Monday 28 August 2017


I had the opportunity to wander around bits of the named air base last week. Although you obviously have to be fairly careful with cameras in such places, this did spring out at me. Now downgraded to the office for the scuba diving team it's a cracking 30s-50s piece of utility architecture that I'm instantly drawn to. I have no use for a model, but doesn't this just cry out to be done?

Saturday 26 August 2017

Ratio 4 wheel coach side painting

Ratio 4 wheel coach side painting
A W1 parcels van conversion from two Ratio brake third sides. Yes it has bowed very slightly - not a problem. The painting though is. There is no easy way around this. I chose the black framing first then the brown, now onto the cream. I might go cream first next time. The only way to do it is to take a deep breath and a new brush.
It's enough to drive you back to the easy option of freelancing.


Ratio 4 wheel coach side painting
Ever so slowly managed to get one side done. If you play the 3' rule it looks OK, but I'm wowed by people who can do this well - one chap in Denmark in particular. Just a coat of varnish over this and then just touch the handles and grabs in with brass before building. I'm not looking forward to the tiny numbers. It is quite a cute little vehicle though.

Thursday 24 August 2017

Wills Pagoda

All done and perched on the loading dock on the AotC. Finished in the paint style of the Didcot Museum example which is basically in the 'official' colours; not that most examples actually ended up like this. As pointed out earlier it's five scale feet short and would need a cut and shut operation using two kits to get it perfect.

Pedants Corner:
Apparently the doors are upside down. The reference: Llangollen Railway.

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Pagoda doors

In the great variation of life there are wooden doors. The Wills pagoda also has an under width doorway. I opened it up to 16mm (original drawings show 4'4"). The doors on most are wiggly tin, but I was quite taken with the wood doors on the Llangollen Railway example  - vertical boarding and chunky framing. so I thought these would be nice. 8 mil wide 25 mil tall, all 20 thou. Note the pencil marks to make sure I get the diagonals right.

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Wills Pagoda variations

The Wills pagoda is a bit of a curate's egg. A shade too deep, but a scale 5' too short for the standard 'A shelter'. The doorway is also a mil under width. Sticking windows in the front therefore is awkward as it underlines the length issue. You could bash two kits together. I elected not to.
Some of the pagodas had side windows added either initially or later in their lives. In fact there are a surprising number of variants up to triple length sheds. The windows are fairly simple: a Wills small window unit has had its bars thinned and a hole has been hacked out to fit it. A small strip of 20x40 adds a shallow cill.

Monday 21 August 2017

The trials of half writing

One of the problems of putting a book together is getting the order right and then finding that getting all the physical bits for this is a problem in the short term. As this is my third crack at this I've got used to suddenly shuffling about and moving to another section in order not to waste time. This is dangerous as it's at this point that mistakes are likely with photo numbers and the like.
This has just happened while I was researching coaches. As usual the more you know the more there is to know, and being one of those people who is happy to accept that I know nothing in the first place I keep looking. I was happy to use the buffers that I had on the next section, but a read of various tracts and forum posts made me uneasy and desirous to improve the situation. Then the question: Do I mail order the bits from Dart Castings, or wait until I probably go to Scaleforum a month away? The second question is, if the latter, what do I move onto in the mean time? And is this dangerous? It might be time for a bit of pagoda work...

Saturday 19 August 2017

Hornby Brake Van

The obvious. RTR Hornby ex Airfix. Basically a painting exercise. The ladder is really only for S&T vans, but I quite fancied the detail.

Tuesday 15 August 2017

Southsea East station

Before a job in Southsea a while back I was driving round the block looking for a parking space and tripped over this in a new-build close. The close is the site of Southsea East station of which I was completely unaware. Opened in 1885 and only lasting until 1914 the site became an engineering works and then more recently modern housing. I take it that this was the old curtain wall of the station A nice touch I thought and quite unnecessary, so someone stumped the money up. Always good to find something surprising tucked away.
More here:

Monday 14 August 2017

Trestles new

With the possible likelihood of me taking the Art of Compromise to the Wealden 25th anniversary show in March next year, I thought I'd better start thinking about underpinnings. Regulars will realise that it was not thought of or designed for public consumption so a couple of ... compromises have to be made. The layout is normally mounted on the wall with my usual (for these sorts of things) switches along the front. A trial with the usual tall and 18" wide trestles that are used for Svanda proved that it was awkward to have it this high and far away to operate the points by reaching over. Something more compact was needed.
I actually cut the wood for these a while back and stacked it in the garage to dry.
Made from best B&Q banana pine they are some 36" long (standing around 34.5" high) and are 13" wide to take the AoC 12" wide boards. There is a further cross-piece on these first two to take a shelf (which I don't have the wood for yet) otherwise it's all very basic stuff with a pair of butt hinges and a some bog chain - again from B&Q.
This is quite a departure having a trainset down at 3' off the floor - well having it at eye-level is so 1995/last century  isn't it?

Friday 11 August 2017

Moreton in Marsh shed 2

The previous post seems to have pricked a couple of people's interest, but has generated no definitive answer. The best guess seems to be that the building was a lock-up section adjoining the GWR timber shed, but due to all the pre GW photos being taken from the opposite direction it's hard to confirm. The newer brickwork on the end wall may be a clue or have no relevance at all.
Update: I've been sent some shots of the area from aerofilms which are positively dated 1929 and1953. Although you need to zoom in quite a bit one thing is fairly clear the shed does not appear in the former, but does in the later. I can therefore assume that, discounting it being built 39-45 that it's a GWR addition to the main shed during the 1930s, probably extra secure storage. Unless anyone knows different.

Wednesday 9 August 2017


Up to Crawley today for a bit of a chinwag and a fairly long drawn out discussion and work around on a new layout idea which could form part of the new book project. Part of the inspiration for this is Jas Milham's Rookfield, though how interesting it would be without Jas Milham in front of it would be open to question.
Another burning question is contained below in the photo of Morton in Marsh. Most of the buildings are pretty standard GWR builds, as was the goods shed which has now gone. However the shed that remains in the photo centre looks to be older and possibly built by the original pre-GWR company. Am I right in this and is there any further info available on it?