Sunday, October 31, 2010

LNWR 6 Compartment Brake 3rd

I made a start on this kit some time back but only got as far as putting in the drop lights on one side. I got back into it last night while Amity was at a Girls Night In and then put in another couple of hours again today.

This is a kit from Ultima and is of a D345 Arc Roof coach. I got it as a taster - now I am going to get the rest of the train (well, after a few more UFOs bite the dust) - and I am very pleased with how it is going. As the photo shows, there is still some tidying up to do at the step end, and the inside of the far end is a bit too heavy with solder - it won't be seen obviously but I am trying to be neat!!

The kit went together pretty easily. Putting on the drop lights and door vents was fairly time consuming - 8 of each per side. The running board had to be put on against the design of the etch - consultations with the drawings in my copy of David Jenkinson's "LNWR Carriages" showed the design location was too high. I have emailed Alan Cox (aka Mr Ultima/Etched Pixels) about it.

I am presently deciding if I am going to put the door knobs on. I think I will miss it - too tedious, likely to be buried under solder and/or paint. As for the rest - buffers I have so they will probably be added later this evening, the bogies have been ordered from the 2mmFSA and a Farish suburban has donated its roof.

As for painting - hopefully LNWR Plum and Spilt Milk. I think the Plum bit will be easy - spray the whole coach. The Spilt Milk will be the challenge. A mask would be handy - then I would be able to spray again - but the big challenge at present is getting the paint. Precision don't seem to get my e-mails so a phone call maybe necessary - or finding a new supplier since Kernow in Cornwall seem not to be renewing their stocking arrangements.

Of course, while getting the train of 5 or 6 coaches for St Alban's Abbey is easy, the engine isn't... Anyone know where I can get a Webb 2-4-2T or 0-6-2T kit?

Friday, October 22, 2010

LNWR Signal Box

I got the soldering iron out tonight - first time in a while - and made some progress on the Langley LNWR Signal Box kit I purchased back in August from the NGS.

So far so good. I haven't measured it but from looking at the photos of the one at St Alban's Abbey in the Oakwood Press book "The Watford to St Alban's Branch" I can already tell the windows on the kit are larger than the ones on the 'box at St Alban's. I am not too concerned - I will be able to fit the 25 leaver frame and the kit is much better than any attempt I could scratch build at this time.

A bit too much solder around the "convenience" door - will have to clean that up - and not so sure about the top step. Mind you the instructions are presently filed safely (i.e. I can't find them) so I will do a tidy up of my study and see if they turn up tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I recently had sent to me via the good offices of Iain Smith the BHE kit for the LNER J52 (which was a GNR something before this but I don't remember what it was) and, being a bit over transfers, I made a start on it.

First off, I was very surprised at the simplicity of it all. Maybe I have done too many etched kits recently but this one comes in 6 bits. Footplate with buffers cast as one piece, smokebox, boiler, cab, and ancillary bits (chimney et al) as one piece and a pair of forward footsteps and a pair of cab footsteps - that is it.

Like most white metal kits, there was a fair bit of flash and what not along with some moulding lines - all easily removed with a chisel blade in the craft knife handle. The whole lot has been given a wash and a polish and in the photo the two main castings are just sitting un-glued at this time.

To date, the modifications include drilling the chimney so it has a hole, drilling the cab spectacles (I have to work out how to thin them) and removing the cast coal from the bunker - this will end up with real coal in due course.

I have a couple of dilemmas - first up is powering it. The kit is designed for the Farish GP Tank - or 94xx - chassis. I haven't found drawings yet (but I haven't looked either) but I suspect these will show me the kit is "wrong" dimensionally (although I usually figure if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck). Further, as this is really for St Alban's Abbey, not St Alban's Priory, it needs to get a 2mm FS chassis under it. I am sure a solution to power will present itself.

Next problem is livery - the GNR livery appeals (which would mean it trundles around with something as yet un-decided LNWRish) as does the LNER. I have a photo of 68878 in BR black with early crest at St Alban's Abbey on the 30th of April 1955 at one end of a RCTS special - a LNWR Super D is at the other. So the livery decision is also a bit clouded. The solution maybe to prevail on Iain to see if he can get me a second one at some stage...

Friday, October 15, 2010


Inspired by the talk given at the BRMA(Q) AMMC by Greg Palmer, I managed to get to the local supplier of the system Greg recommended as a good one to use to give DCC a go when I was in Brisbane - Austral Modelcraft. Greg suggested the NCE PowerCab as being a good entry level bit of kit and Ray was quite helpful in the chat I had with him at the shop - and another N Scale modeller who was present, who I know by sight although not by name, also said it was a good set up as he had been using it for sometime on his US based layout.

Anyway, brought it home to Longreach and waited for the parcel from Hatton's with the pair of Bachmann EZ decoders I had ordered. My reading had suggested that for British N there wasn't really a lot of difference between brands and Greg suggested getting a couple of cheap chips to start with - on the basis that if I did something to let the magic smoke out it wouldn't be a big outlay. I went with the Bachmann ones as I was putting the chips into a pair of Farish Class 24s and I assumed - rightly - that the Bachmann 6 pin NEM decoders would be designed for use with Farish locos. The documentation confirmed this.

The chips turned up yesterday and I put them in, followed the instructions in the NCE booklet and was away. So far I haven't done to much but being able to run to locos from the one controller is a plus as it gives you the opportunities to try things out. The lights being on on the locos while they were stationary - and being able to run them in opposite directions around the Kato oval setup was pretty good. Changing to the 128 step speed function gave super slow motion creep and on reading a bit more about the chips a realistic top speed can be set for each loco.

So the plan is this - blue diesels chipped and Swallow Street Mk 2 will be a DCC layout. But the only things being chipped will be locos. Changing points will be the old fashioned way. The idea will be to have locos being driven by drivers - and someone else running the signaling. Just like the real thing!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

50th Entry

I was surprised to realise that it has been 9 months since I started this blog - and in that time I have made, including this entry, 50 entries. I had a read back at the beginning to see what I had planned and to see what I had achieved.

In one sense - not much. The first entry said that Amity and I were planning a small shunting inglenook style layout in 2mm scale. Since then exactly nothing has happened! The board I drew it out on is too small for the frame I got my father to bring up in June and I haven't done anything about a new board for the frame to transfer the drawing over. So in that sense it isn't good.

However, I read through the rest of the blog and was a little bit surprised as to what I have got done in 2010 so far. The pile of UFOs which are now FOs has grown from the 10 I was challenged to do back in May to be well on the way to 100 now. This has been a definite win as I can clearly see what I have achieved. Other things are less tangible - my soldering skill is now much better than it was when I built my first etched chassis in the middle of last year and I have no fear of any etched kit anymore. My willingness to add to my collection of references has also moved from being the one size fits all to more specific things (my two recent eBay wins were both books on the LNWR - one on coaches - as an example).

All up I think the blog has been a positive thing - it has provided me with a means to stay motivated (keeping it updated means having to actually do something) and this has meant I have achieved much.

For those who have commented both on the blog and off, thanks for the support and encouragement. Putting the map on (I got the idea from Paul Bartlett's site) has been interesting - 30 countries including some I was surprised at.

Here's to the next 50 entries - the next will be looking at something completely different...

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Above is part of my weathering kit. (I also have some grey pastel/chaulks and a couple of jars of powders which I used, depending on the job). They are packs B and C of the Tamiya weathering packs - I have looked at A and D but decided there wasn't much call for them. I have also used Humbrol 113 on a dead, dry brush, to put frame dirt on Farish shiny plastic chassis.

This is the subject - my TPM FNA wagon with a sample wagon to copy from which is on page 87 of "British Railway Goods Wagons in Colour 1960-2003 - For the Modeller and Historian" by Robert Hendry. There are other photos on Paul Bartlett's excellent site - see link to the side here and then put FNA into the search box.

The base model has been finished as best as I can in a paint colour close to what it will end up - in my case Humbrol 63 "Sand". There was advice that Desert Sand was a better match but I was unable to obtain it and I made do. Weathering hopefully will get the shade closer to the photo.

Application is very straight forward using the Tamiya kit. I have obtained (via Amity) some extra bits to put the colour on - from the eye wear section of the local chemist. Simply rub the pad into the chosen colour, then apply to the item being weathered. In this case, I used the dirt colour at the right hand end of the B pack. I also used some of the white in the same pack to pick out the corners like in the photo.

Basically my advice is to do it small and slow - build up the colour. The advantage with the Tamiya stuff is it comes off with a baby wipe if you don't like it (wet ones et al - ours is the local supermarket chain brand) without touching the work underneath (which since it has been matt varnished should be the case!). It is important to remember that most wagons spend more time stationary than travelling and as such, the rain runs should reflect this - go from top to bottom, rather than side to side. However, I find when doing planked wagons, it is important to start off side to side as this gets the colour in the grooves and then you can go down (another tip on this is watch out for rain strips on rooves - the weathering is either cleaner, a different shade or darker at the end of the rain strip).

Above all, find a picture of your subject - or something similar if your particular thing wasn't well photographed. Colour is naturally the best but obviously hard to come by for those modelling pre-Grouping or indeed Grouping layouts. No excuses for the Post-Privatisation scene however.

No photos of the finished article I am afraid - didn't get around to it today as I had to change two wheels on the car owing to a pair of flat tyres. No, I only have one spare so there was much to be done in between. Photo tomorrow hopefully.

One I did earlier - I did the 37 and BG last year for Swallow Street using the Tamiya kit and the Humbrol paint on the dry brush

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Photo Update

Photo update - the weather which hasn't been good was OK for photos late this afternoon but is turning overcast again.

First up is the box of things I have been transferring. I know a lot of these are not the most accurate of models but the average punter here in Australia doesn't know that and they work in my shunt trains on St Alban's Priory so Rule 1 and all that.

The top row is a pair of Peco Tube wagons and a pair of Tarp wagons from the same stable. Second row is lead out by a cut down Chivers tube wagon (I ended up with some spare sides owing to a production error with some chassis) on a Peco under frame. This is followed by a cut down Minitrix PoW on a Peco chassis then a Peco 9' open wagon kit. The last is the pair of TPM HEAs I have been building to go with my FNA wagon.

The third row is all Peco - 6 insulated vans, recently transferred using Modelmaster transfers from the NGS (MMT077 for those keeping track of such things. Fourth row is a Peco 15' Insul-Fish (wheel base right, sides and ends OK but stretched!), a Parkwood Insulated van kit on a Peco chassis then 3 Chivers Blue Spot Fish vans - transfers from the Modelmaster range again but this time the MMT088 pack (it includes the blue spots).

The fifth row starts with a pair of MLS Shock Opens - I have to paint the sides white now that I have re-found the transfers as these are from Robbies Rolling Stock and have the colour included. Hopefully the colour on the transfers does match my efforts with the Precision Bauxite. The next wagon is a NGS Mica - it hasn't got all its transfers yet as I am not sure what the lettering on the LH side would be in BR days. Any ideas gratefully received. The last are a pair of Parkwood LNER Fish vans - transfers as before. The bottom row has three Parkwood Palvans - transfers being the MMT084 pack. The last is a Peco cattle van waiting for transfers having been painted.

The collection above is a little bit easier to explain. All have been done using Fox 10inch numbers - FRH2008. Top is 80103 - the crest is the correct Right hand facing crest. 80103 was the first Standard type loco withdrawn and had the wrong "right" crest. Next is 44563 which was explained lower down. Then 48421 and 48536. I am not sure about details such top feed and what not but Farish may produce an updated 8F in the near future and I will worry about it then.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Henry Ford approach to WOMWB

I had an evening of "me" time - Amity was out at her monthly scrap booking club get-together - and so I could take over the dinning room table with my "stuff". As we have a dining room table which seats 10, the amount of "stuff" which one can put on it is considerable!

This evening's work consisted mainly of painting - the appropriate spill avoidance measures were taken, even in the absence of Management as I have no wish to cause trouble - some of the UFO pile and varnishing the items which have recently been transferred to seal in the transfers prior to weathering.

It also consisted of putting my brand new Farish Std 4 2-6-0 which arrived today on the kids oval of Kato to run it in. Very impressed with the loco - not too impressed with the gap twixt loco and tender, even the supposedly short version of the link so will have to work out how to make a shorter one.

Taking the Ford approach makes this fairly time consuming job move along more quickly - although I didn't take it to the ultimate approach and paint everything black (although I could see the appeal as I stirred the umpteenth little tin of paint!). It does require a bit of organisation however to get it working well.

My approach - and this is why a large dining room table helps - is to group things together with other things needing to be painted the same colour. For example, a pair of TPM HEA hoppers which I am painting BR Bauxite were paired with 3 MLS Shock wagons from the NGS, some Peco Tube wagons and a Peco cattle wagon as these were all being painted the same. The tin was added to the collection along with a good No 2 brush (bad brushes are sent to the weathering box to be used for more messy tasks).

Other colours lumped up were Black, BR Wagon Grey, Roof Grey, White, Matt Varnish and Yellow. In the end, I didn't do the white as I hadn't gotten things entirely sorted and the white ended up not being where I started so by the time I got to it, the jar of white spirit (turps to Australians reading - and before you shudder, consider where I am and how far a good hobby shop is and what the rules are for posting said better thinners via Aussie Post...) was a bit too grubby for me to want to put the White Paint Only brush in it.

Everything else was done so I am well pleased with the evenings work - although I haven't photographed it as where it is, is not in the best location for photographing and the flash tends to be too much. I will, however, organise a group portrait tomorrow to show what I have been doing for October. I am also planning on weathering my FNA wagon tomorrow and will definitely take photos of that and post a "show you how I do it" blog entry.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Return of the UFO Box

Got back from Brisbane after a short 12 hour drive (normally closer to 13 hours so happy with the run!) on Wednesday and didn't do anything train wise other than unpack the box on Thursday. Part of the reason for the trip down was for me to do a stock take (which turned up a few locos which I hadn't listed and an increase in the UFO box!).

Friday night therefore had the transfer kit out and a start made on the UFOs. In this case, I fixed the numbers on one of my Std 4 tanks (80103 - missing a 3) and A4 60012 (although I still can't photograph the pair as the other is in Brisbane!) which needed one of the 2s fixing.

Next I made a start on the pile of un-numbered locos. I have had a pair of 8Fs waiting for numbers for a few years now and I went through my database to find some suitable numbers. As a result I picked 48421 and 48536 as I have pictures of both of these locomotives pounding up the last few yards to Ais Gill summit. As this is the intended location of my next large exhibition layout (I am going to have enough space that the refuges will be included at full length of 33 wagons) it made sense to do these.

Next on the list was renumbering one of my two 4Fs (can't see much point in having two 44370s). I had a quick read about them to find that until 44207, they were right hand drive. This narrowed the choice and I had a look to see what digits I had a lot of. First up I thought 44561 as this would be useful to run on Ben Lawson's Sturminister Newton layout (the only pic of a 4F on the S&C was a RH drive version - the Farish model is LH drive). Then I discovered (just in the nick of time) that the proposed number belonged to one of the S&DJR quintet - and they were RH drive too! I moved the number up two to 44563 - one of the 1927 LMS build locos authorised by Stanier.

Next on the list is finishing off my pair of Garratts (one side done, other side needs to be done on both 47975 and 47982), putting the name plate and numbers on D9020 "Nimbus", finding the picture I have somewhere (not logged on the database yet - curses!) of a Q1 hauling a rake of bogie ballast hoppers and a Shark to renumber my Q1 from 33030 to whichever loco it is, and sorting out Class 04 No 11217 to become 11102 for the W&U Tram - although the front windows will be wrong.

After that - there is a whole fleet of GWR locos needing number plates and an Ivatt 2-6-2T needing lining and numbering. Then there are the wagons. So I will be busy for a few weeks with that lot.