Sunday 18 April 2021

Small and large rocks

At the end of last weeks thrilling episode I left a cliff hanger - what would become of the left over bits of the Lilliput coach? Well, breathe again. Those terribly nice chaps at Light fantastic stores despatched the balcony etches in super fast time and so now the funny little tram saloon is reborn. 

The other little train I've been working on doesn't look like it has changed but in fact both the van and the bogie coach have had modification to their running gear. The van as designed has large holes in the whitemetal castings that the pinpoint axles run in, in actual fact they just fitted too well and so hardly turned, it was as if the guard had forgotten to take the brake off. A simple fix was to drill out the castings and fit a set of brass bearings. Job done. 

The problem with the coach turned out to be that one of the bogies didn't rotate freely enough on its pivot which was easily fixed by a little fettling with a file. The whole set now rolls nicely and goes round all the curves without any problems. Some paint is the next job and then some lining. I ordered a 3D print of Brazil style loco which is quite nice but actually is far too big as it is designed for a KATO 109 chassis so I'll probably just sell it on.

I grasped the nettle and started ballasting on the new bit, I had a jar of ballast I bought for my stalled n gauge layout so it seemed sensible to use that. I ladled the dry ballast on and then wetted it with the traditional water with a drop of detergent in it, then I soaked it in dilute PVA.

The first bit looking very white

Fortunately the glue set nicely and left the track nice and solid so I did the other side of the loop. I've avoided the points for now but will have to bite the bullet eventually. The goods siding will be done with my usual filler method.

The removable section has gained a set of contours which are foam core stuck to off cuts of timber. I need to work out a way of attaching a handle to remove it easily. Plan A is to have a door handle hidden under a removeable building, I have a farmhouse which will be just the job.

I've sprayed the ballasted track with Railmatch frame dirt paint which will make a good starting point for track colour. The water tower is now glued down and I mixed up some resin water for it. In the picture it is just poured in and looks good. Hopefully it will still look as good when it sets.

The landscape is gradually taking shape and is starting to look quite promising in photos.

All the scenery now has its bare bones, so it's plaster bandage time next. Getting there.


Sunday 11 April 2021

Coaches and that

This week has seen a few bits and pieces going on down on the island. Firstly, I've replaced the chassis that I buggered up under 'Cat' with a fresh one. I don't feel as bad breaking 109s as Portrams! It turns out that the gear which engages with the brass worm is quite a delicate plastic one and if you squeeze the body to cut a bit off, as I had, you can damage the teeth and then they doesn't mesh properly and it's game over. Lesson learnt. I used the pre-cut bits of chassis with the undamaged new bits inside. It's quite easy to swap them and as I'd spent quite a bit of time dismantling the first one I'd got quite good at it.

After saying last time that it was time to get on with the layout I have done some work on hiding the hitherto un-hidden hidden sidings. I started by building a firm wall and some supports.

I decided that the easiest way to cut the lid out of 9mm ply was to cut a template out of spare foam core board.

I cut the ply to fit and then cut some more foam core to form the wall between hidden and not hidden bits. Now I need to work out some form of handle that I can use to lift the lid on the sidings that can be hidden in some cunning way...

I bought a couple of part-built Corris coaches and a bag of bits a few weeks ago and finally decided to see what could be done. It turns out what could be done was to build a Corris clerestory roofed coach.

It came with no bogies but fortunately I'd acquired a pair of Minitrains bogies about the same time. It was a bit of a fiddle to get them to fit and to swing enough to go round corners but after a couple of false starts all is well now. I originally used the couplings from the bogies but stuck them on the buffer beams as the kit intended. Slightly concerned about the length of the chassis I tested the carriage and it got nearly all the way up the line before experiencing an issue; i.e. it threw the loco off the track.

I changed the Minitrains couplings for BEMO ones which have a wider loop and all was well.

The Corris made their bogie coaches by mounting two four wheel carriages on an underframe. I reverse engineered the idea and made a four wheeler out of bits of one of the dismantled bogie coaches. The balconies are chopped off a Lilliput Waldebahn coach (I had used the roof for something else). The balconies are slightly too long I think but close enough for rock and roll. The roof is just some styrene cut and sanded to shape. The whole thing sits on a butchered PECO wagon underframe.

On test at the quarry. Just need a Corris loco now. Come on Bachmann, lets have 'Peter Sam'.

The three figures and a dog I ordered from Fine scale model figures arrived. The poses are very good and the fat bloke sitting down may have been modelled on me. I'm looking forward to painting them.

I looked at the remaining bits of the Lilliput coach and thought hmm... looks quite nice like that. I chopped the handrail bits off and stuck a roof from Stan's bag o' bits on. I'll add different balconies using Narrow Planet Eggerbahn replacement etches. It should fit in with the other tram coaches then.

I'm not crowing...


Friday 2 April 2021

Plates and screws

It has been a week of finishing off bits and bobs and testing the layout... it all works quite well but I have found a couple of things on the new bit which might benefit from tweaking before it is too late.

This is the state of play at Upper Beach. All the buildings are finished and painted so no more room for  procrastination there. I still have to work out how to make the hidden sidings lid so that it is easily removed but not obvious. I have a few ideas rumbling round the little grey cells but nothing close enough to write down or start work on. I think the first job needs to be ballasting the track, most of the layout has just filler up to sleeper level but I want to make it look as though the preservationists have had a go a clearing up the track in the station area. This means I will have to actually do some grown up ballasting, a job I dislike and hence am not good at...




The name plates for all three of my Dave Malton locos arrived and have added the needed splash of red on the tanks of all of them. I've also added crew from Modelu to 'Grace' and 'Cat', they are excellent little chaps and most characterful.

'Elizabeth' has also had the benefit of crew from Modelu. I've also done a few other jobs on this lovely loco from Fourdees. Most obvious is the removal of the big electric lamps and the repainting of the name and works plates into IoSR standard red. The dome has had a a coat of gold pen which has added a bit more shine. I may add some real coal to the bunker and maybe I'll pluck up the courage to remove the turbo generator from the boiler top as strictly speaking it serves no purpose; I don't want to make an unsightly hole in the boiler though. Other than that I really like this loco now.

Here 'Elizabeth' is just arriving at Underhill while 'Olwen' waits to depart.

Here is the new little coach and wagon that I made from bits and bobs donated by Stan Williams. Most gratefully received, so far one coach and two wagons have emerged from the bag. There are at least a couple more coaches to come too.

The new coach has joined the TR based rake as it is a shortened and lowered TR coach. Also in this picture is the heavily modified ROCO/Farish bash, 'Granville'. The chassis was second hand and as is the way with lots of these 03/04/08 chassis it didn't run very well, mainly because of the pickups so it has had a visit to the laptray and had the problems resolved. It is much better as a result, I think only one set of pickups was making reliable contact previously. It still has a bit of a limp so I think the quartering may need attention too but it is reliably usable now.

I built a new layout too. Well I glued some track to a bit of wood as a test track which fits in my tool box.

Ray stands on the footplate and chats with visiting father and son about the railway. Always glad to promote the line and always happy to have a cup of tea too.