Thursday, 18 July 2019

Exmoor on the East Coast

Just before I packed away the 'Beck Bridge' diorama at its recent showing I posed my Exmoor tank 'St Edwin' on it an took this snap...

The next day I headed coastwards to Cleethorpes where the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway was playing host to two Exmoor locomotives. The first, 'Sandy', a blue 0-6-0T from the private Wotton Light Railway was doing a very good impression of what my model would look like in reality...

The second was the familiar 0-4-0T+T 'St Egwin' from Evesham Vale, looking really at home on the seaside line.

The day culminated in a triple-headed journey over the presently closed extension to Humberston, running with the blessing of the railway inspector over a level crossing with non-functioning lights with the road closed to traffic by flagmen.

There are a few more photos in my Flickr collection. I've also just found a good video from the Saturday on Youtube.


Sunday, 14 July 2019

Dioramas on Display

Yesterday I displayed my two larger O9 dioramas at the 009 Society members day in Mansfield alongside 'The Old Quarry Line'. Here everything is set up and ready for action, the layout sat on it's box and one of the dioramas on the cardboard box I had created to carry 'Beck Bridge' in.

Days before the show I assessed the lighting options for the layout, having purchased two Ikea Jansjö lights that I had planned to clip to the box itself. Realising more height was required I fashioned an upright from a spare piece of timber and I opted to paint this in a black finish. Time was running short and I actually hung the timber from the washing line with a piece of wire and sprayed it with a Halfords matt aerosol...

A bonus was being able to mount the second light to illuminate the dioramas on the upright. 'Beck Bridge' was home to my pacific  and a Chivers coach...

Whilst 'The Headshunt' hosted the Exmoor tank and the recent works coach.

Interest in the layout and the dioramas exceeded my expectations and I was on the receiving end of many compliments and dodging out of the way of cameras (no-one wants a checked shirt backdrop to their picture!).

With everything packed away at home, the next day I ventured coastwards to see a pair of real Exmoor locomotives, but I'll leave that for another time...


Tuesday, 2 July 2019


I've been carrying out some tests as part of planning for (potential) future projects in O9. Looking at what I have achieved in 13" x 19" in 009 I am keen to see if something similar is possible in the larger scale in a just little more space. My 009 layout 'The Old Quarry Line' uses a 4.5"radius curve and I know that most of the O9 locos struggle with this, especially longer 4-wheel ones as it throws the couplings too far out on the curves.

So I laid a 6" radius test piece, added power connections and had a play. With diesel testing out of the way I decided to see if 'St Edwin' the Exmoor 0-6-2 could cope with it...

This is probably the limit this loco should go down to, and probably not something I'd want to see in a visible part of a layout, as the swing out is noticeable. The couplings are almost at their limit here on both loco and wagon but it does show the flexibility of the MicroTrains design.

I then relaid the curve to 5.5" just to see what happened... 


Friday, 28 June 2019

Hereby Hangs a Tail (Lamp)

With Burton been and gone I can turn my attention to looking at getting my 009 project The Old Quarry Line prepared for the 009 Society members day in Mansfield on the 13th July. For some time I had it in mind to add a brake van to the rolling stock collection, as a vehicle built (or acquired) by the preservation group. I was planning to scratchbuild this on a Colin Ashby chassis but whilst browsing the 009 kits at a recent exhibition my eyes fell on Dundas Models DM50, the Welsh Highland brake van. 

I actually have a bit of history with this kit, having purchased one years ago in the hope it could be converted to suit O9. There is a bit of a Sand Hutton look to the sliding door... Remember that this was when I was building much smaller O9 stock than I do nowadays so it made some sense. Sadly it wasn't to be, so was sold on. Now was my second chance!

Wishing to have a vehicle with a balcony, I opened up the hinged doors to create an opening, and the centre section between the windows at one end. 

As can be seen, I then opted to open up the balcony openings a little further prior to assembly, which improved the look of the end somewhat.

The next job tackled was the interior partition, created from 40 thou styrene carefully marked up for a vertically planked door in the centre, flanked by windows either side with horizontal planking below. Vertical framing is from 30x40 thou Evergreen strip plus some other additions to mark the top of the door frame and top/bottom of the windows to match the Dundas moulding on the kit ends. I realised that fitting the partition in place would make painting rather awkward, so I opted to fix it to the underside of the roof, with the joint reinforced with two sections of styrene at right angles to it.

Progress through the paintshop was remarkably swift. To be honest, there isn't much real "painting" on it as the main grey finish is actually the Halfords primer with washes of black-grey and brown over it. Only the roof and running gear have really had a full coat of paint. Everything has had a light dry-brush to highlight edges etc and a coat of Humbrol aerosol matt varnish. After glazing the windows and positioning the guard on the balcony (a modified Dapol figure), the roof was fixed in place and the final addition was a Springside tail lamp.

The brake van sits very well with the Minitrains Bagnall, despite on the face of it being quite a tall, thin vehicle, which I suppose is why I thought it might suit O9 all those years ago...


Sunday, 23 June 2019

Two Little Ducks...

After the interlude getting 'Shifting Sands' into action for Burton, and a few follow-up jobs, the Beck Bridge has now stirred back into action....

There are a few new additions, some you can see here, others you will discover by reading on!

Most obviously there is now some life to the scene, the video camera wielding enthusiast is a Phoenix/S&D casting. This is actually the second of these I've owned, I think I've got the finish a lot better this time around. I've added a bag at his feet from the Prieser 1/48th airmen set. It is actually attached to him as he is removable. This is in theory to allow him to be moved about, but practically he is just too tall for the box...

Now he is supposed to be waiting to video a passing train, but it does appear that whilst waiting he's pointing the camera at this seagull.... This is a Duncan Models casting with scratchbuilt feet. Just visible is the pile of fresh sleepers I created to fill the gap in the scenery that I had been contemplating how to treat.

And here's the addition you didn't spot, swimming happily along the beck... these are Duncan Models ducks, they have a standing companion who is hiding on Shifting Sands!

In the process of adding the ducks I opted to add another layer of varnish to the beck, which hasn't gone swimmingly (ouch) so close inspection is not advised!

Hopefully I can get the edges of the board touched in and lettered before infiltrating the 009 Society Mansfield members day with some O9 (13th July at Portland College, if you are passing).


Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Shifting Sands on Show

The 7mm Narrow Gauge Association 40th anniversary show at Burton went very well with 'Shifting Sands' getting a good reaction and causing many conversations. There was a wide range of layouts on show including several that are set to become well known on the exhibition circuit.

I didn't manage to take any pictures myself, so I'm grateful to Andy Jagger and Andrew Young for the two below:

Courtesy Andy Jagger

Courtesy Andrew Young

The layout is now back in it's box and back in retirement, with thoughts for the future being processed...


Friday, 7 June 2019

Burton Bound

'Shifting Sands' is packed up and ready for transit to Burton upon Trent tomorrow.

I'm looking forward to meeting O9 Modeller readers at the 7mm NGA convention - please do say hello!