Monday, 25 April 2011

Misterton Fen Tramway - Alas no more!

Sadly today I have to report that I have pretty much pulled the plug on the Misterton Fen Tramway.  I could understand if you have managed to miss this little project, it was covered only on the NGRM Online forum and development was sporadic to say the least.

The story actually started with a plan to build an industrial style O9 layout, using the green battery loco illustrated in the last entry.  After a short period 'on hiatus' the scheme grew a little in size and became a 18" gauge Lincolnshire fen tramway, serving the potato fields and other agricultural needs of the area.

The original industrial version had been about 12" x 14" - the scenic section was to be the same size as a box file.  The agricultural version grew (pun only marginally intended) to about 19" x 12".  I created a full blown mock-up in cardboard....

The MFT mock-up in cardboard.
As can be seen, by now motive power was the Knightwing bash.  In the meantime there had been a Keef loco built, but I'll save that for another day.  A backscene would have enclosed the left hand end of the layout, featuring a 'flat' of a farmhouse.  The centre area would have housed a tank (modified Knightwing) and a small workshop, which was designed around this Cararama garage set:

Cararama garage set - all for £5.99!
The workshop building was the only part of the project to reach an advanced stage, constructed around the (much modified) walls of the Cararama diorama and mostly made from mounting card, covered with Slater's brick plasticard and Howard Scenics brick arches over Airfix engine shed windows:

Workshop under construction.
Having completed the roof using 4mm scale Wills pantiles (which pass muster for 7mm scale), I carefully painted the brick colours over a grey primer base.  I have an aversion to the Humbrol - prescribed 'Brick Red' and aimed for an orangey tone to the brickwork and felt that I had achieved that:

Completed workshop - water butt belongs to an Airfix 'Rocket' kit.
Alas the MFT has not progressed since, due to the amount of time I'm currently spending on what I term "1:1 modelling" - i.e. progressing work on our recently bought house.  This week it has been real 1:1 modelling involving various bodges around an elderly coal shed door...

I actually lifted the track on the MFT board several months ago in a bout of dissatisfaction, I did relay it as an end-to-end run but it still doesn't hit the mark.  When the time comes, should I still desire an 18" gauge agricultural tramway I'll start afresh.  


Monday, 11 April 2011

Some I Made Earlier...

Having shared my latest industrial 'bash' last week I thought it was a good opportunity to look back over some past industrial locos that have emerged from my workbench, and even on occasion the kitchen table!

All the locos below have one thing in common... regular readers of the Gnatterbox or NGRM Online forums might be able to guess what it is...

 April 2005:  The first - Dapol Drewery parts for the bonnet and riding on a Roco HOe chassis.

May 2005:  The second - a hint of Drewey bonnet and a general 'older' look, riding on a Farish 08 chassis.

November 2007:  A little bigger - built in Gn15 using a Dapol railbus roof for bonnet top and Drewery chassis (static model).

November 2007:  Built from left-overs, a modern, Germanic outline loco built on a Kato chassis.

January 2010: A battery loco built from more left-overs on a Kato chassis, this had the rare pleasure of being painted!

May 2010: The most recent build, using Knightwing components and a Sidelines/Black Dog chassis frame over a Bachmann Plymouth chassis.

Apart from some very similar bonnet louvres, the thing that links all these locos is that every time I've built a freelance industrial loco it has ended up being sold on fairly shortly afterwards, I suppose that just proves that I am a die-hard miniature railway modeller...

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Now for something completely different....

Those who follow my Workbench thread over on will have already read about this loco, but for those who haven't... here goes!  As I am rather short on time at the moment with a lot of work going on about the house, actually building something is rather an achievement.  I started this loco at Christmas/New Year time and it was first built as a O-16.5 exercise.  The body uses various leftover Airfix/Dapol Drewery shunter kit parts, whilst the chassis was recycled from an earlier OO gauge loco kitbash, but incorporates various Railbus kit parts from the same source.

After a couple of months in store, and inspired by my visit to Narrow Gauge North, I revisited the loco and made several changes.  The most significant was the use of a Sidelines (Steve Bennett) chassis frame intended to take a Tenshodo 24mm 'Spud' or a Kato Tram Chassis in 9mm gauge.  This gives me an O-16.5/O9 option for the loco.  As the sideframes for the chassis were intended for Gn15 I replaced them with some home brewed ones, incorporating Steve's castings for axleboxes from the Black Dog Mining O&K kit.

Various other examples of Steve's castings have been used, including the headlight and bell, coupler pockets, and a gearbox and handbrake wheel inside the cab.

It's certainly a bit on the big side for a 15" gauge loco, but certainly passes for 18" gauge in it's O9 form (which it is at the moment).  Plans are in hand to develop something for it to run on (I hesitate to say "layout"), but that will have to wait for some time to come to fruition.  I did however manage to put together a pair of wagons for it to pull, these run on Black Dog 5' chassis frames.

As I can't actually access my workbench at the moment (would you believe it if I said it had 20 square metres of tiles piled up around it?), the next update will hopefully look at some of the new loco's older siblings from the workshop....

Friday, 1 April 2011

O9 at 'Rails to the Sands', Cleethorpes

In July 2010 the Miniature Railway Museum Trust launched the exhibition 'Rails through the Sands' in conjunction with the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway, in a modern exhibition space alongside the railway's Lakeside Station.

The exterior of the 'Rails to the Sands' exhibition - Colin Peake
Inside is a diverse range of miniature railway equipment and a hoard of photos and ephemera.  Of great interest to students of 15" gauge railways is 'Blacolvesley', Bassett-Lowke's steam outline 4-4-4 from 1909.  I would like to think that one day someone will get hold of a Dapol M7 chassis and manage to create this in O9....

'Blacolvesley' (L) is dwarfed by 10 1/4" gauge 'Edmund Hannay (R) - Colin Peake
Of even greater interest to O9 modellers is my own 'Shifting Sands' on display in the station room.  When I offered the layout as a potential exhibit, exhibition curator Tim Dunn jumped at the chance, although it perhaps takes his "anyone can build a miniature railway" theme to an interesting conclusion!

Shifting Sands on display at 'Rails to the Sands' - Colin Peake
The exhibition is open on all CCLR running days and on selected non-running days.  The exhibition is located in the Meridian Point Craft Centre and accessed through the Meridian Line Models shop, which is well stocked with Hornby, Bachmann and Graham Farish ready to run model railways and scenic items.

Of course the downside with the layout being in Cleethorpes is that I don't get to play trains!