Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Wigan Pier

The dust has settled and the layout is where it got plonked when I took it out of the 'van from hell'. Wigan show was great fun and I was very happy with how the layout behaved and the response from the public which was very positive. I think Underhill Town showed itself off in a good light.

All set up on Friday afternoon

I also had an F&WHR stand with me
The 009 Society had a good presence and as well as my layout there was Aldbourne which is very classy and Stan and Roger's two small roundy roundies in addition to the society showcases and demonstrations by Charlie and David. I couldn't have managed without their assistance either getting in or out and starring in the without whom category was Alan who operated Underhill better than me while I was swanning about.
Alan also had this rather lovely Paul Windle built Mallet with him

The repairs to the point motors were a mixed bag, fortunately the king point motor functioned faultlessly, however the goods siding one was still intermittent in one direction; I suspect that the switch may be faulty but without some major layout surgery I can't change it.

Just before the show we had our delivery of the new PECO rugga skips which ran up and down through the show, unfortunately I hadn't had time to weather them before leaving for 'up North' but I spent a happy hour last night sploshing some filth onto them. Three are grey and three brown but even I can't tell which is which now except that I know the one with the grey load was a grey one.


Also just after I left for Wigan the next instalment of my article in Narrow Gauge World was published. Part three has just been sent.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Preparing for the road to Wigan

Wigan is less than a week away so I had to stop buggering about with scenery, flip the layout over and find out why I had two semi functional point motors. My biggest worry was that either I would have to replace the motors themselves or worse still access the back of the control panel by ripping up the scenery above them. None of this would have been terminally disastrous but both would have been tricky and time consuming; not to mention dull.

The guilty failed solder joint
In the end I found a wire off due to a crappy bit of soldering, re-soldering the one joint seemed to sort out both problems which I'm a little wary of but I can't replicate the fault in testing so I guess it is fixed. Most likely it will re-occur just after opening at Wigan.


 Having turned the layout round to get at the electrics I could sort out the detail scenery in Parrot Cutting which included a bit more fencing and a bit of greenery etc.

...and Night

The goods yard
I've also been continuing the tedious and expensive but necessary process of replacing the PECO couplings on the RTR stock. The stock is too nice not to use but the plastic coupling loops are not fit for use on the Isle of Stoner Railway. I think I've just got the SR liveried coaches and an SR van to do now.

Obvious missing point rodding - a future project along with signals


Monday, 19 September 2016

Post show reflections

Time flies when you're having fun and also when an exhibition is hurtling towards an unfinished layout. Numerous things happened in this time space including the first part of a trilogy of articles being published in Narrow Gauge World. Part two is in the forthcoming issue and the third part is yet to be written as it is about finishing Underhill Town and exhibiting it. I need to check on the deadline as I'd like to take some pictures of the layout in the Wigan exhibition at the beginning of October.

Part one
Well Great & Small III came about and with some fudging and flexibility we fitted all the layouts in thanks to the easy going nature of most of the layout owners. This show organising is not good for my blood pressure but once it was all set up and working I had a nice weekend playing trains. I managed to acquire a spare operator at the BYG show in the person of Martin. It was really helpful to be able to leave the layout to make sure that all was well and to get some footage for the video of the weekend. I also had two roving cameramen out and about with the main video cameras. They got some cracking shots between them and the finished video can be seen here. Mostly the big trains but there is also a section about the layouts in the middle.

The whole empire up and running

Underhill Town in action

 During the run of the show I had a few guests on the layout, starting with David Malton's pre production set of the new PECO tipper wagons. They were great and I look forward to getting a few for the layout.
Three wagons in a box, just right with Eigiau

A comparison shot with the classic ROCO wagons
At one point there was a line up of Narrow Planet Pamelas even though the red one, belonging to James Hilton is named Eleanor. The Blue one is Tim Easter's one and spent a while hauling trains - very smoothly.
Three little maids
On Sunday morning just as the show was getting underway, James and I were comparing Bagnalls on his lovely Creech Bottom layout and then things got really out of hand...
Twenty three Minitrains chassis under these babies, and there were quite a few more we could have collected up. I suspect between a few of us we are keeping Andreas in business.
The layout behaved itself pretty well apart from two point motors which half failed. I haven't tracked the problem down yet. I previously thought I had fixed the gremlin on one of them but after about half a day of operation it appeared again. I suspect that it might be a switch problem which means that I will have to carefully demolish some of the buildings and the road at the back of the layout. Bugger.
The only other real issue to make itself felt was the inability of PECO couplings to stay coupled. I suspect that this is a problem many people have experienced and it can be traced to the plastic, rather than metal loop part of the coupling. On perfect straight track they stay done up but as none of my layout really has either of these two qualities my PECO coaches were a pain in the bum. So post show I have added BEMO couplers to my rake of red L&B carriages and we'll see if that helps at Wigan. If so I guess it will have to be a program of replacement.
Needs a spot of paint on the microstrip used to strengthen the join.
Post show I've taken a bit of rest from modelling but in the last few evenings I've felt like it again and so I've put together the Colin Ashby coach kit I got from the 009 Society stand at the show. Nice little four wheeled open, reminiscent of FR Zoo Carrs but an exact copy, ideal for the IoSR.

Awaiting a roof and some people and paint

 Station Road has had a gap in it so I decided that a warehouse in low relief would make a good gap filler. It was my daughter's birthday this week and a trip to Chester enabled me to pop into Chester Models and purchase some Ratio random stone sheet to build it out of. I ended up with 'n' gauge as they didn't have the right thing in 4mm scale but in actual fact I rather like the finer moulding.

Here is the unpainted warehouse
This is where the building will go
I've also filled in some ballast round the points but it needs toning down still
I still haven't found room in the shop for Lancey Brook so for now it is perched onto of the DVD printer and duplicator in my office.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

A week to go... again

This time next week and I'll be mid show at Dinas and hopefully enjoying playing trains and seeing lots of people. Fingers crossed.

The official show stuff leaflet thingy can be found here

Hpwever lots has been going on on the layout and on various bits of rolling stock which was found to be lacking in some way at BYG. Layout developments have been mostly scenic. One major one has been the addition of some 6.5 mm gauge track at Town Quarry.

Out of the packet

With added plaster
And finally with paint and people
Meanwhile at Underhill Town quite a bit of paint and scenic bits and bobs have made the station area more subtle than before. Still more to do as there are fences that are still raw plastic and I have only made a start on the stairs painting. This is proving rather tricky to do with it in situ, very tiring on the back leaning over with the brush.

Also ticked off the jobs I don't like doing list is changing the backscene on the quarry module, it was rather vivid and quite crinkled so I plucked up the courage and got the wallpaper scraper out and off it came. Replaced with some more Gaugemaster sky paper which is the same as that used on Underhill town so now the sky colour is continuous.

Part scraped with an L&B train complete with new L&B bogie wagon
New sky just visible

 On the rolling stock finishing off front I've added the final details to Alice the NP Hudswell Clarke and a very handsome loco she is too.

I've change the bogies on the remaining PD VoR coach and also reamed out and made captive the ROCO bogies on the United Dairies milk tanker. I have a couple more of these to do the same to as it makes them much better at going round corners.

Also finished off are the two Tom Bell designed open coaches which will add to the 009 Society Hudson open coach to form an interesting tourist train.

Quite a few more jobs to do before next week but I think I'm on schedule to get them done... mostly.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Various things, don't panic

In the aftermath of the show I've started various jobs on and off the layout. Exciting news is that the long awaited PECO L&B bogie wagons have arrived and one of the SR variants has landed on the Island to go with the SR livery coaches, very nice it is too. 

It needs some weathering and a load but will look fab
Another new product to arrive at Ffesty Towers and thence on my layout is some rather nice 6.5mm plastic track complete with skip wagons and a little loco. My plan is to enhance the quarry area to give it a slightly more industrial feel by adding some of this on various levels, in time an incline might be nice too.
The track on it's spru

Roughly laid out over the bridge/tipper
The V tippers and the track
The other coach turned up from Shapeways after some remarkable customer service. Both are now mounted on butchered PECO wagon chassis.
On the layout front I've started tidying up the scenery with some weathering powders and paint and have also added some more village to the backscene by sticking some cut out photos of Staithes in Yorkshire. You may also notice that I've removed the sky paper from the quarry section so that I can make it continuous with the one on the Town module, it is a bit less virulent.

Church Lane has some more colour and some Busch sunflowers.