Monday 28 December 2020

Brush wire

 Probably not the kind of thing that most people have in the house. I've had a pair of these in my hands for more than 40 years. When they lose their spring and get too bent, I bin them. Surprisingly I've never taken a pair apart. Today is that day. Simple crimped construction, so a few minutes with a pair of side cutters produced all the signal control or handrail wire I'll ever need.

Sunday 27 December 2020

DPM backscene

 I'm about 2/3 of the way though the track; just these last two points to do on the platform roads. As usual it's a little squeezy and there is is a lot of the Hopwood mentality in the approach. There is space for a 37/47 in the headshunt. No point for anything grander as it will get too big for the other end. To recap: these are the standard 43" long boards plus the Rhiw/Svanda fiddle yard, taking the overall to around 11'. Still not big, with the idea to be able to take the good bits from Rhiw and Hopwood and run some DMUs and parcels stock.

The building units are DPM and have been in Mr. Hill's care for probably 25 years waiting for a suitable use. Ideal for a non-specific industrial building that is only an inch deep. The area to the left will house another bland structure of a post office parcels building of the post war block type. his will drift away from the usual Wills sheet and probably move to a card/ Slater's brick to blend better with the DPM mouldings. Most of this will be masked by some tatty platform canopies still un-purchased from Ratio.

Predictably, due to space considerations in what is a small house, the O gauge layout currently running in RM is up for grabs and will be advertised in due course. Before I do that I'll wave it here to see if there is any interest. Email me through the profile page to your right.

Wednesday 23 December 2020

Modelling the Welsh narrow gauge

 An email from The Crowood Press yesterday informed me that my final tome for them was published yesterday, slightly earlier than expected. Decoded this means that the container was released from being holed up in Rotterdam and has been unloaded in Felixstowe. Anyhow, it's now available to purchase should you wish  by clicking through the box to your right. It's the usual format: over a hundred pages of themed projects from the simple slate wagon on the cover, though etched brass kits et al. Actually the finished wagon on the cover is by Martin Collins in case you thought that I could get to that standard.

Tuesday 22 December 2020

No beef

 I thought you might all have put your Christmas plans on hold as there was no conclusion to the Westykits cattle van test/review/build/twist. No? Well never mind as Mrs F. has just returned hotfoot from Tescos with the only thing they had left which was second hand toilet roll and figs, here's a photo of where it's up to. Transfers, weathering and couplings to do.

Saturday 12 December 2020

Baseboards and points


Progress is slow. Mainly because I keep getting dragged into other projects like colour light signals. However the first bit of track is down and the point control 'shelf' has been fitted.  Although 'mouseholes' have been used of late I much prefer this method as the switches are easier to get at with regard to wiring and it's somewhere to put the uncoupling paddle.

This is of course not so much a build as a rebuild: the boards are rescued from the GWR project, the gallows are the 12" wide set that were last used on Rhiw and the facia boards ditto. This meant that is was just a case of measuring and drilling new bolt holes for these at the appropriate spots.

I still need a name for this and indeed a more positive location. Suggestions on  a five pound note please to the usual address.

With reference to the comments in the post below, I feel that this will explain. Not the classic pose, but close.

Wednesday 9 December 2020

Monday 7 December 2020

Westykits cattle 3

Part of the interest of building this kit was some of the research. My assumption that there was a link through to the current Parkside kit of the same beast may be tenuous. Stig emailed me the above snap of the newer animal. There are similarities, but only the bodyside sprue resembles the Westykits version. The roof, floor and chassis are new and the ends, while similar, have at the least been realigned on the sprue. The whole lot seems crisper as well. The chassis is the main winner with the far more logical clasp brake set up. Even in 1927 this was regarded as a better bet and most of the vehicles were converted. For the kit manufacturer this means it can breeze into nationalisation.

It all got a little modeller's licence at this point. The supposition was that the van had made it to the late 50s, but hadn't been converted to the clasps, but had been upgraded to single-sided Mortons. It's ended up on the line as a quasi-internal vehicle going no further than the junction. I take inspiration from the LBSC vehicles that were hanging around on the Newhaven West Quay line into the 60s, but surely didn't venture any further.
I 'notched' the back of the sides for the guard rails. The plastic was curvy so a bit of stretching and curved down rather than up was the aim. The bend due to some ambitious bullock doing pull-ups on the bars on the way to the abattoir. 

Putting the body on was a real juggle while I tried to pull the wind out of the chassis. Tried...                   I fixed a long piece of sprue on the diagonal across the floor fixing one end, then the other while flexing then weighting. This worked to a point.  Lastly most of the church roof was stuck to the floor alongside it.


Saturday 5 December 2020

Saturday Ramble

 A while ago (July 2014) I wrote comment piece for RM praising the benefits of a large home layout. I touched on this briefly in another piece this year. Why is this important? Well it isn't particularly, except in yesterday's post I realised that I'd hit a turning point. Small though it maybe at 21" long the diving board (now with clamped leg)  is a significant shift. Aside from a couple of nailed down bits of track for testing things, I haven't built a baseboard with track on it that wasn't destined in some way no matter how minor for public display for decades - unless you count this page of course. This was built for me. 

Do railway modellers who build exhibition layouts run things at home other that for pre-show testing? In the main I would say no. Even our Mr. Hill with his developing slice of the SR in the back bedroom admits that it doesn't get a lot of running. The exhibition mindset is a deep-seated thing. I started showing things in about 1992-ish and haven't stopped since. The last thing that wasn't designed to wave in front of the public was a little 009 layout bolted to the wall in my first flat. That's more than 25 years ago.

I'm just embarking on another exhibition item (and  possibly another next year for the boss which would be headed for Warley) but I keep asking why? The answer is because I can, because it's what I do and even if it just gets set up in Mr. Hill's spacious lounge and operated for a while, it's ticked the box. 

Does the 21" of the diving board hint at something more significant with the return of exhibition possibly a year away? Does it count as extending around the room and more to the point... a home layout?

Friday 4 December 2020

The diving board adventures


Dury's Gap is set up to my right perched on a couple of small shelf brackets and a pile of books. For one reason and another I've been plugging in some power and running a few things around it. The problem is that there is nowhere for them to go. Bolting the usual fiddle yard on to it is out of the question as it would take up most of the bench, so a 'stick' was the answer. Made from offcuts from the corner of the garage it had to use the existing bolt holes. The construction is fairly obvious and all is glued and screwed. I was (may still) going to put a leg on the LH end, but it does seem to have enough rigidity to hold itself up. 

Wednesday 2 December 2020

Westykits cattle 2

 I tend to start with underframes. This means ignoring the instructions for a while. This isn't usually a problem as once you've put a few wagon kits together the process is fairly similar. 

I had issues straight away. The axle boxes are separate as are the solebars. The latter is OK and the former was presumably for the finescalers to add rocking units more easily. The springs were unequal in length and the holes in the axle boxes matched badly with the W irons. I lined them up as best I could cosmetically and redrilled from the back though the W iron holes. This wasn't looking bad, but then it wasn't looking good either.  Plus the floor had a slight wind in it. 

Solebar units assembled and one fitted (left). The moment of truth is that in order to get the axles close to parallel some solebar (right) shuffling was required. This isn't the end of the world as a wipe with a file one end and a small plug the other will sort it. I thinned the brake shoes a touch and fitted the units. Hopefully I can pull the slight twist back with the body. The unit as it stands is happy to be propelled through the pointwork on Dury's Gap without falling off so fingers crossed.