH. This means the parcels road at the back is a tad shorter and more S-shaped on entry.

I'm at the point where I'm not sure this is a good idea. I'm not even sure if the name is right. What the world doesn't need now is another exhibition layout, though it is as usual rear op' so far more likely to go out to play than all the front op' boys post Covid. The reason is because I can and not having some sort of layout project on the go seems, well, weird. This will all go to plan until you-know-who demand an N gauge layout to be built in Setrack for Warley 21. 

Monday, 23 November 2020

O gauge brake van

 I finished the 7mm brake off last week. Apart from a couple of niggles it practically falls together. but isn't a particularly quick build. However it doesn't say this on the box and this is supposed to be a pastime not a race. Finished in a scruffy, but not filthy paint job with the usual mix of acrylics form Humbrol.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

7mm scale signals

Never open you big mouth. I sent the review in for the Simon Paley book (mentioned below). A short while later: 'As you're well read in this now, do you fancy building these up for review?'

I have said many times over the years that I don't do wires - nasty tangly things full of stuff I don't really understand. The subject is a triple modular kit of a 7mm 3 aspect with a feather arm - the bit pictured above, the post and the feather in separate kits. The bit with resistors I didn't get so I rang AWK for some knowledgeable advise. That bit partially achieved I returned the instructions only to find that the bit I'd done I didn't need to do...yet.  The three sets of instructions are worryingly interlaced. I'd hesitate to say that this is bad practice, but it did take me a while to work out where to start. I'm sure it will all be fine.


Friday, 20 November 2020

Track plans

First the plague, then the flood. Just waiting for the locusts to rock up. Back in the back room sans floor and carpet and using the trestles that were built for the AotC - i.e. 13" wide and 3' off the deck. The boards are as shown a couple of days ago and will obviously get backscenes and facia. (Tut. nearly said lightweight again there instead of lighter-weight).

The track layout is as the plan though I'm still tweaking. Access to the parcels road (right) will need reversal into the FY which won't go down too well with Mr. Hill, but as I said, still tweaking. Track is standard code 75 - I've mostly moved over to this, but there is still some code 100 knocking about in the cupboard. The PG Tips box represents the parcels depot the other boxes, a low relief extension to this. I'll need some building flats with lines of dirty windows. The platforms will be canopied for much of their length and be accessed via underpass from somewhere. In essence this is the bastard child not only of Hopwood/Rhiw, but leans heavily on Messers Futers and Freezer though there will be what amounts two two separate fiddle yards (up and down) on one board using the existing fan of sidings that are currently used for Svanda and adding an extra pair (don't think three will fit) alongside.

Sunday, 15 November 2020

Lightweight baseboards

 The first board for the new Rhiw or Rhiw 2 or something else that rhymes. After the marginally heavyweight pre-cut boards, it's back to my own from 6mm MDF. The last lot had reduced cross framing, now I've gone the whole hog and done the side frames too. Debating whether to link the holes into long ovals. You wouldn't think this made a difference, but compared to the last efforts, the above is almost down to grams. It does feel slightly over the top, but then I remembered reading about touring cyclists drilling holes in plastic spoons to cut weight so...

Compared to Mk 1 it's positively frantic with track, but in reality it is a different beast and hopefully replicated all the good bits of Hopwood, while removing the bad bits and all in a little less space.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

O gauge in Railway Modeller

 Slightly delayed from its originally planned November slot to hit the (again planned) appearance at Warley, the O gauge layout Oake starts its trilogy this month. This should hit the shops tomorrow- if you could get to the shops that is.

Sunday, 8 November 2020

Something Scandinavian

For no particular reason Svanda was pulled out of its corner and set up. This was before it was twigged that this was its first glimpse of daylight for a year. The last being an outing to Wycrail. A quick wave of the track rubber and all worked perfectly. There are small questions - much as there are about any exhibition layout. Svanda is slightly different in that it has lasted; a quick bit of digging found that it was started in 2010. That's almost unheard of with layouts that I have had a hand in building, but then in a lot of ways it's my favourite to operate. Smooth-running Heljian, Roco and NJM locos and stock with finely tweaked couplings usually see to that. My only thought is that it looks a little tired. Is it time for a complete refurb', or time for a replacement?