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  1. David Payling’s book has an appendix on the liveries carried by the FR Fairlies. He states that, In the absence of colour photographs or other evidence, the FR collection in the Gwynedd Archives has been searched for documentary evidence of the paints purchased by the FR for use on rolling stock. The documents from 1889, 1896 and 1899 apparently give very similar lists, including red lead paint, Indian red paint and two kinds of varnish. Payling’s conclusion is that the paint for engines, including the Fairlies, was most likely to have been Indian red, but how that colour relates to today’s pigments is unknown, along with the effects of time and weathering on appearance. He adds that “the growing knowledge of the old company’s lining style has allowed painting and lining practices to become steadily more authentic”. DLG, Merddin Emrys and Taliesin currently all have different shades of red, with Taliesin’s changing in 2015 from a deep Victorian maroon similar to ME’s livery to a lighter and richer shade described as “Fairlie engine maroon”. All of which is a long-winded way of saying that it looks as if the FR company is not trying to recreate the same historical shade, because they recognise that nobody knows what it looked like. But they are using the archive records to get as close as they can to the overall appearance of the old liveries. If 19th century red paint faded in service like my brother-in-law’s 1990’s Vauxhall, the range of colours used across Taliesin, DLG and ME is probably as authentic as you’re going to get. And as a matter of interest, I’ve just noticed in the Isengard photo that both DLG and ME appear to have gained Triang style boiler skirts just behind the smoke box. Any idea why they’ve been added? Some kind of splasher perhaps? David
  2. That’s a gorgeous photo. I’m not sure how helpful the following quotes will be, but ex-FR General Manager Gordon Ruston’s recent FR & WHR stockbook Ffestiniog Finery states that DLG’s “rather strange nickname of The Soup Dragon came about through the locomotive’s rather unusual colour, a terracotta red (said to be an original FR colour). Always likely to be a matter of contention, it is alleged that the colour has a negligible effect upon locomotive performance”. David Payling’s excellent book Fairlie Locomotives of North Wales of a couple of years ago states that DLG was repainted in 2015, “the details representing the results of research at Boston Lodge into the railway’s Victorian livery and lining”. David
  3. Couldn’t agree more - every time I see new photos of the old 16mm line or the new 7.5” one, I look on in sheer admiration. I wish I had a fraction of Bob’s creative flair. Truly inspirational stuff - as the old Bond theme put it, nobody does it better. Top job Bob! David
  4. Shaping up very nicely Bob - it’s clearly going to have as much character and charisma as your great 16mm industrial locos. Can’t wait to see how it looks with the panels on. Lovely job! David
  5. Not exactly comparative data on performance and economy as such, but there’s a very damning chapter on the Brits in OS Nock’s book From the Footplate, where he characterises them as ‘nobody’s babies’, adding ‘it was ironic that engines labelled as a British Standard should be so few in number at most of the sheds where they were based as to be regarded as non-standard’. He gives multiple examples to support how their performance, other than in East Anglia, was consistently disappointing, concluding that ‘I cannot say that I ever had any journeys behind them that I could be enthusiastic over and this is reflected in the relatively poor availability of the engines for duty. It is true that they worked very long mileages between successive visits to Crewe for periodic repairs, but they took a long time to amass those mileages.’ He then goes on to document the litany of mechanical issues that plagued the class, including the hollow axles, issues with cracks on the wheel seats that were very hard to fix due to problems in getting the roller bearings out, self-cleaning screens in smokeboxes that did not last from one boiler washout day to the next, and finally the catastrophic failure of the slide bar attachments that caused the derailment with many casualties on the S&C in January 1960. His conclusion is that ‘with four separate drawing offices involved, I suppose it was really too much to expect complete success....(Roland) Bond felt that a Mark 2 Britannia incorporating all the lessons learned with the first lot, and with three cylinders, would have been a superb locomotive, but the edict of 1955 slammed the door on any such aspirations’.
  6. I dunno how you do it Bob, but you just keep on doin’ it - that’s brilliant! And to use a boot scraper for the grille - that’s genius. I wish I had your gift for turning ordinary things into modelling gold. Loving the build and looking forward to the next update as and when..... Very best wishes for the house move, David
  7. I look forward to each new update from you Bob - I loved your SM32 line because of its atmosphere, realism and sheer artistry. And now you’re doing it bigger and even better. Thanks for brightening these difficult times by sharing your creation with us. And maximum sympathy re the bar stewards - had to live next door to something similar myself in the past - not something I would wish on anybody. Looking forward to the next inspirational instalment! David
  8. Great project - and No 8 is an excellent choice. It’s a small point of detail, but Hurricane’s tender has changed shape at the cab end over the years. In the 1960s photos, the tender sides are in as-built condition, ie full height right up to the cab, with a tiny gap between the tender and the cab roof. In later years the sides were cut back to the shape in your first photo. Much more practical for the driver - and as an aside, having driven Hurricane on a driver experience day, I was very grateful for the modification. The driving position is snug enough as it is without having to clamber in and out over the tender sides - but either way No 8 is an absolute joy to drive. Looking forward to seeing how this build progresses, David
  9. Swift Sixteen do ready-to-run 32mm motor bogies, but they are a bit more pricey at £80. Or you could pick up an old cheap and cheerful Lima O gauge diesel shunter or class 33 motor bogie on EBay if you are happy to put up with the noisy spur gear drive. I used to use them for all sorts of 16mm scale projects in the past. I do like your design - can you please keep us updated on progress? David
  10. Lovely! That was a real pleasure to watch, and especially as my own 16mm equipment is all boxed up following a house move while I build myself a new line. It’s great to see such realistic operation. And I really like what you’ve done to enhance your Lady Anne - a very nice-looking loco indeed. Thanks for sharing the video. David
  11. 76mph with 465 tons behind the drawbar? But the 43XXs were tiny. I’ve often looked at preserved 5322 when I’m crossing the Foxhall car park footbridge at Didcot and I’m always surprised at how small it is compared to the bigger 4-6-0s. Presumably this was a Down run, with the benefit of gravity assistance down the steep descent from Saunderton and the long straight downgrade from Risborough before the level section through Haddenham. I remember Harold Gasson writing about how to get the best out of the 43XXs through skilled use of the dampers, short cut off and full regulator - to whip one up to that kind of speed with that huge load must have taken some expertise. David
  12. Looking great! Having moved house recently I’m planning my next 16mm line at the moment, and Belle End is providing some excellent ideas - thank you for the inspiration. Looking forward to seeing how your 16mm empire develops through the year. David
  13. Not a rose-tinted view at all Mr L - that shop was in its prime when owned by the Oxford Publishing Company and managed by Geoff Osborne, who left when Motor Books of Charing Cross Road took over - he then set up Osborne's Models a few miles south in Abingdon, which has in turn migrated even further afield to North Devon under new ownership. OPC/Motor Books at the Green Road roundabout was an excellent shop that led me down the path to scratch-building in 7mm scale - the combination of a huge range of own label railway reference books, scratch-builder materials and knowledgeable staff made it a truly first rate modelling resource which I still miss very much. David
  14. Beautiful - this is going to be one hell of a fine model. David
  15. Same experience here Mike - brand new 802s generally ride markedly better than early build 800s. The Eastbound ride of the latter over Tilehurst East at line speed is getting very rough. Likewise the bogies of most of Reading's 387s are now hunting continuously in the 100-110mph speed range, taking me back to the bad old days of worn Mk1 stock on original bogies - not in the scary zone yet, but a disappointingly quick deterioration in ride quality. David
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