Friday, 28 April 2017

For Sale.

Photo: M. Campbell
After a couple of years of small shows Morton Stanley is up for sale, either with or without stock. There are two more outings: Rye this weekend and the Beds and Bucks open day in mid-May. Enquiries via the usual channels.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Too many shows?

Late morning at an exhibition over the weekend. Almost empty rooms. Quality bad? No. Good publicity, name layouts and good parking etc. All the trade were complaining and I don't blame them. There were five shows on within a fifty mile radius of here and reports were that this was a similar occurrence on both days at all of them. Being that it wasn't Mother's Day or similar, I can only suggest that we have reached saturation point and either the interest overall is waning or there are just too many shows to choose from.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Healthy living

Never say my life isn't healthy. Lunch at the 7mm NGA Surrey Group's open day today, and later...
what constitutes dinner for a four piece band at 10pm. This was the vegetarian option.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Phone box take 2

The last time I put this up here I got howls of protest from the BT engineers about land ownership and placement. As suggested by same, phone box now re-sited and with fence around it.
Would there be a pole and how high and how many insulator arms?

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

New Southern Region book

Pre-release copy arrived yesterday. Out very soon from all the usual outlets.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

AoC Signal Box 2

Moving slowly forward with this. Due to my inability to leave stuff alone I've replaced all the stonework on the base with brick. This meant I had to continue the theme on the chimney breast as well, adding a scrap of Wills sheet.
The instructions are the usual exploded diagram and a few scrap shots to back up. There is also a list of instructions 'Add part 1 to part 2' etc. This is all well and good and each part is sensibly numbered on this sheet. However this is where the planning stops as none of the actual bits are numbered on the parts or on the sprues making the whole text instruction completely superfluous. Shame. You are therefore left to identifying the parts off the diagram only. This may have changed on later batches of the kit, but is slowing things down a little here.
Cabin basically done though, and probably time to paint before the card interiors go in and the glazing is added.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Saturday Ramble.

Up to Porthmadog for a few days a week ago. Every time I go to North Wales the trip gets longer and I find it harder to come home. Just the thought of hitting the M25 barrier is bad enough, but as there is less and less for me here the draw gets bigger. The combination of quiet and scenery is plenty, but throw a slew of NG railways into the mix and it tips the thought process over the edge. Would I miss the traffic and the drag queens though?

Thursday, 13 April 2017

'I cut the 2x1 and blew my nose'

Baseboard building. Not for a new layout and not for me, but for grandson 's trainset. He wanted something electric, so for Christmas a cheap forty quid Hornby was bought with included trackmat. His dad then reported that he was using it so much that it would be better on a board. Agreed, but who would build said board? Who do you think? His dad can strip Eurofighters and make them fly again but can't 'do carpentry' .

61" x 47" is too big for the car to get it to him so it needed to be split. It also needed to be robust enough to be dragged around, but light. I decided that a semi-traditional softwood frame would give the strength with an MDF top rather than chipboard. It's a bloody awkward size and needed three 2'x 4' sheets to complete. The softwood is best B&Q banana pine which is still deciding what sort of shape it wants to be. Thus I had to dance about a bit to pick out the best sections for the outer and  the worst for the bracing. The two boards will be bolted together with a brace of 6mm roofing bolts at their final destination. The final cost of just the materials being more than the train set...
We'll see how long this curve lasts.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Art of the Compromise signal cabin 1

I'm slowly working my way through a Ratio signal box. Bought s/h from the club stall at the Croydon show a couple of years back. S/h kits are a bit of a gamble as there have probably been parts removed or lost, but this one seems to be all there ... so far. I'm guessing that it's around 20 years old and the plastic is already brittle in places; I've had window frames snapping. This is of course for the AoC layout and I was going to go for the full Welsh and have one side wall in slate, but bottled out. What I will do though is try and add window handrails and foot steps and a balcony and wooden steps to replace the stone ones in the kit.
Which brings me to a question: Were single line tokens given in at termini, or retained by the crew for the return trip? A simple thing which I should know, but don't.

Friday, 7 April 2017


For those with the much missed Keil Kraft kit knocking about in the drawer,  a shot of the Chester Old Bill bus that tours the town. Of course the best thing to do is to turn the kit into a quasi Stephens railbus unit which is where my carefully stored side pieces are headed, but the original usage doesn't look bad.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Scale Rail International 11

Out now - details at the link to your right.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

2 Plank

Ibertren chassis and plasticard.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

009 Brake

 A new brake van for the current 009 project. Once again, built largely from scrap on an Ibertren brake chassis. The sides an inner end are spares from an SR van the rest is scrap sheet and a bit of new strip.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Goods office

....made from scraps.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Art of Compromise

The Art of Compromise (now renamed  Y Fan) gets an occasional tinker. I'd detailed up a phonebox for the 009 project and somehow it didn't fit so it ended up here where it looks much better. This is the nearest I've ever had to a 'home layout' as it sits set up permanently along one wall and is the work of a few seconds to have running. The fact that almost everything on it you could buy from the PECO agency ranges could have something to do with it. Maybe this is the game for a while; gentle tinkering.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

His name was Trigger...

A couple of issues back RM gave away a single street trader's barrow. Logically this is a hand pulled item, but a little research threw up that 'lorries or trollies' that were horse drawn could be as little as 3' wide - this is a scale 5'.
I built the chassis parts as directed and put the canopy and supports to one side. A front board was added from a scrap of 30 thou plastic and a set of simple draw-gear made up from plastic strip. A small cast horse was obtained - this is probably Matchbox and probably closer to 3mm, but fits visually against the trolley, whereas the Slaters plastic horse looks huge. After all horses come in more than one size. A bit of paint and all done.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

SRI No 10

I keep forgetting to plug this here. No 10 is out now with the usual spread of subjects: East German HO, Wantage Yard in 3mm, Kadee coupler fitting, more on battery controllers, track plans, etc, etc.
Contact me here or via the mag's page for subscription details.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Svanda at Lenham

Ex Swedish railcar runs under NSB ownership on Svanda
The weekend saw the first exhibition of the year with Svanda which hasn't been out much of late. This time to the SNCF Society's winter meeting. Norwegian layout at a French meeting? No I didn't get it either. Not that I woke up much before 2 o'clock anyway.
Svanda has built a reputation for 99% reliability and so it was here, mainly due to Nigel's unstinting tweeking beforehand and the quality of the locomotives - not my dubious tracklaying.
It's got one more show in the book, whether that will grow post it's appearance in Continental Modeller this month I don't know. We may have exhausted the South East shows now.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017


A little working up of the station end of the 009 layout with no name. Various bits of unrelated fencing and other bits of fluff.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Golden spikes

I watched all of the presidential inauguration yesterday. Aside from any political views on this there was one phrase that I thought I heard '...we're going to build more... railroads.'
Really? Now? At this point in history? By Americans?