Tuesday 28 February 2012

Plates, bogies and a creep

I'm piled up with 'other stuff' at the moment, so any modelling has to be done on the fly.
A couple of days ago a large package arrived: I had cornered Mr Fulljames at ExpoNG to see if it were possible to etch me a couple of Sentinel works plates to go on the 7mm model that I built a while back. 'Anything is possible' he said and here they are. I assume these are now a stock item and can be produced for other scales as well. Contact Steve at the Narrow Planet factory via the link on your right.
Two 'on the fly' projects: The cattle creep for the 009 project below is a Wills kit as per the box. However there are no internal fittings which I though strange. This is a plus because you can stretch to whatever width you want, but not as you have to buy a bit of stone wall to do it - clever marketing. Luckily I could cobble from scraps. My free cottage kit from Mr. Wright is providing 80% of the materials for this layout.
The above are the bogies for the 009 Society 'toastrack' coach kit that I got at the Beds and Bucks show. I assume standard Parkside products. Clean up, snap the wheels in and grind the pin-points in a little, check gauge, done.

Friday 24 February 2012


Regulars will know that I like the odd things in life and none more so than locomotives. This couple of beauties passed by me a week or so ago. The first is specifically aimed at Mr. Bevan for his love of correctly proportioned cabs. The lower is absolutely marvelous and I dare someone to build it... Polly chassis, Lord of the Isles bogie and a fag packet.

Thursday 23 February 2012

Talyllyn Railway station building from Wills sheet

As stated earlier there were a lot of bits left over from the cottage. The challenge was to get the station shelter out of this doggy-bag of plastic. The usual out of focus photos show the process without too much explaination. The above shows the inner and outer walls packed with some 60thou and the full sheet of 'York stone'. Below the basic shell using the sheet inside out at the back and the corner pieces from the kit.

A bit of what should have been the cottage floor planking and the door from what I think may be the sprue from the 'grotty huts' pack which is included. The roof is a real bodge as there wasnt quite enough, so the the rear is a slate row shorter... well it's at the back ain't it? Below the whole basic structure painted with Rowney Middle Grey letting the cream plastic colour bleed through.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

The North 2

Sunday morning saw us heading East where the buildings changed character - it's as if builders reached the future M1 line and couldn't be arsed to move stone past that point; its like walking into another room. After skirting Mansfield we headed toward Southwell for no other reason than it it John Sutton's long term 3mm layout - which of course it isn't. This was a case where ignorance is bliss; I knew nothing about the place, but driving in spotted 'Station Rd'. The line went in the sixties, but like the Havant-Hayling line is now a green lane. The station building however still stands (below) and is now a private house with a blue plaque. If this wasn't enough, the pub next door has gone right over the top with a faux station in the courtyard with stacks of random railway memorabilia. We didn't go in.Southwell was a bit of a surprise. A very monied genteel feel with a huge workhouse which was shut on Sundays and and equally huge Minster which wasn't. This complete with ruined abbey and ongoing choir practice. The Minster built by the diocese of York... why here though? The workhouse was apparently open until the 1990's (!) for 'single mothers' - no stigma there then. Southwell is worth an afternoon's visit, but left questions hanging which neither of us could get to the bottom of, and this still didn't answer whether this was the North or not. I used to work with two girls: one from Newark just up the road and one from Gainsborough. The former described herself as a 'northerner', the later reeled back at the thought. That sounds OK until you realise the Gainsborough is twenty miles north of Newark... puzzled? Me too.

If Southwell is the genteel end then Mansfield is well... slightly less so. Combining Mrs F's local knowledge and a street map we entered coal country. Railways and coal are inextricably linked so I have always has an underlying interest in the industry. We found Welbeck Colliery which remarkably stayed open until 2010 and was demolished last year. (There is youtube footage from me and plenty on the demolition) I took a photo and some film before the security guy appeared. For some reason the building shown has been left standing - possibly the electrical equipment? There is plenty on the web about this site and Warsop Vale which stood a mile away, so google away.Mrs. F's meeting on Monday morning was on the outskirts of Mansfield (coincidentally on another defunct colliery site Mansfield Main) so after an exciting evening in a Travelodge(!) she went off booted and suited and I walked into town to explore.

The first place I head for in any town is the museum/art gallery - it will give you a general feel and some ideas about where to go. I'm very sorry but Mansfield museum is shite. After visiting South Wales a while back and seeing how they celebrate their heritage in style, this was truly rubbish. Walking in was hopeful - lots of 6x2 display boards titled 'Coal' and 'industry' etc. And... that was it. The rooms proper were very primary colours based and aimed at schools - fair enough, but the exhibits seemed to consist of two collections. One of Georgian prints and another of stuffed birds. Not a Davey lamp, not a helmet not even some shoes (leather work being the other main industry). I was out in five minutes. When the mine I had visited the day before only closed 18 months before there is no excuse for not having any artifacts. Where was the shop dummy dressed as a miner, the recordings of people speaking about their work? Can't you find them... they're in the pub across the street for goodness sake?
Mansfield does however have an outstanding viaduct marching straight through the center of town which just screams 'coal money' and 'power'.
Did I come to a conclusion? Not really. Where is the North? I don't know. For something to exist it has to have boundaries... edges, and I've yet to find the edge of the North. Geographically it's probably a curving line that runs not below the M4 and not above Northhampton, but that would upset the Brummies. I'll stick my neck out and say that it's a class thing, an attitude not a place. Walking round Southwell you could have mistaken your location as home counties, in Mansfield I expected to be given the 'soft southerner' abuse that Mrs. F. used to get all the time here. 'We're from the North, we're worse off and we're going to have a go at you about it'. When in fact the reverse is true. The roads are wide and clean, the beer is cheap and the property is almost half the price that I would have to pay down here. And if you argue about social problems, then have a trip round bits of Kent or South London estates and you may withdraw that. Get rid of the chip and present what you have as the marvelous area that it is rich in history and countryside. And sort the bloody museum out.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

A(biased) view of the North 1

There used to be two blogs here one proto, one modelling. I'll drift a little to the proto and put Diamond Geezer/Ian Visits type posts up for a couple of days. Reason being that Mrs. F. had a meeting in Northern climes so we added a couple of days and I tagged along for the ride. One of the 009 Society Merseyside Group wrote in to 009 News reacently bemoaning the North/South divide. It's difficult to see how tongue-in-cheek this was, but every time this happens I shake my head and ask why? And all over the weekend this was running through my mind. I decided to form a definative view of Northern attitudes in 2.5 days and photograph a few buildings along the way. I navigated, Mrs F. drove and having worked in the area for a few years... translated. As can be seen we stayed in Chesterfield. Yes it's bent and nobody really knows why.

The first part of my casual study was eating: Chesterfield hasn't got much in the way of eateries above Yates' Wine Bar or Wetherspoons. We chose the former and watched Chesterfield on its way out on a Friday - scantily clad ladies, none less than a size 20, but then we spotted the 24 hour Greggs bakers... Weatherspoons curries, 24 hour bakers, and beer at less than £2 a pint. Unfortunately my first (biased) opinion confirmed. Life is easy up North: Cheap beer, cheap food and big women. But is this the North?

The locals say it is,but the local airport is East Midlands... so where does the 'North' really start? A friend of mine (Berwick born, Glasgow bred) says York is in the Midlands and if you look at the map he maybe right, but would you really stand in a pub in Sheffield and say that?

Saturday it rained for a while, but we pushed out to Matlock. I hadn't been there for a while, but I was glad that I'd taken photos of the station back then as they've dumped a Sainsburys and a by-pass on the site. The ticket machine that would tell us how much it would cost to get to Derby was out of order, so we went into Bill Hudson Books on the station which is well worth a visit. As is Matlock Bath, home of Slaters Plasticard and just on the right side of twee. The weather now cleared so I could let Mrs F off the lead to play on the swings.

I'm in bridge -building mode at the moment so took a few photos. The photo below: the creep under the M.Bath-Matlock line. Then on to Bakewell (stopping for the compulsory pudding not tart - I'd learnt that one a few years ago) then to Buxton where the snow came down so quickly that we legged it back to the digs in Chesterfield before we got trapped at the wrong end of the A6. The second part of my study, travel: weather aside the roads are wide, well made and largely empty.
Saturday's conclusion: I like the North.
Next Notts.

Friday 17 February 2012

Dolgoch station

Dolgoch stationNext on the agenda to build is the station shelter. Tal-coed is inspired by a Roy Link(?) article in an early 80s RM which was in turn inspired by the TRPS display stand of 1956 most recently featured in the 2007 BRM annual. I have about my person a drawing of Dolgoch station bought from Towyn station show many years ago when Mrs. F was still dancing round the bonfire in rompers. It shows a completely open box type structure. Yet the fronspiece of Boyd's Tall-y-llyn Railway shows Mrs Boyd sitting on the platform and the bottom of a door in the background not dissimilar to the above. So in the interests of research only: was there, and has there always been a door and store room in Dolgoch station?

Thursday 16 February 2012

Wills craftsman kit cottage

Done. At long last. For some reason there looks like there is a dodgy joint in the chimney in this shot even though it's one piece. The whole thing has been jacked up by 8mm all round to allow for sloping ground falling from the far end. I want to bed this in so it looks built and not placed. So the scrap-built steps mark the higher ground level and the steps to the back porch will be added later. So onward.

However just for ICR...conclusions:
As a kit it's a bit of a curate's egg and like my favourite joke about directions asked of an Irishman, 'If I wanted to go there Sir, I wouldn't start from here.' If you want to be led gently through building a cottage with Wills sheet and are quite content to follow the plans, it's OK. If not, then your own plan/idea and some sheets would get you there more cheaply. I only used half to two thirds of the materials in the kit - there's enough left to do the station building. I quite liked the stone sheet, but whether brickwork would be as forgiving I'm not so sure. The other bits I like a lot: window mouldings and chimneys save a lot of time and I'd recommend them. The slate sheet is another thing altogether. Sorry but I'd go with the Slaters or strip-work any day rather than fanny around trying to thin this stuff down and when it's on it looks a bit too uniform to my eye. Would I spend twelve quid on the kit? Probably not. Would I use the constituent bits? Yes.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Tal-coed woodwork

Tal-coed woodworkAnd now back to the woodwork for a bit. I'd walked away for a while as I couldn't get outside to do any cutting - MDF and snow don't go too well together. Front facia board cut out in one piece. It needs tweeking; the profiled edge is too high, but it's easier to do this, put in place and then take a little off, rather than the other way around. The piece of hardboard at the back will be cut today and wrapped around as a backscene. So everything at this point is variable until it reaches a certain point.

In that respect this link that Miles Bevan sent me this morning may have some relevence. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle

Monday 13 February 2012

Dickens London

Very rarely I'll do a book review here - this is one of those occasions.
Whilst dropping in on my parents to scrounge free food and tea, I spotted a book on my mother's 'to read' pile. Dickens's Victorian London is a real gem of a book: short extracts from his novels followed by a number of contemporary photos with extended captions. There are a handful of railway based examples, mainly construction subjects, but what grabbed me were the photos like the above of ordinary Londoners going about their business and social activities. From slums to dock-building. Most of course are posed, but the wealth of detail is absorbing. The anti-heath & safety document above is worth ten minutes study. The gib crane, and the barrel walk are enough, but the thing which jumps out are the rarely modeled deflection stones... added too late for the protection of the corner. Note also the large sash windows on the first floor and the smaller security conscious ones at ground level. No this is not a railway book, but modellers are by nature also social historians by default so this for background information is worth every penny - even better if it's on loan.

Sunday 12 February 2012

Porch from Wills kit parts

Porch from Wills kit partsThe basically finished porch - Wills green house front, slightly diddled with, plain end, Wills garden walls. The rest I have deviated from the Wills only ideal. The floor is roughly scribed 40thou with a couple of washes (29 and 64). The door end is the same with some microstrip framing scribed freehand again and a splash of 30. The roof is Slaters corrugated (slapped wrist), but I needed to have overlapped sheets and the Wills just won't go there even though there is a piece in the cottage kit. This sloshed with 67 and multiple unit green before, in the absence of any talc to hand, coated with athlete's foot powder - well I suppose it'll keep the moss off...
Porch from Wills kit parts

Thursday 9 February 2012

Wills kit Sprue Porch

Wills kit Sprue PorchI had this idea about a porch on the end which masked the back door. I found a bit of what I think maybe a Wills lean-to; no idea why I have this or what I used the rest of it for. Anyway the remaining bits visible were knocked up out of scrap bits from the house and the end wall from the 'garden wall' mouldings that come with the kit. The shelving is of course sprue which as usual is more useful than most of the other parts. The end shelf being held up by a couple of small triangular brackets - sprue again.

I raided the 'tubes' box and found a couple of different size biro refills sliced accordingly and inaccurately; the larger filled with Bostick All Purpose which I've taken an instant dislike to. The box and paintpots - again, sprue.

All this done, being that it's a full moon while Mrs F was at her meeting.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Wills craftsman cottage windows

Wills craftsman cottage windowsThis is taking far longer than I envisaged. When it's all done I'll draw conclusions, but I think you know what they'll be.

Cills have been added using 2mm x40thou plasticard and touched in with Rowney acrylic. I had a conversation with CP a couple of days ago and aside from rainwater goods and cills, we touched on lintels (and the spelling of). I could even now grind away a bit of Wills and add something atop the openings. However this is a distance building in many ways and I'm concerned that it will look too heavy and eyebrow-ish. Lintels being generally flush don't stand out too much so I'm sticking to just a lick of paint to suggest.
Wills craftsman cottage windowsThe whole so far with a wash of very pale grey to tone in and tone down and with the roof so far resting on the top. This should be home straight now with just a bit of flashing, bargeboards and down pipes. What will happen extra to that is a bit of dramatic Pendon-esque footing work to jack the whole thing up at one end before the porch (!) gets added.
All this for a couple of days in Porthmadog.

Monday 6 February 2012


The nicely out of focus shot above shows a little bit of flashing. (The current laptop doesn't take XD cards, so I'm having to bounce everything via the old one and a memory stick so can't be arsed to do it again.) The material used is the foil from a champagne bottle - the first bit you throw away. Mrs F's little eyes lit up when the bottle came out off the rack, but then went back to carving her name in the worktop when I wandered off with just the foil and a craft knife.

Nothing much to add. The foil is cut into strips and poked and prodded with a pencil until it fits, and then tidied up with a knife. As can be seen the pots are now on - drilled with a 2mm bit between the fingers to indent.

Sunday 5 February 2012

Sunday Ramble

The modelling week has been a bit scatter-gun. Wright's Cottage has moved on no further, falling victim to me trying to link bits of work that involved soldering. The reason for this being a push to get Nigel's Svanda complete as regards track, so a bit of plain and a couple of points to wire up; no photos, but there is some video footage elsewhere. While I had a hot dripping iron in my hand I attached some wires to the 009 which has what must be my simplest wiring job to date - whole layout... four wires. Though I may add a couple of on/off switches just to add a little flexibility to what can only be described as an 009 trainset.

Yesterday afternoon post delivery of the Norwegian piece to Crawley a Stanley knife was produced and card formers added to continue the rock-face already roughed out on the other board and an end sky-board with a hole for choo-choos to pass through was knocked-up on the back step before the snow set in.

Thursday 2 February 2012

Something curvy in 009

There have been discussions on and off about something circular in 009 for a while, mostly pertaining to the possible extension of Garn. The disposal of that has prompted just such a beast in compressed form. The influence being the two articles in RM on Dolgoch in 80/81 with such a style plan and an Irish ng layout called Union Mills in the late 70s, again, effectively a simple oval plan. Photo 1 shows the first curve going in and testing. Laid carefully to an 8" radius centre and easing to 9" on the exit. The Lilliput open used to check that the overhang does not pass the baseboard edge.
Photo two shows the pointwork in place. I was able to do all of this quite quickly as the points are not wired up - I rarely do this for storage yards. Curves were UHU'd, and pinned at about 6" intervals and checked all the way for dog-legs.
Complete in a couple of hours. The board was lifted and the wagon 'tipped' so that it ran round all roads by gravity. All appears well. Now the track is in place , the rest of the woodwork can commence. I didn't want to cut track beds unless I knew that the curves would work OK - there ain't a lot of room.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

'It's curtains for you Sir Percy...'

I can't remember the last time I built a domestic building in any scale - I'm more your cutting shed/winding house sort of bloke. So it suddenly dawned on me that the windows looked bare. Reaching back into the mists of frozen time I recalled the Superquick game of semi-etched glazing backed with coloured 'curtains'.
Mrs F. an I were sitting in front of the fire: her reading and throwing dead mice into the flames while I was ambling through a couple of weeks colour supplements when I ripped a page out and put it to one side. Mrs F. picked it up and moves into the Roger Moore thing she does with her eyebrow. The page contained on one side a men's fashion page featuring coats that she knows I couldn't afford, the other side a photo of Leonardo Di Crappio. The other eyebrow went up.
What I wanted was the coats; most of which were dull blues and browns. These were sliced up into small squares. Glazing was added using the nice piece of clear plastic that comes with the kit box, and the top floor wndows had the small sqares of pretty paper added unevenly to each side as above.

I walked back into the front room where Mrs F. was now roasting a roadkill squirel on the poker. 'Nets!' I shouted, 'How do I do nets?' Mrs F. dropped the half cooked rodent onto the carpet and walked into the kitchen and handed me a box. 'Greasproof paper?' Perfect.