Friday 27 April 2018

Morton Stanley is dead, long live Morton Stanley

With Morton Stanley stripped of the buildings there was a happy hour spent dumping different things on it to see how the board could be recycled into something new.
The Terrier from the Southern book, a Kirk BR van and a Bachmann ER brake were close to hand along with the freebie Metcalfe weighbridge hut given away with RM a while back. Some new track and buildings and.... Rother Wharf?

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Palm trees and typing

Consolidation day. Time to tidy up a few bits of text. With a small amount of push I should be able to get 4-6,000 works inserted into the main body. That and take photos of the water tower and lamp hut.

Foe some reason I plonked some plastic palm trees into some blu-tak and dumped them on Orne... madness lies that way.

Monday 23 April 2018

Orne - 009

Orne 009 layout
This is a bit of a funny one. A bastard child from the beginning and I can't make it feel right. Regulars will know that I value feel over accuracy any day. Maybe it'll sort itself out. Is it too narrow? Too simple? Or have I somehow managed to get the South Downs feel so well that it is too close to home? The problem is that it started as one thing, then became another and I've not thought it through properly. Add to that, that it has been very much a small side project with no final destination either in publication or exhibition terms.

It is basically done bar the detailing and I'm wondering whether to box it 'cameo' style rather that the open way that I would usually display. This is totally the wrong way around though and would cause no end of problems especially around the exit. Nah...

Sunday 22 April 2018

The trouble with water towers...

GWR water tower
... is that you can't see the top of them. I have to admit that I'd not given these things an awful lot of thought until this week. There are photographs of water towers by the thousand on the internet, but to a man they are taken from the safe position of standing with both feet firmly on the ground. I can understand this; for who in their right mind wants to  climb a ladder and perch at the top with camera in hand, thinking: this'll be useful to someone building a Ratio kit of one of these.  The net result of all this is that I still have little understanding of what's going on up there except that it is vaguely resembling a very large toilet.

Then there is the painty thing. Thinish coats of paint (so that the rivet detail stays) don't like the battleship grey plastic - four light coats later and it's just about acceptable. This is the last of the  single items to do before the gargantuan effort of jumping full belt into another layout. An attempt was made yesterday to buy some MDF as I happened to be passing Homebase, but true to form they only stock things I don't need like lawnmowers and BBQ things, not stuff to make things with. The concept of making something seems to be fading  - making things is what other people (mainly Chinese people) do. We seem to be less curious and less creative as a breed now. My childhood was full of weekend project taken on by my parents and grandparents. There was always something to make, something to fix, the garden to sort. Now we have weekend events and experiences at weekends and moan that there is no money left. The world turns slowly...

Friday 20 April 2018

Ratio GWR water tower

GWR water tower
A lot of these are turning into mini reviews. Ah well.

I was told that this kit was a bit of a bitch. It doesn't fall together, but I've encountered no major problems thus far. Getting all the parts square with each other is the worst bit when you are working from the start point of a tapered post.

I elected to work backwards with the exit pipe and mount the pivot shelf last, thus avoiding the situation of having the pipe bracket dangling if the resulting gap is too wide. I also adopted the 'Tiley method' of wrapping the brace wires around the boss rather than fitting them separately.
The tank it self has been reduced in height. There are marks inside to help do this, but it would have meant making two cuts, which I thought was pushing my luck slightly. Instead I worked from the central join line on the outside, cutting on the waste side and filing back.
So far so good except I need to re-do the photo.

Monday 16 April 2018

GWR layout

After a bit of mental push and shove yesterday it looks as if the GWR layout is go. Target point is mid October for a finish, which in theory should be no problem. The buildings are done anyway and so is the basic stock requirement. This means we are talking about two standard length baseboards, points, track and some scenery. Svanda fiddle yard and supporting woodwork, taking it to about 11' 6" total length. All pretty normal then.

On with some paper planning then and to twist a couple of arms at the Croydon club.

Horsham exhibition

At the Horsham show today operating Giles Barnabe's Peurto Paseo. Which is Our Man in Havana meets Minories. I love it. Double exit junction station with no run rounds so each train needs to be pulled in by one loco and removed by another. The railcar needs to be shuffled around the station and turned. It's got a lovely vibe and a warmth. Someone said 'you can almost smell the dust and dog shit'. It's retiring soon, to make way for more early Victorian themes.
Show: 9/10 Catering: an enthusiastic 7/10. Portion controlled baked potatoes aren't really my thing, but the apple crumble was.

Sunday 15 April 2018

Wills kit

I talk a lot about compromises here and this is another. Requirement: small GW lamp hut, plastic. What's in the kit: Four walls, a door with no lock, a weird shape window and a roof section which is about 1.5mm too short. The fix would be to take a smidge off the side length. That means that I've had to alter the window, cut down and alter the sides, take the vent off the roof  and add things to the door. At half the kit price (there are two in the pack) of about £3.00 there is a basic question now that by factoring in the extra time, I could have knocked one up out of Slaters sheet for less money with a more logical window and it wouldn't have taken any longer.

Thursday 12 April 2018

Wills lamp hut

In my world of endless sidestepping over projects, it was on to lamp huts to finish the auxiliary items section. There was no lamp hut in stock, so I had to wait to visit Gaugemaster and pay top dollar before I could move on. The roof vent and bucket shelf have come off and the landscape shape window (like no other lamp hut) has had a couple of extra bars fitted.

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Wills taximans shelter

Up to London yesterday with Miss V. A couple of these along the route. It's notable how close these are in feel to the Wills kit and yet how far away in detail. Yet I've never seen one fully worked up to this working example in Kensington.

Sunday 8 April 2018

Narrow Gauge South

Wow! What a day. First I didn't really get a chance to give anything in the show much more than a cursory glance as it was difficult to move more than 20 feet without being engaged in conversation with either old mates, or people who wanted to chat about 009 Society stuff. Plus I had a layout to run. How it ran I have no idea as soon as I stood behind it another conversation began. I don't think I ran more than two trains from 10-5. Nigel Hill as ever did sterling work in covering me through all this and while I was off doing 009 Society AGM things; which is still a little bit of a new experience for me. People who have proper jobs are probably used to the slightly time-wasting political push and shove - it still feels very odd foreign thing.
I took no photos except the above of Harry Dawe's semi-scratch saddle tank on a Minitrains chassis. Harry is a bright-eyed, GCSE taking cash- strapped teenager and turns out this sort of thing on next to no budget. Better than I could do now after 40 years.
It was also great to get several people come up and say that they were readers of the blog. Thanks for making it worth writing.

Friday 6 April 2018

New layout

There are questions. Question one is always why? But then why do anything? Question two is always what?
As I've spouted here before, the problem with having a fairly wide range of tastes, the what could be anything and not necessarily narrow gauge either. The back up question two is what do I need to clear/use up? This is probably the wrong way of going about it, but if you've been doing this a while and subject matter is not an issue, there is always rolling stock debris. This means that I could build a number of new layouts without a) spending too much, or b) doing too much work in the way of research, although this is a big part of the fun. There is always the 'Five year plan' to consider. Regulars will know that this has become a bit of a joke recently as it took eight years and didn't get completed. The original FYP was the following:
1. American HO switch yard or similar.
2. South Wales 80s OO.
3 Norwegian HO secondary line.
4. Small 0-16.5 (as a warm up to...)
5. O gauge early or light.

2, 3 and 4 got built. That's not to say there was a lazy element as there were a couple of 009 layouts along the way as well plus the AotC, so about seven layouts in under a decade. Which if you were on a numbers game is not too rough. 1,2, and 3 were originally designed to use a common FY which worked to a degree with the Rhiw yard being quickly transferred to Svanda. That's the history, but what about the future? Here's the possible new list:
1. American HO switch yard or similar.
2. Something  Southern Region (possibly Kentish) in 00.
3. Rhiw Two. The first version was abandoned after a few shows and the RM article for various reasons, but mainly the front operation which is just stupid as far as I'm concerned.
4. N gauge WR. A revisit of the Unnycoombe stock with a slight lean toward the diesels. I have a plan in my head. Although I did say never again with N.
5. Son of the AotC. The existing is on its way out of the door. However... I do like the concept (as unoriginal as it is). The problem that bugs me with the AotC is the track layout which is  unprototypical or un-typical if you like. The GWR and small stations in general don't/didn't work like that - it's  a trainset plan - I can do better, but with the same headgame.

Note there is no NG. Orne (009) still sits here, but has attracted little interest from anyone except particles of dust. There is however a thrilling deadline just the other side of the sunshine. Could I build the classic GWR terminus in seven months with the Croydon show (hello Richard) as a side bet? I sort of know the answer to that.

Wednesday 4 April 2018

The beading brake van

After an epic amount of wire went on for the beading; nearly 3' in all. It's onto the exciting stuff: duckets and handrails.

Sunday 1 April 2018

Micro baseboard kit

As a break from the brake, I put together a review sample of Stuart Hughes' micro baseboards. Aimed at the 009 market, but no reason why they shouldn't work for anything else, they measure 15" x 11" and come in several styles; this the cut out dock/basin model. Not without its fiddly/needs three hands moments it went together in under and hour and a half including letting the glue go off for a while half way through the build. Made out of 4mm MDF and very accurately laser cut, it turns out very nicely. The fixings are via 'ears' that are bolted through both back and front. The sector plate version which I have yet to build looks very interesting. £15 +p&p each or the facebook page gets you more info.