Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Looking Ahead

Now that all the Christmas frivolity is behind us, it's time to open the diary to see what's in store for 2012 and what I have to do in the immediate future. Well on the work front it all looks a little sad, but the first half of the year is full of modelling appointments. The first being to drag Rhiw (Llynfordd) down to Devon for one of the in-house photographers to point a camera at it for future publication. This means that what I should be doing for the first week of 2012 is tidying up a few small jobs on it like adding an extra lever on the ground frame, and possibly purchasing a pack of the Ratio relay boxes, since now that they are available, it seems churlish not to put a pair where they undoubtedly would be in real life.

Then after that there is a line of exhibitions ending with Portmadog in May. After that it goes quiet, but in the meantime there is Nigel's Svanda to get on with and the rude-not-to 7mm ng project. So despite have little income there is plenty to do.

Monday, 26 December 2011

South London store

I'm looking around for some uncomplicated background buildings for the forthcoming 7mm project(s) and noticed this in one of the salubrious parts of South London on the way to work this week. I'm guessing that it was part of a builders yard or similar. My first thought was a stable, but the remaining plinths are in the wrong places and either too big or too small. What caught my eye was the RSJ and pulley to access the first floor door which would indicate the need to get heavy or bulky items upstairs. There is no evidence of a chimney either so a store seems favourite.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

An o-16.5 brake

After a gargantuan effort I managed to get the BV all but finished yesterday. Nothing much to add to what has already been said other than in a nutshell it's a Tri-ang shorty brake van chassis some 60thou sheet and various sizes of Evergreen and Slaters strip. Some bog paper,a biro refill, some 1mm brass rod and a pin.

Monday, 19 December 2011


With virtually no spare time at the moment due to driving into London daily to watch transvestites hurl insults at each other, the modelling has stopped. Though I did manage an hour to stick some top quality bog paper to the roof of the brake van and fashion some steps from 60thou sheet.
I might get this finished by the New Year.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

More boxes

7mm brake taking a bit more shape and roof now on. There are three rolls of Asda bog roll in stock which is quilted and thus totally unsuitable for the roof. In the time I have available in the next few weeks it'll probably be footboards first.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Cardboard Boxes

I think this may have been here before, but I couldn't find it. A Schoma diesel built in 1995 from card and plastic from a drawing in Narrow Lines and published as a build article a while later. In true PDH fashion I need the chassis for something else, so as the Schoma hasn't been used for over a decade it is seen as a suitable donor. This then could be it's final portrait.

Craig Tiley monthly dropped onto the mat yesterday and with it my FREE kit for a Metcalfe signal box. I'm not great fan of Metcalfe kits - they don't have the feel of the old Biltezi and Superquicks and the method of folding the corners with a cut on the outside screams card kit at me.
The accompanying article by young Craig... ... ... did get me thinking. I need an 'Eastern Region' box (is it Great Northern influenced?) like I need rickets, but would it be possible to take it one step further? Craig uses the Peco line bits, but stops short of detailing the inside and adding window woodwork... but then why not scratch build? A competition idea for Peco?

Monday, 5 December 2011


After slopping a coat of earth brown all over the brake van body it was time for a little glazing. The closed end was simple enough; just a few quick cuts and a drop or two of superglue. The open end needed something more... flush. After a few trials of solvent to see if the acetate(?) would be attacked a happy half hour was spent grinding a piece of shirt packing to exactly the right size and dribbling some plas-weld into the joint. So far so good.

Bumped into long-term 3mm modeller Peter Bossom in Eastbourne today and stopped for a long chat in Boots. Well it's not everyday you can stand next to a rack of condoms and discuss two-stage gearboxes is it?

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Gay Joes

To Reading yesterday to the Gauge O Trade Show. Yes, it is just that, not a layout in sight. On the way in I was stuck how much money was being spent - boxes of locos coming out the door. This isn't your 60 quid Bachmann OO, but hundreds of pounds of kit. Plus people carrying large bags of Parkside wagon kits. When I say bags I mean shopping bags not a woosey carrier. Something with £150 worth of wagons in it. These boys know how to spend. Recession? What recession?
The reason for going was a) to have a look and b) to buy a couple of bits for the Rude-not-to project - things I can't easily make like milk churns, a hexagonal post box and a bag of underscale Slaters seated figures for the inside of the coaches (cheap and closer to 5.5, but OK in the dark - a bit like the first Mrs F.).
It has just been suggested that I don't give cake reviews like PP, but a sort of Times restaurant mark.
Rivermead Lesure Centre: food 7
queue 2
rucksack percentage 65%

Mick Thornton's Expong photos here. Garn from No 83, but loads of good stuff in there.

Friday, 2 December 2011

More paint and other stuff.

There's been more work on the everlasting brake van, basically getting the second side done and the handrails, then painting the inside to kill the white in Humbrol 31 enamel which by its age and the colour makes me suspect it was bought to aide the Luftwaffe. This was partly a trial in conjunction with the post below. Result: dried paint, revived with a little thinners and stirred - impossible to use otherwise. And I had to open the windows as after a while the smell gets to me, even worse than solvent which I'm quite happy to bathe in - it being cheaper to get than asses milk here in Sussex.
The stir thing seems to split. The two gentlemen at Warley said stir. The two below say not. Iain Rice says not. On the tin it says 'SHAKE THEN STIR WELL' in red caps. So I'm glad to announce that this is the new Marmite - some do, some don't. CF confused.
Other stuff: doing my best to measure (from angled photos) and draw to 3.5mm the derelict boat house for 'Svanda'. This is the next job - probably start today. A mix of card plastic and matches me thinks; the matches to set light to it when it goes wrong of course.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


I'm having a bit of a disagreement with myself over tins of paint. Like any self-respecting 60's/70's schoolboy I was brought up on Saturday afternoon Airfix kits and Humbrol Enamels. Then 15+ years go,almost overnight, and largely due to comments in Iain Rice's wagon books I switched to Acrylics; water-based, less smell, quick drying. After Warley and conversations with Geoff Taylor and Ian Rathbone I questioned this move. They both unreservedly use Humbrol Enamel and get excellent results especially with a bow-pen. Bob Fridd whose work I admire also is a fan of the smelly stuff as is Alan Brackenborough.

So is it an MRJ thing or is it skill; and I should stay in the little boys playground? Or do all these great finishers know something I don't - that the old enamel is the superior product and the acrylic is for those who can't really paint anyway?

Then there is the stirring thing; to stir, or not to stir?

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Side One

One spotty side done with some 'andles from 1mm brass wire from Eileen's Emporium a gift from Nigel. Getting handrails straight is a real bugger. This is taking longer than I thought.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

More ends

Working on the 'rude-not-too' brake in odd half hours when the RAF and the Dutch Revolt don't get in the way. Inner-end part done and all roughly blu-tacked to the floor. I qute enjoy brake vans as they're a bit more than a box and there are more problems to get around.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

What's it worth?

I was nudged a day ago by CP into pondering what layouts are worth. This as the 009 layout Chelthwaite and Beccadale is offered for sale at a bit over £7k on t'internet. (Narrow Gauge Online maybe the place to look further if you're interested).
This seems outrageous on the face of it, but then what are they worth? The answer is of course, what someone will pay for it. There is a paralel with painting. Take Lowry for example. Laughed at during his lifetime as worthless - worth millions now. The list would be endless. Are we the same? Is it art? Is a pile of ply, card and plastic worth anything at all? And are we taking the piss putting anything more than £100 down as insurance value at exhibitions, as what would the rebuild costs really be?
Over to one of the pro's?

Thursday, 24 November 2011

The End

Having decided that the 'Rude-not-to' project has no real timescale and being that a lot of the modelling time will be all things Norwegian for a while, a little further dabbling with the 0-16.5. What I want is a complete train for the minute and the only thing that I haven't yet got is a brake van. As opposed to the rush of prototype work with the SDR coal wagon, this is an amalgam of several; a bit like the 009 one a few months ago and tiny to fit on a Triang NE brake chassis. The arse end is sort of W&L. Scratch, scratch. Drill, drill. Cut, cut. Slice, slice. End with measles.
60thou sheet,60x125 strip,40x20 strip, microrod.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


At last a working title; at least for the time being. Just to make sure it doesn't mean testicles in Danish or something, it was run through g**gle's translate. One result in Icelandic - 'swan'. For some reason my mind has jumped to Danny Kaye... can't think why.
Anyway. Nigel's Norwegian epic starts to take shape with a burst of work wiring up points and putting in a basic roadway and some scenic formers. Note the backscene is not bent.. it's the parallax on the camera. Note Mr. Hill's tidy wiring idea from redundant comb-binding UHU'd to the baseboard. Neat eh?

Garn stuff.

For some reason the Garn page fell apart, so yesterday I spent a few minutes fixing it together again. The results are to your right.
The long term prospects for the layout are in the balance. As I've said here before , it wasn't designed as an exhibition animal and has a failing or three. I've thought about making it a through station, but it would be more trouble than it's worth. This would mean sawing down the end and either adding 6mm of rail, or ripping out the headshunt and re-laying. Another option is to use it as intended and make it the first section of a round the room plan. Thirdly add another metre long section with a 'junction' for the quarry for exhibition purposes, but that would screw -up using exhibition tables as a base as you never yet two the same height. Fourthly I could just do the shows that are in the book, flog it and let some other tortured soul play with it.
Don't all rush at once...

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Warley 11

Rather unexpectedly I tipped up at Warley courtesy off Eeyore having to be there in his SRS chairman role and having a spare seat in his car which I sat on. I'm sure the web will be plastered with event photos so won't bother - just a couple of thoughts.
Warley leaves me cold. I spent the whole day there, from 9.30 till a few minutes to six, and while I wasn't bored exactly, there is just so much to see that I didn't feel I had the time to look at anything properly.
Points of the day were: a chat with Phil Parker - there with his 3mm, Tim's Portskerra, a 4mm Broad gauge layout that I was quite taken with, Dewsbury, Mannin Middle which didn't grab me when it was in RM, but did yesterday and about three or four others. That's the problem. I can't remember.There is just too much of it.
Yesterday was only my second visit and both times I have spent a little while with the demo stands. Last time was with the guy that built the road vehicles for Dunwich whose name suddenly escapes me, and yesterday with Geoff Taylor (link to your right) discussing his mix of card and plastic in building construction and Ian Rathbone on lining which always scares the hell out of me.
So what I picked out of the day was the modellers, not the models.
And my thanks to the Banbury fish and chip shop who gave the three of us a FREE meal on the way back to Sussex. Sometimes it pays to be cheeky.

Friday, 18 November 2011

What's in the tin?

Well in the tin today Erasmus, is the very last of the scrapped/given/sh 009 locos. This looks likes bits of the Cambeltown Kerr Stuart 042, but shortened and it would seem to be an interference fit on the Ibertren chassis. There's a fair bit of glue residue that needs cleaning off. We'll see what happens. Also started yesterday: the brake van for the 'Rude-not-to' project. Tri-ang chassis again which makes it ultra-short, but no worse than the Corris example. Floor cut and stuck from a sheet of 40thou Evergreen that I'd forgotten I had which is 'grooved' at 1/4" intervals which saves a bit of scratching.
p.s. found this earlier. Very BBC. For the fan of a certain late Cornish clergyman.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Humble Coal Wagon

I looked around for a suitable prototype for a coal wagon (none of your airy fairy freelancing here) and found something suitable in Tony Harwood's drawing of a Snailbeach & District Railway type in Narrow Lines 97 as outlined in an earlier post. It had to be not too complicated and fit on a standard Triang wagon chassis. Below is the result. Photo 1 is the almost complete, and photo 2 having had paint thrown at it. The only change I made was to add a couple of mil each side to the width to bring it to 40mm. Construction: 40thou floor, 60thou sides scribed to suit. Various bits of strip and 20thou for the corners. This from a very old piece given to me by Stig which snapped after it was bent. This meaning I had to fill the corners with Tipp-ex and sand into a curve. Bolt heads from micro-strip slices and rivets with an old compass point. Paint all Humbrol acrylic and G**es Workshop grey to finish.

It rained on the washing.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

R/C Query More

Another question. Not serious, just one of those 'I wonder' moments. I notice that Sainsburys were knocking out R/C 4x4s for fifteen quid this week. That seems cheap. Has anyone torn the guts out of one of these and used it to power a loco? Say a 16mm shunter.

Further to the above and the comment from Phil, I've had extensive email information from CP and Ian Roberts on the subject including the fact that it's applicable to stuff running on 16.5mm track. Further raking about on this can be found here:
So it seems it will be very possible to do. But enough of this idle speculation, it's back to the 0-16.5 wagonry, but first.... I have to hang the washing out.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


I am much indebted to Jack Clarke for providing some further information to the 'valve on the chimney' question. http://unnycoombelala.blogspot.com/2011/11/question.html
Young Jack suggests that is a displacement lubricator 'I am 98% sure,' and has me to the following illustrations to back this up. The following is a scrap from a GA drawing showing a link from the regulator in the cab to a lubricator mounted on the chimney. Steam is forced in, where it condenses to water, forcing oil, which now floats on top, to run down a pipe to the cylinder. The reasons for the chimney mounting are purely gravity linked. Further details of Mr. Ramsbottom and his injector can be found here:

I am rather embarrassed in that like so many long-term modellers, there is so much I don't know about the workings of what I represent in miniature.

Monday, 14 November 2011

I found this!

It might have been the Astolat show a couple of years ago, maybe not, but I discovered a 'train pack' from Ibertren containing this and three crude wagons for £25. This when the Ibertren Cuckoo chassis were off the market and changing hands for silly money. Unusually for me I'd mislaid it and it turned up in a small box marked 'possible 09'.
This is the 009 modellers equivalent of the pot of gold. Now with the slightly longer, but otherwise similar Fleischmann 040 I have the basis for two more locos for Garn.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Points Pt4

The last instalment and the final details: checks and gaps. Check rails are the smallest part and the most important; stopping the wheelset sliding down the wrong road by holding them over to the stock rail as they approach the nose. Nothing but a short length of rail cranked slightly at each end. The length is determined as below: the LH end slightly beyond or level with the wing rail on the crossing, the RH end beyond or level with the gap in the rails. Here my generous Triang friendly clearances means they are set at about 1.5mm in, finescalers would want to be 1mm or less. P4 is about half a mill or something, but then if that's your thing, then you won't bother with all this rubbish. Solder your CLEAN rail to the CLEAN sleepers. Gaps are a bit personal. I mentioned Laurie Maunder in part one. Laurie's system is to gap down between the blade and the stock rail thus connecting the stock rail to the middle and changing its polarity to either side. I tend now to use the EM Gauge society gapping suggestion with a couple of mod's: From the right gap down the middle to the arrow where the rails should be cut. with a disc or saw. Beyond the arrow gap down the middle of each road. This means the 'frog' to the right of the arrow is dead and needs a switch to change the polarity, but the blade is live to its own side all the time.

Finally put the plug in the sink and wash the entire thing with a dollop of cream cleaner and an old toothbrush. Then remove the old toothbrush from the bathroom. Mrs F. tends to brush her teeth with the light off, but dislikes the taste of flux...

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Points Pt 3

This is rapidly turning into an epic text only topped by Ian Rice's 'Pragmatic Guide to Soldering' which ran for about 97 parts in MORIL. After lots of grinding and a little trimming you should have two blades: one straight, one bendy, which attach to the fishplates and locate into the cut-out in the stockrails as below. Firm but floppy -a bit like the second Mrs F. Now to tie-bar. Here I've used a length of 4mm copperclad, but you could shave down a bit of the 7mm stuff. referring to your PECO point slide under the rails and mark inside where the blades will go when switched one way or the other. Drill a small hole at these marks and one other beyond the outside of the sleeper line. This for your connection to the lever and switch. File a gap between the blade holes and to make sure -another under the stock rail. The squiggle on the left is waste.

At the outside of the blade holes coat the tie with felt-tip pen to stop the solder wandering under the stock rails and sticking the whole lot solid. Tin the copper and drop a short length of brass wire into the holes, solder, and bend toward the nose about 2mm above the copper.

Remove the point from its paper backing and clean up. Lay the point over the tie and keeping it hard against the second sleeper solder the rail to the copper, squeeze the wire into the rail web and solder firm- the pic below shows this a little more clearly. The copper will hold the rail, but sometimes lifts. The wire running through the tiebar takes the strain. As can be seen I've smoothed of the copper from No2 sleeper to avoid shorting. The final part (Hooray!) will be checks and gaps.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Points Pt2

As is the way these days I'd taken some photos along the way, so thought to turn it into a short tutorial. So following on: The curved stock rail is approached in the same way as the straight one, but first bend gently between the thumbs to the required line. Remembering that the bend starts at the tie bar intersection and ends at the point of the nose from where it must (in this case) be straight and in gauge. This will be a little fiddly-er than the straight one.
Now all the closure rails: Cut an over-length piece and estimate where the bend will be. Notch the 'foot' of the rail (for FB) and tweek until the angles match. Then crank the 'lead-in'. The above is just laid in line before fixing. When happy trim to length - in this case between the 3rd and 4th sleepers, and add half a PECO fishplate. Make sure that you can join another rail to it, and touch with a tiny bit of solder. Repeat with the curved one. It will be noted that something more finescale would probably use Bullhead rail which is more whippy and doesn't need a fishplate hinge. With the bendy rail added, it should look something like the above. Two things to note: One, I'm running Triang wheelsets through this so the flangeway is quite generous. And two, the dashed arrow pointing to where the rails will be cut to isolate. This means that the 'frog' assembly at Side A will be dead and the rest will be live to the respective stock rail once the gapping is done.

Now the fun bit. The bit that people fight shy of. Blades. Piece of 1" x3/4" timber 6" long. In this case with a saw-cut down it so the FB rail sits flat-ish. Remembering which side the blade is for... clamp down and grind away with a file until you have a nice slope down to about half the depth of the web at the last 3-4mm. Clean it up. That's it. Do this when wifey is out 'cos apparently it's not a nice noise.

FILE AWAY FROM YOU ONLY! Experience says that a return stroke will bend the rail up like a clock spring. Trim the length to a few mil over the length from the hinge to the tie-bar. Repeat with the curved blade. Do keep cleaning up with a small file on all rail cuts and polish before soldering.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Points Pt1

Two related happenings at ExpoNG led to this. Firstly I looked for some reasonably priced PECO O-16.5 pointwork, but unable to gain any mates-rates prices and working out that even on one of my usual four point plans it was going to cost me over fifty quid... I don't have fifty quid. Secondly Laurie Maunder presented me with a DVD showing the build of a small layout that he constructed in the 70's. This sprung me into action. I didn't have fifty quid, but I did have some copperclad sleepers and some scrap rail left over from Llynfordd. If you ask ten modellers how they build track you will get ten different answers; this is my take on it. A lot of people say they can't build points - that's bollocks. If you can cut plasticard and solder wire onto rail, then you can do this. Tools: hacksaw,pliers, iron, big-ish file, flat needle file, wet and dry paper, solder ordinaire, flux, bit of wood, clamp.

A PECO small radius point was borrowed and marked out on paper. The paper then glued in the corners only to a flat piece of wood. Sleepers cut and laid with a tiny drop of UHU at 3' (21mm) centres. Two bits of rail were put together for the nose. Basically you file a flat on the inside edge of the straight rail (5mm) taking the 'foot' back a little further and the same with the splice rail, only angled to a point. Lay them on the plan at the angle required (here 1:4) and solder together.

Quick word on soldering: CLEAN everything! Polish the bottom of the rail and the copper sleepers. And use flux. I still use paste flux applied with a cocktail stick. Tin the sleepers with a light coat of solder, and fix to sleepers in position. Wipe the flux off and clean up with a file.

Straight stock rail: Cut to length, mark where the tiebar will go and file a notch (5-10mm)down to just below the web. Then gently file into this notch, in this case L to R so it graduates and again take the foot (if you're using flatbottom) back a little further.
CLEAN rail and sleepers. Tin sleepers and lay in position straight,square and in gauge with the pre-laid nose rail. Quick wipe of flux and solder on the outside. Wipe as before.

This is not pretty. It's not finescale. But it does work. Half the layouts in the history sidebar top right used this method with no ill effects. You don't need a set of fancy gauges. The 14mm one I used for the 7mm NG layout was the earth pin off a 13 apm plug with two notches cut in it and a piece of copperclad sleeper for the flangeways. You just need simple spacers. More anon.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


This works photo of a NG Peckett has been bouncing back and forth between Lewes and Crawley for the last couple of days. My question is: What is the valve shown at the rear of the chimney and what is its purpose? Answers here, or email me at the address in the profile.

Low Pecket

While looking for something else I came across this little chap. The fact that there is a cab roof at all suggests that the driver has to sit. I assume the loco was built for working through a cat-flap or similar and makes the Par Harbour 0-4-0s look positively lankey. Not so much a chimney, more of a manhole. Isn't it delightful?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


Doug now done. With short driver. Now that the footplate has been massaged flat between the thighs of a dusky maiden from Romford. To recap for those that can't keep up. An abandoned gem 'Douglas' kit, plastic foot plate, Arnold chassis, brass roof, 0.5mm plastic rod and guitar string for pipes. And to keep the whole thing from doing wheelies: a buffer masquerading as a jack, a whitemetal bufferbeam from the spares box, a w/m cylinder squared off with a staple for a toolbox and a inch of Mrs. F's gold chain (shhhh...). Oh and an Airfix German paratrooper with his feet cut off.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

East London Finescale

With me released this morning from the siege that is Lewes Bonfire, Eeyore, Mrs F. and I ventured deep into injun country today - well through the Dartford Tunnel, and into Essex. The draw? The East London Finescale show presented by East Ham MRC. Mrs F. was dumped in Thurrock outside Lakeside for something called 'shopping', while the more sensible of the trio went on to Rainham and watched the toy trains. Great airy venue and probably the best all round show I've been to all year; knocked everything else into a cocked hat. Friendly chatty exhibitors and some cracking layouts.

Friday, 4 November 2011


A drawing from Narrow Lines and a forty year old non-pin-pointed Triang wagon frame. I should be sorting (or binning) the Douglas 009 kit, but the 'Rude-not-to' project draws me slightly. Converting that to 'Rhydnodu' is tempting, but 1: I have an adversion to the punning of Welsh into jolly English and 2: the 'Rude-not-to project' would need to have more of a flavour of England I think
Now back to 15th century heretic burnings...

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Rustons in the rain

A new page-view total was passed yesterday. Modesty prevents me from saying how many, but it would seem that people keep coming back day in and day out. Thanks.
I've always had a soft spot for Rustons. These two photos taken some twenty years apart, but in a similar locale. The first, last week at the Blaenavon and Pontypool Railway which has a stunning array of industrials decaying in the rain. The second I think, is Maerdy in the 80's. 48DS and 88DS respectivly. It will be noted that the cabs can be fitted either way around...

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Scandiwegian Skiffle

Nigel rolled up at the Ford cottage yesterday for the final bit of woodwork on the 'Norwegian layout that has no name' (cue: the theme to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly). Normally he's pretty quick with a punning name, but punned Norwegian for a British audience won't really work. The main thrust was the 'legs' for the dropped beach section at the front. There was some debate to start with on the shape of this bit so it came down to doing it now and bolting some extra bits on. A piece of string was tensioned across the front to ensure that the legs were the right length. This was not a good idea as five minutes were wasted when I realised that it 'sang' quite well and most of Lonnie Donegan's repertoire was performed along with the bass run-down from 'These Boots are made for Walking'.

Producing some wine only cheered the occasion if only to weight the fascia while the glue went off.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Oddjob 4.1

Apart from all the usual flack that I get from the usual two gentlemen, one who builds very little and one who builds the most unlikely steam locomotives. (Smile boys, it's a joke) 'Doug' has not been a great success. It runs OK, but has developed an alarming hump in the footplate which 'pinged' everything apart on Friday. I repaired and stuck a couple of couplings on it so it could at least be run up and down at ExpoNG in primer. However it needs a re-think. Mr Ponting lent across Garn on Saturday with the wise words that the Douglas kit always did wheelies, so I'm not alone.
Modelling is full of failures; most of which never see the light of day. Another is the Knightwing diesel bash that was destined for Llynfordd, doomed as soon as the decision was made to use ramp uncouplers as the Tenshodo drive unit is too low to clear them. Sticking things together can be a fraught business that causes no end of wailing and screaming. Building endless one-offs is the pleasure and the pain of what we do and as Plato said, in every modelling life, a little bent plasticard must fall.

Monday, 31 October 2011

All our yesterdays.

The highlight of the day for me happened quite early on pre-opening. A cheeky of-the-cuff remark to Rod Allcock generated a small package containing two items to run on Garn.

Anyone over thirty five with a glimmer of interest in narrow gauge grew up with these locos within P D Hancock's articles in RM and in his 1975 book. To have the real thing trundling up and down on Garn was a joy. So thanks to Rod for the few minutes of lend.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Stand well back!

A bit of double-headed fun with Miles and Susan during the ExpoNG set-up which makes the layout seem longer than 1metre.

An interesting day with a lot of high points and a couple of annoying ones. Garn seemed to be surrounded with cameras for most of the day and judging by this and the comments, went down well.

My thanks to all concerned in setting the show up. A grand day.

Check out Tom's blog for more photos including one of yours truly chatting to Albert Einstein...http://hlrco.wordpress.com/blog/

Friday, 28 October 2011

Expo NG 2011

.... will be appearing at Expong tomorrow.
The layout has been a bit of a curates egg since its inception. The name comes from the word uttered by Eliza Doolittle as she sits on the kerb replying to Henry Higgins' claims to turn her into a shop girl. 'Garn!' Thus it follows several layouts with a twisted link to My Fair Lady, Wood End included. When asked if it's based in Wales I've always said no, placing it near the Snailbeach in Shropshire. Wood End and Brookside were spotted on an OS map of Shrewsbury long after the layout had been sold, and yet Garn resolutely and repeatedly pops up in Wales - the above near Blaenavon. Maybe I should move it.
For students of Welsh, garn means 'cairn'. So the above sign translates to 'cairn the plot' or 'cairn the acre'.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

I name this ship...

Waiting on the doormat on my return from Wales was a small brown envelope from Narrow Planet (aka Steve Fulljames) containing two pairs of nameplates for the Bevans (I can't believe I just wrote that)

They are exquisite.

Only a couple of mill high and so small that my point-and-shoot camera won't focus that tight, but perfectly readable to the naked eye.

For better photos of his range of plates see Steve's blog link to your right.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Boards for a small slice of Norway

Mr. Hill's Norwegian project has been a long time coming, but at long last is underway. I'm only acting as assistant as this shows, however this may not be the last time the nameless project will appear here.

Sunday, 23 October 2011


The latest oddjob in nearly built mode. It's fair to say that if you can't say something nice, then say nothing. Most of this is parts from a Gem 'Douglas' kit.... ahem.
Even with the roof replaced with brass, it did wheelies. So there is as much weight up the front as possible including half of Mrs. F's jewelery.
There is still much to do before Expong.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Inspiration 2

I touched on the Groudle Glen briefly in the Bagnall-build epic. Below are a few more from the same set taken in the 1990s. For those unaware the GG is a short 2' line running from a wooded area (below) along the clifftop to the site of a 'zoo' hence the names of the original locos Sea Lion and Polar Bear. As far as I can recall the line has only influenced one model - Laurie Cooksey's O-16.5 Fairlight Glen which appeared in RM in May 2002. Laurie's piece was not much over 4' x 2', but what about bigger?

We tend to think of small simple plans like this in terms of small board portable layouts, but they would actually be perfect for a small system running around that otherwise useless 8x6 boxroom over the stairs. With say the sylvian station and loco shed on one side and the 'zoo' on the opposite, with the clifftop section in the middle in front of the usual window.
The pleasure would be in the gradual build of the layout and the (scratchbuilt?) stock. Operation would be limited, but not if you apply American carload principle and use a card or dice system of loads to available stock. If the rather politically incorrect zoo was changed to some sort of small industry (fish?) then this would work very well for a one-man den layout. Any scale from 7mm to 16mm would work in the space.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Inspiration 1

Regulars will know that I have a bit of a thing about brake vans and signal boxes, both of which are rapidly disappearing. This little beauty is, or maybe was at Barbican station. Not much to add only that I'm reminded of the little cameo models that featured on covers of early MRJs. There'd be a lot of work in here, but what a joy to build.

The lower shot is a very dinky ground frame taken the same day and I think at Farringdon. The subject of trains running in 'oles is one that is rarely done with this sort of scene in mind. Shame. In the right hands it would be a terrific model.