Friday 29 November 2013

Tram finished

I had a bit of a hangover today so I didn't get as far as baseboard woodwork, it was cold outside and the fire in the lounge was nice a warm.

I did get the painting and finishing on the steam tram finished.

Not sure how the elf of safe tea would feel about the way the staff hang off this while its in motion but they cab sod off.

The wheels need darkening and it needs some subtle weathering but otherwise I'm pretty pleased with this strange looking vehicle. I just need to build a layout for it now. Gulp.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Finishing stuff

I've been doing some bits which I haven't had time for for ages. Namely, I've structurally finished my Britomart and very smart it looks too. The final push was to file the cab and the boiler casting so that it fitted slightly over the rear springs so that the rear of the cab lined up with the back of the footplate. This was only necessary because I'd made the cab slightly too long, only by half a mil but enough to make it not fit. Looks fine now. I also emeried the bad paint flat and re-coated it more carefully.

Among the detail bits I've added the most significant is a 4mm to the foot RobCo the locos current owner. I found a whitemetal figure that I'd painted ages ago and so re-did most of it, the pose looks quite good. Having been on the footplate of the real thing, a stooped figure seemed appropriate.

The real loco has a couple of patches on the tank which I've added with little bits of styrene, one from memory and one from a photo... I should have looked at more photos as the one from memory is wrong. Bugger.

Need some works plates for the cab sides and then there's the lining. The other missing details are the lubricators which hang on the front of the tank, I may have to make these somehow but a brass casting would be nice. I've opted out of the lining as it is quite intricate and I know I'll just make a mess of it. Less is definitely more in this instance.

Another project well under way now is the steam tram for Port Lucy. I'm pretty happy with how wierd this looks. Odd but not beyond the realms of possibility. Garry Whiting very kindly sent me a bell which I've duly added to the roof along with a lamp from the PD Hunslet, the other one is on the back.

I've started painting and so it should be finished pretty soon. I'm determined not to rush it and spoil it... famous last words.

A new product which has come into my life recently is Deluxe models 'Glue Buster'. It undoes Cyano glues. I was sceptical but it works. So far I've unglued the safety valves on Britomart and put them in the right place and now I've started to dismantle my Tomix Percy bash.

I need to get the chassis working properly and find a way of attaching the chassis which doesn't involve glue and a gas axe to remove it.

Tomorrow I'm off to the woodyard to get some 2 x 1 to start making the baseboard for Port Lucy etc. I also have to complete the joining section down from the unfinished section. Quite excited about a new bit of layout to make.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Packed and ready

Well, everything is in its box and I've packed all the bits and some other bits and bobs so all I have to do tomorrow morning is to rearrange the van contents a bit and fit Arnold Lane in. Then we're of to sunny Birmingham. Hotel beds and breakfast and over priced NEC lunches here we come. Saturday night promises a curry so all is not lost.

Wednesday 20 November 2013


Some not very exciting work on the layout yesterday, I tidied up the lighting wiring and installed a switch for the day lights. This has the dual effect of making it easier to change to night view and also makes the mains wiring completely safe and sound so that the PAT test is bullet proof.

I just have to make the travelling protector for the controls now, this should be relatively easy as even my shoddy woodwork should be up to that and no one need ever see it either!

Sunday 17 November 2013

Tidying up and stuff

I've been going through my locos and getting them match fit for next weekend. Cleaning wheels and so on but several have also been looking a bit tatty so I've got out the paint box. I also noticed that several older locos have chimneys which hardly have a hole in them so I've drilled and reamed them out a bit.

Puffer is one of the fleet to get the wash and brush up, it doesn't look much different in a picture but it looks much smarter in real life.

The steam tram has made some progress and is pretty much ready for spoiling with paint. I'm not sure what the main colour will be, I'm heading towards green. I may pop down to Porthmadog models and see what they have that I haven't already got.

I've added metal handrails but in my usual style have managed to bugger one side up slightly. As it will only ever be seen from one side I'm not too bothered. The back looks fine but I'm still not too happy with the front. Not sure what to do though.

Friday 15 November 2013

Steam Tram

Port Lucy is the largest town on the Isle of Stoner and as such it has the poshest transport infrastructure and this includes a tram line. This runs from outside the station to the other side of town. Actually what has happened is that while I was ordering a chassis from Plaza in japan I noticed that they sell some rather neat tram track designed for modern Japanese trams which they also sell. On impulse I ordered an oval to see what it is like and I rather like it and so decided that I could just about squeeze a length onto the high level road at the back of the new Port Lucy board. The plan is to use a shuttle module so that the tram comes and goes without me attending to it, this will also be good at exhibitions to keep something running while the usual buggering about goes on.

That's the stuff

Anyway, the upshot of that is that I need a tram to run on the tram track and this is what I started work on yesterday. After much thought, some thought, ok, hardly any thought I set about building a steam tram on a Bandai Shorty chassis using a combination of styrene and parts from other kits.

The boiler etc which sits exposed at the front of the tram is from a Knightwing steam lorry kit, the sides are from a Parkside Dundas Bro Madoc coach and the roof is a Chris Ward 3D clerestory which I've had for while and not known what to do with. Early days yet but its coming along nicely. It will be rather out of loading gauge for the main IoSR but that doesn't matter as the lines will have no physical connection.

Tuesday 12 November 2013


The latest bit completed on Arnold Lane Wharf is the addition of a skirt to hide the legs and clutter which always builds up underneath a layout. I've used Velcro to attach the material; with a stick on variety on the baseboards new frame and an iron variety on the material. I've also tidied up the black paint on the frame etc.

I adds to the presentation of the layout, now I just need to add an explanation panel to the proscenium arch and it is ready for Warley, or at least the visible part is ready. The blue LEDs need to be permanently attached and the switch added to the 'day lights'. One other crucial addition is some form of protection for the switches and point operating rods which protrude from the rear. I don't want to snap anything off whilst in transit. I shall try to bodge something which does the job but doesn't stop it being operated. If all else fails it can be a screw on/off arrangement but something more convenient to set up/break down would be better.

Thursday 7 November 2013

Blue view

What did I ever do before Wilkinson's came into my life? What a marvellous shop. A quick trip yesterday lunchtime not only provided a tasty and cheap sandwich but also a string of 40 blue LEDs for £7. With these duly strung up in the lighting rig, night fell on Arnold Lane Wharf.

Delighted by this I whipped out the soldering iron and Dremmel and fitted an LED in the hut. It is one of the ones supplied with the set of swan necked lamps from DCC supplies so comes with a little circuit board with a selection of surface mounted resistors on so you can vary the brightness to suit the job in hand, very neat idea.

I might add one more LED in the big shed at the left hand side of the layout and an orange one within the little workshop on the right.

Monday 4 November 2013

Woodwork and wiring

You know the normal way to build a layout is to construct the baseboard and then make the rest of the layout? Well I've tried it the other way now, having built Arnold Lane Wharf and now having fitted a 2 x 1 frame underneath; much trickier this way round. Why have I done it this way round? Because of 2 things: firstly I've fitted some lovely but hugely expensive, DCC Concepts street lamps which protrude under the baseboard so they would get snapped off as soon as the layout moved and secondly: the layout will move when I take it to Warley as part of the F&WHR shops stand.

As part of the illuminations I've also protected the running line with a colour light ground signal. It doesn't really notice much but I know its there.

Another reason for adding the frame is that I will be able to attach some black material to hide the legs, mine and the layouts.

I still have to add some building internal illumination and modify the main lighting rig to include a switch and some night light. I haven't decided how to do this yet, I might go xmas light shopping in Wilcos this lunchtime. They usually have strings of blue LEDs for not much money and they should do the job.