Friday 26 April 2013

Slate Quarry discovered in my garage

Having a tidy up in the workshop end of the garage I opened an aluminium camera case to see what was in it and found, to my delight a half built layout.

The track plan is simple but reflects all the main processes of the slate quarrying industry with the adit at the rear, a dressing shed and a sinc with a siding for waste tipping. I now have an even bigger excuse to get one of those lovely tiny Brian Madge quarry Hunslets. With King of the Scarlets due for delivery to Spooners in ex-quarry condition I guess that she would make a good candidate. In the mean time it will be a good home for some of my tiny diesels and slate wagons.

It will make a nice change from big layouts and adds another of the IoSR scenes. I'll have to think of a good name for the operation now. Box Quarry? Case Quarry? 

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Small knobs

Tonight I moved a few steps nearer blindness by fitting the handrails to Beddgelert. There are 3 knobs on each side of the tank and three over the smokebox door. They are soooo small and fiddly. Threading a needle is nothing compared to getting the brass wire through the little hole in the knob.

I'm pretty pleased with the spacing and symmetry of the knobs, I always get them a bit lop-sided and to be totally honest the drivers side rail droops slightly at the cab end. Hopefully it won't be too noticeable. I've also fitted some more liquid gravity into the water tank and without the cab roof it balances quite well. Styrene is the answer.

Nancy now has a bunker full of coal and all the paintwork touched up. I also glazed the cab windows with glue n glaze. Runs nicely now too.

I spent quite a bit of time writing an article for the 009 news about the history of the IoSR, I've also found some pictures to illustrate it, some I needed to take new.

 A replica early 1880s IoSR train

Traffic jam at Three Bridges

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Oomp pa pa Oomp pa pa

A day of small domestic triumphs and locomotive building. Domestic triumphs being stopping the downstairs toilet leaking and fitting a new, more comfortable seat. Locomotive building being adding some sand pots, spectacle brasses and a coal bunker to Nancy. Apart from a couple of paint touch ups, some coal and the aforementioned plates, she is done.

Monday 22 April 2013

14BA, that really is small

At the AGM I spent a few quid on bits and pieces but the best investment so far was a small pack of 14BA cheesehead screws. It turns out that the GF 04 chassis that I've used under Nancy uses 14BA threaded bolts to hold on the coupling rods so I have now been able to cut the new screws to length and attach the piston rods. It works like a dream. It still has a slight limp which I think must be a quartering issue but it runs well enough to use. It needs finishing off now so it can join the fleet. There are some lovely name and works plates on their way from Narrow Planet and these will be the icing on the cake.

Talking of Narrow Planet, I spent the afternoon with the NP touring massive. We had a poke round Boston Lodge after they had had a ride on the train in the morning. They then had a quick walk in the fog up in Dinorwig and then came over for a play on Underhill and lots of chat. It was nice to meet up with them all again and see my layout working without me working it.

Saturday 20 April 2013

009 AGM - we should be so lucky

Blimey that was a day out! I set out at 6am for sunny Liverpool and dropped off M'lady Stoner near Lime Street and half an hour later I was in sunny Rainford. Set up the layout and the F&WHR stand and got myself sorted out in time to hand over a box of stock to Brian on the society sales stand which will pay for a few of life's niceties.

Flanked by David Gander and Stan Williams, the exhibition was opened by Pete Waterman; no one mentioned Rick Astley.

Underhill behaved itself pretty well and some people said nice things. There were several visitors to The Island, the first of which was a very splendid radio controlled and battery powered loco. The loco itself was just a PECO GVT tram with a KATO chassis but the extraordinary thing about it was the superb controllability  Without relying on the track for power there was no stalling and the chip in the loco had excellent speed control. I'm dreadful at names but on the NGRN online forum the makers name is Fallen and there is an interesting thread all about the birth of this loco.

The controller is sitting on the shed with the loco in the foreground. I feel that this could be the way forward.

Next visitor was the latest not quite ready version of the new PECO L&B coach; looked brilliant to me but will apparently be even better by the time we are allowed to have them. can't wait.

SR first and then L&B will be available.

The next visitor was a bit of a shocker...

Its health and safety gone mad!

Mr T of RT Models was doing the rounds frightening people with his total H&S Peckett. Despite the stripes it was a lovely build from one of his kits and ran very well. Later on it had a train of dirty big skips which it looked more at home with.

I also had a visit from Rod Alcock and one of his splendid locos and some ROCO/Parkside cross breed skips which looked very good. We spent most of the time talking about guitars of which Rod seems to own many very nice ones.

In general I had a cracking day so many thanks to Stan and the boys but mostly to the ladies of the bacon butty and tea brigade.

Friday 19 April 2013

Preparations and condensations

I decided that seeing as I am making a model of Beddgelert which was an NWNGR loco then she should have something appropriate to couple up to. Perhaps when the IoSR purchased the loco they bought a coach too. In my drawer of unbuilt kits there are many kits but one that has been there for a very long time is the Brass PD Pickering brake composite of the NWNGR. I've been putting it off as I'm not very confident with the soldering iron when it comes to kits; wiring is no problem. I plucked up my courage got the flux and low melt solder out and spent the evening burning my finger tips and swearing as on finished bit fell off as I attached new bit. In the end it has come out ok and I've only lost one of the steps from the end which I can replicate with styrene. The duckets were very fiddly and the instructions were useless, they basically say, ' cut the bits out and solder them together.' could have worked that out myself.

 Missing top step

Roof not stuck on yet

009 Society AGM tomorrow so I've also been packing up Underhill and getting ready for the trip. I'm off to Porthmadog later to get the van and the F&WHR stand then I can pack up the layout ready for an early start. Mrs Lord Stoner also has to go to Liverpool tomorrow so I'm giving her a lift to add some extra stress to the trip.

In the name of my new policy of getting rid of older rolling stock when I buy new, I shall be getting rid of a couple of locos and some coaches and few bits of Eggerbahn that I have randomly collected. Look out for three maroon bogie coaches, a Chris Ward side tank and an A1 models bogie diesel. It came out far too big to suit my rolling stock, shame as it went together rather well and even has a Langley whitemetal diesel plant behind the grills which you can see.

Tuesday 16 April 2013


I've made some progress with Beddgelert and Nancy this evening so I've taken a couple of pics.

I've added more pipework to Beddgelert including a curly bit which I suspect is something to do with the injector... anyhow, there it is. I've also filled the front of the loco with as much Liquid Gravity as I can fit in and this has helped balance the loco better. A styrene cab roof, or maybe a beer tin one, will help more but even so it still is a bit back heavy. I may be able to cram some more weight into the tank sides, so all is not lost. I've come to the conclusion that the bunker behind the cab must have been open on the top as it would be a weird design feature otherwise. I'm going to add some coal rails too as I think they would look nice; very technical.

The chimney needs some more drilling out and in a couple of the photos of the real thing I've found it seems that a bucket of sand on the front buffer beam was a feature. A whitemetal one will add some more weight at the front too. I'll have a go at getting the chassis going again tomorrow.

Nancy has gained a crew and some lamps, she awaits her nameplates which are coming from the fabulous Narrow Planet and some cab window surrounds. I'll have a go at making some as I can't find anything appropriate. I read about using copper wire wrapped round something of suitable diameter then snipped and soldered then squashed flat. Sounds fiddly. 

The chassis is the other problem, I can only believe that the severe limp has something to do with quartering, I'll take it with me to the 009 AGM and hope that someone clever can sort it out.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Spot the deliberate mistake

I spent this evening making some progress with Beddgelert. Then I spent some time pulling bits off and sorting out the mess I'd made. The problem is that I have fixed the tank on back to front. This meant that the sand pots, dome and filler cap were all in the wrong place. Having sorted that lot out I continued to add some more detail parts. I've started putting sundry pipes and rods on, like the operating mechanism for the front sand pots. I've also given the loco vacuum pipes which the original didn't have; I think. When the IoSR purchased the worn out loco in 1906 she went back to Hunslets for a major overhaul and the vacuum ejector etc was fitted then. More pipes and handrails next. I don't have any in stock but I'm hoping to get some at the 009 AGM on saturday.

I have been in trouble with Mrs Lord Stoner. I bought some new weathering powders and tried them out on some goods wagons... and a patch of realistic soot on the bright yellow rug. Ooops. Lesson learned, weathering should be done in the garage.

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Busy, busy, busy

My day off has been dedicated to playing trains and as my wife is away tonight and my daughter volunteered to make dinner, I've had all evening to play.( except for doing the washing up)

I've been working on three locos today which has been pretty satisfying as two out of three of them look good and actually run well too.

The first is a diesel loco I made a while ago on an Arnold Kof chassis. I always like the look of it but had little joy getting it to run well but with a little bit of fiddling it now runs fine. The only thing I need to do is to raise the height of the couplings slightly as it tends to uncouple at the slightest bump in the track and I have plenty of those.

The second loco is my 0-8-0 WD Hunslet bash which needs running in but apart from that is ok. I added the plates I had made for the Chris Ward Fairlie which I sold a while ago and it looks really good. Just needs a coat of varnish and a light weathering.

Thirdly, I've started painting the new Varikit bash. The chassis is still not right but I'll ignore that for now. I've gone for dark angel green with a shiny brass dome. Looks good, I've got name and works plates on order from Narrow Planet for this loco, Nancy and Beddgelert.

While I was looking for something else I found the lost wax brass casting for a reversing lever so I fitted that to the cab, its a bit oversize to be honest but once there is a crew aboard it won't be very visible.

Beddgelert so far. It needs some extra weight at the front as it is balancing on the rear drivers at the moment. The cab roof isn't attached yet so I'll make a styrene replacement which will help. I've been looking for pictures of the real loco but I can only find half a dozen or so, none of which show the rear bunker very clearly. I need to know if it was open on top or whether the coal was loaded in some other way.

You know how it is...

I spent yesterday evening finishing off the cattle wagons and putting a few finishing touches to Moel y Gest. I was wondering how to do the wasp stripes on the buffer beams but in the end I've done them by hand; not brilliant but with a couple of washes of weathering over them they pass muster at a distance. The wagons look good and having put them with the rest of the train I need to attend to the other wagons so they all go together better, however the whole train looks quite butch with Grace Alice at its head.

So... did I concentrate on getting the new locos running properly?... Er, no. I started work on building a new loco. To be precise, Beddgelert. It has always been my favourite NWNG loco and I've had a kit in my drawer for years. It is a Chivers whitemetal kit with a Minitrix 2-6-2 chassis. Several doner chassis have come and gone since I bought thekit with none being good enough, however I got one from the 009 sales stand at NGN and I've been twitching to build it ever since; so I've started. It has gone together very well so far and I have the basic loco body and chassis mods finished. The chassis needs the motor wiring back to the pick ups and testing but fingers crossed. I did make a shortened version some years ago which was quite chunky but this is a big loco, shame the real thing didn't survive past 1906 as it would be a magnificent beast and probably useful on the modern day WHR. My story is that the IoSR bought the knackered remains and rebuilt it rather than it having been scrapped.

Monday 8 April 2013

A small mountain

I spent a pleasant few hours yesterday evening preparing and painting a Chris Ward 3D printed Moel y Gest. It is a tidy little machine which now lives at Boston Lodge as the works shunter and the model looks the part. Narrow Planet have done a set of plates for it which includes a lovely Hunslet radiator badge which as you can see from the photos I have completely clogged up with paint, but that can be remedied easily enough.

This one will sit in the shop window at Harbour station once I've finished off the painting and added some light weathering.

Apart from that the last week has seen the construction of a couple of cattle wagons and the renovation of an old one on which I had obviously broken the chassis parts and bodged it back together when I first built it. This time I used the chassis parts from a Parkside Dundas Irish wagon and now it looks much better, one of its cows had broken loose too so I pulled the roof off and re attached her. The new wagons are a Ninelines W&L cattle van to match the restored one and a PD Irish van which comes out about the same size, they will go with my bogie sheep wagon and another PD van to make up the weekly market train. I've got a converted VoR brake van that goes nicely with them.


I haven't had a lot of luck with the new loco's chassis or for that matter the Percy bash that I stripped down and rebuilt. They both run but not to the standard I would hope for. Day off tomorrow so I'll try to get some time to attend to them.