Sunday, 14 February 2021

Cat and that

Since my last post I've made some progress in the garage despite the arctic weather and numb fingers. So apart from adding some basic scenery using mostly foamcore and hot glue gun.

The cutting which hides the points to the hidden siding is working well and one trees and greenery are added properly I'm sure it will be fine.

The other end of the station is also taking shape. The hidden sidings will be hidden under a lift off scenic section which can be seen lolling on the track. I'm still working out how to achieve this in practical terms but the ideas are swirling.

Meanwhile in the slightly warmer sofa area of the living room lap tray I worked on the buildings for Upper Bay. First new build was a pair of ornamental lever frame shelters; one for each end of the station. Lever frames are Wills of course.

I've struggled with the Ashover carriage bash, Not sure I like the result particularly but maybe it will grow on me. Here it is without roof and with painting underway.

Here it is mostly finished. I think what I've created is either something from Japan or the IoSR's very own FR Barn. Anyway it's finished and once the garage is warmer I'll try it out with some of the other carriages in the fleet.

The next of Dave Malton's minis arrived, this one being a shrunk IoM Beyer Peacock type of thing. I'm calling it 'Cat' as it's a Manx cat which is after all, a foreshortened moggy. It is again a fantastic bit of design work and comes with three types of cab, having seen the cab fittings nicely printed I decided on the full open version.

Next on the laptray of joy was the water tower. It is based loosely on the original Tan y Bwlch one complete with urinals behind the stonework. The stonework is the most notable thing really as it is made from the new Wills slate walling sheet, again designed by Dave Malton at PECO. It is just the thing. The tank will be a slate slab build so rather Welsh considering it's on the Isle of Stoner. 

I contemplated having a corrugated iron lid on it for a while but in the end I've plumped for open.

Another TyB feature is the coal drop onto the approach road. Before the preservation era this was a very un photographed are and the only known image of it is a still from the film 'The phantom light' which was partly shot at TyB and on the FR. The coal drops dropped into a little walled yard and so so will mine. This is the wall which is Wills sheet with individually cut styrene stones on the top. A long and annoying evening but as it's right at the front of the layout it needs to be detailed.

This is it in place, there will be a yard door too. The wall and stairs are pre made ones that I rescued from a previous layout, they happen to be exactly the right size for the location so who am I to argue.

Next building is the tiny goods shed. It was small in reality at TyB, being part of the current cafĂ©. (When open again a purveyor of excellent cake, by the way.) This is the first proper building I've made with the new Wills sheet as mentioned above and I think it works very well. I have to make and fit the sliding door but otherwise job done. 

Here they all are in situ. The only remaining structure to construct is the crane.

When I was adding details to 'Oy' the mini Manning Wardle I only had one RT brass coupler so I put it at the back but by the good offices of Rob, Mr RT Models I now have one for the front. Just waiting for the plates to arrive and it will be done. A nice, useful loco.

Here is 'Cat' with all the additional pipework and handrails on. Some liquid gravity and paint and Bob is your fathers brother.

This little beauty is a custom designed loco by Dave Malton sitting on my new Percy chassis. Can't wait to get my mits on it. It is based on an Avonside loco and will be called 'Grace' after my daughter.


Friday, 22 January 2021


It has been a busy week at work so I haven't got as much done to the layout as I would have liked but it actually made a change to do something vaguely normal.

First thing I did was to paint the 'yellow carr', easy to see why it was called that. Mine is a little toned down and not so shiny as the prototype which I believe is at the Bala Lake Railway, in their museumy bit. Want to pay it a visit but of course that isn't a thing right now.

It has no pin point bearings and the axles just run in moulded slots so it isn't very free wheeling. I've added a little lead underneath so hopefully it will behave better now.

With the track and electrics finished and working I've had a chance to do a bit of testing and here is Dolgoch and TR style train in the station. I hunted high and low for the station building which is my best guess at what Dduallt Station building looked like at one point. It's based on one photo really. I scaled the building from the height of doors. I originally made it for the abortive big layout that preceded this one and then it was used as the enginemen's bothy for a while. I've cleaned all the bits of plaster and scenic gunk off it and given it a repaint, stuck the chimney back on and voila, Upper Bay is starting to take shape. 

I need to build a water tower which will be TyB old one and a goods shed also based on the old TyB one; I also ordered some Evergreen styrene square rod which will hopefully be about right to make a crane like the old TyB one too.

The main thing I did get done in the garage was the construction and installation of the lighting gantry for Upper Bay, it makes quite a difference to be able to see what I'm doing but I suspect I might need one more lamp on the Rock Beach gantry. It will do for now.

The other 3D print has progressed too and is now virtually finished, it will be named 'Oy'. As it is a shortened L&B style loco it needed a shorter river name and as I come from Croydon; a town sadly devoid of rivers, I decided on that... plates on order from Narrow Planet.

Mr Malton has done a cracking job of the loco and it would be perfectly simple to just paint it and plop it on a chassis but that isn't the Wooden way so I've added a few details to make it my own. Somewhere I have some sunshine yellow Southern transfers so maybe it will get those applied.

Bouyed up but the success and the enjoyment of finishing off 'Oy' I've gone and ordered one of these...
It isn't easy to see from this angle but it is a mini version of an Isle of Mann, Beyer Peacock. Again to sit on a KATO 109. Dave made a version without handrails specially for me, that's what I call customer service. Think it might be a while coming from chez Shapeways but I've plenty to get on with. Or I could read a book...


Sunday, 17 January 2021

Wires and stuff

If last week was busy then so was this one... er. I have reasonable soldering skills but apart from baseboard construction and track laying it is the worst bit of a new layout. I know how to make it all neat and lovely but it still ends up as a bit of a rats nest as time is precious and I'd rather be doing something else anyway.

So then, out with the soldering iron and on with the job.

All the other control panels on the layout are track diagram types but having bought the wrong size plastic box (buffoon) I decided that I could fit enough switches and an LED on if I just put them in two rows, so that's what I did.

This is the Rock Beach halt panel which has a CDU and 12V DC supply available to power the Upper Bay panel too so first job was to run some wires from one to the other and connect them up to the CDU and 12V supply.

Meanwhile on the lap tray a couple of nice 3D prints arrived from Shapeways. The loco is a Dave Malton mini Manning Wardle with tram skirts designed for a KATO 109 chassis. The other is tidy little version of the Dinorwic Quarry yellow carriage which was used to carry visitors round the quarry. A bit random but it should be a good partner for the inspection saloon.

The Ashover coach bash had run aground as I'd buggered around with the ends and made a right mess.  Then I found I had a spare end from a Dundas VoR coach kit which just about was nearly the right size and nice and plain.

With a bit of styrene added here and there it made a huge improvement, I couldn't find a spare one but did have a full kit that I'd already nicked the roof from so now it light one end too.

The chassis arrived and was an excellent fit, predictably it also ran like a dream. Even with no weighting it happily pushed and pulled the tram train which it was intended for.

The as yet still white, yellow carriage with the inspection saloon

The new loco and coach in the new station. A waft of primer has revealed a nice looking loco.

Back in the garage I found a way of clamping the control panel upside down to make it easier to do the soldering. I started with the 12VDC supply which basically just goes to illuminate the sole platform lamp and the LED on the control panel. 

Et voila! Illumination.

After a couple of hours of concentrated work it was all working apart from a mysteriously reversed point. All colour coded and apparently in the right place so i don't know where the swap has happened; easily solved and so all working simply. The new style PL1000 point motors are very simple to install and work just as you'd hope. There is nowhere to install a motor for the second fiddle yard point as the loop is too close on one side and the next siding on the other. If I'd realised it would be like that I would have installed another underboard jobby but it's too late now. Not sure what to do, I might just make some cunning manual thing... watch this space.

Here is the end of the line at the close of play. Some sky is the next big job and another lighting gantry which I have all the parts for and which won't take long to build.


Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Stationary progression

I've been a busy boy this week and have made good progress on a number of projects. First thing of note is the final painting and weathering of the new van and cattle van.

I'm please with the van especially as it has come out exactly as I hoped. I look forward to running some proper trains with it which at the moment is not really possible as there is no left hand terminus...

Woodwork progressing on the new section

Woodwork nearing completion

The old fiddle yard now redundant... hmm I wonder if it would work with an exhibition layout, as yet un built?

By way of some laptray distraction after a rummage in the cupboard I dug out out an Ashover coach kit. Not being one to build a kit the way nature intended and also not really being a fan of the prototype I concluded that a more open window aperture might make a difference.

Having briefly tried the Dundas WD bogies I concluded that it needed a better bogie and mounted nearer inboard. I tried some spare VoR ones but then I came across my secret weapon for coach bogies, i.e. KATO 11 103 spare sets. They run very sweetly and I easily replaced the Rapido couplers with some ROCO ones from my box of stuff.

Here it is as it stands now. It's virtually complete but has no roof  as it didn't come with one, I may try the beer can metal technique as I've never done that and I fancy a can of Guinness. Two weeks into dry January...!!! 

Meanwhile, back in the garage I've started track laying. This is slightly complicated by needing to install point motors underneath the baseboard, meaning it has to be moveable as I can't do it from underneath. I'm trying out some of the new PECO PL1000 jobs which are easy to install unless you are a dickhead like me. I'd done the unit at the far left of the board and all was well, just trimming the motor pin to length. I thought I'll be elegant and use the Dremmel and a slitting disk as it will look nicer and be easy... Actually I managed to cut it too short and bugger up the pair of points too. Expensive cock up.

Three hidden sidings and a loop all laid now, the goods siding is all cut to size and will get nailed down once the boards are permanently installed.  

A couple of trains passing in the loop.

 Mr Dave Malton has been uploading some interesting things to Shapeways and I decided to have look but this one had escaped my notice, it caught my eye and so one is under construction in the magic factory as I type. It sits on a KATO 109 so will run nicely and will be a third tram loco for the line (actually forth....) It should be a happy stable mate for the Fourdees loco and the Minitrains Tram.