Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bought at warley

I did manage to purchase a few bits at Warley, some of which are likely to return as Christmas or birthday (only a few days away!) presents....

Firstly, I purchased a better model of the tamper shed (container). Here is an image when it arrived and before the COSCO branding was painted over. It is plain grey now.

So, it was good to see that dapol have brought out a very similar container indeed, pictured below. I had to buy the uninspiring red one too, but I'm sure my brother can make use of this as he got himself a DCC sound equipped class 66 at the show too.

I also got myself a bachrus rolling road ( image below) which allows you to operate a locomotive, run it in and test it on the rollers. It is certainly more compact than a circle of track! The rollers take the voltage from a piece of track set underneath. There are also add on sets of more rollers and also stirrups for holding pony trucks, tenders and the like.

MRC/gaugemaster have also launched their new PC interface for the prodigy advance squared. I purchased one of these and you can download the software online here.

This not only allows you to act as an extra cab (with two separate sets of controls), but also to easily program decoders. There is a CV blaster section where you can set a whole load of CVs with a few clicks and upload them to the decoder at once. There are also easier interfaces to set up routes or consists and even manage the stack of 25 addresses that the system can store quickly for easy recall.

Lastly, I picked up a cheap N gauge 08 from the Bachmann stand. At £35 this was a snip over the normal £50+ for these models. This will be used as an outside frame chassis for Beddgelert, the scratchbuilt body that I purchased off ebay recently. I will just need to sort out the slidebars and connecting rods. I have the rear bogie already too. For a lovely side view of this lovely engine, see here.

Somehow I managed to avoid purchasing more tools, how I do not know as I wanted to pick up a diamond cut-off disc and a fat fibreglass brush. Oh well, there's always ebay.

Monday, November 23, 2009


The interesting way in which County Gate uses fixed consists has got me thinking. One of my main worries about using 009 is to do with reliability of running. 009 allows me to model far more of Rhyd Ddu than would ever be possible in 7mm, or even 5.5mm and also allows me to show the trains in their scenic setting. Running is its Achilles heel usually. There are many ways that running can be improved such as:

- Making sure the trackwork is top notch paying particular attention to check rail clearances and board joins.

- Making sure that electrical feeds are introduced more often than strictly necessary to give some redundancy

- Ensuring the track is clean

- Ensuring loco wheels are clean

- Building chassis that are dead square so all wheels are in contact with the railhead at all times

- Running in locos

- Installing flywheels and using the ‘jump start’ feature in many decoders

- Installing extra weight over the driven wheels to keep them from lifting off the track and to help adhesion generally.

- Ensuring locos are balanced and don’t have a tendency to pitch.

- Using modern mechanisms with quality motors and gearboxes.

And for the majority of the time the above will work… but even if I manage to do the above I am still concerned that locos with just two pairs of wheels picking up are prone to unreliability.

So the locos I am concerned about are:

- Prince – using a 0-4-0 ibertren, which I despise anyway due to its deep flanges. A better kit is available from Mercian.

- Upnor Castle on an 4wh bullant with mashima

- Conwy Castle an 4wh bullant with mashima

- Blanche - using a 0-4-0 ibertren (see above), possibly to be swapped for the new Parkside outside framed RTR chassis version.

- (Linda) – I only have a scratchbuilt body, but the same issue with pickups would exist had I a chassis for it.

- Taliesin – 0-4-4 backwoods with mashima. The rear truck can be made to pick up too, so this may not be the problem I fear.

- (Palmerston) – same issue as Prince, but I don’t have a kit for this engine at present.

I am considering whether some special measures should be taken with these engines to ensure better running (and less hand of God [Thierry Henry?] from the sky). This would either involve double heading – Conwy and Upnor could well work that way for example, or utilising the County Gate ‘trick’ of using another vehicle with pickups and passing the juice through micro connectors.

Taliesin was at Rhyd Ddu recently on the Col Stephens’ set and Prince and Palmerston were used in a similar way during last year’s photo charters. So I could use a companion car with these engines and use micro connectors to pass the juice through to the decoder and thence to the motor. The problem with this is that I wouldn’t then be able to run around the train without disconnecting the micro connector, thus limiting my operating options. But at least they would run reliably.

Taking this one step further, I could actually create a small consist of carriages where some of the carriages bogies also picked up from the track and passed that juice through to the loco and also to lighting strips set into the ceiling of the carriages - I have recently bought such a strip from dcc supplies for testing purposes.

Perhaps a small subset of the Col Stephens’ set could be used to improve running AND also as a kind of showpiece lit set?

That train could also draw some serious current – perhaps 200mA per lighting strip and perhaps 300mA for the motor – good job I bought a 3.5A max DCC system!

For an image of the connectors see this link.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Warley report

Warley was a great day out as expected.

We made our way towards the grand sight of K1 on a trailer as the centrepiece loco and spent quite some time (as you would expect) at the various stands. I bought a copy of the new DVD recalling a year in the life of the F&WHR in 2009 and a few other bits. It was also good to see the WHHR crew in the same area alongside the FR stand.

Bron Hebog was there as expected, but not advertised and there has been much progress since I last saw it at Porthmadog.
The Pullman obs looks magnificent in its lined out livery and K1 is now black.

The temporary wooden 'wendy house' has been duly modelled. I've made one of those too.
and I was astonished to see that the KMX tamper is being modelled, powered by a kato tram chassis - great stuff. Now that really is dedication to the prototype! It is I have to say that I'm not sure I'll ever manage to model the tamper and this is despite having modelled its home (the tamper container). Incidentally I bought a better model of said container from DAPOL and will be replacing the other on my layout asap.

The other end of the layout is coming on too, here is the 'bridge to nowhere' amongst the early scenic formers (Beddgelert desert anyone?).

Later in the day, the Englands were out in force as were Tal and Merddin on the photo charters.
I have to say that the modelling is all of a superb standard and I am sure that comparisons between with Rhyd Ddu will be made - this makes me very nervous about exhibiting indeed.
Dduallt was there too - here comes DLG around the spiral.
and, centre of attention, here is K1.

I had a look at the scenic rust from deluxe materials and agree with other posters on the web who prefer rustall. The rust looks better in 7mm, but even at that scale I feel the rust has too much texture. They had some other good products though including some incredible water.

Dinas was there and the wonder that is Little Wonder was resplendent in its livery and wowwing the crowds with its fan-assisted drain cock steam exhaust. Just a wonderful engine. I hope to post some videos of this layout soon, so I'll save more expansion until then.

We spent quite some time looking at backscenes and I have to say that the stock simple blue sky as shown below is far better in my view than a poor painted attempt. I might go with a simple sky for now before graduating to the full photo backscene.

An unusual opportunity arose to see the rear of County Gate...

and the front.
I had not seen CG with the automation working and although a railcar derailed whilst I was there watching, it worked fautlessly other than that. The LCD screen worked very well and kept the crowd interested while there was no train action. I understand that it won best in show and that comes as very little surprise. I wasn't sure about the whistles and horns though as it was very obvious that they were coming from speakers under the layout and not from the engines/railcars themselves. This wouldn't have mattered a few years ago, but people are used to on board sound now so it was more noticeable.
Just along from CG, this layout would not normally have interested me, but the name Briding Noora is a clever anagram of its unusual supporting legs!

This is T gauge (3mm track gauge) - quite a layout in a small space!

Pete Waterman was there signing copies of his new book and alongside the 7mm models and a video about his Leamington Spa project was this cheeky little NGG16 and the Pullman. I shook his hand and thanked him for the scheme to bring 109 to the WHR (and also to train young apprentices too).

Accucraft's 16mm garden rail offerings include an NGG16 too, but new this year was an NG15. But at something like £3500 it's a bit beyond my purse.

Worcester Road diesel depot in gauge 1 was exquisite.

and this snow scene (I forget the name) made quite an impression too.

There were also some impressive structures!

and this list of world records for railway modelling will take some beating!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Looking forward to Warley

Warley is usually a treat, but this year I have much to be excited about. Enough to even take my mind off a routine visit to the dentist tomorrow. The narrow gauge layouts at this year's show include two of my top 10 - County Gate and Dinas 1869.

The other narrow gauge layouts are not bad either such as Sand Hutton Central by Peter Kazerand Calstock (Cotehele). In 4mm we'll also have the treat of seeing Briding Noora, Nettlecombe and Willesden Junction.

There are also rumours that a certain WHR layout may appear on the FR/WHR stand... and not forgotting the centrepiece...K1! In 12 inches to the foot scale!

The trade stands beat all other shows - check this list:

and of course there are various standard gauge layouts too.

Can't wait.