Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Those promised images...

So, as promised, some shots from the Wakefield show...

Blakecaster - a good example of the application of too much detail.

A Leek and Manifold coach (unfortunately in LMS livery, not original, but nonetheless rather nice!) on 'Pity Me'

Ouzel Thorn - very nice!

A lovely 7mm model of Linda

Ouzel Thorn again and why it didn;t get 10/10 - where's the check rails???


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wake me up!

After a trip up to Durham this Friday to see Claire's grandma, we called on Wakefield and the model railway show... The 45th annual Wakefield show none the less.

So, after the poor turnout at Wirksworth, was this any better?

Oh yes!

Firstly, the traders were first rate: squires, eileen's emporium, langley, Bill Hudson books, totally trains (of Ross on Wye) etc etc Very good turn out for a relatively 'small' show. The refreshments were excellent and certainly much better than we experienced at York recently (the sandwiches had run out at 12:30!). No such issues here, decent hot and cold snacks/meals and a good selection of drinks/crisps etc.

What about the layouts then? Well, these were pretty good too, excusing the odd bit of shocking green grass, misaligned bridges etc. From the classic layouts that have done the rounds before - Ashbourne Midland, Narrow Road etc. to the newly exhibited DCC layouts, the range was good.

Any narrow gauge... I here you ask...? Well, there were the following:

- "Pity me", a 30 year old 009 freelance layout that had a variety of Vale of Rheidol, Leek and Manifold, Ffestiniog, Talyllyn and Snowdon Mountain (motorised 'Thomas' plastic engines) stock. A bit of a rabbit warren, but not too bad, and considering its age, it was pretty good. The Leek and Manifold coaches were particularly good 7/10, but 8/10 when the L+M stock was running.

- "Blakecaster" - A decent, if slightly over detailed 7mm narrow gauge layout. The Virtual NG exhibition describes it as :

"Serving a large country estate and village of Blakecaster that is isolated from the outside world by the infamous Patchway Bog, Blakecaster has no road connection to the outside world and the only connection is by the narrow gauge railway which was laid across a narrow ridge across the bog. The period modelled is the late 1960's when steam is rapidly disappearing from British railways and even on the narrow gauge, diesels are beginning to appear."

There was a huge amount of detail and to be honest, this did actually take away from the railway, which is a shame. 8/10

- "Ilfracombe East" - a 009 layout (again quite old) modelling a fictitious branch off the Lynton and Barnstaple to Ilfracombe. This had some lovely stock, but was marred by some shocking scenery that looked like someone had poured fluorescent green paint all over the fields. Suffice to say, there were layouts nearby that put its scenics in the shade big style. 6/10

- "Ouzel Thorn" - On 2 1/4 - a superb little narrow gauge layout based on a fictitious location in Lancashire. Just superb, great stock, excellent scenics and the only adverse comment I have is the lack of check rails on the bridges. Else super, 9/10 and the narrow gauge winner for me!

Other narrow gauge exhibits included a demonstrator who had a lovely selection of 009 stock ad 7mm models of Moel Tryfan and Linda.

A grand day out was had by all!

(pictures to follow later in the week)


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Is this the best name for a beer ever??

This fine ale is brewed only at Christmas using a careful selection of darker malts and aromatic hops to produce a full flavour and body, subtle bitterness and a rich ruby colour.

Just ordered some bottles for Xmas! Bring it on!

PS sorry for the slight diversion from normal 009/WHR posts, but it is kind of related to the FR...


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Traverser tales

Bit more detail on the traverser design...

outer frame of 70mm pine, 4ft x 2ft. attached to the inside of this frame are battens of 34mm pine with two struts, creating a kind of shelf. Onto this shelf is nailed 3mm hardboard (shiny side up). On the two upper edges of the 70mm pine frame, some strips of 9mm ply are attached to act as the base for spur sidings one end [made live by push-to-make switches] and the common exit (to layout) on the other side. The actual traverser is created as a box of 34mm pine with a piece of 3mm hardboard underneath (shiny side down) and 6mm ply on top. Thus the traverser 'floats' between the two shiny sides of the hardboard and there is just a 1mm total height difference between the traverser and the board top, which can be sorted by a bit of cork underlay...


Monday, November 20, 2006

Packs a punch

Well, I went to B+Q and got those measurements (see yesterday's post) and yes, the traverser design will work, albeit with a 1mm difference, but that can be sorted with a bit of cork packing, so I'm not worried. It requires 34mm pine and 70mm pine with 2 bits of 3mm hardboard and 9mm and 6mm ply to work! (+1mm cork!)

I also picked up a punch set, 3 for £2.48 - mustn't grumble! These will be invaluable in the tiresome job of finally tacking down the track. The pins are placed now, but need driving in the whole way as I wanted to make sure of the track alignment alongside the platform.

I also started the station shelter late yesterday, but found the wills sheets difficult to cut accurately as they are pretty thick, so some more practice and perhaps a sharper knife is required. To be honest I was a bit tired too, so I might try setting aside a few hours and doing this properly some point soon. Finsihed one side with a cut out window though, so some progress was made.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

The lay of the land

3 things today:

1)Dreamt up (literally) a design for the traverser, which requires a trip to B+Q tomorrow to verify the exact depths of various bits of pine, plywood and hardboard, but the design should work fine and will be fairly easy to build. Drawing to be posted here soon.

2) Decided that a section of the board 3 will need to be cut out and lowered to help the layout look more like the real thing. See image above - the track level is above the car park and the height difference will allow for the steps/ramp to be modelled. This is a relatively easy job, but will wait until I have completed the wiring and ballasting, as it requires the board to be split from the others temporarily.

3) Collated the bits together for the Rhyd Ddu station shelter, colloquially known as the 'wendy house'. I will be putting this together over the next few days. All the measurements have been scaled from official drawings and this should be a relatively easy piece of scratch building. Watch this space!!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Let there be light

This is a veissmann OO/HO lamp standard, available from gaugemaster/hattons. They come fitted with bulbs and feed off a 12v DC supply. They are also a 'near identical'* match for those on Rhyd Ddu station... shown below...and at 48mm they are a scale 12ft high, which might be a tiny bit too tall, but the bases could be sunk into the platform a little to account for this.
I'm pleased I found these as the only alternative was to take some white metal lamps I already have and run a cable up one edge of them (as they weren't hollow and there is no chance of drilling them!).
Expensive though :-) £6 each!
*yes, I know they're not perfect, but no-one will notice really!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More on silflor

Check this layout out - it's called combwich and such of its scenic areas of long grass are in silflor. see what you think...

Thanks go to Dad for the link


Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Silflor - long grass, provided in various colours and available in small sheets from international models -

This could well be a good base for the wild upland grass around Rhyd Ddu and provides the long strands that I've been looking for. Alternatives could be old-style carpet underlay, Noch static grass (mega expensive) or a huge mix of woodland scenics coverings interspersed with longer strands of field grass.

Well Noch static grass might be expensive, but this stuff is pretty heavy on the wallet too, so I suspect I'll try it on the lower lying areas of Fridd Isaf before using it around the station. An image of the Fridd Isaf area taken at the weekend is below...

What are your views on long grass - any other ideas anyone out there? - if so, please use the 'comments' section at the bottom of this post to give us your ideas...


Monday, November 13, 2006

Bridging the gap

Spent a productive hour or so today adding two wooden supports either side of UB114. These were glued and nailed in, before the moulded stonework was glued to the uprights. The purpose of them is to allow for the plywood trackbed to abut up to the stonework, without having to attach the stonework to the plywood. The wood will be hidden by scenery and a wall eventually and won't be visible in the end. I already have the necessary plastic for the mock concrete beams and these can be added once the surrounding scenery is complete.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

A suprise birthday trip

Hi all,

This weekend, we decided to take a trip to North Wales. This decision was entirely on the spur of the moment and was, in fact, an excellent decision all in all.

It was the first trip out of any distance with Thomas and he did really well, despite nearly 350 miles of driving! We stayed at the Travel Inn at Bangor, which was excellent by the way and they even provide free travel cots! Top!

Anyway, why am I telling you all this? Well, of course the trip mean't that I could photograph the last few areas of Rhyd Ddu that I have been struggling to understand from my current photo collection, and...............................

to top it all off......................

K1 was out on a photo charter at Rhyd Ddu!!!!!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

spinning the web

Not much progress to report on the layout due to a number of factors: weather, the baby and being away from home on work related stuff. Anyway, today's post is about the newly revamped Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways website. I penned most of the words for the WHR side - have a look at or

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Time for a feed

Some further progress this morning:
  • A number of extra feeds were soldered in place on boards 2 and 3.
  • 4 x 8mm holes were drilled in board 4 ready for the control panel and the M8 bolts. assembled with washers (2 on bottom, 10 on top - to allow for the panel to slope down) were put together.
  • A couple of bits of cork were cut away.
  • Almost all the rest of the holes in the baseboards were drilled ready for feeds.
  • The buzzbar on board 4 was split into 4 pieces ready to take various feeds.
  • We ran out of wire! More was ordered.
Tonight will be spent working out the rest of the wiring diagrams (particularly for the panel) and then work can start on installing LEDs... (which can be done inside out of the cold, dark, wintry nights!)


Saturday, November 04, 2006


Saturday night in front of the TV?? Oh no, our family make trees! Here is a collection of the best efforts of Mum, Dad, Claire, David and myself... Who needs X factor??? Woodland scenics are the best in my opinion, bend them, shape them, anyway you want them....

The winner, was Claire's tree:

Wire we happy?

Massive progress today, aided by the skills of Dad and David. A slideshow follows:

All 5 point motors were screwed down, their switches attached and tested and the pins cut off to the correct length at track level...

All baseboard joins were soldered and tested with a bogie coach.

The first D connector was assembled and used between boards 1 and 2.

A number of feeds were drilled, soldered and run back to chop blocks, ready for wiring back to the control panel.

All switches (point levers, sections and isolators) were installed on the panel and many holes were drilled ready for LEDs and LED holders were put in ready. Unfortunately, due to a late change of mind on one isolating section (added for extra operational flexibility), we were one isolation switch short...

Also... the DIN plugs for both controllers were wired up and a couple of track issues were also sorted. Holes for all feeds and frog feeds have now been drilled too.

Tomorrow morning will see more feeds being put together...