Monday 26 January 2015

Three little maids

Just for Mick.

Doris, Lord Stoner and Beckfoot

Interestingly I did a bit of a test while I was taking the pictures and Doris is much more powerful than Lord Stoner. I may need to fit some more weight although its pretty heavy already. Another thing which emerged is that the red PECO coaches run much better than the green ones, another thing to investigate.

Burnmouth storms the 'big hill'


Lord Stoner is much better than before but Doris is still better looking and stronger.

Sunday 25 January 2015

The return of the Lord Stoner

The work on 0-8-0 Lord Stoner is complete and for very little work I think it is much improved and more plausible. Apart from painting the new parts I've freshened up the rest of the paintwork and since the pictures taken last night I've added a subtle amount of weathering.

I've also had a good clean up in the garage and I'm ready for a scenery push on the main layout. No pictures of that but there will be.

Here Burnmouth and Lord Stoner pose together at Underhill both freshly out of the works and ready to feel the burn on the main line.

Friday 23 January 2015


Well, I was never happy with the spindly little boiler and fittings on Lord Stoner and once Mick said he didn't either, that was that.

I set about removing the boiler in a gentle way... then I got out a pair of pliers and gave it a jolly good twist and off it came. Fortunately no damage done to the cab but the boiler now looks suitably second hand. I'm sure it will find a use in a junk pile or such like.

The bits after separation
I never had a way of keeping the body attached to the chassis with the old arrangement so hopefully one of the advantages of plan B will be in the form of a nut and bolt.
After a rummage in the famous bits and bobs box I found some boiler bits and bobs which looked a bit meatier.

Boiler fittings just resting in the above pictures but they look much more like the job. It does now have the look of Ivor The Engine's butcher cousin but I can live with that, better than an eight stone weakling.

On another matter entirely, the pictures below are of a 7mm model of Linda which was constructed as a gift to the late Allan Garraway. It has been returned to the railway to be displayed, once I have the details I'll post them. Its a lovely thing and apparently even the flat wagon is the correct running number for the one on which Linda arrived at Minffordd all those years ago.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Pictures this time

I didn't fancy the antarctic realm in the garage tonight so I sorted out the coupling height on Grace Alice. Once I'd done that I had a rummage in the loco box and picked out a couple that needed some work doing.

Firstly I picked on Lord Stoner. It is a Langley WD Hunslet bashed onto a Fleischmann 0-8-0 chassis, it runs well but there are things about it which I've never been happy with. One of these was the chimney as when I made it I hadn't drilled it out so this I duly did. It still isn't 'right' but at least the smoke can escape now.

The other loco which ended up with some slightly more effective surgery was Burnmouth. The first mod was to change the couplings for another set of Mr Ts flexible couplings. These looked good but the rear set overhung the bottom of the buffer beam so next I extended it with a spare bit of whitemetal.

Before surgery

Originally I had used an N gauge GWR safety valve cover which I was never really happy with so off it came and I replaced it with a lovely brass casting I got a Warley. Unfortunately I can't remember who from. This meant I needed to move the whistle so I mounted that on the side of the dome and added a pipe to it. With a few paint touch ups to finish off I now have a loco which I am much happier with.

I also weathered the two RT models Dinorwig slate wagons which I had made and painted and then mislaid. They were in a box with a loco.

Snow business

Well, not snow; Plaster. I put on some warm clothes and went out to the garage to have a look and a fiddle with the layout. I intended only to asses what needed to be done but, as you'd expect, got caught up in playing trains.

In order to do this I had to scrape and excess plaster ballast of the running rails and their inner edges. I had been pretty tidy when I did the plastering so it wasn't too arduous. I didn't have many locos or much stock to hand so most trials were conducted with my Chris Ward Fairlie and PECO coaches or a rake of Parkside Dundas FR size stock. The section being cleared is 'the big hill', as its known to drivers and so the trickiest to get a train up. I was baffled for a while why the coaches kept stopping on the curve at the far end when the gradient eases to allow for the extra friction of the corner. On closer inspection the footboards were rubbing on the wall of the cutting so a bit of plaster mining with a knife and a file later all was well.

If I get a chance later I may finish off the 'ballasting' of the section up to the river bridge. I need to gap the rails first as the limit of shunt will be where there is a change of controller from the 'main line' to the StRuth station one.

One other job I did the other night was to change the couplings on 'Grace Alice' my 0-8-0 Bagnall to Mr Ts ones which swivel. This loco has a rather long over hang and had a tendency to fling stock off on the sharp curves, this seems to be better but I need to move them up slightly as the swivel has also added a slight droop meaning that they keep dropping stock off. On 'the big hill' this can lead to the rolling stock shooting back down the line at a great speed until it hits a curve or just falls of the rails. Not ideal.

I don't seem to have remembered to take a photo of any of this so in the mean time here is one of my dog on the beach.

Saturday 17 January 2015

Lady in Green

Not a new record from Chris DeBurgh but my Minitrix bash with some paint on it.

Here it is with newly out-shopped PECO coaches on the bridge at the throat of StRuth. Taking my new rolling stock out to the garage has made me determined to make some progress and get trains running properly.

Here are both rakes at Blackhill. It looks as though there is snow on the ground, unusual on the Island.

Lady arriving with an up train, the down will pull in shortly on its way to Port Lucy.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Black roofs

Being a man of my word, yesterday evening I painted the roofs black and brushed Decal Fix over the transfers. I must say they look rather smart... if a bit FRish. I contemplated trying to paint the top panels in cream but then they would look like current FR coaches and I'd probably make a mess of them.

Tuesday 13 January 2015


Well, I spent yesterday evening applying transfers to the coaches and giving the roofs and the Minitrix bash a waft of primer.

The class numbers on the doors are LNER loco numbers but unfortunately I'm short of 2 3rds for the other side of the non brake. Another sheet on order. They are a perfect match for the Talyllyn fleet numbers. One slight concern is that I seem to have made them look rather like 1980s FR coaches... a livery which I loathed. Hmm.

Anyway, I can paint the Minitrix now and give the roofs a coat of dirty black. Really must get a bit further with the main layout, I'm looking forward to playing trains again.

Monday 12 January 2015

Small progress

Busy domestic weekend so very little modelling done but I did get the roofs ready for painting. They now have torpedo vents, brass wire grab handles at the ends and rain strips. I made a bit of a mess of my first rain strip but salvaged the mess in the end.

Blurry phone picture
I was going to cover the roofs in tissue paper too but I think that there is enough texture and detail with the modifications as they are.
I've also added running numbers from Talyllyn coach numbering sheets. Just the right red and gold colours. I took the picture before I did this, by the way.
Hopefully tonight I can get to paint the roofs and start adding class numbers to the doors.

Friday 9 January 2015

Making an exhibition and coaches

As the world goes mad outside my window I stare even more intently at my toy trains.

I haven't been up to much modelling of late but I have started adding some details to my new PECO red coaches. So far its just some passengers. I'm not intending to do much but I will add some class designations on the doors and IoSR running numbers. I'm planning on modifying the roofs too. I have some torpedo vents and will remove the moulded detail and apply bog roll lamination and rainstrips to bring them into line with current thinking on the IoSR.

The picture show them with their lids off with the new Mintrix bash which sits very nicely with them. (I think.)

The other big news in my modelling world is the official announcement of our Superpower Great & Small 11 event in September. This should turn out to be a jolly good bash. Confirmed so far is Bron Hebog and Dduallt. This is a lot of layout without anything else coming along! Much more to be announced later. 11th to 13th September 2015 at Dinas on the WHR. Be there or be square. Advert over.

Monday 5 January 2015

Dirty looking loco

I wasn't supposed to be at home today but due to a suspension issue on Mrs Lord Stoner's car I ended up hanging around waiting for the garage chaps to arrive. While I waited I finished off the weathering on Eigiau. Last night I dry brushed some rust and general dirt on and then today I finished it off with some rusty patches of weathering powder. I'm really happy with the look I've ended up with.

Finishing touches were glazing for the cab windows. I used clear styrene and stuck it inside with glue and glaze as it sets clear so if you get it on the glazing its fine. Just as well because I did.

The other thing I did was sketch the layout I had the dream about. Its only a pencil sketch but I think it gives the general idea. I'm quite excited at the prospect of building a layout deliberately rather than the usual random process.

The plan shows that the line has steep gradients and sharp curves... sounds familiar. Another feature I've copied from StRuth is using a switch back to gain height. This time there is a run round at the switch point so that a loco can stay at the front of the tourist train.

Thinking about operating this plan I'm wondering about adding a carriage shed to the siding on the top level, this would disguise an exit to a siding 'round the back' to allow discreet train changes without the hand of god approach. Hmm.

Sunday 4 January 2015

I have (well had) a dream

The other night I was asleep in bed, as is my habit when I had a dream about a new layout. I've never dreamed a track plan before. In fact, I can't remember ever having a model railway based dream since I was at skool and then only once. ( I was declining Latin whilst marching in front of my (lady) Latin teacher and a legion of centurions. We came out of the tunnel marching in time to the Latin). Anyway...

The dream I had was for a layout of an industrial line, some sort of sand or gravel pit which has been preserved and has had a passenger tourist function added. It is an end to end layout on two boards with a pit and run round loop on one and a station and sheds on the other. As I woke up I added a tippler siding too. The idea was I could use my smaller industrial locos and skips on it. A bit of a weird way to plan a layout but if Paul McCartney can dream songs, why not. Watch this space.

Meanwhile, I haven't found time to do much in my waking life but I have done a little detail painting and added a crew to hide the motor of Eigiau. I'm still wondering what I can do to the chassis without buggering it up to add a couple of bits of motion which seem to be there on the real thing. The windows could do with glazing but I'm not sure my usual glue and glaze is up to the job. Next thing is lining... I've got some Pressfix of the correct colour but I'm not convinced that I can do it without making it dreadful so I may just weather it and leave it at that.

Nameplates now changed to blue - looks nice