Thursday 21 May 2015

Hudswell Clarkes all over the place

I had a day off today and so got down to some modelling. Over the last few evenings I've been painting and adding the finishing details to Herman the railcar. I glued the roof on today which was the last thing to do for now. Name plates are on their way and once they are on I will add some moderate weathering too.

Herman with the first paying customers at Underhill

Once this was finished and some testing had been undertaken my attention turned to the little Japanese chassis that arrived the other week. I've already used the body which arrived with it as the explosives van so it just stood there on the work tray all naked.

I had thought of a little diesel but I already have a fair selection and have one more in mind thanks to EuroNG! I did borrow a Five79 Hudson Hunslet kit to see if this would fit but it stands too tall so even if I'd wanted to it would have been a butchery job. So what else could I do? I had a rummage in the flat kits drawer and came upon a Five79 Culverin kit. I had a bit of a squint at the parts and it looked like it should be able to be bashed together into some sort of tram loco.

With an afternoon of Time Team and tea and filling and bodging behind me I ended up with something I was rather pleased with the look of.

By tea time it was nearly complete above the footplate and another walk on the remaining stretch of the PQR beckoned. Very nice and atmospheric and we picked up a curry (The Sopna at Pont Rug - highly recommended)  on the way back so all in all a pretty successful day off.

After the curry and some satisfied groaning I set about adding skirts etc. Fortunately I had some styrene of right size so only had to cut it to length. I glued on the steps and made some mock cylinders and inspection flaps and all looked as it stays for tonight at least. It needs a couple more inspection flaps and some way of ashing out but its practically there.

It runs OK if a little lumpily but as I usually mange to bugger chassis completely during he construction phase I'm happy. A small amount of fettling and all will be well.

Tuesday 19 May 2015


The next loco to join the IoSR fleet has arrived... in kit form at least. It is the Hudswell Clarke Fiji which now resides at Statfold Barn but which visited the F&WHR last year. Having had a footplate ride on it and chased it around the countryside I got a bit of a soft spot for it.

Here it is at Waunfawr on the WHR.
My plan is to make a similar loco but not an exact copy so some things will change. The kit cost £35 and arrived in good time after an eBay purchase, made by a new manufacturer, Tucker's Trains. It is 3D printed and is a bit rough as I believe that a home printer has been used, There will be quite a bit of work getting the boiler sorted out.

The kit captures the look of the loco and I'm looking forward to the build. The Farish 08 chassis needs an RT models motion kit adding to it, I actually have one to hand and so will need to bite the bullet and make the modification which I've been putting off for ages.

The idea is for a mainline loco to go with the L&B coaches which it is a nice size to go with.

At the weekend we went for a walk with the dog and ended up walking along a good stretch of the Penrhyn Quarry Railway which is now part of a footpath and cycle track from Bangor to Bethesda. The path also uses sections of the old Standard gauge branch which makes an interesting comparison, at one point the path crosses a viaduct which is obviously much bigger than an NG one would need to be.

I swear you could hear the bark of Hunslet and the rattle and crash of slate wagons in the distance.

I just missed Eigiau and the quarryman's train... by 60 years. Shame.

Thursday 14 May 2015

Paint and stuff

I had a bit of a fiddle with the track and got the final bit working which was reluctant and so I could do the fun bit and splosh some paint about to try to blend the old with the new.

Here we see Syd looking after a freight working after resting in the loco siding. There are still a few bits of scenic work that need repairing or replacing, like the tree that went up the Hoover which hid the entrance to the rest of the world, well fiddle yard.

Overall a job well done, if a bit expensive. After all I started out just replacing some point rodding! The really good news is that I can now do some extensive testing or playing trains as you might call it.


After the swearing and hair loss (hardly noticeable) of the track renewal things settled down a bit and the testing phase was entered.

All was finally working properly so I've started to fill back in the bits of scenery which got sacrificed in the napalm phase. I like a Faller product which I think translates as 'stonepaste', it seems to be sand in a glue base. It is very easy to apply between the sleepers and around the moving parts without causing too much embuggerment. It comes in a variety of shades but the one I've got at the moment is a dark grey happily it takes acrylic paint very well.


Before adding the sandy goo I painted the baseboard and exposed scenic plaster with black paint as then anything left exposed won't stand out.
This has the first attack of scenic paint on
The 'control panel' really needs boxing in now as it has a jumble of wires poking out, it has grown with the expansion of the layout but could do with some tidiness being visited upon it.

Monday 11 May 2015


Mrs Lord Stoner is away for a couple of days so I'm home alone during the day so I decided that I'd do a job on Arnold Lane Wharf which I'd been needing to do since it's last outing in November when it broke. What broke was the linkage that operated one of the pairs of points, it was sort of wire in tube only it was a bit of old rail under the scenery. The layout started as a bit of wood with some track on for test purposes and it gradually gained points and then scenery etc etc. It has two pairs of points with motors and two with my patented manual method. I decided to bite the bullet and change to motors mounted under the board. The baseboard is a plank of wood so I purchased two of the PL 10E version of the PECO motor which has a longer actuator pin.

I had to drill holes for the actuator to fit up through and this proved tricky, so tricky in fact, that I buggered the points up. Doh! I thought this might happen but hoped it wouldn't. This meant that I would have to replace the two units concerned, this was going to be a bit of a job as the trackwork is ballasted partly with plaster and partly with a sand and pva mixture. There was no way they were coming out in a usable state so out came the Dremel with a cutting disk and I hacked and chopped until they were free.

Slash and burn begins

Points out, no going back now

The replacements and the remains - Ebay maybe?

With everything dug out and cleaned up I started to work out how to insert the new units into the hole left behind. Fiddly is not a fiddly enough word. I spent ages sliding fishplates right onto the points and then pulling them back into place and also had to grind the ends of a couple of rails to make them fit the gap.

First one in place

Phew, two installed

With the new points in place it was time to install the motors underneath and to add two more switches to the control panel. With quite a lot of swearing and messing about I got the motors in place and wired in.

Motors installed and wiring tidied up as best as possible

With trepidation I plugged the power in and flipped the switches, there were two satisfying clunks from the motors but on closer inspection the clunks had not thrown the points... sod. 

I then spent the rest of the day fiddling about making the holes in the baseboards bigger and adjusting where the motors sat in relation to the points. This involved moving the layout back and forwards from the table where I can lay it down to work on the underneath to where I can set it up and get at both sides to test it.

I made progress and the 'king point' was working nicely but I couldn't get the second unit to throw in one direction and then in trying to fettle it I managed to break the new points and so had to find a replacement set. All three new points come from the not yet laid Port Lucy so now I'm short of points for that, ah well.

The second new set installed

Eigiau conducting tests

By the time I gave up this evening, I had everything working fine except that the send set of points still don't throw all the way so I suspect that I need to make the hole in the board slightly bigger. A job for tomorrow, I only hope I don't bugger any more points up as its getting to be an expensive job.

Friday 8 May 2015

Paint your wagon

I've done a few odds and sods jobs, the new explosive wagon is painted and now weathered although the picture shows it pre-weathering.

A little while ago I ordered some PQR loco couplers from RT models, these are now in lost wax brass rather than the whitemetal they previously were. They were worth the wait, beautiful little castings. I've used one set to replace the rather lumpen whitemetal ones on Nettie, a big improvement.


Another thing I've been doing is to tart up my Langley Prince, I've decided that it would be better being sold than sitting unused in my loco box. It was one of the first whitemetal kits that I built when I got back into modelling about 15 years ago but I did a good job. I've added a few extra details and given the paintwork a re-coat, It now looks better than it ever has and I'm wondering if I want to get rid of it.


The other on going project is Herman the railbus. It has had a waft of primer and the process of spoiling by painting has begun. I've done the inside but am still wondering what colour the outside should be. I suspect that some form of green and cream will be the answer, but possibly maroon and cream...

Also just arrived are my first two Shapeways 3D prints, one is a lovely little 3 bar slab trolley with double flanged wheels and the other is one of TeeBees quick and easy saddle tanks, it isn't quite what I was after so I'll probably paint it up and stick a chassis under it and sell it on. Pictures of both to follow. I am stunned by the modern world, I sat in bed and selected what I wanted from shapeways in New York, they printed it and sent it by post to wales. What a tiny world, seems a shame to be so parochial as a nation when the world is our oyster...  Don't miss next weeks thrilling episode. 

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Post gala relaxation

The FR gala this past weekend was very busy and very cold and wet and on the whole unpleasant. I think I got some decent footage and the shop did very well but personally I had a tiring and shitty time... and I hurt my knee.

Any old how now its over I get a day off to recover and what better way to recover than to do a bit of relaxing modelling.

The first thing I did was to add wires to the pickups on the spare KATO bogie and solder them to the exposed contacts on the underside of the chassis. Giving the railcar a quick test showed that pick up was predictably better but the wiring, despite being very thin and flexible, had a tendency to stop the bogie swinging and to therefore derail it. I chucked some weight in it and all was fine so next I added some weight properly and now all seems great. Paint next.

The other vehicles getting attention were the new ABS TeeBee wagon which got a load of heavy weathering and looks the part. It runs very well and the texture on the sides and floor which I assume is the result of the printing, actually looks like the metal. I'll get some more of these I think.

I made a new wagon too, it's an explosives wagon in style of the ones which ran on the FR but a bit fatter. The body is the body which comes with the new Japanese chassis which arrived from Plaza the other day. I don't know what I'm going to do with the chassis yet but the body won't be any use so this was the obvious use for it. It has a trimmed PECO wagon chassis and styrene beading. Finished off with a Langley coach handle on the opening end. 

I also had a happy hour playing trains too.