Tuesday 30 November 2010

The Frozen North

For reasons best left to the imagination Saturday saw a romantic day out in Scunthorpe. Not a natural first choice I can understand, but nevertheless...
I'd never been near the place before, but there were three small items of interest. The first seen while negotiating a roundabout, was what I think may have been slag wagons (not going near any reference to Scunthorpe and slags thank you) under the control of what looked like General Electric Bo-Bos - one at each end. Sorry no photo. Three hundred yards on, a working saddle tank (pictured) and two BR brakes. Apparently this is a site tour and not working in the strictest sense. The third? Well I'll deal with that later.

Monday 29 November 2010

Signal Box

Anyone that knows me will be aware that I'm a bit of a sucker for pre-group signal boxes. This example spotted over a bridge parapet on a trip to northern parts last weekend. And just prior to a pee in the hedge (it's the cold weather) I snapped this through the rather awkward girder bridge metalwork. As the sign states it's at Spilsby near Lincoln and according to my trusty gazetteer it's on the former GNR & GER Joint line between Lincoln and Gainsborough, though I'm not sure from which of those companies the design originates.
What I didn't realise was that most of that area is Great Central territory. Probably due to a diet of the Reverend Denny I tend to think of the GCR as a home counties company not a fish carrier.

Thursday 25 November 2010

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Unnycoombe scooter

Unnycoombe N gauge layout I spotted a couple of 2mm scale scooters on a stand at the Uckfield show. It was thought that one on Unnycoombe would really nail the early 60s timeframe. A quick coat of blue paint and all it needed was a pennant or a tiger tail hanging off the back. I knocked -up a Union Jack flag (which looks huge here) and just needed a cat's whisker or a piece of hair. Mine is too short... so .
Well, Nigel yelped a bit when I wrenched a few out with a pair of tweezers when he turned his back.
Does the job...

Monday 22 November 2010


Away from the frivolity.
I was going to do no more work in 2mm scale. However.
It was decided to add some platform furniture to Unnycoombe and some questioning at the Uckfield show pointed us in the direction of Shire Scenes and these little beasties. Nigel mail-ordered and then on discovering that they were nice shiny brass that needed soldering, threw them my way.
I started with one of the smaller sack trolleys (or 'wheels' as we used to call them) to get my eye in. I made a bit of a hash of it but moved on. Result: three trolleys, and four bench seats.
The instructions; after asking you to recite Monty Python's Parrot Sketch (I kid you not) suggests making a jig. I always think jigs are best left to the Irish, so used a bit of blu-tack and my finger, which now has a bench-end branded into it.
Remind me that I don't do 2mm...

Sunday 21 November 2010

Novington Pits

In an effort to keep things tidy and as a follow-on from the last post here's the Schoma on it's intended home. Novington Pits was very much an experiment. I'd got interested in 14mm gauge via Roy Link's Review and thought to have a go. I didn't have the cash for some of his more expensive kits, but could run to a couple of Wrightlines spuds. For the unaware these are basically a 24.5 Tenshodos cast in white metal with the motor mounted on it's edge to allow either 14 or 16.5mm gauge. This makes them taller which is OK for the 7mm industrials which they are intended.Novington Pits O-14 The photo (the only one I have from 1996) shows the unfinished layout: a mix of MDF and ply, and track soldered up from copper-clad and code 80 rail to suggest Hudson Jubilee track. The wagons are card on top of 3mm scale w/m wagon chassis. The layout was tossed at the public twice then quietly abandoned. Even with the extra weight of the casing, the spuds still have the warp-factor acceleration of the Tenshodos, sharing the same motor and direct 1:20 or less gearing. I learnt all the lesson here that I should have applied, and didn't, to Froxington a decade later. That being that spud drives and me don't get on. All the stock is still in existence except Pete Smith's battery electric kit which has disappeared.

Thursday 18 November 2010


The above is a 7mm model of a Schoma industrial pictured with a Peco 7mm NG van on the HO layout Einsford Mill (keeping up at the back?). Built c. 1995 mainly from thin card with a few plastic bits from a drawing in the 7mm NGA's house mag' Narrow Lines. It is in essence a scrap-box project and apart from the Wrightlines spud on which it sits, it cost nothing. The building was written up in an article in the same publication at the same time, a rather cheeky piece titled 'The Butlins Schoma'. Unusually for this kind of thing, it's still with me in a small box marked '7mm bits'. It did subsequently form part of a small layout of which more anon.

The scale has always bothered me; I've had a couple of stabs at it, but I can't quite make it work. I'm always very inspired by a gentleman from Crowborough who can, and who is unwavering in sticking to a theme. Perhaps this is where I'm going wrong.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Bargoed station

Bargoed station

This is Bargoed in the early 90s, lifted from a site I found a few days ago. Ostensibly dealing with signals it contains a lot of good source photos from South Wales 83-94 which is exactly what I need. http://www.roscalen.com/signals/

What is very positive about this photo is that it give a lot of basic Rhiw elements: single platform, rationalised track and an odd operating pattern that I could almost replicate. What a lot of these photos show is that semaphores were still the order of the day in the area as can be seen. The boxes were new, as the 'charming' example here (school pre-fab classroom that's been left in a gro-bag) and electric operation. Note the ground(?) signal in the bracket and another one on the 'main-line' in front of the DMU. Also the cast speed limit sign rather than the circular road type.

Some trains were 'through', some terminating. In order for this arangement to work the return working reversed into the siding as shown and waited for the through service to pass.
Can anyone identify the square object below the DMU? I can't for the life of me work out what it is.
The negative aspect to all these photos is that they show a very leafy back drop which is not what I'd planned.

There is another photo of this station on the Rhiw page with a Class121 in shot.

Monday 15 November 2010

Class 03 in green

...to my comment re: the Buffers ad' in the November RM: I note that a photo from the same shoot has been reproduced in the review/trade pages in the December issue. I say a photo, this is subtly different. No longer is the Bachmann rep' gazing down the young lady's top, but straight at the camera. Well thank goodness for that. And furthermore to my comment on the likelihood of a green liveried 03s appearance on 1980s Rhiw I include the above: taken from A. J. Booth's Ex-BR Diesels in Industry booklet. The above is a shunter captioned as in Pencoed in 1971 - right area, wrong period. But the lower is Ely 1986. This clearly shows the faded (green?) paintwork with a BR totem... in 1986!
A simple massaging of these dates and captions gives my full (modeller's) licence to include a green liveried/totem-ed Class 03 in a South Wales industrial setting.

Thursday 11 November 2010

Wood End 009

Wood End 009
Wood End 009 After a couple of years without a printer (pointless having one to print two sheets a month) I threw £40 at Currys and bought one on Sunday. What I didn't bargain on getting when I walked into the shop was a very natty built-in scanner. This has opened up a new world of not having to take prints to Crawley to scan-in... I can do it here. This has meant that, as can be seen, extra pages have appeared on the right, but I've also trawled a bit deeper into the photo pile and for those suffering a Narrow Gauge underload here's a couple of previously unreleased Wood End corner-section shots. A low angle and rather unflattering - I think I was playing around with filters on the old SLR. The prints have suffered a little; possibly due to the plastic sleeves that they are stored in, seem to be a touch grainy on reproduction.
Expect more from this batch.

Sunday 7 November 2010

Fiddle yard for Rhiw

There has been talk about boxing and lighting on Rhiw this week. Still not 100% sure what I'm going to do... if anything. Though I did look at various low-voltage light unit set-ups in B&Q last night (£15. for the transformer and £6 ea for the lights. Hmmm...). They have, apparently, stopped selling 6mm MDF in 4x2' lumps. This is quite frankly a pain in the arse as nearly all my baseboard building happens in 43/45" strips. Which leaves between 2.5" and 3" off-cut to use for bracing, making the whole thing fairly efficient. The new smallest size of 6x2 isn't, and bounces around on the car's headlining on the way home.

Anyway FY complete excepting the two switches for the isolating sections on the RH roads. (Haven't found the switches yet) I may also fit a panic on/off to the feed to the rest-of-the-world roads on the left so that I can kill the whole lot of required.
Now to fit backscenes to the main boards.Fiddle yard for Rhiw

Friday 5 November 2010

Green livery Class 03 on Rhiw

A final bit of baseboard joint testing with the Mk1 Bachmann Cl 03 that I bought from Miles some years ago when he was still in short trousers. Reason being that, as with years of experience with 009, I know that the shortest w/b loco will find the humps in the track and stall.... it didn't. Will this be used on Rhiw? Well yes. Out of period? Well no. More on this later.Bachmann Green livery Class 03 And the questions:
There have been conversations about various scenic details that may or may not be needed. The problem therein is when did these items appear historically. We are only talking 25 years ago and yet these details are blurred. I'll list below.
* Wheelie bins - when did they reach common usage to the point of being dumped everywhere?
* Self -service ticket machines - the 'permit-to-travel' variety.
* air con units strapped to the side of retail units. They weren't there when I was a child, but they are there now. When was the introduction period?
Answers on a postcard. Or leave a comment/email me with your concise answers.
Thank you.
p.s. I recommend sliding over to Phil Parker's blog (to your right) to see the video of Rod Stewart being outed as a modeller on an American chat show - we've all been there in that squirm moment.

Thursday 4 November 2010

Rhiw fiddle yard work

Little by little the work is proceeding on the Rhiw fiddle yard.

Rhiw fiddle yard work As can been seen the previously reported kick-back siding has been discounted. Instead two simple ladder yards installed. What did look like miles of spacious track length shrinks to nothing once almost two feet of sprinter unit is placed on it. The mean length is 26" on the back yard leaving only a couple of inches before the crossover mark is reached. This is quite a head turn problem: jumping from stock lengths of 1.5" in 009 to 23". All the automatic 'eye' guess-work goes out of the window. Hence that even though quite simple in track plan, Rhiw needs just short of 11' to work.
Rhiw fiddle yard work The Ro-bell is a Bachmann product that I bought a while back thinking it maybe of use as a chassis for a Drewery car in 4mm. It's sold as OO, but is actually HO. Powered by a tiny Bachmann N gauge motor it's just capable of dragging the three vans along. It may get a run on the layout once in a while even though I'm trying to avoid the engineering stock if possible. 

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Ffestiniog coach No1

There seems to be a reluctance to have a go at the WRG scratch-challenge this year. This surprises me somewhat (or is it the fact that I ducked out last year?)

I've had a couple of ideas: the first is this little beast:
 Ffestiniog coach No1The underlying purpose of the 'rules' was to build something that could run on your existing train set and not be drawn into other places. To this end, following on from the FR 'style' bugboxes that I've recently kitbashed for Garn, I fell upon this - FR No1. This photo from wikipedia, but the original inspiration from Boyd's books and the Spooner Album which lives at Nigel's.

What I don't have is a drawing; despite hunting at Expong on Saturday, just two more or less square-on photos. What this modern rebuild shot shows is the slight bow-ends which are not apparent on the vintage shots. Plus the nasty grills which aren't on the original coach and which I would be happy to omit. Yes I know there is a brass kit available from Worsley Works, but...a PECO wagon chassis and a handful of plasticard.

Not only are drawings of coach No1 scarce, the information surrounding is vague. Boyd, normally very detailed, is quite general:
‘Spooner required... (1864) one first class and two third class... Bodies were 9ft.3in. over sides (and 10ft over bowed ends)long, 6ft. 3in. wide and where roofed(?), 6ft.6 in. from rail... the floor was only 8 in. above the rail...1st class bodies had two windows per side, flanking a central door... single back-to-back seat.’ Boyd F.R. vol 2
This fits the plates 11R and 12R. The earlier in 1887 show the coach open sided, the later from 1932 with the mesh added. But at no point in the text are the corresponding numbers mentioned.
With that information, vague though it is, it should be possible to sketch out a build drawing.