Sunday 26 October 2014

Edge at ExpoNG

 ExpoNG. Not so much an exhibition, as a day out with your mates. After a bit of a late start for yours truly, I arrived to find Edge being handled jointly by Nigel and COD. I did try to make an effort to operate it, but it's very difficult to get from one side of an aisle to the other without three people talking to you. The show, or what I saw of it, was outstanding. Edge got lots of lovely comments and at the end of the afternoon was crowbarred into a Mini and taken to Birmingham.
The photos enclosed are shamelessly lifted from Mr Campbell's picassa page which includes the whole show and can be accessed via the link to your right.
Kudos to Richard Glover who walked away with both pots this year for Pagham on it's last (?) outing.
This was a bit of a full stop in the calendar - last of the five weekend run, the showing of the non-exhibition layout at the premier NG show, but more than that, a full stop in the treadmill of getting this particular layout finished. In many ways it's been a commission, that has been commissioned by me; a single entity with no real reason except to be built. Therefore I'm glad that it has gone to a good home home and to a person I've known for many years.
The full stop now having been mounted and stuffed, it's time, with a Spitfire repeatedly flying over and Mrs F. downstairs painting the ceilings (I know how to treat a girl, I always find pointing out the bits she's missed is a popular move) to move back into gear with Morton Stanley. A return in fact to modelling for me; for fun.

Thursday 23 October 2014

The edge of reason

Edge sees it first and only public showing this weekend at Swanley. It's been a funny old piece of work, one that was built not for operation, but to take photos of the construction and nothing more. It was designed (if there was a design) to be front operated at home set against a wall and therefore is not a comfortable beast to work at a show. Post exhibition it leaves for a new life somewhere else.

I want to concentrate on other projects now, maybe slow down the making of things and do some modelling again, exhibiting is all very well, but it becomes the drive and this is very much the tail wagging the dog. This will be five weekends in a row - not exactly stressful in a workaday manner, but you do start to wonder why. Friends are more important than the public, possibly that is the way to go.

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Uckfield exhibition

 I hate to say it as the man in charge is such an irritating bastard, but the Uckfield show is probably one of the best in the South East. The quality of layouts is high and the the organisation is slick. Exhibitors are treated well and with lunches that knock most others into a cocked hat.
Operating Tim's Portskerra was a joy; with full interlocking, every move has a reason and you can't move unless things have been set properly... it's a real model railway as it should be done. And with 99% stock reliability you look to your own route set screw-ups before you'd even think of prodding a loco. A more modest builder you'd never find, and cleverer ones are rare.

It would be hard to pick a best in show from the others, but Dave Holman's new 7mm scale 5'3" Irish grabbed my attention. Pragmatically built with full use of certain 4mm bits, it's a wonderful piece of work even before any trains appear.
A damn good weekend.

Monday 20 October 2014

Platform shoes

After Nigel cut out all the bendy angles (he's good at that sort of thing) the platform facing (coffee stirrers) and the base surface (double thickness of ring binder card) is in place on Morton Stanley. Now a bit of canal basin work and paint the track.

Friday 17 October 2014

Rachel goes to town

 And done. Rachel with paint thrown at her. There are issues. I'm not happy with the red at all. A quick query on the forum suggests better undercoating, and basically a 'deal with it' response. There has to be a better way. I'm now also not sure if the plates are big enough. I was concerned that the 7mm ones would dwarf the loco as I've seen a few 7mm NG logos with so-called scale-specific plates which look like billboards.
Rachel's not a grimy industrial, she's more of your 'pride of the driver' type girl so any weathering will be very light.
Now a couple of days off riding shotgun to Tim Ticknell at the Uckfield show with a little Highland Railway magic.

Thursday 16 October 2014

Sticky gluey fingers

 The basic carcass done for Morton Stanley's FY. When it's been decided what the edging will be, the blocks will have 3/4" screws put in making the whole thing pretty bomb proof. And more than that, excluding the glue and screws... free. The entire thing from the skip rescued sheet plus the ends from a bit of scrap that was in the garage. Now I've been here a year I'm starting to develop piles of usable bits of rubbish like this that were all cleared in the house move.

Now October is mid-way through, time to look back to warm summer days and a visit to the very hands-on Sittingborne and Kemsley. Well worth a trip.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Skip find fiddle yard

Being holed up in the house all day yesterday due to the carpet man coming, I turned toward a FY for Morton Stanley. Mr Carpet was supposed to be here in the morning, but rolled up at five to three. Well children, can you guess what sort of mood I was in?

The bit of 6mm MDF was fished out of the skip at the council tip and by the sketches on it looks like it's an off-cut from a wardrobe project. This mean that the FY will be the odd length of 29 5/8". Which with a bit of point juggling is just long enough. M. Stanley only has a possible run-round length of 16" of train plus loco, so no real problems. This was chopped down to a foot wide and uprights (or sides) added from the off-cut and a bit of gash at 3" high (deep).

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Rachel in green

Another one of the infamous window sill shots. Incidentally is it cill or sill? I thought the former, but Google say no. Anyway, a rake through the paint box threw up this apple green enamel. I moved away from enamels years ago, but not only are there a few in the box from before, but I have another boxful of Mrs F.'s dad's who passed them on when he gave up. What I don't like is the drying time and the fact that there is an extra thing to buy in the form of white spirit. With the acrylics I can just use water which is readily available in the toilet bowl next door.
So this is one thin coat of red and green and I think looks quite smart already. The Ben root is obvious, and I imagine there will be a lot who will think it's the Smallbrook kit. When it is plastic sheet and fittings from the 4mm Gibson range.

Monday 13 October 2014

Painting Rachel's insides

A dark and gloomy day to match my mood, so a bit of painting to cheer. Nigel's Ben conversion Rachel was sitting on the desk after a bit of mechanical repair work which hopefully has cured the problem. So starting with the awkward bit first, a base coat of sandy cream on the cab interior, although with the bad light reflection it looks as if I've done the outside as well.

This popped up on the forum from John Wooden, and if you can get past the little darlings singing at the top it's absolutely fab.

Saturday Ramble

Knackered. Two days on my feet at the Farnham show with not a lot of sleep left me moving through various irritable phases. Overall an excellent exhibition and we agreed that we'd be happy to do it again. Aside from the Saturday morning pre-show bacon sandwich cock-up, the whole thing went very smoothly - Svanda is a pleasure to run especially after a large dose of 009 exhibiting.

And moving on.
The first challenge is to post something every day this week, the first, and this still sort of being Sunday, is the finished 7mm wagon pictured earlier. As with most of Morton Stanley's stock the base is a simple Triang wagon chassis that can be picked up for a couple of quid on s/h stalls. The rest is mainly 40 and 60 thou plasticard with a few bits of strip and micro-rod to detail. The inspiration is the small round end wagon design of the Southwold Railway, though a few alterations have been made. I've tried to set the doors 'unsquare', bowed and loose as most dropside vehicles rarely have close-fitting and tightly latched doors. The detailed build description is in the short 7mm section of the book which should be out sometime in 2015.

Friday 10 October 2014

Farnham exhibition

A spotless Di5 pauses next to the mill siding on Svanda. For more of this fun and excitement in a far off model Norwegian place, pop into the Farnham show this weekend.

Thursday 9 October 2014

Infinity and ...

After a ridiculous amount of discussion yesterday the way forward is now a bit clearer. The swampy land of physical material, ideas, time and life balance was getting a bit mushy and a few decisions had to be taken. I had thought that the 5 year plan would have to be abandoned, but it stays... loosely. Though a new item has grow out of it: the 'side-order'.
The immediate upshot is the quick resumption of work on Morton Stanley after a brief conversation over the weekend which means it has to be ready by March. Followed by one of the choice-layouts which came quickly down to the Art of Compromise which can be built for next to nothing as everything is in stock, an important issue in these cash-strapped time. this would give Mr. Hill and I four exhibit-able pieces. Now all we need is (only) one days shows to take them to.

Tuesday 7 October 2014


Desk almost cleared. Spending a little time tweaking the couplings and fine-tuning Edge before ExpoNG. Do I not usually do this? Well yes, but this wasn't really put together to do this and I've got all out of order on the tuning part. That's not saying that it'll work on the day, but at least the preparation has been done.
Now the questions are arising of what next. Morton Stanley is still at the building stage and is an untested format so the jury is still out on whether it will work to the standard, which is tricky when you've been messing with European spec diesels which just purr along.
It maybe time for a radical change of tack.

Sunday 5 October 2014

Saturday Ramble.

The fiddle yard for Edge in all its simplicity. Two roads and a point with a DPDT switch lashed to it. Which is just enough to get it through a day's exhibition. I did decide to fit an on/off switch to the feed to cut the whole thing dead giving a three train roster. Well how many do you need?

I'm wondering if the grinding move toward turning exhibitions into corporate events is taking all the fun out of it. Being ordered ushered about by high-viz jackets at the unloading stage and then barred from taking a cup of tea in behind the layout is making it feel decidedly like a work-place environment - except we're not getting paid. Coming away feeling like an employee, but with no pay packet is surely going to prove negative. I've said before that I prefer the smaller village hall events, and that's not changing. If a club is going to go for the big venue/big entrance numbers, then it only seems fair that there is a professional fee at the end of it all to match.

Friday 3 October 2014

Ticket to Ryde

 Working on the IOW yesterday. I got booked on a fairly early ferry from Pompey so ended up with a few hours to kill so I noodled down to Haven Street to look at the railway. Now apparently I've been before, but it's erased from my memory and this could be why.
 I picked up a 2014 leaflet from the ferry terminal which stated adult -ten quid. When I got to the gate it was twelve - not a good start. The guy selling tickets told me I could get the next train. Good, I thought. Then as I got through the barrier... it pulled out... second bad mark. I walked around instead and here's where the biggest beef starts. After visiting the S&K a few weeks back, which was very hands-on and friendly, made this seem... well, rubbish really. Passengers are kettled on and off the platforms. I don't know whether this is internal policy or some barmy IOW safety gone nuts, but it felt very wrong. At the S&K you could wander around and get up close and personal with the stock - not here. You are filtered down fenced pathways well out of arms reach from any item of static stock, as above with the terrier, all lonesome behind a fence.
 Workshops are usually barriered, I get this, but even where you could get close in the display area, there were signs saying 'do not touch this coach'.

I will always try to throw some cash in the direction of a preserved line. In this case I made sure I got my sausage and chips lunch here instead of the planned en-route Newport Sainsburys. I know the Jewish founded big boys are crumbling under the Aryan onslaught of Lidl and Aldi, but I don't think my £4.95 will make too much difference. This was probably the best bit.
I came away after my eventual ride down the line feeling cheated. I know that they are possibly in the unusual position of being more tourist visited than enthusiast visited, but why the sterile 'keep away' attitude? The whole thing with railway preservation is the sensual angle - the smell of hot oil, steam and smoke and the ability to actually touch something which is a historical piece of industry. If the whole thing is done at a distance and only though push-button media, then the movement will die.
So hats off to the S&K previously for making the visit fun, dirty and exciting, and a big thumbs down for the IOW Steam Railway for a cold, clinical and uninformative afternoon.

Thursday 2 October 2014


It's been a bit quiet here again. Usual reasons: decorating/life etc. There has been a small increase in action in the last couple of days, mostly around getting Edge ready for ExpoNG at the end of next month. Although the layout itself was finished, I'd done little except knock up a temporary FY board out of 4mm ply that I found in my parent's garage. This is now fully formed, painted and laid with best PECO 9mm trackage, Now its all about tweeking the running of the allotted stock roster so that it is all operable in about as smooth a way as 009 can be, and I'm still short of couplings and a hard offer for purchase of said layout.

Svanda will be at the Fareham show this weekend. Do come and say hello if you are in the Hampshire area.