Saturday 4 May 2024

In the garden

Since my last post I've rebuilt 'Monster' which is my version of a skip chassis with a Lister power unit as seen on the world famous. I had the first version in action on my cheese factory layout but the loco got caught on something and the Portram chassis overheated and melted into a blob of plastic, expensive and annoying. Any old how with the impending Minffordd show including the cheese factory I decided, like Dr Frankenstein, to rebuild 'Monster'. I'd kept all the bits so it was just a case of finding a suitable ROCO skip chassis and stealing a Portram from a suitable donor loco. It actually went back together better than MK1 so it lives!

This is 'The Vicar's Tea Party', my new layout that I will be working on during the Minffordd show. I want to get it nearly finished by then so complete woodwork and trackwork and major scenic elements in place.

It has a 009 circuit and a section of 00 gauge track at the back, both are controlled by the same controller using a DPST switch to swap between them. There is also a circuit of Busch HOf track which was very expensive and which is actually quite awfully made; I'm just using the battery switch box that came with a started set to run this.

The Busch controller and the selector switch and the isolation section which is the 009 siding.

I sprayed the 00 gauge with brake dust Railmatch paint and added a substantial buffer stop at both ends to prevent any runaways being costly. I have used an a crylic paint pen to colour the rail and chairs. I will make some sort of attempt at proper ballasting on this. I've never done any 00 gauge ballasting so am a little wary. I treated myself to a Dapol 0-4-0 and a brake van as a suitable small train.

Here is the whole thing with all the woodwork complete and the backscene in place.

There are two stations on the 009 circuit, this one will be near the house. Both have a piece of plywood cut to size as the base and this one has a embossed plastic covering. (Noch?)

This is the other station which forms the transfer point to the SG line.

I've buried the HOf track in stonepaste which seems to be same and paint in PVA, it was quite simple to brush into place, I've kept the rail surfaces clear so hopefully all will be well. It is still wet at the moment so I haven't had a chance to try it.

The most recent addition is a grass mat representing the lawn. You can see the relationship between the Vicarage and the little station. There will be a double level crossing leading to the front of the house.

Here is the other station in place. It will have a taller section at the back to allow boarding of the van. Where the two sidings run parallel I will have an open barn type structure with watering facilities etc. At the far end of the standard gauge line there will be some sort of rickety engine shed.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this project and hope it will be entertaining at least to look at if not especially to operate.


Thursday 11 April 2024

Vans and trams

I've been continuing to try to finish off some things  that have been hanging around and this started with a couple of brake vans. I do have a bit of a thing for brake vans so a couple more joining the stock list isn't a surprise.

The first to be completed is a rather tidy 3D print of the TR van, I have a green version which runs with the IoSR rake of TR type coaches but I wanted a more prototypical looking one to go with Dolgoch and a probable No1 when Bachmann drop them. Not sure what colour I'll go for but it won't be the new and to my mind ghastly blue. This one is I think an MS models version and it looks great, I enjoyed painting it and am happy with the look of it; it will need weathering down a bit to look more at home with my 1950s Dolgoch.

I'm not sure where the second van came from but its a nice two balcony sort of GVT looking job. I went for a green finish and added a brake standard. Having just put an order into Tramfabriek for a KATO 109 I added three little battery powered carriage internal lights which switch on with a magnet. I thought one of these in a van might be a good idea so I fitted one and it looks nice. Then it occurred to me that a lit up tail light might be nice and I had a little 3D printed one with a tiny red LED. I attached the wires to the LED on the circuit board of the van light so that it comes on with the magnetic switch. It looks good but the whole lamp glows, a few more coats of paint and it should settle down.

On May 18th/19th I'm taking part in a little model show in the Gweithdy at Minffordd Station and my table will feature a variety of my little layout/dioramas and to demonstrate that 4mm scale narrow gauge doesn't need a huge space for a worthwhile set up. I decided that actually building a layout at the show might be fun so I've bought an MDF board to build something on. 

This is a loop of Busch HOf track which might be what I go with, I'd like to fit a circuit of 009 on it too. Watch this space and indeed come and see what happens in May.

This is a fairly old model which I actually really like, the idea being that it is a tram with an upright boiler at the front. What made me think about it was that the bell on the roof was an example of the generosity of the late, great Garry Whiting. I posted that I was making this tram and before I'd finished it a lovely little brass casting for the bell on the roof arrived, unbid but very welcome.

The original chassis has never been satisfactory so I decided that I could probably just shove a KATO 109 into it instead; so I did.

Here it is. It took a bit of trimming to fit it in but it actually fitted really well. It will now run nicely.

I'd like to see this in action at the show in May.

Monday 25 March 2024

Engines and more engines

So... The first two of my four new Fourdees locos are here; two shades of green; a Hunslet and a Bagnall. I'm really happy with both of them and they will be very nice additions to the IoSR fleet.

Next on the list was the loco I've made a few modifications to. The most obvious is the turned brass chimney which I added for two reasons; firstly that I really like it and second that I dropped the print and snapped the chimney off. It would have glued back on but would always have been a weak spot. The other mod are the coal rails on the bunker which I made in my usual way from Langley L&B etched slatted seats. All the four new locos also have vacuum pipes added.

I went for an all black livery, I had thought that I would add red and grey lining but actually I really like the plain livery. One more addition was the open windows on the cab front. These are jewellery links that I bought years ago and never found a use for. They are a perfect fit and I glazed them with Glue n Glaze.

I went to Narrow Gauge North as part of the F&WHR marketing team but of course also in attendance was the 009 Society 2nd hand sales stand so before the show opened I went for a quick browse. Lo and behold I saw a pair of familiar looking vehicles in a box with my hand writing on it. The weird thing is I had been wondering where I had put them a couple of weeks before... so I bought them back.

This is a bit of an odd one. KATO provided the F&WHR with a demonstration layout and rolling stock including this Prince. However the great unwashed public want to push the train along. In consequence poor old Prince has had a chassis melt down. Dan from Fourdees very kindly sent me one of his printed replacement chassis which I duly painted up and stuck in the body. It is now gracing the rather cute layout in Caernarfon Station shop.

My Bachmann double Fairlie has now finished transmogrifiying from Merddin Emrys to Dylan Thomas. Lord Stoner has always been a fan of these handsome locomotives and so had a duplicate of ME made for his railway. Never a great success on the IoSR the remains languished at the back of a shed until the preservationists took over and restored the loco, in the process renaming it after the trendy Welsh poet and piss head. Actually I've just added new plates and some coal and carefully removed the FR crests from the cab sides. It is a beautiful runner and no doubt will see service on high days and holidays.

Those terribly nice folk at Bachmann have recently released ALR coaches which are ugly great things and which I had no interest in... then I noticed that they were doing them in IoSR maroon and cream so here they are. One has been heavily weathered and has had passengers added. Not sure what to do with the other one.

Three little maids

I don't usually remember to take pictures of work in progress but here is the fourth loco with just the black bits painted roughly.

Here it is finished all bar plates and crew. I have Modelu crews waiting to be painted for all of these locos. Hopefully my eyes will get better and I'll be able to do them justice with the paint brushes.

Here are all four together

Lastly a couple of pictures of my Bachmann/Fourdees Nesta sitting on the mortal remains of the real thing which awaits its fate at Boston Lodge.

Sat in the chimney


Thursday 22 February 2024

Gardening and gardens and a carriage

Since the last outpouring when I was all about the new locos I've made a slight detour and they've got no further really. They need priming and the weather has been foul so a trip to the cold damp garage for a visit from a rattle can; they have been for a bath in the ultrasonic cleaner along with a sneaky addition. That terribly nice chap at Fourdees has added a small range of his lovely prints to suit the iconic KATO 109. The one which caught my eye is called a Whiting named after the late lamented Garry so I had to have one.

Last time I had added the tall warehouse to the station forecourt module, here it is in place. Brrr.

Also seen in the last episode was the reroofed Airfix cottage, here it is nearly finished. What a bugger to paint, the beams aren't very raised but I'm nearly happy with it. The shop sign will be printed out to cover over my wonky painted one. The shop has a detailed interior and a light which should look nice.

Here is the less changed side.

Meanwhile, here is the first part of a terrace of lineside houses which I've completed. These are Fair Price Models laser cut kits which I've finished with a rough render look by spreading filler over them and then brushing it flat with Mekpak.

Plan A for the next building was this rather handsome PECO wooden kit.

This was how I originally planned it to be but circumstances forced my hand.

Progress here with the addition of a Scenecraft low relief shop which I modified with a porch and a repaint. The PECO house is starting to change colour.

This is the first finished part complete with gardens.

I'm pretty happy with the look of these bits but the PECO building was proving very hard to paint so it has gone into the reserve box. I'm sure it will be back as it's a very nice building, it also is a dead ringer for our old house in East Grinstead.

Next door ended up reusing a Hornby building that had been on the original Isle of Stoner L shaped layout.

A garden of two halves.

This is a laser cut low relief warehouse which I found on eBay and which was very good value for eight quid. It will sit at the back somewhere and look the part.

This is the next module which will include these three buildings and a row of low relief buildings behind and starting to rise up a hill, the Airfix shop will probably end up here too.

I haven't only been building buildings, this is the brand new kit from Chivers for the WHR/FR Ashbury coach. It was a nice kit to build and will make a nice addition to my VoR bashes and will be painted dark green and cream.

Now here's a thing. I've wanted a Mallet for a while and have been keeping an eye out for the lovely Minitrix one but I can't justify £300+ for a second hand chassis. I realised that maybe there is a different solution so I've had a rummage in the bits of kits box and found some bits of a Langley WD 2-6-0 tank. Early days but it might just work...