Friday 26 February 2016

Visitors and fame

A couple of things of note occurred on the island today. Firstly there have been a couple of visiting locos.

The latest livery version of the Minitrains Baldwin

The little 0-6-0 Minitrains Porter

I don't think Lord Stoner and the CME were all that impressed with either so both will return to the mainland.

More at home is the new Bagnall now named Lynn.

Island was dragged out of the shed and posed for this picture, still with no cylinders etc.

Finally a picture of me from the local paper. A big shiny head, the best bit is the caption...

Local lad... 

Thursday 25 February 2016

What's oKerring?

I was looking at Shapeways the other day and looking at 2ARails backhead for Skarloey and noticed a new body for a little Kerr Stewart style loco. I have several locos in the works and wasn't looking for another... so I ordered one and it duly arrived today.

It isn't exactly a tattoo as it's too short and the tank joins straight to the cab however it is definitely cute. Also arrived today by extreme coincidence was a little bag of MrTs best brass PQR couplings so a pair of those were attached as was a Waril chimney and a brass whistle.

The chassis is from my Minitrains Stainz which saw very little use in its original form.

I still have a few details to add and a method of attaching the body to the chassis but it is definitely coming on.

Monday 22 February 2016

Fun, disaster again and recovery

I had a great time at the museum, the show was aimed squarely at families so most of the time I had a row of small faces in front of the layout watching the trains go by and asking strange and awkward questions. Hopefully a few new modellers have had the spark ignited.

The staff at the museum looked after us all very well and apart from the ghastly weather I think everyone enjoyed themselves. I was asked back for next year so I must have done something right.

This is my 009 PQR coach sat on the real one in the museum.
Come closing time I was busily packing up and had disconnected the fuddle yard end and moved it away and the time came to remove the new bit. I undid the nuts holding it onto Underhill, gave it a gentle pull and proceeded to drop the damn thing again. It is an awkward shape and weight and I really need to get a second person to help me with it.
 Anyway, some buildings and detail bits flew off and some bushes got dislodged but it seems is all ok. I've reassembled it at home and it seems OK, I haven't had a chance to run a train on it yet but I'm hopeful.

Back home
I spent yesterday evening restoring the pub as the toilet block had exploded off the end. It was all scheduled for some tlc anyway so it was mostly work which would have taken place anyway.
Back in place
Something which became clear operating the layout is that I really need to do something about the fiddle cupboard. I spent so much time knocking things over and even knocked a coach on the floor, which fortunately survived intact. So the time has come to come out of the cupboard and add a better open air space, nothing flash. Plan A is to remove the sidings as they are and replace them with PECO set track curves onto a new board attached at right angles which could have a pair of points on each line giving me four roads.

The other, more exciting plan is to change the other end at Underhill so that I have a proper run round loop and room for a two bogie coach train. Shame to have all these lovely L&B bogie coaches and nowhere to rum to.

This is the plan as it stands at the moment. I want to rescue a few of my favourite buildings from the main and soon to be demolished layout and use them on here. It may end up a little more 'ordinary' but it will be more fun to play with.

Thursday 18 February 2016

Making an exhibition of myself

A quick report from the front line. The layout is behaving itself very well after two days of continuous operation. One more to go.

A few pictures to serve as a record of things.

One more day so pop along and say hello.

Tuesday 16 February 2016

Disaster and then...

I packed everything ready for the show and then came the moment of truth. I had to separate the three sections. This was something I'd been putting off and so I removed the nuts and pulled the Underhill end away from the new bit, it was a bit tight but came away cleanly. The new board had a single length of 2x1 timber as a balancing leg which worked OK at first... Nuts off the cheese factory end and nothing, I'd welded the two sections with scenery. I inserted a screwdriver to lever them apart and it all went tits up. The 2x1 twisted off and the new end plummeted to the floor which pivoted the old bit up in the air the whole lot balancing precariously on one trestle. Trying not to panic I ran to find help in the shape of my daughter, with her help I got it back level and with some shouting and swearing and not a little brute force I pulled the new bit away from the old and rested it on a table. Surprisingly there was very little damage.

There was nothing to be done there and then so I went into a bit of a decline. Much thought later I concluded that the new section needed trestles of its own so up with a lark and off to B&Q to buy some of their banana shaped timber and I was in the shed by 10am.

After the usual inability to measure coming to the fore I settled to the job in hand and had a trial reassemble and all seemed to be OK.

So, after a spot of lunch I loaded up the car which was rammed to the roof. The extension has made it so that I really need a van, lucky the show is only in the village.

Anyhow I'm all set up in the museum now and looking forward to playing trains for three days.

Monday 8 February 2016

Papering the sky

Today was the last day I had free before the exhibition so I needed to get the layout running and tidy up a few outstanding little jobs. The most important thing to do was to try to get the wrinkles out of the sky, I decided that the simplest way to achieve this was to start again. So I unscrewed the backscene and proceeded to scrape the first attempt off.

This was much like wallpaper stripping but with a damp cloth and a scrappy thing it came off reasonably easily. I decided that I would take a slightly different approach this time so I only put an inch of glue at the top and some more at the bottom where the it goes below the scenery. I left enough at the top to fold it over and glue the edge down on the back of the mdf. Anyway, the upshot of all this is that I have a much flatter sky.

A big improvement. I look forward to having my custom version which will also feature the rest of the beach and a distant sea horizon.

I did lots of little bits and bobs, mainly on the two old boards and I cleaned all the track and gave the whole thing a good hoovering. The layout always just had a couple of black single sheets safety pinned round it to hide the layouts' and my legs so I tried what it would look like with these attached, amazing the difference it makes.

I spent a good while, testing and cleaning locos in readiness for the show. I may have to do some more of this...

Apart from the usual suspects stretching their legs a visitor from another Island with a railway was spotted taking a trip by the seaside.

Come and say hello at the Slate Museum. Even aside from Underhill it is a brilliant and fascinating museum.

Saturday 6 February 2016

Paint it black

Last evening I got out the black masonry paint and painted the front profile board which tidies up the look of that no end. I also painted inside the tunnel black which helps with the illusion of tunnelness.

I also constructed, painted and installed some more bits and bobs around the pub which just add a little bit of detail. The pub garden table also gained a family enjoying the sunshine and a drink while watching out for trains.

The shop front still needs a little tidying up and there is still a need for some fencing to keep the cattle off the track but otherwise I'm pretty happy with the look of things... apart from the sky. I've a day off on Monday so will have a bash at the MK2 version.


Thursday 4 February 2016

Mr Blue sky

Since my last post I've been as busy as time would allow and the scenery is making good progress. One major item ticked off temporarily at least is the backscene. I found a big blue sky with clouds paper in the Faller range and having purchased some Deluxe materials backscene glue I went ahead and stuck it onto the mdf as instructed. It said not to worry if the paper bubbled up a bit as it would flatten out as it dried. Well it hasn't. I have enough paper to try a second go but I can't see why it should be any better a second time.

Anyway apart from the partial completion of the sky I've been beavering away on the rest of the scenic work with assorted green stuff and paint and PVA.
The 'Burning Bush' pub now has a nice garden and the road outside has rough setts courtesy of DAS clay and some styrene section which I used to create the texture.

Another arrival on the Island is the new Bachmann Skarloey. For the time being I will leave it in Thomas condition but eventually I will convert it to a proper Talyllyn No 1. It is a cracking runner and  might entertain at the forth coming exhibition.

Still plenty to do but I'm now confident that it will be as ready as it needs to be for Llanberis, I'm looking forward to the show. Might be a bit of a slog as I've never done a 3 dayer before.