Friday, 17 January 2020

Sparks of life

For once I've done what I set out to this week, it was out with the soldering iron and after a bit of head scratching I sorted out the non working point at the quarry. I found the relevant wires which lead to the motor and cut them, after extending them back to the control panel I attached them to the switch. Nothing. I concluded that the problem was actually the return wire had been cut, unfortunately that meant that I had to find a new place to supply the feed. The simplest answer was to go straight to the output of the CDU hidden in hillside behind the quarry. Voila - working points.

The filthing up of the SR Baldwin continued

I built the second of  the sheep wagons, this time adding vacuum pipes

The trio of dirty Baldwins

Eva in action with both sheep wagons in tow

So, it was time to bite the bullet and attempt to untangle the muddle of temporary wiring under the Rock Beach board. I decided to reuse a plastic enclosure from a previous layout which handily had an indicator lamp already in it. It isn't a complicated control panel with just four switches, lots of wires though.

The first things I connected were the point switch and the section switch, unfortunately the 16V AC supply I bought to run the CDU and the drinking fountain was faulty so for now they remain un-powered. Next came the complexity of the building and street lighting, I soldered all the positives to a length of rail and then made a similar nasty bodge for the negatives. It all worked. The other switch controls the flashing light circuit in the lighthouse. Once the replacement 16volt supply arrives the point and the water feature should also work. Fingers crossed. 

Job done

Spurred on by getting things working, I dug out the trailer unit for 'Lady Susan' the steam tram. I've always had a bit of trouble when propelling the trailer so gave up on it, however with the gentler curves of this layout it appears to be ok... mostly.

Playing trains with a pre war look

Saturday, 11 January 2020


We have this joke at work about January being the famous quiet time, everyone thinks as there are no trains that we just sit around drinking tea. Nothing could be further from the truth, apart from the tea drinking. As a result I haven't really done much on the layout.

I did get out the weathering powders to try to make the town square look a bit better, well less shiny.

Looks a bit better but I think in the end I'll grasp the nettle and do the DAS clay thing.

AGR Models have added to their growing range of PECO van reliveries with a version of their classic n gauge SR banana van which has always been one of my favourites. I have a small collection of n gauge stock waiting for a layout and this is one of the vans awaiting its railway.

Here it is after I got at it with the trusty weathering powders.

Here it is next to their Arnold Sands open

Apart from that, most of the time I've had in the garage has been devoted to operating (playing trains). I really must get on and finish off the electrics for the Rock Beach end of the layout and sort out the points leading to Town Quarry which stopped working after the excavation work to create Sandy Brook. I suspect that I cut through some wiring that was embedded in the scenery without realising it. Famous last words but it shouldn't be be too difficult to fix...

Sunday, 29 December 2019

After Christmas

Before Christmas a few things got done and a few things arrived in the post by way of presents from me to me. First arrival was a couple more kits from the CAD of Tom Bell, this time a pair of sheep wagons, I've only built one so far but with a bit of judicial cleaning up it went together very nicely.

Next to arrive was the last vehicle I needed to complete my little heritage Eggerbahn train, this was the green van. The early Egger models were very nice and made up of numerous separate parts, I've always had a soft spot for the green coaches. So far it has only run with an assortment of IoSR motive power but I'm keeping my eyes open for a Fiery Elias tram loco to complete the set.

I've heavily rusted a Minitrains Brigadelok tender that has been hanging around for ages.

The plates finally arrived for Olwen which have finished it off a treat.

763 will be known as Eva but I've only just ordered the nameplates, I have however added some not very subtle weathering.

While Christmas TV has droned on I've painted the sheep wagon, painted and detailed a PECO green GVT coach which sits nicely in the green and cream set.

Olwen and train seem to be racing the bus

Sheep wagon in action in a pickup goods train

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Bearings and Baldwins

I think the water features finished, I put a few streaks of white onto the steep section and then added a coat of resin to make sure it was properly shiny. In the nick of time I remembered where the laser cut Lilly pads were hiding so I added a few of those to the lower section.

Seen here, about to pass over Sandy Brook are my new wagons, two new Tom Bell 1 plank wagons and a flat made from a PECO long brake van chassis and some bits and bobs.

I've always been pleased with the look of my TR coaches but they ran terribly, it was all the lighter locos could do was to drag them along. At Warley I bought a packet of little brass bearings, having dismantled the chassis and inserted the bearings I now have a rake of carriages which glide along.

The long awaited new Baldwins arrived from Bachmann and very pretty they are too. I had one of each along for a photo shoot. All had to go back to work... except 'Sid' who will transition to 'Eva'. I know the livery is silly but it's my train set and I like it.

Monday, 16 December 2019

Moving pictures - not that one

By way of a test, here is a short video of Nancy and her train on the Underhill branch.

Nancy herself is a Varikit bash on a Farish 04 chassis with con rods from an old Minitrix Dock tank and I think some Langley Fairlie cylinders.


Tuesday, 10 December 2019

River shallow, mountain not really

This week has mainly been about continuing work on the new scenery section. As a general rule I've been pretty pleased with the growth of Sandy Brook. 

The flat area of the water in the brook looks fine but the resin had soaked up the banks a bit so I painted it over and added a few more clumps of greenery. I also use weathering powders to blend the colours and add texture. 

A couple of new Bachmann Baldwins came to visit. I had to give them back. I think when 'Sid' the SR livery version arrives I will weaken.

The downhill water needed some body and some movement so I bought some acrlyic stuff which alegedly sets clear, we'll see. So far some has, some hasn't. When it's set I'll touch in some white and brush on some more of the two part water stuff to add shine. 

The brook just starts in a spring on the hillside so I decided to disguise it somewhat with a little footbridge. 

I made it from balsa wood with brass uprights and styrene side rails.

Some bridges.

Paint still wet.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Resin d'etre

I've been a busy bunny this week on the new river bridge and associated scenic work, all made easier by the fitting of a proper door to the workshop. Not only does it open and close properly but it locks securely without the application of superhuman force to the lock. Thank you Elwyn the windows. It also means that I don't have to limbo under the fiddle yard to get into the man cave.

Another little surprise this week was finding my little railcar on the front of 'the news'. Thank you the 009 Society.

Work on the river bed and the associated bit to the left began with the addition of ready mixed filler, formed into landscape over a couple of offcuts of timber and some sections of foam core board in the river itself.

The bridge itself is simply a couple of lengths of Evergreen I beam glued under the rails. I've used some very expensive Preiser stone walls as the supporting river walls.

At the filler stage

The extra bit Turning brown, I used some tester pots of emulsion as usual.

The dry river bed, colour as usual from acrylics and a bit of texture added with some old brown flock.

Greenery blending quite well with the older scenery, still bit light as the PVA is still wet in this picture.

A first pour of Scenic Water which is a 2 part clear resin. I've never used it before but so far it looks good. I need to add some movement to the upper section and where it joins the level water but not too much as it is only supposed to be a small stream in the summer.

Quite a pleasing result and an extra dimension to the scenery.

Just to prove that Nursie gets a trip out to Underhill sometimes, and also the steam tram and the inspection shed.