Tuesday 30 December 2014

Post Xmas Loco

Christmas is done with and so I can get back to doing some modelling. I've bottled out of the lining on Eigiau for now so a different project was needed. One of the locos I was going to finish before I started Eigiau seemed a good idea so the Minitrix project came out.

Eigiau with PQR coaches on an outing to Underhill

I'd started work on the body before Christmas but had run out of steam as the cab had ended up not square so I knew I had to rip it apart before continuing.

Cab Mk1
Having got stuck in to sorting it out I realised that the problem was the cab front sheet for which I had used a redundant etch from a Brian Madge Hunslet as it was nicely done and about the right size... only it was only about the right size and therefore not the right size. I prised it off the loco and tried filing the edges down to correct the discrepancy but this made the windows too near the edges and it looked wrong. It had to go.
Cab Mk 2

Anyhow, a new front plate was made from styrene sheet with spectacle plates from RT models as are the rear ones. The rest of the bibs and bobs come a variety of places. The couplings are also from Mr T, the whistle and smokebox door darts are from Markits.

It's a funny looking thing but it is quite successful in looking like a reproduction of my very first proper 009 loco which was made in a very similar way, 35 years plus ago. This one is better put together with the benefit of hindsight and a bit of practice.

A little bit of filling and filing and she will be ready for some paint. My original was SR olive green so I may continue with this scheme. I have name plates standing by so it will be called Lady, the original was called Princess Astra after an obscure Dr Who character that I took a fancy to.

Princess Astra - Lalla Ward

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Back in black

I added some more details to Eigiau and was happy with the result, so next comes the spoiling by painting phase...

All over black, how hard can it be? Actually it turned out to be a bit tricky. I used a can of matt black spray paint which was not the best quality and turned out to be a bit on the thick side so some of the smaller detail has been obliterated, like the tiny brass wheels on the clack valves. Its not too bad though and having picked out the smokebox in a different black acrylic and the buffer beams in red it looked pretty good.

I've also added the nameplates which are the usual Narrow Planet standard. Just after the glue and the paint set I got a message noting that the plates were aluminium and painted pale blue like the lining. Doh.

The lining seems not to have been standard Penrhyn red, blue and grey but just the blue. This is good news for me as it makes attempting it less scary. However it is a tiny loco and the lining will be very tricky to execute. It will be quite heavily weathered which will cover up a multitude of sins... hopefully.

It just need the PQR couplers from RT models to arrive and be fitted and then it is nearly done.

Monday 15 December 2014

Locos, locos everywhere

Its been a busy week and I've had a dose of man flu too... don't worry I will survive.

Having been determined to finish the three locos I have on the go before starting work on Eigiau I did exactly not that. Well, what do you expect? I have finished off the Jung diesel which I'm very pleased with. It still runs very badly but I have some resistors on order so I'll give those a try and see if they make any difference and if not I have a Portram bogie waiting in the wings. Its too nice a loco not to have it running.

Eigiau, Jung and baby Ruston

I've painted the Jung in a fetching shade of green and I like the way it looks, I've weathered it with paint so far but it will get some attention from weathering powders too, I don't want it to look derelict just busy and slightly unloved.

The green machine

I found a horn which I've added and the windows are glazed with glue n glaze. The other loco I've finished off is Poppy which now has its name plates which arrived from Narrow Planet with Eigiau.

Looks lovely but runs like a turd

Fortunately, the Minitrains chassis runs very nicely so Eigiau will enter the capital fleet as soon as it is finished. The kit as it arrives is delightful with the body as a very neat 3D casting and a sheet of etched parts. Also included is a different Minitrains chimney which is great for the standard O&K loco but Eigiau had gained a more British looking chimney by the time it arrived at Penrhyn. My model will be in Penrhyn Quarry condition so I decided that I needed to change the chimney, fortunately I found a better looking whitemetal one in the box of bits. The question was how to fit it? I looked at sawing the Minitrains part off and trying to insert the stubb into the casting but decided that this wouldn't work. What I ended up doing was to glue the chimney onto the 3D body and insert a bolt from underneath the chassis and open out the hole in the body to allow the fitting of a brass nut. I opened out the hole with a series of broaches and then files and then glued it in the hole. For once one of my bright ideas seems to have worked.

Apart from this I've added pipes and gizmos as best I can from scraps of wire and styrene. On the real loco the smoke box door has a wheel and a lever so I used a Markits part with a brass wheel from a set of etched ones. The Markits version is deigned for standard gauge locos so needs trimming for the smaller size loco.

Three little maids

Some black paint and some name plates and a crew and it'll be finished. Lining? Maybe I'll have a go or maybe I'll chicken out and go for weathering...

Sunday 7 December 2014

Jung at heart

Another busy week sees very little going on down on the Isle of Stoner but I did get a couple of hours to start work on my new Rushby Resin Jung diesel. I got a chassis last weekend at Rainhill and promptly ordered a kit. this arrived with the usual promptness from sunny Corris.

The first stage is to remove the extra bit of resin casting which you can see sitting next to the body in the picture above. Then I opened up the doors and windows. Unfortunately I slipped with the knife and went clean through the roof but a quick drop of superglue and all was well.

It is a very simple kit, which suits my simple nature but results in a very nice looking little loco. The chassis will need a resistor inserting to get the speed down but that is the only modification that it needs so I shouldn't be able to bugger it up.


 I have added some weight at both ends of the loco as it is very light without this. To disguise the lump of whitemetal in the rear bit I've enclosed it behind some styrene. I'll add a little seat and a brake wheel which along with a driver should be adequate disguise for the mechanism. A cab floor wouldn't go amiss either.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Rainhill... yes that one

I spent a happy day playing trains at the Rainhill MRC exhibition on Saturday. I partly had my Festy hat on and took along some goodies to sell but mostly I was being Lord Stoner and playing with Arnold Lane Wharf.

The layout behaved itself pretty well apart from the point rodding falling off one of the points meaning I had to operate it with the big finger from the sky all day. I've been putting off sorting it out for ages but now I really have to. I'll try to stick a point motor somewhere useful rather than try to restore the always flaky bit of rail poked through a hole in the backscene that has just failed.

I met lots of nice people, some of whom I already knew and some of whom I'd never met but feel like I know from the NGRM forum so 'Hello' to those new friends especially Simon who operated the layout while I had lunch. Also lots of nice people who I'd never met in any way before, a really friendly show and the absolute antidote to the previous weekend at Warley. Unfortunately they've changed the date of Warley next year so it coincides with Rainhill meaning I'll have to miss it next year. Shame.

And yes, it is The Rainhill where Stephenson's Rocket did its stuff. Cool railway vibe.

Today the un-liveried PECO coaches arrived in the shop and so I bagged a set of red ones which Father Christmas will bring me I expect. They are nicely painted with all the details picked out but could do with some more lettering which I will add later. The roofs are very white which is correct for the L&B and SR versions but I think I'll modify these ones, I bought some torpedo vents at Warley so I'm thinking of removing the molded detail and adding a new covering and vents etc.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Warley and all that

I've been very busy over the last couple of weeks so I haven't actually done very much modelling as it has just been the annual Birmingham curry and trains bash which is Warley. I was not with a layout unless you count the F&WHR as a toy train.

This was our stand before the onslaught on Sunday morning

Before  Warley I had started work on a couple of locos... I know, more locos? The most important one being one of the new Chris ward 3D printed Baldwins. A lovely bit of CAD and printing to match. Chris had sent me this print as it has a slight fault with the print on the rear of the cab but it will be easily remedied with a styrene filet. It is supposed to fit on an old style Farish chassis but looking at the drawings and pictures in Roy Link's superb WDLR Album I reckoned that the closest chassis (and conveniently I had one in my drawer) was an 04. With a bit of judicious filing inside the body it fitted beautifully. The wheelbase isn't quite correct and obviously it needs a pony truck and valve gear but its as close as I can get.

One of things I bought at Warley was a valve gear set from Mr T. I don't have a great history with valve gear but I'll give it a shot as the result could be really nice. While at the RT models stand I also bought a couple of Dinorwig slate wagon kits which look very nice.

The other loco in the works at the moment is still in a state of flux. The chassis is a very good old style Minitrix dock tank 0-6-0 which I bought off evilbay in a moment of madness. It could go one of two ways at the moment: The idea I had initially was to replicate the very first 009 loco I ever made (which ran) which was a dock tank with bigger cab and fittings which actually looked quite nice, long gone now but I did like it. The other possibility is to build a Varikit which I have to hand. Only time will tell.

009 is experiencing a surge in ready to run models like never before and on the Heljan stand were the first concrete evidence of their much vaunted L&B locos which look promising. Delivery looks like being this time next year... so time to save up.

PECO have been the first into the fray of RTR 009 and their coaches and wagons and vans have done very well, this has lead to them adding to the range. First to arrive in the shops will be flat wagons and bolsters. The lovely people at PECO have lent me set of each to put in the shop window but on their way to Porthmadog they've had a stop over on the Isle of Stoner.

Very nice they are to, having shunted them about Underhill to get them into a good place for photographing, I can confirm that they run as nicely as the rest of the stock. I can foresee the flat wagons becoming the underframe of many scratch built vehicles. My grey matter is already churning.

Most of my spending at the exhibition was on bits and bobs like chimneys for houses and so on but I was also tempted by a coach and a van by Technomodel. I believe they are of Dutch prototypes but i just thought that they would look nice with the Minitrains loco. I would have bought another coach but they only had the one.

Thursday 13 November 2014

Underhill - in the bin?

I haven't done much modelling this week but I did get Underhill out of the cupboard and set it up. I need to decide what to do with it and I wanted to have a play and see how I felt about it in the cold light of day.

Beckfoot with a mixed train at Underhill and Peggy with a goods behind

Nettie taking coal at the tower
The reasons for considering this are several. Firstly I don't really have space to store the layout when not in use and this is most of the time as I don't have time to get to many exhibitions with it. Secondly, I'm pretty happy with how it looks but as a layout to operate it gets a bit boring as al you can do is run the train out of the fiddle yard to the end, change engines and chuff off back again. There are sidings which it is possible to do some shunting in but the headshunt is slightly too short which is frustrating, they are also difficult to get at to uncouple etc. Overall it all works pretty well except for the baseboard join which is virtually in a tunnel and is a bugger to line up, its ok once its fettled but less than ideal. An idea I won't be repeating.
The cheese factory
If I was to exhibit it again I would want to add a third board between the two existing ones to give a bit more of a run and to allow me to re engineer the crappy baseboard join, however once I've gone to all that bother it might just be easier to start from scratch and make something better altogether.
If I did dismantle it there wouldn't be any track that I could salvage and I've spent a lot on greenery etc most of which would only be fit for the bin. I've put a lot of work into the layout in general too. Buildings and so on could be re used... I'm at a bit of a loss really. I suppose I could sell it on but I wouldn't get much for it. and I'm not sure I want someone else to have it; which sounds a bit weird.
Nettie with mixed train including brand new PECO non L&B grey open wagon

Wednesday 5 November 2014

More rolling stock

I haven't had time or the inclination to do anything to the layout but I have tackled a couple of kits from 'the drawer of un-built things.' Firstly I've built a couple of PD Glyn Valley/VoR 4 wheelers to complete my rake of these and just in case I loose the will to finish them after Warley... ahem.

I've also built my Chris Veitch FR van 3 kit.

I decided to use cyano rather than solder it as I was doing it on the lap tray in front of the tele. It went together very well and will make a nice brake van to go with my small selection of FR vintage goods stock.

Apart from nameplates, Poppy is now finished. It runs OKish but I suspect that with running in it may get better. I did wonder if it was a balance issue but as far as I can tell the centre of gravity is between the wheels. Its more of a novelty than a serious train puller so I'm happy. Goes well with my train of silly skip chassis coaches.

Sitting next to Poppy in the photo above is my new Baldwin 3D print from Chris Ward. Amazingly good print and a very detailed bit of CAD work. I'm looking forward to getting the IoSRs Baldy into action. Makes an interesting comparison with Poppy.

Monday 27 October 2014

Huge water crane, tiny loco

In the last post I mentioned using the water valve handle from a Springside water crane kit as the brake handle on my latest and smallest loco, Poppy. Now I've made up the water crane and used an etched brass wheel which I attached to the side of the column.

This is the column in place, I like it but I'm not sure that it isn't a bit massive for NG. It dwarfs the Talyllyn size tower over the track but this is supposed to be the modern replacement.
I'll live with it and see how I feel. It will do for now and makes logistical sense of the station.

Meanwhile the other bit of the crane, i.e. the brake standard in Poppy has been pretty much finished off. It still needs the nameplates which are on order from Narrow Planet and a whistle which I'll order in a minute. Not sure about crew I might look at the Preiser Victorian engine crew as this is supposed to be a preserved loco from the IoSRs early years.

Posing, down at the wharf


Thursday 23 October 2014

How small is that

I've not done much on the layout this week but I've done some detailing on the new Skaledale waiting room. I've made some hanging baskets and hung them on a couple of the remaining etched brackets. The baskets are the ends of Rawlplugs which I whittled rounder and glued some fine chain onto. I'm quite pleased with them even though they may be a bit over scale.

Most of  my modelling time has been taken up making a new little loco on the little Koppel chassis I got from Japan last week.

 Its not quite finished but not far off. Its vaguely Hunslety, like a even smaller version of the little 18inch gauge jobs. Its made of bits from the box of bits. the buffer beams are from Parkside Dundas FR van 10 kits, not sure where the rest is from.

The brake standard is from a Springside water crane kit (watch this space) and the reversing lever is a signal box lever, Wills I think. I've ordered name plates from NP today, it will be named Poppy in memory of our recently departed hound.

It trundles along nicely and will just about heave itself up the big hill. It will probably work OK with my skip chassis coaches but I haven't tried them out yet. I think green is the colour of choice but I'm not sure which shade yet.