Saturday 31 May 2014

Shedding some skin

The old lap tray was humming last night, I added a chimney stack to the station building and slapped on a quick first coat of the main colour.

After doing that I started work on converting  a Wills tin tabernacle kit into a small engine shed for Port Lucy. There is a similar one at St Ruth converted from the same kit so a bit of family resemblance is in order. The St Ruth one has doors at one end only but the new one is a drive through to allow a bit more parking space for locos.

So far I've just built the bits from the kit and added some cast whitemetal vents to the roof. I've squared up the windows and inserted some window frames left over from some Skaledale butchery.

The whole thing needs a few courses of brick under it to give it enough height to get a 009 loco inside, I may also make a lean too on the side to cover another track as I plan to have two loco roads on the riverside. In the original grand plan I hade a full loco and carriage works facility the other side of the river from Port Lucy but space and reality have put a stop to this... for now. I have a vague plan to make a separate layout with all that I had planned on it, however one thing at a time.

Thursday 29 May 2014


Today I was off work and after doing my chores etc I decided that I'd construct the station building for Blackhill. I did a plan a while ago based on the original station building at Dduallt on the FR. There are only a couple of pictures of the building so my version is very much a 'based on' rather than a scale model. In my plan there were two smaller windows on the front and a small window on the end with the porch bit, however when I came to make it I decided to use the doors and windows from the PECO set of station bits so I plumped for one larger window on the front and none on the end.

I also used the gutters and down pipes from this set. I find these gutters are the best of any I've found available and I've used them on loads of buildings. the roof is Wills sheet and the walls are Evergreen battened walling which is perfect.

Before I made the building, I went and had a good look at the station building at Tan y Bwlch to get an idea of how it might have looked which was helpful. The finials on the ends are whitemetal castings from Wizard Models I think.

This shows where it will be located, the only other thing needed for this station is a water tower for the top end. I guess while I'm doing cod FR then something like the original TYB tank is what is needed. I'll do some research and see what I can come up with.

After a waft of primer

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Carriage of delight

I was supposed to take my daughter to work today... which I did but then she was ill so home we came again. This turned out to be a mixed blessing in that she felt poorly (nothing earth shattering) but I also ended up sat at home when I should have been selling stuff to tourists. So, while not selling stuff to tourists I decided to finish off my new Five79 Innisfail coach. It needed people, glazing and a roof and this it duly received.

While I was in the mood for doing transfers I also did a couple of coaches that have slipped through the net.

This evening I made a little W^D models two plank wagon,  fiddly but very nice in the end. I had a visitation from Mr W^D at work the other week so now we have a selection of W^D kits for sale and I have some more kits to build. I bought the two planks but Barry also donated Lord Stoner a very fine motor car and some other nice things which will appear in the fullness of time. Pics to follow.

Tuesday 27 May 2014

More wire

Spent a short while in the garage tonight and got a bit more of the wiring done so that the whole thing now works. To make sure of this I spent most of the time testing with trains... well playing really. Mostly it seems pretty good.
A bit of soldering

The control panel seems to be pretty succesful and even though I haven't wired a CPU into the points they still change very positively so I may not bother, as its expensive for just two points. I'll carry on playing and see how it goes.

Trains passing
I've decided to call this station Black Hill which is the translation of Dduallt. It doesn't look like the station but I have a plan to make a model of the old wooden building, or at least what I can make out from the few pictures of it. I made a plan and bought the Evergreen styrene sheet which looked like it would be about right for the outer cladding. It shouldn't be too hard as its only a shed really.

Wednesday 21 May 2014


I spent most of yesterday and some of the day before working away on the layout in the garage and by the close of play yesterday evening I had the bulk of the main line working and wired. The midway loop now has a control panel and controllers for the main line. St Ruth and Port Lucy will use a handheld unit, of which I only own one so it will need to swap between them at first although I daresay a second unit will make life easier in the long run.

The twin controller controls the two sections of the railway up and down of the loop in the picture, this means I can have trains heading towards each other and passing in the loop. It took me a while to work out how to make this happen, wiring wise but I got there in the end. I ended up with the two roads in the loop being switchable to either controller.

The point motors are also wired in as are the ground signals which will be the starters. These are Veissmann units which cost a fortune and have been lurking in my 'big box of stuff for the layout' for ages. They light up and have a mechanical semaphore arm.

During the testing of the track laid this week it became clear that the way I had used the set track made the set of reverse curves virtually un navigable so I removed most of it except the first and sharpest curve and replaced it with flexi. Although this was very tricky to get at to lay I've ended up with much better transition curves and a more realistic and useable bit of railway.

There will now be a short pause in railway building while the domestic authorities are placated, as this sustained bout of garage living has not gone un noticed... Apparently there are more important things than my train set.

Monday 19 May 2014

Track laying... at last

Today the first trains ran falteringly over the new bridge, faltering because the rail is rather dirty but none the  less they ran.

Lucy rumbles onto the bridge

Finally happy with the seaweed and so on I decided to bite the bullet and lay the tack on the joining board with the bridge in it. I have previously epoxied copper clad paxolin sleepers either side of the joins so I cut 2 lengths of track to the right size to protrude onto the fixed boards. The wiring of this small board is slightly complicated by the fact that the station limit of shunt is on the right hand side of the bridge so I had to remember to use insulated fishplates. Once the track was pinned down and soldered to the paxolin I used a slitting disk in the trusty Dremmel to cut the rails to make the section removable again. 

Next job was to pin down the track to the right hand, I have decided to use the new PECO setrack under here as it is very hard to get at because of the limited height available under the baseboard above. Once that was done I soldered three sets of supply wires, two sets on the bridge section and one on the 'mainland'. They will be controlled from different controllers in the long run but for now I bunched them together for test purposes. All went well and Ena and Lucy made the first few passes.

Rather blurry phone pic but you get the general idea

This evening I finished the main painting of the new Chivers Innisfail coach, all it needs is some glazing, people and the roof fitting. Oh yes, and vac pipes and fleet numbers. Nice kit, might need to make another one.

Thursday 8 May 2014


Sea weed, that is. Despite continuing back ache I've done a bit more to the river scenery, mostly adding some more shading to the sand banks and a little more vegetation. I've also started varnishing the 'water'.

The varnish I've used starts out milky but sets clear... I hope. The tide mark is now delineated by a line of sea weed. Not sure it completely works but I'll let it all dry out and see what it looks like then. The weed is some feathers soaked in paint and PVA.

I've also started working out what the scenery will be on this board; I was tempted to start gluing things down but I will discipline myself and make sure the track is down and wired first; at least on this bit of layout.

On the right hand bank the country side will rise up so that the line is in a cutting as it leaves the board, this will blend it into the next section. I'm also planning to have a wonky wooden footbridge right against the backscene which will hide the join and allow the fisherman to get from his cottage to his boat.