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Everything posted by Spotlc

  1. The base and enclosure for Gray's Maltings nearly finished - still some kind of lighting rig to think about if I have the time, plus finishing the exterior. The panels are assembled using button head screws and in such a way as to allow any one or more of the panels to be removed without the rest falling apart! With something as small as this it's quite important for me to be able to do this - there isn't much room on a piece of A4, and I am quite clumsy! I put a piece of the said A4 paper on the base, just to show that I'm not cheating! Cheers, Mike
  2. 80 Next, the outer frame sides were cut to length and width from scrap 6mm MDF sheet and glued around the baseboard using ordinary builders white PVA glue. The longer sides are cut a little over length and will be cleaned up true on the belt sander later. The frames are 60mm deep giving a 20mm void below for wiring, switches, etc, if I have the time to fit lights in the buildings, and the frame has small pieces of softwood quadrant glued into the corners to increase the glue area. A couple of things I ought to say here, - firstly, if you use MDF for any kind of machine woodwork, you should always wear a proper particulate face mask and/or have adequate extraction arrangements - the particles produced are extremely fine, quite unlike ordinary sawdust, and are very damaging to the respiratory tract. Secondly, you cannot nail or screw anything into foam, so glueing is the only realistic option and despite a certain, perhaps natural predjudice, I can assure you that white PVA will produce a bond which will be stronger than the foam, the foam tearing before the glue joint fails, when tested to destruction. I used a little picture framer's band clamp to hold it tightly together until set. The panels for the enclosure were next cut out, again from a piece of scrap MDF sheet, this time 3mm, using a combination of the router and the bandsaw. I want the diorama to be partly visible from the side as well as the front, and here the pieces are roughly lodged together to see what it will look like, and the foam infill for the track has been test fitted - I am happy! Here's the enclosure more or less complete. The little corner fillets are made of oak, and hold the panels together at the top and also form the support for the lighting panel. The panels are assembled using button head screws and in such a way as to allow any one or more of the panels to be removed without the rest falling apart! With something as small as this it's quite important for me to be able to do this - there isn't much room on a piece of A4, and I am quite clumsy! I put a piece of the said A4 paper on the base, just to show that I'm not cheating! Of course, at this point I couldn't resist messing about with it to see if it all still fitted - this is only a dummy run, and I may alter some elements as I go along, but there really isn't much room for manoeuvre, literally! Cheers. Mike
  3. Before I move on I should explain that 3mm models run on either TT 12mm track, or the true scale 14.2mm track (there is a third less common size of 13.5mm, which I suppose is the equivalent of EM in 1/76), Now, since both this and the larger diorama I am building have a straight track emdedded in a roadway and paved yard, there is actually no need for tracks with sleepers, since they would be buried out of sight, and static or radio controlled models don't need power in the track, so luckily I found a length of extruded aluminium channel section, which has a "track" dimension of 12.25mm, so this is inserted into a groove in the foam, and the centre gap will then be infilled. You need very sharp router cutters and high rotational speed to cut foam without tearing it, but given that, a 15mm two flute cutter will cut this in a single pass without effort. Here's how the ancient 1/4" router was set up to cut the groove for the channel, which is 15mm wide and 15mm deep. The router runs against a guide clamped to the work, and the plunge depth is set by an adjustable stop. This shows the piece of ally channel now cut to length and trial fitted. I'll carry this on with another post because of the photo size limit, Mike
  4. This tiny diorama is being built in response to Oliver Rowley's brilliant challenge on this forum, - to build a diorama no bigger than A4 by 20 May this year. I don't want to hijack Oliver's thread by filling it with lots of my own construction details so I've decided to start this separate thread to show how I have approached this competition, and I hope you find at least some of it interesting. I am at present building a slightly larger diorama in 3mm:1Ft scale which isn't so far very advanced, but I had already made a number of card buildings for it, and a quick play with a sheet of A4 showed that some at least could be used for this project. There are are at present only three main structures - a brick arched road over bridge, a three storey maltings and a water tower - not much to go on, but even in 3mm scale they take up a surprising amount of space on A4. Since they are intended to be used on another model, I don't want to alter them in any way, so fixing them and creating some sense of unity will be a problem in itself. I am using high density flooring grade foam for the base, simply because I had some left over from a house project, and the frame or enclosure will be made from MDF, also from the scrap box, as are any other bits of wood, metal, screws, and whatever. There is a suggested budget of £5 for these dioramas, but it isn't absolute, it's more to discourage people from going out and buying ready made bits and just sticking 'em together, - although that isn't so easy at the moment anyway! In fact, there is very little available commercially for 3mm scale, so most of it has to be scratch built; the old Triang TT stuff is still around secondhand, but often at silly high prices, and falls well short of modern standards of detail, but is usable with care. On the other hand, the 3mm Society have a wide range of items for sale covering almost all eras and regions, but they are only for sale to members, so if you want to have a go at this delightful scale, joining makes sense (End of plug!). Here's a pic of my first attempt to see if this was even possible! Not too inspiring, but I might as well begin at the beginning! This is the piece of 40mm thick extruded polystyrene foam cut to size on the bandsaw. It will be framed with 6mm MDF, so is 12mm all round smaller than A4 - 198x285mm. To be continued, as they say! Mike
  5. Hi Oliver, I've made a bit of progress with my effort, and started to do a little description, but I don't want to fill this thread with a lot of needless detail, so I will start a separate thread called "Gray's Maltings" in the main forum, and of course I'll put some updates on here as well. I am really enjoying this, it's a completely different kind of modelling! Best, Mike
  6. Hello Oliver, what a nice idea! I hope you get plenty of interest. I'm building a little 3mm scale diorama at the mo, but it's nowhere near finished, (in fact it's hardly started!), but I have built a few buildings and structures from card, and when I read your post I was tempted to put a few of them on a sheet of A4. What I have in mind is a single track entering a yard beneath a bridge, which is shared with motor traffic; there is a maltings, a water tower and a small hut. That's it really, perhaps a few figures and general yard junk as well and possibly some kind of hopper discharge thing for the bulk grain wagon. Here's a mock up with bits of card for the frame, just to see if it all fits. I would like to build a proper frame around it, probably from 3mm MDF - does this have to be inside the A4 limit, or can I just add it to the A4 base? Either way I'm happy to enter your competition. Is there some kind of entry form, or is an expression of interest enough? Best, Mike
  7. Here are my two latest excursions into 1:100 scale structures. The bridge is a slightly stretched version of Eric Ilett's drawing of a GWR road bridge in "Eric Plans". I've omitted the bridge wings and shown it as part of an elevated road with retaining walls, rather than an embankment. Made mostly from cardstock, or 3mm MDF with card facings, and Scalescenes texture sheets scaled to 76%, plus some old 1/76 railings that I cut down! I hesitate to put up pics of unfinished work, but I took this at the same time as the bridge pic. It is a partly low-relief model of an imaginary maltings. This is (very!) loosely based on John Ahern's illustration of a Welsh warehouse, but with an extra storey added, plus a scaled down chimney from the Scalescenes factory/warehouse download. Slates, guttering, downpipes, etc, yet to do. Mostly from cardstock but roof and front projection from flooring grade foam, with card facings. Cheers, Mike
  8. Saint Sulpice Laurière. 1936 Kodak Duo-620 Finally, we arrive in Saint Sulpice Laurière, and at last a picture of a train! Taken about ten years ago, here's the 13.35 service to Lyon about to leave in the same direction as it arrived from Bordeaux via Limoges, before branching off towards Montlucon. It is an X72500 automotrice intended for longer distance non-electric TER routes. They were comfortable but noisy, especially the two car sets. This was a Rhone- Alpes 3 car set. 1936 Kodak Duo-620 This is the point where the cross country line leaves/joins the main route to Limoges. It once had a major steam locomotive depot, complete with roundhouse, workshops, training school, and so on, and had a roster of 80 locomotives, and in fact I suspect that much of the existing town was originally railway based. The depot started to decline after electrification began in 1935, but it enjoyed a brief revival during the second World War, when the yard became heavily used following the total destruction of the triage at Puy Imbert (Limoges) by the RAF. Station building 1983 Nikon L35AF Despite being a quite small town (Pop. now circa 800), the PO must have wanted something really grand here. Taken on a very misty day, the pics show that they got just that! As well as the impressive building, the trees lining the forecourt are massive Ginko biloba's, and are sufficiently unusual in this part of France that I was curious about their origin. It seems that they were a gift from the brother of the Emperor of Japan. He was a civil engineer (the brother, not the Emperor), and had come in 1864 to inspect the viaduct at Rocherolles, between here and La Souterraine, which when it was completed in 1856 was the highest in France, and he marked the occasion by giving thirteen Ginko trees for the station approach, of which twelve are still growing - strange World! Best, Mike
  9. 1960 Komaflex-S 4x4 Vielleville is the only manned station on this section. It was once the junction for the short branch to Bourganeuf, which closed years ago, although the branch platform is still there and even has a bit of track disappearing into the undergrowth. The shelter near the platform end houses the multi-lever ground frame, but I can't imagine it is ever used now. 1953 Ensign Selfix 16-20 What was then left of the halle marchandise at Vielleville. The small office extension has already gone, the rest will doubtless follow in due course! 1951 Voigtländer Perkeo I The last intermediate station is Marsac, also an unmanned halt, the station building now apartments and identical to La Brionne so I won't bother with a pic. The goods shed is similar to but smaller than Vielleville and is now used for storage, by either a builders merchant or farm supplies company.
  10. OK, that's Gueret done and dusted, so we will go on to Saint Sulpice Laurière, which is where this ligne transversale joins the Paris-Orleon-Limoges- Toulouse main line. The pics are mostly infrastructure, not least because there are now precious few trains to photograph, but they may be helpful to anyone looking for prototype info. 1960 Kodak 66 Model III There are only four intermediate stations on the route, and of these one is closed completely, and two are un-manned halts, so this won't be exactly a lengthy ride! First out of Gueret is Montaigut le Blanc - here's the former station which is now a private dwelling, the aluminium and glass shelter just visible on the far platform is all that protects the occasional passenger from the elements. 1960 Kodak 66 Model III In truth, Montaigut is just a tiny hamlet clustered about the outskirts of a partly ruined 14th century castle, but there is this rather nice former crossing keepers house on the road up to the castle. 1995 Minolta Dynax 600si The next station, at La Brionne, has been long closed, and is identical to the one at Montaigut, and also now a private dwelling, so need not detain us. 1995 Minolta Dynax 600si What was once the goods yard is now used by Colas as a road equipment maintenance depot. More later, Mike
  11. Well, I wouldn't hold your breath, Jamie! The SNCF online timetable and the Hafas European Train Planner both show only connecting services between Limoges and Angouleme, via either Libourne or Poitiers, until the end of June this year (it's wildly optimistic to look beyond six months out). SNCF also have the nerve to quote €49,50 single, via Poitiers, for anyone unfortunate enough to be forced to use this dreadful service! Best, Mike
  12. Nice to see such careful attention to detail, combined with fine craftsmanship - Chapeau !! Mike
  13. I thought our next little ride might be in the opposite direction to the first one, this time from Gueret to Saint Sulpice Laurière, where this cross country line joins the Paris-Toulouse main line towards Limoges. Before we do though, here are a few infrastructure pics of Gueret station taken at different times. Although now something of a rural backwater, the station must have once been quite a busy place, mostly handling coal from the local coalfields, but it was also the hub for several obscure local routes, all now long closed. One of these led to Saint Sebastien where there was an interchange with the route to Paris or the south, another went to to Le Chartre, and a third via Aubusson to Ussel. This last is still open as far as Felletin, although there are now only a couple of trains each week, the rest replaced with buses. 1995 Minolta Dynax 600si External Facade. Old postcards reveal that there was once a substantial wall around the entrance forecourt, complete with large wrought iron gates. The building to the left is now a bar/bistro, but I'm pretty sure it was once the station dining room. 1953 Ensign Selfix 1620 Platform Facade. Quite grand for a small town (the smallest prefecture in mainland France), the platform safety fence is a recent addition. Digital Canon Ixus Yard view. Taken from the nearby road overbridge, this gives a view of the extent and layout of the yard. Some rails have been lifted, but a surprising amount still remains! 1995 Minolta Dynax 600si Goods Shed. Now all but derelict, it's size gives an idea of the scale of what went on here in former times. The rails in front have been largely surfaced over and the area is now a car and bus park. (I've had to drastically reduce the size of these pics to stay inside the 10mB limit) Mike
  14. Hi Eddie, Thanks for your encouragement! Now, I have deliberately made only the slightest reference to the photographic aspects of the pictures I've put in this thread, simply because the forum is about French railways, and not about vintage cameras! You clearly have far more than a passing knowledge of photography, so I'll send you a private message with some info about the cameras, films, developers and such like, that were used for the pics, to answer your questions more fully. Information and photos about railways in central France are not exactly abundant, particularly some of the less well known lines and routes, so I thought some of these photos might usefully fill a gap. Best, Mike
  15. And finally, here is the Alco built Mikado at the front of the train, at Commentry. 1952 Welmy Six This is in the western slopes of the Massif Central and it's quite a stiff climb up from Montluçon, and the sound of the loco exhausts reverberating off the face of the rock cuttings was truly awesome! This was on the former route of Bordeaux-Lyon trains, but the line between Gannat and St Germain de Fossés closed to passenger traffic at, I think, the end of 2012, and although it's still possible to travel by train between Montluçon and Lyon, it involves changing at either Riom Châtel-Guyon or Clermont-Ferrand, or an intermediate bus ride to Vichy. This is the end of this little excursion as far as photos go, - thanks for the kind replies and encouragement. Are the "Rural Rides" worth going on with, or are the ramblings of an elderly railfan too much? Tell me, I won't be offended either way! Best, Mike
  16. Montluçon to Commentry These three steam locomotives were seen in Montluçon at Festirail 2011. TD.140.740 from Limoges, 141.R.420 from Clermont-Ferrand, and 141. R. 840 from Vierzon. I don't think that Montluçon can service steam locos now, it was subject to a big environmental clean up some years ago, and although I haven't been to Festirail recently, I notice that all the excursions seem to be diesel or electric hauled. 1952 Welmy Six 141.TD.740 was built in 1932 by SFCM in Denain, 141.R.420 was built in 1946 by Alco in Schnectady NY, and 141. R. 840 was built by Baldwin in Philadelphia also in 1946. 1952 Welmy Six After lunch we rode up to Commentry in this elderly steel riveted coach. Built for the PLM in 1939 by Dyle et Baclan in Bordeaux, they were 1st class compartment vehicles, convertible to ambulance cars, and as well as an entrance vestibule at each end they also had double doors in the centre for stretcher cases, just visible in this pic. 1958 Zorki 2C Here's the Baldwin Mikado drifting into the yard to take up position as banker, on the way up to Commentry. Not sure, but looking at the tender, I guess this is an oil fired loco. I am close to the 10mb limit for this post, so I'll finish this rural ride in a separate post.
  17. David, many thanks for your kind encouragements, and the useful information. Yes, you are quite right about the difference between these photos and those taken with a digital camera, but it is not the difference between a digital image and an equivalent film image, it is a matter of size. Here is a photo of 140. C. 38 and the diesel back-up that you mentioned, about to leave Gueret en route to Montluçon, taken with a Canon Digital Ixus 960is in 2015, and for something not much bigger than a packet of cigarettes, the detail and resolution is remarkably good. Now, the image sensor in this camera is 6.4x4.8mm, smaller than a finger nail, and the image is resolved to 12mpx; the software in the camera automatically applies noise reduction and edge enhancement to refine the raw image, which has already been subject to image stabilisation algorithms, so the result is impressive. All modern point and shoot cameras behave similarly. For comparison, here is 141.TD. 740 taking on water at Lavaufranche some years earlier. This was taken with a 1952 built Welmy Six, a Japanese 6x6 folding camera with a simple three element lens and a limited range of shutter speeds, but - and this is the real cruncher - the film, alias the "image sensor", is 56x56mm, roughly 100 times the area of the Ixus! These old folders can be bought quite cheaply, but getting a photo out of them is a damn sight more effort than any digital camera! No, film cameras are just for fun - there is a curious pleasure in producing a photo from something sixty or seventy years old, and they are often things of beauty in themselves, but it is a lot of faffing about, - much like steam locomotives or vintage cars, but a lot cheaper!! Best, Mike
  18. Hmm, I seem to have messed up the previous post, - not sure why, but the pic above is 1.6mb, but when I try to add another of similar size I get a message saying the max total upload is 10mb and nothing happens. Is this limit for each post, the whole thread, my contributions, or what? 1948 Kodak Tourist Anyway, here's the granary/feed mill photo that should have been with it! (Nah, it was a gremlin!) Mike
  19. Back en route to Montluçon, this is the station serving the little towns of Parsac and Gouzon, and the siding to a granary/feedstuffs mill, which seemed to be shut down when I took these photos in 2012. This was always a single track line, but most of the stations have double platforms with a passing loop. 1948 Kodak Tourist Very few, if any, trains stop here now, and despite an extensive re-signalling of the entire route some years ago, it appears to be in terminal decline. When we came to live here in 2004 there was a daily cross country DMU service Lyon-Bordeaux in both directions, often loco hauled at weekends, but that disappeared about eight years ago, and as with so many rural lines in central France, was replaced with mostly infrequent buses between intermediate stops! Best, Mike
  20. Just beginning to dip the aged toe into 1:100 - still nothing really definite as yet, but I thought it best to try a few buildings for a start, to make sure that I like the scale. The Three Mile House is a tribute to the late John Ahern, whose little book Miniature Building Construction has been a source of delight to me for many years. Based on his sketch of The Duchess of Albany pub, which was an Ushers house in Salisbury, my effort has been transposed to a Dales of Cambridge pub in East Anglia. It isn't finished, and lacks any interior detail at the mo, but the back of the building is removable so it can be done, and also lighting. The unfinished Fry's newsagents is scratch built, but using elements from various Scalescenes downloads, reduced to 76%, and the terraced houses are also Scalescenes, but being unlit, they are built using a foam core and MDF gable ends. The truck is a Zvezda 3 ton GAZ, which was actually based on a 1930's Ford AA flat bed, which were built for many years in the Ford factory in Gorky. I think the Model AA was also one of the first products of the then new Ford factory at Dagenham about 1930, so it would not necessarily be such a stranger in the Fens around the 1950's! Best,Mike
  21. John, de rien, c'est mon plaisir! Thanks for your kind words. To be honest a lot of these pics were taken as shots on proof rolls after I had done a restoration or repair, so they are not "fine art" or anything, merely things that caught my eye, but it's nice to share them on here. Best, Mike
  22. Thanks for your encouragement! Shortly after crossing the viaduct the line divides, and here on the left 141 TD 740 climbs strongly away towards Lavaufranche, while the line at the right descends through the tunnel towards the abandoned coalfields at Lavaveix les Mines, and then onwards to Aubusson and Felletin. I always think that this pic looks as if it was a photograph of a model railway, rather than the real thing! 1952 Welmy Six As a little diversion, here are a couple of photos taken in Felletin, now the terminus of the line on the right in the previous pic. 1960 Komaflex-S 4x4 First, X2900 at rest. The preservation group that have restored and maintain this railcar in Gueret, run a Thursday only service from Gueret to Felletin during July and August, and I travelled on it with a group of friends some years ago. 1960 Komaflex-S 4x4 This is X73776, a much more modern diesel railcar, which at the time of this photo, provided a Fridays only service from Limoges at around 16:30, stayed at Felletin during the weekend, and returned to Limoges at 07:05 the following Monday! This has now been replaced by an an out and back return service on Mondays and Fridays, but only from Gueret. Mike
  23. Here's a pic of what I think is a Sprague-Thompson trailer car, - it's in a field not far from where I live! RATP, the Paris metro, usually run a Sprague set, pretty original except for upgraded brakes(!) on the Jours de Patrimoine, usually the first or second weekend in September. Cheers, Mike
  24. Bit of a false start there! No sooner had I posted the first pic in this thread than France Telecom began the installation of fibre optic internet in this part of Creuse, and although it's very welcome it has caused a lot of service interruptions. Anyway, a couple of infrastructure pics. 1952 Welmy Six Having left Gueret the first stop is Busseau sur Creuse, once a busy junction for trains from the extensive coal mines in the area but now only handling a couple of daily passenger trains in each direction. The relative size of the station in an otherwise quite remote location gives an idea of it's former importance. 1948 Kodak Tourist 6x9 Almost immediately after leaving the station the line crosses the valley of the river Creuse on this spectacular structure. Opened to traffic in 1863, it was built for the Paris Orleans Railway and it's total span is 339m (1,112ft), and the height above the river Creuse is 56.5m (185ft). Local people often understandably attribute this work to Gustave Eiffel, but it was actually designed by another eminent civil engineer and contemporary of Eiffel, Wilhelm Nördling. Originally built with two tracks, one of which has now been lifted. It seems Nördling visited the long demolished Crumlin viaduct in South Wales while preparing this design, and the site engineer was one David Lloyd. My word, how they travelled! 1948 Kodak Tourist 6x9 Here's another view of Nördling's viaduct this time from the roadway on the far side of the valley, showing one of the tops of the massive granite piers which support the steelwork. Best, Mike
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