Friday 23 December 2011

The end comes off

Well, I got the electric screw driver and a crow bar out and with a bit of nerve racking violence the end 'backscene' came off. Its amazing how it has made the layout look much bigger already.

The new alignments of the platforms is going to be quite cool I think.

Next thing to do is to turn the whole layout around and to modify the behind the scenes track layout. I'm trying to think of a way of making part of the upper scenery removable in case of derailments on the hidden section. It won't have any points in it or tricky curves so all should be straight forward but sod's law says that as soon as I can't get at it something will come off... humm?

Looking forward to making a new bit of layout and then playing with it... ahem, having an operating session I mean.

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Or it could go this way

This way it would fit with the plan against the layout frame and the switch area could hang just below it with the controller beside it on a shelf. This would be compact and tidy and not too obtrusive. I've printed this out and put the switches in their correct place and they all fit, it will be a bit of a rats nest but if I make a big effort to keep it tidy all will be well.

In the great plan St Ruth is directly above Port Lucy, the other terminus of the railway so I can't have too many dangly bits... ooh er missus.

Destruction begins again

I had some time in the garage today and have taken the bull by the horns and dismantled the control panel leaving the 50 way umbilical attached to the layout with bare ends where the panel was. Fortuitously I made comprehensive notes on the wiring of this layout so taking it apart and then remaking it should be simple... hum.

I've been scratching my head about the new control panel, I don't know whether to use a track diagram with the switches built in as the previous effort or to make something more compact with switches in rows more akin to a lever frame.

This is the new layout as a diagram. The switches could be laid out in a row which would make it easier to attach to the front edge of the layout. Now it won't be ever operated from anywhere but the front it can be attached permanently without need for the umbilical.

Monday 19 December 2011

Happy Holiday Season

I've been busy doing other things so the railway has taken a bit of a back seat but I did get invited to a little exhibition in Porthmadog so I dusted off Arnold Lane Wharf and also converted my test track into a snow scene. The church will find its way onto the main layout so not a waste of time and apart from some filler and a couple of trees I had all the bits and bobs in the garage.

I've even been allowed to have it in the living room on the grounds that it is a decoration rather than a layout. Syd is putting in a few miles round and round too.

Monday 21 November 2011

Mixed, why?

I forgot to say that it was a mixed weekends modelling because a)  I made some models I was pleased with and b) stabbed myself in the thumb end with a knife which I wasn't pleased with. Doh!

Sunday 20 November 2011

Building buildings

The weekend has been a bit of mixed result on the modelling front. I've given the new signal box a garden and a window box so that the signalman has something to do between trains.

The greenery is a mixture of Busch and Auhagen, I'm looking forward to planting the box at the Junction.

The other, more major project was the extension to the Cheese factory. Previously it was on the edge of the layout so I assumed that there was some more factory 'off stage'. It will now be all visible so the rest had to be added; I've used a PIKO police station kit as the basis and added various other bits and bobs from my large collection of stuff that will come in handy one day.

New section is obviously not painted yet but is pretty much done. I also found a smoke unit so have stuck that in for a bit of fun.

Friday 18 November 2011


I didn't get much time to start with the wiring yesterday, but I did remove all the surplus track and scenery so that    the new arrangement can be laid when the time comes. It was a bit heart stopping taking the Dremel with a small angle grinder doodah to the track and scenery but as they say,'You can't make omlletes without breaking wind.'

As you can see, I've covered the rest of the layout to keep the detritus from spoiling the rest of the scenery. There will be lots to repair anyway, I'm sure.

The platform roads with a kink in will be odd but not un-prototypical. The loop point will be just onto the next board with the goods yard point a little further on. The cheese factory siding will be further on yet. I'm looking forward to starting making rather than destroying but I've a way to go yet.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Work starts on rebuild

I've finally grasped the nettle and started work on the rebuilding of St Ruth. Having removed all the people, details and buildings from the area to be changed I've made a big enough mess that there is no going back.

The red lines indicate where the sidings will be cut to allow the platform roads to take a natural path around the branch line above. I've just laid some bits of track and some plasticard onto the layout to give the impression of what must be done.

Next phase is to remove the control panel umbilical cord. This will mean turning the layout on its back and unsoldering all fifty cores so that I can add a brand new control panel when the new work is done. I will be removing several points from the rear and relocating new ones on the extension board so the old panel which has been wrong from the start can be replaced.

When this is done I will have to trim the right hand back scene down so that it just becomes a former in the landscape, I predict this will be tricky as the only way I can think of doing it will be by using a jig saw.

Monday 14 November 2011

Peggy enters service

I have to say I'm pretty pleased with the makeover of Peggy. All that is needed is some coal in the bunker and some subtle weathering, steam locos are well looked after on Stoner.

The larger coaches, which are modified Parkside Dundas VoR stock, really suit the size of Peggy which is another good reason to get on and lengthen the loop and remove the insane curve from the route. At the moment Peggy with her larger coaches just lock buffers coming round the corner by 'The Parrot Inn'.

Saturday 12 November 2011

Displacement activity

To avoid starting to rip St Ruth to bits I've been building/modifying a new/old loco.

I've had a ROCO 0-6-0 tender loco for a few years now and had sort of Anglicized it but I'd never been happy with the result and my passing loop is too short to use tender locos so...

Change from this:

To this so far:

I've started the spoiling by painting phase now and I've chosen Dark Angel Green which I think will look quite smart. More to follow.

I think the tender is destined to be a snow plough, although snow is a very rare thing on the Isle of Stoner.

Thursday 3 November 2011

Burning Bush and a signal box

I haven't had a chance to start work on modifying the layout yet but I have been working on some buildings for the new section. There will be a pub with a club in the old stables and a signal box. The pub is called 'The Burning Bush' and is based on Skaledale buildings which have been added too and modified to suit.

Inside the club there is a small stage with some performers on it and in the hall part there are some dancers all Preisers. I will add some flashing coloured lights to complete the ambience. There are numerous posters from the 60s of Pink Floyd, Hendrix and the like. Quite a groovy little place.

The signal box is a renovated and modified little Wills job that I had on a previous layout but salvaged from it. It has been 'Stonerised' with a new roof and a stone base with stairs etc. Both models are awaiting the addition of names using Slaters plastic letters.

Both buildings need some weathering to tone down the paintwork which I will do when they have a layout to live on. The only other building which will be on the new board is the cheese factory which will relocate to a more out of town location with it's own siding.

Friday 21 October 2011

Bored now!

I've decided that instead of the way St Ruth was originally going to connect to the rest of the forthcoming layout (point round the back) I'm going to do away with the round and round circuit and make St Ruth a proper terminus. Of course it will still form an end on junction with the branch to the lighthouse but that will come straight into the new bay platform.

I've made a plan of how things will be. The cheese factory will re locate to past the end of the loop and there will be access to the goods yard from this end too, otherwise you would have to shunt all goods trains up the branch and back them in. It will result in a longer platform loop too so I will be able to run my larger rolling stock and have slightly longer trains.

It will mean that I won't be able to take St Ruth to anymore exhibitions but to be honest it has been quite traumatic doing so. I will design Port Lucy to be removable and add a fiddle yard... one thing at a time though.

Saturday 8 October 2011

Small, green and rusty

The little Ruston is finished. I went for green in the end and then added a considerable quantity of weathering. In the flesh the little chap looks great, in the photos slightly less good. The whole loco is smaller than an FR 2 ton slate wagon so blown up in a picture covering a whole PC screen is a little cruel to my workmanship.

The only thing I will change is that the KATO wheels are very bright, this really shows up with a more ground level picture.

It also shows that the wheelbase is ever so slightly too long. I'll add some dark paint to the centers and hopefully that will improve matters.

Sitting next to Syd the Ruston looks tiny.

Thursday 6 October 2011

Finally some progress

Having been mad busy at work and then asleep on the sofa I hadn't done any modelling for ages but today I had a day off and so I shut myself in the shed with radio 4 and a selection of half finished/started projects.

The main progress has been getting my little diesel finished.

The upside to buggering up the intended chassis is that by using the Portram chassis instead it allows there to be nothing in the cab so I have filed a lump of sprue to resemble some transmission type things and there will be ample room for a driver too. It runs nicely and can haul as many wagons as I might hope so all in all I'm very happy with it. The front and rear ballast weights were a real bugger to solder as I don't have any solder paste but I got there in the end and only the tips of my fingers are raw. Sadly the next phase is the painting so its down hill all the way; rusty green I think.

I've also re assembled the new Fleischmann 0-6-0 and tarted up the painting and added vacuum pipes.

It is a funny looking thing, all tall and thin but I like the look of it. 

Moving on I've nailed the track onto my test track... did I mention this? Well I bought a small folding table for £10 the other week with the idea of making a simple test track circuit on it, only now I've added a siding and am having small layout ideas.

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Crikey, that is small!

I spent most of yesterday burning my finger tips on the smallest loco I have ever made, and the first all soldered construction. I have been used to soldering audio leads all my life so the iron holds no terror for me but for some reason I've never taken the plunge and soldered a kit before. It is a Brian Madge Ruston LB and  would recommend the kit to anyone with reasonable eyesight and soldering skills.

I've basically finished the body except for the ballast weights which go at the front and rear, Brian recommends solder paste for these and I don't have any so they will have to wait. (weight....? No...? anyway) I've made a bit of a dogs breakfast of the chassis which should have been the simple bit to make as it is part built when you get it. I have made it run, just about but have decided that a KATO Portram chassis will fit nicely underneath and allow a completely empty cab. I've put as much weight as I can inside the bonnet and a test assembly suggests that it will make a cracking little loco.

No pictures yet because I left the camera at work again but watch this space.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Painted carriage and van

I've finished painting one of the new bogie coaches and the mess van and I'm quite pleased with both of them. The colour I found for the passenger carriages is another Games workshop acrylic called Dark Angels Green, it has gone on pretty well.

The other two are nearly done and I think the rake will look smart when they are all done.

The mess van needs a good weathering to make it look a bit more used but the basic idea is there and will make a nice rear vehicle on a works train. I haven't put a coupling on the balcony end because they look so lumpy, I may find I need to add this in time.

Looks a bit Heywood in brown and with the roof cut outs.

Saturday 3 September 2011

Carriages and a mess van

I've been completing my new rake of coaches this week but got a bit bored and so had a rummage in the unmade kits drawer and found a Parkside Dundas 4 wheel freelance coach... never being one to build a kit as the manufacturer intended I decided to add a balcony at one end and make a mess van for the Isle of Stoner track gang. Inside I've put a stove, a work bench and some seating and storage. The roof has been extended over the balcony and I've filed a semi circular cut out in the roof so the gangers don't bang their heads as they climb aboard.

Both passenger saloons are finished and the brake composite is nearly there, all four  new vehicles have entered the spoiling by painting stage. Pictures to follow when much remedial work has been done. I haven't decided on a final colour for the new rake, I did consider snot green and cream but it looks a bit too FR. Might be a paint buying visit to Porthmadog Models tomorrow lunch time assuming the rain has stopped by then; they have a very good range of paints including the games workshop acrylics which I have been using recently.

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Carriage and wagon works

I haven't had a lot of time to progress anything on the layout recently but have spent a few evenings in the carriage and wagon works and as a result the IoSR has a new brake van and a new bogie coach with a couple of other coaches in the early stages.

The brake van is a duplicate of one I already have but the coaches are Parkside Dundas FR style variations, there will be two fairly standard third class and a brake composite similar to one I already have but better made.

The loco works has also been busy trying to get the new big diesel to run well... so far a total failure. I think its a pick up problem but have so far not had the nerve to completely dismantle the chassis to remedy it.

On a more positive note I'm also nearing completion of another diesel. This one is a four wheeler built on a Hobbytrain V20. This is a very smooth running loco which has a jackshaft between the two sets of wheels. I've used an A1 models cab, the original bonnet and some bits and pieces of plasticard and the box of bits. I can't work out how to join the two body sections together or how to secure the body to the chassis without just glueing it all together which I am loathe to do. However so far I haven't buggered up the running qualities and it looks good too.

One of the new coaches and the four wheel diesel.

The new van on the left with the original on the right with the open door.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Hudson Coach and New Diesel paint jobs

I'm pretty pleased with the Hudson open coach in the end, it has a livery of Snot Green and Bleached Bone. I'm still having a bit of trouble making the bogies run smoothly but this is only a bit of fiddling, otherwise a very nice kit.

The diesel looks ok too and now it will get some weathering to make it look a bit less new.

Sunday 14 August 2011

Spoiling by painting

I've been busy on the real railway in the last week so haven't done much to the layout, however I've painted the Hudson coach in it's first coat and made it look dreadful in a brown colour, I think I'll change that to something nicer. I ended up fitting BEMO couplings in the end; I think the 3D printing texture is too rough to work well. I've several more pairs to experiment with and hope to do so over the next couple of days which are my weekend.

I've also been adding some details to the new 0-6-0 diesel - slightly wonky had rails as predicted and a few other odds and sods to make it look a bit less 'clean'. Needs some more spoiling with paint and then I can weather it to cover up the bad paint work.

At the exhibition I also acquired a second Lilliput 0-4-0 diesel for a bargain price but I'm not sure what fate awaits it... watch this space.

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Calm after the storm

All back safely and plugged in and working... including the bits that had stopped working at the exhibition. However I've managed to snag a few wires underneath and this has turned off the lights in the town hall and the new cafe so they need the attention of my soldering iron. I had a mammoth tidy up and in the process I've found that I have a spare street light so I can add an extra one on the new baseboard.

The weather today has been truly abominable, with gale force wind and torrential rain so instead of going for a walk with the family and the dog I've made the first of the Hudson open coaches. It looks very nice and went together very sweetly. I've tried some of the trial couplings that I've received from Tom on the NGRM forum, they are a prototype of a chopper style coupling that is designed to be compatible with BEMO style and N gauge style and look more prototypical too. They are made by the magic of 3D printing so the surface is a little rough but can be smoothed by sanding them. I haven't tried them with any of my rolling stock yet but on first inspection they seem a little long for this job. More to follow on this.

Complete coach but with the roof not stuck on to aid painting.

Close up (slightly fuzzy) of the coupling. Certainly would look better if it were shorter between where it joins the bogie and the first ridge.

Sunday 7 August 2011

Exhibition all over

Had a fun day at the exhibition, I was next to Loch Ewe Harbour so it was good to chat 009 with the great and the good.

The layout behaved itself pretty much... well the old bit did, I had a variety of problems which limited the usefulness of the extension but nothing which a few minutes with the soldering iron and some quiet contemplation shouldn't sort out.

This is StRuth next to the Corris Railway stand. Many thanks to Paul Towers and his team of tea ladies who keep the wheels of industry turning with tea and cakes.

The layout is still in the car as I didn't have the energy last night or the time this morning to take it out. I will put it back in its space and give it some time to settle down before I get back to it.

I bought three of the 009 society exclusive kits for the WHR/FR Hudson open coaches which on brief inspection look very nice so I dare say they will be next on the workbench... and then there is Smallchurch... and Port Lucy and loads of kits in my drawer... RT models new Peckett 0-6-0 on its way...

StRuth in action complete with lighting rig and map and explanation.

Friday 5 August 2011

Ready as it'll ever be!

Well, the layout is all packed in the car ready for an early start. Fingers crossed everything was working pretty well before I packed the stock away and loaded it up. There was about half an inch to spare through the garage door... I hadn't taken the open door's end taking up a couple of inches width.

Anyway. I'm off to bed as there is nothing I can do now but worry.

Nearly finished - phew

Spent the rest of yesterday finishing off some little buildings and the coal staith and fuelling point. Got it all working after the paint, the painted again and got it all working again etc. Anyway Its as close to ready as its going to get.

The puddles are where the paint is still wet but I actually like the effect so may well add a spot or two of gloss varnish to replicate it.

This evening I shall give the whole thing a final clean up and clean of the loco wheels and get the thing into the car ready for the morning. I suddenly thought yesterday that having made ir wider it may not fit out the shed door... but it does with about and inch to spare.

By the way, my wifes choir won their competition!

Thursday 4 August 2011

Busy morning

I've spent all morning painting, weathering and adding greenery, its not looking bad. I'm going to leave it alone for a while now so that everything can dry out. While that happens I've got a shed to rebuild and some coal staithes to make and some coal to crush.

Once those bits have been added its just a question of a jolly good clean up all round the layout (and the shed, looks like a bomb went off in a model shop). Then I can clean locos ready for Saturday and have a play to make sure all is well and works as I hope.

The end of the front siding is the diesel servicing point so I may build a small open sided shelter but not by the weekend, a fuel bowser and some grot will do nicely.

I feel the toaster and the kettle beckoning.

(Pictures later, my wife is singing in Wrexham this afternoon and has kidnapped the camera.)

Late night in the shed

I finally went to bed about 2am today but I got all the wiring done and it all works... now. A couple of wires in the wrong place but nothing some head scratching and a bit of re soldering couldn't put right.

The track is all cleaned up of plaster and works well enough, I started painting but couldn't keep my eyes open any longer so stopped.

One casualty of late night working was the smallest hut which got hoovered up, I've rescued the parts but its all a bit bent.

I've had my toast and coffee so I'm back off to the shed to make some more progress. Looks promising for Saturday.

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Snow in August?

It looks like there has been a fall of snow in St Ruth but actually it is modelling clay and plaster. I've also found a shed ready made that will cover the second point motor which saves time and I've given the other two sheds a first coat of paint. I just have to wait while it all dries out now. Hopefully in time to paint and flock before the exhibition...

There will be fencing along the bank at the front of the layout but probably not by the weekend. I'm determined to not over do the 'stuff' lying around but some coal and bibs and bobs and a couple of piles of 'goods' are what it needs. There s no need to add back scene to this extension as it would always look joined on, some bushes at the cheese factory end and the cafe and garden at the other will have to be enough to draw the eye in.

Hopefully the switches and the point motor bases will come tomorrow and I can complete the wiring after work.