Thursday 28 February 2019

Wills fencing

Wills fencing detailing
I think I bought this for 'stock', just because it seemed like a good item to have to hide background items. Anyway.... one sprue less the gate, painted and with three planks removed, which is easy if you say it quickly, but there is a fair amount of thinning to do. Dropped on with a bit of UHU and done. I like trains behind fences; I don't do it enough. The problem is they become less photographable.

Tuesday 26 February 2019

Bashing coach kits in 009

Kit Bashing coach kits in 009
One of the staples of 009 modelling over several decades has been the Vale of Rheidol coach. The matchboard sides mean that it is easy to chop down in length to produce a number of varied generic late 19th and early 20th century vehicles. Here's a bit of compare and contrast: On the left the standard Orne coach which is a straight 2/3s length reduction with added lamp housings. On the right the current build, a conversion to a Welsh Highland Railway No 23 - full 32' length retained, but lowered on the bogies and reduced in body height.

Sunday 24 February 2019

Adding to the static grass experiment and Peco free van kit

Ratio grounded van body upgrade

Adding static grass to Dury's Gap
Working the static up a little. I think, as a few people have already said, that it's just another tool in the box, not the magic one hit as many see it as. You need to perhaps use it as a base (which is quite fast) and then work it up by adding ground foam and carpet underlay etc. I'm till using the old rubberised horsehair of old as a base for bushy clumps such as behind the stop block. The clump in the middle is a chunk of scenic mat just torn off the sheet and stuck down. All this donated stuff is making me think a  little differently, and yet I find myself still 'composing' the area in the same way as I usually do; just with different materials.

The van is the free kit that was stuck to the front of RM a couple of months back.

Thursday 21 February 2019

WHR coach 23

Chopping up VoR coaches is a common sport among 009 modellers, only second to the 'pugbash'. I've done a few and they make up most of the coaching stock on Orne. Though there they have been shortened in length. This little beast doesn't do that, but goes the other way and drops vertically to represent a WHR No 23. Not the most user friendly conversion and there are somewhat more logical ways of doing it. This is aimed at the plastic worker for the forthcoming NG book; someone who is scared of soldering irons but likes a challenge. Basically take everything off, slice a couple of mil of the top and bottom and put everything back in a different place. I am having fun... no really I am.

Tuesday 19 February 2019

Ballasting and static grass laying

Brave new world. Ages ago an acquaintance who was giving up passed me a box of scenic materials half of which was static grass and a puffer bottle. Dury's Gap seemed like a good small area on which to try it. There were three or four colours and lengths so I tried small mixes to see what happened. I'm still not sure. On the plus side it's very fast to put down, on the minus it is tricky to work it onto more vertical surfaces and it doesn't smooth out my rough paper mache ground work as well as the ground foam. Another layer of other stuff will follow.
The ballast is another slight change; Dury's Gap's back story is a late 19th century built freight only line on the Sussex/Kent coast, so probably left with the SER's shingle ballast. Therefore a mix of real Camber sand, some playpen sand and the usual magnesium ballast is being used, stuck down with the usual PVA dropper method. Lot's of new things  - we'll see if it all works in time for the Wealden exhibition in March. I don't have long.

Sunday 17 February 2019

Sussex Downs 009 Group members day

Compass Point 009
The 009 Society members days are a sub group of exhibitions. Run by the local area groups with the support of the weight of the Society, they are a cornucopia of narrow gauge layouts in the smaller scales. This was no exception with some eleven main layouts with assorted other small pieces. The SDG's two-yearly event is one not to be missed with the accent on high quality NG and cake. 'The best members day ever' was one post show comment. If you didn't make it, then you missed a treat.

Thursday 14 February 2019

Scratch built water tower for Dury's Gap

OO scale scatch built water tower
There are two parallel projects running at the moment: the new Welsh NG book and Dury's Gap which I'm trying to get ready for the Steyning bash (more on which later). The later needs four buildings, which are always the time thieves; two are done, though one of these may get a new door at some point. The last is the view-block item to cover the hole-in-the sky. I kept coming back to the idea of a water tower, but being a rather minor freight only line it wouldn't be substantial, so really precluded any solid brick edifice which means you can look through it therefore blocking nothing. A halfway house was found on the Selsey line a small tank on timber legs with what appears to be a small store at the foot - not quite big enough to warrant being called a hut, more a tools and buckets shed. I could also cheat with the tank and leave most of the business bits of the water feed apparatus off as it's only a couple of inches from the backscene; no point putting in what you can't see.

The construction is Wills vari-girder bits for the tank, some 60 x 125 thou strip for the frame and legs and various bits of 60 thou sheet for the store - heavily distressed to look like redundant sleepers that have been attacked with wet rot.

Sunday 10 February 2019

Scratch built timber shed

One shed painted and one more in the building. Wills clapboard and windows plus some strip and scrap. No, there isn't a door. It'll tuck slightly around the corner, so 25% is hidden, and there's no point doing the back.

Saturday 9 February 2019

Saturday Ramble

'Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans'. So said John Lennon - apparently. It's one of my favourite quotes as it tends to sum up human existence; we are so busy working out what's happing tomorrow that today passes us by. Does this apply to railway modelling? Undoubtedly.

There is an old adage that most keen modellers will have one layout on the exhibition circuit, one in the building and at least one being planned in the head. I fall very much into this trap and while it's good not to walk blindly into the future, sometimes that initial layout gets forgotten and falls into disrepair either in reality or mentally. Which is why I have a reputation for not keeping a layout for long and flogging them off or breaking them up in quite quick order. Is this healthy? Yes it is because it doesn't allow the modelling brain to get bored, but no it isn't because we (I) possibly don't develop a base idea. I don't want to hark on about the good Rev., but most of you will be ahead of me here.

The pace of new RTR releases now is such that the natural pace if building is interrupted. For instance I've had a couple of conversations in the last few days with hardcore narrow gauge modellers who have been tempted by some of the small shiny RTR standard gauge locomotives and are (or may be) building a layout to suit. The interruption is complete and the future planning to justify this purchase takes over the root modelling direction. Once again is this healthy? Because it breaks the staleness of something or do we fall headlong into a scattergun approach to our model making, where we are tempted by a purchase for just long enough to mean that there is a full cupboard and not enough actual main theme - serial modelling adultery. I know that I'm guilty of this.

The side order to this is the 'I must use this up' game which raised it's head here recently (and formed a small poke in the ribs to Phil Parker from me this week. He's unlikely to use the Clayhanger Yard stock again). We have a desire to use the accumulated modelling equipment regardless of there being a desire or a hard plan. Instead of having the idea and the plan first, the direction is driven totally by the 'I don't want to waste this' mentality. The truth is that much of this accumulation was acquired through gift or because it was a bargain and logically should be thrown or sold off to someone who needs it. Is it really a good enough reason to build a layout?

Friday 8 February 2019

Etched brass 009 coach

Etched brass workman's coach in 009 scale
This took a bit longer than I anticipated. However no burnt fingers and amazingly it runs OK... or will with a little weight under the floor. I can't understand why more people don't tackle these Worsley kit as they go together beautifully. Not as easy as a 3D print I suppose.

Thursday 7 February 2019

Worsely Works coach

Etched brass workman's coach in 009 scale
2a quarryman's coach from a Worsely Works scratch-aid kit. Fiddly, but fits together beautifully. The only detailing to do is door guards and axle boxes.

Tuesday 5 February 2019

Festiniog brake van conversion

Festiniog brake van conversion from quarryman's coach
The second of the pair from a Dundas quarryman's coach as per the prototype. Not quite as straightforward as it first looked, but with one eye shut through a piece of net curtain it just about passes.

Monday 4 February 2019

The tidy up closes

Surprisingly not much got binned. After taking everything out and going through all the boxes, accompanied by suspicious eye-raising from Mrs F., it got put into types and re-packed. The idea was to sort out what was in there, decide whether it was of further use and re align in sections so that it was easy to find and remove.
It came down to four possible layouts (six if you count the ongoing). Starting at the bottom left: the Teachers box and above are unbuilt kits, the Rhiw BR diesel stock, the ex AOTC GWR stock and buildings done for the GW book. Upper level: transformers and other control stuff and lesser used tools, 7mm NG and 009 bits and bobs and finally top right the old Einsford Mill USA stock which was highly cheap mid 1990s but would be extortionate to replace. Dury's Gap bits in front.
This all means that in theory  excepting track,wood and detailing stuff I could probably get a decade of modelling out of this without parting with any cash. Bad for the retailer - good for me. There are essentially three easy-build layouts in there that could either use the Morton Stanley or Svanda fiddle yards and that's excluding the 7mm NG.

Saturday 2 February 2019

Saturday Ramble: Modelling stuff

Sorting through your modelling materials
I have a theory that in the possession of most modellers of a reasonable age is a collection of 'stuff' that amounts to a value of at least £2,000. I will often mention this in passing and get an incredulous  negative response only to get an update a short time later. This update usually not only now agrees with my theory, but often increases the cash amount considerably.

Running partially alongside this is the current hip movement of 'decluttering'. I'm not for one minute suggesting that we as modellers should follow any fashionable lifestyle trends (there are those who would say we have no life or style) but it is worth pondering on how much of this accumulated stuff we will actually use in a remaining lifetime. This is possibly worse for those of us who are scale tarts as we have to duplicate things, i.e. I have at least three separate boxes of wheelsets from 9mm gauge upward.

The pile of stuff above is just one cupboard which is currently being sorted; there are two more drawer units. I'm certainly not alone in this and some people are much, much worse, but there comes a time when you have to stand back and ask, 'am I really going to have time to build all the layouts that all these things will make? Is it time to sort out these shoe boxes and marge tubs and be sensible and realistic about what to keep and what to pass on or throw away?


For the narrow gaugers and forum lovers.

Friday 1 February 2019

Film Friday - China narrow gauge railway

I'm always on the look out for something different and inspirational. This part diesel, part electric powered operation carrying coal in China may be just what it needed to kick start an idea for a new layout.