Wednesday 31 January 2018

Peco station building

Peco station building
And done. Well bar any signage etc. It goes together well, and with a bit of paint subterfuge, it's generic enough to fit almost anywhere.  The big problem is the secondary fittings and their colour as mentioned earlier. Those windows however... well in another life I'd replace with something finer. Here though that wasn't the name of the game. This is of course for the latest tome in the series of modelling for the novice, so keeping the brief as tight and non-complex as possible; I have a drawer full of Wills windows and the like, others will not and the only addition to the basic kit is paint, solvent and some strip for the finials and canopy ribbing.

Monday 29 January 2018

Great Western station building

Peco station building
An in-progress shot of the GWR station building. The PECO kit is a bit of a shy one compared to the sea of Wills and Metcalfe. It's well made and falls together, the only problem are the windows which in any other circumstance I would have replaced with something finer, and the use of green plastic for these and other parts which is a bitch to paint unless you're going for the SR green. The ends have been swapped around, and there is an extra window cut in the one you can't see here. This is to make the whole thing closer to the example at Nelson in South Wales - in a general way at least.

Roof has had a base coat and is now underway with the details. If you want a generic which will work in any area this may be worth a look, though at £18 is not the cheapest option.

Southampton model railway exhibition

Southampton model railway exhibition
For the third show crit' in as many weeks, the turn of the Southampton club show at Eastleigh. Not much to say really: top show, top catering. If you start with the epic piece that is Burntisland and work your way through Navigation Sidings and then on to Calstock you get the idea of quality. Almost all would have been best in show at a smaller venue. Catering being a light lunch of two sausage rolls and a tea served in seconds flat for four quid. 10/10 all round. This is textbook exhibition stuff. If you've not been before, make a note to go next year. The only problem is that due to the popularity, parking is a wee bit squeezy.

The above from Crawley Club's Wellbridge: a simple row of suburban villas. Completely non-special and ordinary, but the level of pure modelling is superb.

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Astolat model railway exhibition

Bob Vaughan's Gas Lane
Another fairly quick out and back to a show over the weekend, this time to the Astolat do at Guildford. For some reason I came away with a flat feeling. I'd only been once before, and that was at the old venue. This should have been good, but somehow wasn't. The spread of subjects was good, but somehow it seemed unbalanced. Two 7mm NG layouts may have added to that. The one that stood out for me was Bob Vaughn's Gas Lane. Bob works in 00 and 009 and manages to get interesting layouts in a small area without looking cramped. Essentially it's a loop and two and a standard-ish station type plan in sub 4', except there where the platform would be there is a water tower and the line comes in against this. This is clever as it takes traditional thinking , but messes with it slightly with the short loop adding to that. The headshunts take a small loco and two wagons. Unusually my only problem with it was that it could have been higher - something you don't often hear me say.

The catering was dire. Two outlets in the sports venue, and we walked away from both of them as they seemed to find that serving a coffee and a sandwich was a bit too hard for them, or we were not worth the bother. This echoes my thoughts about Woking a couple of months back. These sports venues don't seem to grasp that they have 500+ anoraks coming in that want a light lunch and a tea and the possible profit that that will pull in. It's starting to put me off going to anything that has 'sports' or 'leisure' in the address. I know I'm not going out for fine dining, but  most of us are out over a mealtime so at least a cuppa is required. Contrast that to the Pratts Bottom show last week: village hall packed to the gills, and tea and buns served at a speedy rate by staff of the 'modellers wives' type. Come on this is not hard.

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Back dated GWR 48xx

Done save the wethering. Top feed gone. Wiring, whistle shield and fireman's steps gone. Renumbered repainted and relettered. Airfix body on a Hornby mech. Interesting project - it looks more chunky and lower set with the boiler fittings removed and although it still shows its roots it does make a huge visual difference.
On to buildings or cattle wagons next.

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Fiddle yard at Pratts Bottom

 Nipped up to the Pratts Bottom show at the weekend. Not only for the delightfully named location, but for a club show of the old style. No big names, but lots of interesting ideas and an extensive club s/h stall. It did quieten down a little, but we hit it at the peak and it was sharp elbows to get around for a while. Which tend to back up my comments on Scaleforum a couple of months back. This caught my eye: a clip on FY on a Canadian layout. Possibly over engineered, but then it's a bit vulnerable stuck out there. I'd guess around 14" long.

Monday 15 January 2018

Great Western 4800

This has been a slow burn project and there's still quite a bit to do.  Last night saw one side of pressfix lettering go on along with the Narrow Planet bespoke number plate. This is a pretty much stripped down basic 48XX with everything taken off, and when put alongside the standard Airfix/Hornby model it looks startling different without the top feed/whistle cover/steps/wiring. This is though a reasonably cheap first go at a conversion. You can get the bodies separately, but there are enough non-runners knocking about (as this one was) that you could do the work and then upgrade with a new Chinese chassis unit afterwards.

Sunday 14 January 2018

The perfect small American prototype?

It struck me that this would give something away from the usual urban canyon American layout vibe with small stock and a lot of natural view blockers.

Thursday 11 January 2018

Railway Modeller

Not one, but two RMs hit the mat this morning. Primarily due to it containing a speedily written piece by self for the Comment page near the back. Here I witter on about using a standard fiddle yard set up to fit multi scale/multi gauge small layouts. Hardly a new idea, but one that doesn't feature very much. Due to the twists and turns of the editorial pencil, my old mate Andrew Knights gets one and a half name checks as well. I do wish they wouldn't use the photo that was originally posed as a bit of a joke. Time for Craig to take a new one.
A quick flick through and the one that caught my eye was Handcross - a Rev Awdry plan from the 60s done with Setrack. Works surprisingly well.

Wednesday 10 January 2018

Utility buildings

I'm a bit of an enthusiast for utility buildings - those brick block houses that often house water/electric/sewage equipment, but are also fairly numerous on the rail system. Devoid of any character and usually faced with unadorned brick, they disappear into the background and yet a just as much of the surrounding scenery as any of the Victorian architecture.
The above is a mess room at Hastings. It looks as though it was originally split into two rooms. Plain doors, Crittal casement windows and simple flat felt roof. Delightful. Something similar is probably available in one of the ready-to-plant ranges in 4mm, but how easy would this be to scratchbuild? Slaters sheet over a card base might be best to get the slab feel better than Wills sheets. The fiddly bit would be the handrails  for the steps over the trunking. Note the store with the up and over garage door on the left.
I'm sure Stig knows when it was built, but I'll plump for late 1960s.

Monday 8 January 2018

Peco pavilion to light railway station

Peco pavilion to light railway station

I just noticed this in an ad in RM for a new Peco kit. It's designed as a 'cricket pavilion', but the eagle eyed will spot a bit of nifty re-packaging of the doors and windows from their station kit and the roof from the Will taximan's hut. The walls are milled wood  the rest is plastic.
At seven quid and a little work I'm thinking light railway station building. Though the roof would probably be the first bit to go.

Sunday 7 January 2018

Painting coach panels

An initial bit of painting on the Tri-ang following the same method as I used on the Ratio conversion earlier. The whole body was scrubbed with a very light soapy water solution and a toothbrush to get rid of 50 years of grime. Now I'm into the black raised beading with a small brush. I find this incredibly fiddly and can only do a bit at a time. It also looks terrible at this juncture so isn't very inspiring - no instant gratification here. I'm pondering whether to just do the ends and one side, after all....

Friday 5 January 2018


Finished putting the short trestles together tonight. Not awfully successful to the point where I may have to disassemble them and re-do. For some reason I can cut small bits of plastic, but anything which leans toward a DIY size eludes me.

First warm up project of 2018 is this light titivation of a Tri-ang coach. I know I could chop a few of them up to make something representing a C30, but for the AotC it seems a little too much. And to be quite honest will most people notice? If it was good enough for the Reverend, it's good enough for me.

Wednesday 3 January 2018

Saturday Ramble.

Firstly a Happy New Year to all the blog readers. Granted it's a little late, but I tend not to follow the same pattern as most with yesterday being my first day off in fifteen. Yesterday was tidy up, now to look forward.

Modelling wise, 2017 was all about getting bits of GWR done and finishing the AotC. The later is now done, has one small showing in March, and then will probably find a new life. The immediate job with this is to build a couple of bits of stock and get two more trestles built for it to perch on. Then it would be onto completing Orne the 009 layout. Other than that there is the rolling, associated but not modelling, editing 009 News for The 009 Society and the completion of my third (and final!) book for Crowood. That means twelve monthly print deadlines for the former and one toward the end of the year for the later.

Regulars will know that as usual exhibitions are limited to about six local-ish shows and only single day ones at that. I find two day events too problematic to wrap around other stuff, and anyway I think the smaller shows are more interesting than the big events. Which brings me to another bugbear, that of advanced booking: I had a couple of enquiries last year which turned out to be 2019 and onward. I find it hard to plan much more than a week away, so two years seems unbelievable. Will I still be alive in two years? Will any of us with the way things are going? I'll repeat it here as always. If you have an exhibitor drop-out, call me a few days before and I can give you a fast yes or no. If it's for two years away forget it; see rule one. As I said a few posts ago. I'd probably find it better to build stuff for others to take to shows rather than for me.

Next up then is some writing, some GWR stock and buildings for the AotC and volume three. Have a great 2018 and lets hope for some governmental changes to calm things down a bit.