Saturday 29 February 2020

009 engine shed

I thought a few bits just inside the door would stop the eye looking any further. Literally bits from the bottom of the tobacco tin. Including a couple of John Homer's home cast oil drums.

009 engine shed
With the shed dumped on top. This has got it off the shelf where it's been for three or more years. Built for the NG book but with no home. Though since then Bachmann have presented something very similar. I couldn't possibly comment... well only about the door framing anyway. Which one is correct?

Friday 28 February 2020

Thursday 27 February 2020

Engine shed floor

A punch back into the demo 009 to get it finished. There are things that I don't necessarily need to do, but putting a dummy floor into the engine shed is one that I want to. No need to go the whole hog as the view inside is limited, but some Wills planking inside the doors looks like I've made some sort of effort.
 This has been in the making so long that the first lot of flock is starting to fall off.

Wednesday 26 February 2020

Mainline LMS brake

Mainline LMS brake
The second of the 'older' style parcels models for Hopwood. This Mainline model must be the thick end of 40 years old (I can't recall if Hornby or Bachmann have re-released it). Found on a s/h stall a few months back. A couple of small repairs have been done and now a weathering finish. I can't say I'm overly happy with it, but it'll do for now and joins the Dapol, ex Wrenn fruit D.

Sunday 23 February 2020

Tenterden exhibition

 'It was like the last thirty years never happened'
I'd been to this one before so knew roughly what to expect. This was more or less a shopping trip to see if any bargain bits could be picked up for Hopwood. This in itself was vaguely successful and more on that later. The show? You'll remember in the old days when exhibition layouts had no lights, were on tables and had no drapes or any form of outward presentation. We left all that behind in 1990 didn't we? It would seem not. There were some stand out points: Noel Dolimore's tiny 009 stuff and the 7mm trams (which didn't seem to move). Other than that, pretty poor. As if no one had bothered to get out and see how exhibitions should be done. This was not a tiny village or society area group open day, but a major (railway) town club show. For some s/h type shopping it was worth the trip, but...
Exhibition: 2
(Shopping:  7)
Catering: a very basic 2, only cake and tea available.
Rucksacks: 2

Just down the road was the KESR. No time (or cash left) for a ride, but a wander around the station and a late lunch in the café. A wander off limits to snap a jackshaft drive guard mesh.

Saturday 22 February 2020

Dapol Fruit D for Hopwood

In a hypocritical moment from the last post.
As mentioned earlier there is a very slight rush to get a few items of stock ready for Hopwood's first proper outing at East Grinstead. As the root traffic is DMUs and parcels stock, a couple of things have needed to be bought and mainly s/h.
This caught my eye on the Hattons site. It looks to be a Wrenn body mould and a new underframe. The later is stunning, but then I don't buy a lot of current RTR so maybe those that do will be unimpressed. £17 + p&p brought it to my door which is the most I've spent for ages. Naturally everything else got put to one side, while I fiddled.
The usual glance though Bartlett's photos pull up a couple of blue liveried versions, so I worked from those. Slight rusting on the upper ironwork, a cruddy brown/grey underframe and silvering on the doors where the paint has worn through. Three colours and two cheap brushes got it done.

Friday 21 February 2020

Film Friday

The past is another country...
The middle clip of a three part video from the 1980s. Two things struck me about this: Firstly that Barry Norman's EM gauge track could easily be OO. Secondly how far we have come. Or perhaps not?
The scary thing is that now you could buy everything on Wyndlesham Cove RTR, even the buildings to an extent. So in theory you could reproduce it purely by waving a bank card. Would this really work? I know that I bang on about this all the time, and the illustration is of what was cutting edge stuff at then, but as a friend of mine is keen on saying 'it's built, not bought'. WC is stocked with kits and what looks suspiciously like the odd Peco Wonderful Wagon, but the charm outweighs everything on this and all the layouts here. Model making skill is paramount, creating something personal is paramount. Not how much did I spend, or 'this just arrived in a new box, isn't it good'. Old days old ways... better ways.

Thursday 20 February 2020

Hopwood test run

Hopwood OO gauge layout
If I wanted to go there I wouldn't start from here. Hopwood's first proper show is three weeks away.
This afternoon a little de-bug; or more accurately finding all the problems and making a list.
The funny power drop that appeared at Warley re-appeared and while it has been traced to a rogue fishplate and fixed, I fear it will come back.
 There are major stock issues. Not in as much as there isn't enough to run it, more that it is all a bit variable in terms of couplings and weathering. Some of the stock is ex-Rhiw so is done, but others are either straight from the box or s/h and need some small matter of attention. No problem here just the time to do it all.
Some general detailing is needed in places and the temporary semaphores are still in place.
The FY is too short to really run a slick service. The Svanda FY was tried for size as an alternative, but was rejected due to (once again) the amount of work needed to make it fit, as it would be almost as much as starting from scratch.What I don't need in my small house is yet another baseboard.
Other than that, all was well. As a small layout for home use it works really well  (Steve Flint's basic design works) and it's growing on me. As an exhibition piece it has a couple of flaws, but like I said, if I wanted that, I wouldn't start here.

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Class 03 rebuild

Class 03 rebuild
This isn't what I should be doing right now, but it fell out of a box and said 'fix me'.
I had had a conversation with The Honourable Tim Ticknell at the Southampton show while he was leaning on Paxtol Road. He commented that we were both of an age which dictated that we were fixers and do-er up-ers rather than purchasers. This is a case in point.

A little while ago Les Coleman handed me a dead Mainline 03 and a handful (yes really) of even deader 03 bits. It ended up in a box down the side of the sofa (for which Mrs. F. has been eternally grateful). This morning it got moved and the 03 and said bits blinked into the daylight. 'I'll see if it runs' I thought... no it didn't. Classic Far East gear problem which I traced to the main axle gear missing a tooth. The bits gave me a better one and after a thrilling half an hour spent quartering it nearly ran. The new problem was down to the jackshaft parts. The green one I have on Dury's Gap had the same problem some 20 years ago. Simple fix... hack the coupling rod off at that end. Some subtle weathering and the lack of it isn't too apparent (did you notice?) and it runs. Some very fine mesh prototypically fitted behind the steps will improve it further.
How long it will stay running is anyone's guess, but Hopwood now has a station pilot.
Yes I know the coupling rods are upside down.
Class 03   03382
And this is where it all stars to unravel. A bit of proto research finds 03 382 is a WR loco (good) was still around in 1980 (also good) was one of the cut down versions to work the Bury Port line (bad). Will anyone point this out? Yes. Why did Mainline pick this number???
I note though that the jackshaft issue is not limited to the model and BR also chopped the rods short to stop the binding...

Monday 17 February 2020

009 Scenics

009 Scenic work
This feels slightly retrograde. The first layer of scenic fluff onto the '009 with no name'. The last two pieces have used static grass at this juncture, but this goes back to the ground foam, a) because I have the fat end of a drawer full of the stuff and b) because although it doesn't really form any long term plan, I'd matched the board and track to fit on the end of Orne at one end and the fiddle yard for same at the other (modular layouts, here we come) creating about 9'6" total run. This later point meant that it felt logical to use the same scenic techniques to match up, although the former is nominally set in the South East, while this is supposed to be your traditional Welsh mineral carrier.

That said, it would be the work of an hour or so to replace the post and wire fencing on Orne with some sticky-up slate as used here. That and a couple of licks of paint and nobody would argue much.

Friday 14 February 2020

Slate fencing for 009

Slate fencing for 009
And so it was. Several hours later, fingers covered in UHU and a blunt blade, four feet of wobbly slate fencing arrives. Done in the time honoured manner taught to us by our lord Dick Wyatt back in the Dovey Valley articles in the 1970s. Thin black plastic sheet cut into 18mm-ish strips, sanded and sliced randomly into individual pieces. Then stuck to cotton strung between panel pins and cocktail sticks.  A couple of washes of mid grey and red leather and we're done.
Some of the prototype can be quite regular and well ordered, but much of the remaining rural stuff flops around like a line of drunken brass players. This is that.

Wednesday 12 February 2020


009 scale fencing
I'm at the disheartening bit where it all looks a bit rubbish and you can't see the end of it. Basic landscaping on the 009 done and slapped over with a mix of emulsion and artist acrylics. The exiting bit of wobbly wall capping is done; there wasn't much of it on this second incarnation of the piece, but even so it's taken most of the afternoon. More on this later.
Now onto slate fencing which I decided to put in before the flock 'n' stuff went on. This probably won't make any difference to anything, but my logical head says that it's good. I haven't done this since Tal-coed and I've forgotten how I did  it, only that it was plastic sheet and cotton. I think this is my basic modelling ethos - make it up as you go along and see what happens.

Sunday 9 February 2020

Saturday Ramble

Do you ever get the feeling that something hasn't been thoroughly thought through? A visit to a small event, small being the operative word. Advertised in the usual places as a 'workshop' and to 'help those moving to the scale'. I had a niggle, but travelled hopefully as some similar events have been well worth the effort. Not so here.
Greeted with, 'are you a member? A negative response. 'Can I ask your name?' This seemed a little odd. A hall with test track and demo tables. We seemed to be the only visitors. 
There was a frost in the room;  heads down working on what a scan around the room seemed to be etched kits, track building etc. Obviously no lack of talent or expertise, but... We retreated to the foyer area and looked for food. Which was served with aplomb and was cheap.
Returned to the room. Still frosty. To the point where I just felt awkward being there.
I looked in earnest for the 'those moving to the scale' area. Nothing. Heads still mainly down. One chap perked up and explained to us at length which bits of the loco kit he was building were wrong and needed replacing. I thanked him. I'll bear that in mind, I thought. And that was about it. Only negative comment was supplied.

What was going on here? What was the point of the exercise, and why bill it as above when there was no one who seemed prepared to explain the 'moving to the scale', despite me dropping enough lead lines and there being a surge in RTR, possible entry points and further ideas for expanding same? 
My niggle had been proved, but that's not the point. What if this was my only experience of such an event? Would I have bothered again or even persevered with looking? We left at 14.30 and they had had 16 visitors up to that point. This sort of thing isn't just a waste of time, it's actually potentially damaging to the scale and the hobby. 
If you don't want to sell something, don't open a shop.
Event: -1
Catering: 9
Rucksacks: 0 (or anyone who might have been attached to a rucksack)

Thursday 6 February 2020

009 scenics

009 scenics
And a quick swing back to the 009 - quick being the operative word. This small piece just links some of the Welsh book things together; some, not all. There would be a tendency to cram all the bits in, but I'd rather keep a very light touch on this. Surprisingly I've had the foresight to make it drop between Orne and its fiddle yard making a mammoth 7'6" of 009. The hut from the recent-ish RM article and a water tower courtesy of the late Laurie Maunder.
Tomorrow sees me hit it with the masking tape and some paper mache.

Wednesday 5 February 2020

The O gauge layout

The O gauge micro layout
This is still really a side project for the minute, but I have enough bits and bobs in my hands to do a some basic planning. With Mrs F out of the house I could take over the front room; this being the only clear space large enough to lay the plan out fully.

The overall size is 3m x 400mm, that is what you can see with the RH edge roughly where the paperweight is at the bottom. Not to put too fine a point on it, it's a shoehorn. I'd rejected the Setrack points and have used the standard medium radius type which are barely any longer - from bottom to top 2x LH, a RH and a Y which swings the exit road to the rear. This gives a long siding running the length of the top of the plan. The whole lot is angled slightly to the front (left) edge. The Gammon End track plan is obvious and I came down to this after a little playing with the print-outs. An industrial scene would allow more compression, but this has to be able to work a basic passenger service. The feel is a generic light railway with possible GWR overtones - timber corrugated iron, short stock, low impact scenics - the opposite to Hopwood. The main consideration is that it needs to be a simple to build and as less threatening as possible.

The headshunt will just take a Dapol pannier and the loop at least two 4w coaches or one bogie and a van. The major downside is the single road storage siding. Like I said, shoehorn. Although I'm fiddling now, I'm looking at a spring start point. I think Tiley Road has a ring to it...

Tuesday 4 February 2020

Disc signal for 009

Disc signal for 009 scale
Unusually I hadn't put the finished ARB Modelcraft disc signal up on here. As yet it is unpainted (basically because I've run out of white paint).
I wouldn't say that it was an easy kit, simply because of the fragility of the size/materials. However once it's all done it does do what it says on the tin. Probably the trickiest part is bending up the 0.3mm wire for the handrails. The rest is fairly simple solder joints and being very careful not to bend the ladder. So far... I've  managed.

Monday 3 February 2020

Fitting a model railway pelmet

A pelmet for Hopwood OO scale diesel layout

Banana pine
Most of Saturday was spent sorting the pelmet for Hopwood. The gallows units from Svanda were pressed into use, being pretty close to the right size. The problem was that the B&Q banana pine that they are made from has 'settled' in one or two places over the  six year period. While this is not unduly noticeable on the host layout, measuring up to them got marginally interesting for a while. There was a decision to be made: measure the mounting points correctly all the way along (@ 3 1/32) from the bottom of the pelmet, or level the pelmet first and mark the mounting points accordingly. Outcomes being the most important thing meant that the second choice was made and you can see the wobble factor. The pelmet is dead level though, along the top front edge So at least outward sanity restored.

Poor design
This is all a bit of a lash up and very much a secondary fit. The trouble with retro fitting what is really a home layout design into an exhibition piece, is that everything becomes a work-around, not a design in from the start. In many ways it's a fail - though the positive comments at Warley would suggest the contrary. Much of the build worked against learned wisdom and techniques in order to fit the article design brief, not for where it is going now. That doesn't make it a bad layout, just that it bothers me.