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Spotlc

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  1. More Sack Loads Small yards serving particular industries often shared their facilities with road transport, and at the time that many of them were built the only forms of road transport were carts or wagons pulled by horses, so yards often appear quite small and cramped by modern standards, and NPL is no different. Here are a couple of pics of lorries being loaded with sacks of something (?) from the BR former meat van, which is being used for general goods, now that fully refrigerated vans have been introduced for meat goods movements. Well, that will do for a story! In fact, an Airfix kit that I bought for €1.50 as a partly built kit that had lost it's doors! I put it together and made some doors from card and posed them open with a few sacks inside, just to sit in a siding. Bristol HA. Mid to late 50's. Introduced in 1956, they were early pioneers of fibreglass cabs, and were serious load haulers fitted with 10.6 litre or 11.0 litre diesel engines by either Leyland or Gardner. Only made for British Road Services and their contract companies, never in private ownership, so this one is a bit of a fake but it's one of Base Toys better offerings! Karrier. We have met the BR Karrier before, and the forklift, which I think is supposed to be a Conveyancer, I'm not sure, - but note the total absence of a safety cage or even a rudimentary crash bar. Good old days - Not! Best, Mike
  2. Siphon G's These are very rare visitors to New Prospect Lane, so to see two together is most unusual! Built originally by the GWR for milk churn transport, they were used in post war years for parcels, newspapers, even pigeon racing transport(!) and BR built some in the mid fifties that ended up as Enparts transport. The inside framed version is based on an old Lima model, but has been tarted up with a Wizard Models detailing kit, etched bogies and correct size wheels, though the bogie side frames are not quite right, and the gangway connector should be the suspended type, not the scissors type, but that's both down to my laziness! The outside framed Siphon is an Airfix/GMR/Hornby model. A different view of the outside framed Siphon G. These are pretty good, the bogies are correct and considering that this model is more than thirty years old the detailing is excellent, the girder frames are bit too meaty but my only real gripe is that they are very difficult to fit Kadees to - it can be done, but there isn't much room for mistakes! Best, Mike
  3. Cement GPV's Here they are being unloaded, and you can see from this poor quality photo that they are bit oversize, - too wide, too high, and too long - I'm not a rivet counter - I have always thought that overall atmosphere beats absolute accuracy every time - but it's a shame when makers (Dapol, in this case) are so careless, especially when the detail in the mouldings is otherwise high quality. I know BR had a few GPV's built with a 10ft wheelbase, but the vast majority were 9ft, so why not make the model like that? Rant over! Here the cement bags are being fork- lifted on to the Karrier artic for the last leg of their journey to the building site. The Karrier is a Base Toys tractor unit pulling a Ledo trailer; the cab is a bit late for the fifties, the one-piece windscreen didn't arrive until 1962, but otherwise quite a good representation. (And it looks as if someone has borrowed his girlfriend's bike to ride to work on!) Best,Mike
  4. Cheers, Kevin! They didn't always look like that though!! Best,Mike
  5. In truth, James, not much! A tiny yard like this would have had very little rolling stock - a few tired old coal trucks delivering coke to the brass foundry, a couple of twelve ton vans bringing chemicals and waste paper to the paper mill - and stretching credibility a bit far, a couple of gunpowder vans bringing bagged cement for the new council house estate being built up the road! On very rare occasions, it's possible that a redundant Siphon G might be pressed into service for the waste paper loads, but it is very rare, and the photographer missed it last time !! Best, Mike
  6. Many thanks for your encouragement, James!
  7. JiLo, sincere thanks for your kind words! One of the many reasons for this model was to show off some of my 1/76 scale road vehicles, but I hesitate to put too many pics of them on here, 'cos it's mostly about trains! I don't do proper scratchbuilding but I do like playing around with commercially available bits, and the post war period up 'til the 70's is well catered for. I was briefly the truck manager for one of the lesser known readymix concrete companies in the 1960's, so here's a bit more personal nostalgia! Mid 50's Leyland Comet, 2nd series . Purpose made chassis and mudguards, Base Toys cab and wheels. The mixer came from a German articulated mixer in Ho scale, but the drum was a huge 10 cu. metre thing, so I turned a new one from a scrap of plastic to represent the 6 cu.metre drums more usual in the UK. Best, Mike
  8. Thanks again, Jerry! I quite enjoyed doing the little street, despite having to scrap the first attempt, but this whole layout was intended to be a bit of a test bed for ideas anyway, so I wasn't too surprised! Best, Mike
  9. Bits and Bobs. Despite our best efforts it is sometimes better to re -think an idea, and accept that some alternative might be a better option, and this photo illustrates this only too well! The row of cottages are on descending levels and not on a straight line, so I went to great lengths to make a series of individual wooden mounts for the buildings, nicely lightened and glued together to form a continuous base. I then realised that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to cut the steps leading from the pavement to the alleys between the cottages, so I binned the whole thing and the finished version uses flooring foam instead! I had better luck with the actual road which was made from foamboard, which I had never used before for structural work. Again, it was made in sections to follow the "terrain" and then finally glued together before the road surface , also foamboard, was glued on top. The street lights were turned from brass rod and fitted with perspex lanterns which are a bit too big because they were originally made for grain of wheat bulbs, but these got very hot, and used a lot of power so they have been replaced with tiny led's, and sometime I'll make some correct scale lanterns. The lights are mounted in a wooden "shoe" which can be slid out from beneath the road if needed, and this also gives a solid support for the light. I tried mounting them straight into the 5mm foamboard, but the result was very feeble. The retaining wall and piers are assembled using self adhesive magnetic tape and thin steel bands and this makes servicing the lights or other repairs quite easy, and also allows a fair bit of latitude when it comes to assembly. You can see the steel "tape" on the road sections, and also the slots routed for the yard building lights wiring, and finally, the lift out front wall that I mentioned earlier had been finished when I took this pic. Best, Mike
  10. Keith, I completely endorse your comments about John Wiffen and Scalescenes! They really are the most amazing way of producing model buildings for very little money. You are right about having a decent printer, but they are so cheap nowadays - I recently bought a Canon Pixma in a local supermarket for less than the cost of a colour cartridge for my old HP990CX! And it's a lot cheaper to run! Congrats on your efforts with Short Edge - very nice! Best, Mike
  11. Once I had finished faffing about with the wall, I gave the surface of the baseboard a generous coat of shellac followed by coat of mud coloured exterior emulsion paint, before finally glueing the track in position and installing the Deltang receiver to operate the point servos. It is just a tight push fit in a 15mm hole drilled in a block of foam. These Rx's have six outputs, although only three are used in this installation. All conditions of the receiver (and the many programming options) are indicated by a sequence of flashes from a tiny, very bright orange LED, and since the Rx is mounted beneath the baseboard, I fitted a little fibre optic tube leading upwards to inside the storage shed so I can see it through it's open door. Lastly, a pic of a point servo seen from underneath, showing the rectangular slot routed in the baseboard foam. The servo is just a tight push fit in the aluminium mounting so it is easy to remove it for servicing or replacement, but lining up the 0.6mm rod with the point stretcher afterwards needs a fair bit of patience! The receiver allows the servo throw to be adjusted in 2 degree increments either side of neutral, so setting the right pressure of the point blades against the stock rails is a breeze That's about it for the baseboard and enclosure, - I'll find a few more pics of building the yard, buildings and rolling stock, and describe them as I go along, but thanks for all the many kind words and encouragement so far! Best, Mike
  12. Another rather boring picture of the baseboard. Once their exact positions had been carefully marked, the track was lifted and then the point motor support discs and the magnet assemblies were glued in place with PVA adhesive. It is worth taking some effort to get this bit right - it is difficult, if not impossible, to make alterations afterwards to components glued to a foam baseboard without doing a lot of damage. - The Rules of all the P's: "Precise Planning Promotes Peerless Performance" - or : "Poor Planning Produces Pitiful Products" !! The Great Wall No, not that one! I think it is useful if there is some visual link between the model and the space immediately in front of the viewer, and a wall or fence is a natural and effective choice, but it can be a real pain if you need to make any alterations or repairs to the finished model, so here is one possible solution to the problem. Most DIY supermarkets sell a range of aluminium extrusions, and I found a "Tee" section, 15x15x1.5mm which fitted the bill, but the size isn't critical. With the "tee" mounted horizontally, the top part forms a strong support to attach the wall to, while the lower part can be either fitted in a groove, as here, or simply screwed to the baseboard front with small woodscrews or self-tappers. The horizontal piece can be covered with stone paper to represent a foundation, or painted or whatever, but this is easier if done before the wall is glued in place. To keep the"foundation" in proportion I reduced the horizontal section by 3mm on the bandsaw, but on reflection it would be just as easy to pack the wall out by 3mm. Resist the temptation to make this in one piece if it is to be fitted in a groove - by having two sections inconspicuously butted at a support pier or gateway, it is much easier to lift out than if it is in one continuous length. The wall sections are plaster castings taken from a silicone mould I made years ago, the piers are made from softwood, and the pier caps are cut from aluminium strip, which is easier to to put a little radius on than card, and more durable. This was only lodged in place for the photo, but the last un-stained bit is where the split between the sections is. Best, Mike
  13. John, yes, it was on the list of things I wanted to try out with this model. The black background is not to everyones taste, but it does give a quite dramatic effect, and to borrow another idea from the theatre world, so does the ability to alter the intensity of the lighting. Here are two pics taken under identical ambient light, but at the outer ends of the lighting range, and without changing anything else, the appearance of the scene is very different. The lights are a 12V LED strip of 72, glued to the upper face of a full length aluminium bar, and reflected downwards by the white "ceiling", which eliminates the specular reflections which you usually get with LED's. The light intensity is steplessly varied with a little radio remote controller, all of 0.99 pence on eBay, so it is dirt cheap to play with this kind of thing, and I'm surprised they're not used more often. The building and street lights are separately controlled, and in these pics I had yet to install their dimmers, so they are much too bright. I have since tamed them!! Best, Mike
  14. As Ian said above! This really is top notch stuff - the Sentinel in particular is setting a standard of realism that would be hard to match! Bravo! Cheers, Mike
  15. Hi Marc, thanks for your kind words! Interesting point about the definition, I hadn't really thought about it - I suppose the same goes for "Cameo", which I always understood to be a miniature, but that now seems to include some pretty large and elaborate models as well! Perhaps it's possible to have a little static scene within a layout, so you get the best of both worlds! Something like this: Here's the train guard looking positively mutinous, as he gets a dressing down from the yard foreman! Cheers, Mike
  16. Here is a point servo assembled in it's aluminium carrier and mounted on the 6mm MDF support disc. The operating lever is bent up from 0.6mm dia. piano wire, and pivots in a 1mm dia. hole in the aluminium carrier, which is attached to the MDF disc with M2.5 screws in captive nuts flush with the surface. The MDF discs fit in circular recesses in the foam baseboard - they don't have to be circular, but being so gives a bit of latitude when it comes to aligning the lever with the point blade stretcher. Another view of the servo - the mounting lug has to be removed on one side of the servo to allow it to fit in the aluminium channel. It is a tight push fit in this, allowing a little lateral adjustment. These servos are very cheap, the last time I bought some they were about £10 for a bag of 6, post free from China, but that was a couple of years ago, and bought individually they will cost a little more. I claim no originality for this system of operation - it is just a variation of the method clearly described by Dave Fenton of Megapoints, in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmKIYHZn4Xk but I'm sure that the method could be easily adapted to other types of point motor, or indeed, for wire in tube operation, and with slight modification, for signals also. Best, Mike
  17. Marlyn, thank you for your kind encouragement! Now, on with the construction! Here is a photo of the basic track layout: Making Tracks Well, placing tracks might be more accurate, since this was only a trial assembly to check the correct operation of the point servos, but it does show the simple trackplan of this little diorama. The "railway" part takes up less than half the width of the baseboard and I did at one point consider making it as two distinct units, with the yard and street scene on a separate board, but the difficulties of making a strong seamless join between the two, plus having to faff around with electical connections for the lighting, seemed to outweigh any advantages it might have gained, so it's all on a single board. The servos operating the crossover are driven by linked channels on the receiver, so both switch together, avoiding derailments due to my absent mindedness! With battery operated R/C, the power is actually on the train, rather than in the tracks, so it becomes vital to set a route before moving any loco, because like a real train, it will just go, regardless of how the points are set - there is no isolation available to prevent running through an incorrectly set point. Once the track layout had been decided on I machined all the recesses for the point servo mountings, the solitary signal, and the magnets for the Kadees. I have used the Kadees with the "between the rails" magnets before, and although they work well enough they are not particularly attractive (deliberate pun!), so this was a chance to try neodymium magnets under the track. After a few tests on a bit of spare track I decided on two magnets 50x6x2mm spaced 7mm apart glued to a card base and positioned centrally beneath the track, and they are amazingly positive in action, the coupling emitting a clearly audible click when uncoupling. Best, Mike
  18. This is a delightful image, Marlyn, and to have pulled it off in 1:146 scale is truly awesome! Bravo! Mike
  19. Trains and wagons One of my aims in devising this model was to try to create some of the atmosphere of the 1950's, so there are very few bright colours, nothing very shiny - in fact the rather drab, careworn feeling that prevailed over much of industrial Britain in the decade after the end of WW2, so I apologise to those looking for the glamour of the Cornish Riviera Express, or the Mid-Day Scot - they never passed near New Prospect Lane! NPL's pannier tank is quietly simmering during a break. In reality this is far too powerful a locomotive for a little yard like this, it would probably have had an ex-LMS 1F, or a Deeley tank, and that only on loan! This is a Bachmann model, which is nicely detailed for a RTR. A few ex-private owner wagons were still around in the mid-fifties, - I remember several in the Gloucester area, mostly ex-Forest of Dean collieries, but certainly none of these from the Stroud Valleys, - but I spent a good part of my life in and around Stroud, so this is pure nostalgia for me! They are Dapol commissions for Antics Model Shops, heavily weathered. Here's the pannier again, trundling past the paper company's ancient AEC Mammoth Six, cobbled together from a Base Toys chassis, Lledo cab and mudguards from, I think, Langley. These paper lorries had a massively reinforced bed to cope with the weight of the newsprint, so I made this one up from aluminium sections. The newsprint rolls are turned up from plastic rod, which was luckily just the right colour! Mike
  20. Still on the Case! Continuing with the description of the enclosure for this little diorama, here is a pic of the rear panel: This is made from the same 20mm expanded polystyrene and is finished similarly to the end panels, but has an aluminium angle framework, with a cut-out for access to the control panel and batteries. The mitred corners are pop-riveted to steel plate braces inside the angles, and again, the foam panel is a tight push fit, making removal or replacement easy. The two end frames are joined at the front by a 9x60mm MDF panel, which acts as the top of the proscenium, and also carries the front supports for the top cover. It is held to the end frames by two M5 stainless screws in threaded steel inserts at each end. The top cover is made similarly to the back panel, but painted white on the inside, and because the top face of the aluminium framework is visible, the corners are assembled with countersunk stainless steel M3 screws rather than the pop-rivets used for the unseen back frame. It rests on the support blocks at the front and is secured to the back frame by M5 stainless screws in tapped aluminium bushes. The top cover also has an aluminium bar mounted inside which carries the LED's for the overall lighting. Here the five elements of the enclosure are shown assembled minus the baseboard, and even without this, the whole structure is surprisingly rigid - when assembled to the baseboard it is completely so. All the assembly screws are button-head M5 hex socket screws, and using a power screwdriver it takes under five minutes to assemble or dismantle the entire structure, a little longer using a hand screwdriver. The total weight of the enclosure alone is just under six kilo or 13lbs, and the whole thing when assembled to the baseboard is just a whisker over 10 kilos - 22lbs, so if my arms were long enough I could pick it up with one hand! Best, Mike
  21. Marlyn, many thanks for your encouragement! The 1950's seem to be very well catered for model prototypes, - road vehicles as well as railway stuff! Best, Mike
  22. Keith, firstly many thanks for your kind and generous comments! Now, before I describe the baseboard and enclosure, a little explanation is needed. You may have noticed that there are no cables or other visible means of controlling this model, and that is because it is entirely operated by radio control. The locomotives are battery powered using lithium polymer batteries which can be recharged from any 5 volt source, and controlled by a 2.4gHz receiver. The points and signal are also operated by radio controlled servo motors, as are the building and street lights, so I can sit anywhere I want (within reason!) to operate it, with no physical connection. The model is quite independent of mains power and has an autonomy of around 4 hours with the lighting running flat out, well beyond my limited attention span! OK, that's out of the way, so I'll begin with the baseboard. The model is built on a base of 30mm thick extruded polystyrene flooring foam with a secondary lower frame, cut from the same 30mm thick foam. This has an outer framework mitred up from 9mm thick MDF, and four diagonal cross braces also from 9mm MDF help to reduce torsional deflection. The finished base is 1250mm long X 400mm wide, and 60mm high. White exterior grade PVA adhesive was used for all the assembly work, and although I have read that people have had problems glueing foam with PVA, I think that provided the work is done in a warm, dry place, with plenty of clamps and left to set overnight, all will be well - a number of trial pieces tested to destruction all failed by the foam tearing apart, without the glue joint breaking. This is a view of the underside of the baseboard showing the 30mm deep cavity formed by the secondary frame, and the diagonal braces. Also visible (just) are the M5 threaded steel inserts in the MDF frame which allow the end and back panels to be secured to the base. These have a flange on the back with tags bent through 90 degrees which bite into the panel and prevent rotation, and of course, they have to be installed before the frame is assembled. I can't remember what they are called in England, but I'm sure B&Q sell them! The end frames are mitred up from 9mm x 60mm MDF (actually sold as skirting board) with a softwood quadrant moulding glued inside to support the foam panel, which is tight push fit in the frame. The foam panel is 20mm expanded polystyrene, painted with exterior masonry paint on the outside and covered with black self-adhesive vinyl inside. I'll stop now, or it will become tedious - it's taking almost as long to describe it as it did to build it! We'll continue on another day! Best, Mike
  23. Jerry, thanks again. The motorbike & sidecar came from Autocraft: http://www.autocraft.plus.com/page2.html They make whitemetal kits of quite a few different motorbikes and scooters, as well as some lovely pre-war car kits. No connection, just a contented customer. They are not any specific make of motorbike, - the Panther 600 was a figment of my imagination! I never owned one, but a friend had one as a solo - it was a fearsome machine - kick starting a 600cc single cylinder needed very careful setting of the advance and retard lever to avoid serious injury to the ankle! Tom, thanks for your encouragement! From memory, they had awful suspension and even worse brakes!! Best, Mike
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