Tuesday 31 March 2015

Papery bits and grass clippings

With the fun and sheer hair-raising excitement of the Member's Day well and truly over and Morton Stanley put back in the toybox until Expong, it's time to look to smaller and bigger beasts. There is now a three pronged attack which is weather and time dependent. If it's reasonable outside I could continue a little work on the 16mm, if not too late then I can bang and saw on the foundation work for the AoC and if it's two in the morning a little work on the cardboard essay which I've named Castle Sidings. And with Mrs.F on school holidays the likelihood of me getting any modelling done is remote.

Sunday 29 March 2015

Sussex Downs Group Members Day

Morton Stanley passed the test.... just. Two invites - one accepted. My thanks to the SDG for inviting us, even though they did poach Mrs F. for tea and Ted duties.
Photos of the event on young Mr. Campbell's page:


Friday 27 March 2015

The guttering press

There's been a lot of consideration about magazines hereabouts lately, and in an empty moment I pondered about why we buy the ones we do and why do we bother at all.
I bought my fist Railway Modeller in 1977 in Woolies in Middlesbrough - yes, Woolies remember them? I have religiously stuck to it ever since with the usual gaps for women and song and it now magically lands on the mat every month without any action from me at all. Of course RM is the only title that you could trace this far back; the rest appearing, if memory serves, in dribs and drabs starting with MRJ in 1985.
Why do we stick to one title? I rarely even look at the others and I'm one of that derided breed who will not buy if it's in a plastic wrap and I can't flick through it first. Come to think of it why is there more than one title at all? After all, they all do the same thing: ads-reviews- layouts-how-to's. So why not just one? There are of course parallels with the national press and there it is easy to make trite clich├ęd class distinctions:van driver -Sun, teacher - Guardian etc. That won't work with model mags although shifts can occur. In the same way that 25 years ago I found myself shifting from one of the middle ranking nationals to a (then physically) broadsheet, I find myself picking up MRJ a few times a year, and unlike RM which gets systematically chopped up and separated, the MRJs I tend to keep. Why? Is the future bright for printed model mags, or I we more likely to screen view now? And will the six still be around in a decade?

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Testing times

Morton Stanley's first outing at Lancing -  Sussex Downs Members Day on Saturday.

Monday 23 March 2015


Slightly off-topic, but then what is the topic?
My parents passed me this framed print. The family interest is the shop belonging to my maternal family centre left. But what is the date? No one could pin it precisely, the only positive mark is the post WW1 memorial in the centre. My guess is late 40s.

Friday 20 March 2015

The (st)art of compromise

 Well it had to happen sooner or later. Regulars will know that I've been mulling this one over for a long time. There have been some boards up with a few bits and pieces on then for a few weeks; just enough stuff to shuffle around and try a few shapes and clearances. I'd pondered a while back about hand-building the track, but a conversation with Miles Bevan pulled me back - his comment was that the original idea was based around the probability of using PECO track, so it would be churlish not to. Point.
There are two thrusts here: 1) most of the foundation work is recycled - that is, the bulk of what you see here is from the 80s blue layout Rhiw which was broken up a year or so ago. The boards have been shorted to a pair of three footers from the 3'7" originals and were cleaned and sanded last weekend. 2) this is most definitely a home layout - it ain't going out. What the exhibition circuit doesn't need is another western branchline. This means I can logically use front operation and keep it all nice and simple. This has already started with the first point down: DPDT slider sunk into the board at the front and connected to the tiebar with a special piece of soft steel wire... a paper clip. Does this work? Of course. Rhiw used exactly the same set-up. If they are this close then the tube bit of the wire-in-tube becomes pointless;a thicker but springy wire does the job.

Thursday 19 March 2015

Up the workers!

And basically done - just a couple of tidy-ups to do. Oddly when put alongside the existing Morton Stanley coaching stock it looks OK; better than expected. Smaller of course, but then they are supposedly 3'6" gauge prototypes from Minicraft, whereas this is a dinky little quarryman's coach for 1'11" so there is a 5mm height and a 10mm width difference.
So the run down from the top: roof 40thou plastic covered with my usual bog paper canvas, Wills Taximan's Rest Hut kit used more or less as per with the additions of end curves from 60thou and a door window cut out and framed, door handles from 7mm NGA sales, 60thou bufferbeams, solebars and steps, rummage-box wagon chassis from Dapol. Oh and the glazing which is so clean you can't see it is a left-over from the LBSCR coach build from a while back.
I pondered about grab rails, but decided against. Reading the account in Boyd on how these fully enclosed vehicles came about meant that they were bare-bones construcion and built only under order to prevent workers travelling in semi, or completely open coaches or on slate wagons.

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Rainy days and mondays

For some reason I'm not getting much done at the moment - well indoors anyway. there's been some progress on the something 3 piece, and the above, which in all honesty is a bit of a giggle, turning a 4mm Wills kit into a FR style 7mm quarryman's coach. This is primarily to give us another coach option for Morton Stanley at the Sussex Downs Members Day in a couple of weeks. Dimensionally it's spot on. Aesthetically; I'm not so sure. I'll press on.

Outside things are moving. I've got about 40' of trackbed down using concrete blocks and whatever else is lying around. This is very new territory for me and I'm still not convinced of its likely success. The target is to get about a third of it down this summer. In this respect I'm on the game with only about 10' to go with the  substructure.

Monday 9 March 2015

There's a hole...

Slow blogging at the moment. This doesn't mean that I'm doing nothing, just that most of it is just tidy-up bits and finishing off repeated items. Do you really want to see another grey 7mm open wagon?
After a rather torturous route to me the fire buckets arrived. They really are rather nice although I've completely forgotten who they were made by, only that they were spotted by me, mentioned in Nigel's Gay Joe Gazette, I suggested them for Morton Stanley, he told his Scandiwegian mate who was going to Warley, but he lives in Basingstoke I think, so they met at the SRS AGM in somewhere or another, and I picked them up from Crawley. But they were only £3.20 for 12. Painted by self with a back board from a bit of scrap Ratio 2mm sheet and a couple of staples. A google search shows that (since I could not find one single period photo of  buckets mounted on a station wall) the board should be bright red as well, but I thought that would be overkill and the buckets would not show up so a bit of 70 was used instead.
The lack of photos suggests that the fire buckets on platforms maybe one of those repeated un-prototypical modeller things that didn't really exist that much, a bit like coal staithes at branch termini, but is repeated ad-nausium by modellers copying other modellers and pretty preserved stations.
BTW welcome to the small spurt of Ukrainian readers... or reader.

Thursday 5 March 2015