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A Year in Retrospect




My first post in the Forums was in July 2013 while I started this blog a little later, in August. I've not been doing much modelling recently, since other activities take up most of my time during the Summer months, but I do spend time thinking "where next?" and also taking stock of the past year.


A year ago, i had just started trying to re-create some late-19th century "atmosphere", while knowing rather little about how things were actually done. Thanks to the patience and help of many members of the forums, I have learned quite a lot - or, at least, enough to realise how much I do not know!


When I started this blog, I had just completed a simple conversion of a Mainline 'Dean Goods' into a fair representation of a 'Stella'-class 2-4-0. I was delighted to find that it really was possible for me to have something 'different', without needing great engineering skills! This tender-driven locomotive made me think what else could be pushed around my layout by suitable tenders.


The Mainline Dean Goods has a simple chassis for the engine that consists, essentially, of a square-section plastic bar, with slots to take the axles of the driving wheels.




This 'inspired' me (if that's the right word) to make a similar chassis from a length of square-section styrene tube, with slots cut for the axles. It proved an extremely simple way of making a 2-2-2 chassis, where there are no coupling rods to add complications!




Once I had this 'rolling plinth', I could put anything I wanted on top - and so, my 'Queen' (or 'Sir Alexander') scratch-built locomotive was born! The next hurdle to be overcome was in realising the complex liveries used in the 19th century. Here, the availability of ink-jet printable transfer film came to my rescue and I was able to make my own lettering and lining, as I have described previously in this blog.




There was still the problem of rolling stock,with complex outside frames and often on 6-wheel chassis that seemed to have no chance of negotiating the small-radius curves on my layout. Help from other forum members solved the chassis problem and the splendid thread about the Silhouette cutter solved the bodywork problem. The possibilities suddenly seemed endless!.


So, I quickly 'threw together' a couple of 6-wheel coaches and created a 'special train' without too much difficulty.




Technology has come to my rescue in a number of ways and I have enjoyed discovering novel ways of achieving the results I wanted. Some of these methods may not stand the test of time and I'm going to have to re-visit them. In my impatience to see quick results, I neglected some important steps, such as varnishing over some of my printed sides, so that they have acquired some quite heavy unintentional weathering as a result. Also, the fit of some of the parts that I cut out for my initial experiments is not as good as it should be. I have since read several forum posts about how styrene distorts when glued and stretches when cut, so I'll have to have another go, taking such matters into account.


I feel that having explored all sorts of 'odds and ends', I'd like to 'settle down' and try to build a typical short train from the late 19th-century. Photographs have undone many of my pre-conceptions. It would appear that clerestory roofs were not as ubiquitous on the GWR as I had thought, since most of the photos I have seen of secondary services have plain arc roofs. The sort of train I have in mind can be seen here:




So,some plans for the future but I'll probably get distracted by all sorts of other things :), such as the Tilt Wagons, currently being discussed in a thread at http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/86563-gwr-standard-gauge-tilt-wagons/



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  • RMweb Gold

Has it really only been a year? You have been coming forth with so many interesting ideas and stock that it seems like several years!


Don't think you have shown those photos of the Queen chassis before? Quite interesting. I had my own Dapol Dean Goods apart recently as I would like to convert it to a roundtopped firebox version with a new chassis.


I look forward to seeing what you can make of the 4/6 wheelers. Will you be scratchbuilding them?

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Thank you Mikkel.  While that chassis might possibly be classed as 'clever', it could never rate as 'craftsmanship' :).  It does have the merit that it works, however, and even runs happily around my 15" radius curves!


I shall be interested to see how you tackle the firebox on your Dean Goods as it is something I would like to do myself but fear I would probably destroy the moulded detail.


i certainly intend to scratch-build the 6-wheelers - I have to keep the Silhouette cutter occupied.  It's most recent task was cutting a new washer for my bathroom cistern!



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  • RMweb Gold

The Silhouette cutter clearly has a lot of uses!


Knobhead has done the Dean Goods conversion beautifully here: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/62553-backdating-a-mainlinehornby-dean-goods/


A similar job was described in an old copy of Railway Modeller from the 1980s - which gives and indication of how long I've been meaning to do it!


I've been waiting for Hornby to do a loco driven version. I'm sure they will do it immediately *after* I've modified the existing one :-)

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  • RMweb Gold

From photos a lot of early (well turn of the centuryish) GWR trains seemed to have roofs of differing heights, as well as clerestory/plain roofs.

Glad you have been enjoying the modelling.


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Thanks, Mikkel, for the reference to Knobhead's beautiful conversion.  I think that the spectacles and chimney are as important as the firebox in establishing the character of his model.


It seems odd that there is no RTR model of the Dean Goods at present.  I remember that I bought a black version of the Mainline model, because it was quite a lot cheaper than the green, but only afterwards realised that it also had moulded-in number and shed plates on the smokebox door.  I've never plucked up courage to remove them - tricky on the curved door!


I agree, Donw, that the undulating roof-line is an appealing characteristic of GWR trains and one that I intend to try to capture. I might also try to include some pre-Dean stock, to add extra variety.  As I mentioned in my entry, the Silhouette cutter opens up so many possibilities that it is hard to know where to begin but I'll take the plunge eventually :)



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