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.