Wednesday 30 November 2016

Warley, grrr and other things

I went to the Warley MRC show at the NEC in Birmingham this last weekend to work on the F&WHR stand, it is a publicity thing but we sell a pile of Christmas cards and so on. This year we also had the new Minitrains Bagnalls in case anyone wanted one... several people did want one.

A pair of Bagnalls sitting on  Topsy

One of the best things, if not the best thing about gong to Birmingham for a couple of nights is the proximity to marvellous Indian resteraunts. We took full advantage of this and spent two delightful evenings in the Polash in Coleshill which I would heartily recommend... mmm...

Anyway, apart from the fantastic curry it was delightful to see the Heljan L&B locos in virtually finished form. The news seems to be that they will be ready and will arrive with us in February. 

Here I am holding one, sadly I had to give it back.

There were three on the Heljan stand and PECO had one on display too. Having had one in my grubby little mitts I can confirm that they have a decent weight to them and look brilliant. I had previously convinced myself that a Southern one was what I needed to go with my PECO SR coaches but now, having seen the L&B livery too I can't decide.

The lighting wasn't terribly good on the Heljan stand so the colour is a bit odd, the orange glow from the NEC lighting makes everything brown.

I tried to keep my wallet unopened but failed in this ambition, I came home with three rather nice little wagons, a coach and some bits and bobs which will partly be used to modify my new Bagnall.

The coach and wagons

I now have a small rake of these coaches, not sure why as they don't really go with anything else I have but I like them.

The wagons with Sphinx
Yesterday I got some time to work on the new layout and to add some more of the scenery, another Warley purchase was a sheet of 3D printed brickwork which I have used as the platform surface, it was mainly bought to use as pavement outside the Post Office etc. on Underhill Town.

I think this might turn out to be quite a fun little layout and I have already spent more than a few happy minutes watching a train wander round and round.

Wednesday 23 November 2016


The good news is that I finished the ballasting yesterday, the bad news is that I ran out of the 'mainline' one I was using so I finished the last bit off with the more sandy stuff I used for the station area. I also did the sidings with the one which looks like loco ash which is often used for sidings. The stuff I have used is Faller stone paste which is an expensive way of doing it but as I had it left over and it dries out, I thought I might as well use it up.

It will need quite a bit of tidying and then I will get the paints and powders out to get the colours under control.

In other news, the new Minitrains Bagnalls have been delivered and they were visiting Underhill Town yesterday.

 A variety of companions for comparison.

I have also been making it snow on the Dinas layout, also wired in the controller and attached it physically to the rear of the castle mound.

Monday 21 November 2016

I hate ballasting

I hate ballasting, however I decided that this layout would have at least an attempt at ballast and not just my usual plaster sloshed about.

I also sorted out the wiring of sections and the couple of 'practical' low voltage lights.

Last evening I got down to making the Christmas castle snowy. Quite pleased with it.

Sunday 20 November 2016

Mmmm... If this goes here...?

I spent a happy hour arranging and re-arranging some left over buildings and basic scenic ideas yesterday. Also experimenting with what rolling stock could cope with the ludicrous curves.

I think this is the basic general idea, a bit Welshpool and bit generic Welsh slate and castle.

I also nicked Roger's idea for a water tank.

Saturday 19 November 2016

Roundy roundy

As mentioned in the last post I've started a little roundy roundy layout using Minitrains new track system. This week I've dug it out from the pile of 'things to do' and made some progress with it. I tried running some trains and had no real luck getting them round the circuit, derailments and stopping here and there.

On closer inspection, I found that in rushing to lay the track I had not laid it very well and had messed with the geometry ending up with some very bad joins and kinks in the curves. So after a bit of a re-jig I ended up with a very nice little circuit on which short wheel based locos and rolling stock will enjoy a trip out.

Now all I need to do is to make some section breaks in the sidings as the points don't isolate so the whole layout is live and it would be nice to have more than one loco available.

I'm also building a Christmas scene layout for the temporary Dinas station in the goods shed which will be the WHR terminus for Santa trains and the over Christmas service.

It is just a circuit of KATO n gauge track with a castle in the middle. It will be all snowy and covered in Christmas clich├ęs. The train will be button operated so that whatever loco ends up on it doesn't get too worn out, it's a bit of fun for the kids to press the button too. Most of the basic scenery is done now with just snow effects to add. I also have to do the wiring but that won't be too hard.

My new Kerr Stuart is now named Sphinx and is finished all but the works plates which are on order. It looks great and spent a happy while trundling round the new layout yesterday evening. I might glaze the cab windows but otherwise, done. Very nice kit from Neil Rushby, highly recommended.

Thursday 10 November 2016

Wigan - slight return

After the madness of getting Underhill Town ready in a huge rush and so working every spare minute on railways I was ready for a break from it and had a pile of other thing building up which required my attention, like house repairs and sorting out the garage so there is room to store the layout. Fortunately for me Mrs Lord Stoner is very good at DIY and much keener than me so we got all the work on the garage done and it is now more waterproof and looks much neater too.

I can't find a finished picture but this is halfway there

Anyway with work starting to calm down and some other things out of the way for now I have finally felt the urge to do some modelling again. Despite vowing to stop building locos and layouts I've started two layout projects and a loco. One of the layouts counts as a rebuild and the other is for work so I'm not as wilful as I sound, however the loco is just because it is nice.
This is the 'rebuild' layout.
The new rebuild had an oddbod selection of bits of PECO and some KATO tram track on it and it was nominally a test track but it wasn't very good and so it got ignored. I decided that it was about the right size for some Minitrains track and so I've started doing this with it. It won't end up as anything sophisticated but it will be something to play with when all the rest of the railway is packed up in the garage.

Look, quickly, its my workbench without too much clutter
On the subject of the garage; one of the benefits of tidying up and sorting through all the crap and stuff in there was that I found my workbench again. It has now moved into a more useable space and I will endeavour to keep it clear and actually use it from time to time. I have several things in the 'to do' list which are not suitable for the lap tray work bench so maybe they will get done now.

This is the non railway side of the garage where I have been skiving

Running in boards from Narrow Planet
The running in boards on the Isle of Stoner Railway were made in Word and printed out at home but I've never really been happy with them as they are, for obvious reasons, only two dimensional so I asked Steve at Narrow Planet if he could replicate them in etched brass and this he has done as you can see. I am in the process of painting them at the moment but have so far made them look dreadful so the next step is to strip the first attempts paint off them and try again. They will be great when I get them right.

The pictures above are of pre production samples of the new PECO FR style slate waggons which came to visit the Ffestiniog over the recent Victorian Weekend. The top image is of them balanced on a real slate waggon at Tan y Bwlch. I was lucky enough to be able to take them home and have a little play with them and very nice they are too. I believe they should be available very soon.

The loco I've built is a Rushby's Resins 30 HP Kerr Stuart which is a new resin kit to suit the Tomytec HM-01 chassis. The kit went together very easily and has made a really characterful little loco. I'm still in the process of painting it but would thoroughly recommend it.

This is the basic paint job on the Kerr Stuart attached to the other project I've been finishing off, namely the pair of 3D printed coaches. They are loosely based on the 3ft gauge R&ER coaches. The print comes as just a body and roof so I have added a PECO wagon chassis, seats from styrene and door furniture. The grab handles are Langley etches and the actual door handles are brass rod cut and bent to shape, they are probably a bit on the chunky size but it was all I could do to fabricate and fit these little buggers. Several were dropped or pinged off into the ether during construction. I had previously made the brake coach with duckets from a PD FR coach kit and I had mounted it on a different chassis which had made it a bit tall so I took this opportunity to make it the same as its running mate. A little weathering and I'll be very happy with them.