Sunday, 29 April 2012

A wet Saturday afternoon on the work bench

When I started railway modelling back when Adam was a lad if you wanted decent looking rolling stock you had to either scratch build it or use kits.
The only RTR stuff available was either Tri Ang or Hornby which in those days were intended to be sold more as toys for boys rather than railway models.

Since then RTR stuff has come on leaps and bounds each year the accuracy and standard of detail improves.

Take this Bachmann ex Southern Railway Van, The chassis is superb. Long gone are the big moulded details like brake levers and brake gear. Even the vacuum cylinder has levers and rodding fitted. The vacuum pipes and body detail is also much better now than it was only a couple of years ago.

Anyway, I picked up this van on my last visit to my local model shop. With Pen Y  Bont and my new layout(s) you can never have too many vans.

It was cats and dogs on Saturday afternoon so instead of layout building out in the shed I decided to do a quick make over on this latest item of stock.

My first job was to remove the tension lock couplings and replace them with Smiths instanters.
Removing the couplings is easy, just two screws and they are off, with no mouldings left behind to carve away.
A few seconds work with my circular saw attachment in my mini drill cut a slot in each of the buffer beams to accept the shanks of the coupling hooks which were then glued in with two part epoxy.

To make it look a bit more different to a standard RTR van I painted the roof in Railmatch "Dirty Black."
The body sides have been given a wash of Humbrol matt black and thinners. A little dry brushing of Humbrol light earth colour and light grey on the under frames and lower body side tones the "plastic" look down a bit. A dab of dark grey on the vacuum bags to tone them down and job done ...For now anyway.
I'm still not 100% happy with it, it needs something else, like chalk markings or posters to bring it to life.
That will come later and be another post here some time.
Still, not bad for a couple of hours work on a wet afternoon.

Cheers for now!

Friday, 27 April 2012

A case of mistaken Identity!

I've had my May 2012 edition of Model Rail a few days now but only got around to reading it in any detail last night.
I just happened to notice a familiar picture at the bottom of page 112 .
"Taking place at the Manchester Museum of Transport on May 19/20, the show features 20 quality layouts including Frank Collins' Cambrian inspired layout  Pen Y Bont."

Now this came as a complete surprise to me as, as far as I was aware my layout had not been invited!
Maybe I had been invited but had forgotten about it, No, checked the diary and emails Nothing!
it was then I decided to ring the show manager who's mobile number was published along side the article.
I spoke to Peter Crichton a thoroughly nice bloke.
Peter explained that MR had made a boo boo!
Yes there is a layout called Pen Y Bont attending this show but It's not mine! It's a 4mm scale 009 (?) narrow gauge layout and MR just thought it was mine as it had been in their magazine (Issue 150 if you want to know)
Anyway I had a long chat to Peter and he's interested in having my version of Pen Y Bont there next year or 2014.

Pen Y Bont also features on page 127 of the same issue of MR as part of an advertisement for Modellers Mecca my local model shop.
Not my choice of picture mind, but that of Lucy the shop proprietor.

No connection with that business other than a very satisfied customer. Well worth a visit if you are in the Midlands at any time.

That's it for this entry
More jottings soon!

Monday, 23 April 2012

MRG members day meetup.

Sunday 22nd April saw us driving down the M5 again to Bristol for the MRG (Model Rail Group) Forum's members meet up.
I took the first module of my new Cambrian Modular Layout "Morfa Bach" with me as a static exhibit in the forum's  members winter project "Build a diorama"

Apart from Morfa Bach the were some other nice well built dioramas on show including this one by Ron Heggs and Alan Scholdfield

A couple of members bought their layouts along for us to admire and I was most impressed with this one from Nick Wood. A Great Western branch line terminus called Much Murkle. This is Nick's first attempt at an exhibition layout and I reckon he's succeeded with this one.

I'm absolutely convinced that we shall be seeing more of this layout in one way or another very soon.

Now that we are back home work can continue on Morfa Bach and the next module Penmaenpool MPD more about that soon I hope!

Cheers for now

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Ready to go!

I haven't updated this blog for a couple of weeks mostly due to the fact that I have have had a few health problems and to be fair not much work has been done on the modelling scene.

However, Morfa Bach is making it's very first outing tomorrow (Sunday 22nd April) to the MRG Forum's members meeting day at Bristol. So, the last couple of days has seen some last minute tweaks and a general tidy up.
I was hoping to get rid of the temporary back scene and replace it with something more suitable but, time has run out on me and it will go on static display tomorrow as you see it here and now.

(Click pictures for larger images)

Here I have added a few more trees to the scene.
A couple of Anita Decor conifers and a couple of seamoss deciduous types.
I'm quite impressed by the conifers and will more than likely get some more on my next order to International models.

The problems with the temporary backscene can be seen in this picture and the one above.
Above the join between two sheets can be seen quite starkly although the two sections match up there is a distinct colour change between the two sections.
The temporary back scene is by Gaugemaster and only comes in 3ft sections so with a 4ft long board a join is unavoidable.
Also, looking at the next picture (right) a distinct sheen can be seen. The scene is printed on semi gloss paper and light just shows up the reflective surface.

Finally for this session just before the layout was packed into the car for our journey south west, I had to take this shot of Erlestoke Manor with the "UP" CCE emerging from the Stygian gloom of Morfa Bach tunnel.

I still have work to do, like, point rodding to finish,cable trunking into the tunnel, more small boats on the river bank and maybe more trees. That lot will have to wait until I get back from the meet up tomorrow.

Cheers for now

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Making Tracks

This time last week the weather was bright and sunny with temperatures around the 20degC mark, To-day it is blowing a blizzard outside, putting the damper on any chance of wood butchering the baseboard for Penmaenpool MPD, the next module in my Modular Cambrian model railway layout.

As it happens there is always other work that can be done indoors in the warm!

I need two points, (turnouts) for Penmaenpool and one Trap (catch) point.

I also wanted the minimum radius to be no less than 36inches, use bullhead rail and look a bit more prototypical than the Peco offerings.
I have down loaded the excellent Templot software and after playing about for an hour or two managed to print some full size  templates of a B6 left hand turnout.

I have built PCB sleeper track before but, that was donkeys years ago when I was a member of Stourbridge Model railway Society. However I set to and built this B6 left hand turnout.

(Click picture for larger image)

The tie bar that operates the switch blades was designed to be similar to a RTP point so that I can operate it from below the baseboard using Tortoise point motors.

Electrically the switch blades are bonded to the appropriate running rails and are gapped just before the crossing.
The finished job being exactly like the DCC friendly modified Peco points.

So, there we have the result of an afternoon on the work bench, Just one more the same as this one and a trap point to make.

Better I shut up and get on with it then!


Monday, 2 April 2012

Modular Model Railway Layout (MMRL)

Now that Morfa Bach is almost completed a start has been made on module 2 Penmaenpool MPD, based on the actual prototype that existed on the Cambrian coast line between Dolgelleau and Morfa Mawddach.

Each module will be a "mini" layout or diorama in it's own right. At exhibitions the exhibition manager will have the choice of which "modules" he wants at his show. The caveat is that the "basic layout" of Morfa Bach and Penmaenpool MPD must be included, modules 3&4 (yet to be decided) are to be optional add ons.

Here's a block diagram showing the options that I hope will be available.

Click for larger image

Each layout board  will be 4ft long and 1ft wide. The two fiddle yard are slightly wider to accommodate the turntable type storage roads.                                                                                                                     

More as it develops.