Tuesday, December 18, 2007

and on, and on and ariston

Quick update:

- DCC research is going strong - looks like it's a goer...more soon (looks like dynamis pro has the edge at the moment due to the wireless controller system, extra function buttons, consisting ability and controls). A good site I have found is www.wiringfordcc.com to explain how wiring is different between DC and DCC - the good news is that most of what has been done already would have been required anyway - phew!

- Soldering of carriages has seen obs mess car 1000 improved (this wasmy first ever soldering project - it shows!), the WHR(C) Pullman body was finished, FR 26 body was finished (yes all the 14 fiddly window vents too!) and FR 111 (driving trailer) chassis was finished.

- The WHR ex SAR brake is also coming on - but the addition of 0.7mm L shaped angle is almost impossible with a standard soldering iron, so I will have to bow to Dad's resistance soldering kit. (He has done one side very nicely already, but then we ran out of angle)

- I have also taken the time to watch some modelling DVDs - woodland scenics and painting/lining being this week's essential viewing.

There may be a chance for more modelling over Xmas, but then I know that I will most likely receive a number of rather interesting books too...so modelling may just lose out (temporarily that is).

Happy Xmas one and all!


Monday, December 10, 2007

Birthday, bracken, underlay and a surprise U turn in prospect?

Hi all,

Right time for a super update, much has been happening...

It was my birthday at the end of November and this was of course a source of new kits to make up. FR 104 and a bug from Chris Veitch, Hudson bogie wagon, class D dropside and FR granite wagon from Parkside [needless to say all the plastic kits have already been made up and parts of the etched brass have been prepared too)... then there was Warley (a review will be coming soon...). At the show I picked up a load of painting materials (including that important LNER Doncaster Green for grass colouring), brass angle for the B wagons and SAR brake, more carriage wheels, 10BA nuts and bolts, 145 deg solder [I had run out!] and some new tools etc

The rest of the weekend was spent at Mum and Dad's...and that's where the mega surprise came in.... As you can see below, I was presented with a backwoods kit of Russell as my present. Except, it wasn't a kit...it was near enough made up! Unbelievable!!!! Dad had even managed to get the buffer beams right - the original style with curved ends, not the cut-outs that have adorned the loco until now (it's back to the original shape for 2009).

The detail is there for all to see - just beautiful. We need to add the sandpot between the chimney and dome (best to wait and see what the real one looks like first) and toolbox at front. Otherwise it's ready to paint.

Now I have been searching for the old style 'hairy' carpet underlay for a while now. Green scene sell it but at crazy prices (£2 for 14" by 7" piece and that's 1999 prices according to their very regularly updated(!) website) and the same is true of ebay when you add the postage costs from the one carpet shop I could find that would supply it (we're talking £50 ish for a roll). There are only 2 suppliers that even Barry Norman knows of...well actually one now as Gaskells just went bankrupt. The one supplier is in Burnley, where I happen to need to go on business every now and again. So I contacted the factory and asked if I could pop in. No problem they said...So I did just that and called in. They were very friendly, showed me round the factory and then took me to a pallet of recently woven rolls. I asked (with some trepidation, thinking this was going to be way expensive and I'd have to ask for some off-cuts or something - how much?). "Oh I can let you have a roll for a fiver mate" said the guy. So I got a roll (see image) for £5 - that's £5 for probably enough to do all the layouts I ever build! So if you want some, get down to Ratcliffe's in Burnley - top guys!

The next piece of good news this week is the problem over how to model bracken appears to have been solved. Up to now it would have had to have been either woodland scenics blobs - which just don't even come close to the correct texture, etched brass frets (oh come on who has time to solder up bracken - I've got enough locos and carriages to do!) or the plastic busch ones that come in packs with rather pointless red mushrooms that I don't want and cost crazy amounts. Then I found this stuff: maybe the photo doesn't do it justice but the sizing is perfect.

and finally...I may be about to perform a huge U turn..... Yes maybe its time to embrace the wonders of digital...why I hear you ask:

- save loads of wiring
- should give better running when track is not perfectly clean (you're not trying to get 2v to the engine for slow running through dirty track. Rather that work is done in the decoder).
- is now much more affordable thanks to Hornby and Bachmann. Decoders are less than £10 each for 4 functions and there are point decoders for £25 (4 points) and controllers for about £50 now.
- decoders are now of a size that they can fit inside 009 (N gauge effectively) engines
- you are driving the engine directly, traditional forms feel like you're driving the track!
- double heading and inertia/momentum are possible
- other functions such as headlights (well if I'm going to light the platform, I might as well have a couple of locos with lights) and even sound are possible without the drawbacks of the traditional system
- If I ever (when this layout is done) use the empty side of the U shape to create an FR layout, the controllers can cope with multiple engines running in multiple places

Anyway, for now I have purchased the below book to learn more over Christmas and then I'll make a decision. Luckily, very little wiring would have to come out as a result of a decision for DCC, so now is the time to make the change...


Saturday, November 24, 2007

one month later...

aThe soldering iron has been doing so much work that I've run out of 145 degree solder... here's progress:

Bug box with curved ends (curved using the wooden spoon rolling method). Wheels are in and just need the white metal axleboxes adding then it's ready for painting.

FR coach 116 (I only got this kit a fortnight ago). Bogies will be plastic nine lines ones, but I need some more wheels...

WHR(P) Buffet car - the real one isn't even rebuilt yet! Bogies in hand, but need wheels.

The 2nd shot shows a run of 3 WHR(C) carrs, the last one being the Pullman (first image) which I have completed the ends, bogies, buffer beams, steps etc (and then ran out of solder) The sides need adding and then it's ready for painting. The other two carrs have been previously completed - gives you an idea of the length of even a 5 carr train though!

The Ashbury has had its vents added above the window (mega fiddly that was as there are 3 different sizes!).

Prince is getting on well, with the addition of chimney, smokebox door, dome and top filler. Plus the chassis was filed down so it fits into the body and a door was cut into the cab rear. There remains a problem with the cab openings which need to be wider (this will need surgery!). Since this photo was taken I have also attached the valve gear again and improved the tender wheels. A few details remain to be added plus couplings etc (and the cab surgery) but otherwise nearly there...

The finished Harlech Castle with chassis in and all details bar the exhaust (which has been altered in reality from that in the kit, so some tubing will be added instead).

The Gladstone car on the WHR(P) with bogies too.
and I have also done work to the FR curly (turtle) roofed van, FR carrs 11 and 12, modern carr 122 and bowsider 17.
This means I have the following etched coaches soon to require painting:
- FR: Bowsider 17, 116, 103 and soon 122, 11 and 12 (and maybe 18, 19 (both bowsiders) and 14 (ex L+B) if I get some more solder soon)
- WHR(C): mess coach 1000, winson open, saloon, 23 and nearly the Pullman
- WHR(P): Pickering brake, buffet car, Gladstone coach
So I think the ambition to have a test train of 5 long coaches will be achieved very easily (open, pullman, WHR saloon, 116, 122 probably) and a NGG16 on the front. Alongside that I can test Moel Tryfan with a heritage set too. The funkey diesel is also close to completion so I may tackle some B wagons soon too.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fill-er up!


The garage has been remodelled and the three main station boards have been swung round to face into the garage to allow the other side of the rails to be painted (now half done) and to allow the construction of the car park area. Following the move further work was done to the rockface alongside the platform, the ground at the far left and the roadway section between the car park and level crossing was installed. Further filler was added to the ground to smooth out rough parts and create a prototypical look. In fact I've used so much filler that another large tub was purchased - it's great stuff!

The Ffridd Isaf board has been dismantled for now, after the 3rd and (final?) attempt at the slate tipping area was completed and looks far more realistic now. An overall view is below...

Pine trees were constructed using the woodland scenics tree kit - one of the below was purchased as a ready-made tree - can you guess which one [answer at bottom of page]

Three WHR heritage wagons/vans have been constructed from parkside kits...


PS the ready-made tree is on the far right.

Monday, October 15, 2007

to sum up a Summer...

Hi all,

Nights are drawing in, the weather is worsening and all this means that modelling in the garage can't be done in natural light. Thus it will soon be time for my winter break from layout work and my time will instead be spent with the soldering iron in hand... This weekend I am getting ready for a clear out, tidy and rearrangement of the garage. The L ends of the layout will come off to ease access and the central station boards will be swapped around so they face into the garage. Thus when the winter is over the next steps of finishing the station area, adding the plywood fascias at the front and painting the other side of the track can be easily achieved.

I've come a long way since work restarted in early Spring. Back then I didn't even have all the boards made, only had a few trestles and an outline plan. Now almost all the woodworking is done and the scenic base is really coming on too. Below shows the garage tonight...

There will need to be a bit of remodelling of the hillsides, especially near the Ffridd Isaf stream, but I've now run out of modroc, so that will have to wait. For now Ffridd Isaf looks like this...

After the successful purchase of some extra track cheap off ebay, I made up 8 lengths for the traversers and 8 spurs for the far sides...

The roadway up to Ffridd Isaf is now in, and the low level ground has been completed by placing modroc over blobs of filler. Newspaper was too tall, so this is the best I could think of. It's cheap, light and seems to work fine.

The rockfaces will come later and most of the necessary faces have been cast already and sit in a box...

and this was what was back in April: https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEhq0-9hgP8By002KEl6vodGcuwC4J2c3ivoJP02TIDuFSpebQCoV7-zFYOoUIuiGBCJuZoFdnNEP7Qu9jTNjlOlTBPoYkYqq-TXaega3zHE_qBieeZeM-xPqpjSBDpmpG6P2PNy5w/s1600-h/127_0009.jpg
So expect big things for Spring/Summer 2008

Saturday, September 29, 2007

It's late - so here are some bullets of progress today...

- Edge piece (on public side) cutout of ply and nailed to Ffridd Isaf board

- Newspaper and modroc finished up to new piece

- Filler used for lower slopes in absence of a better way of creating very slightly raised landscape (newspaper+modroc as used elsewhere is too high)

- A small section cut out of modroc and rock glued in.

- More rock strata poured to complement the one successfully poured yesterday

- New emulsion colour tested (lighter as I now find the dark brown may be too dark!)

- Ffridd Isaf roadway prepared for smooth-it application

- New DVD watched (image above - review to feature on this blog soon) and grass technique now finalised - underfelt teased up and trimmed to shape - a Nicky Clarke trimmer purchased from tesco (£14) for this purpose.

- Spent evening cutting out pages from magazines and filing as my bookcase is starting to struggle and I don't really need bits in a mag about Egyptian delta light railways!


Friday, September 28, 2007

Bridging the gap

Some images of recent progress:

The bridge (UB113A) coming together

The new end piece with cutout

The new roadway at the Pitt's Head end of the layout.

Ffridd isaf curves...


Thursday, September 20, 2007

150 posts!


This is the 150th post on this blog! [I must enjoy a glass of the moose tonight to celebrate!]

I really need to add some images (but the nights are drawing in and photography at the end of a modelling session is difficult and ruined by flash - not good for photographing models that flash!)

Progress has been:

- Attended a show at Ashchurch, with the 009 Society sales stand in attendance - various bits were picked up including:

*A very poorly put together body of a Pickering brake, now refurbished and re-soldered into decent condition. Not bad for £3 and better than the £12 it is to buy the kit, but a lot of scraping and remodelling to remove the adhesive and blobs of solder! I was at home over the weekend for Mum's 60th so Dad was able to move this along much quicker than I had expected.

*A decent approximation to an FR bogie oil wagon (£2!)

* Some more ballast to try for size and colour - PECO light grey and some 'brush it on' grey ballat (that with the glue particles already mixed in).

*Some nice trees for 50p each

*Plastic kits for WHR brake van (altready made up last night) and FR Van 2

*Some pliers (without serrated edges - hooray!)

- Dad also completed one of the WHR (2003) semi-opens, which, with a design flaw around the ends in the worsley works kit was harder than expected.

- Work on the layout has also moved on, with the beams for UB113A having been cut, superglued together and attached to the stone piers. Polyfilla has also be used to fill the gap. The plywood 'hole' for the track to disappear into hidden sidings has also been added and lastly, the roadway alongside the line at the Pitt's Head end was cast using the woodland scenics method of paving tape + 'smooth-it' plaster.

Slow, but steady progress!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Carry on up the pass....

Progress recently:

- Tracklaying (real) this weekend in the Aberglaslyn - super!
- Addition of backscene plywood on sides of Ffridd Isaf board
- Test of Woodland scenics fine ballast
- Test of curving the stone walls works well at 120 degs C in the oven!
- A bit more modroc added in some strategic locations.


Monday, September 03, 2007

Woodland scenics 1 - IKEA 0 (AET)


The ballast experiment has concluded. The IKEA FLORERA looks too much like snow or ice (IMAGE 1 BELOW) and would only really work after significant airbrushing and repainting. The woodland scenics ballast (IMAGE 2 BELOW) worked well, but the syringe method moved the ballast too much on application, so I will be moving to a dropper instead. The mix of 50:50 PVA to water worked fine (with a drop of washing up liquid). The medium grade of ballast though looks too big and thus I will be sourcing some Woodland scenics fine grade ballast soon. I am still undecided on the colour though, the mix of grey doesn't look right from a distance, so I might just go for light grey and weather it, in places.

I have continued adding spines and tonight finished the newspaper/masking tape bits (after borrowing extra newspaper from our kind neighbour - Daily Mirror - huh!). I then pressed on and completed much of the modroc application, the results below. It got dark and the masking tape wouldn't stick to damp wood, so I'll leave it till it's all dried and continue...


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Photos of the latest progress

One side of all rails has been painted on the main station board now.

The Fridd Isaf rocks section has gained a backpiece (held on by a clamp whilst it dries) and has started to be populated by newspaper balls.

Following a suggestion in Model Rail magazine, I purchased some 'Florera' from IKEA today. This is grey coloured sand, used for decorative flower arranging etc., which is just the right scale for ballast and is just 99p for 750ml. On the left is the woodland scenics alternative, slightly darker (but negligible really) and £5.75 for 730ml!!! I have cut out a small section of plywood, glued on some cork and tomorrow will nail down a piece of track to it to act as a test piece. Both forms of ballast will be tested and I'll post the results soon....


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Photos of progress - see for yourself!

spines are a multiplying!
The stream now has polyfilla banks
The ebay walls were delivered - not bad at all. Can't wait to try the bending in heat!


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Camera-phone - any good?


Quite a bit of progress this weekend. I have used my new-ish camera-phone to take some images (hope they come out OK)...

The stream running just north of the main sheep creep on the Fridd Isaf curves has been cut out from the baseboard and plywood has been fixed underneath the resulting space. This is now ready for polyfilla to create the 'banks' of the stream.

Also a number of spines were cut and glued in for the rock faces and 'hill' on the Fridde iSaf board. (7, of which 3 are in two parts).

It doesn't look like that much, but it has taken loads of planning and minor tweaks to get this far...


The stream....

The spines with various things to hold them in place whilst glueing...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Call off the search!


Sorry for the lack of updates, have been busy at work (and building decking in the garden). Much of the work on layout things has been searching for dry stone walling and I've found what I think will be the answer...


This stuff can be heated, flexed and then cooled again to shape! Brilliant! I have ordered some and will report back on how good they come out, but I'm hopeful this will save hours of DAS-ing. (which I was not looking forward to).

Also, woodland scenics appear to have launched a 'static' grass product:


This could well look good and give the grass the 3D look I need...

Anyway, back to planning...


Friday, August 03, 2007


The emulsion paint I'm using for hills - Opulence by Craig & Rose - dark chocolate.

The result - first coat on the hills...

The realigned roadway.

The rock alongside the level crossing just at the north end of the station. The scenery will come up to meet it, hence its slightly (on a piece of plywood) elevated level. Also note painted rails.

The first spine for Fridd Isaf...


Thursday, August 02, 2007

More progress than expected this week, so here's another post

Progress so far this week:

- The few edges of the modroc that were loose, were stapled down using the NETTO nail gun (see previous posts for detail of the amazing bargains available at NETTO)

- The roadway was repositioned (again) to line up with the corner of the triangular infill board, necessary due to the initial marking out of scenics on the Fridd Isaf section.

- Rail painting has continued, evening by evening and is now complete all the way to the first loop point from the Fridd Isaf end and one side of the rails have also been painted for approx half the loop.

- After much discussion and consideration, I decided to just go for it and I cut out and glued angle pieces onto the first spine for the Fridd Isaf 'hill'. Further spines should be added tomorrow.

- I hoovered (well 'Dysoned') the layout and ten mins later created loads more dust to replace that removed by the Dyson!

- I added bogies to the WHR(P) Bro Madog Eisteddfod coach, which is now available for gauging trials.

- The small trial with brown emulsion paint applied directly to modroc was successful and thus I am ready to paint it asap.

- After purchasing two more 6mm ply sheets, I cut out the backscenes for the triangular and Fridd Isaf boards. The edges of two of these were filed down to allow the boards to 'mesh' together and hide the gaps between them. There only remains one last back piece to do on the main layout - the end of the Fridd Isaf board. There are then a few bits for the hidden sidings board, but they can wait.

Photos soon...


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Water issues, painting track and loco policy


Due to the flooding and the consequent loss of tap water for Cheltenham and the surrounding area, Mum/Dad/David took refuge at our house for the weekend. Dad brought a selection of very small painting brushes with him as I had been struggling with a 0 size brush to paint the rails. I now have a 00 and a load of other sizes too - cool! During the weekend, whilst David and I were taking a load of garden waste to the tip, Dad managed to paint the rails on the whole of the Fridd Isaf section (both sides too!). One board done then! Images tomorrow probably.

That was really the sum total of progress this week, but another issue came up in conversation, what will be the loco policy?

So, it will be as follows:

Tranche 1 (in use for the majority of the time): Modern day WHR core stock - NGG16s, K1, Russell, Funkey and any other stock used regularly on the railway (probably NG15s, Lyd and 590 in the future therefore).

Tranche 2 (from time to time amongst tranche 1 stock showing through running from FR ):
'Local' visiting locos - Taliesin, Double Fairlies, Englands, Mountaineer, Blanche, Linda, FR diesels etc

Tranche 3 (rarely and probably only when amongst friends):
Historical locos of the NWNGR/WHR non extant - Moel Tryfan/Snowdon Ranger, Beddgelert, Gowrie etc

Tranche 4 (never at exhibitions, but sometimes at home for fun):
Non FR/WHR/NWNGR engines e.g. other L+B (not Lyd), Talyllyn, Leek & Manifold etc.

Tranche 5 (almost never ever, other than for testing): Continental or freelance.

I have by no means got kits for all of these, but this is the basic policy.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

ummm...not much progress really

Week was full of travelling around - Bournemouth, Dublin, London - so little time for modelling

Weekend was full of house tasks such as gardening and the delivery of the Harry Potter book, so the only progress was in purchasing some extra M10 bolts (50mm) and wing nuts, which I have needed for some time. I also tested some emulsion paint on a corner of the dried out modroc to see if it would take ok, which, as I expected, it seems to do.

The next job is to glue down the modroc near the board join to sort the levels, continue painting the track and paint the modroc in the brown emulsion.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Promised images


Some images of the modroc and rail painting as promised... The first image of the board join, which is going to need some more work to build it up either side and removed the 'channel' effect.