Sunday, May 31, 2009


Last weekend, we popped in to the Glos Warks Railway gala. Dad had taken over part of Winchcombe Station for an art exhibition, next to an FR/WHR stand manned my our friends Mr and Mrs Ward (Dad had previously donated the exhibition stand to them) and a display of magnificient 7mm standard gauge models and kits by family friend Dave Andrews (some of the locos were built by Dad).

There was also a small display of model railways and one which stood out was that created by another family friend - Ian Kirkwood. I've known Ian for many years when I used to accompany Dad on trips and evening meetings of the local 3mm scale group, so I may be a little biased, but I'm sure most readers of this blog will agree with me anyway!

His layout is a fictitious narrow gauge railway in the Lake District - 'Kendal' in 009. It's only small, but shows how much can be included in a small space, without the resulting layout looking ridiculous. I didn't measure it, but it wasn't much more than 4 feet by less than 2 feet.

Most of the locos come from Backwoods kits - a Canopus, Hudswell Clarke diesel etc with the odd scratch built creation in the mix too. The stock runs well and looks the part in a believable and tidy livery. Carriages and wagons are borrowed from various kits - Festiniog and Blaenau, Penrhyn quarry opens, Talyllyn Limping Lulus and even a worsley skull and skibbereen coach!

The layout is very well designed to give operational interest alongside clever use of levels. The buildings are fantastic - all scratch built! Scenics are also on the money for me - the tree and grassy areas in the image below show that.

Overall, a very impressive little layout. I struggle to fault it.


2010 and 2100

Two very important WHR(C) carriages have been missing from my plan - the service/brake carriage 2010 and the new Pullman obs 2100. Well they are missing no more.

On Friday, the etches arrived from worsley works and spare moments during the weekend have been utilised to construct them up to chassis and sides, with roofs ready for application asap.

So, firstly 2010... this is a pretty standard carriage really and so went together just like all the other saloons, it's not the prettiest of designs, but is very important to my planned rakes being a brake vehicle.

and 2100... well this is a different kettle of fish entirely, especially the obs end. The chassis was relatively easy - tabbed battery boxes went on and the skirt at the front (similarly tabbed) required forming into a curve with a buffer beam overlay then added on top. The bogie pivot holes were enlarged and 10BA nuts soldered over them.

The usual system of L shaped assemblies incorporating a 10BA captive nut were put together, although in this instance the obs end ones were just affixed to the carriage main body on the sides only, being curved at the front. After tapping the threads to remove any errant solder, these were put to one side and the doors were folded up and soldered squarely to the sides.

Then I noted an error in the kit... (not Allen's fault as drawings don't exist for the ends and photos were thin on the ground when the kit was being designed) ... on this occasion the roofline doesn't fit over the top of the doors, but is set back flush with them. So the doors came off again and the top fold-over section was removed. Then the carriage end was snipped to straight rather than the top overhang that is present on all other WHR modern carrs. This end was then attached to the doors and the sides and the L shaped section added at the correct ride height.

Then came the front end. Firstly the front has a curved wrapper to fit around the captive nut assembly, this was tacked in place and then joined to the carriage sides to check that all was level and true. It was, so the full semi-circle was soldered on securely.

A clever arrangement is then provided where rectangular section brass strip (provided in the kit) is attached to an assembly which then can be soldered to the front wrapper and forms a base for the domed roof too. Once it's fitted, two sections (which have kept the mini assembly nice and square) are then removed to ensure it looks prototypical. Without this clever assembly the front end would have been a nightmare, but this was actually pretty easy. Once the roof is on the join between the sides and this domed roof base will be more secure, but it's OK for now. So, a section that looked somewhat worrying, turned out nice again.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

tricky criccy

I already have a model of Harlech Castle, which I have altered to allow it to take the new (much improved) farish 08 with outside frames.

This week another Harlech kit arrived to go on another farish 08. why?

Well, because there is no kit available for Criccieth Castle, but it is very similar to its cousin Harlech. Below is an image of the two - the main difference is that the bonnet stretches right across the width of the cab, whereas it is set back on Harlech. The windows on the side of the cab are marginally narrower, but I can't be bothered to alter that.

So I soldered on the sides where they should be and have filled the missing bits. The below shot shows it after the second filler application. There has been one more since, and a final mopping up layer to sort out surface deficiencies will be applied asap. Then it just needs the roof and steps adding and we have another diesel for the layout.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tro Ffridd

This is a clever image of Tro Ffridd. No it's not a model! The original shot was taken by my friend Roger Dimmick and was altered by a guy called Adam on the WHR forum. I hope neither of them minds me repeating the image here. The effect is created by the breeze-block wall added behind, a blur around the train and some slight alterations to the curves in photoshop.

This technique is indeed very clever and more examples of this idea can be seen here:


you can also use so-called tilt-shift lenses to create this effect.

Anyway, I thought it was about time that I showed you all what Tro Ffridd looks like now. The problem is that under the 100W bulb in the garage I get two effects - far too yellow with no flash despite alterations in photoshop, and with flash the ballast and rocks look far too white and over-exposed. So, I've created a slideshow of images taken with and without flash. The real colour is somewhere between the two extremes. enjoy.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bron Hebog

From Holiday - May 09

[more images are available via the link to my holiday May 09 album in picasa web albums]


My recent holiday to Wales was great fun for many reasons:

  • My first chance to ride on a scheduled passenger train from Rhyd Ddu to Beddgelert and vice versa
  • A chance to see around Boston Lodge (always fun), see special AGM trains and the boat in action on the FR
  • A chance to see the Baldwin and Buffet car, plus the new museum at the WHHR
  • and...a chance to see the initial part of Bron Hebog at the Port model show.

and I was not disappointed on any of these fronts (apart from missing the gravity train due to very wet weather and it running 30mins late).

Bron Hebog is the successor to Dduallt, itself a seriously good 009 model. Like Rhyd Ddu, it portrays the WHR in its modern form.

The part on show was basically of Beddgelert Station, but the whole layout is named 'Bron Hebog' to highlight the fact that the station area is just one part of a much larger model of the station, the Cwm Cloch reverse curves and Goat tunnel too.

It is of course not exactly fair to pass judgement on a half completed layout, but the parts on show were of a superb standard. Many photos were taken (a kind of industrial espionage?) which will help me immensely given the similarities of our projects.

Highlights for me were the correct scaling of the PBSSR bridge at the north end and the Goat cutting at the south end (compare that with the 7mm model of Beddgelert seen at Warley recently); the gently undulating and believable fields behind the station; the water tower and station shelters and of course, the stock.

...and it is stock where this project is much further on than I am, helped in part because some of it has run on Dduallt in the past (Russell, Upnor, Conwy etc) but almost all of the carriages have been scratchbuilt in plastic (I think the Romanian carr is a worsley brass kit) which is an amazing achievement given I know how long it takes to create one in plastic, let alone 20 or so! The detailing is also fabulous, with internals given the same qulaity treatment as externals.

There is clearly a long way to go, but this is looking like another iconic layout.

It is understood that it will be seen again at Warley in November alongside the FR and WHR stand. Can't wait.


from the workbench

The brass angle finally arrived so the other B wagons could be finished. Two will be bike wagons and here is one with its external door fitted, lots more detail to come, including black pictograms of bikes/luggage which I have put together on the PC.

FR obs saloons 100 and 102 are progressing with the chassis done and the sides ready for final assembly. You will remember that I scratchbuilt a 100 earlier in the year and it will be interesting to compare the brass and plastic versions.

A slight bit of layout owners' licence - I bought a Chris Veitch sentry passenger van when at the FR on hols. I already had the peco wagon chassis in stock and so last night I soldered the basic kit together. Detailing and roof to come.

Carr 124 cauised some angst as one side didn't have the rebate necessary to join the two halves of the sides. However it is now ready for a roof.


Monday, May 11, 2009


Some scenic progress ...the ballast deliveries at Rhyd Ddu tend to pile up behind the water tower, so 'new' ballast has been added there in a pile.

two flower beds have been built from plasticard and populated with rocks and grasses.

this shot shows the two beds.

On the carriage front, fresh off the bench are...the mess car 1000. This is built from an improved worsley kit. The first one (an inferior kit anyway) was recently scrapped by myself as it was the first kit I ever soldered together and it showed!

The two WHR saloons which retain the old style beading are 2042 and 2090, plastic strip was cut and glued on to represent the vents, which are not etched or provided for in the kit.

118 was finished, seats installed and now also has the roof soldered on and domed ends formed with filler.

26 was completed and 22's ride height altered to make sure they look right next to each other.

and, from a new worsley kit, here is 101, the FR obs used (along with 113) on the WHR for the last few years and which has been extensively used with two semi-opens on the crew training runs this year.


Holiday May 09

Back from holidays: reports soon, but images here for a start