Sunday 31 May 2020

Saturday Ramble

Planning and plotting. Like most I'm continually rethinking things at the moment. Personally, I believe that it's madness to open up this early when infection rates are still rising. Mrs F. (who follows these things) has been watching the graphs on the Gov site and has noted that the rates peaked two days ago, but just before the 'Happy Monday' announcement the graph was altered to show a flatter line before reverting back yesterday. Make of this what you will. They want us working again, no matter what the cost. Remember who funds them for the next election.

The mojo has returned slightly and some work on Tiley Road has resumed with the final sky boards cut, and then sprayed with the usual Halfords primer. This all needs to be done by the end of August, but what then? The possibles that existed pre lockdown have fallen away and there is now a cliff edge to fall over. Sitting in the garden until September might be possible, but after that... who knows?

Wednesday 27 May 2020


O gauge ground frame hut
I don't know if mojo is a thing, but if it is, it can be a slippery item. A combination of the afore mentioned building work (now ended this afternoon) the loss of the workshop to set the current layout build up, the continuing WFH situation all add to the lethargy. Part of this may be the social aspect: people asking questions, the blokey banter and my regular show attendances all act to keep the interest up. Social media has helped of late, but I found myself falling down a rabbit hole with it and have now withdrawn from the internet save emails and here. I miss the good stuff, but not the ungood. Even the hardened pro's go through this version of writer's block so I'm not alone, but it's thrown into sharp focus when there is a deadline and I can't frankly be bothered. Maybe the boost of a show would help, but that's impossible right now.

Deep breath and sit in the garden I think.

Thursday 21 May 2020

Thursday Ramble

Everything ground to a halt for a while. Thank you to the several people who emailed and asked if I was OK.
The builders have now gone, but the scaffolding has not. It took a little longer than they anticipated and the noise and people bobbing around in front of the windows makes it hard to get anything done. Normally I would have escaped somewhere, but with the current situation the beach and the downs were already full. Result: the mojo disappeared. This morning I managed to get the ground frame hut mentioned last time finished save the weathering, but I need to wind myself up into a routine again. As the scaffold is here until Wednesday and they will need to go through the workshop to remove it, I can't be bothered to set Tiley Road up, only to take it down again.

The target is now to do the final building which is the small goods shed based on curved roof GWR type - a pagodaless pagoda.

Thursday 14 May 2020

O gauge ground frame hut

O gauge ground frame hut
A quite disjointed week thus far with the builders now turned up and working outside. Although I'm in and they are out I've had to dismantle Tiley Road and work in the study. This has been hard as I find the constant noise distracting. Mrs. F. who is still WFH has also moved inward and now decamped from the kitchen table to the crossover point in the house meaning avoiding stopping to talk is impossible. I'm used to being on my own during the day and find this disconcerting and can't settle anywhere, so production has slowed somewhat.

I required a small building for the top-left of the layout, just before the exit. The ground frame hut at Tenterden was chosen as the basis as it fitted style and shape wise and I had a drawing available. It was actually smaller than I thought at only 6'6" wide so it was increased very slightly to a footprint of 70 x 50mm. This meant it would cover the switch as needed, but still be far enough from the track not to get in the way.

The now emerging standard method of Peco door, Wills asbestos sheet and window pack items have been employed. with extra framing from various bits of strip. Probably worth the effort, but the sliding sash took far longer than I'd anticipated. For me as a modeller rather than a purchaser is the main disadvantage of 7mm. I now have to building-in detail that I could simply suggest in 4mm with the outcome of a much longer build time per item. In 4mm, I could have probably knocked this up in under an hour and here we are into day two - I'll blame the building work.

Monday 11 May 2020

Consolidation shuffle

The theme and the thinking of late is obviously linked to the lock down and I've rambled about this at length already. What though of final outcomes? In a modelling sense that is. I shared an amusing photo on FB at the lockdown beginning, of a small room stuffed with shelves of kits captioned 'we've trained for this'. Obviously American, but the gist was international. The cry often goes up that we all have rooms like this and our Mr. Hill is currently boasting that his entire spend this year so far has been a 99p bag of wing nuts, so tight has his use of 'in stock' items become of late. I personally start inwardly screaming at the TV when people say they can't cope with not going out and are 'bored'. Do they not have a kit box?

What is the outcome then? For the foreseeable future there is a moratorium on new exhibition specific layouts - for what? There is half a caveat here as there is a difference between 'exhibition layout' and an 'exhibitable layout'. The five year plan is largely gone in the short term because of this, instead to be superseded by a list of aims.
  •  Build on and build up the existing layouts (this essentially means Hopwood, Dury's Gap, Svanda)
  •  Any new layout to be built around existing stock, not the other way around (again there is one particular question mark here).
  •  Build what's in stock. There are thirty+ kits in the cupboard, mostly 4mm. There is also a started GWR layout, but we'll gloss over that for the minute.
  • Aim for an interlinking layout/stock situation. i.e. a new Welsh layout to use the existing Rhiw/Hopwood stock, not a new plan requiring a whole new set of stock.
As you can see this is a set of aims full of holes. Not so much aims as a general direction. There was a small layout book planned and costed for this year, but this has now been rejected and this has altered some of the thinking, though there may be other avenues for this, that is, I still need to make money and there is plenty of build time available.

Sunday 10 May 2020

Saturday Ramble

The narrative from some quarters would have you believe that we are doing very well: we aren't. As I understand it, on the cusp of the VE Day anniversary, we passed the number of civilians lost in WW2. The earlier in five and a bit years, the later in 3 months. Improving on the hit rate of the Luftwaffe is exactly the opposite of doing well. If people are interested in leaving legacies, then this one would be impossible to beat.

However, down in the bunker, or rather the back of the garage, the O gauge continues. Not swiftly, but steadily. Not that it was news, but it dawned on me how I was building a cartoon which is very common with larger scale layouts due to the high level of compression. The trick is to not make that obvious by taking short cuts such as leave brake gear or drainpipes off. This is very small: the main chunk being only around 6'10" long and I'm working from the back as it were and I'm only just getting my 7mm eye in again. Some days I think I'm ahead of the timescale, some day not. It has the potential to get finished quickly and then I realise that there are two small buildings and a cattle dock to do (which I don't have the fencing for as yet). These will be the time suckers and the reason why I did the station building first (or the 'hut' as Mrs F. insists on calling it while en-route to the kitchen garden).

All of this while at the back of my mind the question of why? Why mostly because I was asked to, but the shape and design are totally wrapped around it rocking up at Warley on a 3m long stand. Is there anyone out there who doesn't have doubts to whether this event will happen? I for one will be highly surprised if it does. Primarily because it would take hours to disinfect all the rucksacks and the queue at 2m intervals would stretch to Wolverhampton.

Friday 8 May 2020

Thursday 7 May 2020

VW kit bash

This appeared on FB and looked too good not to share. Details I have not, only that it's a wood yard and probably Scandinavian. The track may be standard gauge though the root loco is not. The main frames could be wood (of course) and I'm particularly taken with the nifty riveting in the wheel arch area.

Something similar could be knocked up on an uncontrollable 24mm Tenshodo - not ideal for shunting, but a great conversation piece.

More info required.

Wednesday 6 May 2020

D & S brake van 2

D & S brake van
We all like a bit of a back-story.
In 1913 the Admiralty purchased eight small 'break vans' from the LNWR for use at stores and sidings. Six of these were broken up in 1921, but the two remaining were used in two locations where there was a low weight restriction. By 1950 only one remained on the South Coast and this too was listed for disposal, though due to the S Region's slightly enforced use of heavier Midland brake vans it was returned from Ashford paint shops repaired  and freshly turned out in pale grey to work on the Dury's Gap tramway section.

The D&S brake fixed and repainted along with some slightly altered ModelMaster decals. A touch of light weathering and done. Note the nod to the finescale ethos with the 3 link couplings. These will of course be replaced with some nice practical tension locks in due course.

Monday 4 May 2020

D & S brake van rebuild 1

D & S brake van rebuild
 I threw most of a box of stock in the bin. This was all from the much maligned Froxington (which even now still gets enquires) Not my finest hour... anyway. One or two thing were put to one side, one being this D & S kit for an LNWR 10 ton brake. short and cute and ideal light railway fare. This is its best side, the other had suffered a bit from living in an ice cream tub for a decade and there was some footstep and handrail casualty. D & S kits no longer exist, but were faves of the pre-group finescale brigade. This is big chunks of w/m with etched detail, rocking W-irons are standard and it just purrs along. It's likely that I picked it up unmade off a club stand for a fiver (this is common practice). It has no natural home unless I suddenly go for another pre-groupy light railway project. I did ponder this for a while and have a suitable back story and geo-placing. I also pondered a repaint into S. Region colours for Dury's Gap. It has slight LSWR overtones and I'll bet only those fully qualified with a ' finescale ethos' would notice. Ideas?
The real thing looked like this and most if not all were gone by early LMS days though I have unimportant questions here.
The damage was assessed as a broken footstep hanger, some drift in the fitting of these and a broken hand rail joint.

The handrail was a quick fix with a dab of the soldering iron. The steps were more of a fiddle. Plus if you compare photos 1 &2 you'll notice that the hangers are too long; the step should dangle over the axleboxes not below them. No sure why I did this as it's a single etched piece so should be right, but obviously isn't. 
The answer was to weld the broken hanger back in place and shorten all four with the danger of snapping them.

Sunday 3 May 2020

Hornby runner wagon

A while ago I thought that a runner wagon to go with the 'bitsa' 03 would be a smart purchase as many of the photos of the class in the 1970s include one. This got as far as looking in the Peco catalogue for the Parkside conflat kit and no further.

Fast forward to a few days ago and at the bottom of the 'scenic bits' box I found a Hornby GW lettered conflat. I think this came with a box of things from my father. It was examined and after some rubbing down and the addition of tie bars and vac pipes it was repainted using a photo in Robert Hendry's wagon book as reference.

Saturday 2 May 2020

Saturday Ramble - Inspirational Layouts 10

 It's a long time since I did an inspirations post. This was triggered by a couple of things: Firstly a  little bird always whispers in my ear 'there aren't enough trainsets in the world'. Secondly I was sorting through a box of stuff and turned out two circles of OO track one 1st and one 2nd radius, both Hornby. This got me thinking and I headed for one of the files to look for an article, but found this first. Bredon.

1981, not a bad year for this sort of thing. 6'6" x 3'10", basically a single bed.  95% setrack, but most of the rest is scratch built, which would be an unusual combination now.

The photos are good and may make it punch above its weight somewhat, but who builds this sort of thing now? And why not? It's not portable, moveable yes. Operational? Depends. Would I build it? Probably not. Though the concept always stops me dead as I find it thought provoking. It's a trainset, but is much more than that term implies.

This is what I was originally looking for and is the same thing but on speed. Built by local (to me) pro modeller Brian Taylor, it forces some fearsome model making into a fearsome space. 1st rad curves and some slightly diddled with chassis in 3' x 3'10".

Both these layout have some sort of off-scene storage at the rear , which kind of defeats the object. Selfold I would have a crack at, though would it work as well without the NG? It would fit in the car, but how would you support it? I seem to remember that Brian displayed it fairly low, obviously  aware that it was appealing to small people, but I can't remember how the wings worked. This would need extra boards and an awkward support system.

The last piece of the jigsaw is the afore mentioned 1st rad' circle. 14.5" rad and with a 31.75" overall outside width. This is a blinding retrograde step, even passing beyond what I started with - at least that had some straights and a point - but it has started a train of thought about moving away from the up-down slightly cliché terminus to FY. With one exception I've built little other these for some 40 years, so is it time to return to something more organic and if so what?

The problem here as always is one of transportation, but with no shows at present that suddenly seems less of a factor. Would it be stand behind, as per these two. Or stand in the centre a la Mannin Middle here. At its raw basic I can stand in the middle of the above circle. OK so it's like a hoop skirt, but you can see the basis and work outward and complicate as you go.

Trying to (literally) square the circle with baseboards is where the whole thing begins to unravel with leg systems as much as anything. One to park at the back of the brain for future.

As a PS Giles Barnabe emailed this. 32" square using the old Setrack curved points.

PPS. I've been nudged to add that if you click the 'inspirational layouts' tag you'll get the previous nine. Mostly posted in 2014. And there was me thinking it was last year.

Friday 1 May 2020

Film Friday - weathering

Something a little different. Weathering in Polish. It's a slow watch, but stay with it.