Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Haven't gone away, honest!

Christmas saw some more track purchases for James' half of the layout, as well as some Woodland Scenics foam risers and trackbed. I need to scare up an 8'x4' sheet of foamboard from one of the DIY sheds, and then I think we'll start serious tracklaying.

Also note with some joy that Hornby have resurrected a few very useable things in the Railroad range, namely the Fowler 2P and 4F, and the 4-4-0 County and Collet coaches.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

A good day's work

Not that I got anything done that actually involved railway building, but...

The back corner of the music room is now cleared to the point where I can get at the workbench, which has light, heat and power. Also sorted out a batch of donated tools, including corner clamps, clamps, a metal set-square and loads of sandpaper.

Scored some replacement batteries and a sander/jigsaw/screwdriver set to go with my Black and Decker Versapak drill - also discovered batteries are still available in the US.

Scored all three volumes of "Great Western Branch Line Modelling" on eBay for £40 the lot.

Still haven't found my craft knife/cutting board set. Reduced to using Anne's scalpels.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Deeping model railway exhibition and fiddle yards

Went to the excellent small show in Deeping St. James (just up the road) last week. Several nice layouts, including Woodcroft. which was using aluminium-angle based cassettes in its fiddle yards.

I've just acquired, from a friend who's clearing out, a couple of 5'x18" or so papering tables. which are a touch wobbly to lay track on, but DO look as though they could be reasonable supports for cassette-based fiddle yards.

Hrm. Must think about that :D

Monday, 19 April 2010

An afternoon's woodwork

Finally got James' piece of 8'x4' down from upstairs, with much cursing and wondering how we ever got it up there in the first place.

It now has some 3/4" x 1 1/2" underframing, from which I have learned several things:

  • the problem with 8'x4' baseboards is they're 8'x4' :D
  • 8' lengths of 1 1/2" x 3/4" have a lot of flex about the thinner axis
  • Liquid Nails is no substitute for a drill and a bunch of woodscrews
  • that baseboard is never going back upstairs
On the good side, it's now sitting on two B&Q trestles in the playroom, where I suspect it'll stay for a while, and has been given a coat of spray mud-brown.

In other news, scored an Airfix autocoach on eBay. Rarer than I realised.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Back from York...

...and my feet are killing me.

High spots: definitely Long Line (67' of GWR branch line in N - even better (and longer) than when we saw it at St. Albans) - James' favourite too, which shows I must be doing something right.

Also got to chat with Aidan Campbell, who makes and paints some really nice figures. Figures on railway layouts always intrigue me - it seems that a lot of folks just plonk down something pre-painted, and you don't (that I can tell) see as much effort go into detailing and shading as wargamers do - not even the quick and easy dip method. Aidan was therefore something of a breath of fresh air in this regard.

James got to do a bit of modelling in the kids' modelling area (with the wife, who is actually a dab hand at detail work - comes of being a vet), and came away with a completed (Peco?) small signal box/ground frame hut which he was very proud of. We'll paint it later (rather regretting letting him stick the base/levers in, so we can't paint those!).

Purchases: not a lot - some Parkside Dundas wagon loads, a bottle of PlasticWeld and some Railmatch GWR Stock Grey (Trains4U having sold out).

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

A few achievements today...

...helped by having no broadband, and having to be in home for the solar heating engineers.

I’ve removed the original Bachmann “G W R” lettering from the tank sides of my 56xx, with a cotton bud, some enamel thinners and the end of a cocktail stick, and replaced it with HRMS Pressfix “GREAT WESTERN” lettering. For a moment or two it looked as if one side was going to read “GREA|- WESTERN” due to not pressing down on ALL the letters!

I also took delivery of a MicroScale ‘Truck Tuner’ from wizardmodels.co.uk, which is a very handy little widget (pointed out to me by the folks on RMWeb) for opening out wheel bearings on (in my case) Lima wagons, which tend to have horribly out of scale (and in at least one case out of round) wheels.

Also did a lot of thinking and planning, and I think the current aim is to:

  • settle on a track plan for James’ 8’x4’ board, and use that as practice for track laying, ballast and scenery. I suspect this is going to wind up as a derivative of one of CJF’s ‘double track junction plus high level branch’ plans from 60 Plans For Small Locations, and will make James’ happy ‘cause it’ll have a tunnel! This will, I think be ‘Onnybrook Junction’ and I might try and squeeze Longville’s track plan in as the upper level station. What I do hope to do, though, is try and avoid CJF’s penchant for retaining walls, perhaps by adopting the approach from the Peco Settrack plans book of having a double sided scenic break.

  • slowly start building baseboards for Much Wenlock. It looks like this is 3 4’x2’ board plus a 4’x1’ fiddle yard either end. The interesting gotchas are that the whole thing isn’t flat, and there’s at least one road that has to go from over to under the railway in about 7’. I think I understand how, though.

Monday, 15 March 2010


My copy of "The Wenlock Branch" finally showed up, tucked between two veterinary medicine books (I blame the wife) on the bottom shelf in the library.

Lots of useful pics and a full 1928 WTT, as well as lots of operational detail. This should be fun. Initial useful discoveries are that there are nice scene-breaking bridges at both ends of Much Wenlock station (only requiring a little tweaking in one case, and none in the other).

Also had a play with designing Longville in XTrakCAD, which does give me the advantage of being able to 'play trains' and see how much space there is in the various sidings. Hopefully I can do the same with Much Wenlock later on in the week.