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.South London store 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 0-16.5 brake van

After a gargantuan effort I managed to get the BV all but finished yesterday.0-16.5 brake van 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.

0-16.5 brake van

Monday 19 December 2011

0-16.5 brake van steps

making 0-16.5 brake van steps 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

0-16.5 brake van

7mm brake taking a bit more shape and roof now on.0-16.5 brake van 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.

0-16.5 brake van

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Cardboard loco in 7mm scale

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.

Cardboard loco in 7mm scale 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

7mm brake van ends

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?

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

Humbrol Paint

I'm having a bit of a disagreement with myself over tins of paint.Humbrol 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

7mm brake van side

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

0-16.5 brake van ends

0-16.5 brake van 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.

Thursday 24 November 2011

0-16.5 brake van 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.0-16.5 brake van end Scratch, scratch. Drill, drill. Cut, cut. Slice, slice. End with measles.
60thou sheet,60x125 strip,40x20 strip, microrod.

0-16.5 brake van end

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.Svanda baseboard model railway Note Mr. Hill's tidy wiring idea from redundant comb-binding UHU'd to the baseboard. Neat eh?
Svanda baseboard model railway

Friday 18 November 2011

Peter Denny video

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

Snailbeach coal wagon in 7mm scale

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.

Snailbeach coal wagon in 7mm scale 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.

Snailbeach coal wagon in 7mm scale

Tuesday 15 November 2011


I am much indebted to Jack Clarke for providing some further information to the 'valve on the chimney' question.
Young Jack suggests that is a displacement lubricator 'I am 98% sure,' and has led 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

The Ibertren Cuckoo 0-4-0

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.

The Ibertren Cuckoo 0-4-0 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

Soldered Point construction Pt 4

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.Soldered Point construction 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.

Soldered Point construction 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

Soldered Point construction 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.Soldered Point construction 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.

Soldered Point construction 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.Soldered Point construction

Friday 11 November 2011

Soldered point construction part 2

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: Soldered Point construction 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.Soldered Point construction 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.

Soldered Point construction 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

Soldered Point construction Part 1

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.

Soldered Point construction 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.
Soldered Point constructionCLEAN 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 0-4-0 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?

Sunday 6 November 2011

East London Finescale model railway exhibition

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.East London Finescale model railway exhibition 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

7mm scale wagon components

A drawing from Narrow Lines and a forty year old non-pin-pointed Triang wagon frame.

7mm scale wagon components 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.Rustons 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

Scandinavian Skiffle

Nigel rolled up at the Ford cottage yesterday for the final bit of woodwork on the 'Norwegian layout that has no name' . Normally he's pretty quick with a punning name, but punned Norwegian for a British audience won't really work.Svanda 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.

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

Monday 31 October 2011

P D Hancock locomotives

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.

Thursday 27 October 2011

Narrow Planet nameplates

Narrow Planet nameplates

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.

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 for this at shows, however this may not be the last time the nameless project will appear here.

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?

Groudle Glen 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.
Groudle GlenThe 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 Barbican station

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.Barbican station

Barbican station 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.
Barbican station

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Oddjob 4 Gem Douglas kit

It would seem that sooner or later most unmade 009 loco kits end up on my desk.Gem Douglas kit Oddjob 4 has been in the drawer for a number of months and it's time to attack. Probably 40 years old, made by GEM I think, it consists of the contents of an old sweet tin which are: some whitemetal parts, a motor and something called Arnold. We'll see what I can bash out of it. Maybe by Expong 2011...