Wednesday 29 September 2010

N gauge steps

Due to a little push there have been some additions to Unnycoombe. I've long thought that there should be steps from the feed shed up to the cattle dock. So I built some. (plastic scrap and Humbrol acrylics) Something that the platelayer would have knocked up from time-expired sleeper and gash fencing. The shape from memory from the ones I used to climb early in the morning to the brewery loading dock when I was still in short trousers.

I find that as the majority of modellers are office dwellers and have never done any manual work, that logic goes out of the window - yards that you couldn't turn a Smart car in let, alone a horse and cart, and sheds dumped miles from their logical usage point, just because Wills make one and you've built it. Things have to have human reason in order to look convincing. Which is why I've just strained my eyes for a couple of hours...

Thursday 23 September 2010

Mobiles like housebricks

I thought a week ago that I would need to get some 'modern' figures for the platform on Rhiw, ones which don't come from the Airfix 'platform' or 'RAF crew' sets. Why is it that all 4mm figures would look OK in the fifties, but not in any other era?
Then, on Sunday these sprung out at me:
A packet of 20, £2.50, unmarked, multiples of the above. The girls are a little '70s, but OK for my mid-'80s period. The plastic is brittle and they will need repainting. However other than that... perfect. the mobile toting girl can be adapted and the over-thick walking stick replaced. What I did like was that the males are in hoodies... not a lot of those in Airfix sets.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Till death...

'But it might come in useful.' There ended a conversation with a man of 57 years. But useful for what? Will bits of an Airfix engine shed bought in 1968 really be useful if youve not used it in 40 years? Probably not. Then I thought how much do we need, and for how long? How much more are we going to build?Here's the basic maths: if we are talking about small-ish exhibition layouts what's the time scale? I'd say about 4-5 years to plan, build, exhibit, write the article. By which time the next thing will be underway. Which is all well and good while we are living, but sooner or later we won't be. So working on our 4-5 year shape and assuming that - taking a biblical three score years and ten as a handy esimate - we can easily work out how many layouts we have left in us. At 57 it's about three. Myself at 46 may have at the outside six; more likely five.Looked at this way it does focus the mind as to what we really want and where we want to be in the future. And there does come a time when that round-the-room system is by far the best option rather than carrying great chunks of woodwork around.

Tuesday 21 September 2010


It has been mentioned of late that there are probably enough projects in the drawers to last a number of years without ever needing to spend a penny on anything but glue and solder. I suspect that this is not an uncommon scenario. Maybe we should all put the shops out of business and spend the next two years just building what we have already got and/or started. The problem there is that building for an unspecified layout project is not always the best way to get enthused. But do we really need a layout project at all? I grew up with Saturday afternoon Airfix kits - the learning curve in spending my childhood doing these is unmeasurable, but they had no end-game; they were just what they were, a stand alone project. Case in point is this 3mm/14.2 gauge Y6 tram. I built this at least a decade ago and sold it to Steve Driscoll for use on his 3mm layout. It's a Finney & Smith kit - a wind-down from a 7mm kit and was a joy to build with lots of 10 thou overlays and fully detailed interior. I have a 4mm/EM version half done in the drawer. The transfers were the let down; the best I could get at the time were these from Maybex, and I see the bell-wire has suffered a little. It was though nice to bump into it again at the summer party.

There has been a flurry of detail work carried out on Unnycoombe. I have just strained my eyes scratch-building this. Posts carved from 40 thou square and letters from Coopercraft or Slaters,
not sure which. Lining them up was a nightmare. they are very brittle and ping everywhere and as soon as a touch of solvent is added they float around. No swearing natch. It's a 1 penny piece not 2.

Monday 20 September 2010

North Kent

A trip to Bexley Heath yesterday to see the penultimate showing of John Howe's 'Dog Kennel Hill'. A strange show; I couldn't quite put my finger on it. The exhibits -with a couple of exceptions- were poor. But. There was a real buzz about the show which was in two rooms: one a community hall, the other a scout hut. The later had essence of jumble sale about it, but we found books that we didn't know existed and many s/h examples which were long out of print. Out of the dozen which I could have bought, I limited myself to a mint copy of the Oakwood Press volume on the Newhaven Branch - a subject close to home and a book I haven't seen for a long time. (I may dip into it on this page in the future). The tables in the cafe were dirty, the layouts were badly-lit, but I would recommend it for a visit. We walked away with three books between us plus three built and finished Cambrian POA/SSA scrap wagons for Rhiw at £4 apiece and a packet of figures for same. And after cycling the 26 miles to my house in the morning in an hour and forty minutes (of which he was justifiably pleased) at the door of the show Nigel was presented with a pensioner's discount ticket (he's 57).

I didn't take the piss too much...

Saturday 18 September 2010

New brake for Garn

At the Worthing show last week it was apparent that shuttling one brake van about between trains was not ideal so....Something slightly more workaday than the bugbox derivative was thought about.

Take one Peco 10' brake chassis, 50p's worth of plastic some bog-roll and a cotton bud... and...

The sheet bits are 40 thou, the framing is all 40x40 thou square. Planks are hand scribed (ha!)
Roof is 20 thou with toilet paper canvas and a couple of mil of cotton bud.
Inspiration is from three vans in the Boyd Mid-Wales book. The basic shape from the GVT, the framing from the Corris and the balcony from the Welshpool.

Monday 13 September 2010

Worthing Model Railway Exhibition 2

Overall a very good weekend. Garn behaved almost faultlessly with zero derailments except me knocking things off with the coupling hook. Lots of chat with old friends, and despite the impression that there weren't too many people attending, I think that the general reaction from Worthing MRC was that it was a sucessful event.

Points of interest were Les Coleman's tiny French scene, Charlie Bennedeto's O-16.5 terminus and Pete Bossom's wonderful East Sussex scene in 3mm (I didn't take photos, but Mike Campbell did, so pop over to his blog). There was also an EWS based layout in OO which almost replicated the Rhiw plan that is on the workbench at present. This, while having nothing wrong with it, underlined what I don't want to do - slightly crowded and possibly a little bright. Rhiw has a pencilled invite for the same show next year, so I may eat my words. That it if it gets built in time... nothing like a deadline to focus the mind. We'll see.

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Worthing Model Railway Exhibition

Garn will be appearing at the Worthing MRC show at Durrington this weekend.
This will be (unless you know otherwise) its last public showing.

Sunday 5 September 2010

Garn wagon loads

Saturday afternoon saw the much put off 'adding loads to the Garn wagons'. This is something that gets mentioned at every exhibition and then is forgotten. Four Bagwag variants and two Parkside Glyn Valley open had removable platforms added with coal or crushed slate sprinkled on top and one with a load of timber. I know that these don't quite fit BoT regulations (did these apply to NG lines?) the timber should be loaded applicable to the direction of travel and roped down, and the minerals would probably be graded. Compromises had to be made to allow for removal and life is just too short to worry about every detail.

Saturday 4 September 2010