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The Highlands c1960

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Alterations to the Hornby Radial chassis

The Radial chassis as produced by Hornby and Oxford  has potential to fit several Scottish 4-4-0's with a bit of work. Here is how I adapted some to suit my fleet of locos - I used the Hornby one as a basis  even though it took more work, as the Oxford version shows the motor fitting under the boiler and although this can be altered it meant extra effort so I stuck with what I was familiar with. The wheels of the Radial are 5'7" in diameter - undersize for the widespread 6' variety that several

Ben Alder

Ben Alder in Category

Building a London Road models 50' turntable

The need for a decent UK outline turntable at Thurso was eventually solved by using the kit from LR Models and I thought I would add a few words about it here about it here, not really a blow by blow account but some observations, as it is something that most would build once, I would have thought, and thus have no fall back experience to draw on.   The kit is a nickel silver etch, and obviously well designed and thought through - I encountered no real problems with it, but it does nee

Ben Alder

Ben Alder in Category

Improving Peco points

For better or worse, I have stuck to 00 gauge all my modelling life, apart from a brief trial of EM about thirty years ago, which foundered on the twin rocks of chassis replacement and point building. I just did not have enough spare time ,or indeed interest in tackling PW, to devote to the hobby to achieve anything worthwhile in a wider gauge, so since then have used C&L plain track and Peco points along with Tracklay underlay. This was covered in a blog entry here- http://www.rmweb.co.uk/c

Ben Alder

Ben Alder in Category

Helmsdale- a Far North Line Background

As a companion piece to the other station on the layout, I will lay out the background to Helmsdale, about half way between Wick and Inverness, and an important staging post in steam days. It has the usual two platforms, typical HR goods shed with minimal goods facilities, but most interestingly for modellers, an engine shed where the Dornoch locos were maintained and some elderly pre-group engines were used for banking and PW duties. Until the end of steam, some services started/terminated here

Ben Alder

Ben Alder in Category

Thurso- a Far North Line background

I thought I would give a background to the terminus of my new build, which is based on, and called,Thurso- furthest north station in the UK. Using an actual name is of course a hostage to fortune, and some alterations to the layout have been made, but I have endeavoured to retain a degree of fidelity, albeit in the usual,for me, cramped site. The track layout is as it was in steam days, with the exception of the engine shed, which has been placed 180o to the original,and is a two road shed, as o

Ben Alder

Ben Alder in Category

Some scattered postings

An exercise in housekeeping here- a gathering of various topics I've posted, to help track them down as required.   Thurso rail traffic in the 1970's- http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/61664-thurso-rail-traffic-in-the-early-70s/-   Fort William rail traffic in 1972- http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/61633-fort-william-in-1972/   A wagon miscellany at Ferryhill in the early 70's- http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/61890-a-wagon-miscellany-at-ab

Ben Alder

Ben Alder

A Caledonian duo

Following on from my completion of the Highland 0-6-0's my attention turned to a pair of engines that became a trademark of much of the Highland section in its latter days of steam- A Pickersgill 4-4-0 and a Macintosh 0-6-0, both of which proved very useful additions to the motive power department and which stayed till dieselisation.Once again, these are venerable white metal kits from Nucast and DJH respectively, and have been unavailable for some time now, but were part of my strategic reserve

Ben Alder

Ben Alder

The Highland Twins

As part of my backwards motive power movement my attention turned to the Highland 0-6-0 "Barney" class- very similar to those other Drummond locos on the CR and their Southern cousins, the 700 class. These engines were part of the Highland scene for the first half of the last century, but suffered from a mass transfer of the last survivors to the Glasgow area in 1946, in exchange for the Caley version that saw out steam here. So, another bit of modellers licence involved here again, I'm afraid.

Ben Alder

Ben Alder

Bodging Ben Alder

An apposite title in both sense, as this is a cobbling together of 54398 Ben Alder, the last Highland Railway 4-4-0, which was withdrawn in 1953 and set aside for preservation, only to be scrapped in 1967 as it had a replacement Caledonian boiler, so was deemed as unworthy of saving. A great loss to the Scottish preservation scene, I'm afraid.   Anyway, in common with a lot of modellers of my generation, I have a stache of whitemetal loco kits dating back thirty odd years, and also painful mem

Ben Alder

Ben Alder

Painting Wills stonework the Alan Downes way

Another thing I have been asked about is the painted stonework on the layout. I did show it somewhere in the threads, but it is buried in the depth of the various pages thereof, so I will give it a seperate airing here. It is lifted directly from an article Alan Downes had in the MR, I think, some years ago. He described it using enamels and Colron wood dye, which I did initially, but now use acrylics as the layers. Here are a couple of shots of the finished work.       Now painting a s

Ben Alder

Ben Alder

Not so much a Mound, more a slope.

A small bit of scenic work has been going on at The Mound, to provide a bit more scope for photography. There was little landscaping in front of the branch line, which limited what I could do with the camera, so an extension was knocked up to hopefully remedy this. In common with other recent work it overhangs the baseboard structures , so is made of Fomeboard for lightness. Once built and braced this is surprisingly robust, and to date has stood up to the usual knocks and bumps with no real dam

Ben Alder

Ben Alder

Those Grisly Gresleys

Coachman is to blame for the following assaults on the new Hornby Gresleys- his always informative coach blog encouraged me to return to an abandoned coach that I had decided was beyond redemption.As with the LMS coaches, others have led the way- Larry and Tony Wright both having sewn seeds that led to this. Basically, the new Hornby coaches are so full of faults that they are of no use on any layout that pretends to work to current standards of detail and authenticity, which is a shame, as th

Ben Alder

Ben Alder

Polishing up Hornby Staniers

The original releases of the Hornby Stanier, while good models, were blessed with a very dull finish that did not sit well with my other Stanier stock- Comet sides on Airfix cores, and finished with a mix of cellulouse and acrylic spray paints, so they have sat for some time waiting for attention. I will begin by saying that nothing I have done has been original but a straightforward crib from an article in MRJ some considerable time ago, but AFAIK there has not been much said here about this, s

Ben Alder

Ben Alder

The preserved Caledonian coaches

The latest incarnation of Hornby's Caley coaches suffer from the drawbacks of their origins; namely a representation of the two preserved coaches attached to their now dated Mk 1 chassis, still with no interior and those brass nuts holding the whole thing together. In the past I have attempted to blend the sides with a more appropriate vehicle, with none too much success, so when the Caley 123 train pack appeared I gave it little attention. It is the same old tooling, and although the engine now

Ben Alder

Ben Alder

City of Truro in the Highlands

Tried my best to ignore CofT, but the various images here were too much to resist, so on the basis that it ran in Scotland in the 50's and that I saw it at Aviemore on its recent trip One was ordered up. It certainly is a lovely model and I do like the adjustable loco/tender join- tender pick-up is a bonus, and long overdue IMO. This is something that I add to all Bachmann locos as a matter of course and I would like to think that it is to be a standard from now. Certainly its more important to

Ben Alder

Ben Alder

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