Thursday 29 March 2018

The little brake that could

I managed to solder the W-irons in place without the bearings dropping out. So far it's been quite fun and I was pleasantly surprised when the whole thing worked straight away with all four wheels on the deck at the same time. A lull into a false sense of security however. I now find I have to add all the beading for the sides and ends from 0.5mm brass wire. See you in a week...

Wednesday 28 March 2018

There be dragons

Another short series possibly coming up. How can you contain yourselves? This time a Dragon Models Rhymney Railway 6 ton brake. Read that again. 6 ton. Pretty is probably the best word. With a 7'6"" wheelbase it makes the iron mink based cattle van look positively huge.
I've not done a full etched kit for quite a while so it's into a finger-burning start with some nice thin overlays which needed riveting. I used a riveting tool that I bought at Scaleforum. No I didn't, I used some school compasses that I've have for 40 + years and tapped them with a pair of pliers to punch the dents through. The whole lot then curls up like a dead woodlouse and needs flattening out again before sweating onto the inner piece. It's small; 2 1/16" long. Not so much a brake as a drag.

Sunday 25 March 2018

Narrow Gauge South

Morton Stanley is due to appear at Narrow Gauge South in Eastleigh on the 7th April. This is definitely it's last showing, but it will have a price tag on it. If no one bites it'll be stripped for parts ASAP. If you're interested let me know by the 7th.

Saturday 24 March 2018

Saturday Ramble

I've been hanging around one of the forums for a couple of years. I find the whole thing fascinating on one hand and worrying on the other. The general reaction to a post swing from 'nice work Dave' to something less friendly. Recently I noodled into a couple of FB groups. It seems to be worse, with people getting upset all over the place. I had to tacitly agree with one commenter yesterday who said that experience counts for nothing. This is an online problem only it seems. People are more than happy to turn up at a show and talk to say Gordon Gravett over a demo table, nod, take any advice on modelling and leave. Online people post photos of layouts, I assume for some sort of reaction, but when they get 'improvement suggestions' the fire starts.
There are generally two types of modeller these days: the home worker and the exhibition worker. The later takes his work out and expects reaction good and bad. The former doesn't. The exhibition managers are the filter for this. The internet doesn't filter and the home worker is free to publicly display, but without the filter gets upset when the reaction isn't purely heaps of praise. The exhibitor is used to a bit of flack and being ignored at times.
The reason FB is worse (and I'm about to be a grumpy old man here) is possibly because it is inhabited by a younger modeller possibly one who is used to being told that there is no such thing as failure. The older hands know that at least 50% fails and will take the advice. I'm generalising of course, but we do seem to be less forgiving and less able to learn. Maybe it is just too easy now to get a basic layout together and say 'look at me aren't I clever' without the struggle period of learning the craft. The older hands have done this, know the pitfalls and have made the mistakes. We can all learn from experience.

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Wagon weathering

And done. Well it was done last week, I just needed to tone it down a little.
The lettering is somewhat assumptive. The van had a couple of mod's done during the larger letter days, so I assumed that these may have been added in the only place you can fit them... the door. By the 1920's it may have been looking quite sorry for itself, so it was out with the new top quality airbrush, worn out Poundland 90p paint brush, and a modicum of dry brushing all over the iron bits with some Games Workshop stinky willie grey and Humbrol 62 ( I made some of that up).

To recap: Ratio iron mink kit, vents filed off, Shire Scenes sides added, painted. Would I do t again? Yes. Would I use super glue as suggested ? Not a chance.

Monday 19 March 2018

East Grinstead model railway exhibition

 A trip to the East Grinstead show yesterday. One of those annual treks which is almost habit. E G is not top flight, but nor is it a village hall show either with stuff from the host club and some selections from other local clubs and lone wolves such as Peter Bossom's 3mm scale Bulverhythe above being operated by Richard Preece.
 One of the main reasons for going was to see Bob Vaughn's Tansey Bank and take some photographs for 009 News. Bob has a spread of small highly detailed layouts in 4mm scale which are full of cameos, all beautifully executed and often use commercial kits in a way that they were not originally intended. That as well as a fleet of top quality rolling stock as above.
A third lone wolf in the shape of Andrew Knights with Eastwood, which uses a brace of Airfix/Dapol buildings twisted to fit the American prototype: here a few recognisable parts from an Airfix signal box become a delightful American switch tower.

Show 7/10
Catering 10/10 mainly because of the speed, sensible menu and pricing.
Highly recommended

Friday 16 March 2018

Saturday Ramble

I know what a sharp eyed bunch you are, so you will have noticed a few background changes on this web page. What it needed was a clean and a slight update.

This blog has been running for nearly nine years and although I'd been blogging for a while, back when there were no gadgets and no commenting facility, this was an idea to just put a few model pictures up. The title reflected a 009 layout that was built around 1999, and nine years ago I was a couple of exhibition layouts further on, hence 'Wood End and Beyond'. Now that seems completely irrelevant; not only is it the name of a layout that I no longer own that was conceived and built last century, but my approach, modelling, and to some extent life, have moved on. There are for instance a few bits of associated writing that don't really get much of a mention here, but should. The list of layouts at the top has almost doubled and the writing within the posts is more opinionated and directed. In short it's more me, much more me than Wood End. Also the page had some loose ends and I needed put the stuff that I thought was important near the top: contact, links to books and links to other blogs, both of which are easier to do now than when I started here. These links are there because I think they are the relevant ones - the ones I find inspiring, the ones who I believe represent the forward motion of railway modelling. The only loss is Penhydd which does not exist any more. Shame.

The same irreverent spiel will occur in the posts - do continue to email and comment; they do get read. Welcome to the new (old) blog.

Wealden show and the AotC

Last weekend's Wealden Railway Group show was a weird one - no real changes there. Regulars will have gathered that it was the AotC's only public outing. The WRG event is so laid back that the stress level is pretty non-existent. It's a bit like inviting all of your mates round for a tea. The layout performed just about faultlessly, and considering the lowly roots of some of the stock, you could have expected a lot worse. I operated the layout on my own all day - no I'm lying. Nigel Hill covered most of it while I talked my way though the day.

I even left early for a prior engagement leaving Nigel (again) to throw the layout into the back of Mrs F's car to take home. It sits still packed to my right awaiting its fate. The challenge complete, the Roy Link plan built and gingerly exhibited to a gushing public. The root of its story on here was back in 2010 - almost eight years from inception to endgame. Its job is done - almost.

Pics of the AotC and the rest of the show can be accessed via Mike Campbell's blog here .

Thursday 15 March 2018

Shire Scenes cattle van 4

 The sides drop over the ends as per the plastic originals. These were a little on the tight side so a bit of material needed to be removed from the leading edges of the ends. Because the new sides are less than half the thickness of the old there is a bit of 'bend'. The smart will have extended the floor with lengths of strip. Me, I just wacked a couple of blocks of scrap against the doors with some super glue and solvent. The top edge does need some support, here using a strip of Wills brick sheet. No I don't know what bond it is.
 With buffers, hooks and brake lever on I waved some Halfords primer over it which nicely accentuates all the crooked bits and finger marks.
Top coat of 67 and we're nearly there. Just some tidying to do and the questionable lettering. Did the van ever carry large GW lettering, and where did the G & W go on the side?

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Stewart Reidpath Gnat

 This passed by my nose in the last few days. I believe it's a Stewart Riedpath 'Gnat' possibly marketed by Hamblings just post WW2. Heavy does not describe it. With a whitemetal body, possibly a lead chassis, and two bits of brass strip bolted to the bottom, it weighs more than most of Hattons Bachmann stock put together. Apparently it still runs well once warmed up.
I have a feeling that John Ahern used this chassis under at least one of the Madder Valley locos. I wonder how many of todays current crop of RTR will last seventy years?
It was passed to a friend of mine for disposal and has a boxed 0-6-0 companion should you be interested in this piece of model history.

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Coleford Book

I've just reviewed this for 009 News. John Wilkes' book on his Coleford layout, which is one of the most non-clich├ęd and eclectic 009 layouts around. Well worth a look and available from Narrow Planet's web shop at £9.95.

Monday 12 March 2018

Shire Scenes cattle van 3

 The modified ends need to go on very square. A little more care than normal was required here as it wasn't just a case of building a box with the adjacent side. The  ends need to be a firm and straight pair of posts to hang, what are quite a flimsy side piece from. A square is pretty much the tool of choice here.
 Both fitted. The marginally more pedantic may think it necessary to cut some 5-10 thou sheet squares to plug the holes inside - Possibly a step too far I thought.
As far as I know this is the only reference shot and is freely available on the web. It shows the van ex works (presumably 1888) with the 19th century lettering style.

Friday 9 March 2018

Cattle van 2

 On to the chassis: The scary bit was chopping the side away. The Ratio MINK is quite an old design, with the solebar and side moulded as one. The danger being that you risk spoiling the edge where it attaches to the floor resulting in a wobbly wagon. I left the part on the sprue to give me more to hang on to. Except at this moment where I'm juggling the camera as well.
 With the detached solebars I made up a basic rolling chassis which needed a fair bit of fettling to get the wheels and solebars in the correct position. I used plain bearing for a change as tophats threw the whole thing out. This was going to get more than average handling so I left the brake lever for the time being. The Gibson wheels came with the Ratio kit, but at this point I noticed that there was an amount of flash on the back of the wheel-centres which was filed off with a flat needle file.
The rudimentary instructions that come with the Shire Scenes kit barely mention the ends. It occurred to me that the vent was superfluous so checked with the one existing photo. It's square on which is not helpful, but you can see inside. Why would you put vents on a semi-open vehicle after all? Filing off looked risky, but I carried on. It is possible, but the plastic is paper thin as you can see.

Thursday 8 March 2018

Shire Scenes cattle van 1

I haven't done a series on here fore an absolute age, so I thought this might be a good one to run. The Shire Scenes etch to go with the Ratio Iron Mink. This will be the final of the trio for the forcoming book now in the writing. This build isn't finished as yet so it could all fall over.
Above is what you get with the kit: a simple etch with two sides. Most of the projections either fold to the front excepting the lower panels which go to the rear. The instructions say to use super glue. I wasn't altogether happy with this , but ran with it for simplicities sake.

 The two flat panels folded up to the rear with a tiny smear of gel type super glue. The main problem with this is permanence and also the fact that you can scrape or brush excess solder away, dead glue is not so forgiving. Any slight bending the side caused the parts to ping away.

The strapping pieces are highly flimsy and care is needed not to bend. The same issues with the glue again - too much and it spreads, too little and it won't stick. It's fairly low tack as well so you have to stand there holding it for a while - solder would be instant. The two 'L' shaped hinges don't fold up. They're etched the wrong way around so need to be cut off flush and positioned loose. Just the tiny drop bolt is left to do here.

Monday 5 March 2018

Fiddle yard length

Fiddle yards: Is there an acceptable (or unacceptable) length for a single fiddle yard? That is in ratio to the length of the layout. i.e. if the main scenic board was 45" long would a FY of a similar length look wrong? I've always tended to head for a lesser length before, but...

Saturday 3 March 2018

Saturday Ramble

Like most modellers there's always one or two further plans being discussed. One that keeps coming back is Rhiw 2. Version 1 worked OK, did a handful of shows, and appeared in RM. However I personally had issues with it and it was broken up - the boards finding a use under the AotC. All the stock is still sitting here and it seems a shame not to use it.
Rhiw 1 here
One, or really the, reason for the collapse was my realisation that front operation was not for me. I don't like barriers (they get in the way) and I find the acute single view awkward for uncoupling etc.  Round the back I can wander around unhindered to get the best angle and I can dump point controls anywhere as I have full linear access. I also have a theory that front operators hold a desire for themselves to be the exhibit - the model is just a vehicle for their public ego. I've had my fill of all that crap in work; the layout is a nice barrier.

Two influential ideas for Rhiw 2 keep coming back; both South London in feel. Elm Park is one and more recently the above Croydon North Street (I can hear the gnashing of teeth from the at least two readers that I know of from Croydon who bite every time you say it's in London). There are differences: Elm Park has the platforms mostly hidden a la Rice's 'Bitsa Stations' ideas. CNS is full view, with a double exit vibe - closer to Rhiw 1. What I do like is the diamond crossing to get this.
What neither have is 'Wales' or the lifted track that was such a commented upon feature of Rhiw, and both use a far bigger space than I would prefer. Experiments may commence soon, I just need to get rid of a few layouts to create some space in here.

Thursday 1 March 2018

Wealden Railway Group exhibition

The WRG 25th Anniversary show on March the 10th Lancing Parish Hall, Lancing W. Sussex.  10.30am opening. The Art of the Compromise's first and last outing. All this and the seaside. What more could you possibly want?

Peter Bossom                    Thunders Hill
Les Coleman                       New O scale
Martin Petch                      Portuguese HO
Charlie Fox Wilson           Bear Bottom Mine Alaska Gn15
Giles Barnabe                    Salopian Railways 1850 OO
Greg Dodsworth              Felsham On16.5
Michael Campbell            Awngate OO9
John Baggely                      Southern Electric terminus OO
Ian Buck                               Japanese Trams N
Tom Lloyd                           Cornish N modern day
Chris Ellis                              US HO
Chris Ford                            AotC OO
Tim Hills                                French Brickyard On16.5
Simon Hargraves              South Bierley Sewage Works in 0-14.
Geoff Latham                    Mynis Cule N + radio control demo 4mm
Roy Hickman                      Scenic Demo
Ian Redman                        small/ultra-small N layouts
Sompting MRC                  2 portable layouts from home.
Andrew Knights                Silhouette Cutter display/demo