Tuesday 9 June 2020


I'm very pleased with the way Dolgoch has turned out, with some help from those who know about these things I finally got the pipework right and eventually the cylinder lubricator annoyed me enough to move it to the right place too. All there is left to do is to get a transfer of the name to add to the boiler, some crew and some weathering. I've ordered some 4mm scale people as the usual 3.5mm Preiser ones look daft on such a well known, small loco.

Having spent so long at the lap tray it felt like time to do some jobs on the layout that have been niggling for ages. First job was to reinstate the home signal which used to be just where the new brook got built. Unfortunately in removing it from the layout the mechanism got broken so my intention was to just install it as a lit up but not working unit. I carefully soldered extension wires onto the remains of the wiring, drilled a hole in the baseboard and glued the post in place. I got out a battery to test the LED but being an idiot I forgot that in the mechanism for the working signal there is a resistor to protect the LED from high voltages... like the 9v I blew up the LED with... Doh. Anyway it looks nice not lit up.

Next task was to install the wire from the signal box to work the signal and also the rodding from the box to the station king point and the yard entry point. I've had the bits for 5 or 6 years since I bought them at Warley but have never got round to it. Very fiddly little bits and bobs but worth the buggering about in the end, the rodding won't pass close inspection by anyone who knows how the real thing works but it looks good enough at usual viewing distances.

The rodding passes under the track and goes into the box under wooden walk ways.

Another small job and only a five minute job as to add a handrail to part of the steps up to the quarry from the halt, just a bent up piece of brass rod and a lick of paint. Much safer for the little chaps.

Wednesday 3 June 2020

Becoming Dolgoch

I've recently bought this little chap, rather shiny and orange and with a face and a skinny chimney. Fortunately those lovely chaps at Narrow Planet supplied me with most of a Dolgochification kit. What to do? A faithful model of the Tal y Llyn loco which has always been a favourite of mine or to do something Fletcher Jennings style but more uniquely Isle of Stoner.

I contemplated a cabless loco by way of making it interesting

Once the kit arrived the die was cast as it includes a very nice replacement cab, so full cab it was.

In the instructions to the kit it says that acetone will strip the paint from the casting and I mistakenly thought that it would do the same for the plastic footplate... actually it melts the plastic. Fortunately I realised what was happening and hooked it out in time to rescue the now very floppy footplate. Some of the smaller details had melted beyond saving but nothing too vital. Lesson learnt.

First steps towards a model rather than a toy.

On test with my rake of TR based coaches, it looks at home with them. It was at this point that I decided that it should be Dolgoch. But what era?

One of the etches with the kit is for the preservation era 'greedy bars' bunker extension which I had added, but once I decided that late 1940s/early 1950s era was what I would aim for they had to go. I'm sure they'll come in handy somewhere else.

The kit comes with some excellent brass castings for the clack valves and some of the other brass work but I wanted to go deeper with the detail so have spent some happy hours poring over photos of the real thing, principally in Martin Fuller's excellent trilogy of TR and Corris loco books. A feature I always loved from the first time I saw it was the wooden shed door added to the cab so I made one out of styrene strip.

The whistle as supplied is also wrong for this era so I cut the NP one off the safety valve handles and added a more appropriate one to the side of the dome. There were also a variety of other bits of sundry plumbing which I've made a stab at, including the cylinder 'onion pot' lubricators of the front of the footplate. Like a burk, I've managed to not place them exactly symmetrically and am currently striving to not notice. 

This is the state of play before the spoiling by painting phase.

In other news, I finished off the new van in a tatty, un preserved state and it will see most service with the quarry traffic. Very happy with this vehicle and the finish.

With all this furloughed time on my hands I've also been mending things from the 'great unfinished and broken' pile and this has included both my Arnold Kof powered locos. Long story short I had 2 chassis, one had a limp the other didn't go at all. The non functioning one was a simple fix, in removing it from the n gauge body I hadn't noticed that the pickups were no longer connected to the motor... a couple of waves of the soldering iron and that was fixed. The other one was more serious and after consulting the hive mind of the NGRM forum a conclusion of a split gear was come to. By removing the gear from one of the drive axles a smooth, but powerless chassis was achieved. I swapped them over so that 'Little Red' had the 4 wheel drive chassis and the lighter green thing had the feeble one. It will just pull 5 peco skips so it is fine for now. Little red is much refreshed and has been on quarry train duties again.

Lord Stoner's inspection saloon has been out and about with its new Kato 109 chassis and is seen here with the larder car tied on, obviously a picnic is scheduled. I have two other 103s which are now up for replacement but that will be another story.