Monday 30 April 2012

Tal-coed sign

Tal-coed sign 009
Strolled up to the Epsom and Ewell show yesterday afternoon, always worth a visit. The standard as always was very high - layouts that would have been drooled over anywhere else were passed by in favour of something better. The main reason for the visit was to see East Grinstead Town Ian White's successor to Rowfant Grange, though time was taken to exchange insults with Steve Driscoll and Richard Preece who were operating Masham next door. The rucksack count was high as was the amount of midgets carrying 'step-ups', but notwithstanding the bruised shins that these caused it's a damn good show.

Shopping included Russell's GWR Locomotives Vol 1 for an unresistable price, some wheels and the above to fix to the new 009. I got this for nothing, pulling in a favour owed from the middle of last year straining my bollocks helping lift a motorcycle. Basically it's a wrapped piece of 1/4" plastic with laptop generated lettering. The gentleman in question was rushed off his feet producing replica station totem signs about two feet long for a bit over twenty quid. Judging by the queues at the last couple of shows that he's been at, this is a bargain price. No web site, but ,

Friday 27 April 2012

Laurie Maunder

It is with regret that I advise of the passing yesterday of the above gentleman at a hospice near Tunbridge Wells. A stalwart of the local narrow gauge gatherings and a member of Uckfield club. Laurie was a fine modeller with skills beyond most of us, able to inject engineering methods into small scale modelling with wit and charm, something which few are able to do. It's this gentle self-deprecating wit that will be missed the most.

Tuesday 24 April 2012


Tal-coed In a fit of anger I managed to get the front of Tal-coed on. Not anger with the layout - computer anger. Thus it is more or less done bar the front couple of inches and some detail work. The construction has taken about 14 weeks most of that with the cottage build. It's been a rush, but for something this small (and heavy) quite pleasing.

Monday 23 April 2012

Luton model railway exhibiton

Monday morning and I can take a bit of a breath.
The Luton show is of the old school both in spirit and in body, set in a fairly unloved state comprehensive, and scattered across three rooms not unlike the vibe of the old Croydon show. The audience was mainly families and consisted of rather large ladies who (and I have this on good authority) shop in Matalan. The morning was busy but the afternoon died due apparently to Luton playing at home. One thing that was remarked upon by several people was the amount of trade. This doesn't work. The guy next to me sold nothing all day and packed up at 4.00. Too much trade,especially if it's mainly box merchants, dilutes the cash flow so no-one has a good day.

After a little bit of unnecessary last minute wrangling I waved Garn off for the final time. It'll soon reappear at Midlands shows with several things added by the sound of it. I can see the road full of Oxford Die-casts now. The layout has served me well both in an exhibition sense, and at the outset an emotional one so it's good to see it go in many ways. Onward and upward; I have things I want to build and I need to clear the decks so I can do this. Not having an expanse of loft space to store chronologically labeled layouts for decades, I have work on a conveyor belt process. And with the speed with which they're being turned out at the moment I have to shift.

Friday 20 April 2012

New Radnor station

New  Radnor stationA few moths ago Railway Modeller published an article on New Radnor station - the buildings of which still stand in a caravan park. The thrust of the piece was that the plan and possibly the buildings only would be a good influence for a small branch terminus. The problem was that the article was a bit short on period photos. Here though is a find from t'internet which I think is New Radnor in the '20s. A platform no more than 200' and a very dinky station building. Real RM grist and perfect for the Art of Compromise plan.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Switches for Tal-coed

Switches for Tal-coed 009I forgot the switches.
What I do opposite to most is the ballasting, preferring to do it almost last after the scenic stuff is down. Though here I was cursing that decision as getting under the bridges took on almost gynecological techniques to complete. Then the bloody PVA wouldn't bond so I had to go over it again. So much screaming at the layout in the last couple of days. When it came to the testing and chipping off the odd bit of stray ballast I remembered that I was going to sectionalise the track so that I could kill a train in the 'station' while running around things at the back. A bit like DCC only at a cost of 50p (actually less than that as the switches are Nigel's cast offs being non standard 'centre offs'). Note there are no fixings - they're held in by tension in the MDF only.
I have two weeks left to get this finished.

Thursday 12 April 2012

Hayling to Havant

This is rather nice particularly as I'm rolling over the level crossing everyday though the only sign that remains is the cream clapboarded house.
I know the film edges it up a little, but it's worth noting the speed of travel - not the creepy branchline feel that most models present.
Anyone identify the coaches?

Monday 9 April 2012

Modern Sentinal

Modern SentinalI have a bit of a soft spot for Sentinals of all shapes and sizes, so this shiny example got snapped in South Wales a few months ago. If lines of industrials standing in the rain are your thing then aim for Big Pit and wander a mile or so uphill and they are there for the snapping and climbing.
Modern SentinalI note that there's a kit available these days from Knightwing... never seen one. Do they get snapped up, or is it one of those advertise but not in production tricks?
Modern Sentinal

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Mallorcan Tram

Mallorcan TramI don't want to turn this in to a holiday review, however there were so many interesting bits of machinery on the island that it's hard not to. At t'other end of the Soller Railway lies not only the town, but a tram link down to the port on yet another 3' gauge line. The stock is, as can be seen above, fairly generic European tramcars and trailers... and none the worse for that. I've found now that I didn't take any photos, being more interested in video-ing (more of this later) so I'm having to raid Mrs. F's camera for the stills. The lovely aspect of riding in the front of these was watching the driver 'notching' up and down with the handle on the original Dick Kerr control equipment.

And the video...

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Mallorcan Railways Soller Tramway

Soller TramwayIn 2004 I jumped off a ship for a couple of hours in Palma with the preconception that it was going to be like Blackpool with sunshine (it isn't). I eventually found the stations on that day and fell in love with the place. The reason for the silence here during the last week is that I got back there at last with Mrs. F in tow.
There will be more about this trip in the following days, but I'll start with the Soller Railway which can be summed up in one word - elegant. It is a preserved line in a way, but no Mk1's here, just beautiful matchboard balcony coaches and Bo-Bo electrics. I defy anyone not to like these. here No 4 runs round empty stock at Palma 31/03/12