Dad

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Dear all

As some of you may know, I was brought up by my Grandparents and since my Grandma died in 2005 I have lived with my Grandad since then. Although he was my Grandad I always called him Dad because, other than biologically….he was my Dad.

Since 2015 my Dad had begun to suffer with Pulmonary Fibrosis due to Asbestos exposure, and had begun to require oxygen treatment. Sadly, on August 25th he passed away peacefully at the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton.

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Although not really into ‘Railways’ as I am (even though he grew up in the 1950’s the golden age of train spotting)…he did a lot to encourage my interest in the hobby. When I was around the age of 6 he began building my first model railway which ran through the wardrobes in my bedroom. I’ve only one photo of the old layout….. a lot of happy memories.

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As I returned to the hobby 10 years ago, Dad began accompanying me to exhibitions, granted not quite with the same level of enthusiasm as I did, but he was always interested in scenic modelling. Around 2011 we discovered the wonderful ‘Right Track’ Series of model making DVD’s, he was very much interested in the kit building volumes, presented by Tony Wright. Dad knew how to solder, and if it hadn’t been for his illness I think he would have had a go a building a kit.

A highlight came around 5 years ago, when Dad met Tony Wright at the Pickering Show. They had a good natter (and a laugh over TVRs).

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Dad was always a doer, never sat around for long and in the years since my Grandma’s death, had become quite the confectioner. Many in our village (and some in the hobby) will remember him for his chocolate cakes, mince pies and flap jack. It was such a shame for someone who did so much for others, that in 2015 Pulmonary Fibrosis began to take his activity away from him.
I was really pleased that, last December my friend Alan Buttler of Modelu was able to come up and scan Dad (and Lass). These two figures will be forever cherished.

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For the past 2 years I have been his carer, and over the past few months that task had become harder. 3 weeks ago he was taken into hospital with a chest infection. The plan was for him to return home, with the help of Herriot Hospice and have a bed downstairs. Sadly though, it was felt he wouldn’t survive the journey home. That evening Dad asked for me, so I headed over to the Friarage Hospital (27 miles away) to see him. We spoke a little, I held his hand and left around 11.15pm as he fell asleep. He passed away at 9.30am the following morning.

I’ve been touched by the amount of comments and cards we have received. I think the hardest thing for me has been not just losing my Grandad, not just losing my Dad….but losing my Best Friend, but I’m coping ok, and I’ve good family support.

I’d lost interest in modelling at the beginning of the summer, but in recent day’s, my interest is returning….and it does feel special that Dad will forever live on Cwm Prysor, and future layouts.

You’ve left one big hole in my life Dad, but thank you for always being there throughout the first 31 years of my life.

Love you lots Daddy xxx
‘We loved you a lot, but God loved you more’

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All change

Mixture of feelings today.

After much consideration, I have decided that for the foreseeable, Cwm Prysor will be a home layout. To put this bluntly, as well as trying to make a living I am the carer for my terminally ill father. He is housebound and on 24hour oxygenĀ and although there was the plan for someone to be with him when I was to be away at shows, I ultimately do not want to leave him. One day he wont be here and I can do what I wish, but at the moment he needs me and I need him.

My whole enthusiasm for the layout has taken a knock recently, but the decision not to exhibit has given me a bit of a boost today, so the plan to finish the layout in the coming months is still on target for the summer and a photo shoot with Railway Modeller.

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I have now finished the bridge and the lake frontage, so my next stage is to texture the road surface, adding the dry stone walls before grass work will begin.

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Meanwhile, I’ve started planning the next layout, which will be a home layout. It will fit nicely alongside the opposite wall and to quite Monty Python, it will be a case of ‘ and now for something completely different’. I don’t want to say much more at the moment, but they do say variety is the spice of life! šŸ™‚

Activity will probably be slowing down on here now, but I hope to post some more content in a month or so.

All the best

Tom

This week…. Ballasting!

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Yep, it’s that mundane task that we all have to go through at some point. Maybe it’s because I’ve only got a smallish single track layout, but I’ve actually enjoyed it. I tried out a couple of methods on a test piece but in the end went with the old and tested method of applying the ballast dry, wetting with water and fairy liquid before fixing with 50/50 water/pva. The first results were seen a month or so ago when I ballasted the area in front of the platform. I suppose although ballasting was the main focus, it is alsoĀ the start of theĀ scenic modelling on the layout, something I’m genuinely excited about.

I suppose my approach, was similar to how I would approach weathering a wagon or locomotive. For several days before hand I studied photos of the area around Cwm Prysor and although these were black and white, it gave me a good idea of how things should look, in particular the trackbed of the loop.

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The overall finish I’m really pleased with, but it took several hours to get the desired effect. The basis of the loop trackbed was Treemendus Earth Powder. Geoff Taylor had recommended this to me, and it’s a great substance to work with. I’m not sure what it’s made up of, but ‘Earth Powder’ really sums up the results. This was sprinkled on top of diluted PVA, before then adding the odd sprinkle of fine ballast. I then turned to Busch fine blackĀ ballast, a black sand substance which works well to represent ash ballast. This was also used as the basis for the the siding. Once applied though it didn’t look quite right, so after some further thought IĀ decided to add some powder. This had the desired effect I was after, giving a textured feel. To create slight discolouration to the ballast, I added a dirty wash through a pipette which I found soaks evenly into the ballast giving a natural look as it seeps outward.

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The buffer stop has come out rather well I think. It’s the standard GWR design produced by Lanarkshire ModelsĀ and has been on the layout for several months. It had been sprayed brown when the track Ā work was done. However yesterday it was brush painted (along with the rail edges) with Revell 84. Once dry this was given a wash with AK interactive rust streaks. This same method was applied to the rail edges and Ā I think has created the desired effect.

A rather productive weekend I think and it’s one less thing to do. Next week I’m going to Das the bridge buttresses in preparation for carving the stone work, the results have been quite successful on the culvert portal, and with some advice on painting the stone work from Geoff Taylor. Once that is in place I can mod rock the surrounding area and begin making the lake.

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So we are getting there I think and the target for summer is still looking favourable. I’m still learning, but the important thing is I’m still enjoying this strange, crazy yet wonderful hobby we share in.

2017 – Cwm Prysor’s Time!

Firstly, a belated Happy New Year to everyone.

You may have noted things have been rather quiet around these parts.Ā I have decided to cut down my online presence as I felt I was saturating my work by posting on the FB page, modelling forums and here. It seems best to focus on one place, and those that are interested will find me here, on the blog. I also needed the Christmas period to rid myself of some demons, so it’s fair to say 2017 feels like a real fresh start.

So, to kick things off…. those of you that read the model railway magazines may have seen I had an article in this months Railway Modeller on the goods stock for Cwm Prysor. It was an interesting article to writeĀ and I can’t thank Steve Flint and Railway Modeller enough for giving me the opportunity to share my ramblings. WhatĀ is nice is that this article, and the subsequent two I’ve written, are all gearing up for the big one…’Cwm Prysor’ which will be appearing in the Modeller (probably next year).

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As for Cwm Prysor, I took a break from the layout over Christmas, but since the New Year progress has been coming on well. The platform is now in place, the landscape is fully formed around it and we even have the shelter in place (courtesy of Geoff Taylor). The station area has had plasticard added so there is a nice flatĀ base for the station building, plus a seamless join into the level crossing.

Recent work though has seen the dilapidated snow defences put into place. I’ve seen a photo from around 1910 where these sleeper defences are all standing in place, neat and proper. By the 1950s though, they were really uncared for and that is how they areĀ represented on the layout. Special thank to Tim Horn for supplying the laser cut sleepers.

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Finally, I’ve begun work on the over bridge at the Blaenau end of the layout. Tim kindly laser cut the MDF pieces for the buttresses to my specifications. The bridge itself I have no photos of it, so I’ve based it on the one further down the line at Capel Celyn. The girders are by plaststruct with 20 thou plasticard on top. The railings are from Geoff Taylor’s etched range of building accessories. These need shortening which will be done tomorrow, before I primer the girder/railings and spray satin black. The buttresses will be coated in Das modelling clay, and then a few weeks later the stone work will be scribed.

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Everything is coming together nicely, I’ve ordered the scenic bits to do the lake and stream and all the grass work is here for when it’s needed. So there is lots going on at the moment!

2017 is Cwm Prysor’s year!

‘Dad and Lass’ courtesy of Modelu – forever on my layouts….

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Have a Brake? Have a Ki…. Pipe Wagon

While the hordes flock to Warley this weekend to froth andĀ 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’dĀ 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 ontoĀ 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 detailĀ 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 Ā£13.50-Ā£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. Ā 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! šŸ˜‰

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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!