Sunday 29 December 2013

AEC windows

  Picking up on James' comment below a little research was taken. Here's the question: The Coopercraft cab above has square-ish windows, whereas all the photos that come up on Google like the one below have the teardrop shape. Why?
Here's the photo that Paul B points to. Quite a difference from the one above, and still different from the kit cab as it looks as though the sides cut in. What needs to be done then is to add the bump bar on the front and move the headlights from front-mount to mudguard mount. The wheels in the kit look a little small to my eyes, but as can be seen here, they wouldn't look out of place on a Morris 1000.

Friday 27 December 2013


I did think that this would be pretty quick to put together, not so. The mouldings are fairly good, but there is a little flash to clean off. More than that though is the poor mould-making; the front mudguards in particular. These look as though the original was made from two separate curved pieces to get the overall width, however they aren't lined up so there is a pronounce step across the cab side parts.
So far then it's a nice little kit that needs a bit of work to get it to where it should be. As I mentioned earlier, the instructions are a bit vague and my knowledge of all things lorry is not all that comprehensive, when it should be as I spent a good portion of my early teen years working on the (then) modern equivalents.

The secondary issue is my current use of Humbrol Poly. Not impressed. I have two bottles here which were given to me by Mrs F's father when he gave up modelling a couple of years back. It's dreadful stuff: very fumy, and too fierce. The MEK that I use as a default evaporates quickly and bites in the same manner. This however takes a long time to grab and even five or ten minutes later is still in melt mode. It may get thrown away soon, but I may keep the little square bottle as it seem virtually tip-proof.

Wednesday 25 December 2013


 Just for something different to do over the break, I picked this kit out of the pile: a Coopercraft AEC Monarch. I think I picked this up at a show for £3.50 simply because it was there and because I hadn't built one.
The instructions are a bit sketchy and if you have no commercial vehicle knowledge there is a bit of guessing. I'd worked out the at the chassis cross pieces should be level with the top, but the front one? I cut out the gearbox/drive shaft piece and waggled it about until I thought that it would go behind the axle and lower than the other three. Someone shout if that's wrong.
I that's your thing, a Happy Christmas to you.

Friday 20 December 2013

Saturday ramble

 More or less done now, just the stove pipe to add.
For those regular readers it will come as no surprise that I've been in moving house hell. The biggest problem is that overnight I lost my work space. It did exist, but it was undecorated, with a carpet fit only for a squat, and all the other junk piled up in it. Now, thanks to Mrs F's hard work mainly, I have a vast room some 13x 8 to work in with new carpet and plain light-reflecting white walls. the bench is back in and I can work without having to put everything away each time. Bliss...

I pondered this morning after I noticed that my navy blue hoody that I was just about to go to work in was covered in the white dust from the plasticard that I'd spent the previous hour sanding and filing. It occurred to me that if I'd been a chef, the white powder could cause a lot of problems if I have to fire the servants. Luckily my culinary delight this week has only stretched to beans on toast and Weatherspoon's meal deals, so probably not too much to worry about.

009 Brake van

009 Brake van
A little more work on the brake this afternoon, now with both ends on and the roof roughly cut and rolled.

Wednesday 18 December 2013


 I kept walking past this and thinking that it would make a nice basis for a model. Yesterday I remembered to take the camera with me. Tucked away behind Bunce's Hardware, it is used by them for storage. I like the very tight second floor and the corner wall ties.
An hour later and I was looking at another old structure. The old bugger is suffering with no voice , but troops on regardless.

Monday 16 December 2013

Modeller buys book shock

As I'm wandering round wasting time in Worthing most days between bouts of coffee scrounging and getting sprayed with glitter by TV gardeners, a natural point is to use the great WH Smith library. This caught my eye a couple of weeks ago and I finally caved in today. 143 pages of B/W photos taken on plate cameras. No specific rail items, but a hefty resource for the modeller especially if buildings are your thing. I tend to work on the 'John Reeve 50p rule' - if the cover price is lower than the amount of useful photos @ 50p each I'll buy. If not, I'll think about it. This priced at £5.99 is a bargain.

Saturday 14 December 2013

Brake ends

More progress on the brake van. Roof, ends and brakes to do. Behind, the famous scrapbox.

I note that blogger is playing up again. Unsupported browser... I'm using Windows 7 and Explorer 10. Is that how fast the obsolescence happens now?
I know Mr Fulljames will suggest wordpress, but it seems a bit complex compared to this.

Thursday 12 December 2013

Brake and Ravenglass bridge

Despite having two shows a day and being 'disturbed at work' by other modeller/bloggers, I'm getting a little bit done on the final bit of the rolling stock section. This being an almost scratch built brake van based on the proposed C&MLR proposed item in Nigel MacMillan's book.
Meridian Tal-y-llyn coach chassis and the rest in plastic.

There have been a few magazine articles on bridges of late , but few show the most visible bit in model terms - the top. This at Ravenglass earlier in the Autumn.

Ravenglass bridge

Thursday 5 December 2013

009 railcar on a Kato chassis

Kato 103 chassis railcar
Railcar now finished as above.  A fairly quick build on a Kato 103 chassis with a cut down Bro Madog coach from Parkside.

It's panto time. So the likelihood of getting any thing done for the next few weeks is low as I've been banished - to use the stylistically appropriate word - from the capital this year down the A24 to the South Coast. I could have had the rather shaggable Claire Sweeny at the Pavilion, but no, I get... Charlie Dimmock. *sigh*.

Saturday 30 November 2013

The pile of wagon kits

The pile of wagon kits
Leading slightly on from the last post and more following a couple of conversations with Nigel I've been pondering on few things regarding what's in stock. There is the remains of the five year plan to think about, the destruction of Rhiw in the new year to save on timber and the epic build and description underway at present. But it comes down to two angles at the moment 1. I like making things  (and I'm puzzled by so-called modellers who don't) 2. I have a stock of rolling stock items in my back pocket which I really should tackle before long. But why should I?

There is the cash angle: in these days of austerity and with a step-son bleating about wanting a car and cash for same - Jeez, he's never even built a go-cart with pram wheels, what does he think he's going to do with a car? - and building thirty wagon kits up would be cheap. I also have a real thing about wagons - hence the pile in the first place. The imbedded problem is that they're a bit eclectic so what would I do with them? The conversations with Mr. Hill suggested a neutral back drop, possibly quite small where wagons could be pottered about with and have snaps taken to put up here. But how small could that be?

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Death and taxes

I've mentioned this before and it got a small howl of horror, however the spectre of death and modelling has raised it's head again this week. More specifically the problem of disposal. The item in question is a loft layout with some ten boards in total. Problematic enough for the widow, but a bit of a logistical nightmare for those who have offered to help.
In short no bugger wants it. Result: it has to be broken up and scrapped. You may well be saying that the poor old boy isn't alive to see it so it's OK, but is that what he really wanted to happen?

After my last mention of this people split in to two definite camps: the 'keep going and not get rid of anything' and the 'I'm being sensible and getting rid of the fat, and only keeping what I need on a sliding scale to where I think I can manage'. I will be firmly in the later at a future point.

Of course you may think that death is the only instance, by which time it doesn't matter, but what about failing health - a point where you are fully aware of things, but are unable to stop your layout being broken and dumped by a third party in front of your eyes. Time and time again I read the preamble in articles: retirement, loft, more time. Rarely does the issue of just at the time where we have more time and space we may be unable to climb the loft ladder at all. Or work out why we went up there in the first place.

I hope that's cheered everyone up...

Monday 25 November 2013

Railcar 009

  A quick snap of the railcar - seats in and a boxy bit at the front, tram car style, which reflects the DHLR version. Photos/dwgs of this show two gear levers, what I assume is a clutch and a dirty great brake wheel. This I knocked up with a bit of rod and a steering wheel from a bus kit. Seats are 'saloon' style to clear the motor.

Sunday 24 November 2013

Saturday Ramble

A few points to ponder:

1. There's been more than the usual comment on the question of the Bembridge turntable. This is very informative and leads to a little more research on these things. This does have a point; if the O gauge project gets built then the plan was to have something similar a) to save space and b) because it screams 19th century.

2 Just to make people feel old, I note that it is twenty years since the British railway system was privatised. I still think that all the pretty liveries that came on the back of the sectorisation programme are new - it seems like I blinked for too long.

3. On the same tack: I'm still sorting through stuff and came across the first issue of Morill. The cover date? November 1993. Exactly 20 years ago. For those too young, Modelling Railways Illustrated was Irwell Press' pitch at the market hitting at a point just below MRJ and a bit above 'the average modeller' with Iain Rice at the helm. All started very well and I subscribed, however as with a lot of things with Mr Rice there is the feeling that he bites off more than he can chew and it slid until they parted company. At which point the tits went up.
There is possibly still a market for this area although have we moved on? Where it did score with me was the long narrative style prose that used to be the staple of the model press, but has now given way to the Janet and John, paint -by -numbers style of model journalism that dominates the market now. In short is was a good read.
Maybe we've forgotten how to do that.

Friday 22 November 2013

Railcar glaze and turntables

 Work on the railcar continues apace. Basic box complete, floor in and Kato chassis temporarily  clipped on. Next problems are rigging some seats up and working out how to glaze it. The DHLR had no partitions and a central motor with underslung rad' so a fairly clean machine will result.
A second view of Bembridge with the swivelling plate end. Question: If it is pivoted in the centre, but doesn't turn 360 deg is it a turntable or a sector plate and why?

Thursday 21 November 2013

Bembridge and 009 railcar

 Things are slowing for a minute so at 1.45 this morning I got back to a bit of modelling - the neighbours have mentioned that they don't like me drilling in to walls at that time - bloody day jobbers...

A visit to the Hayling show over the weekend which was set up just celebrate the 50 years since the Hayling branch closed. Nice little show, old school club feel to it with a good spread of layouts. Nice to see the model of Bembridge (above). It's been around a while, and is such a lovely track plan with the sector plate (or is it a turntable?) that I can't see why it's not been used more often.

 Up on the bench at the moment is a bash of the Parkside FR Bro Madog coach into a railcar inspired by the 4 wheeled example on the DHLR. Two sides are shortened and one stuck to the ends, now time for the floor section cut around a Kato tram chassis. Not pretty, but functional.

Tuesday 19 November 2013


Don't move house.
Well do, but accept the short term consequences. Leaving the old house in sunny Rodmell was good: I'd been there for thirteen years and had tired of the semi-rural existence where it is necessary to get in the car for every single thing, there were memories of bad days and I'd gotten fed up with the game of fire cleaning/no central heating and sleeping in the loft which had a temperature variation from -5 - +90 deg.
Moving back into town seemed like a good idea - it still is, but even if you are even slightly contemplating a shift think on.

I have a book project underway and I need to practice at least a little. Since September the whole thing has gone tits up as I'm spending my whole day on house stuff which at Rodmell had all been done. I'm still working on the bathroom project, while Mrs F. is  slowly decorating my workshop/study. This has completely curtailed any modelling as as soon as I do anything it gets moved while she paints skirting or something and by the next morning it's all vanished. I have books spread over four rooms, and as for tools and modelling material... it could be anywhere at any given moment. The whole process is quite frankly a pain in the arse.

You have been warned.

Monday 18 November 2013

Hayling Island bus

Hayling Island bus

In the post 4pm gloom the Bedford waits for passengers that don't come. Sad really.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Furness Railway signal box three

Furness Railway signal box

Furness Railway signal box
 If you wondered what to do with the Wills crazy stone sheet here's your answer - the box at Ravenglass.
Furness Railway signal box

Thursday 7 November 2013

Water Tower Furness Railway

Most of the buildings on the Maryport coast run are timber and a pale random stone (Miles will tell me exactly what it is). When you get to the southern reaches nearer Barrow it turns to slate, so much so that when driving through the area you could be lulled into thinking that you've taken a wrong turn and ended up in North Wales.
As I pointed out earlier, there is less of a rush to sweep away older buildings here, and at Foxfield there is a cracking station/signal box combo and this lovely water tower.

Monday 4 November 2013

009 bogie flat wagon

'Ladies and Gentlemen, in the blue corner the very exciting white tiles with anti-mould grout, and in the red corner the rescue flat wagon. A cleanish fight, not too much grout on the dressing gown, and despite the lack of super glue the rescue flat wins by a hair!'

...there  still being12 boxes of tiles in the kitchen, and here is the flat perched on TC with couplings stuck on with UHU. Despite it's length, being based on a Sandy River drawing from David Evans, it rolls round TC without hitting anything.
Any reason why this batch of Greenwich couplings has flaky blackening?

Sunday 3 November 2013

Askam signal box

Furness Railway signal box

The above is Askam through a rather grimy 158 window. I like the fact that the vestibule/cupboard is almost as large as the main box.

The building work continues - well bathroom refit. Suite in, pugging done and skirting cut. I just have the mammoth tiling trip to go on. All this is pushing the modelling into the background somewhat, which is a little frustrating, though I do hope to get some couplings made up for the flat wagon in a bit.
Mrs F has complained that she is absent from this page of late, so I will just mention that while I was taking this photo, she was down the other end of the coach mugging the ticket collector. Well, we've got to eat...

Friday 1 November 2013

Furness Railway signal box Bootle

Furness Railway signal box

After the excitement of Expong the only thing to do was to take a few days of from the bump and grind of the music biz and take Mrs F. off to the Lakes. Yeah OK so there are railways in the Lakes and I had a small camera with me.

Not only did we stay five minutes walk from the Ratty ('What I surprise, I couldn't have guessed our B&B was so close to a railway. Well fancy that'. *cough*) which I needed a couple of photos of, but also five minutes from a great pub that used to be Ravenglass station and therefore the old Furness line between Barrow and Maryport. What a nice change from dahn sarf with most things gone and fences everywhere. Here there is lots left to photograph and you are free to wander where you wish. The above at Bootle - I have all elevations of this and the boxes at Foxfield and Ravenglass, plus a few other ex Furness buildings. Expect more.
Needs a return visit...

Saturday 26 October 2013

Expo NG

Expo NGExpo NG tal coed

What a great show. Very high quality layouts and a day rammed with chat.

Tal-coed ran as well as could be expected and to my right I could watch COD's Shell Bay (top) still one of my favourite 009 layouts even though it's some 20 years old now.
My thanks as always to Nigel for riding shotgun all day.

Friday 25 October 2013

Dirt absence

Among all the things that need doing is to weather the Svanda loco stud. Shiny buffers.

Tuesday 22 October 2013

009 scale flat wagon

009 scale flat wagon
Some 40 thou sheet scribed, plus a few other bits saves the day. A bogie flat less couplers which I need to get on Saturday.

Monday 21 October 2013

Post fail

After the transporter wagon cock-up I had to think slightly sideways for a moment. Several people emailed and suggested two things.
1. inside bearings for the bogies to reduce the amount of material outside the wheels.
2. fix the bogies solid and remove outside axles to run as a four wheeler.
Both these are useful ideas, and my thanks to the suggesters.
However I decided that the best thing to do was to start again with the transporter and turn the remains of the fail into a bogie flat wagon, of which more later.

A trip to Nigel's today and a look in his Wild Swan Ashover book threw up the following spec's for the transporters.

19.5' long
8' wide o/a
4'3" bogie w/b
9' bogie centres
Nigel's quick calculation showed that if No 2 above was followed the new fixed wheelbase would be 4'9". That ain't that long. And so therefore - bearing in mind that the wheels are largely hidden -  that a longer, say 6', chassis with 4 wheels could be used.

Thursday 17 October 2013


009 scale transporter wagon
This was always going to be an exercise. There is one critical set of measurements involved: 1. the gauge of the standard gauge wheelsets, 2. the swing of the naturally over scale 009 bogies. The picture tells all. Even with opening the wheels out to a generous +P4 18mm b2b and filing lumps off the corners of the bogie it ain't going to work. Grunt....

Back to the other project in hand at the moment.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

009 transporter wagon

009 scale transporter wagon
 Ah, some modelling. After getting some wormy lumps of malware sorted out, it's back to a bit of modelling. The approach at the moment is a little scattergun, but all aimed at the bigger project. Yesterday I though I take a crack at a representation of  the L&M transporters using a Parkside coach underframe. To enable the thing to remain reasonably rigid, I've assumed EM/P4 clearances and slimmed the floor down from 22mm wide to about 16mm, leaving the bracing largely intact. It may need to be shortened slightly as well; the originals were designed to take up to 12' w/b wagons.
Inspiration below.
009 scale transporter wagon

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Saturday Ramble

I got pulled up over the weekend about how little modelling there is on here now. Point taken. There are of course several aspects to the reasons:
1. I've been moving, and I defy anyone to continue any sort of modelling programme during the process. Everything I need is in one of the boxes - which box is anyone's guess. If some one can point me in the right direction for my soldering iron I'd be grateful.
2. The book project slightly restricts what I can put up here for a while.
3.It's my blog.

What will happen hopefully is the gradual completion of the 009 project which forms the publishing material. Buildings are done more than half of the rolling stock is also done. The baseboard is finished, but all the track and scenic have to be attended to. On top of that I need photos of other scales, people will happily give me these, but then we are into licencing paperwork which I'd just a soon avoid.
All this done it's back to the 0-16.5 and back on track for the 5 year plan.

Monday 7 October 2013

Croydon Model railway exhibition day 2

Croydon Model railway exhibition
We were a little traffic delayed on the Sunday morning and for the first time ever missed the opening time. No need to worry, Messers Dodsworth and Clarke has taken the covers off and Steve Driscoll had already started running the layout. He seemed to be enjoying himself - 'I'm OK boys, go and get a cup of tea'.

Again the layout ran all day without fault and apart from a slower than usual break down scored 10. Two invites, lots of interest - which surprised both of us.
Thanks to the above and Croydon club for a great weekend.

Sunday 6 October 2013

Croydon model railway exhibition

svanda model railway exhibition
Svanda's first outing earlier today and touch wood, all went well. A slight shift of venue for the Croydon club into a rather faceless gym. The exhibits though were top drawer including East Grinstead Town and the latest Felsham.
You have just today left to join in the excitement.

Friday 4 October 2013

Great Central Warehouse

Swinging the camera to the left a little gets this.
If this doesn't switch the brain straight into Peter Denny mode, then you haven't been listening.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Lincoln Signal box

First shot is of the point at which the last shot/last post was taken. The box stands at the eastern end of Lincoln station an I assume is a Great Central structure. Without the new development in the background this could almost be a rural scene instead of smack bang in the middle of the city. The pathway behind the box now leads to the University campus.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Lincoln Class 66

A couple of gigs in the Lincoln area over the weekend gave me a few hours to waste in the city centre. What is always apparent to me living as I do in the south east corner, is that all the interesting stuff happens elsewhere. The line into the station crosses two main roads, and without standing there for hours with wearing shorts and drinking Tizer there were three Class 66 light engine runs and three freights. If this happened down here, there would be queues of dirty raincoats and cameras visible for miles.

Monday 30 September 2013

On yer bike.

Due to expected spiralling costs caused by HS2, railtrack have cut back vehicle costs to something more representative of the austerity age.

Friday 27 September 2013

Svanda at Croydon model railway exhibition

Svanda at Croydon
I've moved... at long last. From the pokey house in the sticks to a pokey house in town. But that's me done now, no more Mr. Mortgage.

Next week sees the premiere of Nigel's Svanda at the Croydon show; details to follow or see the reduced paper quality press. this afternoon saw some final work on the pros-arch boards and a little scenic tinkering.

Thursday 5 September 2013

Volks 3

By coincidence Phil Parker is talking about this as well, so wander over to him for more. This is the last of three picture posts from last week of what is my local NG railway; although tramway is probably a better description in many people's eyes.

L' shana tova.  it can only get better than it is today.
 On the short raised section near the pier.
Volks railway
 At 'Half way'
Volks railway
 Sheds at Halfway
Volks railway
Volks railway
What I assume to be an underframe awaiting quite a bit of work.