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    Railway Modelling, Signaler on East Lancs Railway, CAMRA and occasional guitarist

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  1. I've a few etched brass industrial loco projects to do, and its a while since Ive actually built a kit so I thought Id start with the easiest project and work up from there. As it happens, the easiest option is that of turning a pigs ear into a silk purse, or even harder in this case, a DJM Austerity that runs. Lets face it, its all front, a bit like he who should not be named who designed and marketed it. Face value it looks good, pretty much accurate on the body size, injectors look a bit clumsy to me but that can be sorted, it looks fine. The mechanics of this are another story however, it really is the biggest piece of ordure ever made. My good friend Black and Decker Boy of this parish got a couple shortly after they came out for his layout Kirkmellington. I recall sat with him at Ally Pally with the layout a few years back attempting to figure out how to convert them to EM, they were bad enough runners in OO. Form over substance is probably the kindest thing to say. Anyhow, about a year and a half ago Hattons were knocking them out for a price at which had it been today you'd have thought the boxes contained COVID 19. Although at this stage Greenbooth was just an idea, I was going to do something industrial in EM for another club members project, so I bit the bullet and my principles and shelled out just short of 60 beer tokens for one. I daresay I could have pulled the wheels out to EM and tried it, but a test run on the grandkids OO layout upstairs confirmed my worst fears, it ran like the piece of s**t it is. Wheel pulling was not, and in reality never was, an option. Luckily I knew by then that RT Models produce a chassis for it ( B and D boy had already gone down this route). I picked one up from RT last year and like you should do with all pieces of etched brass, put it into the kit drawer to mature. (I've a circa 20 year old Brassmasters Jubillee in there that's still not quite ready lol) So now it time to build and hopefully produce something worthy of the body work. Yesterday I folded up and put the High Level gear box together - that's paired with a Mashima 2012. Hopefully the soldering iron will be out today to commence the frames.
  2. The value of making mock ups of the buildings has been illustrated over the last 48 hours following a discussion on the Rochdale MRG Facebook isolation virtual clubroom after I'd put the pictures and my thoughts to the group. I wasnt happy with the appearance of the Northlight weaving shed behind the station building. I'd scaled it down from photos on Google earth, not actually being in a position to go out and actually measure it as I would normally do, and put in place the bays looked a bit too big. After a discussion on the group, and a member who's a surveyor giving some professional advice on the angles involved, I today cut more foam board based on another set of photos found online. As a result much more happy with the building and how it looks. Just goes to show that even in lock down the club still functions as it should. Social meeja to the rescue!
  3. Nothing like a change of mind to make you "stay alert" (sic) This week has mainly been about slicing foamboard to make full scale mock ups of buildings etc to get an idea how it will look as a complete model before I embark on any major scenic work. I'm very happy with disguising the entry/exit from the fiddleyard with buildings. The engine house and the boiler house alongside at the entry it are based on buildings found in the Graham Edgar books, both struck me as very interesting buildings and not unlike each other in style. There will be a pipe bridge between the two. The terrace row is based on those just down in the village from me, a typical stone built Lancashire row, but with a difference as on the model being on a slope whereas in reality they are flat. The mill is basically a cross between Ilex Hall and New Hall Hey mills in Rawtenstall. There is going to be the inevitable large chimney at the side of the boiler house. Where the L and Y signal box base is on the far end will be the enginemens bothy, engine servicing - coal stage and watertower just outside the shed. I will now move on to a loco or two and let the buildings "settle in" so to speak in order to get obver that first rush and look at the composition with a bit of objective critical anaysis - the low relief Northlight shed behind the station is going to be redone for starters!
  4. > As an exhibitor I'd not really be happy about finding out about a cancelled show off T'internet before the exhibition manager had a chance to speak or mail me personally. As an exhibition manager I'd be very severely peed off if it appeared in public before I'd chance to contact all exhibitors and traders personally. It's called common courtesy.
  5. I'm more than well aware of that and know very well that traders very closely monitor their aftersales which they use partly to decide whether or not attendance at a particular show is actually worth it. The point is sooner or later there is a tipping point when a loss leader becomes a loser, and with an economic situation where little disposable income is around, the likelihood of that happening is greater. It may not affect the big boys like Warley, Donny et al where to be seen is to be seen, or the small local show with little completion but for the middle division shows who have rows of competing box shifters then it's an issue they may have to face.
  6. Whilst naturally and quite rightly so the debate here has been about the health implications regards exhibitions, there is another factor looming large on the horizon looking at the pronouncement from the governor of the Bank of England today, that of substantial downturn in the economy and a very deep recession. Reading through it one of the recurring themes in it was that of consumer confidence, or more correctly the lack thereof. Whilst these days only being involved in running a couple of small shows with a substantially reduced risk, whilst keeping a weather eye on the economy, it would not be a major concern, after all we have been through this before. However add that lack of consumer confidence to a probable reluctance of a section of the target audience to visit shows on health grounds then the head bobs up quickly and takes note. Even if they come, will they spend? Traders rely on that to turn a profit over stand rent and I know it can be a tipping point for some, especially if they are paying a high stand rent which in turn for the show organiser, generally offsets hall rent.. There are now many examples of traders giving up doing shows - Wizard is a good example - because its just not worth the hassle for a poor return, and given a good internet presence then its not really a problem. Over the last 7 -8 weeks I've needed materials for the layout build which ordinarily I would have bought at shows, I'd a massive shopping list for ally pally. But Ive coped very well, and been able to source stuff from the likes of Eileens Emporium very quickly - and judging by the gap in order numbers between two orders about 4 days apart, so are a lot of other people. I miss being able to browse but its not a game changer, I suspect a lot of traders will be looking long and hard at shows if the downturn is as bad as the BoE says.
  7. Having spent a few days fettling trackwork, Ive spent some time running locos to spot any further bits which need attention before moving onto the next stage. Theres a couple of tight spots I'd not noticed to sort out but other than that its onwards and upwards. I was going to start building signals but I feel a change to doing some of the industrial stock might be a better idea. But is it the Judith Edge Hunslet 16 inch, or making a silk purse out of a pigs ear that is the mechanical and chassis side of the abortion that is the DJM Austerity. (RT Chassis, Mashima 2012 motor, High Level box and Gibson wheels)
  8. So just on three weeks of starting on the panel and the wiring, all the final bench testing was completed last night, with just a few jobs to do today reversing polarity on a few motors so that when the "levers" are in the normal position, the road set reflects that on the box diagram. That job done, both boards were put back on the subframe and joined and everything including the NCE kit was plugged in. Granted a class 40 may not be the best loco to test track on a shunting plank but at least it found the bits of track needing attention! Apart from a few dry joints on the track droppers which were quickly sorted it all works. Next is to fettle all the track , and put a chip in one of the locos which will actually be running on the layout!
  9. The last week has seen board 2 upended and the wiring started. It seems off starting with board two but as this is next to the fiddle board, and where the controls are, this is where the power originates from, and all the hardware under the board is located. First to go in was the bus wires. These are broken in each segment and soldered to a copperclad strip, from which all the feed wires jump off from, both to the track and to the polarity switches on the point motors. It looks a bit chaotic at the moment but I know where everything is, and once all the loom is in place it will be all tied up and made neat and tidy. Next to go in on this board are the point operating wires, via the 37 way from the panel. Ive cheated a bit on the business end of this by buying a ready made up terminating block and connector rather than soldering up my own using tag strip, its going to save some space in an already crowded environment. This gets installed next and the point motor operating wires connected. The signal wiring will go in later as I want the Megapoints servo control unit on the bench to set all the signals up as I make them, but thats an easy win as the leads are ready made and will just cable tie to the loom Greenbooth was supposed to be a slow burn project whilst North Ballachulish was on the road but all this Isolation has seen progress made well in advance of what I thought, I'm spending 2 or 3 hours a day on it, having a break every hour or so to do something else and keep fresh. If things were normal I'd be on the ELR working or actually at this moment in time out visiting licensed premises to judge the Greater Manchester pub of the Year, such is life. At least its something to look forward to when his madness comes to an end.
  10. There is a strap, you just can't see it for the pad. You also can't see the padding I used to wear on my right shoulder! Used to hate march jobs with a BBb, one of the reasons I gave up banding 4 years ago as it did for my back in the end, which is now one of the reasons I build my layouts at the height I do.
  11. Looking forward to seeing a 4mm Bb Bass modelled on it!
  12. Have I missed it? I was coming but got off the virtual train and went over to Lendal Bridge and into the virtual Maltings for some lunch but ended up staying in there all afternoon.
  13. Well that's the hard part done. It all buzzes out with no shorts of wires in the wrong place so hopefully once power is introduced.... Next job fix the point motors and install the wiring looms , including wiring up the opposite end of that 37 way.
  14. So moving on, where to start with the wiring? I was starting to put in the first point motor, but decided to do the right thing and read the instructions first. First time I've used DCC Concepts motors, and although the principle is similar to tortoise motors decided that to press on might be foolish. That brought on a change of strategy as I really need to test them in situ once installed, so decided to start on making the control panel. Two days later after a few hours mapping out wiring runs, woodwork and some time putting a fascia panel together on Publisher, I'm ready to start wiring the beast.
  15. After a brief hiatus concentrating on North Ballachulish's outing to Glasgow last month, its been nose to the grindstone on completing Greenbooth's track building. The last bit of plain track was laid on Sunday, the last two days have been spent doing cosmetic work putting in half chairs and tidying up in general. It all seems to run OK pushing the coach through so once everything has been fettled it's turn the boards over, fit the point motors and start wiring it all up.
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