Monday 26 March 2012

Svanda rocks

 A very intense afternoon of basic scenic work - even got Nigel painting the sky bits - some ground formers and the rest of the rock faces. Rocks are tricksy beasts, and as the email this morning pointed out they change depending on the light. The top photo is a secret location in Norway, the second about 1/2 mile from the M23.

Rocks are of course grey, well these look grey, but then they're sort of brown as well. We're not the only ones to have trouble with this; there is an old friend of mine who hawks a layout around which is locally known as 'crap rocks', I said... tricksy.
Both photos: Nigel Hill

Saturday 24 March 2012

The Five Year layout building plan

Those of you poor demented souls that have not managed to avoid my ramblings in the current RM (tucked at the back beyond Junior Modeller) will have noted me taking a pop at the one subject modeller. This is of course very tongue -in-cheek but I do believe that a little of the other once in a while in scale and gauge terms is a very good thing. And a glance at the sidebar top left will show that this is something I've done repeatedly over the years. As far as I am concerned there are just too many things that I'd like to have a crack at and just not enough life to do them all. So I stick to not sticking and build small-ish, finishable layouts in order to scratch multiple itches. My usual building accomplice Nigel Hill has often be heard to mutter 'we can sit down with a dozen ideas and soon narrow it down to twenty.' And this can be the problem. Which is why about 18 month ago we drew up a 'five year plan'.

Why five years? Well it's not too long, and yet it gives enough scope that several things can be worked on at once - one could be at the layout build stage, another at the stock construction stage. And those shopping trips to shows have direction, so although we are in the midst of Norway (and North Wales) in HO we're keeping a eye open for suitable 7mm figures. Therefore the whole thing becomes quite efficient. So what are the five? The order was (note, was):
  1. American HO. Probably called Wendy as they all seem to have to have girl's names.
  2. Norwegian HO. Svanda
  3. Wales 1980s Rhiw
  4. O-16.5
  5. O Early British
The reasoning behind the choices was based partly on cost, partly on using up what was in the cupboards and in the case of 1 -3 a common fiddle yard could be used saving time and effort.
Regulars will note that this neat list isn't what has actually happened. The American and the Norwegian should have been first as Nigel has a roomfull of Scandinavian stock and I had all the Einsford Mill stock all filed away in biscuit tins waiting to be used again. What did happen was that I bought some stock applicable to Rhiw and got a show invite which wound that forward on the list, and then the planning on Svanda hit a point where it could be started. So the order has changed.
Then there are the wildcards. Possibles extra to the list include: 4mm light railway, SR branch, the much discussed here AoC GWR branch, East Anglia diesels, 3mm, city trench and I do get the glad-eye with Bavarian tank locos - though I'd need to sell the house to buy any. So even if and when this list is finished and if I can resist my 009 junkie status there are at least two more five year plans available to me; which would probably see me out.

So as an addenda to my grumpy-faced photo in RM the concept of a five year plan in theory for those with railway wanderlust is good - there is SO much out there now and the world is our lobster.

Thursday 22 March 2012

South Wales layout plans

South Wales layout plansThis is another book review of sorts.
When Rhiw was begun I searched high and low for good period/place shots and found very little that gave me what I needed - South Wales seemed a bit of a photo blackspot. Now suitable books are everywhere. Not only did I trip over Middleton Press' Welsh Valleys series on Sunday, but this bargain (at a fiver) from Pendragon Publications Railway Reflections No 5. Quite a bit of text and a little scattergun with photos, but there are some cracking shots within.

What atracts me to the area is the verticality of some of the station sites and perfect for the modeller: steep brambly bank at the rear, extreme angled roadbridge, short platform, ( counting the MDVs I make this about 200') and the signalbox looking booking hall at road level. Other shots from ground level make the site look more spacious and show the (lifted here) double track and bay siding, but I love this with the 0-6-2 working uphill. (Bachmann still available?)

This is by the way 1964 and already rationalised somewhat. The place? Bedlinog. Which really sounds as though it shoud have been invented by Oliver Postgate.
Does this figure in the five year plan? Well no. More of this anon, but it is a lovely idea.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

009 Dolgoch water tower

009 Dolgoch water tower...and painted and installed. I had to shave a couple of mill off of the foot at the back. The Ashover coach based railcar which I'm using for clearence testing is a wee bit close.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

To the (Dolgoch water) tower

I muttered about watertowers to Nigel who's on a roll now. He wandered off with a 7mm drawing and the last of the scraps from the cottage kit. 24 hours later he returned with this. Not a guy who's happy building a whole layout, but for something exquisite from plastic waste... It pays to get the pro's in.

Saturday 17 March 2012

009 scale sawing Horse

009 scale sawing HorseI'd mention to Nigel via phone on Thursday that a sawing horse might be nice somewhere in the environs of the cottage. Yesterday he rolled up at my door with these. All the more remarkable in that they are made from cassette tape box plastic.The saw even has teeth. Real modelling...

Friday 16 March 2012

Flocking around the Wills Cottage

Wills CottageWell the title sums it up. A mix of Woodlands Scenics, moss, Hebe twig, plasicard walling, Merit gate, underfelt which has been trimmed back a bit now.
Wills Cottage

Thursday 15 March 2012

009 slate fencing

009 slate fencingIn the absence of sticking little bits of cardboard together, I've found another tedious job: slab fencing. Pretty simple: 20thou black plasticard sliced into a 17-18mm strip, sanded roughly, then cut into random shapes. Then glued to a piece of cotton strung between 'planted' cocktail sticks.009 slate fencing
I claim no originality for this. I first saw it described by Dick Wyatt in the Dovey Valley articles in 1978. The layout (and Dick) are heading toward 150 exhibition outings and it still looks OK, so...

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Sentinal works plates in 7mm scale

Sentinal works plates in 7mm scaleJust to draw this page back from 'scenic modeller's monthly' and show a few toy trains again, here's the Sentinal complete with Narrow Planet plates as shown in the post below.
Easy enough to put on: a coat of red paint, then sanded to bring out the raised detail and stuck on with the arse-end of the tube of Bost**k. The loco...? Well it's just a couple of boxes...
The reason that there a so few pictures of 'trains' here, is that in general I have to build the bloody things. Occasionally, as with the Rhiw stock, it comes in a box, but by and large these days the stuff I build for myself are kits, or in this case carved from a solid block of Elm with an old penknife.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Small bridge in 009 for Tal-coed

Small bridge in 009 for Tal-coedI needed another small bridge to semi mask the the RH hole in the sky, so did the usual browse through the bookshelves looking for inspiration. I eventually found a photo of a small bridge in John Scott Thomas' Corris book, this prototype being situated just north of the town and running between what appears to be two gardens. Simply a large slab of slate with low walls on top. Which translates to a piece of 80thou plasticard and two lengths of the garden wall sections from the cottage kit. These are meant to be stuck back to back, but as you can't see the back...

I say goodbye to another old friend from this gathering today who went far too early. See you later.

Monday 12 March 2012

End of an era

I bought a pair of toolboxes in Payless DIY (whatever happened to them?) in Rustington for £1.99 apiece. This must have been near on twenty years ago since I moved from the area (read: I got fed up with dodging flying crockery) in 1995.

The hinge system is just a thinner bit of the casing so I'm surprised they've lasted this long. This is the 'Number one box that sits at my feet like a faithful Irish Setter in the modelling room and gets taken to exhibitions. Number two lives upstairs and carries the stuff I don't use too often like Loctite 601 and broaches. Safe to say that all I've done is swap the contents over and not surprisingly found a load of things that I didn't know that I'd bought. Toolboxes have chronological layers...

Saturday 10 March 2012

The WRG model railway exhibition and Rhiw video

Chatty... very chatty. Lots of interesting things to look at and only one rucksack.
Rhiw didn't behave terribly well mainly due to the hand-held gradually packing up (anybody fix these things?) but overall a good day.

Pictures via Mike Campbell's blog - link to your right.

Monday 5 March 2012

Tal-coed 009 building

There's been not a lot happening here over the last few days, but that doesn't mean that it's been quiet. First up, the girder bridge. Once again sticking to the 'Wills only' ideal this is the occupation bridge kit. This again falls into the ' if I wanted to go there, I wouldn't start from here' conclusion. It needed to be lifted by 8mm (courtesy of a bit of bridge kit from Nigel's scrap box) and narrowed. Which is where it all went wrong. The girders are from three pieces which need to be cut down equally at each end and stuck together. It would have been ten times easier to build them from plastic sheet. Upshot was that I buggered the whole thing up badly and there isn't a straight line on it - a bit like the Hornby bus shelter. Still I wasn't going to shell out another £4.25 so I painted it, topped the whole thing with coffee stirrers nicked from Costa and... well there we are.

And onto the layout proper. My usual white poster paint wouldn't stick to the hardboard and when the white emulsion came out of the shed to substitute, Mrs. F. decided that this was 'decorating' and stopped practicing her air-rifle work on next door's bird table and insisted on painting the backscene while I placated the community police officer.

The ground formers are obviously cardboard box packed out with screwed up bits of Mrs. F's What Broomstick and covered with heavy duty paper towels.
On different note, I feel I must apologise for the photo in RM this month. They left my prison numbers off the bottom.

Friday 2 March 2012

Talyllyn Dolgoch station shelter from Wills sheet

The 'Dolgoch style' shelter is now just about done. All to do is to sort out the long bench that drops along the LH wall. I think it looks OK especially as it's all gash bits from the cottage kit.

Talyllyn Dolgoch station shelter from Wills sheet