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Taking Stock

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It's the time of year for casting an eye over projects unfinished and unstarted, reviewing progress and considering what's been achieved, and making resolutions for the New Year.


We could start with the 2009 New Year's Resolution (buried in a transfer off the old site far below):


New Year is an appropriate time for taking stock, and I duly did. There are an uncomfortable amount of projects outstanding , and accordingly this years New Year Resolution comes from Magnus Magnussen : "I've started, so I'll finish" . Or in other words - no new projects . This doesn't mean I'm not going to start anything new - it means I'm trying to avoid buying anything new in order to sort out the stuff to which I've already committed , and which is adorning the book case or sitting in the cupboard. Or worse still sitting on top of the cupboard forming a pile of debris


That one I actually kept, more or less. A few bits and pieces were bought - a couple of second had wagon kits, a 153 (but that was a carry over from the 2008 Rolling Stock Programme) , a Central 158 and a cheap black kettle. But I did manage to avoid racing out and buying a lot more unfinished kits. The two Parkside kits acquired are in the thread below , finished. I got round Warley without committing myself to anything significant new...


There is still a large backlog, and some of it has been outstanding a long while. But having wholly or largely shed one or two commitments at the club recently, I have more time and there are signs of progress. So where do I stand?



Air braked stock:


Blacklade was designed as passenger only - apart from a couple of oil tanks (built) and maybe a short Civil Engineer's train it doesn't need wagons. Given the way things are developing with club projects, it's unlikely I will have much requirement for airbraked wagons in the next couple of years, and what I have may be unsuitable anyway . Apart from the PNA (see below) which is not really a priority, I'm not sure there's any point working on more airbraked wagons - I haven't got a use for them. That simplifies things a bit


Steam age stock.


I seem to have launched into a new round of stock for the plank. With 4 vans in the bag , or almost there, this means I need 2 minerals and an open. There's an MCV in the box with the stock off Ravenser Mk1 - a quick change of branding and some Spratt and Winkles and that's one mineral - the second hand kits included an old Ratio coke wagon - that's two. All I need then is an open - there's an ABS LNER 6 plank in the cupboard , and possibly a battered body or two somewhere. I could also very usefully finish off the DOGA LNER COV B which has been lying about part built for an embarrassing length of time, and was supposed to be part of a previous round of stock for the plank


I'd almost forgotten the Walrus and WD brake, both of which need finishing




Here it gets a bit more serious. The PMV is built and in traffic. The LMS BG is also finally in traffic. I can run a parcels train on Blacklade . However 50' BG+ 57' GUV + 31 is a bit long for the platform. I can manage, but the train hangs off the end by an inch. And a blue/grey LMS BG with gangways may well not be accurate for 70s/80s parcels - all blue with plated over gangways would probably be better


So the Ratio ex SR BG is right at the top of the list to do. At Warley I got the underframe bits to rework one or more of the old Lima CCTs which were originally acquired a very long time ago for my first teenage modern image layout, so a revamped BR CCT should also be on the agenda this year . I acquired an all blue ex LMS BG secondhand at a show late last year but reworking that is less urgent - maybe 2011?


Then there's steam age stock . The small GE BLT which a little group I'm involved with is nominally supposed to be building hasn't made much progress, so I've done little about stock in that direction. But some old comments I found in Michlner's workbench thread- have sparked a few stirrings. (My minor thread hijack is below all the pictures of fine LNER models...). A hasty check of the boxes has revealed that actually I chucked out the old Ratio clerestory kit as past redemption during a clearout, and I'm increasingly confident that the M&GN would only have had corridor vehicles transferred from the LMS , since Birmingham/Yarmouth on a summer Saturday is a long way for non-corridor coaches. (The kit I kept is a MR suburban, and therefore no use).


For those interested, the Ratio MR clerestories Ratio MR clerestories are those in Historic Carriage Drawings 2 p96-7 ; the 51L clerestory kits, which may well be the corridor vehicles confirmed on the M&GN are covered in the same book p101-3 (and the well known Ratio MR suburbans are covered in the intervening pages). (NB I have no knowledge of the supplier linked to - he's just a convenient source of suitable images)


And the ex LNWR 50' corridors known to have been transferred to the M&GN in the early 30s are these Ratio kits. Once again - I have no knowledge of this retailer, it's simply a source of images. My 2 kits (Brake compo/all third) came from a local model shop's closing down sale . Some survived past 1948 on the GE Section and like other pregrouping coaches maintained by Stratford, would have retained LNER Brown under BR until scrapping (see this rather fine model of a GE brake by Buckjumper). I'm not saying they'll be built instantly, but thanks to the thread discussion, I now have some idea how to do LNER brown, and painting the sides will be the first step.


As for other bits and pieces- the 3 or 4 Bachmann Mk1s and Mk2s bought in the same sale, the Kitmaster Mk1 kit someone gave me, the two Phoenix/BSL kits - not this year. What use have I at the moment for a Gresley buffet??


It's very unlikely I'll have a fresh stab at cleaning up a Hornby Mk2b which I started then dropped in haste when the problems started emerging. There are plenty of more productive uses of time (The coach is off my first modern image layout, again)


Maybe this year will finally get to be "the year of the Coach"



And here it gets very serious indeed. One Pacer is already started, but will be a big job - new chassis, lights, modifications, DCC, Kadees. The second, a chocolate /cream reprobate exiled to the E.Midlands , will be a rewheel/DCC job , and I should have a go at the rewheeling asap as James Makin reports no problems... . That gets 2 unserviceable models into traffic.


Smaller high priority jobs include weather/paint and people the interior of the 108 . (That's a "quick victory" to get another unit for Blacklade completed and looking the part). DCC installation on the Central 158.


And a replacement for the damaged and patched underframe moulding on one car of the 101. A spare has been ordered from E Kent , along with a trailer moulding to allow a power/trailer conversion while retaining easy reversion to a 3 car unit. I'm in several minds where to go with this unit. 3 car is a bit too much and blocks up the fiddle yard. But the unit in question was a Tyseley unit at almost the right period. Did the TS 3 car sets sometimes run without their centre cars? Or should I convert it to a 2 car power/trailer unit - then hope one was allocated in the right area at the right time, and renumber? Leaving a surplus centre car?. Either way, the "black box" underframe needs tackling and if I have to replace the power car moulding anyway, that is the obvious time to do it. This looks like morphing very easily into "upgrade the 101"


I really must build the DC Kits 105 this year - before Bachmann get their's out. It has to be the 105 because the 114 will be in blue/grey - a much more difficult paint job. The original idea was that the 101 could be sorted , slowly, once I had the 105 built to replace it......


And yes - it is high time I finished the Bratchill 150/2. Just to make it more difficult the person who was going to paint it in Regional Railways livery has backed out, and somehow I'll have to do it myself.


What are the automotive spray can equivalents for Regional Railways livery - or at least the Hornby version: 'cos this will probably run with a 153 from time to time.


And I've a Trains4U 150/1 on order which will need the usual weathering etc....


There's a lot of work to be done on this front (We'll ignore the Dapol railbus for the GE BLT..)



None of which are weathered. There's an off chance my 57 might be needed elsewhere so an early weathering is desirable. And it's the smallest of my 3 Type 5s, so the most suitable for fuel tanks on Blacklade


The 60 needs a small bodyshell repair - that's urgent. It and the 66 need weathering - not so urgent.


Now for the more serious stuff. There's an elderly Bachmann 03 off Ravenser Mk1 lurking in a cupboard. I could usefully convert that to DCC - it would be ideal for tripping in a single TTA or shunting a CCT or PMV in the early period. And while I'm about it I should add supplementary pickups as I've done on the Silver Fox 05 (well, large Hunslet) which runs on the plank. And the recent George Dent book on Detailing & Modifying RTR Locos (Diesels) contains some notes about upgrading the handrails, cab interior, and windows....


There is also the case of the Airfix 31. It's running with a decoder but I have a spare body which I'm intending to detail up for it as 31 402 in blue. This may be an early project, and it's just occured to me that with all that fresh air inside if I ever wanted to have a DCC Sound loco , this would be the one to go for. It would give it something over and above the very serviceable Hornby 31 that's its rival (The loco is another vetern off my first modern image layout)


(And while 31 174 is fine, I must check if I really can get the body back on the unhappy and stopped 31 270 - or whether it's a mazak casualty)


Putting a decoder in the 29 was abandoned when it became clear it was one of the earlier Ringfields and not a straightforward hardwired installation. If I have time on my hands , chipping the Bachmann 08 (also ex Ravenser Mk1) would be more productive .


There is also the Dapol/Branchlines 04 Drewery I started building for the plank rather longer ago than is comfortable, and whose part built chassis still adorns the bookcase. I really ought to do something with that, too, this year. It's not made any progress since this:



This is rather a lot of stuff. Visions of stuffing Athearn chassis into a further spare 31 body (whether ochre or not - for the GE BLT) and an old Hornby 37 body, etched loco kits, whitemetal Y5s , Lima 20s etc etc can wait for another year. And speaking of weight, it seems sensible to decide at this point that the wretched A1 Models Baby Deltic kit has a promising future as ballast weights:




The Sentinel got built , by the way .


And I will have an ROD . A Frodingham one , if I can afford it...


Then there's




You're probably as sick of me muttering "must build screen walls/motorise remaining points" about Blacklade as I am of saying it. It will get done in the next few months. Promise.


There are a couple of structures I ought to finish for a club project


I'm not even going to think about the half built light rail project , though as it's my occasional DC test track , I must repair the broken wire on the second board....


And if I get even 2/3rds of all that done in 2010 , I'll have had a busy and productive year.


But - and it's a sobering thought - I don't need to buy much for all these projects. It's basically all stuff already bought and projects already committed to. It doesn't even clear the whole backlog.


And the other theme is that a lot of this is about getting stuff from old layouts back into use and circulation. I've quite a lot of stuff that for one reason or another is "stored unserviceable". If I could recycle some more of my yesterdays , I'd have a lot more toys to play with and a lot more to show for myself.

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