Sunday 28 November 2021

Trying to get locos to run properly

This week I've been endeavouring to sort out a couple of locos that don't run as well as I'd like. The first one being the Narrow Planet/Minitrains 0-6-0 Bagnall. Mine is named 'Jim' after our cat, here the similarities end.

The chassis has always been rather hesitant so I decided to dismantle it and get it going, I thought the problem lay with the pickups as it seemed to run freely enough without the worm gear engaged. I duly took it apart and bent the pickups out slightly to ensure better contact with the wheels. Then came the nightmare of fiddlieness of reassembling it. There was a lot of swearing and giving up and having another go before I finally had a chassis with all the pickups behind the wheels and the quartering looking right... The bloody thing still barely drags itself along the track so something is wrong somewhere. I'll pluck up the courage to look again soon. It is gear driven all through so maybe taking the pins out of the middle wheels will help?

While I was at it I decided that it deserved a better paint job and a few extra details adding, so I took it apart as best as I could without causing any extra work and cleaned it up with needle files and fine emery. 

I'd made a reasonable job in the first place but the colour was too dark for such a tiny loco, here it is ready for some paint.

Here is is refinished in the maroon colour that I use for diesels and carriages usually. Much nicer.

I also added brass port hole surrounds from RT Models and glazed it with Glue n Glaze. I also pained the motor and flywheel in matt black to make it less visible as I seemed to have missed that in the initial build.

I used the slotted port hole covers for the rear of the cab, adds a touch of something. I just need to get the blooming thing to run properly now.

The other engine I've had a poke at is my Bachmann 'Dolgoch' which has always had a rather lumpy gait as though something was rubbing somewhere on each rotation of the motor. It runs but lacks control because of this. I suspect it is my fault from when i did the conversion, when I stripped the paint I misunderstood the instructions and melted the plastic footplate part so it has always been a bit of a bodge. 

I've fiddled around but am no nearer curing the problem.

It is a shame as I'm very pleased with the look of the loco, 'Dolgoch' being one of my favourite prototypes. I shan't give up on it.

Also this week I've had a visit from three double Fairlies... 

These are the Bachmann models which I've been biting my tongue about since they were measured up some years ago. I'm very happy to say that they are lovely models of prototypes which I have no desire to own, therefore protecting my wallet.

Having said that, I have rather been taken by the original build condition 'Merddin Emrys'...

Something which I could afford and have been waiting for for an almost equally long time is an L&B bogie brake van from PECO. Dave Malton has made an absolutely cracking job of it, test runs suggest it will be very useful on passenger trains. It needs a few little modifications to make it belong to the IoSR, like a less white roof and less L&B logos. Will be an enjoyable evenings work.

Saturday 6 November 2021

Never really finished

 Despite the bulk of the work being done (for now) I keep on fiddling with things which don't look quite right or which need a little more detail. A wise man said to try black and white pictures as they show up whether it looks realistic better so I did.

I have to say that I'm pretty pleased with these shots.

The next big job is the creation of 'Port Lucy' the other terminus which will replace the fiddle yard and provide carriage sidings and loco shed facilities. I'm very much still in the planning in my head stage although I've done several doodles on paper too. I do have a baseboard which I built for a previous version but the more I think about it the less suitable it is, which is a shame as I hate doing that bit of layout building. Meanwhile I can enjoy playing trains on what I have now and adding bits and bobs as I see fit.

One of the things I've added is an ice cream van and customers, I think they may be waiting a while as the ice cream vendor seems to have buggered off.

The top field now has a hedge to enclose it and the footpath looks better for it.

I like this angle.

I found a statue (Preiser I think) and there seemed to be a space I could clutter up by the footbridge so here it is.

A quick tour along the layout, the fiddle yard is just to the left in this shot.

This shows 'Upper Bay' then on round the corner to 'Rock Beach' and the lighthouse.

'Town Quarry' is the oldest part of the layout and comes next.

Then on through 'Parrott Cutting' and into 'Underhill Town'

'Smallerfield' waits in platform 2 while a young lad admires the footplate.

Tuesday 12 October 2021

A bit more finished

After all the frantic work of the previous few weeks things have slowed down considerably in the garage. I've been enjoying adding scenery elements and playing trains.

A few people have appeared on the station but only three, it's an out of the way place so I'm trying to resist the temptation to over do it.

I've also had some time to devote to rolling stock and locos. The Minitrains Decauville has always been a hesitant runner which I'd always assumed was a pickup problem so I took the chassis to part and cleaned and bent the pickups out a bit. Putting it back together again was quite a challenge but after several false starts a much improved runner has joined the fleet.

The armoured Simplex has a dodgy chassis but I thought some weathering and the number plates I bought a while ago have made it look much better. Still runs like a chicken though, another day.

I don't have much luck with Simplexes as the little one which looks really nice and has a Portram chassis under it doesn't work either... well, the wheels on one side don't go round.

It works as a scenic item though.

I've added telegraph poles and started to make some fences. I've used brass rod as fence posts and painted them to look like weathered wood. My plan is to use fuse wire as fence wire, or maybe cotton thread.

Unfinished fence.

The new rock cutting has blended in nicely with the addition of some foliage.

Paul Towers has kindly given me a 3D print of Manning Wardle 'Jubilee 1897'. It was a Penrhyn Quarry Railway loco so I'm going to have a go at finishing in PQR lined black. However there is a way to go yet before I worry about paint. It is designed to run on a Minitrains F&C chassis, the only one I have has no working motor, fingers crossed one is on its way. The only thing which bothers me about the loco is that the cylinders are far too far back so I may have to try and extend or replace the piston rods and move the cylinders to the right place. We'll see.

Saturday 2 October 2021

Sort of finished

No layout is ever finished and this one is no exception. However I have made sufficient progress in the last couple of weeks to at least be able to run trains and have some entertainment.

Once the plaster was dry it was time for the basic colours to be slopped about. The brown was from a tester pot from B and Q and the road basic colour is a railmatch tarmac colour.

Apart from the ordinary countryside there is an area of beach at the back which has a groyne on it. There is a picture of me at the age of about three sitting on one at Eastbourne so I've always had a fondness for them. Mine is made from styrene though.

Away from the new section I had a hole in sky which I couldn't work out what to do about. It allows access to the room light switches. I decided that all I could do is to cut a bit of foam core to size and then disguise it with trees as best as I could. To do this the hillside would need to come nearer; out with the expanded polystyrene, plaster bandage and filler.

It seems to join in to the landscape which is already there.

Meanwhile, colour and texture was starting to spread along the new bit.

The track on this section is ballasted in my usual style with filler so it was straight forward to get it running again. 

The bridge to the beach is the Bachmann resin one which was built to cross over the 4ft gauge Padarn Railway at Bethel. This still exists and is about five miles from the layout. I bought it when they came out with no idea where I would use it but it fits in here nicely. I've made a different deck for the bridge as the resin casting was a little unsubtle and also didn't allow enough height to get a couple of my taller trams under it. Incidentally, 'Smallerfield' now has a Modelu crew and proper Hunslet works plates. Really like this loco, a cracking design from Dave Malton. 

'Grace' and train about to cross the road bridge.

A few yards on and this is the side on view of Bethel bridge. As has been pointed out, it is a completely superfluous bridge as there are no fences to stop the citizens just strolling over the railway onto the beach. Fences may come later, or may not.

What is definitely missing are telegraph poles, I think I have some more somewhere. The ones on the rest of the layout are Airfix ones chopped down to one cross piece.

A birds eye view of most of the layout. Underhill Town is to the right and behind the camera. To the left will be Port Lucy and Chickentown works.

The hole in the sky is nearly hidden now.

When I made 'Alice' I added a brass dome and it never looked right so I've now removed it and filled the hole in the boiler barrel. With a bit of a touch up to the paint and the boiler bands and cylinders lined out it looks much better.

This is all of the new bit, pretty pleased.

'Dennis' the railcar has been a pretty reliable early morning or evening service but sometimes just a few more seats would have come in handy so the CME and the boys in Chickentown works have made a trailer car to go along for the ride.

Initially I had some problems with the coupling which threw the trailer off the track in a couple of places. This was caused by the long overhang of the engine bonnets. Second attempt seems better with the hoop which hooks over the coupling hook on the trailer being able to swing from side to side.

As I said there are a few bits and bobs to add like fences and telegraph poles but otherwise I'm enjoying having a layout where I can run trains back and forth with a passing loop half way.