Saturday, 1 August 2015

First Steps

Manning the 009 society stand at Amberley the idea was to do some modelling as a demonstration. However rather than have him spend hours on his DS I thought I'd take some projects along for my son to have a go at too. First up was this signal box from a Metcalf kit, which had come with a Railway Modeller a while back.

Joshua loved putting it together, though I did end up helping with the cutting out, and glue spreading... still, he did a good job, and was desperate to build something else. So we moved on to a simple plastic kit for a platelayer's hut (Ratio I think). Again I helped - mostly cleaning up the parts where they'd been cut from the sprue, and holding the parts while Joshua glued them. He was impressed with the speed it went together using liquid solvent, and can't wait to have a go at painting it.

Both buildings have now been positioned on his train set, next we'll have to have a go at making brick retaining walls and tunnels I think.

Monday, 27 July 2015

A plan for two gauges

I've always enjoyed doodling track plans, I have a couple of box files of plans from my younger years. So many ideas, so little time to build them, but even so I still occasionally doodle plans for fun. Last week an unplanned and somewhat dull stay in hospital gave me the, er, opportunity to doodle...

Here's one of the ideas that emerged, and it features both standard and narrow gauge. I've long wanted to have both on the same layout but sadly didn't finish the last layout I tried this. This plan keeps the OO gauge to a minimum, just a simple inglenook shunting puzzle provides operational interest without even a need for a fiddle yard. The narrow gauge (009) has a low level continuous run for easy exhibiting, and also a small shunting yard, perhaps with workshop or engine shed, at an intermediate level by the SG siding. Sharp curves (about 8" radius) and gradients (about 1 in 30) allow the NG to emerge from bridges either end, pass along in front of the layout, and climb up to the level of the SG yard - the small numbers are heights in cm.

The overall size is 4'6" by 19" allowing it to be built as one board, though a larger board would help. The rear 6" provides hidden staging for the NG to swap trains, cassettes could provide more capacity but aren't really necessary. Actually the rear section could be made removable or fold-up to allow the scenic board to sit on a narrow shelf at home, the lack of continuous run and staging being less important than the display and shunting.

The big question is the theme and setting. Obviously an industrial scene, a quarry/mine, gas works, water works etc. are all possibilities, though need bulk transfer of coal or minerals which is tricky to model. I'm thinking a large factory with an internal system - such as a chemical works (I grew up near ICI plants with internal rail systems), or a paper works (like Sittingbourne), would work well. The NG would move loads around the plant as well as transferring goods to and from the SG, while SG wagons would have more variety and be loading/unloading direct to the factory buildings too. Another option would be a munitions factory or MoD site, perhaps a good excuse for the Narrow Planet RNAD loco and crew van, and the 009 Society wagons kits with some "interesting" loads...! These themes could work from the 1930's right through to the 1980's with appropriate stock.

Whatever the purpose of the site, scenically there is a lot of track (much of it a little overgrown perhaps), with grassy banks and undergrowth.  The left hand end would be built up to suggest factory buildings and warehouses - I'm thinking more modern brick and concrete Scalescenes type rather than the older and slightly twee Metcalf kits - while the right hand end looks more rural, the SG on an embankment surrounded by trees. A stream passing under the lines could add interest, with a rural backscene contrasting with the industrial foreground.

Well I don't know if I'll ever get to build this layout, but it would be a lot of fun in a small space, with up to three trains running at once.  It would also be a good layout to build with my son, to include standard "OO" trains along with the 009 I prefer. And I do have a Model Rail "OO" Sentinel shunter put aside...

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Amberley Listermania!

This weekend Amberley held it's annual railway gala event. I was there yesterday, taking my turn manning the 009 society stand. This year the theme was "Listermania", with visiting locos taking the total number of Lister's present to 12, along with some road versions and a few miniature replicas too.

Sadly the model railway exhibition has become a little stale, looking very similar every year. However there are some super and less often seen models to be found.

But with the sun shining and the 2' gauge line running trains to maximum capacity, outside was the place to be!

That's my son on the left, busy with his new camera. In fact I think he took more photos than I did, and rather good ones too. While I was manning the stand inside he was watching the "parade" of locos.

We had a few interested folk visit the 009 society stand, the scale still generating a high level of interest, and it's nice to chat to a few folks just getting started in the scale. So an enjoyable day!

Lots more photos here if you'd like to see more!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Two Green Engines

With most of the painting done here's the Atkinson-Walker and the Hunslet, in different shades of green. Well, it adds variety!

The Hunslet uses Halfords Racing Green enamel aerosol, as used on some of my O14 i/c locos. It has perhaps a shade too much blue in it, but does look rather smart. The shiny finish will be toned down and lightly weathered shortly.

The Atkinson Walker uses Heathcote Ford Meadow Green. When weathered it should give a slightly faded appearance. I've not yet fitted the cab doors or interior "details", and I've noticed the wheels could do with toning down too.

Unfortunately painting black enamel over the acrylic aerosol has reacted, causing crazing. I've only seen this with with cellulose paint before, but I guess I could strip it off and re-paint with acrylic. It's only happened on the roof though, so right now I'm thinking of leaving it alone - it adds a nice texture, and with a little weathering it might look good.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Boxing Day

Thakeham has literally been gathering dust recently, so I've finally got around to a job I'd been thinking about for a while - a storage box/cover. With no shows currently booked for future this might seem unnecessary, but it does allow me to safely store the layout (in the loft) free from dust or damage, as well as protecting it if it does go to another show.

It's made from hardboard as I had a sheet in the garage (no idea where it came from but it's not much use for anything else!), and fits the top and two open sides of the layout. The sloping front made it more complex than it needed to be but makes it easier to manoeuvre into small spaces like the loft or back of the car. It attaches to the layout with 4 bolts (two at the top of the backscene and one at the bottom of each side), these thread into captive "Tee nuts" embedded in small blocks of softwood, which have been glued behind the layout fascia.

With the bolts removed the cover just lifts away from the layout. The sides may bow a bit as they are unsupported, but it really doesn't matter. I found a gate handle in my bits box that makes a very handy carry handle - I've even managed to place it approximately over the centre of gravity!

Inside the cover the top (nearest) is stiffened by an off-cut of 9mm ply, while further ply and softwood pieces hold the joins together. The top sheet was bent down to meet the sloping sides and then boiling water poured over, which allows the hardboard to take on the curve shape. The layout name-board is just foam-core board, so is vulnerable but very light. It attaches to the layout with velcro so I put a strip inside the cover to hold it safely inside when stored.

The only down-side is that it has made the layout a lot heavier - the cover probably weights more than the whole layout! However it isn't exactly heavy and can be carried one handed, and just about manhandled into the loft.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Putting paint on the Hunslet

I've gradually been progressing the Hunslet towards painting. First the final details were added - the handrail and injectors. The handrail knobs were tiny and drove me potty, but I got there in the end. The injectors are made from nickel silver wire with a piece of wire insulation, following the prototype photos, fitted into holes drilled in the footplate, cab, and boiler, then super-glued in place. Actually right after gluing the left side solid I realised they might be better fitted after painting... so I left the right side off.

After a small amount of filling gaps and removing excess glue the body was cleaned and polished with a fibreglass pencil. However it doesn't look it in this photo as I then gave it a wipe over with a blackening solution. It doesn't blacken whitemetal, but it does dull it so perhaps paint will stick better.

Then it's out to the garage for priming, along with the Atkinson Walker Steam Tractor which has also been waiting for warmer weather! Halfords grey etch primer does the metal bodies, in about 4 thin coats from different directions. Standard primer was used for plastic parts too. This was followed by the main body colour - Halfords Racing Green for the Hunslet; a rather glossy finish but I'll deal with that later.

As seen here it has also received the first coat of black, though 48 hours later that doesn't seem to be properly dry so perhaps the paint has gone off? In addition the buffer beams have had a priming coat of white as red doesn't cover well. You can also see I've been scraping the paint off the injectors this side (the masking tape is to protect the paint behind), and that on the other side has been fitted.

Meanwhile, in between painting, the workbench has moved to other projects!

Friday, 5 June 2015

Pendon Museum Part 2

So on to the main displays at Pendon - and since there were a few comments appreciating the last lot, no apologies for another stack of photos!

First we come to the Dartmoor scene, with this impressive viaduct and distant moorland scenery. There's also a station, though the glass made photography difficult.

Probably the best known is the Vale scene, which covers a huge area. While that is in itself impressive, it is the standard of modelling and level of detail that impresses most - despite the size of the model, the standard is consistently high.

The closer you look, the more realistic scenes appear. Of course this has been created by a team of people over decades (and is not yet complete), so the scale is beyond what an individual can achieve, but that doesn't stop it being inspiring.

The whole scene represents a little part of England in the 1930's, while not based on an actual place the buildings are all modelled on real ones. The textures and colouring are superb.

Now my wife, who is encouraging of my hobby but not particularly interested herself, was very impressed - I think she enjoyed the visit more than she expected to - which says a lot about it! Of course I took loads of photos, if you'd like to see more I have uploaded the better ones here.