Thursday, March 22, 2007

Last of the picks...number 6

The 6th position goes to 'Crichel' in the 'normal' scale of 0-16.5 by Roy Wood. This is a small narrow gauge line which I wouldn't normally be at all interested in as it is served by a motley collection of diesel and steam 0-4-0s. However, it is modelled very nicely, the scenics blend in well with the industrial sections and it has a photo backscene which is quite believable! Mr Wood is a very helpful and convivial bloke, who sits at the side of the layout and is more than happy to explain and debate. His house is also apparently feature in the backscene - nice touch!
There are many others that didn't make it into this top 10 that are worthy of mention, Rheilffordd Cefn Gam, Tan yr Allt, Upton Dale (recently for sale on ebay) to name but a few... Perhaps later I'll do a top 20...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Seventh heaven

At 7 in my's Corris by Peter Kazer. An unusual scale - 1/4" (6.35mm) Scale at 9/16" (14.29mm) Gauge.

It is a meticiously accurate model of the Corris railway in the late 1800s. In fact it is a main part of the book by the same modeller Narrow Gauge Railway Modelling' by Wild Swan publications. If you haven;t got a copy, then get one quick before it goes out of print - (random link found on google)
The layout is also featured in the Model Railway Journal No.66, 1993 and in the Railway Modeller - May 1999.

Everything (with the exception of the figures) is scratch built. Very nice indeed.

For a few more (rubbish quality) pictures see:

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sorry it's a bit late...number eight!

So, No. 8 in the top 10 layouts is.... Chwarel Cwm Bach.

This is a bit of a difficult layout to describe as I have never seen it (!). It featuired in Model Railway Journal in 1990 (no. 37) and in the 'narrow gauge and industrial railway modelling review' as well.

It's a model of a slate quarry, with working inclines and everything of real slate used - bet it's heavy!

I can't find any images of it on the web, so dig out that MRJ!




Some good progress on the coaching front today. I have decided to do bits of lots of kits together in a kind of production line style. So, the bases/ends of the following coaches were folded and soldered ready: 103 (FR bogie), 23 (original WHR bogie), FR van 4 and FR van 5. All the sides and ends have also been cut out and cleaned ready for the next stage... Parts for 1 B wagon and the SAR brake were also cut out and cleaned.

Must remember to order a load of bearings soon!!!

Then the parts for the Ashbury bug (no. 10) were cut out of the frets, cleaned and folded. This needs superglue for the next stage. If anyone has a recommended superglue - please leave a comment at the bottom of this blog.

Then one side of 103 was laminated together, unfortunately the other side seems to have an issue with the etch - it doesn't overlay properly! Some judicious filing is necessary here...

Had to run upstairs to bid on two books on ebay - FR in the 50s and FR in the 60s, both middleton press - got them for £3.20 total + p+p!!!!! Unbelievable - they are normally £15 each. cool.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

It's the real thing!

On the best narrow gauge layouts - numbers 8, 7 and 6 are to come this week.

Spent this weekend in North Wales and here are a few notes from the real Rhyd Ddu:

Finally got some detailed images of the powder magazine...

Got some excellent shots for scenic purposes... look at the variation in light green, yellows and browns....

The water tanks are now red (I even have the RAL number of the paint - thanks to my friends in the WHRS West Mids group) and the Beddgelert end tank now has a 'spout' too!!

This rock face has been an enigma, until now - I got a good shot of it!


Monday, March 12, 2007

It's time for number nine

Number nine is difficult to illustrate unless you have copies of the Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review (by Roy C Link). In this excellent, although often esoteric journal, a layout was featured over 5 issues a few years ago. The layout was a lifetime's work and is called simply 'Festiniog Railway 1926' by Nick Welch.

Issues 50-54 if you want to try and get a copy - but they're rare and these are out of print! The above image is a sample page, freely available at of the layout and gives some idea of the quality, but not the sheer scale.

This layout is a monster - it takes in Porthmadog, Boston Lodge, Tan-y-Bwlch, Blaenau and more along the way. It is truly a fabulous layout! But it's not an exhibition layout, so it doesn't score as highly here as I have never seen it in the flesh.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Number ten - a trip to the glen

So, going back to number 10 - we have 'Glenbranter'... It's locos that make this layout. Below is a very nice red Beyer-Garratt NGG16 - perhaps no. 140 will look a bit like this when it enters service (2010?) on the Welsh Highland Railway.

and blue - cool!

K1 with some scratch built coaches made from ratio OO sides.

A yellow funkey. The EPCC funkeys were in a similar paint scheme in South Africa prior to their purchase for the Welsh Highland and Ffestiniog. The ladder is a Welsh thing!

The layout is simple enough, but nicely done. Further details are available at


Friday, March 02, 2007

The best narrow gauge layout and the one that started it all!

Yes, this is the layout that gave me the inspiration to start building Rhyd Ddu. Of course, it's 'Dduallt'...

So, what makes this layout special:

- The prototype, which lends itself to a fairly compact, but long run that is actually based on reality! It's not another crazy 'round and round and in and out' layout, that is too often seen in 009!

- The stock - quality, liveries and sheer amount modelled! Everything from the core Ffestiniog fleet to Adrain Shooter's Darjeeling stock, the modern and heritage WHR stuff and beyond...

- Decent scenics, believable ballast, trees and grass particularly.

- Gradients, hidden bits behind trees and many different viewing angles make for an interesting exhibition layout

- Quality of running - top class!

Any criticisms? Well, that's very hard because it really is good. I'm not completely convinced by the lining on Taliesin and perhaps some of the rock faces (modelled with actual rock), look a bit too much like small pieces of rock, but that is real nit-picking.

If Rhyd Ddu is anywhere near as good as this, I will be a very happy man. Lots of work ahead then!

The creators of Dduallt are hard at work on their next project too... a model of the new WHR at Beddgelert, including the reverse curves at cwm cloch and the goat tunnel. It's a huge layout and plans were recently outlined in 'narrow gauge world' . It will be called 'Bron Hebog', rather than 'Beddgelert', perhaps to reflect that the station is a relatively small element of the layout.

You never know, we might even get the chance to exhibit next to each other in the future, and we have already joked that a 'joining' section could be created to link Bron Hebog to Rhyd Ddu !!!


Woo Hoo, it's number 2!

Right, this is where it gets serious then - numbers 1 and 2.

At 2 it's Dinas Ddu...

A fabulous model in 8mm scale (16mm gauge) giving as near to 2ft as possible. It is based on the approach to Dinas in the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways (NWNGR) days - early 1900s. The NWNGR of course was later incorporated into the original Welsh Highland Railway.

Obviously, my views on 'scale fascism' are once again necessary to repeat and because of this almost everything has been built from scratch. The track is even spiked to wooden sleepers (!)

A plan is below, truly a gorgeous layout.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

So let's see, it's number 3!

At 3 it's a Lynton and Barnstaple layout....Chelfham

That viaduct is just fantastic! It's a simple layout, one loop, one siding and a circular run with hidden sidings behind. The stock (Southern days) is very nicely lined and built although the langley stuff is somewhat eclipsed by the backwoods...

The sheer scale of the layout means the railway is part of the landscape and not the other way around! My only criticisms are the roads are a little too shiny and regular in appearance and some of the trees aren't totally believable.

You can see more in the March and April 2000 Railway Modeller