Thursday, 9 August 2018

The road less travelled

After getting a blister on my thumb from the appropriately named hot glue gun, I had a bit of sulk and didn't do much. However I had a couple of hours this morning with time to kill so I popped out to the garage.

I realised that somehow I'd managed to cut a wire feeding power to the quarry points so I started the day with some excavation of scenery as I had a feeling that I had snapped a wire in my enthusiasm. It turned out I was correct so after a quick mend, all was well.

Being careful not to glue my sore thumb again, I put the scenery back together again. Back to square one.

The  next thing to do was to start joining the old road to the new bit. I've been hoarding some textured stone set sheets and so I cut those to size and shape and with a few more squirts of glue gun it was done.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Cutting and flashing

I don't know, you wait ages for an update and then three come along together.
I had a day off today so I took the chance to advance the scenery on the new joiny bit.

The backscene wood in place

Some basic polystyrene glued in place

3D planning with buildings etc
The scenery taking shape
I spent some time with the hot glue gun and foam board and so the town of Underhill spills down the hill a bit. The building on the far side of the railway is The UFO nightclub which I made age ago and never found a home for. It has flashing coloured lights inside and a band on stage and young folk dancing.

An idea of the narrow streets of Underhill

Again the narrowness shows up but I don't think it's too narrow compared to York or Brighton etc

The UFO club in action

Preiser figures are miniature works of art

Friday, 3 August 2018

Playing trains!

In an almost unprecedented spurt of activity I moved the quarry board to the garage and installed it next to the Town board and the new bit.
Next came the control panel attached to the baseboard, unfortunately something was awry in the wiring so it didn't work at first. However a bit of a rummage behind the original panel showed up one of the truncated wires shorting out to another, so with a bit of judicious pruning all was well
Next came the joining track which I was pleased made a nice smooth sweep. The three boards all needed a bit of chiselling and sanding to make a level transition which was a bother but will pay dividends in smooth running in the end.

Track layed

The first test train, a Baldwin and some L&B bogie coaches
After that it all needed some proper testing so I had a jolly good play including getting my rebuilt Heljan Manning Wardle out. The motion stayed in one piece and it ran very smoothly, I will need to widen a few clearances here and there and the PECO set track curves will have to go as it just won't go round those but otherwise I think it's going to be a useful and attractive loco.

One unforeseen benefit of all the upheaval is that the wall lamp behind the gents bog now works.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Wires and so on

Once again time has run away with me but I have been modelling, although not as much as I'd like.
In line with my clearing up un-finished and indeed un-started projects I've completed the third of my CWR Fletcher Jennings o-4-os. This one is called Puck with the others being Oberon and Titania. I've finished this one in lined dark green which I'm quite pleased with. The lining is from n gauge BR orange and black so it looks right on the dark green. It's just waiting for name plates to finish it off.
Another new addition to the fleet is a lovely Bachmann Baldwin. I finally plumped for a weathered Hummy. My original intention was the very pretty maroon Peggy but having been fortunate enough to have one of each on the layout I decided that the hard working look suited the quarry traffic. It is such a beautifully finished loco that I've not done much to it, It will have Clarice name plates rather than Hummy but so far all I've done is a little additional weathering, a bucket, a jack and a rolled up weather sheet and crew.

I've finally rewired the controls for the Town Quarry board so that they are on a control panel that can be mounted at the front of the layout once it is installed in the garage. I'm hoping to get this done soon and then I will actually be able to play trains again.

The control panel with nothing attached

Work under way

The finished article
Fingers crossed it works first time, I can't see why it shouldn't. Once it is installed I can add the new section of track between this board and the station throat at Underhill and I will have some railway to work on. After that I have to cut down the beach board by about a third and add a curved section at the far end so that it can connect to the fiddle yard. I'm quite excited about the prospect of actually having a working layout at home.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Where does the time go?

Can't believe that we are nearly half way through 2018 already and I've not kept the blog at all up to date. Time to have a big catch up, brace yourself.

Since the last update I've had long periods of doing nothing and the spurts of activity, I've finished off the 'roundy roundy' layout which has become 'Castell Coed'.

The only thing not properly finished is the backscene
I took three layouts to the Bala Lake Railway Model Railway Show in late May, Castell Coed, Arnold Lane Wharf and The Cheese Factory. The Cheese Factory is about 1ft square and features an oval of track from Jelly Models.
The loco is on a Portram chassis
The whole layout 

The workforce taking it easy by the greenhouses
I bought the oval of track at the Manchester show before Christmas on a whim and then the layout evolved around it. Everything else on it was either made from kits I already had or is a bit rescued from the unused Cheese factory board from Underhill. The Cheese Factory building itself has now been on four layouts, so I reckon it has earned a rest on this one.
The little train happily trundled round and round for three days at Bala with only an occasional clean of the track.
Castell Coed from above
Castell Coed was an experiment in a few ways. Firstly to try out the Minitrains track system, based on the Egger-bahn tight radius track from the 1960s. On the plus side it allows a whole layout to be built on a small baseboard, this is 85cm x 40cm. On the negative side, the track is expensive and to be honest not very well made. It certainly isn't an experiment that I shall be repeating. It is a shame as it is the only Minitrains product I've used which is less than excellent. The second experimental factor was creating scenery from scratch using static grass. This has been a much greater success and as I went on I got more used to the technique and was happy with the result. The third experimental factor was to see how I enjoyed a roundy round layout and the answer is mixed. Very handy for exhibiting as it means something is always moving, but in terms of operating satisfaction... well none really.

I'm not sure what to do with it now, it has served it's purpose and been to a show.

All three layouts in action at Bala
That lovely Baldwin visiting

James Hilton's gorgeous 006.5 loco

Charlie Insley's modified Minitrains Bagnall

Round the back


The big new on the Underhill front is a change of plan for the installation in the garage. I had intended for Underhill to end up with a new entrance from the right end but the more I thought about it, the more I came to the conclusion that there was no way I could make that happen so I have moved on to plan B.

Before work began

The start of demolition work to get access to the electronics

The control panel mid move from the back to the front of the layout

Just needs re mounting now
I'd been putting off the moving the control panel phase as I knew it would mean destroying quite a bit of the road above the station to gain access to the wiring. Having made the layout in a mad dash before a looming show, I didn't make a removeable section of road which I should have. I will this time. In actual fact, once I had removed what I needed to the actual rewiring was relatively simple if tedious. Astonishingly, it all still works too.
The next phase was to work out how to attach the Town Quarry board to the Town board in a straight line rather than round a right angle bend as in the exhibition format.
The original cutting with the Parrot Inn removed

With the scenery cut back and an early idea of the new trackbed
I soon realised that I couldn't get the new alignment to curve round to join up with the quarry board without having a stupid curve and I'm trying to get rid of those from this layout. The answer is to add a section of board between the two old boards...
New board joined on
The new section of board allows for a nicer curve and also for the pub to move over slightly but still to be more or less in the right place. Instead of a square it will be on a narrow road which will continue onto the new board in quite a pleasing way. The only downside is that the water fountain will have to find a new home.
Next move is to take this board into the garage and install it in it's new place and then to rewire the quarry board's control panel in a similar fashion. I'm looking forward to being able to run proper trains again.