Monday, July 28, 2008

Ready for wiring

Some views of the state of play tonight. Ballasting has continued apace, the new headshunt has had its rails painted, some better attempts at gorse bushes have been added, the permanent way gang have been attending to ballast on UB113A and a survey of the electrics doen so far has been completed prior to electrical work starting up soon (I've placed an order for one of these - so I can start wiring the point motors to it).

One of the 'cool' things about this setup, is that my DCC controller (when I buy it) will have route setting capability - ie it can change all the points to set the layout for a certain route in one button press, niot only that but you can set a delay between the points actually changing, allowing for a kind of cascade effect - nice!).


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cover your tracks

Some more images of recent progress.

The first section of wall has been detailed around the lower edges so that it blends in with the landscape better (see 2 shots below of both sides), also note the new siding (head shunt).

But the main progress has been with ballasting, which is largely now complete except for the points (thought required to avoid ballast gumming up them).

Indeed my permanent way crew have been busy!

At Ffridd Isaf, the two large bushes that partially hide the wall have been placed.

We visited Crich tramway museum on Sunday and this exhibit was rather relevant I thought!

This is where the carriage is at - ends now satin black and all masking tape off. A few areas have leaked, but should be easy to touch up. Now it needs a roof, glazing and internal detail...


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Seeing red

Some interesting progress has been made on carriages too recently... Dad is helping me learn about this as I have quite a number of carriages to get through if I want a few rakes of FR and WHR stock, not to mention heritage and WHR(P) stuff.

The three carriages in primer are No. 1000 (the first carriage I ever soldered together [it shows]), 103 (the buffet car that once was) and 116 (which has just emerged from Boston Lodge with totally different windows). Why prime these three - easy practice and it doesn't matter if I get it wrong! Look out for 103 and 116 on ebay soon!

Anyway, the carriage behind the primed ones is the subject of this post. It was primed by Dad and then I selected a halfords car paint (Ford Ivory) for the cream windows etc. This was sprayed all over. Then we masked off the parts that were to stay ivory and sprayed the carriage with BR crimson from a railmatch enamel can. Except that the crimson came out buffer beam red! Disaster! Also, being enamel we couldn't then spray some Nissan red (closest colour later found at halfords) on top. On a trip to the model shop, we found a railmatch pot of the same colour, and found it to be fine. So this was purchased and two coats were painted on by Dad. Tomorrow I shall remove the masking tape (tamiya) and fingers crossed, we should be close to a painted carriage (well the ends need to be black yet, but that should be easy).

Once I've got one done, I then hope to open up a kind of batch working - getting 5 or 6 into primer, then ivory etc... watch this space.


What's that coming over the it a monster update?

Sorry about the gap in blogging, but this post should make up for it. The reasons for the gap are that I have been busy modelling! [taking advantage of some rather good weather!]

Below are some images, which will help describe what I've done. The flash once again lightens a lot of the colours - the ballast is grey, not white as you might believe in some of these shots, sorry about that...

The second half of Ffridd Isaf has had its coat of LNER Doncaster Green (thinned to about 1:16 and some matt yellow added). Also the ballast has been extended around to the loop point. It needs tidying up at the edges, which I shall do when I add the weathering - a thin wash of dark grey in the 2 foot for one) - it's too 'clean' at the moment.

The main station area has also been greened, the platform has had its initial coat of paint and is now fixed down, to allow ballasting up to the platform edge to commence on the side nearest the camera.

There is much discussion in dispatches that the head shunt in the yard will be extended (towards Pitt's Head), now that the container for the little blue diesel 'Dolgarrog' has gone. Indeed the sub base already exists, so I have taken a flyer on this one and extended it now, at the risk that it might not happen! This also had the benefit that I could remove the (now unnecessary as I'm going for DCC) gaps added for isolation on this siding, which had caused me some concern about the reliability of running as they were mighty close to the point. One new feed will need to be added (using the holes already drilled), and the rails painted, but otherwise this is now done (cork underlay extended, track cut and attached with insulated joiners and track plus ballast glued down.

I am now pretty happy with the Pitt's Head road after about the 5th (!) attempt to get it right - mid grey emulsion paint plus talcum powder is about right for an old tarmac surface (better to underplay the colours I reckon!)

The first wall section had some fine scatter randomnly added and was then glued in place next to the foreground grass, that is now also green!

Ballasting continued in the yard area, weathering to come.

On Ffridd Isaf, the considerable work has involved extra detailing of the grass with different shades of static grass etc, painting of the stream bridge (wall) by Dad (top artist and good at mixing colours etc and further coats of realistic water for the stream plus more slate bits added to the path.

I have also been experimenting with (in the rear) some dead (coconut fibre) and live bracken (from busch)... and (in the foreground) some heki trees that Dad got cheap, which I have added static flock to (they are not permanently planted by the way!). This has generally been successful, and the bracken will work well I think. The trees on their own are too 'blobby', but in a copse or small wood, they should be fine.

another overview of the Ffridd Isaf board. It's getting there!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Yesterday my brother graduated from Bristol University with a 2.1 MEng in Civil Engineering. We had a great day out!

In Dad's studio, sits my WHR saloon 2043, which we sprayed with primer this weekend and a Merchant Navy tender in O gauge - quite a size difference! This is the first etched carriage I had constructed which has got as far as primer.

Dad had some BR Crimson in stock - is this close enough to FR/WHR 'Mercedes' Red?

We also visited Toddington.
For the North Gloucestershire narrow gauge railway. This has recently been extended and we hadn't been on the extra bit. You stop off halfway for a shed and signal box tour. Here well tank 'Justine' is on display.

We had a diesel though. The railway suffers from very little in the way of views - yes you can sort of see the mainline diesels, but there's too much greenery around to see much else. The cafe was unusually disappointing, and short lines like this also suffer in the scoring due to their timetable, number of locos in steam and carriages. Overall, the railway scored 33%, placing it pretty much on par with the Golden Valley at Butterley and the Amerton railway and I suppose that kind of fits as they are similar lines.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A quick update

Today I have:

- Lightened the Ffridd Isaf rocks with a white flood wash, which has been very effective in improving the colouring.

- Finished off the rear of the stream bridge with filler on the edges of the walling.

- Finished the application of hairy carpet felt over all boards. A few areas may need some extra where gaps appear after trimming, but that is phase 2.

- Smashed to pieces bits of slate to create smaller bits (scale size)

- Taken up the disappointing slate path (which still hadn't dried underneath after about a month!), this has left a nice base though and a new method for the path is being considered using the above mentioned bits of slate

- Re coloured the Pitts Head road a lighter grey with talcum powder to add texture (I promise this is the last time I'm going to repaint that!).

- Added further small talus around the rocks, clogging up my spray bottle in doing so.


The world's greatest model shop?

One of the most surreal and extraordinary model shops and also possibly the world's greatest - as their shop sign exclaims.
The shop is based on a race track and ex USAF base! It's like driving into the middle of brands hatch via an airfield to get to it - very weird.
But when you do, it's astonishing - 20,000 items from toys to model aircraft/cars etc oh yes and stacks of railway items too. They have the largest display of woodland scenics items I have ever seen (I thought Castle Trains in Warwick was good!), masses of tools, adhesives, paints etc - simply wonderful!
Give it a try if your in Norfolk anytime soon.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

watching paint dry

Some good progress to report since I've returned from holidays. 4 different colours of woodland scenics static grass has been added beneath the rocks, and talus dropped on too. The image below also shows my hair clipper - used for trimming the carpet felt. 95% of the bits I want to model with long grass are now felted and trimmed. The other side of the stream has been coloured and water added, plus the retaining wall completed (if it sticks at the second attempt!).

Knicker ripping rock has been added (local legend apparently) and you can see the carpet felt, plus the new plywood edge to this board too below.

Further along the layout, miles of carpet felt is visible.

and further attempts are being made at Larch modelling... using woodland scenics tree kits, I cut out most of the branches, leaving just single branches (they were split into threes) at intervals, then cut to pieces off a ridiculous model of a larch bought at the World's greatest model shop (more on that tomorrow).

Tonight I have literally been watching paint dry (assisted by a hairdryer) whilst I sprayed these white metal trees, first with grey cellulose primer and I then added brown and a hint of green with spray enamels from B+Q (see below).

Then I'm going to glue on the larch branches I removed.... more soon.


Monday, July 07, 2008

Norfolk break

On a break from the recent pattern of holidays to North Wales, we spent a week in Norfolk and visited a few places (railways) of interest:

First up is the Wells and Walsingham Railway (10 1/4 inch gauge and apparently the longest such railway in the world). Using my usual scoring system this scored 39%, placing it slightly better than the Amerton Railway but not quite as good as the Corris. The railway suffers from a small loco stud, terrible facilities and a terminus at Walsingham some distance from the village and indeed the car park. The Garratt was nice though! Below is also a moderate attempt at a Leek and Manifold carriage...

At Bressingham we had a great day out with 3 railways operating. Two miniatures and a 2 foot line too. All set is gorgeous gardens - fantastic. Overall it scored 51%, let down only by the lack of intermediate attractors, views etc that such a self contained site brings.

In the museum area I found this 16mm model of NWNGRlys brake No.1 or 2. Very nice.
Now the North Norfolk railway isn't narrow gauge, so it doesn't get a score, but we had a great time, the engine and stock was very well turned out and the stations were immaculate. The below view wasn't bad either.

But back to smaller things - the Bure Valley, which scores a superb 65%, up there with the Bala Lake! It sports super facilities and a great selection of engines. It does lose points however for the trip, which is ok, but not greatly inspiring and the consequent lack of intermediate attractions/views means it drops points.