Monday, October 24, 2011

More carriages!

And more go into the line for finishing...

Here 24 in primer plus 2043/100/102 in ivory after priming.

There's also two O14 diesels being painted green and blue.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Degrease lightning

Tonight the bodies of 100 and 102 (the chassis await the interiors being built) plus the full body/chassis combo of 24 and 2043 were cleaned and degreased ready for primer. Alongside them I'm painting two O14 kb scale diesels for my other layout.

Friday, October 14, 2011

You spin me right round

I've always said that it is important that the layout should be used at home, rather than just sit waiting for the next exhibition.  Thus, upon moving it to the loft (and all that entails in terms of rafter insulation etc), I have two new problems:

1) the so-called 'question mark' board is a very tight fit through the new loft hatch, requiring the removal of the hatch hinges and retaining mechanism to get it through (not ideal).  This is beacuse it is 6 inches wider than all the other boards.
2) the layout as displayed at expoNG does not fit in the loft because of some fiendishly placed chimney breasts, roof ties etc

So, this got me thinking, how could I remove the need for the wider question mark board and also reduce the total footprint of the layout?  It is particularly difficult as I want to retain the 'round and round' setup and a single (central) hidden sidings.  Indeed the Ffridd Isaf curves board also means that the line is headed away from the station in a difficult direction to solve without the need for even more space.

Well one idea (the leading idea of many) is presented above.  This is quite radical (!) but could work really well I think. 

The idea is to place the layout and hidden sidings back to back, removing the need for an operating well.  In order to do that successfully (here's the radical bit) I will change the viewers' view of the layout - instead of looking at the station from the car park side, you'll now view it from the hills!  As you can see above this delivers a close to 40% reduction in the total layout footprint, but (bizarrely) requires an EXTRA board (3 ft x 2ft)! 

It would allow the fiendish tie in my loft to sit behind the backscene and thus become inobtrusive (although it would be in the way if (when) boards A and B are made scenic. 

I actuallly think there is something quite fun about having the layout viewed from the other side... it's like looking at the station from the hills and it means trains disappear from view and reappear in an interesting way. 

So, in order to create this I need to cut back the current backscene to just retain the hillsides etc, build a new board and install a new backscene on the other side.  Board H (the small triangle) may not now be required, it might remain, we'll see. 

I can now make plans for what I shall model on boards A and B too - something north of Rhyd Ddu...ummm

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Model rail surprise

Today I picked up model rail magazine (nov issue) as for once it had some narrow gauge content. In fact I haven't bought a modelling mag for a while now. Well there's quite a few innovations that have appeared. Highlights are:

- The new noch laser cut plant range which looks great
- The hex frog juicer is gonna save loads of wiring! For DCC layouts it automatically switches the frog polarities for you without the need for accessory switches. Well cool.
- gjhplant who have a safe non acid flux for soldering without the fumes. Might be worth a try.
- A thought provoking article about building a portable all in one 'command station' and test track
- I noticed that a company called foresight LED do some useful magnifying glasses which have LED lighting too.
- A great article about the 16mm Fen End Pit (ng)
- and useful tips on brush painting and fillers

Must buy it more often!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Upstairs downstairs

I have now successfully moved downstairs and here is a shot of my new modelling bureau in action. The WHHR's Bro Madog Eisteddfod coach has been put together tonight.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bearing up

Latest progress on the mystery loco. Half moon shapes removed to assist pony truck swivel and holes for bearings reamed out ready to take the bearings.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Paternity leave modelling

Baby and mum asleep so modelling can be done.

Firstly I installed the new section on the question mark board to mirror the extra foot added to the station approach. I have decided to make this hinged so that access to the layout can be attempted by thin people without requiring a duck under (with the inevitable bang of heads!). A simple mating piece was screwed onto the next board to meet this hinged section. A brass bolt (or 2) will secure it in place.

I then soldered on the roofs for carrs 24, 2043 and 102. 102 required its roof cutting from sheet brass first and also had filler dropped in to the domed end which will be shaped once dry.

Finally I removed a few pieces from frets, cleaned them up and created a radiused fold in a loco kit - any guesses which one?

Monday, September 26, 2011


Have spent quite a while studying the backwoods B class instructions. A few observations:
- the method of attaching cranks to the axles is far superior - the plastic friction fit pieces will avoid the wheel centre melting problem!
- in fact the wheels come (along with a gear wheel) installed on their axles
- the kit uses a live body arrangement with insulated wheels one side. This will require some careful work to isolate the motor from the body for DCC.
- the method for clamping the cranks prior to lamination usong 12BA bolts on the frets is very clever
- the kit looks like a perfect one for the novice

I've also been studying the differences between the kit and the B class being modelled - no. 19. These are:

- tender!
- no lamp on roof and whistle very different, not on roof but with hole in roof for steam to escape
- a different front lamp
- a taller less wide toolbox
- no coal rails
- extra feed to bottom of dome
- extra pipes on smokebox
- different patterns of rivets on body side (but I can't be bothered to alter these)
- specific numberplates etc (being etched for me by narrow planet)

Have started by doing all the riveting (using Dad's special nails plus hammer method) and cutting out the frames.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Look what the postman brought


It is with regret that I announce that Rhyd Ddu will now not be able to attend the Sparsholt exhibition in April 2012.

I’m part of a bid team for a st***ard gauge rail franchise which will be finalised in April 2012, and it is therefore it is going to be too difficult to exhibit Rhyd Ddu at the same time.

This is a real shame as I had been really looking forward to the event but you can of course still enjoy the modern WHR in model form at Sparsholt, courtesy of our friends at Bron Hebog.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gee whizz, Gee Dee

Today I visited Gee Dee models as I was in Nottingham for business. It's been a while since I've been in but it remains an excellent shop. I made the following purchases:

- a new mek pak bottle.
- 4 buffer stops to finish off the hidden sidings board
- and this can of paint. Now why would I need that?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Joining up

Tonight all the hidden sidings feeds were attached to the DCC bus bars and then the continuity tested with the help of a DC controller and a zillertalbahn diesel (chosen as my DC test loco). All worked well.

I also cut a block of acrylic sheet to become the base of the improved water tower

Monday, September 05, 2011

Nice pair!

Here are the hudsons with footboards and seats fitted. The roofs are not yet fixed to aid painting/the addition of people.

Now these will sit on the 'nearly' pile waiting for the etched mini doors promised to me by narrow planet.

Friday, September 02, 2011


All the hidden sidings track is now nailed down and wire has been poked through ready for feeds to be soldered on this weekend.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hidden away

The track for the hidden sidings has been laid out, cut and joined. Track pins need to be added yet (it was too late to start hammering last night!).

In other news the baby stuff from the loft has been brought down giving me a full loft to be able to measure ready for erecting Rhyd ddu up there.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Toast is served

And here are the two bodies made up - guard rails on, sides and floor fixed to ends. Next it's seating...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Racking them up

Today the first ever 009 society kit was delivered to my door. In fact two were. The kit is for the Hudson toast rack carriages (rainmakers). One of these runs in the WHHR heritage train in maroon and another alongside two more modern versions on the FR in dark green.

Tonight I made a good start on these. All the plastic parts were cut out and cleaned up (it's a new kit so the castings were crisp) and made a start glueing on the curved side guards. Good kit so far.

Also around my work bench at the moment are carrs 100 (which recently had it's roof added), 14, 24 and 2043. The latter two have had their roofs cut out of brass and curved recently.

Local to our London office is a superb model shop and I invested recently in some more tamiya paints and cleaning solution for both brushes and airbrushed.

Thursday, August 11, 2011



and there it is complete and ready for a coat or two of paint. 

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Hatching a plan

The loft hatch project moved forward today. The previous hatch was removed, the ceiling plasterboard cut out with a jigsaw and a support (not a joist!) removed.

One board has now made it into the loft proving the new hole is big enough.

Tomorrow I will replace the trim and construct a new hatch door.

Thursday, August 04, 2011



I have invested in a new soldering station.  My antex was increasingly showing it’s age and will now be retired for purely electrical soldering and my cheap variable temp iron was just that, cheap and nasty so this will be filed under B for bin.  The new one is provides a temp controlled iron with digital readout from 150 deg (for low melt solder) to 400 (for some serious, some might call it ‘extreme’ soldering) and 60W of power – plenty for 009!

There are a myriad of bits you can buy, but for now I have a pointy detail one and a bevel bit.  I may well invest in a blade style bit soon too.  So far I am very happy with the build quality and it looks to be a sensible investment at about half the cost of an ersa.


The other project is a way to avoid the damp of the garage, by moving major parts of the layout into the loft, which is boarded nicely ready.  However the hatch isn’t big enough to get the 2ft wide boards up there, so I had a look tonight and discovered that widening it won’t too difficult – a weekend project I think.

Friday, July 29, 2011

24–the latest box

Carriage 24 is now a box with a floor, and seats installed.

This is how I add flux and keep it square when soldering – I also sometimes use a square, but this trusty block has built all my carriages.

87 continues a pace too and nears the finish line.  K1 will be attended to next, with better matched motors hopefully meaning it can move to the ‘ready for service’ section soon too.

I’ve also ordered new Alan Gibson wheels for the fifth Garratt (these were loose from their plastic centres when I bought the kit half completed off ebay) and brass rod for the new water tower base construction (replacing the way too flimsy plastic previous attempt).  The 5th Garratt (4th NGG16) was to be NG109 (Pete Waterman’s loco), but I may well find it hard to resist making it into NG143 in green and converting my current black NG143 to NG109 when it appears (it is expected to be outshopped in lined ‘LNWR’ black, so the conversion may not be too difficult).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Should have said long ago that Rhyd Ddu is on twitter : @rhydddu and also Facebook.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Twenty four seven


Work has been completely crazy recently, with very little time available for modelling, but I have found a little time to start on carriage 24.  This is the replica full height summer carriage (i.e. NWNGR).  It runs as a ‘lock up’ carr at the end of most WHR rakes and so is a vital model.  I had a kitbash version – a plastic Parkside Dundas Vale of Rheidol carriage – but it just didn’t cut the mustard next to the cut down summer carr (23).  I was able to persuade Allen of worsley works to do me the etchings (he couldn’t believe there was another version of the summer carrs that he hadn’t done already). 

Progress so far has seen the footboards folded up and soldered in place, extra vent pieces (very small indeed) superglued above the doors (using my favoured powerbond), and the construction of a set of seats for the carriage from parkside ‘narrow gauge coach seats’.

In a slight departure from normal methods, I have this time soldered bolts to the floor as the bogie pivot and will add the nut underneath (I normally do this the other way around, but on balance this may turn out to be a better way of doing it as the seats can sit over the bolt without the bolt protruding into the carriage necessitating a hole in the floor to be created.  The nuts can be loctited onto the bolt and the excess snipped off.

Now I just need to find time to solder the sides to the ends and the floor to the ends before I need to think about the roof (I already have some curved brass ready), truss rods etc.

24, along with the replacement 2043 and 100, 102 and 14 will be the last batch of carriages through the semi industrial process and I thus hope to have them all running for Sparsholt.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

87 update

The power bogies for 87 have taken a leap forward at the Cheltenham works. One bogie is complete and works well, it just needs painting. The other has been stripped back, problems solved and now just needs the valve gear reattaching. Best to paint it too though prior to reassembly, so that is the next job.

The tanks and body are already 95% complete and painted with just minor details and the off White lining to complete.

So we shall certainly gave black, red and blue garratts ready for Sparsholt.


Attended the Telford NG show today, here are some shots:

Calstock (Cotehele) in 7mm was nicely done and friendly – the periscope lent to Thomas was great fun.  The original England loco was great too. 

prince july 2011 006prince july 2011 007

There appeared to be some kind of diorama competition.  These three caught the eye… Manod quarry art storage, Duffield Bank and Fairbourne…

prince july 2011 009prince july 2011 010

prince july 2011 012

and I’m always impressed by the detail and scenics of american layouts even if I’m not that bothered by the stock…

prince july 2011 016prince july 2011 017prince july 2011 018prince july 2011 019

Had a good chat with Pete at Backwoods.  I fancy a Darjeeling B class tank sometime, but it’s clear that finding a place for a DCC chip might be a challenge – look where the motor has to go!

prince july 2011 021

and I also picked up the etches for 24, the NWNGR replica summer carr as running on the WHR today.  I had previously made a kit bash attempt to model this, but it didn’t stand up to the other etched kits so Allen nicely etched this for me.

prince july 2011 075

A Prince amongst engines

Today we made a trip to the Telford exhibition (report to come) and on the way back visited Prince, who having been declared “Hors de combat” currently resides at the Engine House museum, itself a part of the Severn Valley Railway setup at Highley.

prince july 2011 030prince july 2011 055prince july 2011 059prince july 2011 031

The main reason was to take measurements and check colours etc. for Dad’s 7mm and 16mm versions (hence the measuring tape).  Whilst there we spotted a few st****rd gauge locos too!

prince july 2011 067prince july 2011 069prince july 2011 074prince july 2011 027