Stafford Show

I’ve just returned home from an enjoyable day at Stafford Model Railway Exhibition. I was helping out on Phil Greave’s lovely Ellesmere, and after some morning hiccups, settled down nicely. I have to say shunting is becoming the thing I really enjoy, and on Ellesmere it was no exception (especially with a 57XX at the front)!

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I also had chance to look at Phil’s new Hatton’s 14XX….

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I have to say it looks exceptional, a really fine piece of locomotive. Sadly it didn’t run too happy, but this appears to be down to the Ellesmere controllers rather than the loco. As mine will be DCC it should be ok.

Oh and before I forget, I picked this little chap up today from Mister Wright. More on this when it’s weathered.

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The highlight of course, was to catch up with friends and discuss our current projects…that’s what makes the hobby for me.

 

 

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Have a Brake? Have a Ki…. Pipe Wagon

While the hordes flock to Warley this weekend to froth and dribble over the latest releases, I decided to focus on the workbench.

I picked up a Bachmann Pipe and Tube wagon earlier in the year, before I knew whether I could actually use them. Thankfully, after discussing this matter with an ex railwayman who worked the Blaenau Branch, the answer was most definitely yes. Pipe/Tube and bolsters of all sorts were in use while the construction of Trawsfynydd Power Station was under way in the late 50s.

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I’m still deciding as to what load to add to the pipe. I’ve a Duha large pipe, but I’m wondering if it’s a bit big….. I can muse over that later.

It’s somewhat ironic that my attention turned to Brake Vans this weekend. Primarily I had decided to remove Springside lamps that I’d fitted to my Bachmann BR 20T Van and replace with Modelu lamps. It was worth the effort as the lamps really look the part.

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It was with ‘Brake Vans’ in mind that I realised I had a part finished van on my shelf. One of the newer Hornby examples I picked up at York Show 2015. I had added Masokit lamp irons, instanter couplings and the correct earlier type buffers (an error on Hornby’s part). However for some reason I had stopped and moved onto something else.

Last night I began by adding the underslung Vac type variant, before giving the model several washes. This morning I did some final work with the airbrush, before some final weathering detail on the roof and under frame.

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As a model, I think the Hornby one has the edge over the Bachmann model. It should also be noted that when I bought the Hornby Model, the RRP was around £13.50-£14.00, where as the Bachmann model is double the price!

This gives me another Brake Van for Cwm Prysor, while I also have a Frogmore AA3 kit that I’m horse trading construction to Tony Wright. There was one allocated to Bala for specific use on the Blaenau Branch.  I also have an LMS one in the RTR box, which can certainly be used (I’ve a photo of one on a train at Corwen).

Now I purposefully said ‘ironically’ regarding working on Brake Vans this weekend. The irony being that Hornby have announced this weekend they are to produce an all new AA15 Toad #punchtheair (apologies, I do sound like exactly the clientele I referenced at the beginning of this article). What this does mean is my Bachmann Toad, (and all on the workbench) will be retired from service. The current expected date is Autumn 2017, so this means although I wont have one for my first show (Hartlepool), I should have one for the first show of 2018.

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Operating the full layout….properly!

Today has been an eventful one!

This afternoon I took delivery of the Cwm Prysor Fiddleyards from Tim Horn. Things didn’t go as smooth as hoped initially, regarding mating the boards to the main layout…..eventually though, we got there.

Here is how things look now!

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Blaenau Ffestiniog/Trawsfynydd Fiddleyard below. The cassettes are split into loco, single coach passenger and two coach passenger/goods trains. They are clipped together with bulldog clips and the beauty of this, is it allows locos to be taken off and turned without actually handling them. However, do not touch both sides of the cassette at the same time when connected to the layout! 😉

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Bala Fiddleyard below. The cassettes are connected to a transition piece which draws it’s power off the main board tracks temporarily. However for shows it will have it’s own connectors off the main bus wires.

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Some extra items from Tim, the frontage to the platform made from laser cut MDF (sadly the brick work isn’t going to be visible to the public, because it looks very nice!)

The platform itself will be made up from polystyrene which will then blend into the hillside as the real thing did. Also can be seen is the entry culvert for the stream that ran into Llyn Tryweryn. This will be covered in Das modelling clay, before being carved to represent the stone work.

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It’s been very enjoyable to actually run trains over the full length of the layout tonight. The only thing, is I must not get too distracted running trains, or I’ll never get the layout finished!

Thanks for your patience today Tim! It was well worth the effort!

 

 

Point work finished!

I don’t think I ever thought I’d be able to manage it, but Cwm Prysor’s point work is completed.

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I’m very pleased with the results and the appearance. The soldering of the tiebar to the switch blades was interesting, but they now work well. The point operation will be manual, using Ken Gibbon’s method with a DPDT switch (I became acquainted with the system when I was operating Ken’s layout at ExpoEM North). Overall though, I have rather enjoyed building point work and this will certainly be the method I use in future, no matter how good RTP track work becomes.

Next stage will be wiring them and operating them, and hopefully……we should have an operational layout (the main layout was wired last week).

We can then move on to ballasting and scening work!! We are getting there!

The Finishing Touches

With a great deal of time off during the Summer, I’ve thrown myself in to more goods stock for Cwm Prysor. The LMS vans I built several months ago, are now in Bauxite and two of them are now finished. I focussed on D1978 first, which was built from a Ratio body, Parkside under frame, with Lanarkshire Buffers, Vents and Vac Pipes. Screwlinks were made up from the Masokits etch.

As well as this van, another 16T has been through the works this week. I wanted to take it a little further than the last one, working from a photo from Trawsfynydd in 1959.

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The more I have been looking through prototype photographs, the more I have felt my Van stock has been lacking that final little detail…. chalk markings. Just looking through the superb prototype section of Geoff Kent’s 4mm Wagon Volume 2, you can see a variety of scribbles all over the vans.

I’ve seen various methods for producing chalk markings, some more successful than others. It was on a google search I came across some convincing scribblings, and to my (not so much) surprise, it was the work of Ian Fleming. Ian had used a mapping pen with white ink which gave a rather nice result. A mapping pen and white ink were duly ordered via Amazon and arrived this morning. I practiced on some spare Van sides, before trying it out on D1978. I tried to pick locations local….and not so local seen as Vans are common user.

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This older LMS van (D1676) you may remember from a previous blog post. I had worked from a photo in Geoff’s Book (Vol 2 again) and have based one side on the chalk markings (page 38). The other side I went for something a bit more local to the branch… 😉

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Finally, and the latest van off the workbench is this, a BR Dia 1/204. The design of this is very much the last of LMS family, but was produced by BRITISH RAILWAYS. The model was produced from the old airfix body (now available by Dapol), a Parkside under frame, and again Lanarkshire Models for the detailing bits.

I wanted it to look different than D1976, so went for a far lighter approach. In my mind as a new build in 1950, it had been overhauled around 1956…so my model is probably 6 months-12 months after overhaul. Again I tried to give the chalk markings a local flavour as well as touch more distant.

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So what is next? Well I would like to add the odd poster to some of these… not on everyone of them, but just enough to give a touch of variety and individualism. Overall this as been an enjoyable process once again, and hopefully will just add that little bit extra realism to the layout when it’s done. 🙂

 

Enjoying the Hobby

Apologies for the rather ‘basic’ title of this blog, but it sums up how I’m feeling at the point.

I have now finished the landscaping on the other board that runs behind the railway. I’m rather pleased with the results from this, which was probably the hardest task landscape wise.

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The landscaping in front of the layout will be catered for once the electrics are done, the priority with the rear being finished was because of the painting of the backscene.

Today I was demonstrating wagon building and weathering at ‘Thirsk Model Railway Exhibition’. It was an enjoyable day meeting new people and seeing friends. Good banter was had all around with Ian Fleming, Ken Gibbons and Jonathan Wealleans, who was showing his beautiful LNER coaches and wagons.

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Jonathan also had a couple of items for me, two corridor Collett Coaches he had built and painted for me as a part of some ‘horse trading’. One is an E152 Brake Composite which will be permanently coupled to a Hornby all 3rd. I’ve a photo of these two seen at Trawsfynydd and Blaenau Ffestiniog in 1951, with the all 3rd still in Chocolate and Cream, a nice contrast!

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The E128 will be run on it’s own, as a mixed train or possibly joined to another Hornby all 3rd (in crimson and cream).

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In the meantime, I really better look into making a start on wiring the layout, just so I can run something up and down. Once happy with this, I will complete the points and get those wired too. I also have the fiddle yard boards on the way, so hopefully in the not to distant future (by late October I hope) I will be able to run the layout properly.

 

Back on Track

‘Schools out for summer!’ the lyrics go, and my start to the Summer has been a nasty stomach bug. One week on, and I’m still not quite over it, but I’m getting there. It’s funny the psychological effect something like this can have on you. Last weekend I felt like giving up the whole hobby, and seriously wondered how I could possibly feel positive about the layout again. Thankfully, those feelings have passed and today I began fixing the landscape to the boards.

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Insulation polystyrene two pieces thick glued with PVA, was shaped with a woodlands scenics polystyrene cutter. Some work with a bread knife was required to cut out the area of the moorland road.

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I will now need to do some work in the foreground, but it’s the area along the back scene I wish to get done before Tony Wright comes up to paint the back scene. The polystyrene will covered with modrock before scenic work.

9793 approaches Cwm Prysor with a Bala bound pick up goods.

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