Wednesday 30 April 2014

Southwold Wagon 2

 The Southwold wagon is almost done - I lost count of all the bolt heads I put on. Just the brakes to do. The coupling isn't quite as glaring in real life.

And talking of which: this lifted from Facebk. Whilst most people's day  at the office is polite and full of social rules, being humped by an American-Philippino Tina Turner lookalike is all in a Mondays work for your humble modeller.

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Inspirations - Snooville

 I thought I might run a mini series on inspirational layouts; inspirational for me that is. The first is slightly bizarre and appeared in RM in December  1977. The build is fairly obvious using scraps and Triang chassis (no one does that any more do they?). The builder was J.Alan Cook who was credited in other contemporary issues as loco builder to Iain Futers. The layout came to exist mainly as a wind up for the club rivet counters.
Why do I like it? Well it's delightfully naff, but the finescale ethic comes through (note the hand-built track). It's not naff in that it is well made and is effective in it's simplicity.
Also note that I have all the bits to build one of my own already in stock.

Monday 28 April 2014

Southwold Wagon-ish

And at last... the 7mm stuff can commence.
I really wasn't planning on another 009 layout, but that's the way it turned out and the expected 7mm narrow gauge got shifted back a peg. This means two things: 1. I'm back on track with the 5 year plan, and 2. certain people might start talking to me again.
Anyway... The above is the usual hi-tech approach and is the beginnings of a small wagon based on the slightly lower Southwold Railway round end varieties with a couple of alterations, i.e. the slightly opened out wheelbase of the Tri-ang chassis, and wood stanchions on the end replacing the prototype's angle iron. In searching around for inspiration I note that David Taylor had taken a similar route for his examples on Charmouth.
For the real thing aim at 30 secs into the following bit of film that I found on the line.

Saturday 26 April 2014


 I like Sentinels and I've been very tempted by the Hornby model even though I've no real use for it now that Rhiw has been broken up. Though just in case I do the opportunity was taken to survey the Nene Valley example as it pottering around on Thursday. There's also an 0-6-0 version there to take a look at if you fancy the Knightwing kit and the research for same.

Friday 25 April 2014

Nene Valley

A drop into the Nene Valley Railway yesterday for a spot of lunch and a look around on the way to Gainsborough. The cafe is open every day, so as a far superior alternative to Peterborough services it's worth a look. Head chef (Charlotte I think) was most obliging and supplied an off the menu breakfast at 2.00 in the afternoon. Full marks for walk-in customer service.
Lots of stuff to look at, and more on one thing later, as for the below; can you spot the difference on these Wagon-Lit coaches?

Wednesday 23 April 2014


Edge, which is now basically done bar a tree or two and the barrow crossing has now reached that point where stuff is getting dumped on it. My 009 stock is now being split into two groups: the larger stuff which all needs to be vac piped, and the smaller which is FR/TR leaning to run on Tal-coed.

Thanks to Peter Bossom who emailed yesterday and identified the cream shed on the previous post as an LBSCR Road Shed. We are now on a point of my personal memory; has it always been at Isfield, or has it been put there by the preservationists? My feeling is that it is original. Anyone confirm?

PS. yes it is.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Engine shed

After quite a long while (read that now Mrs F is back at school I don't have to do any gardening) the 4mm engine shed is now built and ready for the paint brush. It has no home as yet and has been put together simply as a demo. Or has it? Is there room for expansion?
For the record it's just Wills sheet, Slaters brick, square tubing, the roof off the Ratio hut, and their windows slightly altered, plastic strip and a bit of biro tube. All designed in best Rice tradition around the maximum length of a sheet of Wills plastic, that being the roof at 131.5mm long.

The old coal office at Isfield. There's an idea brewing here.

Monday 21 April 2014

The Lavender Mob

For the first time ever we visited the Lavender Line this afternoon. A bit of a curate's egg. I've lived near it for most of my life, and school holiday bike rides occasionally featured a clamber around the derelict buildings. Today though it looks well-tended, but feels woefully short of funds. If I were to volunteer anywhere it would be here (it's still only a bike ride away) but a conversation led me to believe that it's just as negatively de-marked and political as a lot of the other larger preserved lines, so I will now bury that thought.

A small but mixed variety of stock including this Belgian Cockerill 0-4-0 VB which caught my eye and a royal saloon which is on sale at £65k; which if you wanted a neat house conversion and have 100' of spare land is a snip.

Sunday 20 April 2014

So, how big is a door?

It's very easy when sketching out building designs from photos to make assumptions. One of these is that you can use a door as a visual  gauge, doors being around 6'6" high and 2'6"-ish wide.

The photo is in the main street at Orford and as can be seen the rather nice row of cottages are built to 3mm scale, while the 4mm Mrs F. (at 5'2"" in flat shoes) towers above the door frame. The question is: if you built these to scale, would they subsequently look wrong and underscale? Would it therefore be better to add a little licence and up the sizing a little?

Thursday 17 April 2014


 The engine shed build continues. Rather slowly it has to be said, as being that it's nice outside and Mrs F is on school holiday, I keep getting dragged out to do boring things like garden stuff and runs to the dump, things that in my experience will always be there quite happily until next week. Anyway... doors.
I was aware that there is a right and a wrong way to build a brace and ledge door, and although there is a difference of opinion to which way the diagonals should run, the majority run down to the hinges. Above my bodge with Wills sheet and 30 thou, below a store now used as a garage for a nice Austin in Orford a couple of weeks back.

Monday 14 April 2014


I'm always baffled by how different people's modelling workspaces are and being a tidy sort of chap how cluttered they become. I work on a computer desk that I bought from Argos many moons ago for the sum of £19. It's white so I can see the bits, as are the walls around it to reflect as much light as possible. The day job requires me to sit in black gloom a lot of the time with bright light shining straight at me, which in any other circumstances would be called 'the interrogation', so I want to get away from that as fast as possible. I also try to only have what I'm working on at that time on the bench; at least in the central part. So with the current engine shed build only the world-famous scrapbox, the back wall, solvent, square, knife, brush and the work itself.
The back wall of the shed will be visible through the open doors, so a quick scout around the net for some indication of how the wall frames would be put together and a mock-up in 60 thou strip will give enough visual information. This is a stand alone item for the moment which has no home, just being built for demo purposes.

Sunday 13 April 2014

Ravenglass small diesels

Ravenglass small diesels
 It's funny how some things click and some don't. I do like 15" railways. I really don't like the 'mainline in miniature game that they play with the pacific and the driver perched on the tender. I do like the diesels. But I guess that they are seen as a route to efficiency rather than a draw, as no one seems to photograph or list them as much as the steam stuff... shame. Above and below is No11, the machine that hauled us up the Ratty last year - very new -looking and very US inspired designing, but I don't know much else about it.
Ravenglass small diesels

 The Perkins. I love this, only that if you built a f/l model like this, the cab would look too long. Here then is the exception that proves the rule. One of the small US switchers or a Fleishmann 212 as a power unit and a Knightwing or Dapol shunter kit would get you started in 7mm on 9mm track for something similar.

Saturday 12 April 2014

Saturday Ramble

I haven't done one of these for a while, but it's tidy up time.
The above was taken in Yarmouth on the recent jaunt. Unremarkable really, but that is my point - it isn't. It's a fairly ordinary dockside pub on the South Quay, obviously art-deco and dated at the top '1938'. Design wise it shows all the characteristics of it's build period and at the time would have stood out as a building of modernity. So where's the problem? The problem is that there's nobody in there. This means that in the current climate it is likely (if it's not listed) that within a few years it will be closed, demolished and the area re-developed. Which would be a real shame. The problem for us a modellers is that every time this happens we lose another bit of  background architecture that can be modelled and used as an inspirational period scene set. What we should be doing is at least recording all this stuff for the day that it isn't here any more.
Or is it just me who gives a shit?
 On the same topic something closer to home for me; sunny Newhaven. Above and below are the engine sheds for the port. These have remained empty for years, but now there are people beavering away in there so I'm guessing that they'll soon be flattened. The above is from the port entrance road and technically I was trespassing when I took the photo as there is a sign which informs me of this and states 'no photography'. Why? What's the problem? Or is this just French awkwardness? Bizarrely the French own the entire port much to the chagrin of the locals (the only sandy beach for miles, and no one is allowed on it). Below is the rear. To the left a part remaindered BR van and beyond that the railway social club which is still thriving despite there being no railway workers any more.
 Below a photo lifted from the net dated 1958. A much happier scene at the same point and during a period in history when the French were recently quite happy to have us arrive on their beaches.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Tal Coed

One of the repeating remarks that is heard when people see Tal-coed is, 'It looks bigger in the photographs.' And although this is something that you are more likely to hear halfway through the internet dating process, it is true. So while it was propped up on its end after NGS I took a snap of the overhead view. This underlines the simplicity and also the small size which is just 4' x 19" in total. this was after all only supposed to be a quick build to get me out of a booking cock-up.

The below came in via email. The lumps are apparently track circuit insulation saving devices, but I'm reminded of the matchstick and Class 08 compensation experiments in an early MRJ.

Monday 7 April 2014

Lynton and Barstaple open

As so it came to pass that after forty days and forty fortnights the open can now be declared open.

This nearly beat me. Not because the kit is bad, although there are glitches as mentioned earlier, but because the final bits are just so bloody small that I couldn't keep them in the right place while waving a hot iron around. So all the basic bits on and pictured pre-primer spray. If I had a proper job the likely remedy would be to buy a resistance soldering set up, but that's unlikely to happen. If I wanted it perfect I'd just shell out for the new PECO version... no I wouldn't.

While at NGS I perused Parkside's stand and looked at their plastic version. It looks smaller. Is it under-scale? Or is this over-scale? This cranks out at about the same width as a W&L van, Parkside's wouldn't. Anyway all quite fun and reduces Nigel's kit mountain a little.


It's been a pretty busy weekend one way and another. Tal-coed was booked for Narrow Gauge South on Saturday, but this became an awkward double booking with Mr and Mrs F required in the grizzly depths of Brighton. The upshot of which was Nigel stepping into the breech and setting the layout up and operating for most of the day until we arrived at 3.00pm. This meant that I didn't get to look around the show properly, but equally spent no money on any goodies either. Photos are available via Mike's piccasa page:

Other than that family stuff and a rather yawn-worthy evening fighting over sandwiches and dressing room space with Russell Watson today means I'll be glad when Monday morning turns up... hang on... it is Monday morning, 'Time for bed', said Zebadee. *boing*

Saturday 5 April 2014


 On the way North we ambled over to Orford... then a wrong turn and ended up in Snape. My knowledge of this extends only to early MRJs and the East Suffolk Light so being able to wander around the Maltings was a nice surprise. The LH side is being 'transformed' into luxury flats (yawn) but the RH bit is still delightfully tatty; the set of arches over the back gate is lovely, though I couldn't work out what they were originally supporting.
 A bit of lightweight trespassing threw up a yard, not only full of new building material, but a slew of antique furniture, baths and the like, and this pair: a 68 moggy and a Fiat. Plus on the first floor(!) a 70s Hillman.
 Across the road is the old goods station complete with rotting Great Eastern van.
And to the left, the station buildings. The line continued through the archway. Google Snape at your peril, you will just get a lot of photos of Allan Rickman.
Worth half an hour's walk around if you're passing.

Friday 4 April 2014


 Been quiet here, reason being that we took a few days off and pottered around bits of East Anglia. There was a deliberate non- railway angle to the break. This was not too difficult as a) there's not a lot there and b) what there is was shut, it being the week before the Easter holidays. So nice and quiet, but losing because of it.
We stayed just outside Southwold which was new to both of us..... quiet. Tranquil. In rail terms it could possibly be a hotbed of activity, but isn't. There is a re-build/preservation group which have a small shop (above) which was shut all the time we were there. Reading between the lines it seems that the rebuilders have plans, but the local authorities don't really want it to happen. The beauty of the place is that it is not full of trippers, Mc Donalds and arcades, maybe they fear that a 'train ride' would open the flood gates and change the tone of the place. I tend to agree with that.
What we did do was walk the trackbed from the town and over the river to the site of Walberswick station where there is an area of concrete (odd as the platform would have been face and back-fill) and a bench with a detailed info plate. The ground levels don't seem to tie up with the period photos I have and the track rises very sharply out of shot left. Not the original alignment, and I'm not convinced that it's even the original site. However...