Monday 15 April 2024

Corner Pocket

A little paper planning and a few problems, well not problems so much as fairly obvious setbacks. All looks fairly good in my head until I factor in immovable objects like radiators. This doesn't add much, but width add at the bottom right bounces things at the top left. Beyond this, off scene, lies an area of possibilities, but when repeating the exercise at the opposite end, this void starts to shrink below the acceptable requirement. I had done this on Anyrail so was forewarned hence the real world measuring, plus I know from using Anyrail as the planning device for the RM Setrack plan booklet that the gap between the screen plan and reality is sometimes generous. Essentially this means that I don't think 'a' will give me what I want, but I'll leave it for a while and mull it over. There is always b and c to consider.


Saturday 13 April 2024

Project 70 (a)

 The 'a' is important. There are two possible directions post the Peco 009 which is stacked here. Firstly build a small selection of 16.5mm derived layouts with various themes. This will happen in at least a small way, but not sure to the final extent of it and this is very much dependant on exhibition invites. The second, but primary here, is something bigger, but in many ways much simpler. No name to hook it on so I'll go with that moniker for the time being. 

What you are seeing is the corner of the room directly behind me. There is a clear space of about 9' square overall. This sounds huge, but in real terms the centre of this is needed for other general life stuff so the reality is really only an area that extends around the outside. picture now the endless Shows you How small bedroom illustrations and you are sort of close to what is going on. The shelving holding the magazine files is now fixed and a batten extends around to the right as the start of the next phase, except that is really the first phase using Rhiw2 as the initial, but disposable springboard. In essence I am returning to something I've not done since my teens - building a trainset. There is much to consider and I am still at the 'this may not work' stage.

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Thursday 11 April 2024

Do we need magazines?


Again, the mention of Swedish Death Cleaning in the last post got some reaction, not quite as much as the book ripping which got the predictable Nazis and Salman Rushdie mentions. This has got nothing to do with railways, model or otherwise, but does lead me to a question, the one at the top. I know at least two people with huge collections of magazines - whole collections in some areas. This would now be regarded as an 'old people' thing in many quarters. Not in a disparaging way, but in that we have moved on during this century. When I launched SRI a few years ago I was informed that 'print media is dead' and as much as it pains me to agree being a lover of paper stuff, as a populous, it is true. The purchase of magazines or newspapers is looked upon by anyone under 40 as slightly quaint. For example my step children, all born post 1985, don't own a book between them, don't own CDs or any hard form music, don't buy newsprint in any form and... this is important... lead far more vibrant lives than most of the people who are now arguing in their heads. Yes you could argue that if the internet goes off you can't access stuff, but the same would be true of the tills in Smiths, so that is fairly universal. We long stopped using coins and wooden drawer cash tills to facilitate the purchase of magazines. I reckon we have about 10 years before the fall in print makes it unsustainable in hard form. Books are slightly different and Kindles haven't really taken off, but any charity shop will tell you that they have more books coming in (mainly from over 60s) than they could ever shift. If you think that these don't get pulped or landfilled, then you are delusional. People are still buying new, but the second hand market is all but gone. 

If you add all this up, it explains my thinking about getting rid of stuff now and the way that some of this is being done. 

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Saturday Ramble: The last 009 in the shop.

 This may be a quite momentous post, or one that time will reveal to be a complete waste of internet paper. And, as various internet memes are so fond of advising - don't overshare. Though as I've been doing just that here for well over a decade, it seems churlish to reverse at this juncture. Birthdays and new years are often points to reflect about what has gone before and what we hope may happen in the future. This can take many forms and I started noodling about this in a post earlier in the year, followed by the both contentious and popular post on Swedish Death Cleaning. This later point is well underway and I have thrown no small amount of stuff into the recycling bin and into the landfill, some of which has not gone down too well in certain corners. Apparently you cannot rip books up and recycle as you would a newspaper. Though why this should be so baffles me... it's just paper. I'd reduced all the magazines down to file pockets/ ring files some time back and now I am re-sifting through these again, though this is slow going. If that is the backward look then the forward look is also effectively backward. The photo is a hint at that and is of course a length of 44 x 18mm batten screwed to a wall. The anaglypta paper is the old dodge to cover a less than flat wall which may well be the original  plastering carried out by Stevie Wonder; the floor is my next problem. This suggests permanence though regulars will note that I have been here before and there is still much to decide, though I find that I get more done by starting something than over-planning. Much of the thinking here is influenced by that very common emotion of looking back at childhood. I for one find the older lady/teddy bear fixation  (a-la the Repair Shop) somewhat puke inducing though I am certain that the equivalent male and Tri-ang/HD is just as bad if not worse. It is this mindset that I find myself leaning. Not exclusively I may add, and there are other factors at play, but this is definitely a direction of travel.

Returning to the backward look; any 009 that I have is now effectively up for grabs especially post the first week of June. All of it. Anything that you've seen here that I still have is on offer including the arm-twist layout Seething. I may put a list up on here should anyone be interested. Contact via the profile page should you have questions. 

And to the army of visitors from the Chinese government, 欢迎 

Thursday 4 April 2024

Wyatt slate fencing

 Back through the mists of time; well 1979 to be precise, the iconic Dovey Valley appeared in RM over two issues. One of these contained a method of constructing slate waste slab fencing using plastic sheet. This has been used by 009-ers ever since with a couple of slight variations and I've tried most of these. Here on the Peco epic Trefach, 20 thou black plasticard is the material. This has been given a coat of Humbrol 29 followed by coach roof grey. The latter unmixed to give some colour variation. Alternatives are to sand the plastic to break the surface to a grey or possibly to use card which was the method 25 years ago with Wood End. All have their pluses and minuses, but all fall into the 'tedious, but worth the effort' bracket of model making. I've done over 9'  of this on this project and still not finished yet.

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Monday 1 April 2024

Farewell Miles and Susan

As a start to the great 009 disposal I've waved goodbye to Mr and Mrs Bevan. Built using some scrap Chivers w/m kit parts and a few bits of plastic on Ibertren cuckoo chassis they have merrily trundles around all the last decade's 009 layouts and featured heavily in the RM article on Tal-coed. Now resident in the North West they are apparently to be re-motored and I'm guessing some new crew. Be interesting to see how that turns out.
This is just the start - it's all going. 


Sunday 31 March 2024

Grass at last

 It would have been stupid to think that this was going to be a quick project, but my inability to play the game and therefore not build things at they were intended or to take the easy road has slowed things to a crawl. This has not been improved by making the decision to drift toward mid-Wales styling and incorporating some slate slab fencing. I've done this before so no prizes for forward thinking as I know how time consuming it is. As I'd finished roughly 25% of it (visible here) a morale boost was needed and I thought I'd get the first section of open land up to the buildings covered with fluff of various types. This has been worthwhile and has given an indication of how the rest of the layout will look. The barn pictured is a case in point of how work has been added (and farmed out) with not only a new slate roof replacing the stone version included in the kit, but also bargeboards and guttering which weren't. Still recognisable as the Wills kit, but different. The centre area is undeveloped and will include the new Peco Tan-y-bwlch station building kit, but not as they intended (natch) and masquerading as a cottage which is basically what the prototype was/is. This is the last building to be done, that is after the row of stone cottages have been roofed. April on Monday; I have two months.

In other news: the usual hit rate for this page is still skewed after a week for huge amounts of traffic from Hong Kong. What this indicates exactly I don't know, but it's unlikely to be legitimate interest, so please go away.

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Monday 18 March 2024

East Grinstead show


Another free Sunday and with the M25 closed there was no way I was going to attempt going to Ally Pally... not that I wanted to. So just a hop and a skip up the road to East Grinstead. The website didn't look promising with the traders listed first (but then this is run by a trader) and no less than six narrow gauge layouts. I'm a long term NG fan, but this looked a tad unbalanced. No need to worry though as the vibe had been retained and there was some lovely modelling and plenty to buy should you have needed anything. Though a chat with an inside source suggested that while it was busy, people were keeping their wallets closed. This may have a knock on effect for next year, though I didn't really help matters that much with little more than the entry and tea paid for. All in all quite an inspiring couple of hours with a huge amount of chat and the usual onward discussions.

Exhibition: 8

Parking: 9


Rucksacks: 0

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Saturday 16 March 2024

Saturday Ramble

In a moment of madness I set Seething up  a) to give it a run, but b) to set the fiddle yard support leg which I'd forgotten to attach. This needed a couple of 6mm holes drilled which took minutes, but the ensuing testing session took a little longer and turned into a bit of a loco service trip, the way that these things often do. The quick set-up for the boards was on the floor; so not ideal, but I found myself feeling that I'd been here before. This was after running the Norwegian at the weekend so perhaps a little case of extremes, but here I was with a FY to BLT layout in 009 built because it was quick. This exercise threw up the usual questions.

As previously mentioned Seething wasn't planned but was the result of some arm twisting from two people. The positives are are few days with friends and the use of a couple of buildings that were in the cupboard. The negative (singular) is that here I am with yet another small 009 BLT. If you peruse the tabs at the top of the page you will notice that this is a worn route; so much so that I'm not sure that I want to do it either now or at any time in the future. It's done, stick a fork in it.

There is another side angle that niggles me and I'm not pointing any fingers, but while I've always tried for the believable freelance route there has been a vast upshot in RTR 009 which plays against this. So much so that the current Peco layout build is designed to only work with FR gauged stock - anything else gets the chimneys knocked off. The new RTR is so good that even the most ardent 'modellers' can't resist it and it's getting a little same-y. This in respect to the endless GWR BLT style layouts with slate trains, and quarry Hunslets pulling L&B coaches - you get the drift. The individuality has all but gone. There are many exceptions of course, but bulk of 009 layouts seen at shows in recent times fall into this style. Thus the above layout is purely kits and bashes - no RTR. This also means that I am probably ready to move on from 009 for good. and will start off-loading stock in due course. What will replace this? Well there are a couple of short term ideas and a concept in mind, but this may well lean toward some very backward looking activity.

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Monday 11 March 2024

Wealden Railway Group exhibition 2024

In an unusually rash bout of being organised, a few thoughts on the Steyning show. In short; excellent (no marking as I'm not hitting this from a punter angle). The general thrust is that of small personal layouts and steers away from the usual club epics and box shifters giving a very different feel. It's more about chat and ideas rather than the impressive 'don't touch sonny' that some exhibitions promote. No doubt that Mr. Campbell will provide some photos on his blog to your right in due course, as he was also showing with the gorgeous 009 Hexworthy. For me the highlights were possibly well worn - Giles Barnabe's Shellsea, and Pete Bossom's Bulverhythe (now under Paul Hopkins' stewardship). Both mostly for the buildings; Giles above for probably the best example of how to take a flat piece of thin card print and turn it into a wonderful heavyweight brick warehouse. Among the many chats across the layout was the (below) remarkable 3mm scale GWR brake produced by Mike Davey. Not  a commercial operation and in his words, he is still on the learning curve, but it shows what is possible and how it can open up a whole new vista for the modeller. 

Svanda performed in its usual near perfect manner, with only operator (mostly me) error causing problems. With two exhibition enquiries forthcoming, the 'different' NSB Nohab powered train rolls onward despite now being noticeably heavier than more recent layouts. 
The WRG shows driven by Andrew Knights (with visitors from Glasgow yesterday) are a bright light proving how how the hobby is not dying, and while the RTR wibblers that hang around the forums complaining may be down in the dumps, there is a real passionate undercurrent of actual modelling just under the surface unencumbered and unaffected by industry comings and goings. Long may this little piece of flag-waving for it continue.

Tuesday 5 March 2024

Svanda goods shed fit

The new goods shed for Svanda all fitted and bedded-in. This has made a remarkable difference to this end of the layout by opening it up visually. Which considering that the building is 20% larger than the old one is a surprise. There is a casual refurb underway now with new road surfaces and hopefully the addition of some new trees and newer scenic covering. This is being fitted in around the epic Peco 009 build of which more in due course. In the meantime don't forget that the above will be at the below this Sunday.


Saturday 2 March 2024

Saturday Ramble: More death and disposal


One of the more controversial posts here of late has been the Swedish Death Cleaning proposal. Not only has this received a sensible number of hits, but has made me and others consider what we may be doing and in some cases it has generated a bit of a backlash. I suppose my thinking is for me (and suggest to others)  to question the what's and whys of where the hobby is going. This in conjunction with considering how we deal with this on a personal level.
This is all with the background chatter of the demise of Hattons and the Warley show shenanigans among other trials and tribulations. I'm far from saying (as some in the forum-sphere) that this is the end of the hobby as even of late the fairly buoyant atmosphere at the Southampton show would suggest that we are far from being on the bones of our arses. There is however a subtle shift in play and my own feeling is that this is not unconnected with cost considerations. So if that's the hobby as a whole, where does that leave me? Well relatively untouched it would seem; my actual modelling in the very short term is funded by someone else (although we are certainly into piper and tune territory) and I have plenty of things in the cupboard. And there's the rub right there; we are back to the opening sentence.
What I am definitely aiming for is an empty cupboard - well not so much empty as completed. The aim... is not to buy anything else, only in regard to finishing things off. Though the wheels may come off that point fairly quickly. The forward motion is very much one of a series of small-ish projects that would be easily completed and would be centred around using what is in hand with the afore mentioned 'only buying to complete' and not buying for a new project. These may form into an idea which has been well documented on these pages and is also fairly close to a certain local modeller's recent system. 
In a nutshell: use the general concept of the AotC (6 x 1' layout with a common new FY) and construct a series of home/exhibition pieces at the rate of one per year which would probably see me either retired or in a wooden box  - delete as appropriate. We are into the 'pills for life' gag as there are really only about five or so possible ideas. This is at present just possible forward move (there is much to clear from the bench first) I may just call the exhibition layouts and make sheds from Wills sheet from now on or build a proper train set.

Friday 1 March 2024

Dublo Minories


You know how I feel about this. There are two parts and a lot more behind it.

Tuesday 27 February 2024

IR quietly returns

 A little pointer came my way earlier in the form of a web link. Mr. R. has a habit of quietly wandering off from the interweb and then just as quietly wandering back, and so it is here. Easily the most influential proper modeller of my youth, he still grabs my attention. Forget all the so-called 'modelling' that comes in blue and red boxes from China and the blow-ins. If you want the real deal, go to the source.

Monday 26 February 2024

A new shed for Svanda


A final push has seen the new goods shed finished. Rather clean for my liking, but the prototype photos show a very spick and span building - very Scandinavian I suppose. I am as always  on these occasions, only responsible for the final layer and the build is pure Mr. Hill with his liking for not wasting a scrap of plastic. Unusually I can't detect any CD or cassette case material in here, but is does include most other possible bits and pieces. The final coat being a mix of Humbrol and artist acrylics. Fitting will hopefully take place in the next 24 hours in time for the Steyning exhibition on the 10th.

Wednesday 21 February 2024

Too much to do?

 I find myself in the position of too much to do at the moment, to the point where I spent near on12 hours standing today working on the 009 project. Bliss some would say, but only from the position of having a choice. There is a 16t mineral on the bench which is headed for Rhiw2 that needs finishing, not to mention a runner wagon conversion promised for an RM Junior Modeller piece that hasn't even been started. That's without the small pile of book reviews to work through and the goods shed for Svanda which needs to be done ASAP. So why did I spend a couple of hours on the above? Simple answer is that I happened upon  a handful of sack mouldings in a tobacco tin while I was looking for something else and quickly decided that there was just enough to form some loads for the three 009 Society wagons purchased at Statfold last year. This now means that they are ready for the Beccles show in June, but now I have to make up some couplings... and so it goes on. 

Monday 12 February 2024

Tenterden show


This is one that I make a point of going to, despite...

Compared to some of the other shows in the South, i.e. some visited in the last few weeks it is, some would say, a bit of a poor contender. The feel is very old style and the exhibits are a bit iffy in places, not to mention a bit thin on the ground in two rooms. Why the effort to go then? Not this time, but it is minutes away from the KESR, so a train ride can be factored in, but I find the show strangely appealing. Not least as whilst there are a couple of major box shifters, the accent is on smaller dealers often loaded with second-hand and rummage boxes full of old Tri-ang and the like. Regulars will immediately get the attraction. If you are a scratch/kit-basher like me there is a wealth of material here at low prices. In the end the haul was some cheap Wills sheet and viaduct bits, a wagon and putty, though there was much I walked away from as tempting though it was, I have to keep the rein tight and only buy for specific projects. 

Show: 5

Parking 10

Trade 10

Catering 6

Saturday 10 February 2024

Svanda Gods shed redux

Our Mr. Hill has never been happy with the goods shed on Svanda citing it as non typical. So some thirteen years after the layout was built, a new plasticard structure has emerged from the workbench of the same gentleman.  Based on the extant shed at Mael it is somewhat larger, but lacks the platform of the original. The removal of the platform was somewhat problematic, but once gone it was a fairly simple operation to realign the road surface and get rid of the original flock surface and replace with what I think is chinchilla dust and some static grass.


Wednesday 7 February 2024

Svanda at Steyning

Great little show with different stuff and lots of chat. Svanda appearing. Do come and say hello. 

Note to Mr Hill: this is four weeks away.


Tuesday 6 February 2024

009 groundwork

 Getting some ground shape in place is always a good thing especially when the the picture in your head is in the lumpy side and you are staring at a flat board. The back boards had been cut quite a while back as part of the baseboard building process and these were painted and fixed using some enormous screws. With a bit of profiling at the ends, the shape could go in using... a shoebox. Well what else would you use? I always return to the root of Ahern and Freezer in these matters and this lightweight packing card is strong and more importantly, light to lift. The signature boy on the bridge is waiting to be fixed in place.
I'm gradually getting to like this one even though I've got almost no suitable stock to run on it. That however is not the driving force behind it. 

Friday 2 February 2024

Seething jobs

 While the Peco grand epic is at the present the day job, odd fifteen minutes here and there are being put to use on a few round tuit jobs on Seething. Although the deadline is more or less the same, this is by far the more advanced but the little bits and pieces are getting ignored. Therefore, this week an effort to do things. The three in view here were repair the vac pipe on the bogie flat wagon, add a length of chain to same and put a set of Greenwich couplings on the GVT loco. These have both been around a while: the former built for the Small NG book, the later for the Welsh (both visible to your right). The horse and cart in the foreground, or more accurately the cart (from Dart Castings) was the only item purchased specially for the project, the rest coming from the 'one day' cupboard. The horse is another story which I may return to.

All of this will be visible at the Norfolk & Suffolk 009 member's day on June 1st for its first and final showing.

Tuesday 30 January 2024

Eastleigh show

Like Goldilocks' porridge this is just right. The Southampton club have a reputation for turning out a good show and this was no exception. The exhibition manager has changed since my last visit, though if I didn't know that I wouldn't have noticed. The usual medium to high quality mix of layouts with a lean toward the finescale on one hand, but enough to keep a general family audience entertained. Trade was a good mix with not too many pure box shifters. Good to see a stand of ABS bits back on the scene and the ever expanding H&A Models who took a little money off me.

Strangely my only issue was with food, but because the servings were a little heavy handed, and not because of quality, and the staff in this area were super friendly... unlike a rival show just down the road (maybe it's a scummers and skates thing. If you know, you know).

Show 10

Catering 8

Rucksacks 2


Sunday 21 January 2024

Squeaky bridge

 One of the boxes to tick on the Peco epic (I must settle on a name) was to make it generic and yet as un-generic as possible; and that it would use the brace of FR RTR that is now available. One of my pet peeves is the current crop of what are essentially narrow gauge GWR branch lines but running all the RTR small Welsh stock. If it was going to be an FR inspired layout, it had to look as though the loading gauge demanded the stock's styling. This meant some drastic chopping and would definitely preclude all the 'large Welsh' stock that will undoubtedly turn up, not to mention the Heljan L&B locos. The longest stock would be the Peco FR Bowsiders; here some pre-production items from the hand that designed them.

Some testing  with a Bachmann Dolgoch which just scrapes under the loading gauge and the FR coaches. All looks well thus far. What will be required is some proper stock for it.

Saturday 20 January 2024

Back to the 009

 Various other life issues have slowed the return back to the Peco 009 layout build, not to mention a rush brace of book review that were requested for the same company. It's like I never left. Some serious forward planning was required and with a couple of things jotted down, I settled on getting the tunnel mouths installed. These are the Peco NR15 humped bridge sides which will in fact allow for a FR Bowsider to clear even on a 9" radius curve. As opposed to the proper curved tunnel mouths in the same range which cut in too much at the foot. Kudos to Dick Wyatt as always for using these on Dovey Valley and pointing the way. The problem was that they were too bridge-y, so some butchery with a razor saw and a Stanley knife got them into constituent parts and with the addition of the matching stone sheet a squat square portal was created. 

Wednesday 10 January 2024



On Monday night almost everyone in the known universe (or so it seemed) had an email from Hattons. This in itself was not unusual, but the information contained in it was a bit of a surprise. I'm not in the habit of perusing RMweb and the like, but I can imagine that the people who buy lots of stuff will be up in arms and scrambling for an alternative pusher.

Interestingly, included in the reasons given on the website are 'changing demographic' and Brexit. Or are we at peak price now and people are saying 'I really think that £300 for a DMU is too much?'

Quite honestly a toss I do not give. It's a shop. The population as a whole would say toy shop and if you really dig down deep they'd be absolutely correct. Disregarding the history (and there is a little of this over on Phil's page) they have been of late the king of box shifters with a token shop front bolted onto a warehouse full of racking. So let's flip this around for a minute. In recent times, and by this I mean the last 20-30 years, people have endlessly bemoaned the demise of the local model shop and that wonder word... service. But then, happily pick up the phone to save £5 and order the item they desire from Hattons/Kernow et al, the ones with the big ads in the magazines. Result: these do well and the one-man-band local shops disappear. Will this change things? No, because this business will be picked up by Olivias/TMC/Cheltenham/Kernow and it will all be the same next month. The losers as ever will be the smaller retailers and the magazine advertising receipts.

Keep calm and carry on. Maybe Railmatch will return.

Thursday 4 January 2024

January thinking


And so to opening again. I closed for the usual annual oh no it's not season. Either no one comes here anymore or everyone sussed this and (this time) didn't moan about it. TBH I did consider closing for good, but after six weeks of not touching a keyboard I needed something to get my fingers moving again. 

So what now? Primary is to move quickly on with the Peco 009 build. This has laid moribund for the period and I now find myself wondering what the hell I was doing before the break and what it was that I'd planned to do next. The secondary is a more general thought pattern of what comes after that. There are only two shows this year (100% up on last) but one of those is more of a weekend away with mates with a 009 Society members day shoe-horned into the middle, so may not count. Much of this centres around June, nicely halfway and the forward thinking is for beyond that. Bisecting this is the WRG bash in March where Svanda will spring into life with upgrades by Mr. Hill (10 weeks, no pressure). All that aside, there is the usual day-jobby things of hitting bits of plastic and a little teaching. 

The forward thinking post June is a recycled idea and ties very much to the questions in the post below this. The idea is remarkably similar to a certain local gentleman's past efforts and while I am sharply aware of this, I am also aware that I lack his outside box design thinking so there will be considerable differences.
With fingers woken up …. onward.