Friday 28 February 2014

2 vans and a loco

With the continued appalling weather and a couple of new kits burning a hole in my imagination I've been quite busy over the last week or so of evenings. As a result I have a new Diesel loco, a new RNAD van and a road van for the IoSR track gang.

All three are at various stages of being finished: the loco needs to go into the paint shop, a coat of spray primer and then probably scab red. The RNAD van just needs painting, it will receive the same pale grey as the road van and join the engineer's train. The road van just needs some weathering powder to finish it off.

The loco is mostly a Chivers INA or Harlech Castle as she is properly known. I decided that the new Minitrains diesel ran very nicely but didn't fit with the look of the rest of my fleet so I cut and shut the kit which fitted pretty well. The grills front and back are from A1  Models etches, the rest is styrene with the only parts of the original loco as a clue being the head lamps, front and rear. It is very powerful and easily pulls the 2 L&B coaches, the restaurant car and the L&B bogie wagon up the big hill. Did I mention the wagon before? I got it ready made and painted at NGSW. The couplings were attached direct to the body so it wouldn't go round corners but with that rectified and a couple of the missing truss rods replaced it looks great with the PECO coaches. Just need a Manning Wardle now.

The Chris Ward road van went together very well and I'm pleased with the way it has turned out.

The new 009 society kit for the RNAD van was a pure pleasure to build and results in a very free running vehicle, I may need to get a couple more for departmental use.

Tuesday 18 February 2014

A new brake van

One of the kits I bought at NGSW was a rather nice and quirky looking brake van from the Chrises Ward. It is a kit made of 3D printed parts. I've decided that it will be a very nice mess van for the IoSR works train.
The kit has no chassis but is designed to sit on a PECO wagon chassis which I just happened to have in stock. The handrails are ordinary office staples as the print comes with holes in it designed for just this use, a neat idea.
I've added a chimney pot for the stove from a whitemetal casting and a hand brake wheel on the door end.

Here it is with the new Minitrains Gmeider to give an idea of the size of the van, it is quite small.


Sunday 16 February 2014

Windswept and interesting

Well, I survived NGSW and enjoyed the show tremendously. It was great to meet up with so many old friends and so many people I know from the NGRM forum.

The view from behind the layout

The drive down was quite scary as the wind was blowing the, by now traditional, gale and the rain lashed down. The motorway was the worst, I held onto the steering wheel for dear life and eventually arrived at the school about 4.30. I'd allowed myself plenty of mucking about and getting lost time and didn't use any of it!

I set up the layout and the F&WHR stand which I'd also taken along and was ready to leave for the hotel by 8pm which was exactly as I planned. I then buggered about for an hour trying to find the hotel I was booked into in Wells. When I finally did find it I turned the van into the hotel car park only to find that it fundamentally didn't fit between the walls so I ended up scraping a big gash into the rear wing. I will be in trouble about that.

To add insult to injury once I'd negotiated the rest of the chicanes to get into the car park there were no bloody spaces left so I had to do a 72 point turn and get out again, which I did without further incident. I found somewhere to park round the corner but it was in a car park which had a |Saturday market... this meant that I had to be back to the van before 7am... which meant I had to sign out of the bloody hotel before breakfast. Hey ho; breakfast from Tesco in the van then off to the show.

I had a great day playing trains, chatting and came away with a couple of kits to build and a Minitrains Gmeider in red. It performed beautifully out of the box and ran about all day on the layout, it needs 'Stonerising' but I'm looking forward to that. The flywheel needs hiding apart from anything else. One of the kits I got was a new freelance brake van from Chris Ward which I shall have to stock in the shop as it looked fab, watch this space.

My neighbours were the Buttermere Mining layout which was a lovely layout and which had a very pleasant sound track of twittering birds courtesy of some DCC magic. In fact, the best thing I've ever heard emanating from DCC sound.

I slept like a dead man last night after a six hour drive home and after a walk on the beach this afternoon I'm going to have my tea and go back to bed quite soon.

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Hiding my legs

I very quickly safety pinned on the sheets I bought to hide the layouts legs... and mine.

They are a bit crumpled but then so am I and as they are fitted sheets the elastic in the corners is a bit unhelpful but I'll take a box of safety pins and a box of drawing pins and all will be well. The second lighting cable needs to go down the proper hole in the corner board and then it will all look quite neat by my standards.

All I need now is for the weather not to be a nightmare and all will be small and delightful.

Sunday 9 February 2014

Extra wire

I finally bit the bullet and added the extra isolating section in the headshunt of the cheese factory sidings. It would have been so much simpler if I'd thought about it in the first place, but there we go.

I cut the rail using a Dremmel drill with a cutting disk, unfortunately I only had quite a coarse disk so the gap is a bit huge but in tests it seems OK.

A bit of a blurry picture, the break is in the left rail

Because all the wiring is above the baseboard but under the scenery I needed to run the new wires this way too. I drilled two holes in the wall next to the shed and slid the wires in through them, The control panel doesn't have room for an extra switch and it would have been very fiddly trying to get the wiring to it so I decided that an extra switch mounted out of the way would have to do.

Soldered on

Grey wires before fixing down

The switch is mounted in a metal bracket which seemed just about the right size, I had to enlarge the hole for the switch but that was easy enough. Fortunately the original wiring which feeds this area is under the bridge so all I had to do was wire the switch across the gap to isolate a loco at the end of the headshunt.

The new switch

The whole fiddle yard and control panel

The last job was to disguise the new wires. I glued them alongside the track and ran them round the back of the green house and back to the holes in the wall. My favourite sandy paint stuff made the perfect material to bury the wires in, it needed a bit of touching in with some paint but did the trick. Where the wires go round the back I just glued some more bushes over them and Bob was my uncle. 

It just needs a clean of the rails and a couple seconds with some paint and all will be well. Of course I now need to test the new section and have an operating session... well play trains.

Friday 7 February 2014

Down memory lane

While I was looking for some other video at work I came across some old video of my 09 layout, The Dunes. So I had a quick edit the results of which can be seen here.

This was videoed at the Porthmadog MRE in 2009 where this and the very first Isle of Stoner layout were exhibited.

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Stationary motion

I've not been sitting on my hands this last week or so, in fact I've been quite busy but due to lightning and the shite service supplied by BT I've been without an internet connection for getting on for two weeks now. I'm doing this in my lunch break at work although I'm hopeful that a new Homehub will be waiting for me when I get home.
Anyway, most of what I've been doing has been getting Underhill ready for the show which has mostly consisted of toning down some of the scenery and adding more texture to it. I've used many tufts of varying sizes and shades and also some Gaugemaster stuff which is like a tufty rug... you can cut it and tease it out and then stick it over flock etc.
Apart from the scenery work I've done I've also been operating the layout to find what works best and what fits in the silly little sidings. One thing I've found is that I need one more isolating section in the head shunt of the cheese factory. This is a pain as the track is in a cutting so getting the Dremmel in there will be hard and also all the wiring is run above the baseboard but under the scenery so that there are no wires below baseboard level. watch this space.
The other thing I've done is complete the station building for Port Lucy, I'd built the basic structure a couple of years ago in anticipation of finishing the layout sooner but got bored with it and put it away.

This is the finished article (apart from three hanging baskets still to be made). The building sits on the edge of the road above the actual track and is connected by a footbridge which is why there is a walkway with handrail along the front of the building, this is made out of Ratio footbridge kit bits as will be the steps down. I really like the finished article although part way through painting it I thought it was fit only for the bin as I couldn't get the stone to look right.

I've also now bought some more timber with which to carry on the construction of Port Lucy etc so progress will move to the garage if I can bear the cold for long enough.