Monday 23 June 2014

Slice of white

With all the recent wedding/birthday activity out of the way I found time today to add some basic blocks of expanded polystyrene scenery to the layout.

This shows the line snaking around under the StRuth baseboard, the train is coming away from Port Lucy.

This is the same train slightly earlier in its journey just crossing the river and about to enter the cutting which it is seen emerging from in the first picture.

Here, a mixed train is leaving the cutting on the final approach to Port Lucy. Mixed trains will be normal for the IoSR once it is properly up and running. I've been doing some experimentation with train make ups and loadings and a couple of large bogie coaches seems about right with a van or wagon or two. The stock falls into two sizes really, the larger size seen in these pictures and the smaller FR loading gauge stuff. The double Fairlie can haul five of the FR size bogies up the hill but four makes a better train.

Tuesday 17 June 2014


After a hectic weekend of mostly driving to Surrey and back I had a chance to do a bit of modelling yesterday afternoon. I decided that on the new Lucy the 3D printed safety valve cover was always going to annoy me so I cut it off and replaced it with a whitemetal one. This involved some touching up of the paint and rewiring the chassis as I managed to bugger that up in the process.

While I was feeling brave with the soldering iron I decided to have a go at getting the long languishing Beddgelert up and runningI've been getting it finished off with a mind to selling this along with the old Lucy, now Angetha. I'm overwhelmed with expenses at the moment so need to make some cash, this was what the new Lucy was supposed to be for but I like it better than the old one which is anyway too long to use on my silly curves without some work.

The last thing I got time to do was to add a first coat of paint to my Skylark, I've plumped for a pale green which so far rather suits her. Hopefully I may get a chance to get another coat on this evening but I have a feeling Mr Tesco is beckoning me.

The observant will notice a missing cab step on the right hand side facing forward, not sure where that went but I'll knock something up out of styrene.

Friday 13 June 2014

Oops, I did it again...

I seem to have inadvertently made another loco. The thing is I meant to make it to sell to raise some cash as I am, as ever, skint. The problem is I really like how it turned out... I've decided to keep this one and to sell on another one.

Its a Chris Ward printed body on an outside framed GF 08 which is the perfect fit. The only change to the body to suit the chassis is to lower the couplings slightly as the the 08 complete with frames makes the body higher than the intended KATO job. I've spray painted the main colour but ran out in the middle of getting a good cover. After a trip back to Halfords I touched it up with a brush having squirted some paint into the lid of the spray can. It worked quite well and has actually given the loco some character making it look slightly as though some dodgy rusty bits have been repaired and painted over.

These pictures show it with the new Skylark which has taken a back seat for the moment as I'm still deciding what colour to go with.

Added bits to Lucy are Markits whistle, smokebox door handles, and the usual PD vac pipes and jewelled headlamps. There is also a Preiser crew on board. The name has been robbed from the big Hunslet previously of this name. I suspect that this will be the loco to sell as it is really well made on a great chassis but is too long for my curves... Doh!

Off to the big smoke for a wedding this weekend so no toy trains for me.

Saturday 7 June 2014

What a grey day

Not much to report apart from a couple of vac pipes and some filler and a quick covering of Halfords finest grey primer.

I've noticed a couple of place where a smidge more filler will tidy up some joins, like the footplate to tanks. But otherwise I'm pretty happy. I think a darkish green should do the job, I went into Porthmadog Models this afternoon and got a couple of Humbrol Acrylics to try. They've stopped selling Games Workshop paints which is a shame as it is much better stuff. If I don't like the green then IoSR standard, Hull Red might just have to do.

Thursday 5 June 2014

Wider still and wider...

Ok, I admit it, I didn't fool myself with the mock historical reasoning for having a stupidly small loco shed doorway.  So this evening I widened it which caused a bit of plastic distress but the great thing about styrene is that you can break it, cut it, get out the MEK and weld it all back together, good as new.

The other project for tonight was to add some detail to the Skylark; namely an operating rod for the sand pot, a couple of handrail knobs on the water fillers and a better set of smokebox door handles. I can't remember where they came from but they were a bit long so I chopped them shorter. They make a real difference.

Trickiest job of the night was drilling out the top of the chimney, I started with a little hole and widened it out but as ever I was slightly off centre, I got it looking OK in the end.

I ordered name and works plates from trusty Narrow Planet which will be the finishing touch once I've spoiled the loco with some paint. Not sure of a colour yet.

Wednesday 4 June 2014


Having decided that ballasting the track was the next sensible thing to do I started building scenery yesterday. I only had a short while but I made some progress and the shape of Blackhill is starting to emerge.

Apart from the polystyrene foam which I broke up and glued in place with PVA I've also cut some odds and ends of MDF and glued and screwed it into place as backscene support for the 'underground' section.

Monday 2 June 2014

Oh no, another bloody engine!

I have a layout to build, I know this. So, today, when I had a whole day to get on with it I started a new loco build... what can you do?

I bought a Minitrains F&C chassis with no idea what to do with it and then thought it would fit under Cackler; having bought the Five79 kit for this fine loco I found that it would take so much chopping about to make it fit that I might as well build a fresh one. Chassis and kit in the drawer. While rummaging
in the drawer for bits to sell on evilbay I found another stalled project from a while ago. Another Five79 kit, this time for the 'Skylark' class loco which I had put aside a Fleischmann 7000 chassis for. A quick offer up and it was obvious that it would fit... and it does.

The footplate casting needs a section removing in the cab but apart from that it pretty much fits as designed. I had to trim some bits off the Minitrains fake frame bit and saw a small section from where the front coupling attaches.

To make sure the loco balances I've used a styrene cab roof and filled the smokebox and boiler castings with liquid gravity. The whole ensemble balances and runs beautifully and happily pulls a couple of coaches up the big hill.

It has a Markits brass whistle and that is about that. There is still plenty to do but the basic thing is there. A good days work.

In action at Blackhill with a down train

Paint and glue

With Mrs Lord Stoner away on business last night I got stuck in with the paints and glue which resulted in getting the station building painted and weathered. Its ended up looking quite tatty which was what I intended.

Between colours I continued with the Port Lucy loco shed, I added a few courses of stone to give some more height. What I didn't do was to widen the doorway so there will be a loco restriction, the story being that it was built for the original locos these being a little DeWinton coffee pot and my England alike Nancy. Most of the smaller locos will fit anyway and it will only house the station shunter and whatever loco is on the Underhill branch service.

The steps up to the porch lead to a platform inside which is at footplate level for crew convenience. If I'd used my loaf I would have built it at ground level but it makes a nice feature as it is. Some paint next. The one at St Ruth has a fancy barge board but as I haven't got any more this one will have to manage without for now.