Friday, 9 June 2017

When the mainstream met modelling miniature railways

I received a couple of messages last Friday night to the effect that the new edition of ModelRail magazine (no. 236) contained an article by Paul Lunn suggesting the modelling of 15" (or thereabouts) railways.
 

Having purchased a copy the article within has ideas based on Dungeness, Cleethorpes (Lakeside) and a room-filling Fairbourne. As is usual with Paul's plans, the presentation of them is well thought through with an equal dose of compromise and practicality. 

Looking closely at the plans there are a few pieces of artistic license, but that is typical of many plans published in the mainstream press, with track spacing, turnout length and curve radii the usual suspects.


Naturally I am quite taken with the Cleethorpes plan, despite it being a solid 8' x 3' lump. It could certainly be made to work, I recall making a plan for this part of the railway (in terminus form) myself in a length only slightly shorter.

One of my contacts did make the comment that no attempt is made to identify what locomotives or rolling stock could be used, maybe in part 2 we shall get some suggestions, though based on previous content in the magazine I suspect we may see a Farish diesel with a hole cut in the roof at some point.

I was only observing to someone at the Hull Summer Show last weekend that it was probably easier now to recreate a miniature railway in O9 now than ever before. Take your pick of quality N gauge steam loco, open up a driver's seat in the tender and build up some of Roger Chiver's plastic coach kits...

Colin 

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Ravenglass Visitors

Just a few pictures of 'Shifting Sands' from the Hull club's Summer Show in their HQ building. We were lined up with the two other narrow gauge layouts, 'Moorton Bottom Yard' and 'Mill Lane', giving the public a taste of O9, 009 and O-16.5.

We entertained a couple of visiting locomotives from Peter Leadley of the Clee Valley Railway. Here the N-Drive 'Katie' gives a demonstration of Estate railway motive power past and future with my own 'St Edwin':


The eagle eyed will see that 'Katie' is posed with something suitably Ratty....one of Roger Chivers' Theakston wagons:

 

'Bonnie Dundee' had a good run around the layout too, but due to coupling compatibility issues couldn't actually pull anything.


The opportunity was taken to recreate an image that I took of the real 'Bonnie Dundee' and 'Flower of the Forest' at Cleethorpes last year:



The club sales stand wielded a couple of 50p bargains that may find their way onto future projects and I picked up a scenic detail for the "other scale" from the trader present, Caistor Loco.

My thanks to the Hull club for the invite, I understand it is the first time they have invited a layout from outside the club to the Summer Show, we're honoured!

Colin

Sunday, 28 May 2017

The Road to Hull (alternative title: Keep You Motor Runnin')

With less than a week to go until Shifting Sands appears at the Hull club's Summer Show, I thought it worth showing off a few new details that I have added to the layout for this appearance.

The first is a Harley Davidson 'Heritage Softail' motor cycle. This is from a range being sold at shows by A1 Models, moulded in plastic and if I recall correctly are left-overs from a promotional collection. With a little work to lessen the appearance of mould lines on the chrome parts, some touching-in of paint, a coat of matt varnish and a gentle touch of dry-brushing it is ready to go on the layout:


I have added the pins underneath to enable it to locate on the layout, you may also just see that I have flattened off the base of the tyres so that it sits more easily on the ground. On the rear I have added a licence plate from Tower Models 4mm scale bus decals, with a little tinkering a 1970s mark becomes something that the DVLA has made a little money from:


This isn't the only scenic addition. I have also added and moved around some of the items in the shed area, a bit like real life really! In the workshop can be glimpsed some new items in the form of the wheelsets and pillar drill I made last year, plus a coat hung from the shelf bracket that dates from the same time (the drill sits on wooden blocks awaiting further use, they aren't using it on the floor!):


Another item created last year was a locomotive cab, which has been added to the area of junk near the front of the caravan, along with one of the containers displaced by the new items in the shed:


I look forward to meeting O9 Modeller readers at the show on Saturday 3rd June.

Colin

Thursday, 18 May 2017

It isn't O9, but I like it...!

Just a quick glimpse of the main structure for my 009 project, a conversion from the Wills 'Station Garage' kit into an office and workshop, with a few added parts. I was surprised to see that the instructions for this kit are dated 1979, so it's been in production nearly all my life (but at least the mouldings are still sharp)!


O9 service will resume soon...

Colin

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Take a Fence, a Ratty Fence

I was lucky enough to receive the latest Graham Whistler DVD of the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway for my birthday and I couldn't help notice some seemingly portable fencing between the platform lines at Ravenglass station. Further research finds pictures of this fencing in use at both Ravenglass and Irton Road stations.

This picture proved particularly useful as it clearly shows how the posts are separate to the panels, the details of the posts and how it fits together.


I figured that I could quickly put together a couple of panels from a leftover piece of the Parkside Dundas fencing used on both 'Shifting Sands' and in cut-down form on the diorama 'The Path to...'. The length used here was destined for that project but had unfortunately snapped during construction.


The posts are simply constructed from Evergreen styrene strip and as an added detail I split Grandt Line rail joiners in two to create a representation of the metalwork.

I have assembled one panel with two legs, the other with one. To aid holding during painting and to strengthen the future central joint 0.5mm wire has been inserted in the top and bottom rails - so at this stage it cannot be fully assembled as the wires are over-length!


This has proved a very quick Bank Holiday project. the paintshop awaits...

Colin








Saturday, 29 April 2017

Peco Skips as RTR O9?


Having been seduced by the Peco 009 'Rugga' V-Skips as a fine example of UK-made ready-to-run model railway equipment, my mind has started to wonder if they could form the basis of O9 models. This may seem a wild idea but there are two factors to consider:

  • Real skip wagons came in a variety of sizes.
  • The necessities of RTR 009 manufacture mean that the models are closer to 5mm+ scale than 4mm.
So some research started, firstly by posing a wagon with a 7mm scale figure to see how it might look:

It doesn't look too ridiculous so I carried out some further research. Two sources were consulted:
  1. The 2016 NGRS reprint of the Robert Huddson 1915 Edition 'Light Railway Material', p49.
    This contains dimensions of a 20" gauge 13.5 cubic feet 'double side tip wagon'
  2. 'The Blakesley Miniature Railway', Dr Bob Tebb, Silver Link 2009, p94
    This describes skips made by Busch of Bauten, Saxony, which may have been the type supplied to Blakesley Hall.
From that information I compiled the following table of dimensions at 1/43rd scale:



Peco (mm) Hudson (mm) Hudson 1/43 Blakesley (mm) Blakesley 1/43
Wheel Diameter 6.0 225 5.2 300 7.0
Height from Rails 18.5 1000 23.3
0.0
Width over all 25.0 1250 29.1 1160 27.0
Length Over all 31.0 1500 34.9 1530 35.6

As can be seen, the Peco skip is a little smaller than these examples but not beyond the realms of possibility. However, if you re-calculate the dimensions to 1/48th scale....


Peco (mm) Hudson (mm) Hudson 1/48 Blakesley (mm) Blakesley 1/48
Wheel Diameter 6.0 225 4.7 300 6.3
Height from Rails 18.5 1000 20.8
0.0
Width over all 25.0 1250 26.0 1160 24.2
Length Over all 31.0 1500 31.3 1530 31.9

That brings the dimensions even closer and makes the Peco V-Skip a realistic prospect for O9 (or indeed On18) use. Just be mindful that is is a lot smaller than most other commercially available O9 wagons and locomotives (which may be larger than scale). I posed my wagon with SMR no.3, which is a reasonable 15" gauge pleasure line sized machine and it doesn't look too bad, but a shorter loco such as a scale length Lister would look even better....



Food for thought?

Colin

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Shifting Sands - North of the Humber

You may have seen mention last time that I needed to get Shifting Sands out of storage and wondered what on earth for....

Well, our friends in the Hull MRS have given the opportunity to show the layout in public on June 3rd at their 'Summer Show' held at the their clubrooms at the Walton Street Leisure Centre - details here. As usual I will need to check everything over, test the stock, make a couple of scenic tweaks before the show and find all the bits to make it look like this:



There is the prospect of some visiting locomotives on the day, and the usual real-life 15" gauge problem of non-matching couplings...

Colin



Monday, 17 April 2017

You can’t do that!

The title might be the (light hearted) reaction in some quarters to the project I hinted at over a month ago... yes, the mystery scale was 009!

As every idea to build another O9 layout has fallen flat on its face, especially anything away from my usual miniature railway themes, it makes sense for a small project to evolve that doesn’t have the pressure of expectation placed on it. By developing this in 009 I will hopefully be able to use up some items of 4mm scale material held in stock, plus be able to purchase some of the items that as a 7mm scale modeller are largely unavailable to me, such as the Wills ‘Scenic Series’ kits.


As can be seen a baseboard has been constructed, the trackwork laid, painted and ballasted, and there is good progress on the foundations of the scenery. I've never been a fan of polystyrene (and I'm still not) and this is really the first time I have used it like this. It has proved quick and relatively easy, I don't think I could have made these landforms using formers and infill in the limited time I have had available. 


Speaking of which, along the line I have to admit that there have been doubts about progressing this scheme. Although good progress was made thanks to planned time off work, outside of that time has been hard to find. On top of that I have wavered on the 009 vs O9 debate a few times (a certain person regularly asks if it is O9 yet) but I plan to complete the project as planned, if only to justify the Peco skips I received as a gift! As ‘Shifting Sands’ will need to be brought into action within the next month progress may not really make it that far too quickly…

Colin










Monday, 13 March 2017

(no) O9

January rolled on in to February, February rolled on into March... the workbench refused to stir.

Yes, it has been a quiet couple of months where various other things have gotten in the way of railway modelling. However this has given chance for reflection and absorption of various ideas through visits to exhibitions in February, contrasting the overwhelming but often mediocre show at Doncaster and the excellent event arranged at Newark by the Lincoln club.

March brought Narrow Gauge North, where 7mm scale was in the minority but the trade support gave access to the 7mm Narrow Gauge Association sales stand and it was good to catch up with Minimum Gauge Models. Allen had a few new products on show, the one that caught my eye (and snared my wallet) was this etch of grilles, louvres, hinges etc:


I've spent some time in the last week or two on the concept and practicalities of a new project, which will be a new direction but one I've given some consideration to recently for various reasons. I will go into a little more detail in due course but here is some 'concept' artwork:


Of course, what isn't apparent from the sketch is what scale or gauge this will be in... there might be a clue on the heading of this post...

Colin



Sunday, 15 January 2017

A Salted Tub

An oddity on my fleet of stored O9 wagons was a Black Dog Mining WA25 mine tub, a recent purchase from ExpoNG in 2015. It came with the Gnine version of the chassis which looked odd in O9, so an old 5' Black Dog chassis was re-purposed from another wagon and placed underneath.

As it was not really suited to my usual interests I proposed to experiment and use the method of using salt to mask to create a rust effect on this wagon, as described most recently in 'Narrow Lines' (7mm NGA) but previously published elsewhere. This base layer of rust effect is stippled on acrylics over Halfords red oxide primer - Humbrol Red/Brown, Vallejo Hull Red and artists Red oxide, followed by a slightly more orange mix of the latter:


Having left the rust stippled paint to dry overnight I wet the surface of the wagon body and added the salt - a mix of rock and table salt - with hindsight a lot of the rock salt was far too big in size (despite my efforts to crush it). This was then left to dry out (aided by the airing cupboard):


Once dried out I did remove some of the larger particles of salt before spraying over the wagon with Halfords grey primer and again left to dry:


Once the grey paint was dry I rubbed off most of the salt and then washed off the residue. The effect is very pleasing and I think I would struggle to achieve this any other way:



The next stage was be to paint the underframe to enhance the wood effect and also to add some further weathering to the body by adding some texture to selected rust areas using weathering powders. This was applied over dabs of Vallejo Matt Medium to provide some adherence. It does look rather bright but once varnished it toned down:


Before varnishing I did add a little more rust coloured weathering powder to the worst patches, then the next day I sprayed with Humbol aerosol matt varnish which dried satisfyingly matt. Once the varnish was dry I added some light dry brushing around the body edges and wooden chassis frame, and some metallic dry brushing on the coupler blocks and axle boxes.



This has certainly proved to be an interesting diversion during the Christmas and January period where a lot of real life happenings have restricted the modelling time somewhat....

Colin

Monday, 2 January 2017

Adding a Touch of Rheidol?

It appears to be the time of year for raiding the 'grey' projects box - those almost complete models in primer awaiting the inspiration to complete the paintwork. Following on from the recent wagon exploits and due to join them in the queue for another blast of primer is my semi-enclosed conversion of the Chivers O9 coach kit. That I hadn't got around to painting it is in some ways is a bonus as I have now decided that it would benefit from a different roof.

Although I was making best use of the Dapol Railbus roof parts in the original build, I wasn't happy with the way I had treated the ends of the roof, it looked more like a GRP moulded roof plonked on an older coach, which whilst perfectly feasible in 15" gauge wasn't the look I wanted. It didn't help that the roof was under-reinforced and starting to banana upwards, further not helped by gentle pressure to relieve this... Snap!

I decided to cast about for alternatives and offered up a Parkside Vale of Rheidol roof (available as a spare ref. DP08) - the width is just right...



With the roof trimmed to length, rainstrips added and the ends reconstructed, I think that this is an improvement. As a bonus it now sits a little higher and matches my other enclosed stock a little better. What isn't apparent from the picture is that this roof was once split down the middle and widened in a failed attempt to re-roof one of my 'Exmoor' coaches, then reconstructed and filled at the original width! I won't tell anyone if you don't....

I managed to get the shed workshop warmed up sufficiently over the New Year weekend to put a coat of primer over the rebuilt coach and new roof. All seems well, when the time comes to add a top coat it will just need a light rub down with 1500 grit wet and dry. I am getting the urge for a two-tone scheme but I'm not sure what yet, that may depend on which project it is intended for.



 Colin