Sunday, 20 September 2020

Dreams come true

I've done a fair bit of modelling this month, the first job finished was the power car for the DMU set, not only does it run well on the KATO 11 109 but I'm also pretty pleased with the look of it too.

The next project was to build the non motor driving car and I'd bought a Dundas VoR van kit to build one from but then I came across something similar I built for use on the St Ruth layout. It was part of a train that ran up to the lighthouse. 

Being made from the same kit it was pretty much what I intended to do from scratch, it neede a bit of tarting up and some detail adding to make it look like it was designed to be the second part of the set.

Long story short, I took it apart and added a variety of styrene strip and changed the roof vent for a whitemetal torpedo like the one used on the motor car.

Here it is all finished and on a test run up the Underhill branch. All I need to do now is build the rest of the layout so it has somewhere to run...

In other news I found a ROCO six wheel diesel for a reasonable price and set about anglicizing it. This was inspired by seeing Dave Malton's visiting loco last month, also the very first ready to run loco I had was one of these many, many years ago. This time I was determined to make a better job of it.

The main offending parts were the cab, the radiator and all the stuff on the back of the cab, so it all had to go.

I spent a happy day filing and gluing new bits in place. The radiator is from an Airfix lorry kit, the exhaust pipe and new cab steps are 'n brass' castings as are the handrail knobs. Theses are the smallest I've ever used but they look the part and are very nicely made. The horn is a brass part from A1 Models The cab front and rear and the buffer beams are whitemetal parts from the big box of bits. My favourite RT Models brass PQR couplings completed the job.

Once it had a squirt of primer I realised that I had basically just remade the cab and it still looked very continental. A look in my book of Hudswell Clarke diesels showed me that locos of the type that I was aiming at had curved cab windows and so a further rummage in the bits box came across these cab sides which once cut and filed to shape do the perfect job, to my mind.

Green seemed the obvious colour, I've ordered works and name plates from Narrow Planet and it will be called 'Granville' to go nicely with the big red Drewery named 'Arkwright'. It has been a funny sort of year, after all.

Here it is in action on the works train, it needs running in as its rough as you'd expect from these and I think I'll probably change the motor out for one of Svens conversions. I did one before and it made a world of difference.

On the scenery front, I've been looking at the sandy field which has never looked as I wanted it to really so I think I'm going to cover the sand in grass to make it more of an ordinary looking field. I've got some nice tents somewhere so maybe a camping field would be nice. I really need to bite the bullet and get some proper sky too, then I can sort out the beach once and for all.

While I was painting the 'Granville' I removed some of the overdone weathering on 'Eva', you couldn't see the livery at all and as that was why I bought it in the first place that seemed a bit thick. Only thing is, now it notices that the nameplate is wonky.


Wednesday, 2 September 2020

I have a dream...

 I just got back from a family holiday on The Mull of Galloway in Scotland which was, as ever, very relaxing. The Mull itself is like an island but is actually attached to the mainland, the scenery has been very inspiring for a future extension of the IoSR. I didn't have any modelling with me but I did ponder the next phase of construction of the layout; at the moment my music equipment is in the way but a chap can dream. After an evening of planning in my head and on paper I actually dreamt about the layout and solved a couple of problems.

This is a panoramic view of the area that the extension would/might occupy. The fiddle yard is just visible on the extreme right.

The plan is to replace the fiddle yard with a corner board where the line curves round and there is a station with passing loop, rather in the style of Tan y Bwlch and then the line would run under the window on a section of roadside tramway line before turning again into Port Lucy Station which would be where the keyboards and racks are on the left in the photo. Port Lucy is where the Main IoSR line meets the Underhill branch, being the modelled part. The mainline runs into the same station out of a tunnel, this is where the trains would disappear but I've never worked out how to have them turn round for the return into the station. I've had all sorts of fancy ideas about balloon loops on silly gradients but to no real solution. Anyway, what I'm driving at is that I dreamt all this in action and the mainline trains were PECO L&B coaches with driving trailers on both ends...

So, on my return to Wales I ordered a couple of Dundas VoR vans and a KATO 11 109 chassis to make the first of the driving trailers.

Raw ingredients

Work after the first night's efforts.

The chassis parts and the floor were put away for later use and the sides and one end stuck together as nature intended. After that I cut the other end to provide a low front and a back to the cab area. The duckets have been placed nearer the double doors creating a shorter van section and then infront of the gaurd's door is the driving compartment. Styrene strip was used to plank over where the ducket should be. I used the bonet and radiator from the trusty RAF ambulance Airfix kit to give the beast a snout.

After lowering the body slightly more and adding some detail parts here it is on test.

It will need some weight adding as it struggled to pull two carrs and the half truckle which I used to represent the other, un-powered driving trailer, as yet un-built.

Quite pleased with the look of it so far, need to build the other end now then paint them.

It's always nice to have a guest operator and visiting trains and just before we went to Scotland there was just such a visit from a rather Ffestiniog Flavoured modeller. These are his Dundas bogie coaches with a PECO bug box in green.

This is his ROCO diesel in FfR livery, loco named Barnard Castle

Here it is again with my rake of ROCO skips in tow.

These rather nice Victorian Bug Boxes came to stay also, which was nice, as they are absolute works of art. Just need a suitable loco now...

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Out to lumch

Since my last ramble on here I've been quite busy on the layout and the laptray. So, not necessarily in strict chronological order... 

With Narrow Planet's etchers cautiously back in operation 'Wendy' now has her nameplates

'Dolcogh' has been weathered and has crew aboard. The are very nice 3d prints which I found on evilbay. My usual Preiser crew looked daft as the size of this loco and the size of crew are well known. I painted the crew and was surprised to find that I had inadvertently made a model of Tal y Llyn ex GM, Chris Price.
Sadly, the driver can't really be seen, but I know he's in there.
I decided that I shouldn't let the stack of rolling stock kits building up on my shelf just gather dust so I made a start and put together the pair of Tom Bell kits, a cattle wagon and another of the little brake vans. Once again they went together pretty well with a bit of cleaning up. The only difference I made to previous kits was to use the PECO NEM pockets and their couplings to suit. Quite simple but not really an advance from BEMO ones.

Also on the slightly diminished, shelf of shame were a pair of Colin Ashby four wheelers which I had acquired by asking on the NGRM forum if anyone had a couple going begging. These kits, although fairly long in the tooth, go together very well and make nice not exactly FR bug boxes. I decided that when it came to finishing, I'd do one in cream and green to go with the other one but I'd do one in unpreserved green and slightly rotten. I really like the tatty one and it has a place with a few other similar grotty vehicles.

The layout has had a few bits and bobs done too, the most major thing is the relaying of some of the road surface in Underhill. It was always a bit of a rush job which I did when initially building the layout in a hurry. I ordered some embossed, printed brick paper from a bloke in Greece and eventually it arrived. It would probably make good walls but I only wanted it to use as a sort of stone sett. I also replaced the pavements with Metcalffe individual paving stones. It was a long winded job but the result is so much better.
Rock Beach now has a Fromage et Fritte van at the market which is an Oxford diecast Citroen H van. It came in a revolting shiny green colour so I dismantled it, stripped it and gave it a paint in good old, Halfords grey primer. I had intended to paint it further but realised that it was exactly the right colour as it was.
A couple of nice Eggerbahn blue clerestory coaches have joined the heritage collection, I've always liked them and now I have a pair, probably need another one to complete the train.
The restaurant car had a trip out but looked rather sad in its drab green and dust livery so I bit the bullet and dismantled it for a tart up and a repaint. Obviously based on the classic Dundas models DM40, I somehow managed to make one side shorter than it should be so it never really fitted together properly.
The interior had survived pretty well with only a shelf having come loose. I was always proud of the diners and the kitchen which is basically all made of Preiser products; I don't think my eyes would be up to it these days as there are individual cutlery pieces etc on the tables. 

I added details to the end and the roof to bring it more in line with my PECO L&B coaches and also some under floor truss rods etc.
The windows are now divided into smaller panes which is in keeping with other DM40 I have. Also replaced is the door furniture so now it has brass handrails and so on.
Something I've learned is that the detail on the roof is some of the most important as we always see the trains from above, so it gained some torpedo vents and rainstrips.

Not quite finished as it will have a brass etched 'Restaurant' sign and fleet number transfers. I think the roof could do with another coat of paint too, otherwise job done. Another useful addition to the carriage fleet.

I have three of the Chris Ward 'Townsend Hook' alikes and so when I saw that EDM were going to sell their 3D print in 4mm scale I had to have one. In a circuitous way it's my fault they make them at all. The EDM version is true to scale and so is slightly longer but with shorter tanks, it also isn't designed to suit any particular chassis. I may have to have a go at building one... one day.

Friday, 3 July 2020

A walk on the wild side

I've been busy doing other things lately so I haven't done much modelling in the last couple of weeks but that hasn't stopped me playing trains.

A rare outing for the IoSR restaurant carr. It has a fully detailed interior including kitchen and diners busy eating their lunch, they even have knives and forks etc, you can barely see any of this but I know it's there. 

Kitbashed from a Dundas  DM40 many years ago, it could do with a repaint into a more cheery livery but I'd have to take the roof off to remove the glazing etc etc. It's on the list...

Another small job done is the attaching of the nameplates for Wendy. Ordered before lock down, I'm pleased to see that Narrow Planet's etcher must be back in action. This means that the plates for the new Minitrains tram are not far behind too.

The other major bit of work done to the layout is the relaying of some road and pavement by the shops at Underhill. It's an area that I rushed when I initially built the layout as it needed to be ready for a show but it has always bugged me.

I ordered some textured, printed brick paper from a guy in Greece on eBay which took about a month to arrive, not a problem and the delivery date was quoted upfront. I wanted it for road surfacing even though it is brick. The print is slightly shiny but the texture is great. A subtle brush over with some weathering powder let the shine down and added some variation to the colour too.

I replaced the pavement using some more Metcalfe individual paving stones. It is a slow and fiddly process but the end result is very satisfying. They are supposedly self adhesive but I used Uhu to be on the safe side.

In addition to the shop area I also tidied up the edge of Station Road nearest to the railway. When I had to rip up the road and buildings to access the electrics the road and the fence never went back quite right, again a job that bugged me. I've laid a row of paving stones to tidy the road edge and renewed and painted the fence; to be honest it barely notices but I feel happier about it.

The view from past the Post Office and Parrot Inn.

I tidied up the pavement over the bridge too.

Life goes on in Underhill as if nothing had happened

Someone will always wave at a passing train

Lucy out for a run, must be a special occasion as she is quite old and fragile

One last thing, I sorted out my Minitrains Stainz too, I always wanted an LGB one of these but it would be too big for the layout.