Wednesday, 21 October 2020

O gauge wagon

O gauge wagon

 The first of the completed wagons for Oake. Fairly mundane, but that's what's nice about wagons. Peco - ex-Websters GW 4-plank built as per the instructions if not in quite the same order. Perched on Dury's Gap for speed. I reckon I need about eight in total plus the brake with a couple of Slaters 4-wheelers. If you say that quickly it doesn't sound too much, until that is you compare with the same in 4mm mostly bought from club stands at exhibitions for £2-4 a pop. 

Monday, 19 October 2020


chris ford welsh narrow gauge

 This has just started appearing on the websites of the floggers of books. End of January, which is a lot later than was originally agreed. Still I suppose that it might one of the good things that we've been promised when we all enter the sunlit uplands after January 1st.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Saturday Ramble

 Remember when I used to post almost daily? Things change and the ebb and flow of life affects this more than most things. There is however a general shift in the modelling direction. Hopwood has now, like Elvis, left the building. This is good on one level in that I don't have to dance around it all the time. There is now though a small hole in the mental aspect of all this. The short term is that I'll probably concentrate on small projects for the time being - mostly rolling stock. I took a decision that if and when exhibitions re-start, taking Oake out would be logical as it's about to hit the Dec/Jan/Feb RMs. There is also Dury's Gap sitting to my right for which I could build stock forever for, and there are plenty of kits in the cupboard that would suit. Even though it is nominally set late 1950s, there is nothing which really indicates this and it could just as easily drop back twenty years if needed. So to summarise: stock for two different small layouts in two different scales... easy.

What complicates this very slightly, and as I hinted a week ago, there is a teatime vacuum, in that now that I sit looking at toy-trains all day to earn money, the desire to continue that in the evening is less desirable. This has slowed things somewhat and the approach is naturally changed - what I would do just for the hell of it, now in part has to have a reason. I worked though this conundrum 40-odd years ago, I just need to do that again.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Saturday Ramble


With Hopwood almost out of the door it's time to move back to bigger things for a while. There are two O gauge wagons to deal with. Both of these are from the ex-Websters kits now in the Peco range. The first is the AA3 brake which at first glance is a more or less standard van, but is actually in the AA3 diagram group and therefore a tad shorter at 13' wb. This makes it highly suitable for a compact layout and better in this respect than the Parkside offering which is the much later - and longer - AA19. Compensation is plastic based which I'm always slightly wary of, but then it's not taking any great load and it purrs through the pointwork on Oake.

This is very much a period of transition for me at the moment in that I have been completely shut down by a combination of Boris and Covid. However new opportunities have presented themselves at least temporarily; literally via envelopes in car parks. How this will all pan out is anyone's guess at the moment.

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Southern CCT


Southern CCT

Second kit off the bench. Parkside 1938 SR CCT. Pretty much as the instructions, with added brake bits.

Sunday, 4 October 2020

The LMS mineral finished

The LMS mineral finished

Yesterday I eventually sat down and finished the LMS mineral wagon. While away I'd just built it as per the instruction sheet, but on checking photos in the Bob Essery book I noticed the end door grabs. These aren't mentioned in the instructions, but there are pop marks on the part. A rake around in the box for some wire and a jolly hour fitting into blind holes sorted it. A pair of Smiths couplings finished, though it'll get tension locks for use on Dury's Gap. Modelmaster decals topped it off though I must remember to slim the stripes down next time. Finally out with the trusty airbrush for some colour.

As Stig points out below, Cambrian's bent for the more left field items is refreshing, even though most will assume that it's RTR, Airfix or Parkside.

It's been a busy week on way or another, but possibly more on that as things become clearer.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

LMS 16 ton mineral wagon


I tend to take a small project away to build to distance my self while Mrs. F is watching Strictly No Pets, or some other dire waste of licence payer's money. Often this doesn't pan out and I bring it home unbuilt, but this time all went well and this quite old run of a Cambrian Models LMS-built 16 tonner appeared. The time being provided as with a lakeside chalet to bed down in, Mrs. F amused herself by poisoning the local ducks.

The return has seen some 62 slopped over it as an undercoat.

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Hornby Sentinel and shopping

Back from a few days in sunny Cornwall. Shopping is a rare and wonderful thing and since the demise of shows I'm buying very little. There are consumables to consider and I was down to my last three bottles of solvent and fifty one toilet rolls so something needed to be done. Under the cover of darkness and disguised as a sheep farmer I slipped over the border to Devon and Anything Narrow Gauge in Holsworthy. This is a misleading title as although there is a largish back-room operation of garden type steam, most of the shop is filled with 4mm stuff. The beauty was the old-world feel of it with rows of second hand boxes marked Airfix and Mainline etc. Try getting that in your mail order shops. 

The principal purchase of solvent was made along with a pack of couplings - because I'll always need them - then the Hornby Sentinels were pointed out. The price given matched what I had in my head that Hattons were giving so it seemed rude not to, and of course I could even run it up and down on some filthy track to test its roadworthyness. It's screaming for a new identity, some nameplates and detailing.


Friday, 11 September 2020

O gauge sector plate

O gauge sector plate

 And to return.

Due to the build of the layout being halted due to Peco closing, Warley bailing and me not exactly knowing what was going on, or if it actually had a reason to be built, I didn't get around to sorting the FY. Last weeks photoshoot with Craig didn't really matter as it was all about the pretty side of the layout and it didn't need to run. However... in order for it to move forward in any shape of form it should do. A simple two-road sector should do the trick. Here dummied up with some code 124 bullhead, it will actually consist of some copper clad sleepers and code 100 - to compensate for the sector plate thickness. Trials have proved that this should work, I just need to work the switching out. As you can see there is not a lot of room and I don't want expensive locos dangling over the edge of the board so it'll have to be simple and neat, possibly a centre off DPDT to energise one rail the other permanently live.

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Hornby magazine

 I picked this up yesterday while I was killing time waiting for an eye test. I have questions, so this is my unexpected review.

Looking at the mast head I note that Key Publishing use the Hornby brand under licence - is this a commercial brainwave or just cheating? I can't make my mind up. In any case the same mast head also states that the circulation is 26k per month which I think puts it a way behind, but in second place to RM.

There are a lot of ads, more than I expected, but a lot of unusual stuff that I've not seen elsewhere. This makes me think that either this is actively encouraged, or that the ad rates are low allowing some smaller cottage industries in. Notably there are no Peco/Ratio/Wills ads, so the flip of RM where they are predictably prolific.

Here's my main beef: I may have picked a bad example, but there is just one layout article (Gresley Beat, which is a bit like a music magazine featuring Sgt Pepper) and one shows-you-how, the rest is all about Hornby. More than that, probably 85% of the mag's written content is accredited to Mike Wild the editor; not only most of the features, but most of the reviews as well. From Key Pubs' position this looks dangerous, and from my position is deadly boring as there is only one voice and point of view.

The physical feel is OK, but not quality, but the general layout though quite in-your-face is well produced. If you just want reviews then it's worth a punt, If you want layouts, hints and tips and modelling encouragement, then one of the other three main mags are a much better bet. This then is my main question: taking all this into consideration, why is it number two and if you are drawn to a more glitzy page layout, then why not pick up the superior MR or BRM?