Sunday, 23 December 2018

'Taz' in time for Christmas

I have to admit that I've not really been too enthusiastic about completing this model, but having had a few bursts of activity on it I have now completed the remaining post-paint jobs. I've added sufficient weight (25cm of self-adhesive window leading strip) to allow the Tomytec chassis to perform reasonably well, MicroTrains couplers, cab glazing and finally some light weathering and the all-important driver.

The tiny nature of this model means that from most angles the driver is not really visible, he is a combination of a Preiser 1/50th head/upper body (and feet) and Slaters seated legs. I did wonder if he might need a drastic haircut to make the cab sit down on the chassis frame properly but it made little difference...

I think that's about it, I just need to decide what to use 'Taz' for in the longer term, in the meantime I now have an O9 loco that can make it around an 009 layout. Clearly that man "is far away" (to misquote Father Ted).

And finally, I'd like to wish all readers of O9 Modeller a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Saturday, 15 December 2018

A Winter's Tale

For some reason the last few weeks have been full of thoughts as to "what comes next" and I'm sorry to day that I'm no further forward than usual. I did start work on a desk-sitting test track scheme using what can only be described as "cork board technology" but even that has proved to be flawed in testing - I clearly haven't learnt the lesson from 'Upcycle' about length vs desk size...

However, I had a welcome distraction when studying my daughter's winter term homework sheet - "create a winter scene". My mind seemingly switched to diorama mode as I wondered what could be done with materials already to hand. She then told me they had been learning about Joseph Farquharson at school and that provided a few ideas that shaped the final model.

What has resulted is a study in cat food box, polystyrene, wood filler, PVA and some snow scatter that I actually received as part of a well thought out 'secret Santa' present last year. She got involved at all of these stages of scenic development, with varying levels of help!

Detail touches include a length of Peco flexible fencing, a length of twig as a log, cheapo 7mm scale figure, a hare from the spares box and 'Olaf'. The trees and bushes are sea moss, sprayed brown and then when dry sprayed with hairspray and scattered with more snow powder (mostly achieved by little hands under supervision).

The reindeer wrap was added as a novel finishing touch (and because covering the print on the box was taking several coats of paint). Just to prove that this started as a cat food box:

Filling the box with polystyrene (mostly sheets and blocks) didn't take a lot of time or effort and it was carve-able the next day, including cutting the box sides down to shape. I think this would prove to be a useful method again if an "instant" diorama was required.


Sunday, 9 December 2018

Minitrains Bagnall - Transformation Complete

My 009 Minitrains Bagnall wing-tank rebuild and repaint is now completed. I tempted fate somewhat with my 31st October posting about the "curse of the paintshop" as my initial attempt to prime and paint over the factory finish was marred by poor attention (or lack of) to the primer layer and then the bottom end of an old can of aerosol paint that had been around since my O9 'Pandora'. Stripped right back and new paints purchased the result after a couple of coats of Dullcote are most satisfactory.

Having given it a run on my 009 layout 'The Old Quarry Line' I had a play with the camera and software....

That should be the last you hear of 009 on here... until next time!


Thursday, 6 December 2018

PW Crew Comfort

Spurred on by reviving the semi-complete 'not DA1' I looked into the incomplete projects box to see what else might be revived. My eyes settled on the 4-wheel coach I had assembled from Dapol railbus left-overs and last seen on the blog in May 2015 (and that date rather surprised me too...)

I had never had a real plan for this coach and to that end it had been completed with running gear adapted (badly) from an old coach bogie and only passive provision for MicroTrains couplings. Realising it would make a rather nice crew coach for the permanent way department I have replaced the running gear with a modified Peco wagon chassis and made proper provision for MicroTrains couplers. I then stripped back the primer on the body and tidied it up a little, especially around the ends of the roof which were never my finest work.

At one end I blanked over the end window on each side and added a vent cut from an old A1 Models BR class 37 etch. In fact I think these had previously been used on the original version of my model of 'Jay' before I realised I had made it a little overscale.

On the end itself is another etched addition, I suspect that this is again A1 in origin, alongside an electrical connection from the railbus spares box.

Internally a cupboard has replace the seat at this end, complete with a kettle fashioned from Dapol and Knightwing leftovers.

Another recycled part is the window set into the other end, this was once in the same position on one of my very early coaches that had to be dismantled.

It has been fun making these changes, and yes, there is something of a nostalgic tone to working with leftover kit parts and odd bits of etch...


Sunday, 2 December 2018

Meet 'Taz' - a green devil?

Progress continues on the A1 Models locomotive based on DA1. Whilst this was due to follow my 009 Bagnall through the paintshop, following a few setbacks on that job they have actually been neck-and-neck at times, certainly both reached the varnishing stage together, which actually was an advantage.

Having considered whether to follow DA1's maroon or blue liveries I opted to turn things around and go for green. Ford Meadow Green is again the choice, that can is serving me rather well this year...

Before painting I added an exhaust to the bonnet, but seemingly forgot to add any headlights. Whilst generally this build has been something of a slightly less detailed one (for instance there are no controls modelled in the cab at the moment), this didn't look right. After painting I used Replica Railways transfers for BR diesel headlight lenses and added a dome of Araldite after varnishing.

On the other side of the loco can be seen it's number plate, home made from a scrap of nickle silver etch and Fox lettering transfers. Rather than DA1 this is TA2, the nickname of course is 'Taz'

The model is a little way from completion, windows need glazing, couplings adding and general weathering. The driver is also lagging behind somewhat after a false start, so another update to follow upon completion...


Saturday, 3 November 2018

The Tazmanian Devil Returns

Having started building this loco from an A1 Models kit over a year ago and last tinkered with it back in April I thought it was about time I finished it off. Having looked at my stalled efforts the decision was made that I will actually power up the locomotive rather than leave it as a workshop dummy. I did consider whether the dummy chassis frame could accommodate the Tomytec power unit but I concluded it might be easier to start again and incorporate some of the parts.

The axleboxes are the A1 etchings but sat in the recesses I have created in the 20 thou styrene sideframes, this gives a much better impression of depth.

These are the home-brewed adaptors to take the Tomytec power unit, with the modified unit behind. I'd like to say that I soldered these up fresh but they are actually the ones out of the other A1 loco cleaned up - that locos is still awaiting a decision on it's future.

This is the underside of the new chassis frame, I may add some further re-enforcement to the frames and buffer beams in due course:


Wednesday, 31 October 2018

The Rise of the Minitrains Bagnall

'Twas all hallows eve and something stirred,
Down at the workbench strange noises were heard,
Chopping the boiler, changing the face,
But details aplenty slowed down the pace,
It looks pretty battered like Frankenstein's worse, 
Let's hope it's not caught by the paintshop curse!

My 009 Minitrains Bagnall has had a little cosmetic work - the chimney has been rebuilt using a Meridian Models casting, smokebox door replaced with a drawing pin and home-made handle (handrail knob and wire), the boiler barrel bottom replaced with plastic tube and details from split pins, brass and phosphor bronze wire and nickle silver etch waste.


Saturday, 27 October 2018

Kent's Mainline in Miniature

The first O9 model I ever really built was the Alphagraphix card kit of a Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway 'teak' coach. Probably not the best starting point as a 20-seat coach is a long item for a lot of 15" gauge railways.

Now imagine a train of 20-seat coaches, with an O9 RH&DR Pacific at the head... that is the vision of Jonas Sommer, German engineering student and RH&DR volunteer. Using CAD and 3D printing has resulted in stunning results.

Jonas shares his techniques and results via his Facebook page "Kent's Mainline in Miniature" - which you can access without logging in if that isn't your thing...


Saturday, 13 October 2018

The Day we Caught the Train

"You and I should ride the coast and wind up in our favourite coats just miles away,
Roll a number,
Write another song like Jimmy heard the day he caught the train"

So the scooter has arrived at Shifting Sands... and of course parked up in the least photographically accessible place!

I think I will have to revisit the registration plate on the Harley using the method used on the scooter as it really looks lacking in comparison.


Saturday, 6 October 2018

The Modern World

Shifting Sands is preparing for a one-man "Mod" invasion as I complete work on a 3D printed scooter I bought from Shapeways. This has proved to be something of a labour of love, the print actually snapped across the bottom of the front dash panel early on and despite being superglued back in position it went at least twice more during print preparation.

The last time was after the final coat of primer and I resolved to use Araldite to fix it in place, then hid the crack the best I could. Having almost given up I decided the quick way to a decent finish was to spray the using a Halfords 'Ford Meadow Green' aerosol and painting in the details afterwards rather than try and brush paint it all.

The only modification I have made to the print is to remove the folded-up stand and replace it with two pieces of wire bent around to use as a securing point on the layout. Plastic rod drilled out made new feet for the stand.

Registration and 'L' plates are printed on matte photo paper. The reg plates were created online from a plate generation site and reduced in size for printing. These are the full weight of the paper and marked around the cut edges with a black pen. The 'L' plates were carefully reduced in thickness by peeling off the back layer of the paper. Both are stuck in place using an acid-free glue stick. I need to add some weathering to complete the job but overall I'm a lot happier than I was with it!


Sunday, 9 September 2018

Moor Steam - Exmoor in Yorkshire

The Kirklees Light Railway held their annual steam gala over the weekend of 8th/9th September, the theme for 2018 being 'Moor Steam', with four visiting locomotives built by the Exmoor Steam Railway workshop. As usual it was a pleasure to see the visiting locomotives run up the hill from Clayton West to Shelley and relax on the way back down.

It was interesting to see 'Monty' (the former 'Markeaton Lady) and 'Anne' (the ex- Longleat 'John Hayton') together, as they collectively provided a lot of the information and inspiration for my model 'St Edwin'.

I really must add a headlamp to my loco, they do seem all the rage on Exmoors...

The other visitors were 'St Egwin' and 'Spirit of Adventure', seen here double-heading. With home fleet locomotives 'Badger', 'Hawk', 'Owl' and 'Katie' in service, plus long-term visitor 'Sian' and extra guest 'Count Louis', it was a very busy railway, so much so that I didn't get to ride behind everything! More of my pictures can be found on my Flickr site.


Saturday, 18 August 2018

Flower of the Forest - at last!

It is 13 years since I completed my first 'scale' locomotive in O9, constructed from drawings  of the Ravenglass-built tram locomotive 'Flower of the Forest'. These were published in the only copy of the 'Ratty Modeller' newsletter I ever got my hands on, obtained when Owen Ryder exhibited his 'Boot' layout at Wakefield many moons ago. It's all his fault...

Construction and finishing are covered here - the basic finish was all I felt I could achieve at the time and the name 'Cumbria' chosen as I had the plates and it seemed appropriate. As I reached one of those round number birthdays this year I decided to investigate what might be possible to commission re-finishing the loco to more closely resemble the real thing.

She arrived back on shed at Shifting Sands this morning, seen here raising steam with 'St Edwin'.

The model has been expertly re-finished by James Hilton Custom Model Railways with the green repainted to a more appropriate shade, and custom lettering on the sides and "smokebox" end.

I chose James for this work as I needed someone who could not only refinish the locomotive in the desired colour, but also to create the artwork for the lettering and plates as a one-stop shop. James took great care working from my reference photographs to get the lettering to look right, especially as the real thing is hand-lettered to no standard font.

Whilst the etched plates are not legible they do have the correct pattern of lettering, the real locomotive is dedicated to the memory of Ian Fraser, the Ratty supporter who commissioned the real locomotive to run in his garden.

Having the model in this condition is a great reminder of the time the real thing spent running at Cleethorpes, and the influence it must have had on Shifting Sands!

Some readers may be wondering why I chose to take the unusual (for me) step of contracting this work out. Well, my own time is presently quite limited and quite frankly I decided to treat myself!

I'm really pleased with the outcome and can recommend the service James provides, even working around existing paint finishes and details is no obstacle....


Thursday, 16 August 2018

The ones that got away... No.7 'Cumbria'?

Well, it seems the nameplates have at least...

As for the rest? Watch this space!


Saturday, 11 August 2018

Low Cost Inspiration

I've always been of the belief that seaside shops selling all manner of cheap toys ought to be a source  of low cost modelling opportunities. I think this belief was instilled in me many years ago on an early trip to Cleethorpes whilst I was deep in bus modelling territory. Ironically it took me many years to actually find a usable toy bus!

Having toured numerous establishments on the Lincolnshire coast in the last week or so I have been disappointed that nothing remotely train shaped has sprung out at me. However, these days we live in an international market and before going away a member of the NGRM Online forum posted about some very cheap narrow gauge outline items available on eBay. I was curious enough to make a couple of purchases....

These models are very similar to the Del Prado series of world locomotives in N gauge, but are perhaps not quite so well detailed or proportioned. They are both slightly smaller than 009 in scale. However, they are locomotive shaped and as they come apart into component pieces offer all sorts of potential projects, such as using the Garratt boiler as a shed area piece of junk, maybe even a small 009 diesel from the Garratt cab and front bunker. There are some useful parts on the Darjeeling tank such as the headlights and I can see the bunker and cab moulding used as more shed decor for that O9 workshop scene I aim to build one day (representing 10 1/4" gauge locomotive parts).

These models cost me £6 in total for a pair of each, I'm not sure the seaside novelty shops can compete...


Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Inspirations on the Lincolnshire Coast

A week away in Lincolnshire proved very refreshing (and warm!) and it was interesting to note a few details whilst out and about that might prove useful for modelling projects.

Modellers are well supplied with models of ice cream vans courtesy of Oxford Diecast, I'm guilty of owning a 1/43rd Bedford myself... For some reason ice cream vans seem to outlast other commercial vehicles of the same model, perhaps it is all the slow speed travel and being stationary a lot of the time? This example was found grounded in our holiday park, plying an admittedly limited range of ices at less than favourable prices!

I've no idea who Bertie might be but co-incidentally Haven's owners started trading in 1964.

A trip to a farm park in Ingoldmells found this delightful structure that looks to have come straight from the 1960s. In fact I'm sure it had a supporting roll in 'Carry on Camping', it certainly has the caravan park clubhouse look.

Looking beyond its present use as a indoor play area it would make a great station structure for an O9 miniature railway layout. In fact, as every farm park should have a miniature railway...

Whilst in Ingoldmells it was a short hop to Winthorpe to the Skegness Water Leisure Park to visit the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway. Here we found Peckett 0-6-0ST 'Jurassic' in steam, something that when I last saw her in 2013 seemed a long way off. The railway is picking up lots of visitors to ride in an ex-Ashover coach and ex-WD open wagon over the recently (slightly) extended railway.

It is perhaps a good job that Bachmann are not making a Peckett 0-6-0ST to go with the WD wagons and forthcoming Ashover coaches....

A lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon.


Saturday, 21 July 2018

Cleethorpes Coast Celebrates at 70

As mentioned in my previous post 'Shifting Sands' attended the 70th anniversary weekend of the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway over the weekend of 14th and 15th July. This turned out to be a very enjoyable weekend indeed, aided by the visiting locomotives, frequent service and other attractions.

Star attractions were of course Katie and Sian, I was lucky enough to persuade the driver of Katie to line them up for a shot at Kingsway on the Sunday morning.

Alongside 'Shifting Sands' in the Griffin Hall building were displays from the local model engineers, G scale models and two narrow gauge layouts that were great examples of small space modelling. Firstly, in 009, was 'Dolwyn', based on the Glyn Valley Tramway and featuring some superb scratchbuilt structures based on examples in the locality.

(Photo courtesy Billy Hanner)
In O-16.5 'B.A. Cookes Engineering' was a busy industrial scene featuring a little standard gauge action alongside the narrow gauge. The 7mm Narrow Gauge Association was being well promoted too.

(Photo courtesy Billy Hanner)
I will admit to lurking by 'Shifting Sands' and listening to comments from viewers, I suppose it would have been nice to have operated it but the logistics might have proved difficult, as would keeping the right balance between playing trains and family time. I did however pose for a photo....

The eagle-eyed will see that the backscene is almost at the back of the glass case, in actual fact the fiddle yard was sticking out of the back of the cabinet and the back was actually a specially installed bespoke piece of hardboard in place of the usual glass doors. Fitting it all took a bit of pre-planning and creation of some adaptor pieces, taking it all apart again only took a few minutes!

I have uploaded my pictures from the weekend to Flickr here, my thanks to Billy Hanner for the pictures of the model railway layouts as I seemingly forgot to take any.


Thursday, 12 July 2018

Sian, Katie and Shifting Sands

I'm pleased to confirm that 'Shifting Sands' will be making a static appearance at the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway as part of their 70th anniversary celebrations this weekend.

The layout will be on static display in the Griffin Hall building at Lakeside station, there are other working model railways promised and of course the lure of visiting locomotives working on the main line. 

If you haven't been to Cleethorpes for some time the event will offer a chance to view some recent developments on the railway.


Monday, 11 June 2018

Burton - where North meets South

The 7mm Narrow Gauge Association exhibition (and AGM) at Burton-upon-Trent is always an interesting opportunity to discover layouts that I might not see at other shows. Being centrally located there is a degree of layouts appearing that don't often come much further North (and vice versa for our friends in the South).

It was therefore good to meet Simon Andrews and view his 'Ramma Woods' layout, a minimum space O9 circuit sat on top of an Ikea 'Apa' box.

Laid using Shinohara track and taking advantage of their small radius points this really does fit a lot into a small area. Simon uses the smallest wagons from the Black Dog Mining range which really gives the image of a small 15" gauge railway in a forestry setting, taking inspiration from the 'Woodland Railway that once ran in Kent.

Simon is presently working on something even smaller, an O6.5 layout using PMT Technomodell track and Rokuhan Z "Shorty" chassis. This is a bogie unit but cunningly disguised as a 4w loco. The wagons are again the Black Dog tramway items and Simon demonstrated that he had managed to get working coupling and uncoupling. This will be an entry into the Dave Brewer competition at Expo NG later this year.

It was good to meet up with other O9 modellers at the show and discuss various ideas, which has been quite beneficial as I consider future projects. I also caught up with the owner of another layout from the South, David Malton's O14 'Abbey Light Railway'. As the designer of the 3D print Simplex I have recently completed it gave an opportunity to hold an impromptu gathering, only the blue locomotive here isn't a print (although a hint was made that it may now get a rebuild!).


Wednesday, 6 June 2018

A Simplex in O9 - Details, Details

Aside from adding couplings the 3D print O9 Simplex is now complete, having been treated to a coat of matt varnish and some light weathering.

I've added a few bits and pieces to add character and more importantly, help to hide the Kato chassis. The oil can and pot are (probably) Duncan Models castings, these were already painted from previous projects, whilst the wooden tool box is one of the blocks from the Dapol Railbus underframe with lock and hinges added from styrene strip. Whilst the details have been secured with Araldite the driver has been placed using Tacky wax, he's a bit more vulnerable and there may be options for the loco in the future where he needs to be removed.

Designer David Malton reminded me that there were holes in the running plate for a handrail at the radiator end. Rather than fit a simple bent up-and-over rail I followed David's drawing in the Railway Modeller and added a cross bar, carefully soldering it together. Of course I then opened up Facebook to be confronted by a picture of a Simplex with a simple up and over bar handrail... either way, I'm very pleased with how this has turned out.

From the side the slight disparity between actual wheelbase and the axleboxes can be spotted, but this isn't usually visible from normal viewpoints.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with how this has turned out, it isn't a true miniature railway machine but as an accessible way to an O9 model it has worked out very well.