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Pixie last won the day on May 7 2011

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  1. Well, if you're free on the 14th/15th July - https://www.svr.co.uk/Footplate_DieselDrivingExperience.aspx See you Saturday, Pix
  2. Thanks! The layout is a shunting puzzle disguised as a through-line setting. It's based around a 110cm IKEA LACK floating shelf with a sector plate at one end that accessed a couple of sidings hidden in the large factory buildings. Excuse my doodles; but this is the rough idea. Whilst scenically it's quite small, the intention is to hint at a lot more happening off scene to allow wagons to appear from all places and can be shuffled anywhere. It's mostly using WAMU80000 vans (a bit like a Japanese VDA van), but container flats and the odd tank can be thrown into the mix. The railcar is simply there to get in the way of shunting to make things a bit more interest - I was thinking of having a countdown timer that you would have to clear all stock out of the running line to let it through. This is what the layout looks like when naked. The trackwork was raised on very thin ply to give some clearance to wire-in-tube mechanisms leading to Cobalt point motors hidden behind the backscene. The sector plate can be seen in the foreground, leading to the on-scene factory siding and hidden siding. The Roco Z21 is a new experiment to operate the layout from an iPhone - I'm on the fence at the moment, it's certainly got it's advantages but I miss the physical knob (steady!) of a traditional controller. I've since wired in an Arduino-based shuttle unit, so the Z21 can be switched out and the unit shuffle back and forth every few minutes. A couple more 'dressed' views with the backscene and fascia in place. The depot on the right hand side is bogus - just a scenic feature with no rail access but an attempt to hide the access to the fiddle yard and, again, to give the illusion of things happening off scene. On area I really want to work on is the level crossing and view down the street - I want to capture that look of Japanese backstreets with all the telephone and power cables zig-zagging across. Fuji in the background feels quite cliched but wholly prototypical! I've recently written up a piece for the Association Magazine that will give a little more detail too. Thanks Jerry. Love to! What's my word limit and how many photographs do you need? Give it a go Chris! My recommendation would be to go for something before the 1980s when things were largely mechanical (as opposed to electronic) and you have a personal connection with. Like all hobbies, you can make it what you wish - be it restoring some obscure heap that's the last one on the planet to buying a good-to-go car with decent trade support for light tinkering, weekend driving and a little personalisation. Some people seem to make out that classic car ownership is hugely expensive but I think it's overstated. Classic insurance can be around £100 for example and if you're going for something 40+ years old then it's tax and MOT exempt. I'd recommend going along to one of the restoration shows (as opposed to the Classis shows which are full of £million cars) - there's one at the NEC in March and the Festival of the Unexception is next month. If I can help; drop me a PM. Cheers Mark - it started with finding chance photo on Flickr of one of those units threading it's way through a vast array of pipework. That lead to finding photos of all those vintage electric locos shuffling wagons around with Fuji In the background and before I knew it I was hooked. I ended up going there with a friend, and then a few years later we dragged another friend there to have a look around whilst travelling between Tokyo and Hiroshima. It's a great little line, although I fear it's most interesting period is now over. I fear for the future of ED403 and ED402; although I think ED501 may live on. I'd be really interested to see some of your stuff, have you got any links or photos? In other business, a long-term ambition was achieved on Sunday when I partook in a driver experience on D821 at the SVR. Having waited some years whilst they tinkered with it at OOC,I jumped at the opportunity when some dates were announced late last year. I had no idea what to expect, fearing that it would all be kept very slow and sedate but my worries were unfounded. The noise and vibration the loco makes at notch 2 upwards is incredible; it's something that no model or sound chip will ever convey although hardly surprising when you realise there's a pair of MD650s thumping away just behind the bulkhead. In some respects I feel sorry for the poor drivers that would spend an entire shift in one of these, although utterly envious of taking a pair of them over the Devon banks. My turn was the last of the day, taking seven Gresley teaks back from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster. As we approached left Bewdley I ask if I could slow it down and have a good run at the tunnel. "Sure, bring it to a stop and take it up to Notch 7 if you like". I didn't need asking twice - apologies for the poor quality video below, you can even hear me make a slight muling laugh at 7 seconds in. https://youtu.be/EK_sjy87TTE Brilliant day out and an absolute beast of a machine. Cheers, Pix
  3. Evening all, As seems to be standard for my updates on this thread, I must start this update with an apology for 18 months of radio silence. It wasn’t intention, I promise, and I have good reasoning. I (finally!) bought a house after talking about it and saving for a very, very long time. It’s been very good to finally have a front door to call my own although, coupled with a chaotic period at work, did mean that I had to drop out of the Aldershot exhibition mentioned in the previous update. A lot of free time has been spent trying to bring the new house into the 21st century – the previous owner’s hobbies seemed to include questionable DIY bodges, horrific pink carpets, Anaglypta wallpaper and cigarettes. Many, many cigarettes. It’s been quite a battle but I’m now on top of the nicotine-stench and the house is a sea of neutral colours and wood floorings. As a 30th birthday present to myself, I pushed on and completed my office--workbench ready for the Winter Modelling season. I’d vastly outgrown the small space at my parents so it’s nice to a home for everything at last; it’s odd to have some spare bookshelf space too. Whilst the office is intended for little modelling jobs, there’s a rough plan to build a ‘proper’ workshop at the bottom of the garden later in the summer that will be kitted out for messy jobs - a lathe and spray-booth would be good for 2mm stuff; welding equipment and a grit blaster for Cavalier tinkering. The eagle eyed may spot a new layout on the wall – this is my DJLC entry that’s based around an IKEA Lack. The prototype is the Gakunan Railway in Japan; a 1067mm gauge industrial line that threads its way through various industries near the city of Fuji. Whilst the layout is to 1/150th scale, the track is to 7.12mm gauge – I’m unaware of the correct name for this combination but I’ve start to refer to it as JFS150. Being lathe-less at present, I’m very grateful to Alan Smith who turned up the roller gauges for the layout whilst the crossing nose gauges came from the unlikely source of 9/32” diameter throttle cable nipples intended for Triumph motorcycles. The layout is probably best described as ‘getting-there’; I really need to spend some time on the scenic details, however it will be appearing as a work-in-progress at GlobalRail in Didcot on Saturday 15th June (https://grs-uk.org/shows/2018/09/08/globalrail-2019-announced.html). Parkend hasn’t quite made it to the new place yet, but after much arm twisting from Bryn and Pete Matcham I’m very pleased to say that it’ll be at the 2mm Association Meeting in Tutbury on Saturday 8th June (Two exhibitions on two consecutive weekends – this is new ground for me!). The layout did make it’s exhibition debut at GlobalRail 2018 where it operated well and proved relatively easy to move but ever since has sat at my parent’s place gathering dusts. A lot of dust at that too; I was amazed at just how much it had acquired in a relatively short period of time. I spent several hours this weekend very carefully brushing and hoovering it off, before slowly coaxing everything back to life. Please go easily on me at Tutbury – I’m not quite prepared as I would like to be. The Cavalier has progressed a little too; the new place included a powered and lit garage which means I can finally get to work on it (Well, once the house is finished at least). Previously it has been stored in a relatively remote place without running water, electricity or any place to work on it so everything had been carried out in the street – not ideal, but at least the car itself was under cover. She will turn 40 next year which means MOT and tax exemption; the intention is to keep it running for a couple more years before taking it off the road to give it a full mid-life overhaul. Mechanically and structural it’s now very good, it just needs a few flaky bits of tin work dealing with, starting with the passenger wing. The intention isn’t really for it to be concourse as I want it to be a working car, but I’d like it to make approaching that level. Preparations for these works have meant traipsing around the country when another appears. An eBay listing lead me to an example in a scrap yard in Evesham that was so corroded we had to cut through the door skins to get to the glass, cut the boot off to get to the fuel tank and cutting the roof to salvage what was left of the interior. Being February it hammered it down with rain all day too – good times! I’m indebted to my two ever present friends for helping out with these recovery missions. Another road-trip to the East Midlands ended up requiring a van to cart home a huge amount of parts from two people’s collections. I certainly found out my other half is an open minded soul when I dumped most of the salvaged parts in our back garden for a week or so. I’ll give it a couple more weeks before leaving bits to soak in the bath, mind you. Not everything has ended up in the parts store; some life expired items have been turn into furniture for the house – I was quite pleased with my speedo clock and steering column reading lamp. So, that’s the last 18 month in a couple of photos. I’m hoping to resume some 2mm modelling properly this year now that things are calming down again at home – watch this space. See you at Tutbury and Didcot. Cheers, Pix
  4. It seems we were all on it! It certainly gave me an appreciation for how the guys on Apollo 13 felt. Still, good fun! Watching with interest and a mild desire to buy some of those TT wagon kits. Pix
  5. A quiet moment near Fujioka station on Gakunan Railway. A sneak peak of my GJLC comeption enty. Pix
  6. Dear Santa, One of those please! Pix
  7. Hi all, The Chevette's look superb; what a great little model! Who'd of thought there would ever be an easy route to a 2mm Chevanne too?! Does anyone know how the Antwerp-built Cavaliers were imported into and distributed around the UK? I'm guessing they came in via Harwich (?) but did they move by rail or road? The idea of a train load of new Cavaliers would be a great model, if it happened. Cheers, Pix
  8. Hi all, LP122 appears here - https://flic.kr/p/F4hrqG. I always intended to build one of these for Roath; a project to dust off sometime. Cheers, Steve
  9. The very rare 2-2-4-0 version of the Standard 4. Pix
  10. A little reminder to our Cardiff BEng days! Top stuff.
  11. Evening all, As another month slips by, another update is due. Having enjoyed the AGM and the Aldershot show; I arrived home with several things. A pile of components from the Central Stores, a refreshed mojo from seeing some friends old and new, some inspiration from seeing the models on display. However, most pressingly, I returned with a reminder the clock is very much ticking. 11 months; it sounds like a while but I know it's going to fly past. Besides, this isn't even Parkend's first outing. That honour falls to Global Rail (Didcot) in April, a mere 5 months away. With this in mind, I've made a mental note to really blitz the jobs I've been putting off for too long. Notably the buildings and backscene. That said, a weekend was spared for a jaunt to the Czech Republic. The planned itinerary was to fly into Prague, pick up a 'Grumpy' hauled railtour at Praha Holesovice and head to Bohemia via various freight routes and breweries. Day one went well; everything ran to schedule and we even managed a run down a branch line that last saw a passenger train in 1899, followed by bedding down in Liberec for a hearty Czech meal and a few 'pivos'. Whilst we went accepting that it was October and the weather might not be at it's best, we hadn't prepared for was the overnight 180km/h storms that would bring large parts of Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic to a stand still. The next morning, we tentatively made our way to Liberec station to pick up the railtour, narrowly avoiding a few sheets of roofing material that the wind ripped off the buildings we walked alongside. The plan was to continue north to Frydlant, grab a couple of pints in a local brewery, before doubling back on itself to Liberec and ultimately Prague by tea time. Amazingly, despite the chaos around us, we left more-or-less on time. It was going great until we started to encounter a few branches on the lines. The Czech train crew didn't seem that phased, they'd just stop the train and hoik the offending item out of the four-foot. The concept of 'leaves on the line' being a reason for disruption hasn't travelled across Europe it seems. "Would all passengers who are able to disembark the train please do so. We need some assistance in clearing the line". Ah... I can't imagine South West Trains making a similar announcement somehow. The tree proved too much to shift and, after a little deliberation, we ended up reversing back from where we had come with the guard sat in the open corridor of the rear coach to communicate with the driver. We wound our way back to an unpronounceable Czech town and awaited the road back to Liberec. We waited... and waited... and waited.... Around 2 hours into our wait, news broke that all railway lines and roads out of Liberec and Prague were closed without any expected reopening schedule. Further trees had fallen on the line which we'd travelled up on and we were now trapped on the line. We were pragmatic about the situation; the train was warm and stocked with 500 litres of beer to serve the 50-or-so cranks on board. Besides; it was around noon on Sunday at this point, the next commitment I had was being back in my office chair by 08:00 on Tuesday. We'd find a way. A further hour passed, when a headlight appeared in the still-torrential rain. A small railbus made it's way into the station; our signal rapidly turned green and our train resumed its journey, around four hours behind schedule but at least we were moving. We made good progress until the next station stop, in an equally unpronounceable Czech village, where we were ominously looped into a little used road. It was hoped we were just being moved aside to let a few service trains pass (themselves running around 5 hours late), however it soon became apparent that our tour wasn't a priority to the Czech signallers and the few available paths were being given to regular service trains. We bedded down for a wait. At times the train heating would cut out and you could see your own breath; there were certain parallels to scene in Apollo 13 where they begin to wonder if they'll ever make it home. After a further four hours and a rather robust exchange of Czech words between the driver and signal man, it was agreed that our train would run in the path of a service train to at least get us underway, on the condition we'd pick up any passengers who were spotted on route. Running over eight hours late, the driver was evidently fed up and just wanted to get back to Prague, we flew through the night back to civilisation at warp speed. We managed to make up around 3 hours (!) by the time we finally rolled into Prague. On paper, this trip was a disaster. In reality, it was utterly brilliant. A true boys-own adventure. Anyway; back to the little trains. Work on the two central Parkend cottages has progressed well with them both starting to get a base coat of colour. It's been a little bit of a challenge to represent run down render, but a mixture of enamels, MIG weathering powders and a few highlights with Games Workshop 'Dry' colours seems to have worked well. Next biggest challenge if working out how to model the roof tiles - I've picked up some laser cut ones from York Model Making, but I think the horizontal gaps between them may be a little over stated. Some experimentation is required... I'd like to take the opportunity to offer a round of applause for Oxford Diecast; who have finally produce a ready-to-plonk mundane 1970's car in 2mm with their Mk.3 Cortina. If I'm being really picky, I'd of preferred a poverty-spec base model, as opposed to the GXL they've modelled, but I'll take it. The below example has had the wheels replaced and a coat of Dullcote, just to town it down a little. I hope this is the first of some more 'porridge' vehicle. I've also been putting together the allotments for the read of the layout. They'll be right at the back of the layout so I've not gone too overboard on detail, I'm not sure how much people will be able to see once they're planted on the layout. They're all a bit neat at the moment - I need to add some more clutter! See some of you at Warley. Cheers, Steve
  12. It's great to see more progress on Ropley Tom; your colour pallete is just right. It's just looks so right. A cheeky request; would it be possible to do a few step-by-step photos when you tackle the next crop of trees? The death of Photobucket has also killed many of the photos from the US site linked in your blog post on the topic. The results you're getting are ace. Steve
  13. The wheels from a Tomytec Toyota Crown are a good fit. At last, a mundane 1970s ready-to-plonk car in 2mm. May it be the first of many. Pix
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