Sunday, February 22, 2009

where in the world?

I didn't expect to find this today - right next to the National Space Centre in Leicester is the Abbey pumping station, which has a small 2ft gauge railway (not operating today - boo hiss).  A piece of Wales (well FR 2 ton slate waggon) in our backyard!

Anyway, Shepton Mallet was good fun as ever.  The exhibition had a number of excellent layouts which kept me amused.  My favourite was a toss up between Borth y gest and Tan y Bwlch, with the former just nudging it based on the smoke effects and scenics, but it was close.  See the link in yesterday's post for images.  I really fancy a gravity slate train - an arnold kof chassis in the 4th waggon (a larger 3t variety) is the trick apparently - but how to make it DCC?  It might have to have the decoder in the 5th waggon!

The 009 sales stand was good and I picked some up good bargains in the way of waggons, books (Boyd's* NG railways in Mid Wales for £10!), bogies, plastic kits and oddments.  Almost all of these have been up to standard once I got them home for a proper look, but three carriages have made their way back to ebay, as they are not up to the standards I require.  

Before the event I had made a survey of all carriages and the bogies I had in stock.  I found I was short of FR short pattern bogies by about 6 pairs.  At the 009 sales stand there were a number of unopened FR parkside bogies at a good price - I counted them up and there were, you guessed it, 6!

At the worsley stand there was more good news - the 2008 changes to FR 116 meant a new kit and I now have a one-off kit that Allen did for me - plus I picked up some Mark 2 quarryman's carriages and a NWNGR brake comp no.1.  116 has already had its pieces cut out ready for soldering to begin.

Afterwards I made my usual pilgrimage (this year only with my brother as the rest of the family were unable to make it this year) to Cheddar for mini golf, cheese, onion marmalade, firebox ale and chocolate trout (don't ask) followed by a trip to Thatcher's cider farm for a 5 litres of real cider straight from the barrel - and only £6!  Afterwards we checked out the fire ravaged pier at Weston before hitting the M5 north again.


* It was also noted today that the genius Mr Boyd had passed away.  RIP sir.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

carriage progress

I mentioned a project to create a 39 or 42 Hudson toastrack from a parkside kitbash. This is how far I've got - the old side is visible cut out and the startings of the new side (utilising the old underframe and cant rail (not attached yet) is below it. The ends have had the detail filed off.

If you don't know what carriage I'm on about check this out:

and, following a delay in getting 188 strip from modelex, I have started work on FR service car 124, which always runs with 100.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Quick update

Some quick titbits:

- Bogies for the 3 other B wagons have been completed - SAR pattern from worsley works with brass bearings.

- A project to try and kit bash a parkside kit for 37/38 to resemble a Hudson toastrack (39 or 42) has been commenced - the kit gives me the chassis, underframe, roof and ends (although the ends need false planking adding), the sides will be scratchbuilt using the method I've used for 100 (aka the Rob Waller method).

- I've run out of sleeper grime now (more on the way, don't fear) - but one loop road has been finished.

- The trees installed with brown trunks have had grey dry brushed on to tone down the brown (tree trunks ain't brown!).

- I've also tidied up a load of bits to ensure I can get to important details like vac pipes, couplings etc without having to wade through piles of other stuff first.

- The last few details necessary to complete on the WHR funkey, mainly footsteps have been folded up reday for a final assault on this model asap.

- The new WHR 2009 timetable sees just about every move possible at Rhyd Ddu during 2009 - short trains terminating there early in the year, trains passing, single trains running through without passing etc and with a mix of steam and diesel too. Great!


Friday, February 13, 2009

What it's cracked up to 'B'

Some progress to report.  Firstly, as you can see above the first B wagon has been completed to the level where it can be painted.  Dad had completed the fiddly angles on the sides a while ago and I've added the details, strapping etc.  It even has lead weight added already!  I have another 3 in stock, I'm just trying to summon up the courage to have a go at that angle myself (without Dad's resistance soldering kit!).

I've also put together 2090 the WHR brake saloon (despite the risk that it may change as it's in the works at the mo), ordered some extra plastic strip I'll need to build FR No. 124 and also completed the new No. 12 (Van 5) seen in bits in a previous post.  The old one (window spacing was wrong) sold on ebay a few days ago.

On scenics, the Ffridd Isaf board has had its track treated with the sleeper grime to match the adjacent board and the underbridge has had another coat of 'concrete'.  However the smell of the railmatch paint seems to be lingering and getting into the house, so I have to be careful here.

The platform lamp columns have been tested with DC and AC to see which is best - controlled DC certainly gives a better light and allows dimming, so a cheap hornby controller will be used for this and also to supply the 15v AC out required by the points decoder (the famous 99p off ebay H+M has been relegated due to concerns about its electrical safety).  The bits are in stock to complete all the wiring (an evening frankly), but I'll wait until the weather improves!

A load more Lilliput bogies were purchased from my supplier (I only know of one place you can get them and he only has stocks every now and again).  Parkside (romford) 8mm diameter wheels have been added to them and they run superbly.  This means that all the new WHR carriages will run on these bogies.  

Scale link benches have arrived and 2 of these are being fabricated, whilst a plan of the platform area has also been drawn up.  As my platform cannot be scale length, I have to decide which features to include and which not to, whilst maintaining the correct look and feel.

I have bought a few test pots of hornby acrylic paint (also in photo above).  Once a brass vehicle is primed, obviously you could use acrylic or enamel paints and acrylic is somewhat more palatable for use indoors (although it definitely needs a coat of lacquer/varnish afterwards to avoid chipping) and I plan to use more of the acrylics.  I also like the way that errors can be corrected immediately and easily with just water.  I understand humbrol are phasing out enamels altogether anyway.  

I'm sure Dad is most amazed by this as, being an artist of some renown, he can mix any colour from just a few base colours, but I haven't got that knack and would also be concerned about keeping a consistent colour when a lot of paint is needed, so a pot of a certain colour is preferable (they're pretty cheap anyway).    

Shepton Mallet is just a week away and there is as yet no sign of the imminent arrival of the baby, so fingers crossed, I may yet make it.  


Monday, February 09, 2009

By popular demand...

Regular commenter Tom asked for more scenic progress, so here the digger has been at work preparing the level crossing. But seriously there has been some progress...

Firstly, the wendy house nears completion with the addition of finials and even a doorknob! There is a bell to go above the door yet and a sign at the other end attached to the gable saying 'ALLAN' - exit in Welsh!
Regular readers may also remember an experiment I had with 'bracken', this has been covered over with more appropriate material - flock that was chopped off the Faller trees. The area behind the bridge has also been sorted with a new ballast based footpath bed added.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Any post was there, perchance?

The post just arrived - firstly Pete of Backwoods miniatures has been very kind in sending me some extra parts to add to the Taliesin kit.  The kit was produced just before the engine appeared out of Boston Lodge, and as appears customary, the Blodge made some changes to that shown on the drawings.  These parts will help to put that right.  Thanks Pete.

Secondly some very useful bits arrived too - curtains and table lamps for the Pullman car, finials for the wendy house and grab handles for carriages.  The finials finally solve a long running problem with sourcing such things!  Hooray.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

We have a box

Well, as promised, the sides were tidied up and put together into a box.  The banana sides caused by the lamination are clearly in evidence!

So, the next job was to cut a piece of 60 thou (yes a thick mumma!) as a floor and fettle it until it fits snuggly.  I'm really pleased with how this has turned out.  I have however been a bit hasty in putting this together, forgetting to drill holes for handles etc, but then there aren't many doors on this one anyway (there are just 2).

Most of the minor errors I've made won't be visible from afar and so I think I'm going to continue on with this construction method (once I've added the floor holding pieces, the bogie centres and a false roofline) to No. 124.  100 and 124 always run together, so its a bit pointless having one and not the other!

On the brass carriages front, Allen of Worsley works has today confirmed that a new model of 116 will soon be available - this carriage was altered last year to have equal window spacings, where before it had a separate first class section with different windows at one end.  With a fair wind, he may also be able to produce the SAR DZ wagons too.  If you want some - drop him an email to encourage him!  The WHR has 4 by the way, I think only 1 of which has been overhauled so far.

I've also started work on a replacement for van 5 - I had mistakenly bought an incorrect (1962) version of this kit and only after completing it did I realise that the window lines had changed.  The new kit is in bits below, the old one is on ebay here:

and finally when I had a moment in between sorting No. 100 I converted two Talyllyn 3 bar slate wagons (rodney stenning kits) to resemble FR wooden framed slate waggons.  The painted one is how they will eventually look.

Happy days


100 progress

Further progress last night - the second side of 100 has had its top, bottom and side rails added and the door had its top edges started.  Today I have added all the verticals and hope to post later to say that both sides are ready - the horizontals are yet to be done.

I also fabricated the rear end, using the compass cutter to create the radiused top edge and cut out a window to represent that in the rear door.  


Monday, February 02, 2009

Much to blog about

PART ONE: Progress on FR carriage 100.

I am preparing to complete the second end, using a compass cutter to create the radius at the top.

The first side has had its second stage detail almost completed.  It's hard to take an image, so here's one which has had its contrast maxxed up in photoshop.  The banana bend is normal apparently, caused by the lamination.  Most of the strip is 15 thou by 20 thou.  It's not perfect, but for a first go I'm quite pleased with it.

PART TWO: Plans for second side of the layout - or what shall I use my 2 new 4ft x 2ft baseboards for?

I've been thinking about this a lot.  One of the new problems with Rhyd Ddu is that, with most FR stock (and any heritage WHHR trains) terminating at Beddgelert, I'm stuck with just being able to run WHR trains.  Luckily some of the timetabled trains do indeed pass at Rhyd Ddu, so that's something.  So, I was looking to make the second side of the layout into an area where the other stock I'm building could be used.  The obvious choice is therefore something south of Beddgelert.

One thought was Pen-y-Mount.  Here I could model all the mainline WHR trains (current WHR stock and the FR third set trains too).  Indeed the WHHR stock can also be used (whether they run past Pen-y-mount or not) and even the Cambrian if I chose to model Cae Pawb as well.  This could be the usual DMU stock, but also class 37s and even steam specials.

However, the flat crossing may be a problem: to quote from Brian Meldon on the 009 society forum:

"the ready made standard/009 crossings that I have seen have dead frogs...This makes it virtually imposable to achieve good running on the 009 track. The gap in the rail is also a problem as the 009 wheels will tend to drop down in to the space required for the standard gauge flanges. You could always build one yourself but even then the gap required for the standard gauge flanges can be a problem.

One way round this is to only use fine scale 00 wheels with tiny flanges and build your entire 00 track and all the 00 locos and rolling stock to this standard. 
On real railways the difference between narrow and standard gauge wheel flanges is quite small and crossings, like that installed at Porthmadog in the photo linked below, have very small flange gaps:

This is not easily achievable in 4mm scale and certainly not using ready made crossings. A 90 degree crossing is not a good thing at all because both wheels will hit the gap at the same time, on the real railways these are normally avoided as is the case at Porthmadog, by being on a slight angle. At the other extreme crossings at acute angles will increase the length of the flange gap and the resultant hole." 

Ummmm...doesn't sound hopeful really.  I'm going to talk to a track guru first, but it seems a bit unlikely.  Also I'd need to build the unusual catch points and some method for running standard gauge trains at 90 degrees to the narrow gauge and then folding back to sit alongside the back of the baseboard on both sides.  It might make the baseboard impossibly wide?  

So, other possibilities...?  I still like the idea of 2 or 3 scenes on this side, with Tyler's curve and Plas halt a major contender for the first section, partly as the curve is correct.  The other contenders are:

- Tafarntrip and Garnedd tunnel (tunnel at end is useful for scenic break, bit boring?)
- Barlwyd Terrace near Tanygrisiau (river and rhodos are lovely here plus gentle curves)
- Aberglaslyn (obviously wonderful, but how to model to make the scale look right - the hills at the back are huge)
- Rhiw Goch (provides a passing place, but might also be a bit boring)
- Dduallt tank curve (a lovely gentle curve with interest (old tank))
- Nanmor bank and Nantmor cuttings (gradient, rock cuttings, road bridge)
- Nanmor river bridge and Hafod y Llyn loop (Hen Hafod).  -  see below.

PART THREE - Hen Hafod

and then yesterday came the announcement that the WHR will open to Beddgelert on 7th April and will be extended to a temporary terminus at Hen Hafod (old Hafod y Llyn and just short of the river bridge) on 21st May. 

The line will not now open to Porthmadog until after the summer peak season.  

So, the question now is what will happen to the third set of FR carriages?  Will they run on the FR as in 2008, or will they be used on the WHR.  If so, will they run a shuttle from Beddgelert, or Rhyd Ddu/Waunfawr or even Dinas/Caernarfon?  If so, then Rhyd Ddu will see the use of the FR stock after all!  

We'll have to wait until that becomes clear...