Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Rock and grass roll

Having got the bit between my teeth for a bit of scenery building I've cracked on quite a bit. I'm away from home till next week now so won't get a chance to get any further so I thought a quick post of progress was a good idea.

The plaster bandage work was set hard above Parrott Cutting so I've covered that over with filler to form the soil. The nightclub is also walled in and in place now.

In my next session I glue gunned in place some expanded polystyrene foam to form the rest of the quarry hill and then set about it with plaster bandage.

More plaster bandage action
The final thing I did was to apply a smoother coat of filler at the cutting which will form the basis of the scenery. A coat of brown paint etc next and then greenery.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Building a wall of my own

This week I've focussed on two projects, firstly I constructed a Ratio kit for a retaining wall and the over a couple of nights I painted it in the sort of Isle of Stoner rock colours.

The Wall

The Wall in place in Parrott Cutting

The other project was also fundamentally a painting job. My new 'blood and custard' carriages needed a brake van to finish off the rake. I'd originally planned to build a Dundas VoR van and indeed, I bought one, however I then took a better look at the PECO GVT van and decided that with a couple of bits of styrene to blank out the rear windows and some paint I could over come my dislike of it. So I did and I really like it now.

The completed rake

After a suggestion form Mick Thornton to add a black band I tried it out... not sure

With the new cutting wall ready I had no excuse for not getting on with the scenery. I put on an extra jumper and headed for the garage with some plaster bandage and some water.

An hour or so later the basic scenery was in place

I really enjoy this bit of layout building, next there will be some more filler to round out the scenery a little more. I had a little bit of bandage left so I started work on the other end of the quarry cutting.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Plastered again

This week I haven't done much modelling but I have finished off the weed killer wagon and its friend. Mostly this has been adding some weathering to make the unit look more lived in. I used Games Workshop thin washes, black, brown and green. I also used some rusty orange acrylic to dirty up the under frames and a few other bits.

When I was nearly finished doing the tank wagon I fumbled and dropped the whole thing into my Vegemite pot full of thinners which I clean brushes and dilute paint with. Bugger, I said and fished it out as soon as I could. All of the paint was starting to melt and I feared I might have to start from scratch but after the thinners had dried off and the paint set again it was mostly OK. Some bits needed touching up and the rusty edges on the tank cover up where the plastic was starting to show through.

The other painting I got done was the Stonerisation of the PECO GVT four wheelers. I have three of them and after finishing two off the same with the added cream and black ends I couldn't face the fiddling about on the third so I just painted the roof and picked out the droplights and footboards. I might revisit this at a latter date... but I might not.

Its been very cold in the garage so the scenery hasn't progressed much in recent months so on a spur of the moment I decided that I'd make a start on a simple job. I've widened the quarry board by screwing a section of 2 x 1 along the front. It won't make a huge difference but it will make photography easier and help blend the quarry area onto the transitional cutting before the beach section.

One pot of filler later and voila. Quite exciting and I now feel spurred on to get on with the rest of it...

I tried out Herman the railcar while doing some testing and found that it nearly goes round all the curves on the new formation but it still needs to be able to pivot slightly more. The wire from the rear bogie pickup is slightly too short which stops it pivoting properly so a simple job to lengthen the wire.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Weed Killer and bread rolls

I've had a couple of PECO flat wagons hanging around since they were released and I couldn't think what to do with them... Then in the week I bought the Airfix RAF crash lorry kit as I decided to get round to building a railcar out of a Meridian ALR kit; just in time to miss the end of the competition on the NGRM forum. Never mind, I was going to do that anyway.  When I opened the box I saw the water bowser from the fire engine and thought about making another slate wagon/tank conversion as seen on the F&WHR but that would be boring so a weed killer wagon was born.

Having built the tank, I thought what else would you need to spray weed killer on the track and a pump sprang to mind. There is a small generator on the fire engine too so I've used that and a selection of other bits and bobs.

I cut and bent some brass rod to shape to make four pipes to spray the track and there it is.

The other flat needed a use and it made sense to run them as a pair. A tool van and crew bothy seemed like something useful and as I had some bits and pieces cut from a Dundas FR coach kit on my work tray the rest was obvious.

After the usual primer
Here they are after painting, they need some weathering and the lamp putting back on the roof, but otherwise finished
Also finished off this week was the bakery for Castell Coed, I'm happy with how it turned out and it sits perfectly at the end of Alma Street.

With the bakery finished I've turned my attention to getting Castell Coed fighting fit for the Llanberis exhibition at the end of February. The main job that needed completing was the modification of the spare lighting post left over from Underhill's move indoors. All it needed was the 2 x 1 upright thinning down to fit the widget which supports it.
As a result of much improved lighting I had a bit of a play and took some photos of the recent short bogie coach in action with various locos.

Today's project has been the Stonerisation of the first of my three PECO GVT maroon unliveried coaches. Inspiration shamelessly stolen but I guess blood and custard with black ends has seen use somewhere else.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

A trip into the past

I was looking for something else when I found this old video of the very first Isle of Stoner layout. Very small and silly but really enjoyable to play with.

I still have most of the rolling stock. The layout was sold on so hopefully it still exists in some form or another. I seem to remember sending it to Eire.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Coaches , a diesel and a bakery

Turns out I was right about the primer and so building on that I've been busy with adding some colour. The little van has had a simple brown colour applied, I have another of these which lives at The Cheese Factory and is in the same livery.

The Meridian TR coach has been finished in a similar style to its companion, although I didn't check on the brown and so they have a slightly different look, but I quite like that and it helps to add to the slightly careworn look of the train. On testing the rake I found that by putting the couplings on in the intended manor they ended up a bit on the low side so off they all came and back on a millimetre higher.

The little diesel painted but not weathered or crewed
Castell Coed needed a new building to replace the bakery that I kidnapped to add to Underhill. I enjoy making buildings so I popped down to Porthmadog Models and purchased an Airfix/Modelmaster double fronted shop kit. There wasn't room for double fronted so I chopped a third off and have enjoyed fiddling with it to make it look less 1970s and more 1870s Welsh. Quite pleased so far, painting next.


Finished just in need of paint. The roof ladder is to disguise the join in the roof where I shortened it.

I've made some progress with the short bogie coach too but it's damn fiddly to paint, needs some more touching up and only looking at from a distance.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Constant change is here to stay

Sometimes you need to make changes in your life, step away from things which don't bring anything to the party. Make time for the positive, let yourself have a little peace. To that end I've started on a long road to get fitter and be less of a wastrel; as part of this I've left Facebook for the time being at least. I've become sick of the constant negativity and whining. Hopefully this means I'll have more time to devote to all the great things in my life including keeping this blog up to date more regularly.
Anyway, with that out the way here are some toy trains; I feel better already.
At work we had a delivery from Heljan of the balance of our first order of Manning Wardles. I brought one of each home to photograph and while I was at it give them a test run. All three did a run up and down the Underhill Branch and behaved much better than the previous version. There still seemed to be a slight issue with the pony trucks but not nearly as bad as on the original version.

This is my original one (rear) and a new Yeo. You can see that the finish is better on the new one with various subtle improvements, not least the red head and tail lamps.

The three new ones having a pose.
While still on the subject of work (vaguely). I took the opportunity for a short trip down memory lane with a visit to this little layout that has been in the booking hall shop display cabinet for a dozen or so years. However it wasn't new then having been built by me in 1989 or 1990. It originally was in one of those aluminium camera cases. It hasn't done badly for being nearly thirty years old, it did have a bit of a spruce up when it went in the booking hall but fundamentally it's as I built it.

The track is my first circle of Egger/Jouef track. It was purchased on the same day I found a membership form for the 009 society next to The Dovey Valley Railway at the Croydon MRC show some years previously.
Coming more up to date, I've been quite busy on the lap tray recently. This little red diesel runs on an Arnold Kof chassis and the bonnet and cab come from that funny little plastic Garratt.
It had a Bachmann Baldwin headlamp at first but that was far too big.

I'm pretty pleased with the look of it but I now need to get the chassis to run properly.
Later in the year I'm taking the little Welsh roundy roundy, Castell Coed, to a couple of shows so I thought I'd build a short bogie coach to go with the short brake composite that works well on it. It isn't anything very clever, just a cut down Dundas FR style coach. I trimmed the bogies and moved the mounting holes for them slightly allowing them to swivel as fully as possible and so now it is quite at home on the Minitrains set track on Castell Coed.

Next thing to do is paint the loco, the two coaches and the Arsenal van. I'm going to try a green and cream panelled scheme on the bogie coach which will push my painting abilities to and probably past their limits... watch this space

Primer I can do quite well...