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Railway Modelling Ramblings

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Looking forward to Chatham this weekend 20/21st July 2024

As Fen End Pit is going out this weekend to the historic dockyard at Chatham this afternoon was spend preparing. Each baseboard has been checked and all the locos checked out and cleaned. Fortunately everything checked seemed to be fine, just a few minor tweaks here and there but hopefully we are now ready. Just need to have a finally check-over the dragline.     Looking forward to the show, please come and say 'Hi'. This is our only booked show this year, things have been v

J17 - Kit finally available

So, after literally years of work, I have finally completed the J17 kit and it has been released by my friends at Brassmasters. The kit was officially first available at ExpoEM and some people have purchased one to build. It was a good feeling to see Jim Smith-Wright build the test etches, make such a nice job of it and apparently enjoy the process. (Yes, the push rods for the sanding gear were put on before Jim had the instructions telling him which way up they were meant to go - sorry Jim!)

Little grey? Fergie - did I go too far?

I had a first go at weathering the Ferguson tractor. I don't really have much experience with weathering vehicles and even less experience with Vallejo acrylics. I think I'm fairly happy with the outcome but would welcome your opinions. I do note looking a the prices of tractors on Ebay that I have added a couple of thousand to the price by weathering it as it would appear that you pay less for a 'restored' tractor than you do for a 'barn find' by about £2000.      

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Fen End Pit

More work on the Fergie

I liked the look of the Fergie, but decided that the steering mechanism was very 'representational'. The 3D model just had a couple of bumps meant to represent the steering rod and axle supports. I decided to try and model a better mechanism. I was able to import the STL file into CAD and then try to draw up the extra parts. The original model was designed to be printed on a filament printer so the detail was quite simple.   Ideally I would have removed the original features from the m

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Fen End Pit

Little Grey Fergie

Techy bit ----   So this weekend I took delivery of my shiny new Anycubic Photon M5S Pro and a Wash-and-cure station. This was ordered direct from Anycubic and arrived 5 days sooner that the original delivery date. The printer has a 10" build plate so it considerably larger than my old Phrozen Sonic mini 4K. It also has the advantage of wifi connectivity so I can monitor progress in the garage from my warm workbench in the house. The printer also comes with a heater which means I don't

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Fen End Pit

How does your garden grow? With 16mm Garden tools, obviously

Following a request for some garden tools I took to the Thingiverse and found a couple of items to print. The spade, fork and grass rake were made for 12th scale but scaled down to 16mm without too much issue. I then drew up a rake and, because I couldn't find ones I like the look of, a watering can and plant pots.     The nice thing about the plant pots was that I only had to draw one size and then scale them in the slicer on the printer to get a range of sizes.  

Crowsnest inspired Weighbridge

Inspired by Roy Link's model documented in The Crowsnest Chronicles and at the request of a user on 'another well known Narrow Gauge Railway Modelling Online forum' I modeled up the weighing equipment to go into a weighbridge hut. I'm quite pleased with the result and it captures the prototype pretty well. I was amused that the drawing in Roy's book didn't actually match the model he'd built and I opted to cheat with a design for the scroll-work found for me by Google.   First a couple

A scale set of scales

I was reminded of the rather nice drawing of a set of coal scales in Roy Link's superb Crowsnest Chronicles book and while I can't match his version with lots of beautifully panto-graph milled pieces I thought I'd have a go at modelling it up in CAD to 3D print. As this model is in 16mm:1ft scale it took a while to print (a little over 5 hours) at .03mm layer height on my Phrozen Sonic mini 4K. I printed double of some of the smaller pieces just in case there were issues.    

A few months work, Ivatt Class 2, J17 and loads of tiny bits for a Coronation (no not that one)

Blimey I've not put anything on the blog since August. I must be slacking...  There has been a fair amount going on but not much progress to write about.   Progress on the Ivatt has been good, however I felt that the original Brassmasters pony truck, a work of art and perfectly good product, was in a different league to the rest of the EasiChas I had been designing. Discussing with the Brassmasters at Scaleforum we decided to try to design an 'EasiPonyTruck' with the aim to making

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Ivatt 2MT

Progress on a possible J17 kit - part 3 - the tender

During the week I assemble the chassis for the J17 tender which went together well apart from me drawing the holes for the brake hangers in the wrong place. Artwork correction took marginally longer than drilling 6 holes in the right places. I've stuck two pieces of copper-clad sleeper strip down the inside of the chassis and soldered the pickup wire onto these. While I have metal brake blocks and hangers on the etch I thought it would be interested to try 3D printing them and see how they worke

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in J17 Build

Progress on a possible J17 kit - part 2 - self quartering P4 wheels anyone?

In my previous blog on this subject I mentioned I'd 3D printed some wheel centres to fit into Alan Gibson 4'10" tyres. I put these into my test chassis and got it working but I was not entirely happy with the result. The issue I believe is that 'Gibson Style' wheels rely on having the centre molded out of a fairly 'grippy' plastic, the hole through the centre is designed to be a good tight fit on an 1/8th inch axle. even so most of us have had a wheel be a bit loose at times and some people reso

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in J17 Build

A day out at Bressingham

On Sunday Fen End Pit visited the Narrow Gauge show being organised at Bressingham Steam Museum in Norfolk. It was an excellent day out and thanks are due to the organising team for putting on a good show. We were able to set up on the Saturday evening which meant a much more relaxed setup and an extra hours' lie-in. The layout worked pretty well, no big issues which impacted operation. As usual my son produced a long list of 'improvements' to keep me busy for a few months.    

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Fen End Pit

Progress on a possible J17 kit

Since I built my J17 by scrapping most of the parts of a PDK kit and making my own etched and 3D printed bits I have been thinking about the possibility of turning the result into a kit. A first draft of the artwork was turned into nickel-silver by PPD with help from my good friends at Brassmasters. (If this turns into a kit that will be where it will come from). The intention is the use etched metal for the chassis and thin bits like the cab and foot plate while 3D printing the complex shapes l

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in J17 Build

Progress on an Ivatt kit

I've been working on a chassis and detailing kit for a Bachmann Ivatt class 2 2-6-0 tender loco for several years now with my friends from Brassmasters. Progress has been sporadic but we recently received another set of test etches from PPD and this time we got two copies, one is being build by one of the Brassmasters team using the full Easi-Chas approach using the Bachmann motor and gears and mine is being built using a High Level gearbox and motor. This later option allows you to fill in the

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Ivatt 2MT

Excellent day out with the Norfolk and Suffolk Narrow Gauge modellers

Yesterday we took Fen End Pit out to the Norfolk and Suffolk Narrow Gauge modellers open day in exotic Beccles and an excellent day was had by all. It took us a few minutes longer to put the layout up than it should. I'd forgotten which way around the legs went after nearly 3 years since the last show (must label them better!)  I'd checked each baseboard out and cleaned everything and everything worked pretty well.  We seemed to be appreciated by the public (several children not old enough to kn

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit - No shows for years then two come along.

I'm really pleased that after having no shows for what seems like years owing to the pandemic we finally have the opportunity to take Fen End Pit out again.   Next Saturday, 3rd June, we are going to the Norfolk and Suffolk Narrow Gauge Modellers' open day in Beccles. https://www.ukmodelshops.co.uk/event/y2023/25165-NorfolkSuffolkNarrowGaugeModellers_OpenDay   Then, all being well, we are attending the Bressingham Narrow Gauge model railway show on Sunday 9th July.

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Fen End Pit

Clare Telephone exchanges - ready to receive your call

After several weeks and lots of help from RMwebber UAX6 I now finally have the Type A and Type B telephone exchange completed. For such relatively simple building there are some subtle details which are quite difficult to get right. The slight 'pagoda' look to the hip roof of the B and the little tiles on the quoins of the smaller Type A.   There a a few very interesting websites with lots of photographs of different exchanges and these have lots of photographs of similar buildings fro

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Stour Valley

Stour Valley Dream - Driver's eye view

I had a bit of fun with a miniature camera.       I've also continued to work on the low-relief malting buildings for the far corner of the layout. I'm rather pleased with the brickwork, just trying to pluck up the courage to add the mortar mix. The different colours of brickwork came out very well thanks to Tamiya masking tape.     I'm quite pleased with the way the loading area looks. Even though you won't be able to see much of it in the end.

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Stour Valley

Clare Maltings and telephone exchanges

In my previous blog entry I talked about using planning records to help research buildings at Clare. These have certainly help but what has helped even more is the advice and assistance from another RMweb contributor. Uax6 immediately recognized two small builds as Type A and Type B telephone exchange buildings and was able to give me loads of information regarding their construction. The 16 page 1950's tender document informing contractors the requirements to build one of these buildings was fa

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Stour Valley

Researching buildings - Check out local planning applications

So I'm finally making a start on the buildings adjacent to the goods yard at Clare. We have a large maltings, still existing as an antiques centre, and a pair of buildings, one with a hipped roof and the other with a pitched roof. One of these is marked on one site plan as 'telephone exchange'.   The maltings has been heavily altered but the current 'Greek portico' is just an embellishment of the original loading area where lorries would reverse in to tip grain.    

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Stour Valley

Christmas engineering work

One of my Christmas presents this year was a Sunfounder 10' touch screen designed to fit a Raspberry Pi. How my wife knew I wanted one of these is a mystery, must have been something to do with the hints I dropped. Today I managed to get JMRI installed on it and make up a simple panel to show the fiddleyard of my Stour Valley layout. I intend to also try using it on Fen End Pit. The touch screen works rather well as just touching the point changes it, also if the point get changed by other means

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Stour Valley

Building a kit, and actually following the instructions. An RT Models Sentinel

Last Christmas I was given an RT Models sentinel kit and I have to say it was thoroughly enjoyable to put together. Also, given that the kit comes complete with a gearbox and motor, I thought it represented excellent value for money. Readers of this blog will know that there aren't many kits that I build which don't involve remaking at least some parts, either having to get bits etched where the original design is wrong or 3D printing components where features haven't been supplied. With this li

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Stour Valley

Back with the blog - Stour Valley progress

After over a year away it is time to return to the blog. A lot has happened during the last couple of years which has got in the way but I'm to be back in a position where I can share what I've been building.    Progress on my scalefour model of Clare has continued slowly. The most noticeable progress being on the area around the level crossing. Thanks to some help from members of this forum I was able to get some plans of the '1865 standard' crossing keeper's cottage. Like all standar

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Stour Valley

Another old friend and more Irish diversions

The welcome return of High Level Kits caused me to order, amongst other things, one of Chris' 'Rustlers'. I've had an 4mm Impetus Ruston 48DS in various states of rebuild for the 35 years I've had it. My attempts to motorise it have been many and varied but I'd always been stuck driving only one axle. The advantage of the Rustler was that it drives both axles using High Level's usual high quality gears. I had to make my own 4-wheel chassis to fit the gearbox in but this wasn't too difficult usin

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in 3D print projects

Return of an old friend and some experimentation with walls

Over the past month I decided to try and resurrect an ancient locomotive from my collection. It's not that we've discovered a source of high pressure Geo-thermal steam in Clare, it is just that I fancied trying to get the old Impetus Andrew Barclay fireless to work again. I first built this loco about 20 years ago and I can remember my son, who was about 5 at the time, drawing steam locomotives with their cylinders at the wrong end for months afterwards! The loco was built with a split axle desi

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Quay side

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