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The EMpire Project


Frantic activity at Empire Mills - anyone would think we have an exhibition next month!

Posted by drduncan , in Baseboards, Electrics, Where to see us 13 October 2015 - * * * * - · 442 views
4mm scale, em gauge, GWR and 3 more...
I haven't posted for a while - this doesn't mean we haven't been doing anything we have - well I haven't but the team has. However, with an exhibition looming we have had a burst of activity that quite frankly puts our gentle summer progress to shame.

The show - its all about the show after all - is the South Hants MRC's exhibition in Portsmouth on 21 No...


Meetings, Planning, and Teaching

Posted by garethashenden , 13 April 2015 - - - - - - · 246 views

Yesterday we had our first official layout group meeting. Probably should have done it sooner, but better late than never. In this we discussed follow up from Ally Pally, things that went well and things that didn't. We also covered what needs to be done before our next outing (Portsmouth in November) and who is to do what. Up until now the layout has gon...


And its over - until the next outing...

Posted by drduncan , 01 April 2015 - - - - - - · 559 views
EM gauge, 4mm scale, china clay
After a very hectic 3 days Friday to Sunday, the Ally Pally show is over! And despite our fears on Saturday that we weren't putting on a good show for the public, people were extremely complimentary about Empire Mills thought the exhibition and we came away with about a couple of enquiries about magazine articles and half a dozen or so invitations to othe...


The mad rush before a deadline

Posted by garethashenden , in Where to see us, Rolling stock, Scenery 17 March 2015 - * * * * * · 290 views
We will be at the London Festival of Railway Modelling at Alexandra Palace the 28/29 of March. As this is now less than two weeks away, we have been working frantically to get the layout presentable. Since the last post the entire team has been working hard and the sort of stuff we have been doing includes:
Making a new 'roof' for the layout which will h...


At last! A solution to our grass problem

Posted by garethashenden , in Scenery 09 February 2015 - * * * * * · 525 views

Early on we decided to cover the front and back of the layout, most of the actual scenery, with carpet underlay. This produced a good effect, especially with a little bit of effort. It did, however, leave us with a dilemma about the middle of the layout. We tried a few different techniques for the ground cover round the various sidings, static grass, grou...


Hard at it at Empire Mills

Posted by drduncan , 03 December 2014 - - - - - - · 512 views
MRC, Empire Project, EM Gauge and 1 more...
Last Sunday the team met up to continue to work on Empire Mills.

The first job was to remove one of the lift out sections so it would be easier to work on the new loading bank area. To get the lift out section out, however, required lots of swearing, several broken knife blades, and a great deal of straining in order to break the seal of the glue and pai...


MRC Open Day 16/11/14 11-4

Posted by garethashenden , in Where to see us 15 November 2014 - - - - - - · 171 views

The Model Railway Club's Autumn Open Day is Tomorrow 16/11/14. Empire Mills will be operating along with Copenhagen Fields, Lacey Dale and a visiting 3mm layout.

11 to 4 at Keen House, Kings Cross, London. £3 for non-members.


Come by and say hello.


Further Scenic Developments - Bushes!

Posted by garethashenden , in Scenery 09 November 2014 - * * * * * · 392 views
EM, MRC, Scenery, Bushes and 1 more...
Well I've spent the day making bushes and a hedge. I've found a pretty straightforward technique that gives pleasing results.

To start off, we had already placed rubberised horsehair around the layout as a first step. It had all be sprayed brown before placement but they didn't really look that good. So here's what I did to improve the looks.

I sprinkle...


Long time, no blog

Posted by garethashenden , in Scenery 14 September 2014 - - - - - - · 223 views

Time for an update.

Over the summer we have been poking away at various projects on the layout and things are really starting to come together.

I've been working on a few early GWR wagons the past few weeks. Here is a mostly finished David Keen kit in front of one of the clay dries. Just need to finish the lettering and add couplings. Maybe a bit of wea...


A busy Sunday

Posted by drduncan , in Scenery 29 June 2014 - - - - - - · 469 views
MRC, EM gauge, 4mm scale
The Empire Mills team have had a busy day.

Les has been hard at work first replacing the highly temporary loading platform that Gareth had to cobble together to show the BBC - who then cancelled the day before the shoot.

The new loading platform will be stonefaced toward the track, with the ground falling away gently on the platform side.

While t...


Emergency Platforms

Posted by garethashenden , in Scenery 09 June 2014 - - - - - - · 302 views
em, fast scenery, mrc
Having removed a sizable portion of scenery yesterday I was informed this morning that the BBC would be filming something in the club later this week and could I please position some stock on the layout. I've spent my afternoon at the club making both the new loading dock and the platform on the large clay dry presentable.

The foamboard we had cut to rou...


Empire Mills: the new loading dock

Posted by drduncan , 09 June 2014 - - - - - - · 418 views
GWR, EM guage, 4mm scale and 3 more...
Gareth has been pointing out for a while that a loading dock was a good idea. I had been resisting this on the grounds I didn't think one was needed what with two china clay dries on the layout. However, Gareth unfairly used both logic and prototype knowledge to undermine my case for glorious inactivity.

He noted that post WW1 sack traffic if moved by cl...


Empire Mills: the Volvo strikes back

Posted by drduncan , 30 May 2014 - - - - - - · 282 views

The open day went very well and we got a great deal of interest, so hopefully in the next few weeks we'll see some new members at the MRC and some new members of the Empire Mills team.

Last Sunday we had our first work session since the open day and one on which I had hoped to make progress with more cassettes for the fiddle yard. However, on starting th...


Empire Mills at the MRC Open Day

Posted by drduncan , 13 May 2014 - - - - - - · 426 views
mrc, 4mm, em gauge, china clay
Well, the MRC open day was a success!!!!!

It was, in fact a very enjoyable day - if hard work - and many people stopped by to chat about the wider layout project, Empire Mills as currently displayed, or AJ couplings (must do a post about these sometime soon as it the thing that got the most interest on the day).

In fact it has to be said that any proble...


Empire Mills - come see us in action at the MRC open day 11 May

Posted by drduncan , in Where to see us 08 May 2014 - - - - - - · 256 views
EM gauge, 4mm scale, china clay and 2 more...
Come see Empire Mills in something approaching glorious Technicolor and almost Dolby stereo quality sound at the Model Railway Club's open day on Sunday 11 May, 11am to 4pm!

We will be running (hopefully) Western Region diesel hydraulics (and Gareth's class 25 interloper as well as my 08 if the wasp stripes are done), BR china clay and mineral wagons.



Empire Mills: the CME's report 3 - the class 42 Warship

Posted by drduncan , in locomotives 02 May 2014 - - - - - - · 566 views
EM gauge, RTR conversions and 2 more...
Ultrascale drop in wheel sets are simply superb. They make converting loco's to EM gauge an absolute doddle - at least in theory...

Foxhound is one of Bachmann's creations and very nice it looked to, even if it was, to put it bluntly, narrow gauge. However, the loco's transition from OO narrow gauge ugly duckling to EM standard gauge swan was just a matt...


Empire Mills: the Wagon and Carriage Inspector's notebook

Posted by drduncan , in Rolling stock 01 May 2014 - - - - - - · 486 views
EM gauge, rolling stock and 1 more...
There has, it must be admitted, been a hint of discord between the CME's and Operating Departments. The Operating department (Gareth), following Empire Mills recent foray to the nether regions of north London, had reproached the CME's department (Duncan) over the dross a certain Wagon and Carriage Inspector (again Duncan) had been passing as fit for use -...


Empire Mills - The CME's report 2 - the Class 22

Posted by drduncan , 30 April 2014 - - - - - - · 680 views
EM gauge, Class 22 and 2 more...
The plan was just to pull out the wheels and file away the backs of the bogies to provide clearance. A rather course file was introduced to the bogies and just over 1 mm removed from each side of the bogie. I used a (borrowed) GW Models wheel puller - I really must get one of these things - to deal with the wheels and with a little bit of to-ing and fro-i...


Empire Mills: the CME'S report 1 - the western

Posted by drduncan , 30 April 2014 - - - - - - · 245 views
Class 52, EM gauge and 2 more...
Those happy few, that band of brothers (and sisters) who have seen Empire Mills in action will not have seen the projects' most shy and retiring inhabitant, the class 52 western hydraulic no 1067, Western Druid. The reason for this was simple; the line contoller (aka Gareth) had regretfully withdrawn it from the 1st XV (well 1st IV) due to antisocial tend...


The Water Feature

Posted by garethashenden , in Scenery 28 April 2014 - - - - - - · 195 views
Empire Mills, MRC, water, scenery
Water runs down hill. So, front and centre should be the wettest part of the layout because it it the lowest. I always find myself drawn to water on layouts so I thought I'd add something. The first problem is that there is no space for a sizable water feature. Adding to this, most of the basic landscaping had already been done, the hills are in place alo...

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