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Chris Higgs

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  1. A Hornby Railroad Mk1 weighs in at 120g, the Bachmann equivalent is 160g, of which 25g is the wheels. Perhaps I just need depleted uranium wheels, it would certainly keep the CofG down. First things first, a rake of coaches that hold the road is the objective, I'll worry later about what can pull them. The fiddle yard as currently configured will not allow a train of more than 6 Mk1s, which is not really so much shorter than what you might see on the East Suffolk anyway. The Heljan Hymek gives the impression it would romp away with 6 coaches cast in lead. The steam locos can wait. There is a J69 in there which has springing on the outer axles but the middle one is fixed - work that one out. I would be tempted to dispense with the springing altogether by supergluing the bearings to turn them all back into rigid chassis locos, except of course I don't think a rigid chassis P4 loco is likely to stay on the track! So I think I need a more cunning plan in regards to chassis redesign. Does anybody know if those P4 coach wheels that Branchlines used to do are still on the market, I think they came from Australia. I have a stock for diesel conversions, but not enough for my coaches. Chris
  2. A simple question, not sure if on here is the appropriate place to ask. How heavy do you think a coach should be weighted? I've bought a bunch of Hornby Railroad Mk1s, which I feel will pass muster as layout coaches with a bit of titivating, and of course replacement of the horrible plastic wheels. But they seem awfully light and sorely in need of some extra ballast. Chris
  3. I owned one of these once. I was 13 at the time and loved it. I didn't know any better at the time that it was really a Britannia with a German 2-10-0 chassis. I'm 58 now, so bear in mind the age of the loco. Memories are a bit vague of the running qualities of my example, but there could well be a good reason why they are operating it at breakneck speed... Chris
  4. You guys are still assuming a) the wheel has spokes b) the crankpin hole is in the wheel, not on an outside crank Neither is true for Julia's loco, and b) isn't true if your loco is an 08 shunter! Chris
  5. However, that does assume your wheels have spokes. And also doesn't apply where outside cranks have to be separately attached and s so do not align with the spokes. I think Julia went the right way by making a jig. In principle yes you can line the cranks up level by eye if you left the other side all bottom dead centre. But how do you know the other set are still bottom dead centre when you are now looking at the other side? Chris
  6. I had a Hornby Rebuilt Scot on my bench today which I bought as a non-runner. It has two very faint moulding marks on the boiler at around 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock if you take the boiler top as 12 o'clock. I don't think you will ever be able to injection mould a boiler without some point at which the mould has a break. I have never really taken much notice of RTR loco bodies but as this one decided not to come apart quite as it should when I needed to remove it to get at the motor, I was treated to just how many small detailing parts go into making one as they all decided to fall off! In a way it is a little too detailed for a layout loco as some of them are very fragile and will not stand sustained handling. It has been quite a task reattaching them and I am now quite in awe of the work that has gone into designing this particular loco. Chris
  7. Armed with a bit of renewed enthusiasm and a test loco I ventured up to Ufford and switched it on. Initially the loco (a Heljan Hymek with P4 wheels but otherwise unmodified) did not move at all, but retreating to the workshop test track and starting the loco on a known reliable roadbed the conclusion was the track needed a good clean. Easy enough, but tedious on a 32ft by 10ft layout squeezed into a loft barely larger than that. After that was done, the loco trundled up and down happily and smoothly on both Up and Down main lines along the entire scenic sections, the only derailments being on some excessively misaligned baseboard joints. The loco's flickering lights tell me there is more to do and the smoothness of running may arise from large flywheels and heavy weight rather than superbly cleaned track. And the fact it ran over a piece of emery paper left from the track cleaning and did not derail that it may be very tolerant of track imperfections. My conclusions are 1. Heljan Hymeks are darn good locos. Let's hope the Class 15 and 16 are the same as I doubt the output of Beyer Peacock's contribution to the 1950s Modernisation plan were often seen east of Paddington. 2. Any statements that "Ufford ran badly" really need to be phrased as "the locomotives provided for Ufford ran badly" 3. Ufford can be resurrected - if it had been that the track was not good enough that would probably have meant the effort to get it running would not have been worth it. Onwards and (hopefully) upwards Chris
  8. Print orientation is key with Shapeways using their ultra-fine detail plastic (or whatever they call is now, I think it is Smoothest). Basically anything which has a downward facing part will be supported by a wax printed at the same time as the plastic. This produces a rougher finish on all surfaces it is supporting. This will include panelled coach sides or beading on tenders for example, as the panelling overhangs the main side and needs supporting. So they have to be printed with the side facing upwards. Which means they really need to be printed as separate sides and ends and put together later. I have not yet tried any of their latest available materials which may well be better. There is also recommendations to print models not flat on but inclined at 5-10 degrees which may reduce the stripeing, again not something I have tried so far. If you are printing your own stuff at Shapeways they provide tools to set the orientation and to show you where there will be wax supporting material. Provided these surfaces will be hidden ones (or are ones easily sanded to remove the roughness) everything should be satisfactory. Sadly if you are buying someone else's product you have no control over how they have designed it or what orientation (if any) they specified to print it. By definition if you buy something that is a complete body its going to have roughness on some surface somewhere. Etching is in my opinion better for coach sides as even if you get a smooth enough printed side it is bound to be much thicker than an etched one and therefore difficult to glaze in a realistic manner. Unless of course you also know how to produce laser-cut windows. However, pannelling on LNER coaches is half-round which you will never etch as it really is. For coach roofs however it is a different story. I print 2mm scale 3D Printed coach roofs complete with all the vents and roof ribs on them. Someone did comment on they were not entirely smooth, but after I showed them a photo of the real thing (a Bulleid on the Bluebell with canvas roof covering) the view was perhaps the model ones were not rough enough! Chris
  9. I have a CD from Michael which I think must be them. Are the ones on the Scalefour site from you? https://www.scalefour.org/layouts/ufford.html I notice that one of these has been chosen as the photo to headline the whole layout section. Chris
  10. I realise it is a bit(!) late to reply to this post, but I thought you might all like to know what happened to Ufford, especially as if you believe what you read elsewhere on RMWeb that it was broken up (spoiler alert, it wasnt) Well, it is alive and well and living in my loft. Where it has sat for quite a while due to my work and family commitments over the years giving me little time to work on or operate it. Now that semi-retirement has arrived , I plan on that changing. It still looks stunning (if a little dusty). Does it run? - well sort of. Run a diesel round it and it is clear there are very few issues with the track itself. Of the steam locos it came with about 50% operable to a reasonable standard, but a comprehensive chassis rebuilding program is probably called for. Fortunately as I am into etching I will be able to create new frames to my own specification of sprung/CSB. In the meantime I think it will be diesels. I am a great fan of Mostyn which I think shows how P4 can be, and my youthful memories are of BR Blue. A backwater like the East Suffolk didn't really alter that much to preclude operating it as early 1970s, however it would be a bit boring operatiónally, so I think I will go with 1960., and all those early diesels Heljan and Dapol have provided us with. The stock I inherited is centered around 1948-50, so there will need to be an influx of BR Mk1s, maroon Gresleys and some of the 51' Gresley corridor stock unique to the GE Section. The steam locos can come back in as and when they get upgraded, or replacements bought and converted to P4. There were no J17/J19/J20 0-6-0s in the roster so some kitbuilding to do as well. Top of the list is rebuilding the fiddle yard. The one I got it with is not the one Dunwich had and has a lot of relatively short roads but no capability to run long freights,. Its design also means one end of the layout had curves too sharp for P4 stock to reliably handle and were rebuilt with continuous checkrails in an attempt to solve it. I intend to go back to something with a more conventional spray of pointwork at each end giving long roads on which two short trains or one long one can sit. Or perhaps something a bit more radical with metal strips instead of conventional trackwork, DCC? Not as yet, but I expect that is the way I will go. As a parting thought, there was discussion on here about preserving historic layouts. I have to say given that most are not built to last hundreds of years that is a it problematic, wasn't the final fate of Heckmondwike that its baseboards warped beyond being recoverable? And where would these layouts live? Ufford is 12m by 4m when set up and I don't think there are that many people with that sort of space available. Which I think in the end was why I was the only one who decided to take it on. Michael Brooks retired down to the South Coast and certainly couldn't take it with him. And Ufford is just a tiddler compared to some layouts I could mention. Chris Higgs
  11. A Castle at Chipping Norton? I wonder if that ever happened. Chris
  12. So what is the reason for rebulding the splashers - too big, too wide or not in the right position? I have a number of Castle bodies that I will add chassis of etched/milled form to, and if I follow your splasher changes I think I may 3D-print replacements. Chris
  13. I saw plenty of Class 20s in pairs at Cheltenham in my youth, heading (I guess) for Bristol and South Wales. Conversely, never saw a 24 on the Western, except when they all turned up to Swindon for scrapping! Class 25s there certainly were aplenty. Don't forget the Dapol Hymek. If I were doing a steam loco, I probably would not start with a Castle as the larger the wheel diameter, the more tricky it is to get them to run true, expecially with the shortened muffs that the Farish conversions use. Chris
  14. So how did they get into American outline stuff? Through Ted Brandon,? Chris
  15. The early ones had 8' Fox bogies, but most had 8' Heavyweight Gresleys. However, I have seen one photo at least (can't find it right now) with 8'6" Stamdard bogies, which it probably gained when the Fox ones wore out. Chris
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