Monday 31 January 2022

A two point model railway

Lightweight baseboard
Progress has been remarkably slow. Not sure why. I used to knock this sort of thing out in a couple of hours. It doesn't need much explanation: the 3' x 1' boards are rescued from a previous abandoned project and are a lightweight baseboard experiment with all the cross pieces drilled with a spade bit (which is brutal) and now resemble the inside of an aircraft wing. The difference is notable especially compared to the hernia inducing White Rose boards used for the N gauge. The thinner material and the holes resulting in at least 30% less weight.

The two point track plan

The track plan, if you can can call it that, echoes the original Rhiw plan of a long crossover. The line top left runs to a single passenger platform and the line lower left is the headshunt/exchange for the kickback line  at the bottom right. This means that operationally the layout is really only the turn around as the destinations are off-scene. This means that the unseen line can be anything you want, though the general idea is that the traffic is chemical/fertiliser in vans and scrap inward. This recently threw up the possibility which didn't appear on Rhiw 1 in the shape of condemned 16 ton mineral wagons working one way.

Wednesday 26 January 2022

Resolving fiddle yard issues on Rhiw Mk2

Layout testing
Rhiw Mk2 begins. There was a recurring problem with derailments on Mk1 at the mainline entry that we never did get to the bottom of.  As the same fiddle yard is used I'm taking no chances and I'm rigorously testing all the stock (pushing and pulling) through the reverse curves and over the new joint. The fiddle yard has been in use with Svanda for the 11 years since with no obvious problems, save dropping it  at Globalrail in Didcot, so any problems are new ones.

Fiddle yard

Originally 6-road with Rhiw (4 mainline roads and 2 for the yard) it's been running as the four with the NSB stock. As the MK2 will have the same track plan the yard roads will be reinstated and the isolating toggle switches rewired. Why build it again? Well it worked at a fundamental level despite the scarily anorexic track layout and proved to be popular with the run-down 1980s vibe. This time it can have updated and improved scenics and be without the stupid front operation that made it hard to work.

Onward to the first show.

Tuesday 25 January 2022

Whitemetal LBSCR open wagon

Quick update on 2022 project 3 (basket 2). I thought that trying to get the body 100% square with bits stick to it was a bit fraught, so for belt and braces I went for the full fat compensated waggly underframe to iron the bumps. These are D&S and almost as old as the Nu-cast kit. Carving the kit's axleboxes up to do this took longer than everything else put together. In opposition to that I stayed with the sheet rail that came in the original bag of bits. I'll run with it for the moment.

Friday 21 January 2022

Building an old whitemetal wagon kit

Second hand wagon
This has been in the stash box (incidentally this is a 1970s era heavy Teachers Whisky case) for literally decades. Where it's from I'm not sure. I'd partly disassembled it though some of the bit are immovable such as the brakes and the buffers. One of the later's heads is broken and the whole thing is a bit bent having lived in a poly-bag for years. I can't figure out the glue that's been used. It's not soldered and if it were super glue then I'd be able to waggle the bits off. The joins look too clean for epoxy.

Nu-cast kit

What I can be sure of it that it is an LBSCR A Open and that it is likely to be a Nu-cast kit from the same era as the stash box. The buffers aside it does all appear to be intact though getting it rebuilt square could be fun.

Thursday 20 January 2022

Chivers van

 There are a couple of tidy-ups to do re: weathering and couplings, but more or less done. The eagle-eyed will spot that I didn't try to push the envelope and force it into BR grey; or BR anything come to that. This opens up a minor can of worms, but it is only a small opening, the one you only spot at the supermarket checkout and it can go in the fridge until I decide that it has a home. 

The point of the exercise was that it was one less unbuilt kit to end up on a club stand when I shuffle off.

Wednesday 19 January 2022

Model railway planning

Layout planning 
Of all the possible future projects that are possible, it is the Rhiw 2 concept that bugs me the most. The original failed simply because when it came down to it, in theatrical terms, I couldn't get my head around operating the puppets standing in the front row of the stalls. Several paper and even false starts have been attempted and Hopwood came close, although that was instigated and dictated by a well known Devon track maker and not me.

Track shapes

Within a small space there are several possible shapes: The Futers' Fork, The Minories, The Hopwood, and as here, The Gammon End. It was proved last night that in principle that it will work... but will it be enough? The break point for me these days is that it must be able to do a two day show without me reaching for the Luger. Here some old stripped boards were used to shuffle track and plonk some buildings in to give a 3D idea of shape. All went well, but be it enough?

Sunday 16 January 2022

Tuesday 11 January 2022

End timbers

 After an exciting day tossing grenades in the RM office it's back to the LSWR van. The end bracing on the van is a pair of fairly hefty timbers. These were made from 2mm strips of 60thou which were tapered with a file. The 'vent' is odd looking to those of us brought up with the more common V-shaped block that sits on the end of most post-war designed vans and in model terms is a solid block. This is a more obvious separate cover plate and is a piece of 15thou 8.5 x 12mm welded onto the end timbers with solvent. I assume that the prototype would cover a hole or holes in the van. It's starting to take shape.

Sunday 9 January 2022

Wagon axleboxes

This is always just one step from abandonment, but I carry on and spit in the face of danger. Axleboxes and strapping complete. I got quite deft with the latter towards the end: smear of glue, place whole strip, wait 10 seconds, trim to length and shape the ends with a knife. It's not precise - I know those who would measure each part, I just checked against the photos that I now have (thanks to all who pinged me stuff) and got something similar. As always, each wagon illustrated is slightly different with variance in strapping and framing.

The axleboxes were fun. ABS castings for LBSCR items that I've had in the drawer for near on forty years. They now have a use and are near enough to make no difference. They were complete with cast W-irons so it took quite a bit of time reducing the metal and the front to back depth and enlarging the axle hole to fit over the bearing. I first fettled to fit over the fixed W-irons and then adjusted over the rocking pair to allow the compensation to work. The whole lot rolls beautifully through the Peco 75 small rads on Dury's Gap without any tweaking. Onward to the ends.

Saturday 8 January 2022

A damn good strapping

 This is turning into a real sales stand fest. The Chivers wagon now has a provenance (see comments). The Kenline strapping is underway and this itself is off a secondhand stand and I can actually pinpoint that it was the Scalefour club stand at Scaleforum. This was when it was still at Leatherhead and had an atmosphere and people through the door. As an aside I note that Aylesbury has just been voted worst town in England. I assume that this isn't linked in any way.

I thought the Kenline stuff may be too wide. It is a little fatter that the brass bits that are already on there, but it'll be OK. A quick rub with a fibre brush and a smear of super glue and it's fixed. This is real seat of the pants stuff as I have no idea whether this will end up OK and is definitely one step at a time.

Other news. As it stands there are still two shows on the horizon for the next weekend; in the south at least. Astolat near Guildford has announced that all is well but you will need a Covid neg test to get in. Bognor have been slightly quieter about things, but there was a small note on FB saying all was well and according to their web page, no test needed. Or more to the point it doesn't mention it at all. Mind you recent visits to Bognor in general suggest that they will be more interested in checking if you are Polish rather than full of Covid 19. If they turn me away it's a trip to Gaugemaster.

Friday 7 January 2022

Rescuing a brass kit

 The possible 2022 project two (keeping up at the back?). It's a semi basket case and has been at the bottom of the box for decades. The prototype is an LSWR Dia 1410 10T van which can be seen here though this is marked Dia 1406 which doesn't seem to exist even in its own reference. Looks like a 1410 to me. The kit is a Chivers RC150 which I assume is out of production and anyway has been ousted by the Cambrian plastic kit of the same... well that's what the internet do tell me.

The issue is that what you see is what there is. No more parts, no instructions. Working upwards: the bearings are easy, I have some LBSCR axleboxes which are close and the single shoe brake I can bodge. Buffers... tick. Framing: quite a bit missing and is 1mm wide with rivets. I'm thinking either some Kenline plastic in places and some 5 thou bodging in others. Wire for the handle and I may have a brass roof part.

What could be easier?

The livery is a scratch of the head. Assuming I can finish it, SR brown? Or, as the Bluebell page suggests it ran until 1955 in normal service before departmental use. This seems unlikely with the single shoe, but that's what it says. In which case it will just scrape into the Dury's Gap timeline of 55-65 in tatty BR grey, though would it have been painted? Decisions. If people have photos...

Wednesday 5 January 2022

Scrapbox wagon

 First new year project done. BR fitted van, details as per last post. I went half silly on the brake rigging and added the little square plates on the ends which were in the photo, but not on the Airfix moulding. I'm embarrassed to say I have no idea what they are for. Dockets?

On to project two which may, if I go for my first choice, be slightly slower and need a little more research than a photo in a Geoff Gamble wagon book which is what this one got.

Tuesday 4 January 2022

OO gauge wagon for under a fiver

 Just to prove that all this 'we must build' nonsense is sound, the push now is for a steady reduction in kits and bits stash for the new year.

Building up a 'possibles' stash

Anyone that has wandered into an exhibition with me will know that once the cup of tea has been located, I'll head for the club stand, the one with all the chuck outs, failed kits and the contents of dead people's cupboards. Why? Bargains. Project One is this little pile of unrelated bits: a van body (possibly a cheap Airfix or Mainline c1978) a floor and half the contents of a poly bag that contained two almost complete sets of Parkside clasp brake underframes. With the addition of a set of wheels and some bearings enough to make something. Where it all came from I can't remember, but cost no more than a couple of quid. The van body caught my eye as it was already lettered and just needs a lick of paint to finish. The result will end up on Dury's Gap as one of only a couple of fitted vehicles. There is a secondary plot forming for a second project direction for which there is a small pile. More on that later.

Hornby Terrier

 I've been pottering though this on and off for a couple of weeks. Standard Mk1 Terrier with added pipework, lamp irons, crew, cab details and vac pipes, and with the sand boxes moved from above the footplate to below as per the prototype. Mostly referenced with two colour photos of the loco at Sheffield Park and Kemp Town. Cost : £40 and time.

I like projects like this: high work to cost ratio and much more fun than buying the new Mk 2 item which has all the upgrades in place and finer wheels.

Saturday 1 January 2022

Happy New year

 Happy new year to the regular, and irregular readers.

Resolutions are toxic and I avoid them at all costs. That said directions of travel are good and some end of year reviews can be helpful to some to define this. I've had drop into my inbox this week, two independently generated assessments of the modelling year and a somewhat similar approach. This is almost bean-counter-ish with hours being logged and achievements listed. This ain't for me and is somewhat unusual , but...

I do have targets. These are are a loose frame more than exactitudes, but there is the direction of travel to consider. A few posts back I considered plans A,B and C. There are layout ideas, but nothing will stick so at least for the time being the direction is small project based. This may change of course and the reasons for this were expressed beforehand - why build exhibition layouts when there are no exhibitions?

I threw a bin load of stuff away over the week. A lot of this was space hogging packaging and there was a sort out of boxes. For someone who rarely builds locos there are a remarkable number of driving wheels in stock and a couple of rocking horse shit rare 009 chassis.  Stuff that I will never use , but am loathed to get rid of. Some stuff got a 'Gnomy tram? Somebody wants this' as it went into the bin. Model railway things are like cars, eventually it will all get thrown away. Even the classics, and I include Dovey Valley above, will be disposed of and end up in local landfill. 

It's not the models that are important, it's the time we spend creating them that is the prize.