Saturday, June 27, 2009

Little blue engine

Tonight I have been hacking about an old saltford models simplex kit (which is for a longer chassis version with a cab) and adding some details to create a (non-running) model of Dolgarrog. It just needs a brake lever from somewhere now (and painting).

The idea is to leave it in one of the Rhyd Ddu yard sidings as a static exhibit. There is little chance of getting a motor in it, and even less of getting a DCC chip in!

The chassis sides and white metal details were from the kit, the other bits mainly being plasticard additions.

This model differs from the real Dolgarrog in a number of minor ways, but when painted blue only those who really know the loco will be able to spot them I think. One of the alterations is the seat (the real Dolgarrog has a wooden slat seat), but with a driver added you won't see that and it will be much more solid for handling.

Friday, June 26, 2009

some bits and pieces

Both traversers are now wired up and just need some of the rail ends chopping back, but I'll do that when I've got the rest of the hidden sidings erected.

Powerbond - great stuff. Better than superglue as you get some time to rearrange stuff before it fixes. After it has hardened, it's strong. I bought a bottle at the NEC (well shared one each with Dad). I've gone through that now and ordered another. Their branding seems to have altered (new on left, old on right), but the name and the stuff are the same.

Both the funkeys have completed bogies now.


Monday, June 22, 2009


Traverser wiring.

Both traversers have had their 6 roads cleaned and tested: I found one area with damaged sleepers, so these were replaced. I then removed the last sleeper on each length of track. Copper clad sleepers have replaced them on one traverser, these were glued down, a gap created in the middle using a saw and then the rails soldered to them. Later the rail ends will be cut to exact length, for now they are ok. I ran out of copper clad though so the second traverser awaits a delivery from Dad's store.

Both traversers have however had wires soldered to each road and these returned back to a central piece underneath the board. using flying croc clips all roads were tested and worked fine.

Jobs left: copper clad installation on traverser 2; connect +/- to hidden sidings board using a tamiya/kyosho clip and trim rails to length.

Other news

Two small planters have been created out of plastic strip for the platform. Flowers are being put together for these and also a display near the steps.

A worsley kit for the porthole bug box was completed with sides/ends/seat and wheels done, roof to follow the installation of mesh for the sides. I have prepared another Pickering brake kit for soldering by cleaning it up and removing it from the fret.

The open topper bus has been stripped of its markings and red stripe by applying mek to it and wiping off with a rag. This is now ready for transfers when I get the time to have a go at the crafty paper - see post below.


Home setup thoughts

The above might look like lego, but I can assure you that it's not. These are some diagrammatic representations of how the layout could be set up. I need to think about this before I finish the hidden sidings!

The top one shows the layout as complete, with hidden sidings in dark blue, Rhyd Ddu boards in light blue and potential future boards (for the Ffestiniog layout) in grey. The total footprint is 8 x 16 feet or 128 square feet.

The second one shows the Ffridd Isaf section as set up for a small home test track. The red box would be a new 2 road board, a hidden sidings board being used at the other end. This would be approximately 10 x 8 feet (80 sq feet) depending on the length of the new sidings. Potentially two smaller hidden boards say of 2 feet length could be used, making this a tighter 7x6 feet footprint (that's just 42 square feet).

The third shows how the layout would look if the Ffridd board was replaced by the hidden sidings board. This makes the footprint 6x12 feet or 72 square feet.

The fourth shows this same arrangement, but also without the 2 foot square board at the Pitt's Head end, with the station board continuing straight on to the hidden sidings. This is thus 14 x 6 feet or 84 square feet. This option could of course also include Ffridd Isaf but this seems pointless really as it makes the layout longer, but the same width as the full layout setup.

The idea is to install holes for baseboard alignment in enough places to make all of the above possible.

PS I've left off teh triangular section at the corner of Ffridd Isaf as I couldn't find a quick way of adding it in MS visio!


With the painting season likely to start up pretty soon, I've been thinking about transfers. Blackham ( make very nice transfers indeed, although almost all have to be pre-ordered. The problem is that they are very expensive when you need the kind of quantities I need - just think about crests for the modern bogie stock (4 per carriage)!

Thus I have been looking at alternatives and I reckon this stuff could be an option:

Where I can create my own artwork (the crest for example is easy) all I need do is buy some of this paper (£1.55 an a4 sheet) and print my own!

I would be interested if any other modellers out there have tried it...


a year of blog stats

It's a year since I started recording visits to this site via google analytics. In that year I can report:

9472 unique visits, with each visitor looking at 1.73 pages (reflecting the fact that most just look at the recent posts on the homepage)

Each visitor spent an average of 1 min 18 secs on the site

37% typed the URL directly, 21% came via google, 6% from the 009 society website (this link was only added later in the year, so the real total would be higher) and another 10% from various other blogs etc. The rest is made up of other search engines, image searches and WHR forums etc

There were over 1023 different search terms that resulted in visits to the site, some very bizarre!

Given that this blog was set up principally as a method for ensuring that I kept the project going, to tell family and friends what was going on, to act as a kind of project diary and as a respository for images of the layout, I think these figures are pretty good.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

General update

After finding some triangular section plastic strip I have experimented and created this initial section of anti-pedestrian section. There will be more to go astride the running rails, but the point was proved and these will now be fabricated.

I've also completed the bogies on the two funkeys, these are now ready for painting.

The smaller portaloo has had a plasticard plinth created and it painted grey to represent a kind of slate base. I'm sure you'll agree that it looks much better now next to the larger variety.

Two (the kit gives you two) Mark 2 Quarryman's carriages have been soldered together up to this state - the seats are also done and roofs pre-curved ready. Unfortunately the wheelsets foul the floor (a problem with the kit) so I need to cut some holes for the flanges in the floor. Ho hum.

The Romanian carriage 2060 has had its roof strips added - I used mek pak to melt the plastic onto the brass - enough to keep it in place until the paint goes on.

and the 1st obs 2100 has had its domed roof end added using filler.

The two bike wagons have had their internal doors made in plasticard and brass false door fronts added. All they need now are the bike racks. I've even printed out the bike and luggage symbols to the correct size on my home printer.

and finally... some of you will know that I work in the transport industry. Although I work with buses all the time, I'm not exactly an enthusiast of buses. I'm much more interested in marketing the concept and the commercials underlying it - routes, fares etc.

However, I feel it would be interesting to model the Express Motors open top service that calls at Rhyd Ddu. This is a Brsitol VRT open top and EFE do a model of it. In order to allow an easier repaint I selected the whitest livery I could find - south wales skyrider. However the model comes with no top deck railings, so I purchased (for £2.25) a brynkits conversion kit. This is etched in steel and via some clever folding legs allows the railings to be attached as in the shot below...
I've also been drilling holes in the traversers ready for wiring, which should start tomorrow.

Finally, I have some wagons painted by my fair hand for sale on ebay, go here for more details:


News from roco

I can (exclusively) reveal that the roco 009 ready to run double fairlie will be a model of.....

'Livingston Thompson' now resident at the National Railway Museum.

At the moment the loco is not to be DCC ready, although this may change. It will be to 1:76 scale an thus be 009 rather than HOe. It will cost upwards of £200, but this will vary with the exchange rate of course.

[this has been confirmed by roco to me in writing].


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What's left to do on the layout?

A list of the main hurdles to completion:

  1. - Wiring - I need to add the point decoder (a simple matter of connecting wires) - 10 mins or so and then test it all (much longer).
  2. - Hidden sidings - the traversers need wiring up (relatively easy with DCC) and brass bolts added to allow easy alignment of tracks.
  3. - Backscene - a nightmare that won't go away. I may yet decide to just have a backscene on the edges of the far boards only.
  4. - Fencing - in stock and should be no issue to install
  5. - Scenic detailing on the car park area
  6. - A few final details on the platform such as flower beds, bins, benches (in stock) and the yellow line around the edge of the platform
  7. - Road markings (rub-on transfers in stock) for Pitt's Head road
  8. - Completion of the water towers (basic structures complete, one tank complete) especially the strappings
  9. - Taking a dental pick to the ballasting to remove bits that have welded themselves to the inside of the running rail and reballasting/painting rails where necessary
  10. - Doing the same for the point blades and potentially reinstalling point motors where required.
The next areas to concentrate on are 1,2,5,7,9 and 10 as completion of these will allow full testing of the layout. also item is currently easier as that board is the correct way around for access!


Friday, June 05, 2009

A safe haven for stock

Tonight (as well as finishing the two bike wagons off) I have been experimenting with a new purchase - a KR multicase.

After much rearranging of the foam inserts, I was able to line them up to take 10 WHR saloons per tray (there are 2 trays):

Then on goes a protective top layer of foam... there is another between the two trays.
and the case closes up with a convenient handle...stock is safe. The two trays lift out with attached fabric handles. A very neat piece of kit and at £27 (free P+P) a decent deal too.
JdF of 'County Gate' put me on to this company, he uses the more expensive aluminium flight cases and info can be found here: