Tuesday 25 December 2012

Lisbon Tram museum

Lisbon Tram museum
 Well here we are another Christmas Day and even though I managed to land a gig so don't get a day off I've got a few hours to do things.
The trip to Lisbon is a far off memory, but I'd though I'd share these. I bemoaned from the start that there wasn't a transport museum. This surprised me as the tram system is so in your face from the moment you arrive. However there was no mention of one in any of the guides (no mention of fingers and woggles please). On a ride out of town I spotted it. Tucked away on the main road west.
Good? Yes. They take you round the site in an inspector's tram and gently show you through five rooms full of trailers and horse trams. Apart from what looked like five women from the local W.I. we were the only visitors. Sad. It's a lovely little museum, cost three quid to get in and is woefully under publicised.

Lisbon Tram museum

Lisbon Tram museum

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Blowing bubbles

The dashingly youthful and daringly attractive Graham Weller sent me this yesterday. One for the 'prototype for everything' dept. 2' gauge bubble car and some.

Monday 10 December 2012

2nd Svanda

Not a lot happening on the modelling front at the moment, as usual when time is squeezed it's the first thing to go. However having done the great baseboard swap last week it's time for me to get on with building the rest of Svanda and there's quite a bit to do on this one.
Order of initial work is: second coat of emulsion on the carcass, plasticard facings for the loading dock, fit the road in permanently followed by the rest of the scenics.
I note that Tal-coed is trailed for the February RM.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Svanda - the mill end

The mill end post delivery to Nigel who sent this photo with stock posed. Further down the line the back in the foreground will be forested slightly.

Monday 3 December 2012

Svanda mill

Svanda mill
Just in case you lot think I've been doing nothing all week, I would point out that I've been working my nuts off on getting all the bare bits of Svanda covered in bits of flock and ash. Well one half of it anyway - the the other half should tun up today to be done and a grand swap-over will take place.
There are still about 300 trees to build, but with the weather getting colder the use of a hot glue gun is considered too dangerous.

Monday 26 November 2012


Svanda mill
A quick snap on a dark day - what days aren't dark at the moment?
The mill building now installed on Svanda over the weekend. Cobbles and mill by Nigel, paint and flock by self. This is a project which has taken far too long and should be finished by now.
More trees....

Friday 23 November 2012

Narrow gauge station bulding

Narrow gauge station bulding
Chimney stack now done. The stack itself is a piece of square timber, wrapped in plasticard and topped with a bit of 60 thou and a length of plastic tube. The associated bit on the left (is this a breast back here?) is pure plasticard.
I have to admit that the design of this owes much to the Coopercraft platelayers hut; the slate capping is copied from the pub at the top of the road.
Now I have to work out a way to do gutters and down pipes. Umbrella ribs have been suggested, but I've not come across any yet.

Thursday 22 November 2012

Rails in the Fells

Last Sunday a trip to Tunbridge Wells with Mrs. F.
There's a s/h bookshop cum craft shop in the Pantiles which we usually wander into that has quite a sizable rail section. Browsing among all the John Scott Morgan titles I found something I've been looking for for years: David Jenkinson's Rails in the Fells. Published by PECO in 1973 it appeared on lists in RM when I was growing up and then was referenced in so many articles on the S&C, by which time it had slipped out of print. Easy to do internet searches I know, but I'm old fashioned and I like to find and feel a book before I buy. This therefore cost me a fiver... only two quid more than the cover price.
Now I just need to find Vivian Thompson's Period Model Buildings.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Station chimney

 I seem to be chasing my tail at the moment, but did manage to get an hours modelling in earlier. I decided that the station building needed a chimney. Simple enough - narrow stack to clear a small office fire or a stove. Piece of square section timber wrapped in Slaters brick plasticard. Cut into the existing wall.
This delightful bit of lifting gear was spotted in Salisbury earlier in the year.

Sunday 18 November 2012

Portskerra at Portsmouth

Portskerra EM model railway
Yesterday  got invited out to play with Tim's Portskerra. To say that this was time well spent would be an understatement and threw up all sorts of questions later that evening. Well running stock and almost 100% reliability on coupling make for a pleasurable experience. Add to that working and interlocked signals and you have probably the best layout I've operated anywhere. Big smile...

Friday 16 November 2012

More East London Finescale exhibition

 In tidy up mode- here are a few more snaps from East London Finescale. One thing worth noting, with ref to my earlier question, is that three of the four have no backscenes.

Thursday 15 November 2012

Lisbon Trams 1

 I mentioned a week ago about the trams in Lisbon. As you can imagine there are a number of photos, but for starters here's just a couple. The above is the tourist route 28 which runs through the centre of town and even in October was packed... we didn't bother. They pull away quite smartly and rattle along at a fair old lick, but stop just a suddenly. The appeal of this is huge, but is probably a pain in the arse if you're a local.
This was a quick shot and hard to frame, but shows the dual panto/pole power pick-ups and the logical occupation of teenage boys in hanging on the back and not paying on the return from school. I'd have done exactly the same.
And the video...


Wednesday 14 November 2012

Card modelling

Wadebridge in O gauge
Wadebridge ply and card passenger stock.

I gave up on the Ruston. It was George Washington's axe - new chassis and rebuilt body... hardly seemed worth the effort. Painted the station shelter instead, all is right with the world.

Friday 9 November 2012

Ruston Cab

Oh dear.
I put the cab together. The use of 'together' implies that it's OK... errr no. The etching is OK in places, but the handrail holes are blown in a couple of places. The w/m back is sort of sqaure to itself, but not to anything else. The short cab floor is square on the out side, but the cut out (which I've now filled with plasicard) is not. Moreover the thickness varies from 6othou in one corner to 40 thou in the opposite. This in theory can't be altered without removing the lugs.

The footplate is in effect in six sections. This is bad design in anybody's book - it should be in one piece with the cab/rad/bonnet dropping on top.

It's a joyous piece of work which I approach with a heavy heart.

Thursday 8 November 2012

Ruston chassis frames

Frames all cleaned and squared up. Lucky thing here is that boxy 'modern' shunters have slab frames with no fancy cut-outs.
Before I go on I think it best to investigate the body further.
Photos of the 0-6-0 165s are a bit rare in fact t'internet only throws up one : http://www.miac.org.uk/classpwm.htm

BTW if anyone has a few spare OO frame spacers they don't need and can stick in the post to save me cutting down some EM ones, please do so.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Ruston chassis build

I return once again to the Q kits Ruston 165.

I'm in agreement with young Phil ... it's crap. However the body may be OK and I can use it for an experiment. Scratch build a chassis. Ingredients: a DS10 and mount from Nigel, some 20 thou brass and various tools.

Two strips of brass cut and tack soldered so that the better clean edges line up. Measure 9mm down from this and mark with dividers over marker pen coating.. Clamp rods to strips and centre pop drill out in three stages to 1/8" and then open out a little more with a broach to take bearings.
So far so good and if it doesn't work I've lost absolutely nothing except my time.


Tuesday 6 November 2012

East London Finescale 2

 I think that out of all the good stuff on view at Rainham, this caught my eye most, purely for being atmospheric and different. Tower Pier is EM, based around CJF's Minories plan as is not so much a layout with signalling as a signal box with a layout. On its own it would have been good, but with the addition of scaled down block instruments and lever frame dominating the whole thing it's... well, different.
 And incedentally was among several exhibits with no backscene.

Monday 5 November 2012

East London Finescale exhibition

Yesterday a trip across the river into injun country to visit the best kept secret of the model railway exhibition world, namely the the East London Finescale show at Rainham. This was discovered last year and promptly stated as being the best of the year.

A conversation early on with Graham Weller found him saying that he'd been behind the secondhand stall all weekend and hadn't seen the show, but he'd look forward to seeing pictures on the blog. So just for Graham, here's is a photo of the busiest stall in Essex... manned by one dashingly handsome and youthful chap from East Ham.

Saturday 3 November 2012

Saturday Ramble

'...and then I did my famous creepy cat impression. And that's how I met Lloyd-Webber'
I didn't get to ExpoNG this year due to a prior engagement in Lisbon - more on this later when I can extract the photos from an out of date memory card. Though by all accounts it was a show worth going to.

This morning I received a missive informing me of 'suggested B&Bs' to book while attending a show. The reasons for this are that there have been problems with lost deposits etc in the past. I would add that this is a show that I have no record of being formally invited to, and one has to ponder that, being that this is the second time I had this sort of letter from this particular show that if they can't organise the proverbial piss-up with the exhibitors then it's not surprising that the booking of B&Bs for same is beyond them.
Come on chaps... get your act together it can't be that difficult.

I'd like to thank the responses I've had regarding backscenes mainly by email re the post below; the opinions are of course varied, but seem to fall into three camps: no backscene OK, dual front and back controls, swap-able front to back or two different backscenes. There's a lot to think about with what I had in mind.

Friday 26 October 2012

Cardboard station building

Cardboard station building
The 7mm B&E station building is making slow but positive progress. Corner rails are now on as is the front door. Aside from the glazing and the pin door handle, I haven't deviated from the scrap cardboard brief that I set myself.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Romsey platform hut

Romsey platform hut

Romsey platform hut
I took these a few weeks ago on Romsey station. Two things occurs to me: firstly it's very similar to the station building on the Snailbeach Railway and two it would make an ideal first venture into scratch-building. Count the bricks, sketch it out and you're off.

Monday 22 October 2012

Normandy O gauge show

 Visited the Normandy O Gauge open day yesterday. I smiled a lot.

It would be very easy to take a pop at the God's waiting room aspect -I was one of three under fifty and there wasn't many more under seventy which raises all sorts of questions. However the couple of hours spent in two rooms both containing large test-tracks as above were thoroughly enjoyable and the atmosphere with several 7mm passenger locos running at once at a reasonable speed was wonderful. OK the operational aspect was basic, but fun factor? This is what club exhibitions used to be like before the rented travelling circuses of pissy little layouts in boxes became the norm; I suppose you could liken this to town football clubs starting to buy players in post war.

There was though an element of friendliness's that you don't get at shows now. An exhibitor may talk about his layout or scale, but will rarely encourage you to play or join the club/group/team. Here it was different, though looking at the demographic it would have to be said that it ain't working.
A start has been made. There are now 19 trees built and brandy drunk. Scrubby is what he asked for and scrubby is what he got.

Friday 19 October 2012

NSB goods shed

NSB goods shed

Today is a bit of a finish stuff day. After the purchase of some top quality Halfords wet and dry to do the roof, the gods shed is done. Weathering? Nah. All the photos I get thrust at me show spotless buildings. This is the major difference between the NSB and the ex BR, everything looks clean and well cared for.
I also picked up some white primer. Not something I normally use, but I reasoned that I may as well prime the LBSCR coach in white and by default do the top coat for the roof at the same time.

Standing the above on its head; I've just written a piece for RM arguing the case for long-term layouts as opposed to the quick exhibition animal. I am of course more guilty than most regarding this. However if there is an underlying structure to it it's a good way of doing things - the important thing is to get things finished, be it a goods shed or a layout, and to achieve what one sets out to do. I still have an itch regarding the Art of Compromise plan from Roy Link's 1978 plan and looked forward to a build of it in the recent RM. Oh dear... it missed the point somewhat. I hope that if I do it in the near future that I can make it somewhat 'lighter' in feel. But I do want to do it. It is an itch that needs to be scratched. But what of the long term? Life is short and modelling life shorter and I think it's important for me to streamline what I do as much as possible, use things up that are in the boxes and achieve all I want before I shuffle off.

Thursday 18 October 2012

Card station building internals

I could relate to Phil Parker's comment about being a project butterfly a couple of days ago. Not are there only layouts in 009, OO, N and HO either done or being built, there are all the associated small pieces to be done for future layouts. What I should be doing is methodically working through these in some sort of logical order, but like Phil I will do a little to one thing and then move on, or back to another. This does stop the tedium moving in, and does work for me.

Hence the above is a bit more work on the B&E station shelter in 7mm when I should be working on Svanda stuff of the industrial loco for Rhiw. Windows are in, and glazed with packing plastic which is the first bit of non-card used. This assembly is now fitted to the other three walls and sits roofless.

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Feeling sleepy.

After a long night CF forgets which layout he should be operating and curls up to sleep.

I have to admit that I do find the whole exhibition process exhasting. For someone who works only in short bursts and then firmly on my arse, having to stand up for seven or eight hours wipes me out. There must be a better way. Although here, I'm actually photographing Andy Cundick's rolling stock. My thanks to Steve Driscoll, 3mm Society secretary and Croydon club's girl Friday for sending me this.

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Card station building Windows

 I make no apology for another photo of Andy Cundick's EM layout showing the very simple single track sector plate. Pete Wilson smiles in the background.
Card station building
I made the decision to stick with all card construction for the 7mm station even for the window units. I had nothing that was adaptable in plastic, but I have stored a large amount of card. It's not as forgiving as plastic and getting a clean cut for the 1mm strips used here is not easy. This is turning into a very low-tech project (what do I do that isn't?) and despite teasing Greg it still has no name.

Monday 15 October 2012

7mm station build/Croydon exhibition

7mm station build/Croydon exhibition

A long weekend, one in which I got lightly reprimanded for not mentioning the Croydon show which is where I've been all weekend. Sometimes things get a bit too busy.

To summarise: last week's modelling consists of the above which is the basic carcass for the station building for the 7mm NG project - three walls done, the front is underway. Unnycoombe went to Croydon. Not so many children as Fareham the week before, but proof that 'care in the community' is working well. The layout behaved as well as could be expected for N gauge, nice show, pencilled in for next year. favourite layout for me was Andy Cundick's Tallyllyn Road with Andy Shillito's Wantage a close second.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Rhiw at Fareham model railway exhibition

Rhiw model railway
photo: Jol Sargent
The last couple of weekends have been a compare and contrast game: Scaleforum is serious and naval-gazing, the punters are very much in the mould of the typical modeller - middle aged and male. Mrs F. asked why people were staring. It was suggested that it was because she was probably the only prototype version female in the room. Looking around I could see that there were at least two cut-and-shut rebuild versions in my immediate vision.

Fareham, in this weekend just gone, dumps you straight into the reception class with a bump. You could count the modellers on one hand the rest are family groups with an abundance of Ommpa Loompas. Having a fairly high mounted, front operation layout has its disadvantages here and has no rabbits to count. I've noted in the past that this sort of show favours the pretty, low mount, rear operation beast. Not for them, but for me - small child approaches, points, Mummy drops down to child level, CF gets the deep cleavage view right down to breakfast time. However with the front op' I move straight into teacher mode and hand the controller to any passing ten year old who stops for more than a minute. At first they reel back, but pretty soon they are reading the sequence, changing the signals (where I forget) and easing back to uncouple without any problems at all. After all it's sub-PS3 intelligence so they should find it easy, but if we don't let them, then they won't join the club.

Friday 5 October 2012

Card station building walls

Card station building
With the side and end wall cut out it's time for the overlays. I quite like these small jobs with card - some Early Learning Centre PVA, a small brush and some card from the stocking packet left over from Mrs F's last bank raid.

For those with time to spare over the weekend Rhiw will be at the Fareham show in sunny Hampshire. Do come and throw fruit and have a chat.

Thursday 4 October 2012

A goods shed for Svanda

goods shed for Svanda
Svanda's goods shed with a basic paint job of cream and brick red. As usual the cream is a bitch to get to cover and as with the station building, I mixed a sand and cream from Humbrol direct onto the plastic.
Now awaiting some wet and dry to 'felt' the roof. Am I the only one who calls this 'emery cloth'? My metalwork teacher always referred to wet and dry this way and it's stuck with me.

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Card building

Card building
 A few days ago I put the Roxey coach to one side for 'more pressing projects'. The Q Kits industrial is one, but I need to sort motors out. The other is all the trees for Svanda, but I need to be in tree mood as its all a bit messy. The other is the continuing drip,drip of small projects for Upper Dodsworth - the 7mm ng plan. I'm hitting this from a reverse direction to normal. I felt that what I've usually done is build baseboards, then track, then other stuff. This time I wanted to get a nucleus of stock and the buildings finished before the track went down. This is largely a matter of real estate - what I don't want now is another space grabbing bare baseboard in the house.
Card building
So this morning a bit of cutting of waste 2mm card. The ends of the station building. That sounds rather grand - in fact its a Bristol and Exeter platform shelter. Big enough to look like a station and small enough not to over-power a small layout. The design taken from Bob Phelps article in the August 2010 RM. Warning! it's not to a recognised scale. The implication is that it's 4mm so I blew it up on Mrs F's copier by 175%...huge! It's actually nearer to S at somewhere around the 4.8mm mark. so I converted the measurements manually.

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Footbridge for Svanda

Footbridge for Svanda
In the box with the NSB goods shed was this small foot bridge. Built from scrap bits of kit, Wills sheet and plastic strip.
I've thrown various browns, greys, cream and silver at it. By the weekend it should be dangling over the exit hole on Svanda.

Monday 1 October 2012

Norwegian Gods shed

Norwegian Goods shed
 Gods being the vernacular for goods so I'm told.
I have to paint the above. Not the the real thing, just an HO scale replica scratch-built from Evergreen by Nigel, and not in this colour scheme, but in the 80's cream to match the already built station building.
Norwegian Gods shed
Swinging the camera around fills in the detail somewhat. The location is Mael and the object dead centre is a train ferry. Apparently the site is famous - something to do with heavy water and Kirk Douglas. Quite attractive I think and quite modelable to boot with the ferry and the slip arrangement.Both photos - Nigel Hill

I note that it's the 1st of October: the heating is now on and I'd like to point out that it's Liz McLeans birthday. I haven't seen her since I was 15, but she had black spikey hair and very big tits... I can't think why I would remember that.

A vist to Scaleforum yesterday. Not a great show but lots of chat with friends and a bit of shopping (book on the Taff Vale, 7mm brick sheet, w/m 7mm dome and more 56xx info). The best exhibit was probably the 2mm Wansbeck Road which is wrong for the premier 4mm show. The 80s blue diesels? Sorry I'm not usually layout competitive, but...

Friday 28 September 2012

Stroudley coach lamps

Stroudley coach lamps
The lamps are done.
The roof was lined up as best I could and soldered on. The area around the pre-drilled holes tinned and after quite a bit of cleaning up the castings were fixed. I was asked whether I used a variable temperature soldering iron. No I didn't: 1. I wouldn't use such an expensive woosey bit of kit and 2, even with a 40 watt iron running at full belt it was hard to get enough heat going to get the 145 deg' solder to flow, such is the degree of heat-sink in something with this much metal. Everything is soldered save the steel to w/metal joint on the buffers which is superglue. I don't know why there is such a phobia about soldering. I started at school and have learnt more tricks as the years have gone on. Once you get a few basic principles in place it's pretty foolproof.

Now it's time for a break from the brake while I do other more pressing things. There is still much to do on it, but it'll wait another decade.