It's that time of the year again when I contemplate the modelling cupboard, and mortality and start muttering bits of Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress".
Virtually nothing has been done on the modelling front since I got back from Gaydon on 11th October. Post-show exhaustion, helping on the DOGA stand at two large shows , the DOGA half-yearly, a busy time at work, minor controversies , other interests, the run up to Christmas and being away with family during it have seen to that.
The only jobs that have been done are to remount the Kadees on the Airfix 31 so it couples to the stock reliably, and to lower one of the Knightwing point motor castings so stock doesn't clip it. The Digitrax DS64 accessory decoder is still in its packet on top of the cupboard
However I should have a lot more time to do some modelling in the coming months, so it's sensible to take stock and sort out a task list.
Actually I already have two - the original pre-show list and the fault list from the show . So perhaps I should make a start.....
The main task list ended up with three blocks, depending on how critical they were to the show and whether they looked like quick wins. Inevitably things from the first block got left and things from the second got done...
Still outstanding from the Basic List then:
- is the W Yorkshire 155. I'm at least 2 substantial postings behind in terms of writing up progress to date, but the current state of play is that I have an almost complete unit on which the connecting plugs for the Express Models lighting kit are fouling the gangways and causing derailment on any curve. And the motor bogie, which stopped dead before the show, and was diagnosed and fixed at the show with the Chairman's assistance, is now dead as a doornail again. I took it up to the Half-Yearly at Keen House to give it a run round the test tracks and get to grips with the problem of the lighting cable - and it sat there and refused to budge.
Possibly the DC running function has been disabled on the decoder, possibly the thing has seized again, and possibly the problem is beyond the wit of man to solve. At which point I may find myself fitting a replacement Black Beatle and contemplating full-scale reconstruction of the bogies and more internal seating
- A clutch of items are interlinked - and as they weren't relevant to the show they were left. The second board of Tramlink needs rewiring and while I'm about it a point motor installing .
That will then give me a meaningful DC test track back, all of 6' long . At which point I can proceed with DCC installations on the Lima 37 and the Fowler 2-6-4T . From there is becomes possible to run them on Blacklade and start to think about Kadee couplings and upgrading the 37
The rest of the Basic List is done, so we can move on to consider the Second Tranche:
- The Baby Deltic really needs finishing off - it was dropped from the Basic List because it wasn't directly relevant to the show. But it might be useful to have a DC test track while doing so
- And I need to build the DC Kits 128 I've had in stock for several years, and which has always been "next but one cab off the rank". Now I have a completed NRX van I need this to work it, and it would give me some more convenient options for consisting with my Modernisation Plan units: 128+101 or 108 is more convenient than 2 x 2 car units
- Express Models lights fitted to the W Yorkshire 158 are another fairly small job with operational benefits - though in view of the problems with the 155 I will need to make sure that the inter-vehicle connection does not foul the ends of the vehicles on curves. (This unit has been closed up as far as I can with Kadees). I've decided there's no point fitting Kadees on the outer ends as the mechanism in the 158 is completely incompatible with the 153s, and 2 x 2 car units won't fit on the layout when the vehicles are 23m long. (It's not really a proper fit even with 57' vehicles).
- The 150 can't be closed up because of the electric coupling bar. However I do have some A1 Models gangways in stock which can be fitted to sort out the gap. Not perfect but an improvement.
As far as the layout fault list is concerned
- The DS64 accessory decoder needs to go in. Some slight adjustments to the Knightwing point motor castings have been made but more may be called for.
- The couplings on the olive Shark keep parting. I've made one attempt to fix this but will have to try again (the issue seems to be that the plough is deflecting the tail of the Kadee on the other vehicle)
- The existing DS64 was held in place with double-sided sticky tape and this has failed
- The Airfix 31 has caught on the platform edge at the entrance to Platform 3
That then brings us to the Third Tranche - the stuff that last autumn seemed to be over the hills and far away.
- I need to finish the rebuild of the Provincial Pacer with a new Branchlines chassis that was started ages ago
- Weather the 108, paint the interior and add passengers
- The fiddle yard track on the boxfile is damaged and needs replacing. Flexible track for this is already in stock
- Now I have a Hurst Models upgrade kit, I can sort out the 156. This will be a fairly major project
- Finish the WD road van. This took a tumble off the bookshelf and some repairs are needed as well. One for warmer days, given the danger of working resin indoors
- Assuming I can't tweak the current stock, I will need to replace the point into the cripple siding on Tramlink with something gentler and relay the siding itself. I have a point in stock - Streamline small radius live frog - which would be a significant easement , but involves chipping out old track. All a bit messy - which is why I've fought shy of tackling this for a long time. I did think of using Peco's recent code 75 concrete sleeper track , but ripping up all the track and completely relaying and re-ballasting is more than I have a heart for (I'm not Coachmann)
- Insert a Hornby 0-6-0 chassis into the Great British Locos Jinty, and perhaps even getting a DCC decoder into it.
This highlights one issue - I'm getting a bit stale. Blacklade has been my main modelling project , and indeed for much of the time my only one, for about 7 or 8 years. It might be nice to strike out with a fresh challenge. But with such a backlog , and so much other stuff in the cupboard a completely new direction seems a bad idea.
Trying to finish off Tramlink, and knock the bugs out of it would give me a project that's quite different, but which is 60% done already - and it wouldn't add to the oppressive burden of unfinished projects . I haven't built a building in ages......