Monday, September 28, 2009

From the Cheltenham Works

Stage one from the paint works in Cheltenham - two trays worth of carriages cleaned up ready for primer.

From top left, across then down: ex FR obs 101, Pullman 2115 Bodysgallen, SAR Brake Van, 1001 Combination car, 23 cut down Ashbury Summer car, No. 24 not cut down summer car, kitbash of Vale of Rheidol parkside kit, FR 113 (used for a while on WHR), 2 B wagons, saloon (previously test painted), Pullman obs 2100, 2 bike wagons.

Second tray: new saloon, older saloon, saloon 2042 with different beading, semi-open, 2060 Romanian car, new saloon, 2010 service car, 2090 also with older beading and brake, semi-open and older saloon.


Pieces of the jigsaw

The interchangeability of parts between the 3 similar NGG16s on the real WHR is a bonus, but it can make modelling somewhat difficult!

If we say that the prototype time period for Rhyd Ddu is 2009/10, then I can model:
  • 138 in her new lined red livery, sporting a new front tank (a copy of its old tank) and the bunker from 143 (both unriveted)
  • 143 in SAR black just before overhaul with its own front tank, but the bunker from 138 (both unriveted) or after overhaul with 138's old front tank and the bunker from 138. In fact it will likely have 140's boiler too, so there won't be much of 143 left!
  • 87 in light aircraft grey, coal fired with riveted tanks. It is expected to go into black this winter, but you can only have so many black engines, given that K1 is black too!
An illustration of the differences between tanks/bunkers:

and for good measure (all unrestored):

So, how to get this as correct as possible?

I have the following:
  • a painted model in SAR black (143?) but with rivetted tanks
  • an unfinished model of 138 with unriveted tanks
  • a kit not yet started, nominally of 87.
So, if I remove the riveted tanks from the 143 model, strip off the paint, alter them slightly and repaint in grey, these can become 87's riveted tanks.

Given that the real 143 will return with both 138's bunker (which it sports at the moment) and its front tank, we may as well move 138's model tanks onto the 143 model and paint them black.

That leaves the unbuilt kit tanks to go onto 138. Which means I need to make these up asap, with no rivets, so they can be delivered to Cheltenham ready for 138's final fitting out and painting in lined red.

That seems to work - phew!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Much to report:

2 NWNGR 4 wheel carriages have been soldered together, I have the sides for the third but await the ends and chassis - Allen of worlsey works has temporarily lost them apparently. They look good and will complement my NWNGR train.

The two water tanks were scrubbed with ajax, dried and then sprayed with grey primer. Now they are dry the primer has covered 99% so they are ready for the red to be brushed on - railmatch acrylic 2311.

I managed to pick up an N gauge fleischmann 0-6-0 loco on ebay for £30. This was described as DCC ready, which I suspect partly explained the low price. It arrived today and to my great surprise was not just DCC ready, but had a decoder on board. A quick test and she works nicely - another great ebay deal! This chassis will be used under the WHR Kerr Stuart diesel. A quick bit on butchery on the white metal body underframe and she'll be ready to go - easy livery too - grey with white lettering.

I delivered a case full of the main WHR (C) carriage stock to the Cheltenham works for painting at the weekend. Dad has helpfully and very kindly agreed to get these going and there is also talk of a spray

Meanwhile I have continued painting a few random wagons - 7 skips, 3 FR 2t slates and 2 RAFs were painted mid grey last night and will be dry brushed and weathered with pastels later.

Further thought has gone into the design of board joins. Firstly, I have taken the advice of John DeFrayissnet (of County Gate) and ordered some super catches from wixroyd - The bolts drilled between boards will now be used as if they were dowels for alignment only.

Secondly, I am gradually removing the plaster bandage where it overlaps the board edges as these are causing greater gaps than necessary. This has shown that the end pieces of the two Fridd boards are not perfectly square and this explains why such a gap appears in the scenery. These will need to be taken off and reattached square. I may also in doing this be able to reduce some of the weight of the main Ffridd board - it is very heavy indeed.

Also at the entry to each hidden sidings I will be copying John's idea about half way down the page here: - i.e. solder tubing to the rails and insert a pin to ensure perfect line up.

This leaves a couple of joints which may need relaying as they may still be too wide, but we'll see where we get to with the above first, and anyway much of this will probably wait until Spring as I need to get on with stock.

I have also ordered a load of pipes from Knightwing - click here - to form the water tower piping.

Progress on all fronts really.


Monday, September 21, 2009

New updated top 10 NG layouts

I have decided to redo the top 10 narrow gauge layouts series of posts that I did a few years ago, this is because a number of new excellent layouts have hit the circuit. I will do this in one post this time.

10 NEW ENTRY - Tan y Bwlch

I saw this layout at Shepton Mallet and I loved it, for far too long we have been waiting for this idyllic location to be modelled. The stock is really nicely done, there is a gravity slate and the scenics are generally excellent. A worthy new entry.

9 - FR 1926 see post here

8 - Corris see post here

7 - Dulas see post here

6 - NEW ENTRY - Dinas (FR)

DCC sound in 7mm finescale, a cracking layout from the man who brought us Borth y Gest. The stock is still being added to and the new scratchbuilt 'Little Wonder' is truly special. The layout is being improved all the time and I can't wait to see it again at warley, when an even higher position in this 'chart' may be justified.

5 - NEW ENTRY Borth y Gest

It's a close run thing whether this is better than Dinas, but it's had time to bed in and is beautifully done, so I've put ByG ahead...just.

4 - Tan y Grisiau see post here

3 - Dinas Ddu see post here

2 - Knocked down from the top - Dduallt - see post here


A large and complex layout rarely seen outside of club layouts. It's DCC, can be automated, the running and stock is exceptional, scenics have depth, believability and have been very well researched indeed. Goodness knows how much £ this cost to build, but it's worth every penny. See it at Warley.

all the info you could need on this magnificent layout is available here

Disagree with my selections - then post me a comment...


tanks glorious tanks

I now have two water tanks - one the brass topped one was built by Dad, the new one with the plasticard top was built by me. Both have also had their top detail added. Now some grey primer and then some railmatch 2311 for the red sides and bottom.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Picture fest

Whilst I await more sleeper grime, I have taken the yard board back downstairs so I can concentrate on soldering the other water tank up and prepare the first rake of carriages for painting. This was after I installed the model point levers, moved the point indicator and checked all the point motors by removing and reinstalling them.

The usual caveats about these shots - the garage is too dark, so the camera uses flash and the colours thus look different. Also the layout is without any details that are not yet fully stuck down - station building, cars, signs, benches, nameboards, water tanks etc etc...but hopefully you get the picture...

I'm really pleased with the results so far. My only remaining concerns are the backscene and the board join gaps, which I fear are in places too large. Work may be needed to close these gaps to ensure reliable running, but at the moment the boards aren't even fixed together and sit on a downward slope, so this is difficult to predict.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Was looking again at many images of the real thing last night and then I noticed a bad error. I've erected the point indicator near the yard points, when it should be next to the loop points - whoops. The offending post has been removed and hole filled in. It will be reconnected when I'm back from Wales (including a trip to Pont Croesor from Caernarfon - cool!) next week.

I also added a load more bushes and generally weathered the ballast. Two more pots of sleeper grime are on the way from gaugemaster as well as a length of the new peco 009 'mainline' track and an extra DCC plug for the base station, meaning I can switch between exhibition wiring and home setup easily, without constant screwing of wires in and out of the terminals.

I have also got the bits out ready to complete the yard points levers and ground frame.

I guess there is about 4 hours of work left on this board and then it can join the others downstairs again.

I have then decided to bring the hidden sidings boards upstairs to complete the layout to exhibitable standard (except minor details such as signs etc and the backscene) before I crack on with locos etc

3 kits for the 4 wheel NWNGR carriages arrived yesterday from Allen at worsley, so more soldering beckons.

Oh and the broken soldering iron turned out not to be broken at all, it was one of the 4 outlets on my 4 gang extension lead were the problem lay!


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

promised photos

Those promised images:

Firstly here is the maze of wiring underneath the yard board - all wired up and ready to go.

On top it looks like this now, with road markings in and spot reballasting continuing. I have however run out of railmatch 'sleeper grime' so there will be a short delay before this board is finished.

The station board just before it was removed to the garage - the JCB cost an arm and a leg! The flower beds and station planters are glued in place, as is the fencing. Final details such as water tanks(!), signs etc will come later.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Camera is out of battery, so no images...promise some in a few days.

Tonight the white lines for the Pitt's Head road have been added. I have not made these perfect, but have rather picked at them and tried to weather them into the road a bit to make them more believable.

Also the wiring on this board was completed and an error on a previous board corrected. All wiring is now done, apart from the links between the traversers and the hidden sidings proper. This shouldn't be too taxing though.

Today I also had the misfortune to require dental surgery, so I took the dental pick to the track on this last board and picked off any stray ballast that had got into the points and the inside of the rails. I will take each of the point motors out for a final clean, again this should be a quick job.

So it's coming together...must get going with locomotives and painting stock!


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Last board taken upstairs

Yesterday the last of the boards was taken upstairs for the next stage of treatment. The station board is now at a stage where it is really only details that have to be added, and I really need to finish the second tank before anything more can be that is back in the garage.

The last board (yard) has already been spot reballasted, the grass upgraded, the point indicator installed and...finally after a false start...the points decoder installed.

Tonight I hope to finish soldering the wiring up (some minor bits are required such as the 16v AC feed to the points decoder and the feed to the point indicator LED) and then I need to start work de-gumming the point blades. fun fun fun!