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Railway Modelling Ramblings

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Ruston LAT/LBT - now made progress on the LAT

Over the last couple of weeks I got to pretty much finish off the LBT, the most noticeable change being to clean off the etched builders plates. I then went on to make some changes to the drawings based on what I'd learnt putting it together and then laser cut the body work for the LAT. There are a few subtle changes to the frames (the LBT has a hole near the front which the LAT doesn't have) and the bonnet (which has a different shaped grill for the radiator and the sandbox fillers). The LAT ha

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Merg based electrickery

Having joined the MERG at Biggleswade I went down to their meeting at Keen House a couple of weekends ago. Very pleasant day out, welcoming bunch of people and an interesting talk on computer control. I purchased a number of kits including the servo controllers and some of the CBUS modules designed for accessory control. Several hours with a soldering iron later and we have the CBUS playground featuring a number of modules designed to test and develop some ideas on how it might work on a layout.

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

GER Goods crane - 3D printed model

I thought folks might like to see my 3D printed model of a GER yard crane based on drawings in the GERS journal a few years back. The crane was built by the Chatteris Engineer Co and there were examples in several GER goods sheds and in the goods yards of some of the Stour vally line stations including Clare.   I modeled the parts up in CAD a few months back but knew that it would need something better than my original 3D printer to be able to actually make it. The resulting parts, particularl

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Top of a tank and a wagon turntable

First up, here is a picture of what I've done with the top of the water tank. in the absence of pictures or drawings I'm hoping I've got something which is plausible. I stuck some plastruct angle inside the tank and then tried to model some tie-bars to hold it all together. The water is clear acrylic with the bottom painted black.     Next is a little experiment on one of those things which is just so much easier to make when you have something that cuts accurately! I drew up this wagon tur

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Ruston LAT/LBT - it's not green!

The Ruston LBT moved into the paint shop this weekend. Unlike all of the Simplex locomotives on 'Fen End Pit' I thought this one should be a non-manufacturers standard colour. A bit of contrast seemed like a nice idea and looking through my photographs of LBTs I could find them in standard Ruston green, blue, orange and yellow. You pays your money and takes your choice. Roy Link had commented what a nice colour yellow was to weather so I decided on a standard 'plant' yellow as the basis colour.

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

More work on 16 ton Minerals

Thursday night saw the bodies of the wagons fitted and Friday evening was spent fitting weight and Alex Jackson couplings. Still need to fit the dropper wires for the coupling.     I realized that having removed the toy hinges for the side doors I needed to replace them with something more to scale. A few pieces of plasticard from the scrap box were enough to fabricate something suitable. Painting was by brush with Humbrol acrylics.     Transfers from the Modelmaster range were applied

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

First attempts with a laser-cutter

I've joined an organisation in Cambridge called 'Makespace' who are setting up a public access 'hackspace' in Cambridge. These organisation seem to be springing up in quite a few large cities (see http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/United_Kingdom ) and are intended for people who want to build things to share the cost of owning and running tools. So for the price of a gym membership (and anyone who tells me that would do me more good is probably on the wrong forum) I can have access to tools which I w

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Ruston Research, trip to the North Ings Farm Museum

I realized that I needed to get some better photographs of the engine of the Ruston LAT that I'm trying to build and, as the one which was at the Threlkeld quarry museum had moved, I decided a trip to the North Ings Farm Museum http://www.northingsfarmmuseum.co.uk/museum/ was required. My family refer to this particular organization, very unfairly, as 'The chicken sh*t farm' because the line was originally installed to move 'waste product' from poultry sheds. Don't be put off by the sound of it,

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

The Wickham trolley moves!

I managed to find 4 bearing in Brian's 'box of useful bits' which allowed me to make some progress on the paxolin 'chassis'. In order to be able to remove the wheels I have found some bearings which fit into some U channel. The Polish motor has a 1mm shaft which I sleeved with a 1.5mm brass tube.     The little runner wagon has wheels shorted out on one side so while I've fitted pick-ups on both sides with pickups I may well just try and short out the wheels on the opposite side on the main

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Laser cut buildings - Water tower base

I finally got around to doing a bit of modelling, inspired by a thoroughly enjoyable day on Saturday exhibiting at the 16mm show in Peterborough.   I've been working on drawing up the water tower from Thaxted based on the drawing available from the GERS. Having had lots of goes with the little goods hut I had worked out most of the gotchas with the cutter and so the parts which were cut were pretty much right first time. OK, I'll admit I drew the windows frames too far apart by .5mm so I neede

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Empire Basin - Banner repeater - completed

Much burning of fingers later and the repeater head is mounted on a pole. The photographs showed ladders up the front, presumably for cleaning the glass, and the rear, for access to the bulb. The signal will be operated by a servo so the operating wire terminates in a little sprung plunger which is a bit of 3/4 inch long tube beneath the base.     I've got to admit I'm quite pleased with the result and it will be nice to have a feature 'on scene' to demonstrate the aspect of the 'off scene'

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit - plans for a major works

This Christmas sees the completion of the new railway room, the lighting and electrics were finished and flooring laid just before Christmas Eve. This meant that on returning from work on Thursday I was able to assemble Fen End Pit along one wall. Those who follow my blog will know that there is a grand scheme to model part of the Stour valley in P4 as a big 'roundy-roundy' that goes around the room. However common sense dictates that rather than launch immediately into that project I should get

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Treatise on Tie-Bars

As requested by Phil, a few notes on how I make tie-bars. I'll try and cover the current TOUs later, my previous version made from plastruct was described here http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blog/186/entry-8263-making-tous-turnout-operating-units/     The visible tie-bars are made from a couple of pieces of scrap etc roughly .75mm tall and a tiny piece of thin paxolin. Mine originally came from Eileen and judging by the price label which says 70p I suspect it is quite old! I have

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

N7 rebuild - first attempt with 'continuous springy beams'

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I built a Wills N7 kit. The chassis was built using the etches for the kit, now sold by South East Finecast. The original chassis had the 'posh' hornblocks from Gibson (I think) which were the lost wax casting with a tiny springs pushing down on the bearing with a bolt through the top of the hornblock to locate the spring and set the ride height.   All of this worked fine until you took into account the sheer weight of the white metal body. The body c

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Started work on J39 chassis

I started work on my Christmas present on Friday. A Dave Bradwell J39 chassis. The instructions are detailed and seem to need reading from beginning to end completely at every stage but as usual the etching is superb and so far seems well thought out.       David

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Vertical fiddleyard - it goes up-tiddly-up-up, it goes down-tiddly-down-down

Well a couple of days off and a weekend's worth of construction and the frame of the vertical fiddleyard is now mounted on the wall. First up went the rack-mount server runners and then I hit the first problem, trying to fasten things accurately to masonary is a complete pain! Despite measuring accurately it is just impossible to actually drill a hole and get a rawl plug into exactly the right place particularly when you are trying to fix something to the resulting holes and have no margin for e

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

N7 rebuild - filling a gaping void

The original Wills kit was designed to fit around a Hornby Jinty or such like with a massive X04 motor protruding into the cab. Having built the chassis with something a little less 'old school' it was pretty clear that the absence of a floor, or backhead or crew was going to be a bit noticable. It isn't as if you can see much in the cab through the windows, it is just that you can really seen the absence of anything through the windows, if that even vaguely makes sense.   So I decided to put

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Vertical fiddleyard reconstruction

The re-construction of the fiddleyard started in earnest with a couple of days off. The original Mk-1 version was based on a lump of MDF as a back with some shelves of 6mm MDF fastened on the front. The unit had been built up one at shelf at a time at it had proved difficult to make each shelf align properly with the exit roads, basically as layers were added the previously alignment would get pushed out with the extra weight. I also had the problem that in retrospect I had mounted the rack-moun

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

More laser-cutting, this time it's BIG!

I'd been looking for a suitable industrial building to form a back-drop to my rebuilt scalefour empire and also provide a source of rail traffic. Those with very long memories may remember my attempt to model Mistley maltings (or at least part of it) more years ago than I care to think. I didn't want anything quite that big this time so spent a good few hours on Google searching for 'East Anglia Mill' and similar terms. I end up finding Ebridge Mill near North Walsham. There is an excellent web

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

More painting of laser-cut buildings

Today, being a bit milder, I was able to take a bit more time in the garage with an aerosol before having to get back in the house to warm up. The result was that I could get a much better coat of primer on the building and apply it in several thin coats and let it harden off before going any further.   The resulting luminous building showed the joints weren't going to be too bad. I made a bit of a mess when gluing it together last night, I tried to stick the inner walls to the outer walls bef

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Bachmann grain wagon

A bit of standard gauge for a change. I took delivery of a couple of the new Bachmann grain wagons which have been on order with Hattons for what seems like years. I've got a P4 wheel set in it now and replaced the coupling with Alex Jacksons. I can (just) remember seeing these being loaded at Sandy on the occasions when I used to cycle over there to watch some proper main-line trains in the later '70s. By then they were in a 'rust based livery' but I think they had been going that way for some

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Vertical fiddleyard - and a story of modelling mojo lost and found

It has, as they say, been a while since the last blog entries. What with the unexpected appearance at the Ely show with 'Fen End Pit' and biggest son doing AS levels and wanting help revising Empire Basin has taken a bit of a back seat. To be honest I was a bit dissatisfied with the operation and reliablity of the vertical fiddleyard and it was a bit of a downer.   The problem was that no matter how many times I adjusted the vertical alignment on the rails it just seemed to be 'out' on the nex

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit - 3D printed U skip

While on holiday in Cornwall over Easter I visited the bookshop of the Launceston Steam Railway and purchased a copy of the Robert Hudson Light Railway catalogue from 1915 as reprinted by the Narrow Gauge Railway Society. I decided I'd try to draw up and print a U skip more as a scenic feature than as a working piece of rolling stock. I trust one small picture is allowed under 'fair use' rules and I'd strongly recommend the book.     The 3D model took me a few hours to put together, modeli

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit - Slater's Simplex - Chassis drive(s)

Progress on the Simplex continues, the parts supplied with the kit fitted together superbly and getting the bearings and axles, motor, wheels, gears and delrin chain was very straight-forward.   The supplied sprung pick-ups have been inserted into the frames with the wires just lose pending wiring to the DCC chip.   The quality of the molded parts is excellent and the instructions have the look of a Hayne's manual. When the parts list includes 'Spark plugs' and 'Magneto' you know you are on

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Mk1 GUV

I've started work on another vehicle for the parcels train, a MK1 GUV. So far the B4 bogies have been replaced by Mk1 type. These are Bill Bedford etchings with the sides off Bachmann Mk1 bogies (suitable thinned down). The Bachmann bogies came from Kernow Models last week and at £3.50 for a pair are actually cheaper than some less detailed white metal castings.   The original 'Rail Express Systems' livery came off easily with model strip and will be replaced with plain BR maroon (and lots of

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

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