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Railway Modelling Ramblings

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Stour Valley Dream -  layering grass texture

Stour Valley Dream - layering grass texture

Thanks to some encouragement from one of my friends this week I got around to trying to layer some additional grass textures on the cutting sides. I used Peco Scene Layering Spray which worked pretty well, it doesn't seem to colour the existing grass but holds the next layer of static grass securely. Getting different lengths and colours of grass fibres makes quite a difference to the overall look.     The pickup goods approaches the overbridge on its way from Clare to Caven

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Blog Entry 300 - Stour Valley progress

Blog Entry 300 - Stour Valley progress

Last week I finally managed to get back on to doing some scenic work on the main layout, I was waiting until I had both platforms cut and assembled and that was waiting on getting the platform 2 building built. I managed to get the track through the platforms painted and ballasted and then the basic ground works cut in polystyrene, scupltamolded  and painted.   This evening I drove a few trains around to celebrate. The Brush Type 2 arrives with the pickup goods while the Cravens DMU wa

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit - Uckfield Exhibition

Fen End Pit - Uckfield Exhibition

Just a quick line to remind folks that we are taking Fen End Pit out to the Uckfield show this weekend. There are going to be some fine layouts there and it would be great to see you there.   David

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Recreating a photograph

Stour Valley Dream - Recreating a photograph

For a bit of silliness this evening I thought I'd try to recreate an original photograph. DisusedStations.org has this rather nice picture from 1965.       I know it is the wrong sort of DMU but I think you can get an idea of what I'm going for.     Now I've got the other platform built I'm not long of being able to ballast this section.   David    

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream -  Platform 2 coming along

Stour Valley Dream - Platform 2 coming along

I've managed to get the platform for platform 2 made and cut in the position of the platform building and platform walls. The building now has a roof, with slates cut from sticky labels and ridge tiles and guttering 3D printed on the Anycubic Photon. This shot along the platform gives a pretty nice view to compare against prototype photographs. The main station building is still the '1865 small' based on Takeley (but with the colours reversed) which I built a few years back, the platform cutout

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Fen End Ploughs - Prickwillow vintage ploughing

Fen End Ploughs - Prickwillow vintage ploughing

This weekend is the annual Ploughing festival  near Ely. The farmer behind the drainage engine museum lets lots of vintage tractors plough his field for him. There was a good crowd on Saturday morning, unfortunately I'm not sure the weather is going to be as kind tomorrow. I hope you'll forgive some shameless photographs of vintage vehicles.   First up are Archie and Arthur, a beautiful pair of shire horses who seemed to really know what they were doing. I was amazed when the drive jus

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - more progress on Platform 2

Stour Valley Dream - more progress on Platform 2

More drawing and laser cutting and the Platform 2 building is coming along nicely.   I've now cut the complete building in 3mm MDF and painted it the base brick colours. The best approach to keep the quoins clean and crisp seems to be to 'grout' the main shell with the fine filler I use in the mortar before applying them. The cream coloured quoins don't show the white mortar much anyway and the Vallejo grey wash I add afterwards seems to blend things together nicely.  

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Platform 2 building

Stour Valley Dream - Platform 2 building

The station waiting shelter on platform at Clare is an attractive '1865 style' medium building. The building currently has a sign in the window which says 'coming soon - model railway' but I don't know what is planned or who is building it. Platform 1 by the way is a now a very pleasant little cafe which does a damn good bacon roll.   I've been trying to refine my technique for making these because I felt that the quions (the raised brickwork) on the previous attempt was a little too m

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

J15 - EasiChas test etch #2

J15 - EasiChas test etch #2

The second test etch for the Easichas for the Hornby J15 arrived via Brassmasters. Once again a superb etching job by PPD. Most of the mistakes from the first etch were corrected, though there are a couple of minor changes to be made based on actually putting this together. I've also been putting together the instructions and one of the other Brassmasters has been attempting to follow them! I'm really happy with the way the basic chassis goes together and very pleased with the fold-up brake gear

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Norfolk interlude - with added diesel thrash!

Norfolk interlude - with added diesel thrash!

A day trip out in Norfolk culminated in sitting by the River Yare at Reedham with a beverage of choice. The swing bridge was open to river traffic and it was a quiet and peaceful evening with nothing to disturb of peace except bird song, the clink of boats in their moorings and a rather unremarkable band setting up for their gig in the pub. The bridge started to close and maybe ten minutes later an even more unremarkable 158 or such unit trundled over heading to Norwich from Lowestoft.  

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

J15 - running EasiChas test etch

J15 - running EasiChas test etch

The prototype J15 had  15 spoke 4'11" wheels. Unfortunately the nearest available from Alan Gibson in a 4'11" 16 spoke wheel or a 4'7" 15 spoke. Gibson sells a pack of the 4'11" 16 spoke wheels with 2mm axles as a conversion set for the Hornby J15 (which has 2mm axles) and on reflection the 4'7" really does look noticeably too small to me. The Brassmasters' sprung hornblocks come available as 1/8" or 3mm bore so my decision to use the conversion pack wheels meant I also had to use Gibson's 1/8 t

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

J15 - Chassis kit design

J15 - Chassis kit design

Well over a couple of years ago I asked my friends at Brassmasters about the possibility of them producing one of their EasiChas range of kits to fit the Hornby J15. These chassis utilize the original motor and chassis block put provide a method to fit EM or P4 wheels with some springing. The design has now covered a range of prototypes including various LMS, GWR and LNER locomotives. I have produced artwork for some of the Brassmasters range in the past (point rodding components and the origina

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - First attempt at a signal

Stour Valley Dream - First attempt at a signal

Ok, so I have made some signals before, but these have always been 'modern' ones with tubular posts. Clare has lots of upper quadrant signals but most of these were just replacement of the old GER lower quadrant signals and reused the existing tapered timber posts. These posts are available from various suppliers in white metal but I've always had a nightmare reliably sticking on the various fittings and soldering white metal is for those more skilled than me.   I decided to see if I c

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - 4mm scale apiculture

Stour Valley Dream - 4mm scale apiculture

One of the photographs I have of Clare shows a row of bee hives on the bank next to the line. I modeled a bee hive up and printed them out on my Anycubic photon. Bear in mind that these are 6mm x 8mm, so pretty damn tiny.       I need to paint them but the row looks the part I think.     No I am NOT going to produce 4mm scales bees!   David

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pumps - Prototypes pictures of old pumping stations

Fen End Pumps - Prototypes pictures of old pumping stations

This is one for those of you who fancy building potato or sugar beet railways, or maybe a drainage board line taking clay to strengthen a bank. I took these pictures a good few years back during an afternoon driving around the fen. Some of these magnificent buildings are still standing though most of the engines inside them have long since gone.   First up is Hundred foot bank, near Welney.     Like several of the engine houses you have a tall central section which

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Point rodding continues

Stour Valley Dream - Point rodding continues

More soldering  of tiny little cranks, lengths of .45mm wire, given last week's heat a fair amount of sweat and the occasional tear. As I've said in a few posting the rodding routes were rather interesting and changed during the station's life, so they jump backwards and forwards across the tracks in quite an interesting way.   At the end of the platform the route jumps from the platform face to in between the lines of the loop. This involves four rodding runs turning through 90 degree

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - start with point rodding

Stour Valley Dream - start with point rodding

I've made a start on the point rodding for Clare. Before anyone asks this is NOT functional! It has been great fun trying to work out the rodding runs from photographs as they changed over time at the Cavendish end when the coal siding was realigned. The prototype was built using round rod rather than the more modern square section - typically I had bought a load of .5mm square brass wire from Eileen!   I've used cranks from Brassmasters and rodding stools from DCC concepts. These rodd
Stour Valley Dream - first uncoupling magnet

Stour Valley Dream - first uncoupling magnet

I designed and printed a servo operated uncoupling magnet for the Alex Jackson couplings I'm using on my P4 layout. Many people just use an electromagnet to do this but I don't really like the current these draw and get worried about them burning themselves out if left on for too long while you shunt wagons over them. One solution is to use a permanent magnet and move it up and down so it that it attracts the coupling (or doesn't). As usual there were a few iterations in the design to get t
Fen End Pit - fun in Kettering

Fen End Pit - fun in Kettering

Not much happened on the Stour Valley over the past couple of weeks as I slowly prepared for the East Anglia Model Railway show in Kettering. I was invited at comparatively short notice to fill in for another layout. Several of my usual crew weren't available but I was luckily able to persuade (press-gang) KH1 and Nawty Quay to come and help out to bolster the team. Thanks also due to John and Michael for their help too.   Over the period of a couple of weeks I was able to work through
Stour Valley Dream - Furnishing a Signalbox

Stour Valley Dream - Furnishing a Signalbox

I managed to get the lever frame I'd printed painted (as per posting on the Anycubic photon thread) but additional furniture was required.     I found a website which had photographs of the tokens for the sections either side of Clare. These showed that the token apparatus was of two different types. A Tyer number 6 and a Tyer number 9, the web also furnished pictures of each type which I tried to model up in CAD. The results came out rather well, even the details of the pil
Stour Valley Dream - Lever frame and greenery

Stour Valley Dream - Lever frame and greenery

At the end of the last blog I said I was going to try and 3D print a lever frame. I knew that this was probably going to be at the extreme end of what the printer could handle. The results were promising with a few issues.     There seem to be a couple of issue, firstly the levers appear to have been attracted to each other by the surface tension of the resin. In most cases the bulk of the lever was actually printed correctly but as they came out of the printer the levers we
Stour Valley Dream - Painted Signalbox and platform

Stour Valley Dream - Painted Signalbox and platform

I sprayed the box with cream (Humbrol Matt 103) and then picked out selected timbers in green (Matt 105). Meanwhile I realized that I'd made a complete mess of the station platform. I'd tried to paint it with Greenscene's textured 'tarmac' paint, I don't know if the issue was age of the paint (I'd had it for years) but the resulting mess needed to be covered with thinners and scraped off. Fortunately this process didn't completely mess up the work I'd done so far. The resulting texture, with a f
Stour Valley Dream - Not quite as Wills designed it

Stour Valley Dream - Not quite as Wills designed it

I've made some more progress on converting the Wills signalbox to match the one at Clare. This little section of a photograph of the box shows the rather nice cast iron brackets which supported the gangway. I didn't think the flat piece of plastic supplied in kit quite cut it so had a go at drawing up a model and 3D printing it. I also made up some nameboards to be attached after the box is painted.     I made a couple extra just in case some didn't come out or broken as I t
Stour Valley Dream - Started on Platform 1

Stour Valley Dream - Started on Platform 1

A major milestone has been the starting of buildings for my layout. The first major structure is obviously the platform which has the station building and the signalbox sitting on (or more accurately in)  it.   The prototype platform has had a lot of work on it since closure and there is quite a lot of subsidence along the length now. Over the length of the platform the brickwork is no longer consistent in terms of the construction, I'm working on what I think is a logical design - hop

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

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