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About this blog

The highs, high-rises, lows and low-reliefs of constructing a West Midlands set fictional AC electric layout in a shed.

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More video.

Funny thing, model railways. Some enjoy the hobby by building and hand knitting their own stock or buildings. At the other extreme, some enjoy a "roundy roundy" train set on a board with some sidings and scenery. Those who enjoy exhibiting will adopt a more "theatrical" style with well made scenery, and a non-scenic back stage so that it looks like you are trainspotting and instead of the train going on to Glasgow or wherever, it's just run round the corner onto a plywood plank. Having done s

Details and Figures

Following on from weathering the track, today in the shed was focussed on finishing the little details and installing figures to bring things to life. It's 1988 and WMT have started painting their Fleetlines in doom grey.  One of them has pulled up outside In Cod We Trust and the driver is leaning against the post box having an animated discussion with an off duty colleague, whilst the passengers wait in the sunshine on the bench.  The chippy manageress has stepped outside and is chattin

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Nearly there.

Having undertaken a number of test runs, I have finally been able to do ballasting and weathering.  I decided to mix wallpaper paste powder in with a 50-50 mix of black and grey fine ballast as I had heard it is less likely to set like concrete and given the way I keep rebuilding the damn layout when my "butterfly mind" settles on a better plan, I figured anything that means future track changes won't require the aid of a mechanical stripper must be worth a try.  I have to say it was worth it. 

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Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible...

With RMWeb having been off air for some time, I've been able to progress work on the layout further.  Further testing revealed a noticeable voltage drop which caused some trains to crawl around the curve, then shoot off like a scalded cat as soon as line voltage was reached, which was cured by an additional bus feed at the other end of the fiddle yard (it seems that the dodgy track laying and joint gaps in the fiddle yard were the cause) but having now tested the track with a range of locos and

Test Running Commenced

Today I needed to sort out the pointwork in the fiddle yard that my brand new, and very expensive Class 47 diesel took a dislike to. Fortunately I had some spare points, and one happy consequence of the rejigged fiddle yard is I do now have a loop long enough to take a full length 7 car HST, or 8 Mk2s without fouling the other loops. However, nothing ever quite goes to plan as whilst I now have pointwork the 47 can cope with, I found the equally pricey Bachmann Mk2F coaches seem to have a proble

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More Progress

Past couple of days have seen me doing a major tidy up in the shed, mainly to stop me breaking my neck tripping over various boxes and other bits of wood, but also some track cleaning and some more scenic work.  I used some "mud" texture paint to coat areas which will end up looking like neglected wasteland, which dried to a pleasant coffee colour, ideal for the slightly sandy soils I wanted to simulate.  It needs a bit of weathering, which I'll do with paint pigment, and a bit of spare ballast

Gwneud y pethau bychan

Our Patron Saint, David, would almost certainly have been a railway modeller.  Why?  He exhorted his followers to "Gwneud y pethau bychan" or do the little things.  It's odd how little things can transform a model, so as the wind is still too much for comfortable shed work, I've been doing little things. Little things like adding parapets and Armco to Euneda Highway.  The parapets are some moulded wood trip I filched from a friend who no longer needed it, painted with Posca paint pens in ma

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Forget the bus on a bridge. How about a bus station on a tunnel instead?

One of the features of the layout which has been there in all versions is the raised area hiding the curve back to the fiddle yard. Originally it was because I would need a very tight curve at that end and as I'm not a fan of "trainset" curves, I thought it would be good to hide it under a "town square" as in real life many towns are lumpy. Think Birmingham New Street or Walsall where the station entrance is higher (although in the case of Walsall the Rugeley annexe is at street level), and the

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Park Life part 2. Now with added - erm - life...

Given the weather forecast was way out today and I managed to get to the shed without losing the door in a hoolie, I decided to add some recently bought children and mummies to the park, as well as finishing off the council house adjacent to Euneda Highway. The park with the lighting set to "summer dusk" (orange tint with 50% light level) as the plastic citizens of Wednesford cool off in the park as the sun sets.  The phone camera doesn't show the effect very well but with the Mk1 eyeball i

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Mini Shed Talk: Happenstance

Having used the last of my 3mm plastic offcut sheets under the Moriah-Carey chapel and the ex Market Tavern, and with a new batch on delivery, I didn't expect to be able to complete the "Tudor Court" collection of half timbered buildings until it came.  However, having had a furtle through the stuff in my spare room I discovered an unopened pack of art boards from when I used to go to the village art group.  I used to buy them in bulk, daub some local scenes, or nice trains on them and at the an

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The Scenic Mantlepiece

Continued relatively quiet and mild weather has allowed me to move at pace with the scenic "modules" on the shelf which will now run behind the track.  I bought a number of A4 sized 3mm deep plastic sheet offcuts from Tatbay which have rigidity and the weather resistance needed for the shed, so I have broken down the developments along the back into A4 sized lengths, roughly.  Unfortunately the "mantlepiece" isn't quite A4 width, so I've had to wield the Dremel to the boards to cut them down a b

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Today's Shed Talk: Park Life.

As the weather has been quiet again, and with the help of a small fan heater, work on the layout is progressing nicely. Despite My Herpes having lost track of a roll of instant lawn for the layout, I found I had sufficient to finish off the park area so I decided to do the park, after having weathered down the roads on the Poplars estate with neat black powder paint. Really, I should have ballasted the track and installed the OHLE before doing the park, but apart from a couple of trees, everythi

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The Poplars Estate

Another short work session in the shed today as I've had a bit of gippy gut but long enough to do a bit of scenic work on the Poplars estate board, mainly sticking down the paving I recycled, some landscaping and making a start on painting the emery cloth roads. Now you might think why the hell paint the emery cloth, which is pretty black, with a grey asphalt colour only to then add black paint pigment when dry? Well the answer is the emery cloth is too uniform black, and roads tend to, just lik

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The Rebuild Continues

With the weather being nice and quiet, today I made a start on making the new higher level scenic shelf onto which some of the previous scenery is being moved and expanded. Moving the tracks to the centreline of the baseboard has given me some room behind, which I decided should be a brick retained higher level area to create the impression of the approaches to New Street or Walsall from the Rugeley direction, creating an urban backdrop which should highlight the trains nicely. Originally I was

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It's all gone quiet over there....

You may be wondering why things have been quiet at Wednesford.  Or not.  The reason for the long radio silence is I've decided on yet another rebuild.  Having already rebuilt the main layout after the original plan of an island platform immediately posed problems with track cleaning, threading a rubber between platform structures and the OHLE, I then rebuilt it to have a single platform at the back.  Trouble is this introduced a nasty reverse curve under the raised scenic board, which has cau

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Facebook shocker

I know Facebook is about as popular round here as a Garry Glitter-Rolf Harris comeback tour, but it has just reminded me of this little item I posted a while back: "Question for the sparkies out there: I am right in thinking you can't use eco-lighting with dimmer switches? Only I've got this mad idea for the new model railway shed of having three dimmer-controlled lights, orange at each end of the shed and a daylight bulb in the middle, to "mix" to create sunrise to sunset lighting "ambience"

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Weathering, take 2

You wait months and two blog entries come together... Having experimented successfully yesterday with neat paint pigment powder as a trackbed weathering medium, today I turned my attention back to the rolling stock, to test a possible source of significantly cheaper pigment: Ladies eyeshadow.   Yes ladies, your eyeshadow will now be under threat from the modeller in your life. My brother, an expert sci-fi modeller, suggested this hack, so I bought a pack of 6 Goth-like shades (whit

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Weathering

It's been a bit quiet on the blog, but not on Wednesford.  I've turned my attention to weathering,  I had a go at weathering some rolling stock with Tamiya weathering pigments, which my brother had pointed me in the direction of.  I've really enjoyed weathering using these powders, although my brother has pointed out that ladies face paint is a similar pigment but can be bought at a fraction of the price.  It seems that rust, road dirt, toilet effluvia and brake block dust are this year's eye sh

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On the Fiddle and Wombourne v3.0

A relatively calm day before the storm has allowed me to further refine the layout.  For some time the drawbridge giving me access to the shed without having to learn to limbo was causing me issues with track, and current reliability, so I bit the bullet (I do like chomping down on ordnance it seems...) and screwed it down.  The height of the layout - sort of nipple height - means I don't have to bend too much to get in and I thought it a reasonable sacrifice for better running.  The drawbridge

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The Summer of '66

The prolonged nice spell has enabled me to progress some bits and bobs on the layout, but the main works have been an extra heavy clean, stock sorting and a rethink on the backscene, to make it easier to remove for access to the fiddle yard behind.  However, I've also been doing some work on the stock. Today, I repaired and converted a DC Kits AL1 in 1966-7 livery, which I had bought many moons ago and which was fitted with a Black Beetle, to which I fitted a DCC converted Hornby 86 chassis. 

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The Wombourne Identity

Helped by calm and relatively mild weather I've been catching up on the rebuild and have now moved onto the revised Wombourne.  I also discovered a few more pieces of the Kibri office block I managed to demolish before it could be used on the Civic, so have been able to stretch the Aunty Edna's confectionary admin offices and development labs.   A quick post out by the Model Tree Company from where I bought the half depth trees has meant I can finalise the backdrop.  In reality, no

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AC Electrics announce the closure of their Wednesford factory...

Looking at photos of the layout can sometimes give you a different perspective and show things that just don't quite work. Way back when I started "Wednesford" and had a working Aldi 3d printer, I designed some gable ends in an industrial corrugated concrete or metal style, which were intended to look like a factory wall on top of the retaining wall. They printed out to a scale 43 ft high and 44 feet wide, so were an impressive "ultra low relief" factory gable, about 1 cm deep. They printed o

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We're Getting There...

...as BR were fond of saying at one point.  Wednesford and Wombourne v2.0 is now in the final stages of completion, with ballast laid at Wednesford, and some overdue tidying up of some dodgy modelling.  Longer term I intend to install street and building lighting and passive provision has been made by raising the scenic boards by about a centimetre.  Today was the first chance I had to see all the boards in place alongside the station (I still have a little work to do on the Swan Centre scenic m

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More fiddly work and nearly supergluing my fingers together...

My order of additional OHL masts hasn't arrived yet so I concentrated my efforts on the concrete troughing, re-installing the lineside cabinets, a couple of test runs and trying out the knob pin spacers to raise the scenic modules enough to allow me to add lighting at some point without the wiring snagging on the baseboards.  Considerable amounts of superglue were used, some of which nearly welded my fingers together. Concrete troughs.  With a wider than average six foot, they've been laid

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