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  1. Over the years I’ve gathered a small collection of anecdotes and photos that document quirky situations and customs on the real-life railway. The idea is to re-enact them in model form while the glue dries on other projects. The Slipper Boy story was one attempt at this, although admittedly that one got a bit out of hand! Here’s another, simpler one. First, the props: ***** Clear as mud, I suspect! Here’s what it’s all about: Railway Magazine, January 1906: Just another incident on the everyday railway, but we can’t allow this stuff to be forgotten! Below is an attempt to re-enact it in my Farthing setting. I’ll see if it works without words: ***** That was the event as reported. But I wonder what happened afterwards? All those tasty eels, and no ice left to keep them fresh... A quick discussion among the staff, perhaps, to find a solution? ***** PS: I couldn’t find a period description of exactly how live eel were transported in Edwardian days, so the container seen here is loosely based on a 1970 FAO publication which documents a method that does not seem out of place in earlier days: "Live eels can be transported in small quantities in tray-boxes […]. A typical wooden tray-box contains four lift-out trays about 50mm deep, each designed to hold about 10kg of eels graded according to size. The top tray is usually filled with crushed ice so that cold melt water trickles down through the eels during the journey to keep them cool and lively. […] Each tray has drain holes and is divided across the middle to make a total of eight compartments holding about 5kg each, that is about 40kg for the whole box. The lid of the box is nailed on, and the whole is steel-banded both to prevent pilferage and to prevent the eels escaping through the joints. Boxes of this type are used successfully for live transport not only within the UK but also for 24-hour journeys from the Continent with little or no loss." Source: http://www.fao.org/3/x5915e/x5915e01.htm#Live storage and transport
    114 points
  2. It was gloomy yesterday so I turned the layout lights on and tried running a few trains in the dark. Daft, but oddly fun. Anyway, a few random pics of variable quality. The station in general, I need to lightproof the roof more next time it is off. This is a lucky pic. I cant really see the from of the station building so its just done by point the camera at the mirror on the end of the layout and hoping. The resultant image is then reversed in preview. Through a window. Atmospheric, a bit....
    89 points
  3. One morning long ago, an 1854 class shunted the Old Yard at Farthing. The crew were slightly bored. Nothing much ever happened in the Old Yard. Just a handful of sidings. A carman (sic) watched them roll by, perched on his trolley (Birmingham pattern). The carmen at Farthing were famous for not using reins. William Simmons was particularly skilled. Known as The Horse Whisperer, he worked without reins for 46 years and never had an accident. People did wonder why his rounds took so long. It turned out his whispers worked on women too. On the other side of the tracks, lad porter Herbert Pocket was busy cleaning the lamps. Herbert had two goals in life: He wanted to drive locomotives, and he wanted to die like a hero. He was last seen in the Congo in 1924, hanging off the tender of a runaway loco. They say he was smiling. Meanwhile, porter Alfred Jingle watched the train draw closer. The morning fog was thick as pea soup. He liked a good pea soup. As the wagons rolled past, Alfred tried to avoid eye contact with Thomas Grig up in the lamp. They hadn’t spoken since the lardy cake argument. They’d been friends for years, but you have to draw a line somewhere. Thomas, for his part, had other matters on his mind. A lamplighter for 26 years, he had so far scaled the lamps at Farthing 81.121 times. He knew, because he counted. He counted, because secretly… …Thomas had an intense fear of heights. When he finally retired, Thomas bought a one-storey cottage in Holme Fen, sawed the legs of all his furniture, and heaved a long sigh of relief. The train rumbled on through the pointwork. The unsheeted Open carried a shipment of Empty Promises. A local MP would pick it up later. Shunter John Redlaw changed the points to No. 3 siding. Known as "The Phantom" he had a manner of appearing from nowhere exactly when needed, only to disappear again as soon as the job was done. The loco propelled the wagons into the siding... ... towards the covered goods dock. Goods porter Samuel Slumkey watched the wagons approach. As a veteran of the Red River Rebellion, the Urabi Revolt and the Sikkim Expedition, Samuel had travelled to the ends of the earth. It turned out, however, that the real edge of the world was right here in Farthing. As the train came to a halt, the porters prepared to put in some heavy work. Not Tom Roker though. Comfortably seated on his favourite barrow, he always found an excuse for not working. In fairness, whilst sat there thinking he invented a universal vaccine, a waterless crop, and an unlimited supply of clean energy. He never wrote it down though. He couldn’t be bothered. As the crew prepared to pull back, George Rouncewell said good morning. Not to the crew, but to the loco. He often spoke to the locos. They all thought he was potty, but George had his reasons. He had worked ten years in the A shop in Swindon, before an errant bar of hot iron put a stop to it. So these weren’t just locomotives, they were old friends. He would even order pints for them at the pub. And drink it all. On their behalf, you understand. Uncoupled, the loco backed away, leaving the wagons behind. As they drove off, bunker first, the driver said: “Staff here seem quiet today”. “Yep”, said the fireman, “Bit of a dull lot”. *** PS: Most of the figures have been modified, some extensively. The captions are all true, only the facts have been changed.
    70 points
  4. I’ve made a detachable scenic extension for The Stables, using magnets. With this, the layout is more or less complete. The extension module was knocked up from 10 mm foamboard. The aim was to portray a tree-lined street at the back of the layout. It had to be detachable so as to facilitate storage in our small flat. The pavements were made in my usual way, flagstones lined out in pencil and later scribed with a round-nosed awl. A black wash for weathering. Afterwards I stood the strips on the side to avoid unsightly puddles forming. For the road itself I used a base of thin plasticard, curved to emulate the camber and with packing along the centerline (crown) for support. The top layer is painted sanding paper (grain 120), dusted with weathering pigments when dry. Vacuum formed retaining walls from Southeastern Finecast. I’ve used these on all four Farthing layouts, as a visual leitmotif. The brick detail is variable but you get quick results and for me they work OK at the back. The trees were made using a combo of techniques, as described in an earlier post. I made the trees a push fit, as I may want to replace them later. I find that masking tape works well as a way to adjust thickness on larger inserts. GWR standard spear fencing from Ratio. As as aside, this 8 second video shows the fence at the front of the layout fitted with magnets. It allows easy track cleaning, photography and storage. These are the little critters, with a toothpick for size. They can hold 130 grams each. Thanks to Dave for introducing me to the weird and wonderful world of magnets! Anyway, back to the scenic extension. I found some posters from the 1901-1903 period, and scaled them down. Houdini toured Britain in 1903. In retrospect, I wonder if the neat Edwardians stuck posters directly to walls. Or were they exclusively mounted on backboards and hoardings? So that was the scenic part of the job, a sort of "3D backscene". In principle, the same module could be used on different layouts. In order to attach it to the main layout, I experimented with magnets again. I first tried these neodymium magnets, capable of holding 2 kgs each, but they were too powerful. I could hardly get them apart and was worried that they would mess with my loco- and point motors (or is that not an issue?). Instead I opted for some less powerful S&W uncoupling magnets. Cheaper magnets of the same strength can no doubt be sourced, but I happened to have a surplus and knew that these were safe for my motors. I also fitted alignment dowels in order to reduce the downward pull of the module. After experiments, I found that a mix of PVA and ultra-fine Polyfilla held the magnets and dowels surprisingly well in the foamboard that I use. The extension then simply clicks on to the layout. Another short video clip, showing the extension being clicked on. The extension sits tight and “floats” with no supports. Obviosuly, that works because the module is narrow and light (650 grams) and is used at the rear of my desk where no one can lean on it. Actual layout modules would need supporting legs. Layout and two-level traverser on my desk. Further layout modules are being planned, and I'm thinking magnets can be a way to join them. So "The Stables" is now more or less complete. To celebrate, here's a selection of photos. A little slice of Farthing in a Copenhagen flat
    67 points
  5. I’ve built a GWR horse-drawn station bus using a modified and detailed P&D Marsh kit. A colourized postcard showing omnibuses in the station forecourt at Minehead. A perusal of period photos suggests that the outside seating wasn’t necessarily the last choice option – on sunny days at least! The forecourt at Teignmouth. Lettering on the door shows the fare and “A. Harvey (?), Proprietor”. Many horse-drawn station bus services were operated by individual entrepreneurs, nearby fashionable hotels, or local agents for the railway companies. Actual GWR-owned station buses certainly existed but were, I suspect, a minority. Old and new at Helston. The GWR’s first motor-driven road service was introduced at Helston in 1903, signalling the beginning of the end for horsedrawn omnibuses. The horse-drawn bus on the right served a local hotel. Phillip Kelley’s two volumes on GWR road vehicles feature a small but useful selection of photo and drawings of GWR horsedrawn buses. Online, a couple of rather interesting GWR omnibuses can be found here (scroll down). An agent-operated GWR service can be seen on the Fairford pages here. For non-GWR omnibuses, Gail Thornton’s website is interesting. The P&D Marsh kit is a fairly simple affair but does represent an actual prototype built by the GWR in 1894. There's a Swindon drawing of it in Kelley’s “Great Western Road Vehicles Appendix”. Towards the end of the build I realised that I had overlooked an actual photo of the vehicle in Kelley’s main volume (“Great Western Road Vehicles” p.29). Assembly of the body leaves you with somewhat unsightly corners, as Mike also commented in his build back in 2013. Repeated applications of filler and sanding helped, followed by primer. The basic components result in a reasonable overall representation of the original vehicle. Bringing it to this stage was a fairly quick exercise, but I decided to add some detailing. First step was some simple seating and glazing. The interior may or may not have been more lavish, but with the roof on very little is visible. The kit’s roof casting is rather thick and does not reflect the pattern on the prototype. A replacement was made by laminating two layers of thin styrene, the top layer being a grid pattern drawn up in Inkscape and printed on my Silhouette. This was fixed with superglue, with temporary holes to allow the fumes to escape so they don’t frost the glazing. Luggage rails were fitted using 0.5 mm straight brass wire. Later I removed the front rail, as I discovered that the prototype didn’t have it. Same thing can be seen on some other omnibuses. Forward-sliding luggage not a problem on slow-breaking vehicles? The drawing and photo show what initially looks like a ladder at the rear. Closer inspection shows it to be three vertical rails with no apparent rungs. My best guess is that they are guard-/guiderails for raising and lowering heavy luggage to and from the roof without damaging the sides. Unless anyone knows better? Anyway, I fitted them using more brass wire. Also seen is the rear passenger step. The one provided in the kit is rather crude and doesn't match the drawing, so I made a simple replacement. The step could be folded down and away for stowage during transport. Discovery of the prototype photo led to some unpleasant surprises. I had overlooked horisontal bolections along the sides and ends, so they were retrofitted using thin wire. There are also what looks like ventilation louvres above the windows (or rainstrips?), these were indicated using thin strips of styrene. I fashioned a pair of coach lamps using old loco lamps from the scrap box, fitted with bits from my tin of watchmakers’ spares. No particular prototype, just a nod to a certain type seen in some photos. Lettering and insignia will have to wait. The prototype photo shows the vehicle in factory finish in 1894, with sans-serif “Great Western Railway” below the windows in quite a small font size (smaller than on goods cartage vehicles), and a simplified garter behind the wheels. My printer can’t do such small lettering to a satisfying standard, so I’ll leave it unlettered until I find one that can. The bus will be parked in the station forecourt at Farthing, with passengers outside. So I decided to add some luggage. The prototype photo shows leather straps (or similar) fitted to the luggage rails, so I painted some thin masking tape to imitate this. I'm not sure about the principles for how luggage was packed on omnibus rooves. Photos suggest pragmatic solutions. I replaced the horse in the kit. I first painted up the mare on the left, but decided it was more of a goods type. So an exchange was made with the pretentious type on the right. Both are from Dart Castings. I normally go with matt varnish for my horse-drawn vehicles, but couldn't resist a satin finish in this case. I'm pondering my choice of driver. Current offerings aren't that good, so will probably modify a seated passenger. No reins, too impractical with my current layout arrangements. So that's yet another horse-drawn vehicle for Farthing. Good thing I've got a big stable block! There are plans afoot for an early motor bus, but that's another story.
    61 points
  6. Been doing some scenic work on The Stables. I wish I could settle on a fixed set of approaches for the surface textures, but I seem to be trying out different methods on every new layout! The yards at Farthing tend to feature a cinders/ash/dirt mix for ballast, as seen in period photos. In the past I’ve used Polyfilla (handbuilt track) or DAS (RTR track). But I wanted a more textured look, so tried Chinchilla sand this time. I say Chinchilla “sand” because that’s what was available here in Denmark. Not sure it’s the same as “dust”? Anyway, the fine grain meant that extra careful cleaning of the sleepers was needed, and even then I missed some. Hmm. Once wetted and stuck down with a PVA mix it set nicely - but close-ups revealed an unsightly shine from the quartz. So I applied a couple of fairly thick coloured washes, dispensed as drops from a brush. The sleepers did need touching up afterwards. Well, I got my texture and can live with the result, but I'm not completely happy. Next time I may try mixing in some grout or real ash. For the yard's ground texture I have previously used Polyfilla, but wanted more control so tried a base of DAS, rolled and cut to size. Bacon sandwich, anyone? DAS on a PVA base, smoothed with a wet finger. Antarctic railway. The grey DAS I use dries up white. OK as a base, but a bit too smooth for what I wanted. So I experimented with terrain paste as used by the diorama and wargaming communities. Got some for my birthday. I ended up using mostly the AK Terrains Light Earth. Although coarser than Vallejo Sand Paste, I found it takes paint better and dries up dead matt. I think it's supposed to go on neat, but I found it could be thinned with water to control how coarse I wanted it. My best sable brush, not! Experiments showed it can be sanded down for more smoothness. Adds a bit of variation. In other areas I tried thinning the paste a lot, then stippling it on to add a slight gravel effect. The pastes would be an expensive solution if applied neat over large areas, but with thinning I think their potential increases. The whole thing was lightly coloured with thin washes of Vallejo acrylics. The layout has a slight embankment that separates the yards. This was treated to static grass. I haven't tried static grass before, what a superb mess you can make! I don't have much hair left, so I wonder… Although it’s summer I wanted a subdued colour, so used Mini Natur 2mm and 4mm "Late Fall", and a bit of Woodland Scenics 4mm straw. The phone camera exaggerates the yellow, it’s a bit greener in reality. Edwardian photos suggests that grass was fairly carefully controlled in yards back then, so I resisted the urge to apply it in patches everywhere. Lastly I tried working over the whole area with pigments. It helped blend things together. Note to self: This is MIG Light European Earth (P415), now rebranded as Abteilung 502 Light European Earth (2260). Also a bit of Vallejo Pigments Light Yellow Ochre (73.102). I suppose there’s an un-intended seaside look to it. Shades of Neil’s Shell Island layout. I wish! Where it’s at. Now onward with the trees.
    59 points
  7. I’ve added a selection of horse droppings to the road and yard on “The Stables”. Obviously, prototype research was needed first! Period photos from the 1890s-1930s often show droppings in the street, especially where horse-drawn carriages were regularly parked. "Bicycle couriers with copies of the Manchester Guardian, which are being delivered to Euston station in London for circulation, circa 1920." Getty Images, embedding permitted. Droppings can sometimes be seen strung out, as seen below. I assume that’s because the “action” happened while the horse was on the move. But just how many horses were involved here?! "A view along Holland Park Mews, London." Getty Images, embedding permitted. After a while, the droppings would get trampled or washed apart. "Looking down one of the streets in the village of Hatherop, Gloucestershire, c1860-c1922." Getty Images, embedding permitted. In the busiest streets of large towns it could sometimes get quite messy, if I interpret the image below correctly. "Newcastle ca. 1900. The entrance to Central Station and in the background, St Mary's church and spire." Getty Images, embedding permitted. It’s worth pointing out, though, that many 1900s photos of street scenes show just a few droppings or none at all. The street sweepers must have worked hard in the big cities! "London. Holborn Viaduct, about 1900." Getty Images. Embedding permitted. In villages with limited traffic, the manure would presumably have been rarer. And perhaps quickly snatched up for gardens? "Stratford-Upon-Avon, circa 1900." Getty Images. Embedding permitted. Despite busy horse traffic, urban goods yards also appear relatively clean, although sometimes the presence of a photographer may have helped! "Paddington Goods Depot, 1923. Horse drawn vehicles carrying Witney blankets" Getty Images. Embedding permitted. A study of contemporary photos and horsey websites showed that the colour and texture of droppings varies considerably. One factor is whether the dung is fresh or old. Another is the horse's diet. For example, I understand that low quality hay results in very brown droppings, while green grass will give you an olive tinge. Here's a selection, á la carte: Photos from Flickr Creative Commons. Credits clockwise from top left: Ben Schumin; Ben Schumin; David MW; Bernd Hutschenreuther; Jes; Jes. True dung enthusiasts will therefore need to study the fodder composition of the companies they model, which incidentally also varied across time and place. For example, Tony Atkins writes in "GWR Goods Cartage", Vol. 1, p77: I didn't go that extent though. Basically, I just tried out some stuff. From earlier experiments I knew that, when tapped repeatedly, the little balls that form in pigment bottles will move to the front and can be gently shaken onto the ground. This is Vallejo Natural Sienna pigment (ref. 73.105). The balls were secured by floating a little Woodlands Scenic cement alongside, letting the balls soak it up through capillary action. This binds the pigments together and sticks the balls to the ground. Once dry, a brushing of matt varnish sealed them further. Breaking up some of the pigment balls adds a more scattered impression: A light dusting of Johnson's baby powder made for a drier, more discrete look. A lick of dry-brushed paint resulted in a darker and more compact appearance. An almost black shade would be quite common, but that turned out to be rather distracting. Little black spots tend to catch the eye! So I went for lighter brownish shades. Standard GWR stable blocks had channels that helped carry droppings and urine out of the stable block and into the sewer. So there I went for a glitzy Wet Dung look, using a bit of gloss varnish. I used additional pigments around the edges to indicate a dissolving dropping. Arguably, my droppings are on the large side (quiet at the back!). But I think a slightly stylized look can sometimes work OK, as it helps the viewer interpret what they are seeing. Also, have you ever stood next to a shire horse? Not quite a shire horse. House-trained though. Let's see the Midland beat that! Although I like an uncluttered look, it's probably all still a bit too clean. I'm currently working on that. These are pigments brushed into the setts, after first adding a tiny drop of Woodlands Scenic Cement and letting it almost dry. The idea is to represent residue from past droppings. Must add some bits of straw too, as recently suggested by Matt. Meanwhile, Stableman John Rokesmith has had enough of it all. Not what he had in mind when he joined the railways. '"Romance of the footplate", my arse!'
    59 points
  8. When in danger or in doubt, get the model railway out. The fourth layout in the Farthing series is taking shape, a welcome relief from the lockdown blues. Above is a reminder of the trackplan. So complicated that it broke Templot. Only very advanced modellers can do that. A test piece to see what the new Peco Bullhead track is all about. I decided to give Peco a go as a change from handbuilt track. The chairs are wrong for GWR, will be interesting to see how much I notice it. One advantage of the new Peco track is that it’s voice controlled. You simply tell it where to go and it will lay itself. The layout will be operated as a micro on a daily basis, but I may add a further module for extended operation, or even a direct link to my "Old Yard" layout. The rear siding therefore extends to the baseboard edge, and is protected by a removeable buffer stop, knocked together from balsa in the stopgap style of the old N&SJR. The other stops are standard GWR, built from the Lanarkshire Models kit. In order to fit them on the Peco track, I had to carve off most of the chairs. Have others found a better solution? For replacement, I dug into my stash of C+L GWR chairs. Ironic, as I now have proper GWR chairs next to the Peco ones. Maybe I should slice up some Peco chairs and fit them instead. What a cruel close-up by the way, I need to get out the filler. I wanted some sort of 'inset' track for the front siding. Photos suggest that while proper inset track was certainly used in some GWR yards, more pragmatic solutions were preferred when feasible. This includes leaving the four foot unpaved, as seen in the bottom three photos here (all heavily cropped). That seems to have been a favoured solution where cartage vehicles needed firm ground to off-load or pass alongside the rails, but didn’t have to cross them. I haven’t seen this modelled much, so gave it a go. The outer sections of the sleepers were cut off to avoid the chairs fouling the paving. At this point I was seriously wondering why I hadn’t just made my own track! Here, DAS is being applied to the four foot. The rail was raised slightly above the edging stones to allow for track cleaning. Partly modeller's license, but also in compliance with one or two prototype photos. While not as elegant as proper inset track, I like how it creates a visual break in the setts. The setts were made using old paintbrush heads, fashioned to shape. The material is Forex, a.k.a. ’foamed PVC’ but apparently now without the PVC. The technique also works in DAS clay. The photo is a bit misleading as I used a ruler while pressing the setts, in order to ensure straight lines. A scriber was used to individualise a few setts and sort out mistakes. The material can be curved slightly if necessary. The method has pros and cons. You tend to get a fairly uniform look and it’s hard to avoid the occasional gap between the grooves when pressing down the brush heads. But with practice I found it speedy and tidy, and I like that it can be done away from the layout – especially as I have to work in our living room. Drainage channels were made by drawing a screwdriver tip along a ruler… …then pressing in setts as appropriate. This drainage channel was done differently, by simply pressing the setts deeper than the surrounding ones. The ground in front of standard GWR stable blocks was often paved with either cement or bricks. I went for red bricks, forgetting that one drawing I have says blue engineering bricks (better quality). I may repaint them, but then again I may not. For the entry to the goods depot, I used a Green Scene roller on blue foam as described in my workbench thread. The arched setts are a nod to the yard at Birmingham Moor Street. The Pooley & Sons weighbridge is a Scalelink etch. The weighbridge office is a temporary mock-up. The flagstone pavement was done using the same Forex material as the setts, with the kerbs and flagstones lined out in pencil and then scribed. My original plan was that the road the front would be laid with setts, but after encountering this thread I began to examine photos and realized that 1900s urban roads were very often laid with various forms of non-tarred macadam or similar. Here is Worthing South Street, captioned ca. 1900-1920. Even some parts of central London had streets like this. Sometimes such roads had gutters paved with stone, at other times setts were used or there was no gutter at all. Copyright Getty Images, embedding permitted. Call me a romantic but I like the dry, light and almost ethereal appearance that such roads exhibit in certain summertime photos of the period. I used sanding paper, painted with Vallejo light sand and ivory. It still needs some weathering and a good smattering of horse dung! For the GWR spearhead fencing, the initial plan was to use an old Scalelink etch - but it's rather fragile for a position at the front of the layout. So I used the Ratio GWR fencing. Photos suggest that the verticals should extend to the ground, beneath the lower horizontal bar. Never mind. The fencing sometimes had supports, may add those in due course. I wanted the fencing to be detachable, to allow for close-up photos and easy replacement if I break something. So far it rests in a groove lined with blue tack. If that proves a botch too far, I could try micro magnets. Some stations - e.g. Minehead – had a lovely display of enamel signs mounted on the spearhead fencing. I used those from Tiny Signs, cut with a scalpel, varnished twice and edged with a brown marker (in that order, otherwise the marker may discolour the sign). The signs act as view blocks, and also help draw in the eye to what will become a staff entrance. Here’s Charlie the horse admiring the adverts. He looks a bit out of focus. It must be the provender. In his opinion, the GWR always did mix in too much bran. Work to be done includes a scratchbuild of a GWR weighbridge office (the mock-up seen here is the old Smiths kit), and one or two other structures. The elevated rear section of the layout is a whole little project in itself, I'm hoping it will add further depth to the scene. Lastly, an overview shot. It’s all wired up, but I can’t operate it without a traverser. So that’s next.
    59 points
  9. I've been thinking that railway modelling needs a better public image. People seem to think the hobby is a bit weird and nerdy, when really we’re a bunch of smooth adrenaline junkies. Here are some examples from my own awesome life. Firstly, we railway modellers have really cool gear. These DIY tamping and scribing tools were made from coffee stirrers and my wife’s discarded sock knitting needles. Max bling! The top three are for smoothing DAS between sleepers and under rails. I use Latex gloves to help seal glue containers. After years of doing this, I’m now wondering if they are in fact permeable. But never mind, it adds a bit of style. I keep the bottles on the back stairs where our neighbours can admire them. Recycled kitchen sponge, used as a stop block. Works quite well I find. If you’re lucky, there are old bits of food left in there. "So what do you in your spare time?”. Oh, I like to put on latex gloves and scrub things with a toothbrush. The stuff I use for paint stripping is some serious sh*t. Not sure what the proper English term is, it's called "brown soap" in Danish. Used for cleaning floors. Wild, man. At weekends, I really let my hair down. In one recent highlight, I spent an hour painting sewing thread. Then there’s our risk-taking mindset. For example, I recently sorted the kitchen cupboards. This revealed more spices than we’ll never need, so I decided to experiment: Would spices work as weathering powders? For improved adhesion, I mixed in some baby powder. Feeling reckless, I also tried ground ginger. The verdict? Well it works OK in a pinch, but proper weathering powders are better. The layout smells great though. Makes for a good pick-up line. Speaking of pick-up lines, I like to experiment with dung. These are lumps of weathering powder on PVA. I think it could work for horse droppings, though more testing is needed. It also seems to work when brushed into setts. Horse dung would be trampled and distributed pretty much like that, I reckon. Ordinary people don’t reflect on such things. I guess they just lack vision. So there’s railway modelling for you: Living on the edge, every day. Anyway, I‘m off to grab a Red Bull before I tackle those couplings. Hang loose, dudes.
    57 points
  10. When I was a boy I hated The Weasel with all my heart. The Weasel was our maths teacher and to me he was the prototype of the Evil Teacher. When he taught he got all worked up and saliva formed at the corners of his mouth, and he would walk down among the desks while talking and suddenly pounce on you and slap his hand into your desk and hiss “Am I RIGHT, or am I WRONG?!” It was a rhetorical question of course. We were expected to confirm that we was right, and we always did even if we understood little of what he said. Because quite simply we were scared to death of the man. One of The Weasel’s particularities was that – unlike any other teacher at school - he would not allow toilet visits during class. This became a big problem when one day I had the runs. I put up my hand and asked to be excused, but he would not allow it. A few minutes later I asked again and explained that I really needed to go, but he refused. By this time my mates were snickering and I stopped asking. So for the rest of the class I endured the stomach cramps and the urge to go, horrified at the thought of involuntarily soiling myself in front of my mates - and particularly in front of a certain girl. It was probably just half an hour but it seemed like a lifetime. When I finally got to the loo I sat there swearing revenge. One day Mr Weasel, one day! They say that time heals all wounds, and that the best revenge is to live well. But they are wrong. A few days ago, as I was finishing off the interior of my G20 Saloon, I spotted a figure in my parts box that reminded me of The Weasel. A devious plan formed in my mind. Following the ancient rituals of Voodoo, I glued The Weasel to the loo. I did not paint him, because ghosts from the past have no colour. I then fitted The Weasel in the lavatory of the G20. I did not model any doors to the lavatory. I did not model any water supply. And I did not model any toilet paper. I then glued a lid onto the lavatory. So there you have it. The Weasel is now forever entombed in the lavatory of a GWR saloon, with no means of flushing and with no means of wiping his royal a***. Revenge at last. You were wrong Mr Weasel, you were wrong. Go to part 5
    57 points
  11. Greetings everyone – Pickle S. Finkerbury here, railway historian and time traveller. As previously explained, I have a knack for being in the right place at the right time, which has provided me with unique insights into certain unknown aspects of GWR matters. Here is another extract from my files: Farthing, early 1900s. It is well known that the GWR treated the workers at Swindon to an annual excursion by rail. What is less known is that the top management at Swindon Works also undertook an annual excursion, although that was of a much more exclusive nature. This year, the distinguished group are visiting the ever expanding Farthing station. Their special train has been propelled into the sidings of the Old Yard, and the members of the prominent party are investigating the facilities. The First class coaches show early experiments with the garter crest livery, soon to become standard. The roofs won't stay white for long. The official purpose of the excursion is to obtain a first hand experience of practical engineering matters. But - as the local staff are quick to note - the participants seem more interested in socialising. This includes L.R. Thomas, manager of the Carriage & Wagon Department at Swindon Works. He has brought along the young and rather lovely Miss Estella Havisham, whom he has been courting since they met at a ball in Swindon a few weeks ago. Being of a somewhat awkward and old fashioned disposition, Mr Thomas is struggling to keep the conversation going - until he spots a couple of wagons in the sidings. Sensing an opportunity to impress the young lady, Thomas decides to discuss the evolution of the GWR wagon brake. Since he is talking to a woman, Thomas keeps it very simple: 'You see, Miss Havisham, this wagon uses our old brake design. You will note the large lever.' Thomas continues: 'We have been using this brake design for a long time, but it can only be operated from one side, and is really a rather primitive arrangement.' Moving on to the next wagon, Thomas becomes visibly excited: 'Now this wagon, by contrast, uses a much more modern and ingenious brake design!' 'In fact this brake is my own design, which I patented a few years ago. It is known, I might add, as the Thomas Brake'. 'As you can see, Miss Havisham, my design has handles on both sides, rather than a single lever. By winding the handle the brakes are applied. Do you understand?' Miss Havisham does seem to understand. 'Oh Mr Thomas, what an ingenious mechanism!', she exclaims, 'And such an interesting topic. I must confess that all this talk of handles and levers excites me somewhat!'. Now rapidly warming to the topic, Mr Thomas is about to go into further detail – but then Miss Havisham interrupts him: 'But I wonder, Mr Thomas, if a more convenient single-action arrangement could be developed? One might perhaps exchange the handle for a side lever with the end set downwards and connected via an adjustable link to a toothed quadrant which could be loosely mounted on a transverse shaft. Short hand levers could be fitted at either end of the shaft, with which the rack could be actuated via a projecting arm, thus engaging with a lug on the quadrant. A pawl could be used to retain the toothed rack when the hand lever is pressed down. When on, the side lever would lift and reverse the brakeblock shafts on the rocking shaft at the V-hanger. Would that work, do you think, Mr Thomas?' Speechless and bewildered, Thomas just stands there. What Miss Havisham has just described is not only highly ingenious, it is also a design very similar to one currently being developed by William Dean himself, with much input from Churchward. How on earth would a layman - and a woman at that! – be able to come up with something so advanced? Just as Thomas is about to regain composure, an elegantly dressed man approaches them. Thomas’ heart sinks further. He knows exactly what is going to happen. What had seemed such a promising day is rapidly becoming a nightmare. Who is the elegant man in the grey suit? Why does Miss Havisham know so much about wagon brakes? And what will it all mean for Thomas’ efforts to court her? Find out in Part 2, which is here.
    55 points
  12. I had a setback with my Dean Goods. I was spraying on some varnish in preparation for lining, when this happened: Orange peel - or something similar! There followed the usual process, so well described in Dr Mindbender’s insightful ”Coping with Failure in Railway Modelling: The Four Phases of Modeller’s Recovery” (Wild Swan, 2019): Phase 1: Despair (”Why me, Lord?”) Phase 2: Resentment (”Stupid model!”) Phase 3: Detachment (”It's only a model.”) Phase 4: Comeback (”Bring it on, orange peel!”) Moving from phase 1 to 4 can take hours or years, depending on circumstances. I have projects in the cupboard that seem permanently stuck at phase 2 (resentment)! In this case it went a bit faster. I was at stage 3 (detachment) and about to reach for a wagon kit when a sudden surge of inner strength (a.k.a whisky) prompted a search for "how to strip paint off a glued model". The results suggested that a bath in IPA might do the trick. It did, with a little help from a tooth brush. Things are now more or less back on track. Due to the 'toothbrushing' and rubbing with Wet & Dry, the edges seem to have lost a little crispness in the process (this is styrene after all, not brass) but it's not too bad, and I'm just happy that the whole thing didn't fall apart. Re-painting is now underway. Phew!
    53 points
  13. Here's a little scratch-building project that I'm working on in-between the coach painting. The prototypes were used extensively at Paddington Goods in the 1900s. A similar but more austere type was used at Hockley. I couldn't find any drawings, so the dimensions are guesstimates based on photos. The build was a real pleasure, especially sourcing the parts. I'll let the pictures explain the rest - gradually! In other words, a shed crane. I still need to model the operating lever which was situated next to the crane, and which (as far as I understand) connected to a mechanism beneath the deck. I plan to build at least one more of these - although possibly a more heavy duty type. There are a couple of things I might do differently on the next one. I think the counter-weight is a little underscale. I will also do the pulley wheels different next time. We live and learn! PS: Thanks to Missy for the tip about the watchmaker's parts, available on ebay.
    53 points
  14. What goes through a modeller’s mind? 'Very little', my wife would say, and she’s not far off! Am I the only one who enters a Zen-like state of mind when operating the layouts? It begins like this. You decide to run some trains, forget all the worries. Get the gear out, set up on the dining table. The engine purrs into life, pulls a train off the traverser. You get down to eye level, begin to dream. What if there was something else behind those windows? Distant spires maybe? Lots of spires! Then even that melts away, and you enter a world of dreamy blue skies. Floating freely… …in an uncomplicated world… …where time… …stops… …and the light… …is mellow. Peace, man. Then reality kicks in. It seems I’m expected to lay the table. Ah well!
    52 points
  15. Nörreport station, Copenhagen. Every day after work, I wait here for my local train home. Today it’s late, rush hour is over. Everyone is tired, noone is talking, noone is present. We’re not really here, we’re already somewhere else. While I wait, commuter trains roll into the platforms and leave again. Many are nearly empty, having already dropped off most passengers at Copenhagen Central. They will terminate soon, at the next station. Then an ICE train pulls into the platform, all the way from Berlin. At the sight of it, something stirs inside the weary commuter: A slightly unusual train, an arrival from far away. Is there anything like it? And thoughts begin to wander... Imagine a fine summer’s day in 1906. Imagine the bay platform of a junction station. A 517 class arrives with an autotrailer. Bit of a cliché, I grant you, a bit twee. But as a tired commuter, I’ll go with twee any time! And the autotrailer, which one is that? Ah, it’s the unusual A12 from the Plymouth area. Oh and look, here’s another train. River Class No. 69 “Avon”. Odd that, I thought I’d sold it some time ago? And what’s a fast engine like that doing in a bay platform? Never mind, it’s my daydream so I can do what I want! Argh, what’s all this disturbance now? Oh, it’s the Nivaa train. Well that’s no use for me. And quit staring at me people, I’m not really here, can’t you see that? Ah that’s better. Now this is what I call passengers! Stylish, sophisticated and not a care in the world. No ashen-faced commuters here! A-ha, here's the River again. And the infamous fireman known as "Mad Charlie", in conversation with Station Master A. Woodcourt. I wonder what they’re talking about? How she’s running today, maybe. Or the qualities of different kinds of coal. Or the Bambatha Rebellion. Certainly not tax forms or car repairs or any of the other trivial matters of today's world. Speaking of the Bambatha Rebellion (yeah well, look it up), here’s some real buffalo power! And it’s propelling an interesting 6-wheel U28 clerestory. And here’s a Buffalo with a tender! Well sort of: The Armstrong Goods were pretty closely related to the Buffalo tanks, if I’m not mistaken. And in my daydreams I’m never mistaken! Now what? Oh, it’s the train I’m in. So it arrived? I got on board? Never even noticed! We commuters are like robots sometimes. But look, it’s been snowing again. Looks nice with the lights, eh? And these are decent DMUs: comfortable, sleek, effective. Come to think of it, reality isn’t that bad after all. I wonder what’s for dinner? Click images for full size
    51 points
  16. Projects over the summer have included trees. The original inspiration came from the tree-lined perimeters of Reading’s Vastern Road and King’s Meadow goods yards. Vastern Road yard, Reading, 1948. Source: Britain from above. The trees here were quite close to the track along some sections. Earlier photos from the 1900s show larger trees, so they must have been a feature from at least the 1880s. Vastern Road yard, Reading, 1948. Source: Britain from above. Apart from a bit of dabbling ages ago, this was my first real attempt at trees. It does show! But for what it's worth, here's a summary of how I did them. The basic armature was made from Treemendus 0.5 mm wire, cut to 150 mm lengths of which I used 45 per tree for my purposes. Similar wire can be obtained from florists. To form the trees, I used the method suggested by Treemendus, whereby one wire is twisted around others (rather than twisting all wires). This is certainly a quick method, but the outer wire does show. Treemendus recommend using masking tape in order to smooth out the trunk and main branches. This helps, but also adds to the thickness. Accordingly, I may use fewer wires per tree for the next batch. Once done, the armatures were coated in Treemendus bark powder. This can be sanded for a smoother look. For the crown and foliage I diverted from the Treemendus approach and instead used Heki sea foam, each piece glued to the armature with superglue. The pods can be removed, but I didn’t bother as the foliage I used conceals it. The crown was sprayed with a few quick coats of light brown/grey. I used Liquitex, these are low-toxic water based spraypaint for artists. Foliage was added using “coarse turf” from Woodlands scenic. This is the “burnt grass” shade. The foliage was attached using Hob-e-Tac- glue, non-toxic and very sticky. The foliage sticks to the outer reaches of the seafoam, leaving a nice natural branch structure behind it. A coat of Woodlands “scenic cement” was sprayed on to further stick things down. This darkens the foliage somewhat, so I only did one coat. As these are planted urban trees, they needed to be fairly uniform yet individually different. It helped to build them alongside each other. I found that it was possible to make up individual bits of sea-foam twigs and retro-fit them to the trees. That way, any areas that I was unhappy with could be improved. The species is nominally London Plane-ish, although I admittedly concentrated more on just learning the techniques. I did try to indicate the mottled/patchy look of the bark with a paintbrush, but it doesn't show up well and needs more work. The original plan was to have 3-4 trees at the front of the layout. I liked the views beneath the canopy. And the shadow effect when the sun came in through our windows. But from a distance the layout seemed too “front loaded” and forbidding. Trying out various configurations I was struck by how the different positioning of trees can give very different impressions. E.g., compare these two photos: In the end I opted for the arrangement seen below. This gives me street trees but also an open view. It requires an extension of the layout at the back, featuring another road and - you'll be relieved to hear - a backscene. This is currently being built. It's all been an interesting exercise. I will probably keep this first batch of trees for the time being, but have started experimenting with alternative methods, including natural plants. More on that later.
    50 points
  17. In 1884 the GWR centralized the provision of provender, so that every stable block on the system received a regular supply by rail from the provender store at Didcot, typically every 1-2 weeks. The supplies consisted of hay, chaff, straw bedding and sacks of feed. The feed included oats, beans and maize, either pre-mixed or separate. The sizeable stable block at Farthing obviously needs a regular supply of feed and bedding, so two provender wagons have been made. I began with a diagram Q1, using the Coopercraft kit. The GWR only made a total of 12 dedicated provender wagons, in two slightly different lots of six. The Q1 kit represents the later batch, built in 1903 with diagonal bracing. They were very camera shy, the (cropped) image below is the only one I have seen so far. As usual, the build involved modifications. The Vee hanger on these wagons was significantly off-center, towards the right. The instructions don’t mention this. So both vees were cut off. The solebars need shortening, and the end brackets must therefore also come off. Here is the original solebar (top), and a modified one (below). Then, sides and ends. The locating pips for the floor were removed. They make the floor sit too low, and the solebars in turn end up beneath the headstocks. As provided, the brake gear does not take the off-center Vee into account, as this trial fit shows. So the brake gear was modified to suit. Looks a bit odd, but that's what the drawing and text in Atkins et al shows. The DC1 brake gear was made using parts from the Bill Bedford etch (recently withdrawn). The buffers are from Lanarkshire Models. The built-up wagon in GWR wagon red, as it would have been painted when built in 1903. Apart from 12 purpose-built provender wagons, most of the GWR's provender was carried in numerous standard open wagons of all sorts. Several photos show them loaded improbably high. I decided to have a go at replicating this. This close crop, from a much larger shot from King’s Meadow yard at Reading, illustrates what I was aiming for. I set to work on some plumber’s hemp, cut fine and built up in layers on a foamboard box, using diluted PVA. Not the 9 o’clock news! Then sheets (a.k.a. tarps) were made, using my usual method. Ian’s superb sheets were re-numbered and printed on regular paper, then laminated with thin foil and varnished multiple times, before weathering. The result is a shell that can be easily shaped and supports it’s own weight (see this post). I designed the load to fit my 4-plankers. My initial plan was to have the entire load and sheeting detachable, in line with my normal approach. In this shot, the tarp and load are separate, but magnets hold them together and allow easy removal. However, with a high load like this I felt that the lack of roping looked odd. So I decided to see how it would feel to have permanent loads and sheets. I recruited one of my 4-plankers and added roping and side-cords, using painted sewing thread. Indents were made in the sheeting by pressing the edge of a ruler into the paper/foil shell, in order to emulate the ropes pulling down the sheet. This is what I ended up with. Don’t look to closely at how the cords are tied at the ends. Photos of provender trains don’t show clearly whether and how they were used in a situation like this. Sometimes, the GWR used two sheets laid sideways instead, as illustrated in this cropped detail of a train of hay bales. I decided to do the same on my high-sided Q1 wagon. Here is the usual foil shell, this time composed of two sheets. For the roping and cords, I loosely followed the cropped image above. I also tried to fold the sheets at the ends as per that photo, but gave up: Try as I might, it just looked weird in 4mm scale. Another time maybe. The wagons together. The charm of everyday solutions versus boxy functional design. Here are a few photos of the wagons in action on the (unfinished) new layout. A Buffalo class arrives with the weekly delivery of provender. Conveniently, the stable block at Farthing happens to have a siding alongside. Meanwhile, Betty is having a drink in preparation for the morning round. Proper care of railway horses was a serious matter, though hardly for ethical reasons. Horses were a company asset and an important part of operations, so obviously needed good maintenance. The loco has left, and the wagons are sat in the sidings. The camera has exaggerated the sheen. A close-up, warts and all. The mind struggles to accept that the hay wasn't completely covered over. There is room for improvement with the roping and cords, several lessons learnt there. I'd like to experiment more with the shaping of the sheets. Here I have made slight rounded indents along the bottom to avoid a straight line. Period photos show that, although sheets were pulled as taut as possible, there were still lots of wrinkles etc. Despite these experiments, I’m still undecided about permanent loads and sheeting. To illustrate my doubt: It's the next day and the Buffalo class is back to pick up the provender wagons. But wait, what’s this? They are still full and sheeted! More thinking needed. It never ends.
    50 points
  18. I was posting some pictures of Sherton Abbas on the "O gauge Guild" forum https://www.gauge0guild.com/, where it was pointed out that my poor signalman had no means of communicating with the rest of the world. This situation obviously had to be rectified by the addition of some telegraph paraphernalia! I spent some time researching the subject, but as is so often the case in this hobby, the more I read the more questions I needed answering:-) During my search I came across a number of interesting sites including this one http://www.telegraphpoleappreciationsociety.org/ For what its worth, I feel that any site with a "Pole of the Month" has to be worth a read! One of the O gauge guild members "Jim Snowdon" is a font of information about the subject and has given permission for an article he wrote to be posted on the forum. Railways and Overhead Pole Routes - with pictures.pdf The article goes a long way in helping to demystify the world of Telegraph poles, with an emphasis from a modelling point of view and I thoroughly recommend anyone interested in the subject giving it a read! I decided to use the Peco poles https://peco-uk.com/products/telegraph-poles-pack-of-4 as a starting point, hoping to customise them into something more appropriate for an early 20th century Great Western branch line:-) Photographs of prototype poles around the turn of the last Century appear to only have had two insulators per arm and the arms are also of two different lengths and staggered. This was something I was keen to represent on my layout, so some surgery of the Peco arms was required! Peco Arms as supplied in the kit The arms were cut to the appropriate length and then drilled with 0.5mm holes before insulator supports at he correct spacing could be fitted using Slater's Plastikard micro rod. Arms after modification on right side of image The Peco poles have provision for fitting 3 arms into rebates cut into the poles, so depending on the number of arms that need fitting to the modelled poles, either some filler or additional rebates will be needed. Example of modified pole The next thing to be considered were the insulators, which appear to come in two main types. The majority of insulators enable the supported wire to pass through it and then run on to the next post down the line, however where wires are terminating at a post, or building a different type of insulator was used. These are known as Pothead insulators and have a distinctive flat top rather than the conical shape of conventional insulators. Pot head insulators are also mounted on "J hangers" below the post arm which help to minimise any twisting of the arms. I was keen to model these features, on my model poles. The Peco kit contains quite nice representations of conventional conical topped insulators, so these were fitted onto poles where the wires were not terminating. Poles with conventional insulators. The pole adjacent to the signal box would have been fitted Pothead insulators mounted on "J hangers" for any wires that would terminate at the signal box, insulated cables would then have been used to carry current from these insulators, down the pole and into the signal box. Telephone wires would have continued from this pole to the Goods Shed and Station building, so on these arms conventional insulators would have been employed. To represent the "J hangers" I used some 0.5mm brass wire, bent into shape using some round nosed pliers and fitted into pre-drilled holes of the correct spacing into the arms. J hangers mounted into arms I simulated the flat top appearance of the pothead insulators by heating a screw driver blade in a flame and then pressing onto the top of a standard Peco insulator. The thermoplastic distorts quite easily and can be pressed into a more convincing shape, most of the time :-) Signal box pole fitted with pothead insulators on three of the arms and conventional insulators on one arm. The poles were painted with enamel paint, first with a dark brown and then dry brushed with gun metal to simulate weathered wood. Once the poles had dried they were fitted onto the layout by drilling holes and then held in position using 5 minute epoxy resin. Example pole Once all the poles had been installed in their positions on the layout, the "fun" could begin adding the telegraph wires. I used E Z elastic thread https://www.modelscenerysupplies.co.uk/brands/EZ-Line/EZ-Line-Rope to simulate the wires, attached to the insulators with a drop of cyanoacrylate glue applied with a cock tail stick. Fortunately I only need 3 poles on Sherton Abbas and with the addition of some insulators mounted on J hanger brackets where the wires terminate on buildings, the telegraph/telephone system is now complete. Images of the completed poles on the layout The signalman at Sherton Abbas is delighted with this new addition, he's no longer startled by the arrival of the 8.17 am and spilling his tea is a thing of the past!:-) The 8.17 am train arriving at Sherton Abbas Thanks again to Jim Snowdon for his excellent article and for allowing me to publish it on the forum. Its a subject that I knew very little about before starting this project, but I've enjoyed finding out what was used and why so much that I might even join the Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society:-) Sherton Abbas will be appearing at Railex later this month http://www.railex.org.uk/ hopefully I'll see some of you there. Best wishes Dave
    49 points
  19. I thought it was about time that I finished my Dean Goods, so here it is virtually done. It has taken an awfully long time to do, although in fairness it has been resting untouched for long periods while I worked on other projects. The loco has the original twin flywheel Oxford mechanism that came with the lined pre-grouping version. Mine is a very smooth runner, which is why I found the project worthwhile in the first place. Indeed I've bought another one at a sale, which also runs very well. Below is a summary of the main steps since the first post on the project, with some further photos of the completed item towards the end. Cab The cab floor and interior splashers were built up from styrene. A cut-out was required in order to clear the motor when fitting the body. The cab detail is a bit quick and dirty. I found a backhead in the spares box, spruced it up a bit and moved it 0.5 mms into the cab to clear the motor. It’s too low, but don’t tell anyone. The raised floor section in the right hand side of the cab can be seen on No. 2516 at Steam, but I’m not sure if it was there in the 1900s? According to Martin Finney, cab seats were a later feature so I didn’t fit any. Brassmasters have some lovely Finney fittings for the cab, but I wanted to save my pennies, so modified the Oxford lever and springs to look a bit more accurate. The cab side beading was made from 5 thou strips, cut on my Portrait and curved gently with my warm and healing fingers. Stuck down with Limonene and secured by rolling a brush handle against it. Further beading and handrails were made from wire. The cab roof was built up with four laminated layers, here are the first two (10 + 5 thou). And the uppermost two (2 x 5 thou). The join between cab and boiler was also built up piecemeal, very close to the spectacles as per my prototype. Fittings Handrails were fitted using my well established formula: "Measure once, drill thrice !". Boiler washout plugs from Coast Line Models. Alan appears to have temporarily withdrawn these, I hope they’ll return. I fashioned a new reversing lever, and fitted a loco jack from the Broad Gauge Society. Photos of the uprights on which loco jacks were mounted during this period are rare, here's a crop from an image I found (left). Also a standing version, which I suspect was an earlier arrangement. The curvy “piano lid” cylinder cover was a feature of some locos during the short smokebox period. They were sometimes left in open position while running! Fittings on the smokebox side were cobbled up from bits of brass. Chassis The loco chassis required very little modification, which means it can be easily replaced in case of a major failure. However, an indication of the ash pan and nearby components was needed. So I nicked Coachmann’s idea and made a simple screw-on unit. Later the ashpan was painted and Archer's rivets applied. Tender The Oxford tender is generally a good representation of the 2500 gallon variant, but various mods were needed to backdate it to 1900s condition. First, the fenders were cut off using a scalpel, and the area was filed clean. The protecting plates at the rear and front were too high for my 1900s prototype, and were therefore filed down to appropriate height and shape. I left the casing for the water filler untouched. Subsequent discussions suggest that the shape may have been different during this period - but I will leave it for now. Next up were the coal rails. I first tried cutting some 10 thou Evergreen on my Silhouette cutter. It looks OK here, but as might be expected it was just too flimsy. Instead I used wire from Eileen’s Emporium, halfround as per the prototype. I considered soldering but thought the joints might come undone every time I applied heat, so used epoxy. The result is quite solid. The uprights were fitted into holes just inside the flare of the tender sides, taking care not to break through the sides. I think the top rail sits a trifle high. Ah well. Photos suggest that most of the fittings at the front of the Oxford tender are not appropriate for my period. Replacement toolboxes and air vents from Brassmasters (ex-Finney) were fitted. Maybe the latter should be smaller on a 2500G tender, not sure. Sandboxes were cobbled together from bits of styrene. The front steps of the early 2500g tenders had an inward curve. A couple of round files solved this. The plastic protects the chassis from metal dust. Here is the result. The finished tender (less brake gear). Loco and modified tender. Painting and lining The loco in primer. After recovering from an "orange peel" disaster I got the paint job done. The green is Vallejo 70.850 with a touch of black (5:1), the red is 70.814. Lining was done with HMRS Pressfix transfers. One side done. The triple panels on the tender were tricky. Halfway through I ran out of lining, and discovered that new HMRS lining sheets are a different colour from the older ones. The samples above show the old sheet, and three new sheets. The latter came directly from the HMRS, whose own illustration still shows the older shade. A Fox sheet is also featured. In the end I cobbled together the remaining lining from an old sheet, using 26 pieces for one cabside . It does show in places. Final details Cab windows were made by filing and sanding the teeth off watchmaker's cogs. The glazing was cut on my Silhouette cutter. Not perfect, but I can live with it. Bit of fun: The Oxford model comes with a choice of coarse or fine screw link couplings (bottom two). I modified mine by adding a “Tommy bar” (top), fashioned from a part that I found in my box of watchmaker’s spares. A last few shots of the loco. Photos of 2487 and some other Dean Goods shows the safety valve slightly off-set from the center of the boiler band, so I copied that. Annoyingly I forgot to add the safety valve lever. Too late now, I can't get in there to fit it properly. The big compromise is the seam line in the boiler, although I only notice it from certain angles. I had planned to distract from the join by carrying the lining all round, but experiments showed that it had the opposite effect, so I left it off. Were I to do it again I would give more attention to matching the angles of the two edges as they meet, which could have been better. Still, I'm happy enough with it. The short smokebox and piano-lid cylinder cover makes it a bit different from available kit versions. No other comparison intended! So that's about it. Loco lamps and crew are on the workbench, and I need to fit couplings bars between the buffers. I also need some work plates, the one seen here is a stand-in of unknown origin. Does anyone know a source of 4mm works plates?
    48 points
  20. I’ve been working on the alternative side of the goods depot recently. The sides and roof are now more or less done and I'm preparing to lay the ground and track in front of it. The roof has caused much muttering and swearing. Some time ago I dropped the whole thing on the floor, and had to rebuild much of it. Because of the accident, the roof is now slightly out of true in some places. That's not really visible, but it meant I had to give up on flush-glazing it. Certainly a compromise, but I was getting close to abandoning the whole thing, so decided that I had better just accept it and move on. I like looking down through the glazing to the scene below. Not really what the layout was designed for, but a nice extra bonus. The roof structure gives a nice play of light and shadow inside the depot, which varies greatly with the lighting and time of day. I prefer it when the shadows appear naturally... ...but they can of course be further enhanced by "staged" articifical lighting as above. My struggles with the roof have been a mental barrier, so it's nice to be past that point. I can now get down to things I enjoy more, such as weathering these walls further, and getting the details in place.
    48 points
  21. It has been a while since I did any work on the roundhouse roof so I recently added the smoke hood support wires, 4 to each hood, to the 22 that are inside the shed. The roof is entirely scratchbuilt from brass section and nickel silver wire. The smoke hoods are of two types - 3 older wooden types which are ex Midland/LMS in origin which I scratchbuilt from plasticard and brass angle, and 19 'asbestos/concrete' units which are cast in resin by my Friend Morgan from a 3D printed master. Morgan also produced the etched supports on the lower edge of the units. I have used Markits WD handrail knobs - 4 per unit - as hood anchor points for the nickel silver wire supports. Once finished I sprayed the complete roof with Halfords grey primer.
    47 points
  22. Modellers try to recreate the real thing. But sometimes we don't know how the real thing looked. Then what? These photos show my experiments with what I think was a standard livery for larger GWR goods depots around 1907, following lots of browsing of photos in books, and a brief discussion in this thread (many thanks gentlemen!). The trouble is of course that photos from the period don't have, er, colour - and are full of light and shadow. So it's hard to tell grey from light stone, or light stone from dark stone, or dark stone from chocolate. Above is the same photo again, without the colour. I think it highlights how hard it can be to interpret colours in b/w photos. Also, the photos themselves are just reproductions. Alas, the treachery of images ! You'll be forgiven for thinking that this livery doesn't look very GWR. Neither did I at first. In fact I hated it, and thought it was completely counter-intuitive. I felt that shades of dark grey would be more appropriate. Or at least dark stone which was the preferred livery for ironwork on the GWR's public station buildings. But certainly not this BR look! Still, the photos that I could find suggested that light stone ironwork with a darkisk chocolate base (to hide wear) was in fact common. And that it was often more clean than I would have thought. So I left it for a couple of days, and I began to get used to it. I also realized that it made a lot of sense: In a place like this you'll want things to be as light as possible. Looking at the results so far, I think it may need a little more weathering after all. Maybe I should also align the height of the chocolate base so that it's the same all around (at 4ft heigh?). Plus, the weathering highlights in the chocolate has made it look too grey. Perhaps this livery didn't just apply to goods depots. Looking at photos of other large non-public buildings on the GWR at this time seems to show the same livery (see eg the photos of the Swindon Works Road Wagon workshop in Kelley's GW Road Vehicles p27)... But then again, I fully realize that this livery may turn out to be all wrong. So, any further comments and info would be much appreciated.
    47 points
  23. I’m building a Slaters kit for a GWR bogie clerestory third to diagram C10. The coach is intended for a motley Edwardian stopping train consisting of a variety of carriage styles, as was common on the GWR in the 1900s. But first it will be used in a re-enactment of the 1911 railway strike, and is therefore in the 1908-1912 all brown livery (as yet un-lined). This post summarizes the build. It's a long post but I'm told the kits are due back on the market so perhaps this can help give others an impression of what's involved and avoid my mistakes! What you get. Lots of bits. Wheels weren’t included. The plastic components are crisp and detailed. I did spend some time cleaning away flash. The larger bits of flash are minimal and not a problem, but there are thin strips of flash along the upper edges of the windows which require care. I used Limonene (two coats) to bond the sides, which worked well enough. The Magnetic Clamps are from Smart Models. The partitions were then fitted, followed by the roof. I opened out the notches in the roof for the partitions, so that the roof could be taken on and off during the build. The seats are quickly made and fit nicely in the compartments - not always the case with kit seats! The clerestory structure was quickly built up. The ends and clerestory parts are “handed” with different details at each end. The underframe, solebars and headstocks were then fitted. Etched brass snuck in via the "racking plate" , which was glued in place. I then turned to the bogies. They fold up nicely. One mistake was to put off strengthening the stepboard supports with solder. They are very fragile and will soon break off otherwise. The photo shows the ones I managed to rescue, the rest were replaced with wire later on. The inside frame and rocking mechanism was then made. The principle of the kits - at least those produced until now - is that the wheels run in the inside frame using "inside bearings". Brass wire hold the wheels in place and allow sprung movement. This design has drawn critical comments from people who struggled to get good running. I understand that it will be changed when the kits are re-released. In any case, I lacked the correct axles so decided to go for an alternative approach, using Alan Gibson pinpoint axles in ordinary bearings. Thanks to @Darwinian for the idea. For this approach to work, the pinpoint bearings must fit perfectly into the recessed aperture around the hole in the bogie sides - seen here - and must be of the right depth. Otherwise the sides will splay. Using the right bearings was therefore critical. I tried various types including 2mm Top Hat bearings but these would not accommodate the axles within the bogie frames. Eventually I used these waisted bearings plundered from old Coopercraft kits, as seen above. The ends of the bearings did need some filing so that the axleboxes would fit over them. Filing the inside of the axleboxes also helped. With this simplified approach the inner frame was not strictly required, but I decided to fit it anyway to add strength and hold the rocking mechanism. Are you still awake? Captions welcome. The bogie interiors were gradually becoming inaccessible so I primed them and painted the Mansell wheels. The latter are brownish red as a loose indication of varnished redwood (see good discussion on Western Thunder). A silly mistake cost me dearly. I forgot to fit brake shoes until the wheels were firmly in place. Retrofitting the 16 shoes was a hellish task. As a result the various brake pull yokes didn’t fit properly, so much of that is just indicated with brass wire. Once back on track, the cross stays and scroll irons were fitted. There are useful close-ups and drawings of Dean bogies in Russell's GWR Coaches Part 1 p. 93-95. The scroll irons were then cut to allow the bogie to rotate. Not exactly neat cuts, they were filed later. I do need a proper flush cutter. In order for the bogies to rotate, the frames have to be modified at each end. I hope I got the position of the gas cylinders right. I peered into the murky darkness of prototype photos and Didcot's C10, which suggests it's more or less OK. Next the underframe details were fitted. I shortened the queen posts, as I felt the truss rods ended up too low if fitted as intended. Prototype photos like this one (and the C10 at Didcot) shows them higher up and fairly discrete. Unless truss rods changed over the years? I didn't fancy "trapping" the bogies with the brake pull rods, so just fitted this single rod held by (unprototypical) vertical mounts. The bogie can be slid out underneath it. Bit of a bodge but at least something is there for those rare glimpses. The main buffer components. There’s an option of springing them, though I didn’t use it. The instructions state that the buffers "consisted of a curved oval steel plate bolted onto a round buffer head". The outer plate needs to be lightly curved and then fitted to the buffer heads. I didn't make a good job of this, it looks a bit odd. If I do another one I'll see if ready-made buffers can be obtained instead. Next the stepboard hangers went on. This required patience as the hangers, solebars and stepboards all need modification for the parts to fit, as also indicated in the instructions. The material used for the stepboards somehow managed to be both bendy and brittle at the time, though note that this is a secondhand kit of some age. My adjustable multi-purpose jig a.k.a. “The Piano” saved the day. The lower stepboards were then fitted. I later found that the bogie stepboards had to be shortened approx. 1,5 mm to clear the central stepboard. The hangers for the latter also need modification or they will stick out oddly. It’s striking what a difference stepboards make to the appearance of a coach. From there on it was plain sailing. The roof was detailed using the as lamp tops in the kit, and 0.3mm (0.010") brass wire. Steps fitted at one end, and putty to fill out the corner joins. In 1911 the GWR experimented with Bluetack on buffers in response to complaints about rough riding. The idea was abandoned when a Slip coach destined for Weymouth was found still attached at Penzance. After priming, the interior was painted. I decided to leave the 48 picture frames untouched. Chris: I did try painting them as you suggested but soon realized that it should have been done while the partitions were still on the sprue. The coach sides were brush-painted with my normal method of multiple coats (5 in this case) of much thinned Vallejo acrylics, using a broad flat brush. In the photo a fresh coat is being applied. The coach was painted all-brown as per the 1908-1912 livery. The photos I have show light to dark grey rooves (probably the usual darkening) with no brown beneath the rainstrips. Commode- and door handles were then added, followed by lettering and insignia. The 1908 livery had the garter in the center, and crests either side with "GWR" above. The position of the crests at the outer ends makes for an unbalanced look and takes some getting used to. But that's how it appears in this crop of a 1911 photo of a scene I'll be modelling. Perhaps this extreme position of the crests was in fact a particular feature of the little explored 1908-1912 livery - brakes excepted? Photos of bogie coaches in the all brown livery are rare, but there is a Toplight in Russell 's GWR coaches which also has the crests just before the last passenger door at each end. The photo in Slinn's Great Western Way has the crests further in, but on inspection that coach has guard doors at each end, and so there would not have been room to put the crests further out on that particular coach (crests were kept clear of doors). Of course in 1912 the GWR did move the crests further in, with just a single "GWR" placed above the garter. The 1908 livery saw the introduction of black ends. The hand rails are 0.3 mm wire from Wizard Models, which I found easier to shape than the wire in the kit. Vaccuum pipes and couplings to follow. So far I have never lined my Edwardian coaches, a pragmatic decision in order to get things built and running. In this case it does add to the austere appearance though. Perhaps it's time to try out an Easi-Liner pen. Anyway, that's the current state of play. My original plan was to use this livery for a photo shoot of selected 1911 scenes and then repaint it in pre-1906 livery with cream panels. However I must admit that the sombre look is growing on me. Something to ponder.
    46 points
  24. Here’s a summary of my recent 'experiments' (a.k.a. mucking about) with Modelu and other 4mm figures, and how to store them. I have previously modified figures from the Andrew Stadden, Dart Castings and Preiser ranges. So obviously, the Modelu range had to suffer too! The resin used in these figures cannot be bent (it will break), but clean cuts with a scalpel worked OK. Joins were sanded, fixed with superglue and smoothed out with putty. Not everyone will think it’s worthwhile, but I find it relaxing and you get quick results. This driver was shortened and had his feet repositioned to fit in the cab of my Dean Goods. Another driver had a head fitted from an Andrew Stadden figure, in order to enhance the Edwardian look. That left a headless Andrew Stadden body, so a head was transposed from a Modelu station master who I felt looked a bit too modern for my Edwardian period. I have also been experimenting with painting, especially those difficult eyes. The pro painters do some amazing work in this respect, but as a mere mortal I’m just looking for a simple way to achieve a rough indication of eyes without spending too much time on it. The approach illustrated below has helped. First, two black stripes across the eyes. The stripes can then be narrowed and shortened by painting skin colour carefully around them. I find this much easier than trying to paint the eyes directly. The same technique can be used for the eyebrows and mouth. Eyebrows can be tricky when hats etc get in the way, but do add character. I suppose the next step on the learning curve is to fill in those blank, black eyes. Not sure I'm up for that! Reading up on brushes led to the purchase of these Windsor & Newton Series 7 brushes (not the “miniature” range). The sizes are 00 for faces (right), and 1 for larger details (left). These are bigger sizes than I have normally used. This is based on online advice from pro painters. The theory is that larger brushes give better control and the paint doesn’t dry as quickly on the way to the face. If you look closely at the lady above, you can see that her face isn’t quite smooth, because I let the paint become too dry on the brush. A larger magnifying glass has also helped, although I’m still struggling a bit with the weird hand-eye coordination that this requires. The field for extra magnification is useful and tells me that it may be worth investing in an even stronger glass at some point. Because we now live in a flat I have to pack away the layouts in-between operating sessions. This has led me to consider how to store the figures and other fragile items. If stored too casually the paint easily chips, noses are flattened or accessories break. So, inspired by Chris' storage box for figures, I had a look around the web and came upon “pick and pluck” foam trays. These are available on ebay, or from military modelling manufacturers like Feldherr. After plucking out the foam as desired, a base layer is added, and the tray is ready to use. The foam trays come in different thicknesses, this is 15 mm (0.6 inch) plus a base layer: For my horse drawn wagons I used 30 mm (1.2 inches). In retrospect it would have been better to go for something even deeper so the wagons could be placed upright. The trays can be stacked… …and fitted in an appropriate box. This is just a shoebox. I added an extra protective layer of foam on the top. In order to handle the figures, I fitted a bit of felt to a pair of old tweezers. Having made the trays you end up with a lot of foam cubes that are supposed to be discarded. This seemed wasteful so I decided to use the cubes for making additional storage boxes for my “second-tier” stuff. They have a sticky underside so it’s very straightforward. The box is a takeaway food container. Ever since Northroader pointed out the usefulness of takeaway boxes we have been eating a lot of Thai food! Some of my figures are fitted with wire in order to fix them on the layout, which takes up a lot of space in the “pick and pluck” boxes. So these are stuck into a bit of good quality dense foamboard... ...and fitted in yet another takeaway box (Phat Kee Mao, if I remember correctly!). There is room for a lot of figures this way... ... and the boxes stack up nicely. That's it for now, I'm off to run some trains!
    46 points
  25. Yesterday I went to get some things in the attic of the old apartment block where we now live. Each flat has a tiny storage room, and as I entered the attic I noticed that one door was ajar. Feeling curious, I had a look inside. The room was empty, but someone had left an old filing cabinet in the corner. Imagine my surprise when, inside the cabinet, I found a number of files marked “Farthing”. With trembling hands I opened the first file, and… Pleased to meet you Ladies and Gentlemen! I am Pickle S. Finkerbury, autodidact railway historian and time traveler. My works include “A Complete and Exhausting Survey of Farthing Station” and “Abandoned Occupational Crossings of Wiltshire, Vol. 1-3”. My specialty, however, is to document the more, shall we say, unusual aspects of everyday railway operation. I have a certain knack for being in the right place at the right time, and have collected a number of files with previously unpublished information. Today I should like to share an interesting finding that I came across in the bay platform at Farthing station, one fine day in the summer of 1907. The branch passenger train from Overburne was just arriving, exactly on time. The train pulled into the bay platform… …and came to a halt at the stops, where Station Master A. Woodcourt was waiting. It was then that I overheard a most interesting conversation between the Station Master and the newly arrived loco crew. - 'Gentlemen, can I have a word?' - 'Yes, Sir?' - 'I’ve been reading in the papers about all these dogs that have been disappearing.' - 'Dogs, Sir?' - 'Yes, it seems a lot of people have lost their dogs. The police are without a clue, but I’ve noticed….' - 'Noticed, Sir?' - 'I’ve noticed that the missing dogs all came from houses situated along the Overbourne line. You work that route together a lot. And it got me thinking…' - 'Thinking, Sir?' - 'The two of you, you’re our best men on the footplate. Very eager, aren’t you, about optimising performance. Always experimenting with the firing and the fuel.' - 'Fuel, Sir?' - 'All right Perkins, that’s enough! I’m not an idiot. We’ll keep this to ourselves, but there will be no more firing with people's pets! It was bad enough with the cats last year. We certainly want a good fuel economy, but not at the expense of our four-legged friends. Understood? After a long silence both men gave an almost imperceptible nod, and got back to work on the footplate. They set the train back… …did the run round… …and eventually pulled away with the train. As we watched them go, I heard the Station Master reminding himself to inspect the ash pit that evening. I shudder to think what he found. So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. You are now privy to one of the best kept trade secrets of Great Western footplate men. And you know why GWR engines had such a lovely bark. Till next time!
    46 points
  26. The polystyrene sheet was coated in textured sealing paint, which I'd pigmented with some brown acrylic paint. Once dry this formed a hard, flexible surface that I could use as a base for scenic treatment. Point rodding stools from MSE https://www.wizardmodels.ltd/shop/signals/ls05/ were fitted to lengths of wooden sleepers and then glued in position alongside the trackwork. Ballasting was done using Woodland Scenics ballast using exactly the same method that I used on the main layout. The backscene was then painted using white emulsion as a base coat for the "Sky" The all important beverage shelf was painted using a chocolate coloured emulsion paint to match the rest of the layout's facia panel. Ballasting, Point Rodding stools and Catch Point The "sky" was then painted a pale blue colour using acrylic paints. The rear of the curved backscene on the main layout was "ridged" to allow it to bend and looked a bit unsightly. To make it more aesthetically pleasing I covered it in some thin card and then painted it brown. Sky The ground contours were then coated in a layer of PVA glue and Green Scene https://www.green-scenes.co.uk/ static grass fibres were applied using my "Flockit" static grass applicator. Static Grass The static grass was then detailed with rubberised horse hair, postiche hair along with various flocks and scatters from the Greenscene range, all held in place with an aerosol of matt acrylic varnish. Scenic detailing The point rodding was added using 0.7 mm brass wire for the majority of the runs, however I used plastic rod where it crosses under the track to avoid electrical shorting! This was then painted in my version of "Torbay Red" using enamel paints. Point Rodding I'm really pleased with the extra depth that this new board has added to the layout when viewing it along its length. I've had to be careful in the past when taking photos because the fiddleyard was very conspicuous and spoiled any illusion of reality. Here are a few pictures taken along the length of the layout to illustrate the view under the bridge. Under the bridge! I'll finish this edition of the blog with a picture of the all important beverage shelf in action, I hope my fellow operator at exhibitions approves of our new "exhibitors mugs" Mug shot Until next time Best wishes Dave
    45 points
  27. This is Tim, the Domestic Overlord. Paul died last Wednesday. I wasn't in the right frame of mind to come on and post this before. We were together for a long time, and I know just how much he loved modelling and loved being able to get things just as he wanted them. I'd like this blog to stay up here if that's okay by the administrators.
    45 points
  28. I now have four small layouts in the Farthing series, each of which can be operated on my desk or the dining table. That should satisfy my daily operating needs for a while, allowing me to take on Farthing’s main station building and platforms. For this I’m returning to the Newbury theme. When Newbury station was rebuilt during 1908-1910 four lines were laid, with loop lines along the Up and Down platforms and through lines in the center. This resulted in the above arrangement. Source: Britain from Above. As we already know, Farthing’s history and layout as a junction station was very similar to Newbury. So I’ve grabbed this part of the Newbury trackplan and adapted it for Farthing. The two remaining bays are left out for now, but may follow later in one form or another. As usual it’s very simple. We live in a small flat and I don’t have a layout room, so I’ll join up four modules on the dining table. The modules are stored in an attic room so need to be short and narrow. We have two light work-desks which can be arranged at each end for 150 cm cassettes to slide on. It won’t be practical for my daily running sessions, this is for special occasions. Though limited, the plan is not completely without operational scope, as listed here. The run isn’t that long but I'd rather do something than nothing. If circumstances allow, future modules can add more length. One module – the Branch Bay – was the first of the Farthing layouts and so is already done. It just needs the fascia removed, allowing another module to be fitted in front. I’ll still be able to operate it separately during my daily sessions. I’ve now begun the second module. It will be a scenic board, featuring Farthing’s main station building, viewable from both sides. As simple as it gets. Except that I have to build this. The station building will be a model of the main Up side building at Newbury. It is of course still there and can be seen in Google Streetview. Handy when you live across the North Sea during a pandemic. The architectural style at Newbury was not unique. This is Westbury, where the style appears to have originated when Westbury station was rebuilt in 1899 – indeed Adrian Vaughan calls it the “Westbury style” in his book on GWR architecture. Source: Wikipedia Commons. A distinctive feature of the style was the shape and decoration of the limestone lintels above rounded windows. The style was also employed on some other GWR stations in the early 1900s, although without the gables. There were several on the GWR/GCR New Line. This is Bicester North, built 1910. Source: Chiltern Railways on Pinterest. I spotted a simpler variant in photos of Tyseley, built 1906. Source: Wikipedia Commons. Back at Newbury, the Upside building is a long structure, as seen here on Google Earth using the handy measuring tool. In 4mm scale it comes out at just under 84 cms. The sensible approach would be to do a compressed version. But I need a challenge, so will do the whole thing. Here’s a GWR outline drawing of Newbury, with only the wording changed to match Farthing. It’s longer than some of my existing layouts! I’ll build the structure in three main parts, joined by magnets. I anticipate compromises along the way, so expect pragmatism. Work has begun. I’m tracing the GWR outline drawing in Inkscape in preparation for cutting out brick sheets on my Silhouette Cutter. The GWR drawing is rather rough, but OK for my purposes and I have historical and contemporary photos to work from. I'm still to decide whether I'll also build the footbridge, seen above. A big task, but tempting. Especially because it’s gone now, removed in 2018 for OLE installation. Slowly, the old world disappears. But modellers are sorcerers, we can bring things back.
    44 points
  29. I hesitate to call this 'Bricklayers Arms Stables' because that's not what they are. However, they are the stables for Bricklayers Arms which is confusing I know but I'll explain. Whilst Bricklayers Arms station building, goods shed, carriage and loco sheds and coke depot are recorded (some photographically, others as outline drawings) the original 1844 stable block is not. There appears to be no record at all of its appearance. Therefore I have chosen to model the 1856 stables at Camden (because I like them) and position them in a relatively useful position behind the cattle yard to form an interesting backdrop to what would otherwise be a rather dull open space. Much of these stables still exist and form part of the famous stables market which makes it easier to model as reference can be easily made to the buildings. I am indebted to a good friend who braved the elements on a freezing February day just before Lockdown to take some invaluable photographs for me. Since there were several identical 'bays' to produce I chose to model one and use it as a master to cast duplicates in resin and stitch them all together to form the full block. The cart lodge and office at the eastern end was constructed in the same way but not used as a master as only one was required. Cutting the masters from embossed styrene sheet. Completed masters. Rubber mould with resin casting. The kit of resin castings. Bit of a jump but this is the assembled resin castings primed and in the process of having roof slates applied, (card strips on double sided sticky tape). Another jump to the finished article. I really am rubbish at taking photos as I go! The rat catcher calls... Arty black and white shot to finish.
    44 points
  30. Farthing, 1904. With a rising sense of panic, Goods Porter E. Sparkler stared at the pigeon baskets he had just knocked over. A lid had opened, and the pigeons were escaping. The pigeons soon scattered around the goods yard. They were white show pigeons, en route to a prestigious event at the London Philoperisteron Society. One of the pigeons flew into the goods depot. At first it flew aimlessly about... ...then the clouds parted, the depot filled with light and the pigeon seemed suddenly to know where it was going. It settled on a roof truss, and immediately relieved itself of a huge dropping… …which fell right into the paperwork….. …of Goods Checker J. Vemmick. As he hurried to restore his notes, Vemmick unknowingly made a mistake: He recorded a crate as loaded, although in fact it was not. As a result the crate was left behind, and despite the best intentions of the GWR goods handling system…. …the crate ended up in a forgotten corner of the depot, where it remained lost… …for 58 years. The crate was finally found in 1962, when BR pulled down the old goods depot. A scrupulous clerk decided to forward the crate to its original destination. With passing interest, he noted that it was addressed to the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. After a circuitous route and numerous security checks, the crate eventually landed on the desk of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, who at that time was in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Upon opening the crate, Khrushchev found 15 bottles of Welsh wine labelled “Castell Coch, 1904”. The bottles were accompanied by a card, hardly decipherable after all those years. It said: "From the Marquess of Bute to Tsar Nicholas II, with compliments". "Well!" thought Kruschchev, "the Tsar is long gone, but that wine looks tempting!" And so he shared a glass with his staff. They stood there tasting it, then burst out laughing: The wine was terrible! Quite simply horrific! Khruschev immediately relaxed: If this lousy wine was all the West had to show, what was there to fear? The West would destroy itself, this awful British wine proved it! He might as well end this whole Cuba crisis thing. He sat down and drafted a letter to Kennedy. The rest is history. The Cuban missile crisis was over, and the two Presidents congratulated each other on their cool heads and statesmanship: They had spared the world an all-out war. But on that morning in 1904, Goods Porter E. Sparkler knew nothing of all this. He just stood there among the escaping pigeons, cursing his clumsiness. "Why", he thought, "can I never do anything right?" He was wrong of course, he had saved the world, but no one knew. No one except maybe a certain white pigeon. For many years afterwards it could be seen in the goods depot, flying at night, happy to have escaped.
    44 points
  31. Due to actions by the RMWeb team, who decided to support the toxicity of @woodenhead and "punish" me by deleting all the images I've uploaded, this content has been redacted.
    43 points
  32. I wanted some Private Owners for Farthing, so have built a couple of Powsides kits, i.e. painted and pre-lettered Slaters kits. I opted for two Gloucester designs to RCH 1887 specifications, one a 5-plank side-door wagon, the other a 7-plank side- and end-door job. I like the overall appearance, although TBH the small lettering isn’t quite up to current standards. Perhaps I was unlucky, they look fine on the website. The kits have blank interior sides, so the moulding pips were filed away and planking was indicated with a scriber. The instructions recommend joining all sides first, then mounting the floor inside. I struggled a bit with this, the floor wasn’t a perfect fit and the sides were lightly curved. Some dismantling and remedial work ensued, but I got there in the end. I used waisted pin-point bearings from MJT. Split spoke wheels on one wagon, and plain spokes for the other one because I ran out. Did some of these wagons eventually receive plain spoke wheels? Otherwise I’ll swop the erroneous set later. Some of the small lettering was a bit damaged or missing as the kits came. I touched it up as best I could. Some bits I simply painted over. I’d rather have absent lettering than odd lettering. The built-up wagons. Having admired Dave’s lovely builds of the 7mm versions of these kits, I decided to indicate the interior ironwork as he has done. For this I simply used strips of Evergreen (painted darker after this shot). Good interior photos of these wagons are rare, so drawing on discussion by Stephen and other helpful RMwebbers I drew up the above sketch to guide my detailing of the interior. Please note that this is my own rough and ready rendering. There are various unknowns and no one has “signed off” on this sketch. Anyone interested should consult Stephen’s drawing and info here. Interior ironwork in place. The kit does include a hinge for the end door. On some wagon types this was positioned above the top plank, but in this case I fitted it just behind the top plank, based on this discussion. Archer’s rivet transfers at the fixed ends. Stephen pointed out the “big nuts” that appear on the ends of many Gloucester wagons, extending from the diagonal irons inside. Looking at photos they seem to have been present on both 5-, 6- and 7-planks as seen here left to right (obviously only at fixed ends). The nuts don’t feature in the kit, so I added them. On the 7-planker I drilled holes and stuck in bits of brass. This proved tricky as it’s just by the corner joins, so on the 5-planker I Mek-Pak’ed on bits of plastic rod instead, as seen above. As usual: Liquid Gravity and 3mm Sprat & Winkles. I'm always amazed how much difference weight makes to the "feel" of a wagon. The couplings too: Ugly they may be, but they turn it into a working vehicle. Weathering the interior with pigments. The “Sinai Dust” seen here is courtesy of the late Mick Bonwick. Thank you, Mick. The Ayres wagon. Phil Parker uses a fibre glass brush to fade the lettering on printed RTR wagons. But these are transfers, so would tear (I did try). Instead I lightly dry-brushed base colour over the lettering. Helps a bit, but not quite as effective. C&G Ayres still exist as a well-known Reading removal company and former GWR cartage agent. This (very) close crop shows one of their removal containers at Reading ca. 1905. But a search of the British Newspaper Archive showed that C&G Ayres were also at one time coal traders [Source: Reading Mercury Oxford Gazette March 9, 1918]. So I need to decide whether to designate the Ayres wagon for coal or furniture. I wonder if this explains the difference between the red Powsides livery and the green wagon livery that I normally associate the company with. The Weedon wagon. You can just make out the nuts on the ends, but they aren't really noticeable. The effort would arguably have been better spent detailing the brake gear! I had assumed the Weedon Brothers were mainly coal and coke merchants, but again newspapers and directories of the time offered further info. [Source: Kelly's Directory of Berks, Bucks & Oxon, 1911]. It seems that manure was also a key aspect of their business. The company features on the right in this directory clipping - amongst lime burners, loan offices, lunatic asylums and other essentials of progress! Though based at Goring, the Weedon Brothers had stores in a number of places, as illustrated in the above 1889 advert. I’m inclined to designate the wagon for manure rather than coal. I wonder what that would mean for the weathering? Richard's latest book on Wiltshire Private Owners is firmly on my wishlist. Anyway, the wagons are now running at Farthing. Here's No. 1897 knocking them about in the sidings behind the stables. Overall I've enjoyed the build. May have a go at applying my own transfers next time. It's just a couple of plastic wagons of course, but I learnt a lot along the way. That's one of the great things about modelling, every build is an entry point to railway history. Thanks to everyone for the help.
    43 points
  33. I’m building an 1854 Pannier Tank for Farthing in ca. 1919 condition, using a modified Hornby 2721 body, a Bachmann 57xx chassis and various parts from SEF and Brassmasters. Pure it is not. The project has been described on occasion in my workbench thread, but in a fragmented manner. This post summarizes progress to date. Prepare for many close-ups of green plastic Background It's a bit of a nostalgia project. I wanted to do something with the old Hornby 2721, a model I've had a liking for since first seeing it in the magical Hornby 1980 catalogue at the tender age of 11. Note the "X", it was high on my wish list back then. When I finally got one several decades later the running was a disappointment. So it went to sleep in The Big Box of Lost Souls, until I decided to bring it back to life. The original plan was to make a backdated 2721, but along the way I decided to do the outwardly very similar 1854 PT class instead. The components I'm using match an 1854 PT a bit better, including the plain Bachmann conrods and the absence of visible springs behind the Hornby splashers (a feature of the 2721s). The 1854s were also a bit more widely dispersed during the period in question. Above, I have plotted the 1921 allocations of the 1854s and 2721s into Google Maps. See details below this post. So the goal is a pragmatic 1854 PT in ca. 1919 condition, a period I have a growing interest in. Ironically I have yet to find a 1919 photo of an 1854 PT. Instead I'm extrapolating from early 1920s photos (including a couple on the gwr.org.uk pannier page), and drawings in the Finney/Brassmasters kit instructions and Russell's "Pictorial Record of Great Western Engines" Vol 1. Thanks to Brassmasters for making their instructions freely available, I try to repay by purchasing fittings from them. The RCTS "Locomotives of the GWR" part 5 is a key reference. Jim's book "An Introduction to Great Western Locomotive Development" has also been useful. Chassis and body I’m using a Bachmann 57xx/8750 chassis for the project. Various chassis versions exist, including 32-200 (left) and 31-900 (right). I’m using the former, which is shorter and lower. Closer look at the chassis. The weight block has been removed to test the fit. Later it went back on. The Bachmann chassis and Hornby body. There are various well-known issues with the Hornby 2721. Hornby used a Jinty chassis, and so the splashers don’t line up with the more correctly dimensioned Bachmann chassis. The frames and bunker are also too long, and there’s no daylight under the boiler. The chimney is appealing, but wrong shape. I disassembled the body and was surprised to see that the tank/boiler top is a separate component, well disguised under the handrail. Butchery The first job was to get some light under the boiler/panniers. I used a scalpel, scoring repeatedly along the edges of the moulded sides with a used blade, then eventually cutting through with the tip of a sharp new blade. And there was light. Then the interior was cut, carved and hacked about until the chassis was a good fit along the sides and ends. The photo is early on in the process, a good deal of material was removed. The chassis and modified body. There’s ample room for the Bachmann weight block, so that was re-fitted. The backhead was cut away to allow room for the gears. The motor does protrude a bit into the cab, but will disappear behind a new backhead. From the side. Footplate The Hornby body is too long for both an 1854 and a 2721. This is in fact the 2721 drawing from when that was the aim, but the principle is the same for the 1854. So I shortened the footplate by about 2,5 mm at each end, doing cut-and-shut. Splashers The center splashers, being out of line, were then attacked along with the toolbox. The incorrectly positioned toolboxes, half-relief injectors, and very low sandboxes were also chopped off. I considered scratch building the replacement splashers as per my Dean Goods rebuild, but wasn’t in the mood. So I dug out a broken old Finecast 1854 that came with an ebay job lot. The Finecast splashers were cut off, cleaned up and fitted to the Hornby footplate. There are no rear splashers on the Hornby body, so these were also fitted. Will fit bands to the front splasher later. Bunker and Backhead For the bunker I again turned to the old Finecast 1854… …and cleaned up the parts as best I could. The 1854s and 2721s had the same frame and cab width, so in theory the 1854 bunker should be a direct match, but it was too narrow. I thought the Hornby body must be wrong, but checking the measurements again showed that the Finecast bunker isn’t as wide as it should be. Food for thought! Anyway, I rebuilt the bunker with styrene panels. Later, plated coal rails were fitted. The original Hornby weight block was filed to suit. Along with the weight block on the Bachmann chassis, the loco now runs quite nicely. The worm and gears were concealed using an old Bachmann backhead, moved slightly back and with a raised section of cab floor beneath it. I’ve done this before, once the crew are fitted I don't notice it. Beneath the tanks The Hornby balance pipe is a blob one each side of the motor block, so I made some new blobs. New firebox sides and rear tank supports (adapted to allow room for the injectors) were also made. Drawings of 1854 and 2721 PTs show the balance pipe fitted just behind the front splasher, but photos suggest that they were soon relocated to a position nearer the center of the tanks. So that’s what I have done. Removal of the “skirts” on the Hornby body exposes the Bachmann motor and lets too much light in. Strips of brass sheet were curved, painted and fitted each side to hide the motor. Testing for shorts showed no problems. Fittings The Hornby tank top isn’t that bad, but the chimney (odd shape), tank fillers (too small) and grab rails (moulded lump) had to go. I'm wondering what the small pipes/cables running along the top are for, and when they were fitted. The chimney was sawn off, and the tank fillers removed (vertical slices in both directions, followed by a parallel cut along the bottom). The bluetack is for protecting details. Finney/Brassmasters chimney from the 1854/2721 kit, the rest is from Alan Gibson. Dry fit of the Finney chimney and tank fillers. The safety valve cover is so far an RTR item, can’t seem to find the appropriate shape in brass. I'm confused about the chimney position, forward or center on smokebox? I'm aiming for a pre-superheated version, but despite good photos on gwr.org.uk, I can't work out what it implies in my case. Tank vents from bits of filed styrene, seen here with the Alan Gibson tank fillers. Smokebox The front also needed work. As it comes, the Hornby body has a Churchward pressed steel front. I rather like it. But pre-1920 tank smokebox fronts tended to be plain, so it was all sanded away. Difficult, and it shows. A ring was added to the smokebox door, not quite the dished look but better than nothing. Alan Gibson door darts fitted, and new steps from scrap bits of brass. Tank and cab sides Pannier tanks fitted before ca. 1917 were flush-riveted. After that they were snap head rivetted (1917-1924) and then had welded seams (after 1924). I decided that my loco was fitted with panniers before 1917, and therefore sanded away the Hornby rivets. That took the shine off her! The lower cabsides are too narrow on the Hornby body, so these have been extended. This photo also shows the plated coal rails on the bunker (which is still loose). After a hiatus the project is now on the move again. I'm making a new cab roof and have started fitting details. More on that later. Thanks to all who helped with info and advice.
    43 points
  34. I usually take pictures of the layout using my iPad, but thought I'd have a go using a compact camera for a change. I've had a Panasonic Lumix https://www.panasonic.com/uk/support/discontinued-products/cameras-camcorders/dmc-tz60eb.html for a few years now, that I use on motorcycle trips and for general photography. Although generally happy with the results that I get from it, the smallest f stop that it will go down too is F8 and I thought this would cause problems with depth of field on models. The pictures were taken using a tripod, with the camera set on F8 for an exposure of about half a second. I found some free software online https://www.nchsoftware.com/photoeditor/download-now.html which has a "sharpen focus" setting which I've been playing with, I've also used the software to make the image size suitable for posting. I hope you enjoy the pics! Waiting for the morning train Arrival of Metro class number 1500 with the branch set Number 1500 running round the branch passenger Number 1500 ready to return back up the branch 517 class number 539 arriving in Sherton Abbas Dean Goods number 2467 propelling some cattle wagons into the back siding Dropping off some cattle wagons by the cattle dock Assembling the morning goods Ready for departure! Until next time........ Best wishes Dave
    43 points
  35. Having recently acquired a discarded dandy horse from a house clearance off the Old Kent Road, Jean Floret de Cauliflower is quite the man about town. At least, his own frisky imagination tells him so. However, this past week he has consistently upset every innocent pedestrian and skittish filly in Bermondsey. Perhaps it is just as well that his wreckless behaviour may soon be brought to a dramatic finale. The work of our tiny but destructive foe Anobium Punctatum - the common furniture beetle - has gone entirely unnoticed by Jean. The relentless efforts of this miniature pest will surely result in his wooden steed disintegrating in a most undignified manner forcing a swift conclusion to his irksome escapades. Rider and Draisienne made from scratch in 4mm scale over three evenings this week
    42 points
  36. I’ve built a new ‘one-size-fits-all’ traverser for my Farthing layouts. My latest layout - The Stables - has two levels, so I needed a traverser which could accommodate that. After I had proposed various harebrained schemes, Stu suggested the principle that I have sketched above. This was clearly the way to go. But how? After mulling it over I looked at my old traverser (above) and realised that I could kill two birds with one stone. I prefer to have just one traverser for all my layouts, and the old one has served this purpose well. I called the old traverser “The Bumblebee” because it defied all sorts of basic engineering principles – yet still worked. The old Bumblebee was nevertheless beginning to show signs of wear and tear, so I decided to build a new one that could serve all of my layouts, including the new two-level one. For this version I used wood instead of foamboard. With woodwork I just sort of bumble along, so the 'Bumblebee' moniker is also appropriate for Mk2. On Mk1 I used tubes to guide the traverser. It worked but was noisy, which led to certain domestic tensions when my wife wanted to watch TV and I wanted to shunt! So I found these “linear sliding guides” on ebay instead. While not as silent as I had hoped (woe is me!) they do slide nicely. The angle braces are from various strata of my “can’t be bothered to sort all this” drawer. Masonite from a broken Ikea frame. Adjustable legs from a Danish timber merchant. I have now standardized on them for my layouts. The rubber pads are a heavy duty type from 3M, essential as they prevent the legs from sliding on the tabletop. The cassette was re-used from Mk1. One end of it serves my three single-level layouts (track 1-5). The other end serves the new two- level layout (track 6). In order to serve all the layouts, I had to come up with a simple way of shifting between regular single-level operation on my existing layouts, and two-level operation on the new layout. To accommodate this, I made the cassette hinged. When shifting to two-level mode, it is tipped to one side, a strip of cork is placed on the wooden blocks, and the cassette is tipped back in place. The adjustable legs are then raised on one side of the traverser only. Looks more complicated than it is! With this, Stu’s original principle has been achieved: Rising gradient, level track. For operation, traverser and layout are simply pushed together. The 3M rubber pads prevent any sliding. The adjustable legs make vertical alignment easy. At the bottom level, a simple stop block is used to ensure that the cassette stops in the right place. This can be rotated down when the traverser is used on my other layouts. At the upper level, the traverser is stopped automatically as it reaches its outer limit. To avoid the cassette sliding down from this position, I have tentatively fitted some slightly tapered wooden blocks beneath the cassette deck. When they engage the angle braces there is a slight resistance, enough to hold the cassette in place. I'm wondering whether this particular solution will last, but let's see. I have tested the traverser on all the four Farthing layouts, and so far I’m pleased with the operation. Here it is working the Down Bay on the (extendable) dining table. The stop block is a recycled kitchen sponge, which squeezes into place. As you can see I am not one to worry about scenic breaks! With the traverser done I can now run trains on the new layout . Below is a 1-minute video to celebrate.
    42 points
  37. Despite the covid-19 lockdown, modelling output has slowed this month. However, I have been slowly working on the station building and feel like the to-do list is getting shorter. Canopies have been fixed in place, the south side one is removable in case I can’t get it into its travelling case. Rain water pipes have been added from the rather nice Modelu range and this weekend’s job has been to make the roof trussing. I made a cradle from foam so I could invert the roof and work on it separately. Main spars were cyanoed into the rafters and various cross rods and struts soldered on based on the photos I have. Once complete they were painted with a mixture of grey and gunmetal Vallejo acrylic. The photos show the effect I wanted to achieve.
    42 points
  38. These past weeks I have had some pleasant early morning modelling sessions, building a GWR covered float for my early 1900s setting. The model was built using two drawings in Great Western Horse Power by Janet Russel (figs 180 and 182) and a photo in Great Western Way p.163 (original edition). I was a bit slow to discover that there are variations between the drawings and the photo. The prototype is not in the GWR diagram book for horse-drawn carriages, but is arguably a variant of the E5 diagram (see GWR Goods Cartage Vol 1 by Tony Atkins). I say 'scratchbuilt', but the wheels are from an Arch Laser kit for another wagon (see discussion here). They conveniently represent the correct 4'6" diameter 14 spoke pattern used by the GWR in earlier days. Although just a lowly float, the prototype had a certain Victorian elegance in the design. Like all floats, they had cranked axels to allow for a low floor and thereby easier loading of goods. The hoop sticks for the tilt were formed over a jig, stuck on with duct tape and dunked in boiling water. The drawings show the tilt with vertical sides and a curved top. The wagon in the reference photo suggests a rounder shape. I initially concluded that this was an optical illusion. In retrospect I am not so sure. The shafts were also nicked from the Arch Laser kit. They are flat as they come, but on my prototype they have a curve so I rolled them with a round scalpel, and modifed them to allow proper fixing to the body. The shafts had extended mounting plates/irons along the side of the wagon. Mine are a bit over scale. The springs were cut on my Silhouette. A rough outline was enough as the wheels obscure the details. The brake design seems to have varied on these vehicles. The reference photo shows a somewhat crude external design, operated by a lever from the front, so I imitated this. For the painting, I followed Tony Atkins who in GWR Goods Cartage Vol 1 states: "According to the Railway Magazine, at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries GW horse lorries for delivering goods had red wheels, shafts and framing, while horse-drawn vans used for collecting and delivering passenger train parcels were painted chocolate all over [...] In 1909 horse vans were also given the same red shafts and wheels as lorries." Although floats sometimes doubled as parcels vans at rural stations, they were first and foremost intended for goods cartage, so I opted for red wheels, springs and shafts for my early 1900s period. As an aside, I'm never entirely confident about livery references in the Railway Magazine of the 1900s, but that is another story. Then along came Charlie, new to the GWR stables. Young and hopeful, he dreamt of a career in tap dancing and an endless supply of Cheese & Cucumber sandwiches. We quickly put an end to that! Here he is being modified with extra harness. I modelled the harness so that it loosely indicates the method used to pull fixed-shaft wagons, while also allowing the wagon to rest on the back of the now disillusioned Charlie. This solved the problem of balancing a one-axle vehicle. The tilt was made from plain paper, with the lettering copied from the reference photo. Period photos show that tilts of this type were very taut, with the impression of the hoop sticks sometimes showing through. To indicate this I wetted the paper and formed it around the hoop sticks. The tarp was then varnished several times, and holes punched in the sides to emulate how it was fixed in place. I wish I had used the number of a wagon that hadn't been photographed, as that would have solved the problem of inconsistencies between the drawings and the reference photo! The reference photo shows two thin and rather unsightly boards along the sides of the tilt, presumably to pin it down further and stabilise it. I made them from masking tape. The lettering in the reference photo shows a style used during the 1890s (sometimes with, sometimes without the "Co."). I pieced it together from a couple of photos using this style. The tilt had separate protective tarps fitted on the inside of the hoops at the front and rear. Again, these were simply made from paper. Photos suggest that in daily practice the rear "flap" on horsedrawn vehicles was often secured in half-open or fully open position. Lastly the wheels hubs were fitted, made from a styrene tube and filled with putty. So that's it. I won’t be fitting reins at this point, as I have to set up my layouts every time I want to run trains, so reins are just not practical. In this view you can see that the wheels are Lasercut, but it's OK from normal viewing distance. There are photos of fixed-shaft vehicles resting like this in GWR yards. Smaller carts without a tilt were sometimes, er, tilted the other way. By and large, Charlie appears to have accepted his fate. Though sometimes, out of the corner of my eye, I can see him doing a secret little tap dance. Lastly a view of the horsedrawn GWR fleet at Farthing as it currently appears. So much for corporate identity!
    42 points
  39. I've returned to the cobbles for the last couple of weeks and tonight, I finally finished the last section of the planned cobbled area. Here are a few photos taken this evening, most (but not all), to show the cobbling (or granite setts). The effect I'm aiming for is that the larger vehicle turning/parking area will have been tarmacked sometime after the war, but done 'on the cheap', and is now beginning to wear off, so the edge where the cobbles meet the tarmac is not regular and even, as some sections have broken or worn away, where vehicles have been moving, and there are also a couple of patches in the tarmac area itself, where the thin tarmac layer has worn away, revealing the cobbles beneath. The overall area that is now cobbled. This was the final end to be completed, the cobbled area to the right of the siding: The second area where the tarmac has worn or broken away, revealing the old cobbles beneath: The Ruston from the chocolate factory has ventured some way from the factory gates to pose here: The next part of the project will probably be to do a bit of work on this rather super new Skaledale Midland Railway water tower:
    42 points
  40. Over the last few weeks, I've been doing a little cobbling now and then. It's been quite relaxing in fact, especially after a busy day at work dealing with the aftermath of the recent flooding on the railway. Now I've got to the stage where the main areas for cobbling are now complete, namely the section between the goods shed and the nearest running rail of the in-laid siding, plus the 'four foot' area of the siding itself: The remaining work is to scribe three rows of cobbles parallel with the opposite running rail, to match the opposite side, and then scribe cobbles for an inch or so in the Tetrion filler, to represent an area that used to be cobbled but is now covered with tarmac. Some cobbles will show through here and there, where the tarmac has worn away, something like what the red lines represent: And now, a few more gratuitious photos of the area cobbled thus far (or, more correctly, the area with scribed granite setts...): There are one or two areas around the base of the goods shed where I couldn't quite get the Tetrion to close right up to, so these will be disguised by some sacrificial scenic dust or greenery.
    42 points
  41. Something a bit different a heavy fighter from the early years of WW2 - fantastic concept, let down with crap engines, if only they'd fitted it with Merlin's. Over a year in the making (though technically only took a week to build). Box Art Instructions & Colour Call out. What's in the Box. The Build part 1.. It went together well, just other projects and commissions got in the way. Roll on a year - the build part two (and different workbenches). White Tac Sausage time.. Now Whirlwinds were quite allergic to their paint, so I've tried to recreate it. The final reveal.. TTFN
    41 points
  42. This little project was described some time ago in my workbench thread. A couple of recent discussions suggest that the modifications involved may be of interest to others. I don't seem to have posted the usual build summary in this blog, so here it is. The Coopercraft GWR 4 Plank Open kit (4mm scale) has an error which means that if you build it as designed you end up with 4 planks on the outside and 3 on the inside, as seen here. So, following good advice (thanks Nick) I cut along the red line indicated above, in order to remove most of the big fat lip on top of the solebar. This in itself lowers the floor by 1.5 mms. The floor provided in the kit is 1mm thick, so I decided to gain another 0.5 mm of internal depth by replacing it with a 0.5mm styrene floor. I suppose this is on the limits of how thin a floor should be, but with bracing underneath it all seems solid enough. There are two pips on the inside of each wagon end (not shown), these had to be removed to fit the new floor. The gaps at the end of the solebars were fixed with filler. The lowered floor. Not perfect, but at least the bottom plank is now visible. Most of my wagons have lever brakes but it's time I introduced some DC1 brakes too. So I splashed out on this Bill Bedford etch. I worked with available drawings and pictures in the GWR wagon book by Atkins, Beard & Tourret. I think I used the wrong link component below the swan neck lever, lesson learnt for the next one. Still, the exercise has helped me understand better how these brakes worked. Sometimes the absence of instructions can be a learning experience! The low number belies that No. 781 was built in 1902 as part of Lot 374, thus sporting DC1 brake gear from the outset. I debated whether to add a sheet rail. Some of the 4-plankers were certainly fitted with these later on, and the O5 diagram in Atkins Beard & Tourret features a sheet rail - but I have a suspicion that the diagram stems from 1905 when the wagon index was drawn up. On page 54 of the same book is a picture of a 4-planker showing off the new DC1 brake gear in 1903. It does not feature a sheet rail, and is in the same condition as No. 781. The wagon is in GWR wagon red (I follow the 1904 theory). I chose a slightly redder shade than normal to suggest that it is fairly recently painted.
    40 points
  43. Hello again 2 posts in as many weeks, this is unprecedented! I seem to be on a bit of a roll with the layout right now, I dont know why and it is a bit weird but I am not going to stop myself if its working. Weekends are good, they mean I have an opportunity to spend a little more time on things I enjoy doing and although the weather has been a pain I have still managed to get a few bits done... While the station board is out it seemed to make sense and carry on working on it, the area around the station building needed the most attention. The about photo shows the beginnings of some ground cover where I glue down a covering of woodland scenics blended turf, I have found this as a good base to subsequent coverings. This shows one of the gated entrances to the platform. The gates are etched from the scale link GWR spearpoint fencing etch. The static grass has just been applied. The stationmasters garden and vegetable plot is also comming together now, he now even has his own garden shed. An overall view of the station area how it looks now. Finally,the passengers now have two warnings to be on the lookout for trains. Julia
    40 points
  44. A weighbridge has appeared at Farthing. It began as a kit, but in the end much of it was scratchbuilt. Here's a summary of the build. This was the point of departure, a lasercut kit from Rail Model. A little research showed that it is based on the prototype at Leckhampton, a drawing of which appears in the EricPlans volume on GWR and LMS structures. The kit is nicely cut, but I noticed that the corners weren’t mitred. So I sought to remedy this with a file. Bad idea! The MDF edges began to crumble. My mistake. I eventually decided to cut a new ‘skin’ from SE finecast brick sheet. This also changed the brickwork from Flemish to English bond, thereby bringing it into line with other brick structures at Farthing. Perhaps I should have built a whole new inner core while I was at it, but I like the idea that the original kit is still in there. A bit of rudimentary furniture. Also a rough outline of the scales - a Pooley design, using bits of styrene and glue brush handles. Bird's eye view of the interior. Frankly, almost none of it can be seen from outside! Regarding the blue distemper, see the discussion here – including Tim V.’s interesting photos. I decided to make the roof detacahable in case something inside comes loose, or I want to add some staff. Some GWR weighbridges had sliding windows. Some offices had six panes per window, others had four. The windows supplied in the Rail Model kit provide for this. They’re a bit deep though. Sanding them down is an option, but I didn’t fancy the MDF dust. So I drew up new windows in Inkscape and cut them on my Silhouette. I had some trouble getting the ‘crosses’ neat. A trial fit of the main windows. A closer study of GWR weighbridge offices show that details differ in almost every case. The windows on the Leckhampton structure were positioned relatively high compared to other designs, and centrally rather than off-set to one side. The roof slates were cut from self-adhesive vinyl on the Silhouette, as per the stable block. Once again thanks to Lee for this tip. Inspired by @Dave John (a.k.a. the Magnet Man) I stuck a magnet under the roof. That way I can lift it off without damaging anything. Gutters from Wills, and some downpipes fashioned from brass wire. The door opens inwards. Makes it harder for those Midland Railway rogues to barricade it from the outside. A 'warts and all' view of the window end. The Leckhampton structure was unusual here: Most GWR weighbridge offices had no window in the end wall, or just a small one. The Leckhampton building had blue bricks at the base, common but not universal. I decided to go for plain red bricks in order to match the stable block. Trial fit on the layout. I'll have to shift the whole thing further into the yard, so that the staff can better access the door. Slight planning c*ck-up there! The weighbridge itself is a Smith etch of a Pooley design. The instructions say it is based on the one at Knightwick, installed 'around 1889'. That's it for now. Thanks to everyone who helped with information!
    39 points
  45. It's been a very long time since my last post (which I think was a 4mm scale chair!) but I've nearly completed my latest build: Canterbury & Whitstable Railway, Taylor 0-6-0 goods loco, no.121, c1847. The bulk of it was constructed whilst convalescing with a broken left metatarsal. What a tragedy to be signed off work and have to sit there day after day with my foot up, drinking tea and model making, life can be so cruel! A friend offered some Portescap motor/gearboxes in exchange for kits so one of these formed the basis for this engine. The gearbox had to be dismantled and reversed so the driving axle sat under the motor and the wheels were some old Romford ones from the scrap box. One of the biggest challenges was the haycock firebox with it's brass beading around the corners. The box itself was build up from two strips of scribed 10thou brass bent into an 'n', cut and soldered together, then the brass corners cut from 5thou, bent and beaten into submission around the curves, a horrible job and much learned in the process but it doesn't look too bad. It hasn't put me off doing another one anyway. The tender was rest was gradually scratch built using good old fashioned measure, bend and cut techniques, as was the rest of the loco, a refreshingly 3D print free zone! It still requires some water feed pipes under the footplate and there is an annoying little short every time it goes left which I must sort out. Of course some crew will be required before it moves 'off shed' but they can wait. The photographs leave a bit to be desired, I find the low sun at this time of year a bit tricky, our house faces due south and not casting a shadow over the photo at midday requires some degree of contortion. Hopefully they will do for now, next up is an 1845 Bodmer Single but as usual it will take me ages! Thanks for looking and please feel free to ask if you need to know more.
    39 points
  46. I put 'Engine Wood' up for testing this morning (it is normally packed away at home), to ensure that all was well for a forthcoming session. The testing regime normally consists of running a loco up and down all roads, in all configurations, ensuring that the signals work etc. This time, apart from my usual pannier test loco, I deployed 82044 on the layout for the first time. This loco, which is a combination of Bachmann body and modified Comet chassis, featured in some of my earlier blogs a couple of years ago or so, but apart from running it up and down on my test track, it had never been run on either of my OO layouts. Fortunately, it seems to have acquitted itself OK today, and thus earns itself a place in the roster... 82044 arriving with a train from Bristol TM to Templecombe: Waiting for the road: Pannier and local NCB loco stabled in the yard: 82044 gets the road and re-starts the train: About to pass over the footpath crossing to the west of the station: Passing over the river bridge: View over the hedgerow:
    39 points
  47. Hello. As the title says really I am really trying to get motivated on the layout once again. Its just been sat around untouched for nearly a year now but now one board is unpacked and sat on my kitchen table. Stage 1 is to take some photos to remind myself why I am doing it... Missy
    39 points
  48. Last week I was browsing a secondhand bookshop here in Copenhagen. Imagine my surprise when I suddenly came across a dog-eared copy of "A Traveller's Guide to the Great Western Railway" from 1926. What really got my attention, however, was that this was one of the rare illustrated versions, with photos by J. Peerybingle, a well-known photographer of the day. Feigning complete indifference I managed to obtain the book for a very reasonable price. I particularly like the chapter entitled "Journey to Didcot", and have decided to reproduce it here. I hope I am not infringing on any copyright laws by doing so! Our journey begins at Paddington Station, that most famous of railway stations from where tracks reach out for thousands of miles across the Kingdom. Under these mighty arches the traveller may choose to commence his journey with a pleasant meal in one of the numerous dining establishments. Perhaps a Cornish pasty would suit the traveller? Surely a suitable choice for the Great Western traveller. Side-crimped, of course! Waiting rooms are to be found in several locations around the station concourse. Naturally, separate rooms are provided for Ladies. In preparation for the journey the traveller will want to synchronize his time-piece with that of the grand clock in the station hall. One can only wonder at the scenes this clock has witnessed! Should assistance be needed in finding one's train, the courteous station staff will be of assistance, as will the numerous timetables posted throughout the station. Porters are available for those who carry heavy luggage, and the station staff are always on hand to assist the less sure-footed. The Great Western Company provides a variety of services in the direction of Didcot, depending on the needs of the traveller. The fastest and most direct service is provided by the sleek expresses that stop only at the major stations. Even the most experienced traveller must marvel at the elegant liveries and the lovingly polished engines for which the company’s crack expresses are known around the world. Alternatively, the traveller may choose to go by stopping train. These provide a more sedate mode of travel, and an opportunity to fully experience the beauty of the countryside along the way. The interior of the stopping trains are a study in lavish design and tasteful colour selection... ...and the comfort is second to none. As we embark on our journey, we soon pass Old Oak Common, the renowned locomotive depot of the Great Western Company... ...where the observant traveller may be fortunate to see some of the graceful locomotive classes of the Great Western. Here it is one of the legendary Castle Class, namely Pendennis Castle sporting the well-known coat of arms. As we proceed along the line we observe many examples of the lineside industries that keep the wheels of our industrious nation turning... ...and which are served by endless rows of heavy goods trains that cross the country from one end to the other. Indeed, whereever we look there is evidence of the country’s great reliance on our railways. As we stop at stations along the way, it is difficult not to be charmed by the railway architecture for which the Great Western Company is so well known. Elegance is the key word... ...station gardens are lovingly groomed... ...and local artists have enthusiastically helped decorate the station buildings. Everywhere we witness the company’s loyal dedication to personal and attentive service. At the stations the railway enthusiast has the opportunity to study the railway officials going about their duties. Several of the stations along the way provide opportunities for the traveller to connect with branchline services if he so desires. Gangers may be encountered along the way... ...whose job it it is to ensure that the track is well maintained so that passengers may have a smooth and speedy ride. Indeed, the railway infrastructure itself is worthy of study as our train speeds westwards. As we gain sight of the company’s new coaling stage at Didcot we know our journey has come to an end. For the traveller who wishes to further explore this intriguing railway town, we refer to the next installment in our series.
    38 points
  49. Right, back to some modelling. I have said painting is not my forte, add full size painting to that too. Anyway, a scotch derrick. I made this a long time ago for the previous layout, but I haven’t got round to fitting it since its a bit vulnerable as it is towards the front of the layout. Scotch derricks are a simple crane, they were used in large numbers throughout the railways and industry in general. Drawings of the size preferred by the CR were published in “The true line “ and mine is scaled closely to those. It’s a basic model, the wood bits are mahogany, the iron bits are brass. The gears are from all sorts of stuff, anything with likely usable bits never gets thrown away without salvaging the gubbins. Well that looks ok to me. But, why not make it all work. Er, a controller ….. A bit of video of it in action. I have rebuilt the top end which had gummed up over the years, the drive system needed tidying up, but I’m fairly happy with that. Somewhere I have some lacing cord to replace that hairy cotton. The ball on the hook is a bit overscale too, but anything smaller lacks the mass to make the hook go down.
    38 points
  50. Well it's been a long time coming, but here are some pics of the finished William Clarke station building. Its painted using Humbrol and Railmatch enamel paints, with the colour being built up in a number of washes and then followed by some dry brushing. I followed the discussion on the forum about GWR window colours in the Edwardian period with great interest. I found the evidence presented highly convincing, so have consequently painted the windows chocolate. To my eyes the black and white pictures look quite convincing, I'd be glad to hear what others think! In best "Yellow Brick Road" tradition, here are a few pictures in glorious Technicolour! I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed making the thing! My next project is to build a matching William Clark style goods shed, if anyone's got any pictures or plans of such a beastie, I'd love to hear from them! Best wishes Dave
    38 points
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