Thursday 27 October 2022

Jolly nice bumps

 One of the features of Rhiw Mk 1 was the lifted down line. This was often remarked upon, and the usual comment was that it wasn't done very frequently and if it was, it was just plain ballast. It was decided to do this again and go the whole hog and do the entire length of the layout. The effect, and it is extremely subtle, is to create the bumps left when sleepers are removed and the undulations of the ballast around them remains. Modelling is simple, though not the most exciting thing to do and is just 32mm lengths of thin card laid where the track would have been at roughly 3.5mm intervals. The whole lot is then covered with a ballast mix creating an almost imperceptible ridged effect.

Wednesday 26 October 2022

Starting in Scale OO


A couple of posts back I mentioned referencing a long-owned book. I've had it so long that I got the title wrong. More on that in a mo. The publication date is 1965 and this edition is marked  as 1968 though I'm guessing two things: 1) it's a new cover to take in decimalisation and 2) I bought it in 1974 or thereabouts. Even then it was very dated: the photos are mostly from the Cyril Freezer catalogue and represent 1950s modelling more than the 70s. However taking that into consideration, there were (and are) one or two inspiring shots included and much of the text is good solid stuff, though obviously long pre-DCC. The title reflects how we vocalise the scales and gauges now. The Gay Joe Guild while retaining the title must have long given up in favour of O gauge and so it was here – Starting in Scale OO has long morphed into OO gauge; probably even before I bought my copy.

The golddust is the set of  standards on the inside cover and this gets looked at often including in the last couple of days vis-a-vis walling. It has of course been superseded most recently by Peco's big A4 bookazine style guide which is packed with a lot more in the way of track plans and constructional bits; not to mention a picture of David Malton (surely worth the cover price alone). However, despite having a copy of this I can't remember grabbing it to find something out, as good as it is. The price of £7 is probably comparable to the 25p of the older book and is half an inch thicker. Charm and inspiration? Can't touch it.
Starting in Scale OO  is still around secondhand and if only for the standards table and the 4" nails holding the signal box up (thanks to Mr. Hill for pointing that out) it's worth getting a copy.

Tuesday 25 October 2022

Painting the wall.


The first section all done.The paint was applied pretty dry using one of those cheap nasty flat Chinese brushes; the ones you get in The Works @ £1.99 for six. A few stones are picked out in orange, then the trick is to work the colours in opposing diagonals so that the paint doesn't get into the joints, but just sticks to the stone's surface. The dirt in the form of German Grey is then applied in upward strokes working more underneath the capping. I can't remember where I picked this up – possibly Mr. Rice again. The water runs are green, overlaid with some pale grey. Five colours in all 62, 29, 67, 64 and 78 if you are working in Humbrol. Probably Elf Excrement, Dragon Spit and Ground Dwarf bones if you prefer  Games Workshop tones.

Just another three feet to go...

Go on, you know it's worth it.

Monday 24 October 2022

Wills walling


Probably the most useful of the Wills sheets; well in this neck of the woods anyway. There was a little left over from the O gauge layout (and there's the useful right there) but with a little shy of three feet to do, I had to splash out on another couple of packs. Not a quick job and hardly a fascinating one either, especially the endless capping. Each panel is built up at the rear with a carcass of cardboard to space it away from the backscene and to create the required 10 deg. batter as laid out in the table at the back of Starting in OO gauge. A copy of which is never far away. Now the equally long job of painting it all.

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Friday 21 October 2022

More French


Done bar the painting. Slightly out of my usual geographical sphere, but why not? The Wills lozenge tile sheets, for which this is a demo of/for, appear to be thinner than the previous products, though checking these against a slate sheet proves otherwise. This suggests that the thickness is being reduced across the range, thus throwing out the usual complaint against them. Everything except the roof is fundamentally left-overs and scrap bits, so zero cost. I don't actually have a use for this, but it is a pretty generic western Europe style, so it'll get used somewhere.

Thursday 20 October 2022

Something French

With 'issues of a technical nature' floating around me, it was time to return to the French building. All slightly vague but inspired by some photos in the July '92 copy of CM (the rustling sound you can hear is those with archives looking for this magazine).

The reasoning behind this was to try the new Wills lozenge tiles. The size needed to be small, as to not to over do it, with a simple pitched roof. This was started a while back then other stuff popped up and it got put on the back burner.

The walls are Wills render and the window is a cut down unit from the Peco N gauge engine shed leftovers. The quoins are cut and wrapped 10 thou plastic. The dimensions are taken from the unhelpful 3/4 views and some HO scale scrap drawings of the door and window. The door is a puzzle and seems to be remarkably tall for HO, however I have persevered. The finished carcass looks to be a little short in length, but as I said...inspired.

Tuesday 18 October 2022

Uckfield exhibition


Despite the danger of repeating the report from last year's bash, t'was a good show. In essence it is designed and planned to be a mini finescale show; not in that there is a lot of P4 or S7, but more of the sheer quality. With maybe one exception, you could pick any one of the exhibits and at any other event it would be your pick of the day. Here, you were spoilt. Good friends of David Bickerton's, the Gravetts were in attendance and were probably getting on a little better than the photo appears to show, with the new mini Pempoul. Tim Ticknell was reluctant with something 'built for specialist NG shows'. OK, but perfect anyway.

A favourite is Hembourne, which you can see much more of in other web places, is possibly the AotC done to its ultimate, though the LBSCR layout above seemed to have a major operating flaw in that it was front op', 3-links and all uncoupling carried out behind the fragile station building. Beautiful, but looked awkward.

Uckfield is undoubtedly the best show in the area, though don't tell Adrian that. The finescale element meant that the rucksack count was high and irritating; a packed show and bulky bags don't mix. Parking is a doddle. Put it in your diary for next year.

More pics on Mr. Campbell's blog to your right.

Show 9.5

Catering 8

Rucksacks (generally following the finescale/sandwiches link) 7

Parking 10

Wednesday 12 October 2022

Saturday Ramble: Hornby TT :120

 Well, there's a funny thing. As I sit on the chair that I do I've been slightly ahead of the curve of both the Peco and Hornby announcements. This has given me a chance to ponder it for a while. My first reaction on the Peco entry a while back was 'OK, where's the loco?' Wagons buildings and track are one thing, but without some power, a trainset you do not have. There is the Gaugemaster Euro-Class 66 lurking in the shadows of the website. Is this available? If so, no one is talking about it. Then we have the disconnect between the two announcements and you quickly get into conspiracy theories. Finally, there is the latest announcement from Heljan saying that they are pulling out of the idea as Hornby have stolen their thunder and duplicated. Well, we've been here before with Terriers et al, as we have had the website-only purchase game.

Industry shenanigans aside, is it viable idea? If you look at the longer term picture then it probably is. N gauge is often seen as a bit too small and this is a wee bit up at 1:120 (2.54mm-1') as opposed to 1:148 (2 1/16th mm -1'). That doesn't seem like much in linear terms, but is quite a visual jump. Then there is the 3mm angle with its root in Tri-ang TT and a healthy half a century old support society. The folk there that I know are robustly pissed off and feel completely slighted. I tend to agree, but there are two bits of thinking which will have affected the decision not to go 3mm/ 1:100.

Firstly there is the, unseen by most British eyes, large Germanic/Euro market (what, we are still talking to Europeans?! Green pens at the ready). Here, the tradition is 1:120 on 12mm track and it can't be beyond most people to see that there is a commercial eye on this. Linked to this vis-a-vis 3mm is the question of the triple possibilities of gauge: The die-hards using 12mm, the two people using 13.5mm and the newer and growing rapidly finescale breed on 14.2mm. If the companies pick one it'll piss all the others off. Better to be even-handed and piss them all off. The upshot is that the 12mm boys have just been handed a range of super-detailed off-the-shelf track. And don't tell me that they're not going to buy it.

My conclusion is that it'll all settle down and in five years it will have taken off or sunk without trace. It's going to be black and white and probably dependant on whether Hornby decide that it is worth carrying on with. If not, we'll have Tri-ang TT Mk2. If the range can grow and form into some sort of logical lump which at the moment it doesn't, looking like a completely random selection of non-compatable items, then it'll work. We shall see.

Tuesday 11 October 2022

What did Iain Rice ever do for me?


Well quite a bit really.

Unlike many others on the net in the last few days I'm not going to regale you with all the deep conversations I had with Iain, and there's good reason for that... there weren't any. Sure I espied him from time to time at some of the finescale type shows, but that was it. The influence (and it is a huge influence) was via the one.

This one was at the much missed Heathfield shows. Not being brought up with the Constructor I didn't know who he was, but he was billed to give a talk with Bob Barlow (also not known) on light railways. I'm not usually drawn to talks. However this one I sat through and was completely inspired and fascinated. I was one above track mat level at that point, and in 40 minutes it changed everything. Seriously everything. I bought books, found these magical light railways, discovered narrow gauge and started modelling in 009. 

I bought the 1990s layout design book, swallowed it virtually wholesale, and was still using the Ullysses design of board support up to Wood End in the early 2000s. Then there were the wagon books: both RTR and kit built. Sensible pragmatic advice on how to improve things. Then MORRIL which was a bit hit and miss, but with Rice-ian writing that engaged and drew you in.

Would I have ever been the modeller that I am? Without Iain Rice? Completely and categorically no.

Monday 10 October 2022

Farnham exhibition

For the second year running a trip to the Farnham show. Aside from a slight issue with getting parked whereby I took it upon myself to park in the logical space rather than wait for someone else's brain to kick in, a very good day.
There wasn't a bad layout in the entire show; the exhibition hits a middle audience, perhaps leaning toward the finescale, and was spread out over five rooms. This meant that despite being told 'we've had our best Sunday ever' by the club, the place didn't feel crowded. There were a lot of people to talk to and connections were made including brief chats with Phil Parker (who was photographing for BRM) graphic artist and fellow Peco-ite Steve Croucher who was operating Modbury and a hook up with the chap that bought Unnycoombe, which is still going strong. The catering was friendly, well-stocked and slickly-served and there was a generally happy buzz around the place. Although I'd mainly gone to see Canada Street (above) the whole day (and it was the whole day) was very enjoyable. This really is the one to beat.

The scores (I know this is the important bit)
Exhibition 10
Catering 10
Rucksacks 4
Parking 1

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Friday 7 October 2022

Half Acre N gauge


Ph: Craig Tiley
As you may or may not have noticed, the long drawn out and marginally frustrating Half Acre build is now running in RM with the final instalment in the December '22 issue. It will also be appearing at the Warley show although without me behind it. To tie up with this, a new page tag has appeared at the top of this page with a couple of shots taken by the Ed. along with the RM track plan.

Its future was discussed yesterday at a local level, the upshot of which is that if Peco don't want it, it will be probably be up for grabs at some point. In other words I don't want to keep it.

Tuesday 4 October 2022

16 ton coal

All done with the expected light corrosion thrown in. There are all sorts of issues with this once you start digging (aren't there always?) in that all the examples that I pointed you towards on Paul Bartlett's site differ very slightly from this. Did you notice? No? That's good then. A quick look at the supporting text in the Peco catalogue which I keep on my person at all times day and night, appears to fudge the issue a little and even the original Parkside instructions don't actually state that it's a diagram 1/099. Though with the 10'wb there isn't much else that it could be as all the other 'standard' dia 1/108s (as per the Airfix) are 9'. Answers to the usual address on a five-pound note please.

Speaking of the people in darkest Devon, I have now completed two years of remotely pushing commas around in RM articles, and my time will draw to a close at the end of the month. It's been fun, occasionally hair-pulling, but now a return to my old pretending-to-work freelance life. Though it has been pointed out that Peco is a little like Hotel California; you can check out any time you like...     It' isn't quite falling off a cliff as publishing schedules being what they are, I'm currently working on the December issue, there will be bits of my sticky-fingered sub-editing appearing into the new year and even some well-polished photos in the January CM. I'm sure the population will be thankful for the sudden drop in semi-colons in 2023.

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Sunday 2 October 2022

Holiday wagon

A longish weekend to the west country needs something to pick up at the odd moments when Mrs F. is watching something dreadful on the TV. In this case Rhiw 2 is in need of several late-period 16 tonners of which I had one in stock. This is the Parkside PC19 kit of a 1975 build Dia 1/099 which has been around for decades now. Essentially this is a standard 16-ton shape with a vac-fitted 10' wb as opposed to the even older Dapol/Airfix 9'.

As with all Parkside kits the body is good, but the chassis mouldings are a bit of a curate's egg, seemingly in a softer black plastic and less crisp. In most cases I would replace the buffer heads at least. Here though, far from the spares box, I made do with the supplied parts. Breakages are likely and if you get through the build without losing one of the axlebox tiebars then you've done pretty well. I didn't and the unseen one has been replaced with plastic strip. The eight gusset plates are awful, and I've replaced most with some plastic sheet bits which was quicker than trying to make the supplied parts work.

This suggests that the kit is crap... it isn't, just that there are a couple of things that can be improved. Peco now supply this with transfers so even better. Half a dozen similar ones to buy and build.

Piccys of the real thing here.