Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Weeds and rocks

Since my last post on here I've been quite busy but not as busy as I'd hoped as I had to pull out of the Llanberis show due to family issues, all now happily resolved I'm pleased to say. However this did leave me with a week off on my hands so I decided to address the niggely things about Underhill Town. There was something not quite right about it and I couldn't put my finger on it, but then I realised that a big part of the problem was the colour of the big stone wall behind the platform. Out with the paints and a general darkening was and picking out some individual stones and it looked much better.

I also decided that the front edge looked wrong so added a wall and a very small sliver of hill, while I was sticking some grass on this I also put some more between the sidings which has tied the whole thing together and I think it looks much more natural as a result.

While I was looking for things wrong I decided that the buildings in Station Road just looked a bit plonked down so using some Metcalf self adhesive paving tiles I've given them a pavement. It makes the actual road stupidly narrow but there isn't much road traffic.

I've also detailed the butchers too, previously it was just an out of the box Scenecraft

While I was involved in scenery matters I also couldn't resist the Barclyfication kit for the Minitrains Boehler. As with all the NP/EuroNG kits I've built it was a delight to build and has resulted in a very nice loco which has been named Sally as I had the nameplates already having ordered them for the Bagnall which they didn't fit.


With a few exhibitions coming up I knew that the Town Quarry module needed some tarting up and a little surgery. It was never designed for bogie coaches as long as the PECO L&B ones and some of the clearances actually weren't. The worst offender was the cutting side by the points where the duckets hit the wall. I had flattened it off as best as I could but it really wasn't enough so some radical surgery took place last night.

Just about clear.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Long time, no see

It has been pointed out that I haven't posted anything since before Christmas, so happy new year everyone. I've been very busy at work and home life has been frantic too so I haven't had much time or inclination for modelling recently but I have done a few things.

I treated myself to a Christmas present of a Narrow Planet O&K and really enjoyed the build, while building it I noticed that I had done some things better on the new one than on my version of Eigiau which is a variation of this loco so I also took the opportunity to make some modifications to bring it into line. I'm very pleased with both of them but can't bring myself to weather the new one just yet.

Playing trains on the dining room table
Engine house at Parys Mountain
Remains of windmill and some atmosphere
Something I've been toying with for a while is building an HOf layout using the Busch working track and a quantity of the left over Auhagen plastic track to extend the apparent workings. I haven't decided what to do yet but I have spent some time walking round the old copper mine at Parys Mountain on Anglesey and the quarry at the Breakwater at Holyhead and they have given me some ideas. Unfortunately they haven't given me either the time or the money to progress the idea but a plan is gradually fermenting in 'the little grey cells'.

I finished off the dodgy printed coach and I rather like it, the surface doesn't really bear close scrutiny but at the usual viewing distance it is fine so I now have a nice rake of green four wheel coaches.

One other coach has joined the fleet too, inspired by a kit bash by Charlie Insley which I had seen at Warley show I had a go myself.

The chopped kit awaiting assembly
The kit in question is the Five79 RC810 Innisfail tramway coach which in itself makes a very nice compact bogie coach. What Charlie had done was to add balconies at each end which I rather liked the look of.

Here is the finished thing accompanied by the Minitrains Bagnall and a PECO slate waggon. Talking of which the latest new RTR product from PECO is two sets of FR 2 ton slate waggons.

They have detachable close couplers in NEM pockets so you can have nice, close coupled rakes which are shuntable and have standard 009 couplings on each end. Very clever. They also come with removable loads which are hollow should you want to add some weight which I think I probably will. I tried a quick bit of weathering on one to make it look rather more careworn and I think it looks great as a result. A dry brush of dark brown, then some very thin orange on top then a little black on the axle boxes and coupling faces to represent oil. I'm aiming to have a few tatty ones and a few cleaner ones in my rake. I'm also going to add a Parkside 3 ton one with PECO NEM pockets on so it can have close couplers and function in the rake.

Next thing is the Model Railway show at the Llanberis Slate Museum where I will be playing with Underhill Town. The show is free and there is lots to see and do aside from the layouts. 22nd to the 24th of Feb. Always badly advertised but always a good do too.


Sunday, 18 December 2016

Hey, coach!

 Most of what I've done this week has been un-remarkable but the scenery on the new layout, probably just called 'Castell Coed', has made a bit of progress. I've stuck down some crushed slate in the hope that it will look like the very bottom of a waste tip. Not bad I think, some greenery and some fencing and it won't be too bad.

The works plates arrived for Sphinx too
In other scenic matters, I've had the paints out and started to cover the plaster with some basic earth colours. Also painted on is the first coat of track weathering, despite the evidence of the photo above it does look better. Some nice ready made trees arrived which you can see plonked on the layout, I wanted the trees to have some real life bulk to them. When you see trees by a railway and houses they often tower above them so a few biggies will help disguise the tiny size of the layout... or possibly dwarf it. 
A while ago I ordered a print of a four wheel coach by Tom Bell from Shapeways but they cocked up the print which left the exterior detailing off but otherwise the coach was a nice size to fit with my other stock. I contacted Shapeways to get it done again which they agreed to do without any quibbling. Eventually a second attempt turned up exactly the same as the first one so I have asked for my money back. I was a bit cheesed off as they look like a nice design in the CAD, I was looking at the erroneous print when it occurred to me that I might be able to create something like the intended panelling by sticking styrene strips on. So I have, rather fiddly but I think the results are ok. I've added styrene seats inside which add quite a bit of rigidity to the coach and it now awaits some primer which will give a better idea of whether it will look ok.
Picture from Shapeways
As printed on the left, with my additions on the right
The amended one before the seats went in

In other news the Busch HOf Decauville type 3 loco has arrived and is unspeakably tiny and cute. I suspect that the next project may well turn out to be an HOf micro layout...
Here it is in the company of some other not huge locos and a slate wagon
I finished off the new Parkside Dundas van bash too and I'm still not any fonder of it so it will go in the after Xmas bankruptcy sale and hopefully raise a couple of quid to keep the wolf from the door. I have a Manning Wardle to pay for in February... gulp.


Monday, 12 December 2016

Handles and rocks

This weekend was mainly devoted to finishing off the coaches for the little layout, sorting out and repainting some wagons and constructing a brake van.

Here are the coaches and Sally at Underhill Town
The new coaches, their brake van and a couple of older four wheelers now all have brass grab handles, they add a little bit of three dimensionality.

The Ferro Train skips got a load of loco ash to weigh them down a little which should help them roll better, they look the part too.

I did a small amount of scenic work, which consisted of starting work on the stream area. I collected some small stones from the beach at Trefor which has a good variety of granite and slatey stones on it. Having dried them thoroughly and painted the stream bed a mixture of dark brown and gungey green I have carefully arranged the stones to look like rocks.

The beach and pier at Trefor

Some of the beach now in my stream
While I was looking for something else I found a couple of badly finished and abandoned TR gunpowder wagons and a PD freelance brake van kit so I've renovated and repainted the wagons and spent a pleasant hour or two bashing the brake van into being.

I had a rummage and found a pair of VoR brake van duckets so I trimmed them to size and stuck them on, I do like my guards to have a view fore and aft. Running boards from styrene, brass handrails and a couple of torpedo vents and styrene rainstrips on the roof finished it off. I'm not sure I like it very much but I'll finish it off and see how it sits with the rest of the fleet.

By way of a comparison here is my Brian Madge Britomart with Sally

Thursday, 8 December 2016


I haven't done anything to the new little layout but I have been attending to some rolling stock for it. I had a look in the great drawer of un-built kits and found a couple of little Parkside Dundas 4 wheelers which are ideal so I have built the and painted them, they go nicely with the brake van I bodged some years ago. They still need a spot more paint and maybe some brass wire grab handles to finish them off. Sally the Bagnall now has a crew too.
Sally and her train

 I finished off the Christmas layout and installed it at Dinas in the goods shed where this year's Santa trains on the Welsh Highland will run from. Hopefully it will behave itself and not get too fiddled with by kids/staff.

Over the last couple of evenings I have given the nice clean, pale blue Ferro Trains wagons a good coating of filth so they now look a whole lot more convincing. They don't run very well as they are so light so I will add some loads to give a little weight.

I used acrylic paints and some weathering powder and am very pleased with the result. First colour was a dark brown then a very watered down orange. Axle boxes were picked out in black to represent the oily gunge that this sort of wagon accumulates and then finally once that was dry I added some dark grey to give some highlights. While the grey was still damp I brushed all over with my patent mixture of rusty filth weathering powders. It isn't what you would call subtle but this sort of unloved utility vehicle is generally seen in a grotty state on a working railway.

Now the Christmas layout is out of the way I will be able to crack on with the roundy roundy and hopefully come up with a decent name for it, something to do with castles I think.

The other project which presents itself is a Narrow Planet 'Barclayfication'  kit for the Minitrains Boehler loco which just arrived in the post. It will make an interesting counterpart for my own rebuilt Boehler. I will try to finish some other things first...

Sunday, 4 December 2016

A bridge over troubled plywood

Not got much done on the layout this weekend but I now have a stream bed and a small bridge over it, it then vanishes under the road in a culvert.
Wet plaster stream
As it is at the moment
I've added a few bibs and bobs to the new Bagnall and added a crew. These are Bachmann people and are definitely 4mm scale rather than the usual Preiser 3.5mm ones I use. This loco will mainly be used on the new layout and I'm going to use proper 4mm scale people throughout. I have quite a selection of unpainted whitemetal figures so this is a good excuse to paint some. I may change my mind if they don't come out OK.
Sally - name and works plates on order

I've also wired up the Xmas scene layout and sorted out the rolling stock for it. Pictures once it's finished. Has to be installed on Thursday so a little more work to do on it but nearly there.