Wednesday 31 August 2011

Planet locomotives

Probably around 1990, my friend John Homer drove the pair of us in his Series 1 Land Rover to a closed sand pit near Merstham in Surrey. I think John had caught a sniff that the Planet shunters were to be removed. Planet locomotives One was almost covered in bushes, but this one was left out in the open. As I remember there was no works plate or build date, but I should think no later than 1970.

Planet locomotives
We filmed, photographed and measured the loco for an hour ( still have all this if anyone wants it) then went to the pub.

I note by coincidence that this illustrates a point made recently about cab door heights. John is a tad over 6' and is stooping inside the cab, let alone under the doorway.

Planet locomotives

Planet locomotives
On a modelling front, the ground surface is worth looking at. A fine covering of sand and weeds and only the thin brown ribbons of brown to indicate the track.

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Thinking of Charlie.

Quite a few years ago now Charlie Watts was asked what it had been like playing for the Rolling Stones for 25 years. 'Well, 5 years playing and 20 years waiting around.'
How true.

Monday 29 August 2011

009 Bagnall kit bash

Cab done and roof and chimney balanced.009 Bagnall kit bash Considering the cab was done by eye it's come out at the same length and the roof is the original. Just the bunker sides are a couple of mil longer.

009 Bagnall kit bash It's very much the partner loco of one already on Garn, also built from Chivers bits, an Ibertren chassis and plastic. This was unofficially named 'Miles' by the then 009 News editor Hugh Norwood. Logically then, this is Susan....

*tap,tap, waits for emails...*

Sunday 28 August 2011

009 Bagnall?

Now I've cleared the Rhiw work, it's time to clear some of those half started projects. Working on the principle that on an 009 layout there are never enough locos I started this.009 Bagnall kit bash It began life as a Chivers Bagnall (it is pictured elsewhere on the other pages) that hit the deck and came away with a busted cab. Thus this is a little bit of the Irishman on the horse - 'If I wanted to go there, I wouldn't start from here.'
It is what a friend of mine would call a 'styrene bash' - RTR chassis (Ibertren Cuckoo) commercial tank moulding and plastic. Happy with the footplate, and spectacle, but yesterdays work on the cabside will be replaced as I think the cab cut-out is too big in the cold light of day.

Friday 26 August 2011

Garn Fiddle yard

As always happens sooner or later I return to 009. I noticed that attending Expo Narrow Gauge at Swanley with Garn is creeping over the horizon and a little work is needed.Garn Fiddle yard

Not least of all to look a whether it is viable to make Garn a through station. This would mean the construction of another small fiddle yard, but the whole lot would need to fit on a standard 6' table. The first step being moving the single 'leg' support from the end of the existing FY to a point just beyound the centre-point.Garn Fiddle yard

Thursday 25 August 2011

Svanda beginnings

Earlier in the year I mentioned the 5 year plan and how that in theory it was unrealistic and how Rhiw was possibly the last exhibition piece I'd build (oh how they laughed).

Then, not for the first time, a trip to Crawley produced talk of a Norwegian layout. Previously these 'talks' have come to nothing, but a back of an envelope sketch looked promising and I am now being sent this. It may have legs after all.Norwegian layout idea

Wednesday 24 August 2011

AWS ramp

AWS ramp You can probably buy a little pack of AWS ramps.
Plastic strip works for Mr. Tightfist here.

Saturday 20 August 2011

Saturday Ramble

Apparently I'm being a little critical.

Good. I don't flirt on the forums like some and I'm always surprised that I don't get more flack in the comments box. In fact I only been taken to task once and that was a little half-hearted.

My criticisms of stuff of late is from a stand point of a novice - and that I ain't. But what if I was? What if I had been coming to this toy train lark anew rather from a 35 year point? As the Rhiw project has gone on I've gradually started to see it from a novices point of view. What if I had been 'Dad' at 47 to a 10 year old who has got a circle trainset, has been to an exhibition and bought for instance a Bachmann Cl 25, uncoupling ramps etc? The points I've made over the last couple of weeks are from the standpoint of someone who has been presented with this equipment by the trade and is quite naturally taking it at face value.

I had a trainset at 10 - just post Tri-ang, still with big couplers, and little in the way of detail and which would only work if the wick was turned up quite high. Then over time I quickly moved onto narrow gauge and light railways and really only saw the RTR stuff as components for building something else. Now that I've returned to RTR for a while I find that it's changed. The quality is stunning. Even the 03, which is fairly old, is good, and the Bachmann 150 which is on the bench for a little light weathering at the moment is stunning. It runs like a watch and the detail is way beyond what I could imagine a few years ago. Iain Rice's almost one man crusade to raise the level of British RTR to that of the Americans and Europeans has largely worked. But there are issues: if my fictional father and son team follow the instructions for adding the bits that come with these new models and buy the accessories to go with them they will be frustrated to find that things don't work. You may say that there is a learning curve to be approached, but then... they may just give up. If things say they work together then they should. And if they don't, they should indicate that you have to compromise.

I note that the Bachmann instruction sheet claims, '... not suitable for persons under 14 years.' Have we missed something somewhere?

Friday 19 August 2011

Bad RTR Couplings

I suspected that there would be a problem.

Bad RTR Couplings As with most modern RTR toys the Bachmann Class 25 came with a little bag of bits to add.

I suspected there would be a problem.

These bit required a little bit of fettling to get them to fit in the various holes in, and under, the bufferbeam. Once on they looked very nice and would need just the tiniest dab of paint to bring them to life.

I suspected there would be a problem.

I re-clipped the RTR coupling back in its NEM pocket (Rhiw uses these single ended) and placed on the layout, powered it up and ran it gently along. At the first Peco medium radius point the coupling swung, clouted all the pipework and derailed the loco.

Do you know what? I KNEW there would be a problem. WTF! Why put all this stuff in a box and charge almost a hundred quid (if you want it DCC'd) if all those bits in the box don't fit and work together? All the pipes could only be used if you were using 3 link or similar - maybe a Kadee. Errrm... how many purchasers of RTR diesels (expressed as a percentage) use 3 link? Huh?

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Bachmann 03 problem

One of my major moans about this jump into mainstream RTR modelling is that things that should work together...don't. Case in point is this standard Bachmann 03. It runs beautifully, far better than I could manage with a kit-built chassis. It comes complete with tension lock couplers, as they all do, which are designed, one assumes, to work with the trade's uncoupling ramps. This is another gripe, but my point here is that this little beast runs up to a ramp, and then 'clunk'! There is a cover over the gear wheel which is lower than the coupling droppers. Why? Did someone fail to notice this at the design stage?Bachmann 03 problem So I removed the couplers and keeper plate, and with a BIG file ground the cover off thus exposing the gear as above which is now proud by no more than 1mm. Result: the 03 glides across the ramps like John Sergent on ice.

Bachmann 03 problem

Sunday 14 August 2011

Scrap loads and details for Rhiw

It's been a busy ten days: first the painting of, and the scrap loads for the MDVs,Rhiw MDVs then the groundframe from coffee stirers/matches/security fence scrap/plastic,


then the end of the platform looked bare behind the curtain wall so I had the idea of a bike rack. I don't know where the railings came from but they were in the box. The wall is two layers of Slaters embossed plasticard, the fencing the gate left over from the fencing atop the retaining wall, the concrete apron is a bit of rather faded 20 thou p/card and the rack is 1mm plastic rod rubbed between the fingers to bend - rather like a Cuban girl's legs and a good cigar.

The bike is a bit on the old side. Should be an MTB really. Oh, and the sign is more 1mm rod and a tights packet/ Tiny signs combination - thanks to Stig for those.... the signs not the tights.


Parliamentary coach

I can't remember if I've put this here before, but seeing as I was sorting through the Froxington stock I thought I take a quick snap.Parliamentary coach Firstly, it ain't a cattle wagon. Quite a few years ago Paul Towers produced drawings (for MRN I think) of Parliamentary coaches. Secondly I have always had a hankering to produce an 'early' railway, that is, pre 1860. Not quite to Sharman lengths, but one which shows stock like this running to and from a station - short 4w stock and 2-2-2 and 0-4-0 tender locos; Burys etc.
This was the trial run - a London & Dover carriage. Built from plasicard and solebars from a Ratio chassis kit while I was living in a shed in Seaton. The glazing is my addition, but without it does scream cattle, but then of course as far as the railways were concerned this is what this class was. The next time you moan about Ryanair, think Parliamentary class.

For the unknowing, parliamentary coaches were a reaction to the then government's instruction that the railways would have to cater for ALL classes, and provide accommodation for the poor. This is now called National Express.

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Issues with Rhiw

Rhiw model railway

When Nigel turns up on my doorstep with a carrier bag the contents can be good or bad. Sometimes it's sweets, but yesterday some returned books, an empty sardine can and the partly coupled SSA scrap wagons that he'd wandered off with some time ago. What followed for the rest of the day was the setting up of Rhiw right across the front room and the testing of an operating sequence, with Nigel dashing off at intervals into the back room and fitting and re-fitting couplings to the Cambrian SSAs. All this found me evaluating the whole project. It's been almost a year from start to finish and has not been as easy as I would have thought. Some of this is about personal approach - I'm used to a more rural scenic style and this is semi-urban, but that aside there are one or two points to consider:

1. At 11' long it's awkward to set up for long periods. It doesn't bother anyone else, but it bothers me.

2. I had thought that in taking on a Blue Diesel period in OO on Peco track that I was working in the mainstream - far more than I have done in the past with light and narrow prototypes. I mistakenly thought that this would be, if not easy, but less frustrating.

3. I thought that using mostly commercial stuff: namely track,rolling stock and some scenic items that the quality would be good. No it isn't. The Peco track is good and the newer locos are beautiful runners, but... there are compatibility issues even from the same manufacturer. I expect to have to spend time juggling couplings in the kit/scratch world of 009 , not from Bachmann/Hornby/Peco. They are designed with the young beginner in mind and should work together as stated. If two blokes with a combined modelling experience of 70 years have to prat about for a few hours then it will frustrate even the most enthusiastic beginner. I should be able to get at least 90% reliable uncoupling with this stuff as I did with the retro fitted Kadees on the US models. Plug and play items should be just that. Not plug and pray.

It's a year on since I walked away from Mike Denwood, pointing an imaginary gun to my head after saying yes to building Rhiw with a deadline of the Worthing show in September with nothing but a s/h Hornby Class 155 in my hand. With only a few weeks to go - it's nearly finished.

Monday 8 August 2011

Lamps for Rhiw

Countdown Worthing and Rhiw's first (and possibly last) outing - a month to go. So now the pressure is on.

As was quite rightly pointed out the platform is still a bit bare. First on the list - lamps.

I looked at the RTR versions at G**gemaster... four quid each. Maybe that's cheap for some people, but despite what maybe said I still regard myself as a modeller first. It's only a bloody post isn't it?

I raked around in the boxes in the loft and found some brass rod of about 2mm diameter and some tube that fitted over it. Can't remember why I bought this, but it would do the trick. I built one as a trial and the other two as a batch. Can you batch build two? Anyway...

I guesstimated posts at about 16' high so rod was cut at 64mm +2mm to drop into the platform - a bit of unusual forward thinking. The head was a slice of Evergreen strip 80x188 thou, that I think was originally for solebars or something, drilled 2mm at one end to take the rod and with all the corners rounded with a CF sanding stick.

The tube for the 'foot' was cut at 8mm long and soldered onto the base of the rod leaving the 2mm prong. The solder being allowed to form a bit of a fillet at the top. This was rubbed down to form the angled join of the lampost. The head was fitted at a jaunty angle with superglue, the whole lot 'keyed' and then a quick blast with Halfords primer. Crude -yes but cheap and looks like a single modern lamp.

Thursday 4 August 2011

MDVs for Rhiw

Another one of those round tuit jobs was to paint and finish the MDVs.

MDVs for Rhiw Waited for and built by Mr Hill a while ago and sat about for longer. One of the problems has been the lack of correct transfers. Modelmasters do something close, but they're not the right ones. So a bodge.
Using a mix of BR inherited numbers and a bow pen I put strips on the end door panels and chalked MDV on by hand. The prototype seemed to use a similar 4" emulsion brush if photos are anything to go by. Then followed a series of light coats as the fancy took me.
There is a raised load-bed from plastic covered with 'scrap' from an Orangina can cut up with a pair of old nail scissors, stuck down with UHU and painted.

The photo is a little over exposed, but I'm actually quite pleased with how filthy they look.

Prototype photos on Paul Barlett's great site.

Lima Class 121 cut and shut

A few tidy up jobs today. The first was one that's been hanging around for ages -fitting the exhausts onto the 121 unit.Lima Class 121 cut and shut Being that I did this the old fashioned way and chopped mine from an original Lima 2-car I had to turn straight pipes into bendy ones. This was carried out by turning the soldering iron on and parking it loose on the bench. Then, with more than a little care, dangling the plastic pipes close to it until soft. What fun. Too far away and nothing - too close and the skin comes off your finger.
I suffer for my art.

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Platform shelter for Rhiw

I note that the post titled 'Erect Post' gains fivefold the amount of hits than everything else. Sure it's here you want to be?
Anyway. Shelter stuffed and mounted.Platform shelter for Rhiw Bit of plastic sheet and strip, and a poster nabbed from wikipedia. Couple of hours including four coats of the crappy Spitfire paint (to try to use it up).

Platform shelter for Rhiw

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Bus type platform shelter for Rhiw

I've said it before here and I'll probably say it again, but this hobby takes you to some strange places. After the waste of cash on the Hornby shelter (just say no kids) research was undertaken and this little blighter showed up. For those who wish to know this is the 'Dove' model and is yours installed for a bit over a grand.Bus type platform shelter for Rhiw There's one very similar not far from here with blank rear panels instead of perspex as it's against a wall. The model for Rhiw is similarly sited so...

Bus type platform shelter for Rhiw model railway
Hornby's offering: £6 no straight edges and absolute crap. The CF version: pence worth of scrapbox plastic and as square as I can make it.. Sorry to bang on about the quality, but if no one says anything...

Class 313s at Lewes

Class 313s at Lewes It doesn't seem that long ago that I put a couple of photos up here of the 313 units on their first trials on the coastway service then still in the east London purple livery. Now they're fully integrated and part of the scenery. Fears about lack of toilets seem unfounded and I have heard one comment that, ' least you can open the windows.'

Here a pair occupy the Brighton side of Lewes station yesterday afternoon.