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Captain's Blog

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A new-old pannier for Bethesda Sidings

Some folk may be aware that I recently bought two whitemetal kit panniers from @Tony Wright, which he was selling on behalf of the builder and previous owner, Peter Lawson. I understand that the ex-GW locos listed on Tony's thread are only a small selection from a much larger collection, most of which (if not all?) I gather are to be sold, due to the unfortunate ill health of the owner.   Anyway, the two panniers arrived here at Kernow Towers a few weeks ago and were posed on the layou

'Sir Harry'

Recently, I decided to treat myself.   When the Hornby W4 Peckett came out, like some of us, I went a little mad and ended up buying four examples, over a period of time. Not all at once, you understand, that really would be silly.   I thought that at least one could be converted to P4, seeings as I model in both OO and P4. One I would fit scale couplings to, weather and allocate to one of the outrageously improbable OO light railways that I'm rather fond of modelling.  

Converting a Dapol Class 22 to P4 - photos being restored February 2023

There was quite a lot of debate on the Class 22 thread a while back about how one might convert it to EM or P4. I think that the EM gauge fraternity generally decided that the existing wheels could be pulled out slightly on their existing axles, and I hope that this has worked out for them.   This wasn't going to work in P4, and the original wheels could only have been used if they were turned down to P4 profiles. Some folk have suggested fitting P4 tyres to the existing Dapol wheels,

More wagons.

I like building wagons and converting RTR ones to P4. I find it quite relaxing, in modelling terms. You can do as much or as little as you like in one sitting at the work bench.   I've also been reviewing the collection of OO wagons that I have. Since I sold 'Engine Wood' a few years ago, some of the rolling stock that I have acquired isn't really needed any longer, so some of it will be sold and a few items converted to P4, especially as they will already have been weathered.  

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow in More wagons.

'The Other House'

This cottage in Parkend is, I believe, known these days as 'The Nook'. Certainly this is the name given to it by John Stretton in 'The Dean Forest Railway, a Past & Present Companion', Volume 2 (Silver Link Publishing).   This cottage, plus the house to it's left (the former Police House and Police Station for Parkend and currently known as 'Hazledene') are very close to the end of the Marsh branch at Parkend, which is the subject of Re6/6's current P4 project -  Howeve

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow in Stone cottage

56XX chassis repairs in P4

A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to buy a Mainline 56XX at a show, that had been converted to P4 by a well-known professional modelmaker, from the man himself. The loco features a scratchbuilt chassis (with single rocker compensation), Ultrascale wheels and a Portescap motor.   When I first bought it, it ran really smoothly. The chassis needed a little paint re-touching and the body has been waiting for a few additional details, but it is essentially a nice and useful loco.

New OO wheelsets for Heljan diesels

One of the reasons for building 'Bethesda Sidings', was to be able to run some of my existing OO stock, without having to put 'Bleakhouse Road' up, the latter being too big to leave set up at home for any length of time.   I like to operate a green diesel sequence on my layouts, so I decided to test my Hymek and Class 33 on 'Bethesda Sidings' recently. To my irritation, I found that the Heljan wheelsets didn't like the OO-SF points on the layout.   Both locos are original iss

Recent work - wagons and weathering

Recent work includes the completion of four Cambrian 'Herring' ballast hoppers in P4, which will be used on 'Callow Lane' (and in due course, my planned Forest of Dean cameo layout) and also on Re6/6's 'Parkend Marsh Sidings' layout:       Here are the four Herring so far completed. All are unsprung and uncompensated, having established (prior to recent lockdowns) that this format runs OK on Re6/6's Marsh Sidings layout.   As 'Callow Lane' isn't se

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow in Recent work

16XX (P4) running in

Having been granted a further day to keep the P4 circuit in place, I've been making the most of it, with further running in activity taking place. This time, it's the turn of my P4 16XX pannier, 1650. Here's a rather wobbly panned photo:   This loco was built as a commission for me several years ago, when I thought that I would have a completed P4 layout to take to shows, so it was a means of saving me some modelling time, as I needed to work on the layout itself ('Callow Lane').

RTR running in (P4)

I am currently running another RTR loco in, this time a Class 24 in P4, which is destined for use on 'Callow Lane'.   Although I do use a rolling road, I prefer, where possible, to undertake running in on actual track.   The P4 circuit is 7' 6" in diameter and is effectively a circle of 'P4 set track', made up from sections of C&L flexi track, curved and held in the correct radius by copper clad sleepers.   I wish I had a permanent space for this, but the dining

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow in P4 running in

More RTR running in

Whilst I am waiting for the weathering paint on the 74XX chassis to harden off, together with the matt varnish on the loco body, I've set up my circle of Lima track again, to run a few RTR offerings in.   Yesterday I gave a Hornby W4 Peckett (PoLA blue livery) and a Model Rail Sentinel (WD livery) a good few hours stretch each. Both are destined to be 'military' locos on 'Bethesda Sidings', making occasional trips down the light railway to Bethesda yard. New nameplates were obtained fr

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow

Modifying a High Level gearbox

My current project is the conversion of a Bachmann 64XX pannier tank to a 74XX (almost identical, but not auto-fitted and thus much more suited for a goods-only branch in the Welsh borders), which will be used on my new OO layout 'Bethesda Sidings'. I've been posting occasion updates on the project on my layout thread here -  Being generally far too fussy and anal about smooth, slow running for my own good, I have once again found that the Bachmann RTR chassis just doesn't 'cut the mustard

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow

Loco changes

Following the sale of my first layout 'Engine Wood' in 2018, there is little, if any work for the large tender engines that used to work on that layout. Most of them are really too large for my remaining S&D layout 'Bleakhouse Road' and aren't suitable for 'Bethesda Sidings' either.   With no realistic prospect of another 'main line' type S&D layout in the offing, I have decided to dispose of one of the largest tender locos, West Country No. 34001 'Exeter'. I am keeping the oth

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow

Helping out on the Southern

I was at Scaleforum last weekend, helping Rod C (10800) and John F (Re6/6) with the massive Ouse Valley Viaduct and Balcombe station layout, representing a chunk of the Brighton main line in P4. It is truly a project on an epic scale, both in size and the understandable gestation period of the layout.   Also of this parish, Brian H (Taz) and Nick R (Brinkly) were also on the team. Although the layout itself is essentially the work of the first two gentlemen (John and Rod) only, both Br

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow

Hattons/DJM 14XX - now completed

I've now finished weathering 1458 and the loco is now considered 'ready for service'.   1458 and 1420 were the two regular locos on the Kington and Presteigne goods services in the early 1960s, until the lines finally closed in 1964. Both continued in service for a few months, with 1420 getting preserved by the Dart Valley Railway and 1458 seeing her days out on the Chalford auto trains, shedded at Gloucester.   In my timeline, the railway beyond Kington to New Radnor was not

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow

A Dean Goods

Whilst the 14XX 0-4-2 is more closely associated with the last years of goods services to Kington and Presteigne, Dean Goods locos did once work through from Rhayader to Leominster, when the through route via Capel Bethesda, New Radnor and Kington was open. It seemed appropriate, therefore, to have an example on the roster for 'Bethesda Sidings', working the occasional goods train from Leominster and back.   I am aware that much has been written about the Oxford Rail model, not all of

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow

New chassis for the Hattons 14XX - Part 5

The project to replace the chassis on my first Hattons/DJM 14XX is now almost complete.   Following the replacement of the number plates and the minor repair to the steam heating pipe arrangements mentioned in previous blogs, I have now painted and weathered the chassis and re-assembled it.   The chassis, minus the driving wheels, was first brush painted with Halfords red oxide primer (sprayed into the aerosol lid). I didn't want to remove the motor and all the associated hassle of excessive

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow

Hattons/DJM 14XX - a small repair

Although I have complained about the Hattons/DJM mechanism and chassis at length, I have never had any major criticisms of the body on this model and this remains the case, apart from the fact that you have to dismantle the body, in order to get the Hattons/DJM motor out, without resorting to the use of a mains Dremel.   The level of detailing is very fine and some of the components are, by their very nature, somewhat delicate.   The pipe runs along the edge of the footplate are a case in po

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow

Renumbering the Hattons/DJM 14XX

I decided to re-number my Hattons/DJM 14XX today.   Much has been said about the 'sunken' number plates adopted by DJ Models for GW prototypes (14XX, 1363) and I have to say that I have yet to meet anyone who likes them.   Some folk have decided that they're happy to live with the 'sunken' plates, which is fine.   Those who need to re-number their model, however, have a choice - either remove the existing 'sunken' plates or simply stick new ones over the top of them.   It's been said by

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow

New chassis for the Hattons 14XX - Part 4

It's been a while since the last blog entry and part of the reason for that has been my having to devote time to a fairly major DIY job at home, which is thankfully now more or less completed.   The previous entry had concluded with a virtually operational chassis, which required detailing.   The brake gear was indeed added at this stage:   By this stage, all the work involved in modifying the Hattons/DJM body to fit the (also modified) Perseverance chassis had been done and in many ways,

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow

New chassis for the Hattons 14XX - Part 3

Further work on the chassis has seen a rolling chassis, now powered by a Mashima 1220 and a slim flywheel and the High Level gearbox 'lash-up' that I described earlier.   Pick ups haven't been fitted yet, so the chassis has been tested on the still-embryonic 'Bethesda Sidings' with some very thin wander leads attached directly to a hand-held controller:       I'm pleased to say that I have now finally got the nice, smooth, slow speed control that I have always wanted for this loco. Th

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow

New chassis for the Hattons 14XX - Part 2

I concluded the previous blog entry on this subject by saying that the next job would be to fettle the Perseverance frames to fit the Hattons/DJM body. These are the frames as provided on the Perseverance etch:   And separated from the fret:   The 'topography' of the underside of the Hattons/DJM footplate moulding called for some initial modifications to the tops of the Perseverance frames:   Further adjustments were subsequently made, particularly with regard to removing additional met

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow

New chassis for the Hattons 14XX

I've been expressing my dissatisfaction with the chassis and mechanism of the Hattons/DJM 14XX for some time now and I have finally started to do something about it.   The background to this is that I need a 14XX as the 'signature' loco for my new 'cameo' shunting layout 'Bethesda Sidings', which is a fictitious location on a proposed-but-never-built GW route between New Radnor and Rhyader in Mid-Wales. With the addition of the outrageously improbable 'Vale of Radnor Light Railway' joining the

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow

7mm test track

I've been diverted slightly from the construction of 'Bethesda Sidings' by the desire to get my 7mm test track up and running. I could easily have gone out and bought a yard of Peco track, but I wanted to build some myself, using some copper clad sleepers that I had.   First of all, the copper clad sleepers (spare 4mm ones) were cut to length and laid out on a piece of flat board, with a straight line drawn on to help things:   As this is only a test length of track, I didn't go for standar

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow

A J72 for Bethesda Sidings - Part 3

It's been a while since the previous blog entry covering the refurbishment of this loco and in fact, the remaining work was completed fairly soon after the previous blog entry, but I've just not got around to posting the remaining photos.   'Jennifer' portrays an ex-LNER J72 that was sold-out-of-service to the Vale of Radnor Light Railway, which is an outrageously improbable line that ran to Capel Bethesda station on the line between New Radnor and Rhayader in Mid-Wales, near the English borde

Captain Kernow

Captain Kernow

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