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A pictorial record of horse manure

I’ve added a selection of horse droppings to the road and yard on “The Stables”.    Obviously, prototype research was needed first! Period photos from the 1890s-1930s often show droppings in the street, especially where horse-drawn carriages were regularly parked.   "Bicycle couriers with copies of the Manchester Guardian, which are being delivered to Euston station in London for circulation, circa 1920." Getty Images, embedding permitted.    Droppings can som

Mikkel

Mikkel in Scenery

Chinchilla sand and terrain paste

Been doing some scenic work on The Stables. I wish I could settle on a fixed set of approaches for the surface textures, but I seem to be trying out different methods on every new layout        The yards at Farthing tend to feature a cinders/ash/dirt mix for ballast, as seen in period photos. In the past I’ve used Polyfilla (handbuilt track) or DAS (RTR track). But I wanted a more textured look, so tried Chinchilla sand this time.       I say C

Mikkel

Mikkel in Scenery

Regrettable incident at 3 PM

Over the years I’ve gathered a small collection of anecdotes and photos that document quirky situations and customs on the real-life railway. The idea is to re-enact them in model form while the glue dries on other projects. The Slipper Boy story was one attempt at this, although admittedly that one got a bit out of hand!   Here’s another, simpler one.  First, the props:                      

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Mikkel in Stories

GWR 2-plank and 3-plank wagons

The first 2- plank wagon has appeared at Farthing, accompanied by a round-ended 3-planker.       The 2-planker owes much to Duncan, who kindly gave me one of his surplus 3D printed wagon bodies. Thanks again Duncan! I've been wanting to do a 2-planker since I saw Richards's early Opens some years ago.         I’ve used the Swindon drawing in Atkins et al for reference, and the photo of Worcester built 19451 as the prototype.  Apologies to Dave

Mikkel

Mikkel in Wagons

Life in the fast lane

I've been thinking that railway modelling needs a better public image. People seem to think the hobby is a bit weird and nerdy, when really we’re a bunch of smooth adrenaline junkies. Here are some examples from my own awesome life.       Firstly, we railway modellers have really cool gear. These DIY tamping and scribing tools were made from coffee stirrers and my wife’s discarded sock knitting needles. Max bling! The top three are for smoothing DAS between sleepers and under

Mikkel

Mikkel in Musings

GWR provender wagons

In 1884 the GWR centralized the provision of provender, so that every stable block on the system received a regular supply by rail from the provender store at Didcot, typically every 1-2 weeks. The supplies consisted of hay, chaff, straw bedding and sacks of feed. The feed included oats, beans and maize, either pre-mixed or separate.   The sizeable stable block at Farthing obviously needs a regular supply of feed and bedding, so two provender wagons have been made. I began with a diagr

Mikkel

Mikkel in Wagons

One morning long ago

One morning long ago, an 1854 class shunted the Old Yard at Farthing.         The crew were slightly bored. Nothing much ever happened in the Old Yard. Just a handful of sidings.     A carman (sic) watched them roll by, perched on his trolley (Birmingham pattern). The carmen at Farthing were famous for not using reins.          William Simmons was particularly skilled. Known as The Horse Whisperer, he worked w

Mikkel

Mikkel in Stories

GWR weighbridge office

A weighbridge has appeared at Farthing. It began as a kit, but in the end much of it was scratchbuilt. Here's a summary of the build.       This was the point of departure, a lasercut kit from Rail Model. A little research showed that it is based on the prototype at Leckhampton, a drawing of which appears in the EricPlans volume on GWR and LMS structures.        The kit is nicely cut, but I noticed that the corners weren’t mitred. So I sought t

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Mikkel

Messing about with trains

‘Mess about’  [British, informal] > to spend time doing things that are not useful or serious: to waste time Merriam-Webster dictionary    Here’s a 1½ minute video showing my new traverser in action. Or frankly: Just a bloke enjoying his layouts. The trains run daily at the moment, maybe it’s operating in a living room environment that makes it a more natural and sociable part of my daily routine.  To my surprise, I hardly miss my man cave in the old house.   N

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Mikkel

Backdating the Oxford Rail Dean Goods (2)

I thought it was about time that I finished my Dean Goods, so here it is virtually done.       It's taken an awful long time to do, although in fairness it has been resting untouched for long periods while I worked on other projects.       The loco has the original twin flywheel Oxford mechanism that came with the lined pre-grouping version. Mine is a very smooth runner, which is why I found the project worthwhile in the first place. Indeed I'v

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Mikkel

The Bumblebee Mk2 - a new traverser for Farthing

I’ve built a new ‘one-size-fits-all’ traverser for my Farthing layouts.        My latest layout - The Stables - has two levels, so I needed a traverser which could accommodate that. After I had proposed various harebrained schemes, Stu suggested the principle that I have sketched above. This was clearly the way to go. But how?       After mulling it over I looked at my old traverser (above) and realised that I could kill two birds with one stone.

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Mikkel

When in danger or in doubt... Progress on the fourth bite

When in danger or in doubt, get the model railway out. The fourth layout in the Farthing series is taking shape, a welcome relief from the lockdown blues.       Above is a reminder of the trackplan. So complicated that it broke Templot. Only very advanced modellers can do that.       A test piece to see what the new Peco Bullhead track is all about. I decided to give Peco a go as a change from handbuilt track. The chairs are wrong for GWR, w

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Mikkel

GWR stables (2): Internet archaeology

I have a thing for GWR stable blocks.  The subject isn't systematically covered in the literature, so in a previous post I tried to obtain a tentative overview of the major types and styles. Since then I’ve been searching Britain from Above, Google street view and old online  maps looking for past and present traces of stable blocks. It's all a bit esoteric, but for what it's worth here is a selection of my favourite 'finds'.     Westbury     It's 1929 and a p

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Mikkel

Scratchbuilt GWR horsedrawn float

These past weeks I have had some pleasant early morning modelling sessions, building a GWR covered float for my early 1900s setting.      The model was built using  two drawings in Great Western Horse Power by Janet Russel (figs 180 and 182) and a photo in Great Western Way p.163 (original edition). I was a bit slow to discover that there are variations between the drawings and the photo. The prototype is not in the GWR diagram book for horse-drawn carriages, but is arguably a var

Mikkel

Mikkel

The four phases of modeller's recovery

I had a setback with my Dean Goods. I was spraying on some varnish in preparation for lining, when this happened:     Orange peel - or something similar!    There followed the usual process, so well described in Dr Mindbender’s insightful ”Coping with Failure in Railway Modelling: The Four Phases of Modeller’s Recovery” (Wild Swan, 2019):   Phase 1:  Despair (”Why me, Lord?”)      Phase 2:  Resentment (”Stupid model!”)  

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Mikkel

Modified Coopercraft GWR 4 plank Open with DC1 brakes

This little project was described some time ago in my workbench thread. A couple of recent discussions suggest that the modifications involved may be of interest to others. I don't seem to have posted the usual build summary in this blog, so here it is.     The Coopercraft GWR 4 Plank Open kit (4mm scale) has an error which means that if you build it as designed you end up with 4 planks on the outside and 3 on the inside, as seen here.        

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Mikkel

Zen and the joys of railway modelling

What goes through a modeller’s mind? 'Very little', my wife would say, and she’s not far off . Am I the only one who enters a Zen-like state of mind when operating the layouts?     It begins like this. You decide to run some trains, forget all the worries. Get the gear out, set up on the dining table.     The engine purrs into life, pulls a train off the traverser. You get down to eye level, begin to dream. What if there was something else behin

Mikkel

Mikkel

Secrets of the Drawing Office (2)

This is the second part of an account by Pickle S. Finkerbury - railway historian and time traveller - describing certain key events in the evolution of GWR wagon brakes at the turn of the last century. Part one is here.    Just as the bewildered L.R. Thomas was about to regain composure, an elegantly dressed man approached them. It was none other than... …George Jackson Churchward, at this time the Chief Assistant to William Dean at Swindon Works.         '

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Mikkel

Secrets of the Drawing Office (1)

Greetings everyone – Pickle S. Finkerbury here, railway historian and time traveller. As previously explained, I have a knack for being in the right place at the right time, which has provided me with unique insights into certain unknown aspects of GWR matters. Here is another extract from my files:      Farthing, early 1900s. It is well known that the GWR treated the workers at Swindon to an annual excursion by rail. What is less known is that the top management at Swind

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Mikkel

Fourth bite: The Stables

Work has started on the fourth layout in the Farthing series. This will be named “The stables” and continues our meandering walk through the goods facilities at Farthing in the early 1900s.   The layout is inspired by my interest in GWR stable blocks, including the larger variants of the standard design that began to appear in places like Slough and Park Royal around the turn of the last century.    Slough, 1928. Source: Britain from Above. Embedding permitted. https://

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Mikkel in Layout design

Modifying, painting and storing figures

Here’s a summary of my recent 'experiments' (a.k.a. mucking about) with Modelu and other 4mm figures, and how to store them.   I have previously modified figures from the Andrew Stadden, Dart Castings and Preiser ranges. So obviously, the Modelu range had to suffer too!  The resin used in these figures cannot be bent (it will break), but clean cuts with a scalpel worked OK. Joins were sanded, fixed with superglue and smoothed out with putty. Not everyone will think it’s worthwhile, but

Mikkel

Mikkel

The Finkerbury Files

Yesterday I went to get some things in the attic of the old apartment block where we now live. Each flat has a tiny storage room, and as I entered the attic I noticed that one door was ajar.     Feeling curious, I had a look inside. The room was empty,  but someone had left an old filing cabinet in the corner.     Imagine my surprise when, inside the cabinet, I found a number of files marked “Farthing”. With trembling hands I opened the first file, an

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Mikkel

Downsizing

The Farthing layouts have seen some major rebuilding in the past months.      In the early autumn, we sold the house and moved to a flat. Having made sure that the layouts survived the move without damage…        … I immediately cut them to pieces. It was clear from the outset that downsizing was needed, as the only place to store the layouts is in a small attic room reached by a narrow flight of stairs.        The Down Bay

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Mikkel

GWR large flat dray

Here's the third and last instalment about my recent trio of horse drawn wagons. This is yet another GWR "dray", as they are commonly known. GWR drawings generally use the term "trolley", which I understand was the original and more correct term for what is today popularly called drays.     The wagon was built from an old Pendon kit, picked up on ebay. There is no mention of the prototype, but it resembles a 7 ton trolley drawing in the Great Western Horsepower book.  

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Mikkel

Ratkin & Son horse-drawn wagon

Here's another contribution to the RMweb "Horse Drawn Weekly" as Dave calls it. My efforts don't even get close to his superb models, but a horse is a horse as they say in Farthing. Today's subject is a wagon from Ratkin & Son, makers of finest jams and marmalades (or so they claim).       The build was inspired by scenes such as this one, showing the GWR sidings at Henley and Sons cyder works (sic) in Newton Abbot, October 1908. Source: Getty Images. Embedding permitt

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Mikkel


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