Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Arrivals and purchases over Xmas

  • Hornby Jinty in LMS black (not arrived yet)
  • Two Hornby LMS 20T brake vans (ditto)
  • Replacement body for 57xx (Great Western lettering)
This evening's job, once I've acquired the necessary small tweezers to get the NEM couplings out so I can get at the body screw (being married to a vet may help here!), is to re-body the 57xx.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Hornby 2010 new additions and pre-war GWR

As I've said on RMWeb, I can't say that I'm leaping around for joy.

I'll be saving for the NRM 28xx (in lovely pre-'34 Great Western green). Kind of disappointed that the 61xx appears to have that ghastly shirtbutton logo, and really very unchuffed about the coaches....

Hawkesworth? What would have been wrong with re-tooling the Collett 57' stock - it too lasted into BR times, but at least it's usable by the GWR modellers. Apparently pre-war GWR doesn't sell, but it does seem that Hornby are turning that into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Getting my hand back in...

So, I 'found' a bunch of my old wagons to give to James today. He won instant brownie points by agreeing that some of them looked horribly 'plasticky' compared to some of the newer Bachmann ones he has, so we took a trip to Trains4U to pick up some Humbrol acrylic paints to see what we could do about it.

For starters, I grabbed one of a pair of Hornby Silver Seal 'Lancashire' 7 plank coal wagons, and started out by painting the inside an old wood brown, and picking out the outside metal framing in dark grey.

Considering its the first time I've picked up a paintbrush in anger since about 1990, it went well. It already looks miles better, but tomorrow I'm going to paint the underframe and make a start on weathering it.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Track Plan 2

Just idly considering two other options:
  • taking the right hand end right round the corner and along the workbench, which gives me an extra 10' of main line run and room for Wistanstow Halt. If I can do that, though, I can cut it down a bit, and try for....
  • a roundy-roundy with fiddle yard in 12' x 8' or so. My first run at a station plan with runaround loops for 6 coaches looks to be about 20' long, but it could be bent in the middle....

Friday, 18 December 2009

Track Plan

So, after a skim through Cooke section 63, I've reached a few conclusions...

I do actually have about 35' of length in the music room, and I can turn the corner at both ends for a fiddle yard (one end has a piano, the other is used for stacking flightcases, which in both cases will fit underneath) - basically a very stretched, inverted U

Essentially the layout of Craven Arms from south to north goes:
  • south-facing junction, South Wales line off to west
  • main station
  • level crossing
  • relief roads/goods loop
  • north-facing junction, Bishop's Castle branch off to west
  • Wistanstow Halt
  • north-facing junction (Marsh Farm), Wenlock branch off to east and an up loop.
My mental map has had the southern end at the right hand end of the U, but I'm starting to think that's less practical if I want to slip the Bishop's Castle branch in, since it can come off a bit short of the right hand end and vanish behind the backscene to a two road fiddle yard, whereas the Wenlock Branch can curve round to the main fiddle yard.

Assuming I have 30' of clear run (allowing for turns into the fiddle yards on both ends), if I can fit the South Wales junction, main station and relief roads in 16', that leaves about 14' of open country to fit the two north junctions in. I might even have room for Wistanstow Halt. The Wenlock branch can actually round the corner in front of the main fiddleyard and have its own small (4', 3 road) yard.

More arrivals

Keeping the postman busy this week :D
  • The Mogul, and the rest of the Hornby clerestory and Mainline LMS coaches arrived
  • A bulk lot of a Mainline Patriot in red, some wagons and a couple more coaches (as well as a rebuilt Royal Scot in ugly lined black, which is going back on eBay)
  • Several wagons
  • Bachman Coaler set (57xx, couple of wagons, oval of track) - nice cheap way of getting a pannier tank, though it does need re-liverying to pre-'35 from "GWR"
  • Copper cap to replace the missing one on my 2721
  • RA Cooke GWR track plans section 63 (covering Craven Arms)
  • one set HMRS GWR Pressfix transfers.
Still to come are a few more wagons, and I have my eyes on an LMS Jinty (probably the Hornby Railroad one rather than the Bachmann) and a small Prairie.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Loco wishlist

Just, mostly, to get it down somewhere:
  • Jinty (Onnybrook station pilot)
  • G2 0-8-0 (South Wales line coal trains)
  • 45xx small Prairie (Wenlock branch)
  • 28xx 2-8-0 (Heavy goods traffic)
  • Dean Goods and/or a 2251
  • Fowler 4F (goods)
  • Deeley 3F (this'll probably have to be a kit, since the Triang one is just... ick.)
  • Compound 4-4-0 (suburban passenger)
  • Hall (express passenger/goods)
  • County 4-4-0 (the Hawksworth 4-6-0 is well out of period!)
  • One or more of Jubilee, Patriot, Black 5, 8F 2-8-0, parallel boiler Royal Scot -erm, I seem to have bought a Patriot in a bulk lot of stuff on eBay...

Picking up the pieces...

So today was a trip up to Lincoln to rendezvous with the parents and pick up three boxes of old model railway stuff. Man was that a trip down memory lane. Most of it dates from the early 70s.

Of note:
  • 1 Hornby 08 shunter with original box
  • 1 green Hornby Dublo EMU (with knuckle couplers) - still recovering from discovering it's actually quite valuable!
  • 1 Hornby BR livery Jinty
  • 1 Triang/Hornby BR livery Deeley 3F 0-6-0 tender. I never found this in a catalogue anywhere back then, and I'm not at all sure where it came from - it dates back to 1966, apparently.
  • 21 assorted wagons, of which half a dozen or more look as though they're worth keeping, and at the very least are good for detailing/weathering practice.
  • 3 very short Triang BR maroon coaches
  • Several Peco Streamline code 100 short radius points
  • Lots of Triang Super 4 track
Still to come is of the order of 20 yards of code 100 wooden sleeper Streamline.

A fair bit of that will be going on eBay - I very much doubt the Jinty and 3F are worth keeping, even repainted and detailed, since the odds on finding space next to that bulky (all the way into the cab!) Triang motor for a DCC chip man enough to handle the power is about zero!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Time to hit eBay

This is, of course, entirely separate from James' shopping :D

Aviva very kindly dropped a rebate cheque in my lap last week, so I've been trawling eBay for stuff to add to my collection, which can (of course) magically appear later (good job James' doesn't read my blog).

First arrivals today:
  • one DCC-fitted Hornby Fowler 2-6-4T in LMS lined black. Lovely model, marred only by the plastic holder on the underside of the coal bunker for the bush for the body-fixing screw having cracked, and thus the body being loose. After five minutes or so of figuring out which bit was supposed to be connected to which, some careful application of superglue seems to have fixed the problem. Note to self - need to check my LMS livery history to see if this requires a repaint.
  • a pair of Hornby GWR clerestory coaches (one composite, one brake). Yes, I know they're not entirely prototypical, but they're so damn pretty.
  • one DCC-fitted Bachman 56xx 0-6-2T (obligingly reset to the default 03 DCC id by the seller). This is in post-'42 unlined green with the G W R lettering, so I foresee a quick repaint and some HMRS transfers in the offing.
Coming soon:
  • one Mainline 43xx Mogul in lovely pre-'35 unlined Brunswick Green with Great Western lettering. This'll need a trip to Trains4U for chipping, along with my 2721 once I've found it a new chimney cap.
  • another pair of Hornby clerestory composites.
  • a pair of Mainline panelled LMS coaches.
There's a bunch of stuff still on watch, so we'll see what ensues - I have my eye on a Bachmann Jinty or 57xx, possibly both, as well as a bunch of wagons. Further down the line I'm after a Bachmnan LMS G2, a Fowler 4F and 2P, a 28xx 2-8-0 and maybe a Patriot or a parellel-boiler Scot, along with some Colllett GWR coaches and a B-set. Oh, and LOTS of vans and coal wagons.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Prototype and period

I've always (as I said) been a GWR fan. I've also always been a lover of the Shropshire hills, ever since I read the Malcolm Saville Lone Pine books as a kid (in case you were wondering, that's where the station name comes from!). The fact that the Welsh Marches line down from Shrewsbury was LMS/GWR joint just makes it even better, since there's more scope for stock - small (and bigger) boys like variety.

As far as period goes? Fed up to the back teeth of variations on BR black and green, not to mention BR standard classes. Also don't really like the GWR or shirtbutton logos (not that the latter lasted long, or even made it on to many locos), so it's 1935 or earlier for me. Which is quite cool, since it basically means I can avoid the (to me ugly) LMS Pacifics, and the Hawksworth-era GWR stuff, while just squeezing in the Black 5, Jubilee and 8F on the LMS side. Technically, no Kings, either, since the line wasn't rated for them. More fun, though, the Bishop's Castle railway just hasn't closed, so I have an excuse for some four wheel coaches of some sort and maybe a saddle tank.

Craven Arms junction is ... actually, it's insane. From the north you have the main line, the Bishop's Castle line, and the GWR's Much Wenlock branch (about 2 miles north), and just south of the station the LMS's South Wales line turns off to the west, while the main line carries on to Hereford. The actual track plan is probably achievable in N, or in 00 if I actually don't ever want to make music in the music room again - which isn't going to happen.

So, the plan is a track plan based on a cut-down Craven Arms (losing at the least some of the carriage sidings, a couple of roads in the LMS shed, most of the GWR goods yard and the coal sidings, as well as reducing the rather insane 8 parallel tracks (goods loops, goods shed, Knighton road) at the north end of the station down to a more manageable 4. If I shoot for 24' of visible layout, that gives me room for two 6' or 8' fiddle yards and five or six coach trains. On 2'6" wide boards, I should be able to get 8' of station, with a couple of feet of faff at the southern end for the South Wales junction, another 6' of faff for the north end of the station, and then maybe 6'-8' of countryside, which has to include the Bishop's Castle and Much Wenlock junctions. The latter can disappear behind a backscene to a 3' fiddle yard while the BC branch can run parallel to the main line before disappearing into the main fiddle yard.

Time to stump up the shareware fee for RailModeller, I think, and see how practical that is.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Christmas Shopping

Some browsing on what my friend Rick calls the 'electric interweb' suggested that what would be ideal was the Hornby GWR Western Pullman DCC set with a Castle and a pannier. Sadly, this seems to be out of stock everywhere, so I went for the next best option - the Cornish Pullman set.

I should at this point probably add that I'm a Great Western fan - always have been. So James was always going to get something in Brunswick Green - gotta start 'em early.

Off to Trains4U, and some discussion later, I came away somewhat poorer. The Cornish Pullman set and a Bachmann Dynamis controller will be ready on Saturday once the (legendary) Gareth has DCC-ed the loco - all at a price that 'er indoors approves of, too. Also (and on MY card) a couple of s/h Airfix wagons, and a couple of catalogues!

Sunday, 6 December 2009


So, what's Onnybrook Junction?

It's a fictional junction roughly where Craven Arms is in real life, on the LMS/GWR joint line between Shrewsbury and Hereford.

I've been a fan of railway modelling for ages, but never really sat down to do anything serious about it. My dad built a 14'x9' 'roundy roundy' in our sun lounge for me when I was in my early teens, which never got beyond white painted baseboards (I believe Mum insisted on that!) and cardboard platforms, on a mix of Peco Streamline and Triang Super 4 (some of the former may well get reused!). Since then, I've not really had the time or space to do more than cast covetous glances at odd copies of Railway Modeller on the train. Well, that and pick up a Hornby 2721 class pannier which has been sitting in my desk drawer un-run for 7 years.

This year, however, my son (who's coming on 10) wants a train set for Christmas. The wife paid a visit to Trains4U here in Peterborough and came back with loads of information which, bless her, she assumed I didn't know and proceeded to explain to me in great detail for 20 mins. In which, of course, I wasn't allowed to get a word in edgeways! Having (tactfully) explained that yes, I knew most of that (in fact, had forgotten more of it than she knew), it was decided (I was told, in other words) that James was getting a decent DCC train set. It also turned out that Anne's idea of 'decent' was surprisingly, not 'something laid on the carpet for the cats to play with'.

So. Much discussion later, it was agreed that we'd get him one of the Hornby sets and a temporary 6'x4' baseboard for the TrakMat that would sit on the seldom-used dining room table. and IF he showed an interest (pause for behind-the-hand paternal laughter here!) we'd look at something a little more substantial and permanent.

Result, I'd say. Our house is a late-1800s place with an outbuilding, and at least two useable 12'x12' rooms in the main house. There's nowhere really practical for a continuous loop, but I don't see that as a problem. For a while, I toyed with 2 x 6'x2' and 2 x 6'x1' round the walls of one of the 12' square rooms in a U: eventually, though, I think I've settled on the music room. The music room is about 12'x'35' in one of the outbuildings, but about 2' of the width is taken up with amps and speaker cabinets, so I have an eye on a 2' or 2'6" wide run down one long wall and round a corner. Some building work may be necessary first, since one wall is somewhat damp due to a slightly leaky roof.

But that's later. For now... off to Trains4U.