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About this blog

The trials and tribulations of a serial bodger, attempting to assemble brass and whitemetal kits into something that at least resembles the prototype rather than a Heath Robinson contraption!

Entries in this blog

Parkside Linda - the Devil is in the Detail

With a substantially complete locomotive now on the workbench we now reach the point where I usually stall on the build and Linda has been no exception. I have several excuses (and excuses they are), but the main two being demands on my time from elsewhere and a pause whilst I evaluated some Microtrains couplers for their suitability. For ‘evaluated’ read ‘tried to get the infernal bloody things to work’ as the two bogies that I bought didn’t seem to want to uncouple with any of the magnets that

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

Revisiting Old Friends –A Langley England Engine

It seems that nothing is ever finished. The Langley ‘Prince’ that was the second working loco on Hafod Las (and the only reliable one) has been back in the workshops. By this stage in its life, Prince has had 3 different coupling types fitted – Bemo, MSE/Sprat & Winkle and most recently Microtrains – but has otherwise remained unmodified and untouched since the final shovel-load of paint was applied back in 2008.   I finally seem to have managed to get the Microtrains couplers to function

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

Hafod Las Mk.III - Rewriting History

With a number of other commitments being a serious impediment to progress, now seems to be a good time to rewrite history, geography, economics and quite possibly geology.   Numerous plans and attempts were made over the years to create a 2ft gauge railway network in North Wales, largely inspired by the phenomenal success of the Ffestiniog Railway once steam locomotives were introduced. The most famous of these would, I suspect, be the NWNGR line from Dinas to Rhyd Ddu and Bryngwyn which event

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

Hafod Las Mk. III – The Towcester Tenon Saw Massacre

Quicker as it would be to simply buy a job lot of flexitrack and run it on the floor, I don’t think that I would receive a great deal of my rental deposit back once I de-ballasted and lifted the track from the carpet when I move out. So, with the safety of my deposit and the longevity of locomotive mechanisms when carpet fibres are concerned in mind, I decided that some baseboards may come in handy. With a track plan and dimensions to hand, the next stage involved much scribbling and estimat

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

Hafod Las Mk. III - a Narrow Gauge layout of two halves

First, a bit of background:   The first two (never finished) incarnations of Hafod Las were based around a fictional quarry workshop loosely in the style of Red Lion level at Penrhyn; Gilfach Ddu; and the Mills Tramroad at Dinorwic, with a reasonable dollop of modeller's licence and Rule #1 (IMTS) thrown in. HL1 was an ironing board layout started as a distraction from my final year of university and the build is described on RMweb3 here - the layout became rather knocked about in my initial p

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

Linda - Brass Domes and Boiler Implosions

Superb as the Parkside Penrhyn ‘Lady’ kit is, I didn’t think that a whitemetal dome painted to represent brass would do it justice but I wasn’t quite sure how to go about solving the problem. The subject has been discussed at length on the NGRM-online forum and, following a similar (but briefer) discussion on my workbench thread, Robert Thompson of RTmodels offered to turn me a dome using the original part as a master and made specifically to fit the saddle tank for a very reasonable pr

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

A Second Penrhyn Lady - Linda in Whitemetal

With Blanche languishing in disgrace, in a box, wrapped in lead and buried under 6ft of rebarred concrete beneath the patio (bet the archaeologists will have a field day with that one) a slightly more Beardybloke-proof method of attaining a working Penrhyn ‘Lady’ was sought.   With the Parkside Dundas Charles/Blanche/Linda kit being re-released complete with a handbuilt RTR Mike Chinnery chassis to replace the near-impossible-to-source wheeled coffee grinder that is the Ibertren ‘Cuckooâ

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

NWNGR Single Fairlie - a question of detail

Now, a chimneyless, domeless loco isn’t really going to cut the mustard – I don’t think that even the Ffestiniog cut down the ex-NWNGR stock to quite that extent, and I certainly wasn’t the man to go down in history as having mutilated a Vulcan Fairlie to an even worse degree.   Job one, fitting the dome and chimney actually went far more smoothly than I expected based on my previous experiences attempting to fit the chimney to Taliesin. It seems that the mouldings on the Chivers kit a

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

A Welsh Single Fairlie (but not that one)

The first new loco on Hafod Las’ roster since the interlude is a Single Fairlie. “Shurely shome mishtake?†I hear you cry, “You’ve already got one of those, and what an unmitigated disaster it turned out to be!†Well, you’d be right, but so am I: the new loco is one of the original North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways Single Fairlies – I’ve diversified from my original Ffestiniog Railway interests (admittedly not by very far) and have started on some of the stock from the WHR and it

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

A New Beginning - and some improved skills and stock to go with it

Well, as it’s now rapidly approaching 18 months since my house move and nearer to 20 since my last update, I suppose that I’d better write something!   Progress has been by turns non-existent, considerable and backwards over the last year and a half, with a heavy emphasis on non-existent. That’s not to say that I’ve been idle, but taking up running and reducing my chin-to-face ratio from 2:1 to 1:1 as a consequence took up rather a lot of my time – especially in the early days when I

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

Passengers, Slates and Progress (or the lack thereof)

Post-Railex, I spent a boring couple of hours soldering up some Spratt & Winkle couplings for the newest rolling stock - the WHR Ashbury, slate wagons and sundry other freight stock. There are still quite a lot to do, but many of the older wagons still need weight fitting and it's a somewhat mind-numbing task, so I keep allowing myself to be distracted!   However, with the fitting of couplings to No. 23 and wire loops to Prince in place of Bemo couplers, Hafod Las now has its first complet

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

A pair of narrow gauge composites and a cut-down Ashbury

Well, the badly-bodged carriage 11 was stripped down completely and resprayed from scratch - I could have lived with the slightly raised nature of the ivory paint compared to the green if I hadn't then noticed that it was a distinctly yellower shade than on its sister! That taught me a lesson - clean the syringe thoroughly between paint shades, and you can actually see how much you're picking up   The ends have been sprayed in BR early (pre-1965) bauxite, and seem to look okay. The next thing

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

A green and ivory Composite

I'll be honest, I've made absolutely no progress with Blanche - I can't face filing a coupling rod from scratch just yet, and I'm seriously considering making Pete and Jen at Backwoods believe that I should never be let near etched metal with a soldering iron ever again... and they may be right.   I've not been completely idle however: the new goods stock has been primed ready for painting, and some airbrushing of the two scratch-aid bogie carriages has started... though one needs a respray an

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

Of slates, weights and couplings

Blanche, I'm ashamed to say, is still languishing at the back of the workbench awaiting a new coupling rod. I've not been very busy in a modelling-related way recently, but I've not been particularly idle either.   A stalling point in starting to ballast and lay scenery on my Hafod Las layout has been uncertainty of where to bury the permanent magnets for the Sprat & Winkle couplings that I've decided to make a go of... this is mainly because I have nothing fitted with the couplings yet, a

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

Progress... and an almighty c*ck-up

Progress has been made on Blanche, but I've suffered something of a setback. I shall start at the beginning, and build up in a not-so-dramatic fashion until it all falls to pieces (though thankfully not quite literally). First of all though, a comedy photo of me and my Land Rover to give an excuse for my lack of updates:     The last update was at the point where the rods had been placed cosmetically over the cranks... all well and good? No, not really... the bushes were also rather wider t

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

Cylinders, Crossheads and Connecting Rods

Progress has finally been forthcoming on the Blanche kit! The last progress that I made before Christmas was way back in October, when the bosses were laminated onto the rods and the cranks were soldered onto the axles. The latter was an interesting exercise as to prevent the plastic wheel centres melting as rather a lot of heat was applied to the axle, the locomotive had to be about 95% submerged in water to dissipate the heat, like so:   The paper bush that can be seen is there to prevent

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

Somewhere to run Blanche

A brief entry...   There hasn't been a great deal of progress with Blanche for nearly a month now - the bosses have been laminated onto the rods, and the eccentrics soldered on to the axles, but that's about it - I spent far too long getting my boots looking like black glass for Remembrance Sunday... worth it though!   I'm oop north this weekend, so no physical work, but some planning has been going on - dusty areas of my brain, related to layout planning, have been blown clear of cobwebs, a

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

A rolling chassis for Blanche

Original entry: 09 October 2009   The two cylinders are both soldered up along with their cosmetic covers - photos will follow as soon as it's light! Managed to splash some solder on my face too whilst removing some of the excess that I'd managed to build up through trying to correct errors with an iron that I'm starting to suspect needs a new tip...     The gearbox is also about 1/3 complete, having been folded and soldered, and had the motor mounting bracket expanded to allow the motor to

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

A (re)introduction

Evening all!   Having acquired the link for the new forum and discovered that I'm one of the infamous 15%, I decided that I'd make a fresh start rather than copy across all of my old workbench! If anyone actually cares, the originals are linked in my signature.   My current project is a Backwoods Blanche, in 009, being made as a 2-4-0 STT with tender cab and piston valve cylinders - as she is now, in fact. My previous attempt at a Backwoods kit went a bit awry when Taliesin's power bogie di

Beardybloke

Beardybloke

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