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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.

Entries in this blog

Project Rebuild continues...

With the weather in Fairbourne having been a bit blustery I've been concentrating on "indoor modelling", mainly involving T-Cut, renumbering, and adding DCC chips and chassis to locos.  I've also made a start, using my newly acquired ability to solder, on adding lights to an Oxford Mk3 rake, not recommended for the faint hearted, and non-masochists.  A couple of brief forays to the shed have allowed a bit more tweaking of the backscene, but substantive work has had to wait until this week and th

wombatofludham

wombatofludham in Blog

Grabbing an opportunity

Short daylight hours and windy weather has kept me out of the shed more than I would have liked, but today I managed a decent spell in there and made some progress. On Wombourne, I've moved the public footpath behind the old goods yard which is now occupied by the Civil Engineers and a small lock up car repairer.  I've left some of the old ballast in place, and coated the rest of the area in crackle medium.  Although it looks pink here, it dries eventually to a cafe au lait colour, an

wombatofludham

wombatofludham in Blog

Silence is golden.

It's been a while since I announced that after just a couple of days of operation, I had decided to rebuild the two stations.  Since then progress has been glacially slow, partly due to weather as I like to have the door open when flinging paint and glue around, and with it being autumn, it's been a tad windy, which would mean here in Fairbourne my door would probably be ripped off the hinges and be deposited in Barmouth across the river. However, I have managed to grab the odd hour or two

wombatofludham

wombatofludham in Blog

The Sky is Falling In...a.k.a. never ask a Planner to Plan ahead.

If things have gone quiet on the Wednesford and Wombourne front since the video was uploaded, there is a reason. I'm rebuilding the station. Let me explain.  Having had a few running sessions, it became clear that despite my efforts to design in access for track cleaning, by mounting the scenery on removable boards, actually getting my banana fingers under the OHLE without demolishing the station in the process was going to be difficult.  The presence of the island platform severely re

wombatofludham

wombatofludham in Blog

Wednesford TV need a new cameraman...

Had a bit of a running sesh today using 1986 stock. I had intended to film it but the idiot cameraman forgot to switch on the external mic to the main camera. Fortunately I had parked the phonecam in St Flo's churchyard but whilst it got the noise, it suffered some flaring and focus issues. However, it gives you a good impression of where things are at the moment.   I'll probably do some more detailed vids outlining the thought process and products I've used in the hope it might inspire o

wombatofludham

wombatofludham in Blog

Figures, figures, figures...

It's been a while since I did an update, mainly because of a number of niggling changes I have had to make, mainly to make the fiddle yard Heljan 86 proof.  Having tested the old fiddle yard successfully in the summer with Heljan 86s which are by far and away the most temperamental locos in the fleet (although the Hornby Class 153 gives it a good run), and both propelling and pulling a range of stock, to total satisfaction, last week the little ****ers started throwing themselves off on curves,

wombatofludham

wombatofludham in Blog

You wouldn't think I'm a Planner...

...although to be fair, I'm a retired Chartered Town Planner not a project planner.  If I had been a project planner, I'd have made sure I installed the DCC Concepts track controlled signal before I did any ballasting. I know they say it's designed for clip-fit compatible set-track but it can be made to work on PECO flexi track.  Just make sure you get it set up before you start flinging glue and loose rocks around like coke at a banker's ball.  After a lot of self-generated difficulty I ev

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

Still counting down...

Having had to take a day off yesterday due to a combination of a mystery dose of the Eartha Kitts, a raging runny nose and feeling like lightly reheated death, once my stomach stopped doing an impersonation of the Battle of the Somme I was able to carry on the Final Countdown.  Today comprised giving the track a deep clean, restringing more OHLE, cleaning up a load of stray ballast and generally getting things in place so I can run some trains.  I still need to add figures over the next week or

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

The Final Countdown

Ok, I don't have Ozone layer-threatening amounts of lacquered big hair and a pomp-Euro rock backing track but at long last I'm sort of heading to Venus (at least I hope that was the lyric, it could have been p - whatever) and beginning to restring the OHLE, clean down the track and do some final tittivating although I still need to work out a method for lighting and invest in some people. I've also revisited some of the areas I laid out with cobblestones and repainted them, and have been nu

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

Wombourne, Take 2...

I have had to re-hang Wombourne. The backscene which I had applied developed bubbles and creases, which I assumed was due to me using Spraymount, or the conditions in the shed, but as the Spraymount had cured by the time I found the backscene has creased, in a fit of temper I decided to try again, turn the backdrop round, and this time use double-sided tape to stick it on.  I decided to go for Gaugemaster's 9 inch "village" backdrop, and duly stuck it on. I also gave the access track a

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

Wednesford Morning

Been slowly - very slowly - reballasting, weathering and adding backscenes.  Typically, I underestimated how much backscene I needed and could have probably made my own using a cracking and very reasonable one man band printer in Barmouth I've used several times for other stuff, but I ended up buying off the peg. I've had a rethink of the "Old Town" and moved the Hornby Skaledale "courtyard" shops to next to Tudor Row, which works much better.  The space formerly occupied by the lock-ups ne

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

In a change to our advertised programme...

Today was a little too sticky to be laying track, so I decided to have a bit of a tidy up, and build a signal box.  I decided that Wednesford, teetering on the brink of partial closure back in the 60s, would probably have been excluded from the West Midlands power box control scheme and kept an adapted mechanical signal box instead.  There's precedent for this - the Potteries loop and the Trent Valley both retained older boxes - so I figured that, as I had a bit of space, I'd adapt a Wills ARP s

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

Grayling was right: Electrification sucks...

There's a title I bet you never thought you'd read, but after installing OHLE to the layout today, I've gone right off electrification and am happy to wait for pixie-fart or bionic unicorn dung powered trains to de-carbonise the railway. Don't get me wrong, once you've worked out how to clip the wires onto the masts and their correct spacing, the Dapol system is pretty good, it's just the fiddle of getting the wires onto the masts, when you are 57, with sausage fingers and reaching over 20"

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

Forget Track'n'Trace, we now have Track'n'Ballast!

Following on from the video, today I've been ballasting.  Using a mixture of ballasts, from fine to coarse, of different colours, left over from Kings Oak, I managed to lay a nice mix of ballast on each trackbed, using a Proses ballast layer. The rails were painted using a Posca paint pen.  Once the ballast has dried (the usual PVA-detergent-water mix) I'll airbrush layers of rust and oily gunk to weather the ballast and sleepers down.  The bare cork and board eventually will house tr

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

Track laying underway!

A video update this time, of a test run on the newly laid track on the main circuit.  I decided to try a propelling move using a Heljan 86 with their notorious droopy couplings and a three car rake of semi-permanently coupled Bachmann Mk2f and Oxford Mk3 RFM.  This triplet set is coupled using the Bachmann bar couplings because when I installed lighting in the RFM, the gimcrack Oxford coupling cams lost their springs and as it would be spending at least 50% of it's time being pushed as well as p

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

Regaining my Mojo

Having had a bit of a pause from modelling, the past couple of days have seen me laying cork ready for track laying.  However, this afternoon, I decided to have a day adding scenery to the area behind the Swan Centre before recommencing the corkfest. Having found a slightly wider offcut of 9mm ply I had a shuffle round of the scenery boards and track and calculated I could accommodate the offcut as a base for the flats, prefabs and a bus turning bay and have enough clearance for two tracks

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

Ow much longa am yam gonna be?

"Oi! Yow. Ow much longer yam gonna be? Mi buzz back ter Pye Green is abowt to leave and it's one of thowse noice comfy single decks but oi need t'ring me mom..." Wench who knows about WMPTE's new Leyland National private hire semi-coaches and how nice and comfy they are has a row with some bloke in a phone box at Wednesford.  

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

Time now for a commercial break

Following on from the discovery of shrinking plastic, I've tried to get the product to produce scale 48 sheet advert hoardings (in real life 10 by 20 feet, so a scale 40 by 80mm) but trying to work out the shrinkage was proving a problem, and the larger the original, the more distortion crept in. Then the brain kicked in. The main reason for me wanting plastic signs was down to paper or card not liking damp or changes in temperature, and whilst it is possible to apply a lacquer to pape

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

Product discovery initial findings

Ever heard of inkjet printable shrinking plastic?  I hadn't. Followers of the blog will know I've got an obsessive refusal to use paper or card on Wednesford, which can be affected by temperature and damp.  This has led me to over-use the 3d printer to produce signage but it doesn't work well in all cases, plus is useless for advertising hoardings.  Whilst looking to see if you could still get inkjet printable overhead projector acetate in the Powerpoint era (you can as it happens) I discov

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

A quick progress report.

Been busy today with my temperamental 3d printer producing a small chippy and some signage.   The Swan Centre now has a chip bunker, opened by "In Cod We Trust", Gornal's favourite chippy who advertise on Bescot Television so clearly have made enough from their Faggots and Pays Tuesdays and Orange Chip Friday events to expand.  "In Cod we Trust" is at one end of the shopping precinct and is a kit I printed off, including an interior although you'll only see it if I fit lighting, and was d

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

Where are we?

Having 3d printed the platforms, I can't say as I'm completely happy with them, so I decided to bite the bullet and buy some Wills kits to replace them, so pending their arrival, track laying is on hold.  So, I've been thinking of how to do the platform signage.  As said before, as the layout will be in a shed, it will be subject to possible weather affects, so I want to remove as far as possible paper based signage which might be affected.  So, I developed my own design.   The idea is Wednesfor

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

As summer draws to a close...

Summer in Fairbourne tends to run from mid April until roughly Eurovision night in mid May, then the monsoon season sets in.  As the weather forecast is for the warm dry spell to go assways, I decided to swap the track laying for completing the last of the removable scenery modules.  I figure that track laying can be carried out in any weather, whereas airbrushing needs a nice day so I can sit outside with the airbrush.  So, the residential quarter was the subject of today's outdoor modelling ma

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

We return you to the Test Card...

...well, not really, but it was time to do a test layout of the scenic modules to see if clearances needed to be tweaked prior to track laying starting in earnest, particularly as I had now finished 3d printing the platforms.    Ooh look, a train!  The 3d printed platforms aren't actually very straight but now I've weathered them with the airbrush, and having 3d printed combined bench and planters to help disguise some of the joints, I think it will work out once I've laid the track a

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

The Virtuous Corner

The "church in a corner" is almost as much of a model railway trope as the bus on the bridge.  Of course, I decided to follow suit... The Parish Church of St Florian was always going to be a mini Coventry Cathedral in that it would be a burnt out ruined ancient chapel alongside a modern replacement.  I chose the name St Florian - an Austrian born saint who is the patron saint of firemen - to add a bit of irony in that the original chapel dedicated to St Florian was destroyed by a firestorm

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

Parks and Recreation go mental...

As it has been another nice day here on the Welsh coast and the grass mat had arrived I decided to finish off the landscaping of the Civic Centre and also complete the New Courthouse Square.  The Civic Plaza needed an airbrush wash of gunk to tone down the "Portland" concrete and the grass mat needed rolling out for the lawns.  I think the Director of Parks and Recreation is aiming for an award at the Chelsea Flower show, or has gone a bit Radio Rental and blown the next five year's budget on fl

wombatofludham

wombatofludham

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