Wednesday 21 September 2022

Peco platforms

 There was a time when I wouldn't have given the range of Peco platform parts a second glance. However, with the building of Hopwood I was honour-bound to use as much of the Peco/Ratio/Wills range as possible and aim it at the novice, so they seemed logical. I wouldn't say that this was a a road to Damascus moment, but I became aware that the rather old fashioned clip-together and paper overlay construction had a certain amount of merit and was quite adaptable. There were a lot of scraps left over and I topped this up with a further pack from a well known North-West retailer. 

The biggest physical change is to reduce the height slightly. I'm guessing that these come from the era where a strip of foam underlay was considered almost compulsory under the track, so they are slightly on the lofty side to allow for this. There are inward protrusions designed to retain the crossmembers and these were used as a guide to rest a razor saw against giving a consistent reduction of about 3mm. This brings the overall height down to a more logical buffer level.

The packs are supplied with paper overlays which I used on Hopwood here. In this case I wanted a more modern concrete facing and also a dumb end without a ramp which would have been quite rock and roll in 1980. This represents a new platform built purely for multiple units, so barrow ramps are superfluous. I'll add a set of steps and a fence/gate. I have a problem with concrete and usually end up mixing pale greys and sand to get a close colour. Here though there is quite a bit to do so Games Workshop  Screaming Skull has been used. The top is still in its natural state and will be coated with a lighter grey.

Monday 19 September 2022

The big shed

Eleven years ago on this page, I described the research and building of a cheap industrial unit for Rhiw Mk1 which can be found here . Onward to now and the rebuild and a new unit was required. As Mk2 is slightly shorter this too had to be reduced slightly and Mr. Hill took on the basic build in card and Slater's sheet. What I failed to mention was the cut outs required for the reinforcing block on the end board. The basic carcass as supplied is above.

Over the last two days it's been painted and detailed. All that it's required to do is to stop the eye at the end of the layout and to look as boring as possible, so some modern brickwork colour and the extruded sheeting in a dull cream. It would have been brand new so is very clean. The graffiti on the original ('Maggie out' was neatly cropped out by RM for fear of upsetting the readers as were the Jimmy Saville posters) tied in with the 1984/5 period of just post-strike. Now the timeline has been dragged back to 79/80 and the graffiti changed to what I remember going on at the end of my school days when half of my classmates were tripping up to Greenham Common to protest. It was pointed out that some Welsh nationalist script would be good, but the CND won out because I could spell it.

Sunday 18 September 2022

Seaboard Southern Exhibition

A lovely day for a stroll across the environs of old Crawley. The local NMRA group have a base here and their annual day is always worth a look. Not really an exhibition as such, it is quite focused, more of a members' day type of affair much beloved of the 009 Society. Half a dozen layouts representing the Americas (the inclusion of the Cuban above stretches the geography). Not a duffer amongst them though notably some were getting far more attention than others. The On30 in the side room was especially deserted, probably because nothing seemed to be running despite its size.

Trade was good and more or less what you would expect. Though there seemed to be a dearth of the useful small switchers of the 44T or S2 variety. The manufacturing side of the hobby doesn't appear to be looking at what may be popular, or maybe that's just it... it's sold out.

The catering, which is high on my agenda was a little lacking: the heavily advertised bacon and sausage baps having a 25 min wait; at lunchtime? When did you expect the demand for food? I've done a couple of catering turns at small shows in the past and would have been embarrassed at that. That aside good for a small specialist show and good to meet up with a couple of old friends.

The scores (well that's what you were waiting for)
Show 8
Parking 10 (very easy without the car)
Rucksacks 0.2
Catering 4 (three of those are for the cleavage)

Wednesday 14 September 2022

Railway Modeller N gauge

October's RM just dropped through the door. Puzzlingly I get a subscription copy sans cover text one month and a plebeian copy the next as above. Why do I mention this? Well as you ask, the three part series on the N gauge Half Acre begins in this issue starting with yet another build of Harold Cabourne's pre-cut baseboards and some track laying, all in typical Ford style with no care for any of the instructions. Go buy.
The layout itself is stacked in the back of the garage and will be winging its way to Peco on the 31st October for transfer to the stand at Warley; though I won't be standing behind it. Its fate beyond that is unknown.

In other news (there's other news at the moment?) an exhibition has popped up for 2023 (oh yes, already) at Steyning on March 12th for the final WRG show. This will now be the target to get Rhiw 2 done. Put it in your diary.


Tuesday 13 September 2022

Faversham exhibition

Is it a Kentish man or a man of Kent? Or as comedian Jonnie Casson asked, 'I don't know why people think I'm from Kent, but that's what they say when I walk past.'
Anyway, a long drive, or so it seemed, to Faversham for a jolly couple of hours amongst the men and modellers of N. Kent. Probably what we had expected: a family-aimed show with a couple of gems: above Dave Holman's latest 21mm gauge 7mm scale Irish piece which was running much better than on its debut at Uckfield, and below, Durston an article for which I had only sub-edited a week or so previously for Railway of the Month in RM in November.
There was a welcoming feel, the catering was WAG-supplied and top notch, and the only real downside was the lack of stuff for sale. Not that there weren't any traders, but around eight box shifters seemed a little excessive whether they were flogging s/h or not. As is often the case there was precious little for the modeller in the way of materials.

The scores (haven't done one of these for a while).
Show 9 (providing you accepted the family angle club show, which I did).
Catering 9 excellent lemon drizzle cake.
Parking 8.5
Rucksacks 0
All in all, pretty good for a traditional club show. I'd go again.

If you have been entertained in any shape or form please support the blog.

Saturday 10 September 2022

Saturday Ramble - Project farming

What to do and when to do it? Some modellers spend a lifetime with one firmly defined goal, others wander from one unspecified place to another. I'm probably the latter. That said, providing there is not a technical crisis or a realisation that it just won't work, I'll get to the end before moving on.  Part of this approach is project farming.

Project farming can be random, or in this case, part of a direction. This first is a simple one; fitting couplings to a van that was detailed in the junior modeller section of RM a couple months back. The the second is painting, detailing and cutting-in of the industrial unit built by Mr. Hill a while back. The block will be covered and the resulting missing part will be masked with something. The third is to sort out the remaining section of platform and then paint the whole lot.

Three seemingly random projects farmed from the cupboard which all steer toward the same end result. Breaking things up into small chunks, as is often suggested for say revising for exams, and works just as well here. The aim is not to build a layout, only to finish the project in hand. Less pressure and not a mountain to climb. We often force ourselves to bite the whole layout and see it as one giant task... it isn't. A carefully set of farmed projects with a general aim is the way to go.

If you have enjoyed this and have been in some way entertained here in the last decade or so, chip in for a coffee.


Friday 9 September 2022

Film Friday

 We all know someone like this; someone who plays just slightly against the normal consumer pattern; someone happy with a sewing machine or welding gear; someone who thinks slightly outside of the box.

This set of videos (and I suggest you peruse the whole lot) are thought provoking. 

Van is the brother of Casey, the famous and wealthy youtube film maker. You can see the same root in approach to life, but there is a subtle off-grid feel. Enjoy.

Thursday 8 September 2022

Storage for railway modelling

 'This room needs decorating'. That sounds remarkably like a line from Hancock's Narrow Gauge Adventure and may also resound across the land.  When we moved, the second bedroom was pinpointed as the modelling space/office. The problem was that it had a shower in it and was probably the most in need of work. So it quickly rose to the primary job. The shower was removed, some remedial woodwork was done and a new plan grey carpet fitted. That was eight years ago and as I virtually live in the room; more so since the pandemic PAYE period, everything had got a little tatty. Time for a freshen up.

The biggest job when decorating is often not the actual painting and cleaning bit, but the removal of all the things that are in the room. In this case it runs to a hundred or so books, all the modelling gear, layouts and computer things. The books have been thinned out somewhat, but a lot of the modelling items were put in the (airing) cupboard. I had partially taken this over, but here was a chance for a land grab. This meant some tidy stacking. The problem is that, as we know, models don't (unless you are a collector) come in endless stackable red and blue boxes, so it's very much 'the best possible fit'. I realise that I'm a) quite lucky in having this or b) unbelievably restrained in my purchasing as compared to some there is very little bought new and full price material. 

The problem that I have now is that now as it's neatly fitted in, I have to pull large chunks out to find anything. I'm pondering another thinning session and an Ebay account.

Wednesday 7 September 2022

New and old fiddle yards

Once upon a time... well around 13 years ago... a layout was begun. How do I know 13 years? Well the root, or one of the roots, can be traced back to this post here . The history and demise of the layout can easily be traced from this point, but in a nutshell, for new readers, the operation from the front didn't suit my shy, retiring character and there were a couple of technical issues. The boards subsequently became the base for the Art of Compromise which now resides with Warners (the publishing house not the holiday company). The fiddle yard lived on and grew. Not in size, but in weight due to various add-ons and a multitude of battle honour plaques and has been used since 2011 for Mr. Hill's Norwegian epic Svanda. It's a little undersized for this and the stock is carefully chosen to fit the siding length. 

Along the way the two roads at the front were removed. I forget why this was. Probably to steal the point for something. Now though they needed to be reinstated to resume the original, but hopefully smoother operating shape for Rhiw 2.

Out of the cupboard fell a small pile of Code 100 track... scraps really, but more than adequate to juggle around to suit. An hour of trimming and pinning gave me two wobbly but functional sidings which just need the isolating switches, bottom right, rewiring.