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  • Location
    Voluntary exile on the Cambrian.
  • Interests
    Playing guitar, playing squash, playing trains. And a bit of photography and walking the dog.

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  1. I too have a soft spot for Jubilees. My old Mainline locos have been modified by the addition of a fall-plate, cab doors and closer coupling of the tender. I've also painted out the crude boiler lining. The fall-plate is made from a bit of old toothpaste tube (from pre-plastic days) but the foil from the top of a wine bottle can sometimes be used if it's substantial enough. This is wrapped around a length of guitar string (say 12thou), two tiny holes are drilled into the inner side of the cab side-sheets and the string is sprung into place. Guitar string is "springy" so works well. Cab doors are bits of plastic card glued into place. The tender drawbar is shortened and a new hook made from a bit of cocktail stick. The result is closer coupling and no obvious large gap between cab and tender.
  2. So, self-isolating is what railway modellers are good at most of the time although the spring weather means that the garden has taken priority for a few days. That said, a photo session in the railway room was long overdue so I thought I'd share some of the progress that's been made on "Blackford & Hinton" over the winter months.... Here, the trainspotters are in place perched on the fence watching an 04 heading an up cement block working while Neasden's Stanier tank 42437 heads north with a local. They've just copped 45543 coming on shed for servicing and turning having worked a special from the north and handed the train over to a Woodford/Blackford V2 for the journey south... The Hornby tank is a very recent pre-owned acquisition. I was in Warrington recently for a car service and used the courtesy car to seek out Culcheth Models as I'd seen their ad in the mags - well worth a visit, by the way (I have no connection). However, the loco was initially a disaster when I got home and placed it on the tracks. The trailing bogie derailed at the slightest excuse dragging the rest of the loco with it. I actually don't think the loco had ever been previously run as the packet of extra bits, couplings included, had never been opened. As an aside, the other major problem was that the supplied couplings protruded so far from from the loco that the scale distance between buffers to the next vehicle was about 6 feet! So, what to do ..... I thought about adding lead to the bogie but then had a brainwave. I recalled that Mainline locos (4-6-0s) had a coil spring above the leading bogie and decided to cannibalise a redundant chassis and re-use the spring. Hey Presto! Stanier tankie is now transformed into a superb runner and has already put in a lot of scale miles on the layout that is roughly two-thirds of a scale mile for one circuit. To my surprise and satisfaction, the pony truck is quite happy without modification. As regards the couplings, I cut down a spare coupling (Airfix? - don't know) from the spares box and super-glued it to the trailing bogie such that it protruded just beyond the buffers. However, I had to use just use the bar and remove the hook as the bogie otherwise wouldn't accomodate it - not a problem as most of my locos have the hook removed to make uncoupling that much easier anyway. This was a trick I learned in the late 70s when i was a member of Hull MRS before work took me down south. I don't know whether the bogie problem is well known with this model and I'm just late to the party but would be interested to know others' experiences. This pic shows the addition to the layout of the shed exit signal, knocked together from spare bits of Ratio LMS signal kits. The little cabin is obviously a proprietary kit that was already built and that had been lying around in the spares box and looking for a home. The Hornby 72xx is a lovely runner and after the end of steam in the Welsh valleys, some were displaced to Oxford and Banbury and worked over to Woodford Halse on occasion. It's had a coat of Humbrol matt varnish to take the sheen off the plastic but would benefit from a bit of heavy weathering. The corner filler of terraced housing is a mix of Superquick and Metcalfe kits but the line of low relief terrace backs on the far side were scratch-built by me around 40 years ago and have withstood more than a few house moves - usually wrapped in cotton wool and secured in my car .... All of the signals on the layout have had a hole drilled into the base and a piece of plastic rod inserted and glued. This enables the signals to be located into holes drilled into the base board but to be removed when required for track cleaning, etc. More to follow ....
  3. It struck me that "layout topics" was a better place to post updates on my modelling progress so the above link should show the history to date..... The most recent progress has been in the vicinity of the loco shed where the ground-work is being worked on. The pic shows part of the scene before the water cranes have been embedded. Peco inspection pits were sunk into the baseboard before ballasting etc. The camera has revealed a crooked chimney stack that i must rectify. The turntable is fully operational and uses a "Locomotech" motor attached to the spindle underneath. I managed to do this following good advice posted on RMWeb, essentially making the point that the well of the Peco turntable must be firmly braced underneath to prevent distortion when a loco is driven onto the bridge. Alignment with the approach roads is by eye and there's no room for error! The coaling stage is a Metcalfe kit with added detail whilst the approach ramp and over-run are knocked up from mounting card with polystyrene packing and plaster covering. The main running lines disappear under the road bridge into the storage loops - 18 in all.
    Excellent show with some superb models and a huge improvement on previous years. A shame there weren't a few more traders!
  4. Most of the main line(s) have been ballasted over the Easter period using Geoscenics 00 gauge ballast that looks about right to my eye. It's been glued with the standard watery mix of PVA into which I'd stirred some grey paint mix to tone down the appearance. The remaining ground has been textured with ordinary sand and painted dark grey. Further work will be done to add patches of grass/weeds etc. The WD and the Black 5 have recently been weathered by "Grimy Times" and look great! Also note chevron on distant signal arm now correct - a fine pointed felt tip did the job! Barrow crossings made from balsa were installed at each end of the platforms before ballasting.... Chimneys made from wooden dowelling have recently been added to all buildings and this has made a huge difference in appearance Finally, a view looking down the length of the station area with the WD taking the Marylebone line with a loaded coal train.
  5. Oops!! Well-spotted - clearly the work of the devil! I checked all of my signals and all other distant arms are correct (honest) so the offending arm will be re-painted forthwith.
  6. Thanks for the kind comments. Re the HO scale kit (Pola? Heljan? can't remember) check out "London Road" model railway on you-tube as the same kits are used as part of the back-drop.
  7. It's been a long cold dark winter since I last posted but here goes for anyone interested....... The basic concept for this imaginary layout is the re-location of Culworth junction on the ex-GC to a more urban and more northerly location. Thus, locos and trains are those that might have rubbed shoulders at Woodford Halse or thereabouts but with the odd bit of modeller's licence. That said, attached are a couple of pics showing newly installed signals at the "south" end of the layout where the lines supposedly to Banbury and Marylebone diverge. The larger gantry "controlling" access to the down main line and loops from the Banbury direction has been modified from one built for a previous layout. The smaller gantry (to the left) with three home starter signals "controls" the three up loops on the Marylebone side and has just been constructed from a cut-down Ratio Pratt truss gantry populated with Ratio LMS signals. All signals are non-working and I freely admit my modelling skills are not up to anything else! The B1 has charge of the York-Bournemouth (Southern stock) whilst the Patriot has no business being there but may be on a football supporters' special .... The other picture shows the development of the small goods yard at the "north" end of the station where a bit of track realignment has allowed for the addition of coal staithes (balsa wood, recovered from a previous layout) and a protective fence made primarily from balsa. Current work in progress is ballasting the main line(s) but it's slow going ....
  8. After the long hot summer, the railway room finally cooled to a bearable temperature. Indeed, the main lines imitated the real thing by distorting despite what I'd regarded as adequate expansion gaps ... So scenic work on and adjacent to the removable section has finally been resumed. The base of plaster-covered polystyrene was first of all covered with a static grass mat cut to shape and this has provided the base for further embellishment using good old flock powders, lichen and yet more static grass. It's beginning to look reasonable to my eye but there's still scope for further improvement. The large trees shown in the photos were cobbled together from stalks of heather sprayed with mounting adhesive and enhanced with bits of lichen and flock powder. Each tree is made of several sprigs bound together with thin wire (from a picture-hanging kit) and with the "trunk" then covered with fire cement. The lineside fencing is made from matchsticks drilled to take redundant guitar strings. Once planted in the ground, a bit of Colron wood dye is used to stain the wood a dirty brown colour. As usual, the camera is a harsh judge and picks out the imperfections, not least the gaps at each end of the removable section. In reality, the gaps are barely noticeable and anyway, the trains draw the eye!
  9. Been following this thread with interest and enjoying the pics. I travelled on that July '68 steam-hauled train to Windermere from Carnforth and then back to Preston tender-first. I still have my log of the run. This link will take you to a picture taken at Windermere. http://www.steamfinale.co.uk/html/othe_places_2_63.html The picture was published in "Steam Railway" 10 years ago and I was subsequently contacted by a retired engineman from Lostock Hall who enjoyed the occasional reunion with, amongst others, the crew of 45110 on that day. It was a pleasure to be able to send some A4 prints in response. Must go and sit on the patio and cry into a cold beer.
  10. Appreciate the comments. I've carved up a grass mat today and glued it down. And, yes, I can see it's the basis for further work! See link ... http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blog/2255/entry-20780-a-bit-more-scenic-work/
  11. Attached pics show a bit more progress on the road/canal scene. Buildings have now been bedded into the landscape and bits of detail added - chimney pots will be added to the buildings in due course but it's not a current priority! The landscape is a base of polystyrene covered in a plaster mix with plenty of PVA incorporated and then painted dirty brown/green. A Javis Scenics static grass mat has been carved up today and glued down as the basis for further landscaping. Fencing and shrubbery should help disguise the gaps at either end of the removable section ... A 72XX has charge of a down tanker train whilst a Grange has been looped with the up milk empties.
  12. Thanks for the positive response - in the absence of any earlier comments I'd already taken a punt on a sheet of static grass plus some loose stuff so I'll experiment when it arrives. Groundwork has already been constructed from a polystyrene base covered in a plaster mix. Some pics of progress on my layout are in my blog but groundwork is now complete and waiting for grass etc.: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blog/2255/entry-20711-a-stroll-by-the-canal/ Nice work on your layout, though!
  13. Does anyone have experience of using Javis static grass mats for basic landscaping? Any views gratefully received.
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