I didn't get round to my annual New Year's Resolutions posting this year - a bad sign. Thanks to a new job and various domestic renewals not a lot of modelling was done in the couple of months before New Year, and even less posting on here took place.
Nevertheless rather more modelling took place in 2016 than was written up in this blog. The trouble is, it left rather a lot of unfinished business. For the last few years I've been stating with depressing regularity that I'm not going to take on any more projects - it's time to catch up with my backlog. And somehow it never happens.
Four years ago I decided that it would be a great idea to get various unbuilt kits and unused kettles out of the cupboard and field them as a scratch team to work a (not terribly authentic) steam period , c1958. Four years on, and my best estimate is that the number of outstanding coach kits and upgrade project has reduced by - a big fat zero, thanks to further additions. Mind you , four years ago my coaching stock comprised a few RTR items plus various kinds of material for projects - and only about 2 vans ever turned a wheel on the layout. Since then 10 items of coaching stock have gone into regular service, one more awaits a partner to do so, and 3 more are nearly there. Yes, I keep picking up bargain projects but the total spend including bits has been under £200.
And I now have 6 kettles and LMS 10001 up and running and earning a crust. There are still a couple more that need sorting out, but we're getting there.
So what is currently lingering on the bookcase?
Various items to comprise Sets 4 and 5 of the steam stock are in various states of completeness. This saga started with a BSL Gresley steel CK , which was going to be paired with an LMS non-corridor brake 3rd - until I realised the BSL kit was actually gangwayed. So I bought a Coopercraft /Mailcoach Tourist Brake Third Open, back in the days when Coopercraft still had a few coach kits actually available.
I've heard unfavourable comments about this kit from far better modellers than I , and I now understand why. I started it in the middle of last year, thinking a plastic kit would be a pretty manageable task, and it's proving a pig. It will be paired with the Hachette Mk1 which I upgraded last year having succumbed to the lure of an astonishing bargain - that one did get written up ,http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blog/296/entry-17819-set-4-modernity-on-the-cheap-part-2-sidetracked/ though the wretched Tourist Brake Third hasn't been . All the Hachette Mk1 needs is a replacement set of Kadees, as the NEM pockets are at the wrong height.
At Ally Pally last year I bought what I thought was an astonishing bargain - a metal coach kit with punched aluminium bodyshell for an LMS Porthole Brake 3rd "almost complete" for a fiver. Unfortunately it turned out to be MTK , not BSL.... I am told it is one of their best items and perfectly buildable. "Almost complete" turned out to mean "missing one guard's ducket" - replacements were sourced - and it was while I was turning over all the bits to assess what needed to be done that I drifted into starting the Tourist Brake, on the theory it would be an easier job than a metal MTK coach. I'm starting to think that judgement was seriously misguided.
But this has spawned a further project. The LMS used "British Standard" gangways which are not a particularly good match for the Pullman gangways used by the LNER and BR. Dapol produce an old model of a 60' Stanier Corridor Composite, and Coachmann seemed to rate it http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/67996-making-use-of-Dapol-lms-coach-kits/ So at Stevenage a couple of weeks ago I took the plunge and spent £13.50 on a CKD one , plus another £8 on underframe castings and etched frames - some of which will go to other projects. This is in carmine and cream - in 1958 there ought to be at least one vehicle in the fleet still in blood and custard, and I'm scared to attempt it myself. Getting a discount in order to be spared the trouble of dismantling a built coach is a bonus , and work has begun, after an order went into SE Finecast for flushglaze . (This included flushglaze for an old Lima Mk1 SK from my teenage layout which may finally get a heavy upgrade and re-enter service. I sourced three more of the Phoenix Precision Mk1 underframe trusses last autumn , and I've got some Comet BR underframe castings in stock. Maybe a TSO interior can be substituted)
Beyond that the vista opens up of combining Sets 4 and 5 to produce a mainline train, which would look the part behind 10001 if I ever have access to a larger layout. Buried deep in the cupboard is the second hand Triang-Hornby RMB I bought as a teenager and repainted into blue/grey with a basic brushpaint job. Stripped back, repainted back into maroon with a replacement underframe truss and Comet underframe castings , and other detailing , something adequate to sit between the two 2-car sets could result. That's a 5 coach corridor set. Add, in the fullness of time, the BSL Gresley composite...
I digress - which is the problem. I have an exhibition booking for the layout in 2 month's time (bit less actually) . I should be focussing on BR Blue stock for that.
Top of the pile is the 128 Parcels unit, which is most of the way there, and would let me get the NRX and GUV into service - both are too long for Platform 2 in a loco-hauled parcels.
Next priority is the Lima 37 which runs , has a decoder and Kadees, and is part detailed. This needs to be finished as a spare loco in case one of the 31s has a problem at the show
The gangways on the 155 need finally to be sorted out. They still won't take a crossover. This will be attempt 3
And once we are clear of the show I can turn to the Provincial Pacer. I played about with this a little, for the first time in some years , a couple of months ago - though all that was done was a little interior painting . If I can finally get to grips with this unit, which will be a pretty heavy DMU upgrade project, I will have a lot more options for joining and splitting DMUs using consisting
I also really ought to finish off the Baby Deltic. It's not a priority, because it's not suitable for the show, but it's another stalled project that really doesn't need too much to finish...
Something is stirring on the N5 front. I may be going to extend my skill set and we might get another kettle into traffic later in the Spring
As for things like the WD brake and the Toad E, the GBL Jinty, and what have you, they are a long way down the list. Not to mention a few smaller jobs, like lights and weathering on the W Yorks 158, maybe working gangways on the 150, and even weathering the 108. I really ought to install the detailing bits on 20 052 - and it's high time I did something about the failed decoder in 20 063.
There's the maroon ex LMS 42' GUV I bought for a fiver at a show in October (Comet bogies needed?), and the Mainline Mk1 bought at Showcase for a few quid for a possible bullion van conversion (I've since realised why it was so cheap - the windows are wrong. However with this conversion only one compartment window per side will be retained and as it would run in parcels trains I might get away with it)
But if I can finish off most of the projects that have been started, that should go a long way to clearing the decks