Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"St Alban's Priory" - some more pictures

A couple more:
The view along the street over the tunnel at the Stage Right end.  This is a row of Kestral terrace houses to the right of the photo and a single shop unit to the left with Langley post box and telephone box.  This area needs a bit more - I am thinking of a a sign on the shop and maybe a for sale/for lease sign on one of the houses.  A car or maybe two parked along the street but as the layout is nominally set in the late 1950s the amount of cars around would be small.

Stage Left exit - the branch line at St Alban's Abbey goes left, towards the ECML (since it was an ex-GNR branch) but mine climbs and goes right, over the main line.  The main line (ex-LNWR line to Watford Junction and thence Euston) should be single track but part of the modifications to make life a bit easier for exhibitions had it doubled.  The Autotrain, being Western Region is on test!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

"St Alban's Priory" - some pictures

As promised some photos of StAP now that it is installed.  I am very pleased to report that having connected all the bits which needed connecting (it comes in 3 parts so needs to be bolted together and then the connection plugs coupled up along with some track put in place over one of the joins) and the track was cleaned (and it was not too bad considering 2008 was the last time a wheel turned) everything I have tried to do so far has worked.  I haven't plugged in the 16vAC power pack for the points yet so....

Anyway, the photos:
I had posted previously a picture of the outside of my shed.  This is an average sized shed by Australian standards (or at least it is amongst those I know who have backyard sheds) at 6m wide by 7.5m long.  Basically you can put two cars in, with room for a trailer and a bit of a work shop.  I don't.  I put a layout in!  StAP fits across the back with room at the RH end (as you look at the photo) to walk around the back.  Layout is over 5.5m long so I better not put on too much more weight!

First of the detail shots. This is a row of Kestral Semi-detached houses (KD32) which overlooks the head shunt and the London end of the layout.  The triple bracket signal in view is the Down Home with the left bracket taking trains into the yard and the right bracket into the bay platform on the up side of the station.  These houses have been individualised to a point, but having read the article in N'spirations 3 on detailing these, more will be done in due course.  I believe N'spirations 3 is out of print so I will take some photos of mine as I do it and up load them in due course.

The current goods shed - a painted Peco kit.  I do have a card model of the actual goods shed at St Alban's Abbey (on which StAP is based) and in the fullness of time I will replace this with that.  As I am hoping to build a model of StAA in 2mmFS, this model will be built with the dual purpose in mind - hopefully I won't have to fudge it too much to fit on both layouts.  The yard crane is a white metal one - Langley I think but maybe PD Marsh.  It needs some TLC as the hook is missing.

Wildly out of place Ratio Cattle dock.  It is important to remember the bulk of this was done in 1999/2000, well before my modelling skills were at the level of thinking about scratch building, let alone giving it a go.  This model was a bit of a leap for me at the time as it had the etch brass fence.  The middle lamp is a casualty of a gecko or something as the lamp is off the post in the four foot.  I am thinking about replacing the lamps with working examples but the dock will stay - far too firmly glued down with liquid nails to attempt to remove it I fear.  The signs along the platform fence are my own - I took photos of metal signs at preserved railways on one of my infrequent trips to the UK and these are the results.  Unfortunately, they too are casualties as the ink jet printer I used has resulted in colour loss - possibly from washing the platform!   Easy to fix.

Last one for today - this is the more serious casualty ward.  The loading gauge (white metal) is an easy fix as are the 6 telegraph poles.  The Up Starter bracket (left for the bay, tall middle for the main line and right to take trains over the Down and into the head shunt - the crossing is just in front of the Farish LNWR signalbox - handy since StAP is based on an LNWR location and better than the assortment of 'boxes which have stood in this position over the years) is almost certainly destined for replacement - not sure if it will be colour light with some feathers or what yet.

More tomorrow possibly - as it is, I am enjoying the sound of trains running rather than worrying about taking photos or faffing about but I shall have to get stuck in, as there is a group coming on Saturday!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"St Alban's Priory" comes home

8 weeks ago my family and I did the long drive from Longreach for the last time and moved back to our family home in SE Queensland.  Since then, Christmas and New Year have come and gone, our fourth daughter has had her first birthday and we have been to Melbourne and celebrated Amity's birthday.  While this has been going on, I have found time to work in my train shed, building book cases to house my collection of reference books and magazine and prepare it for the home coming of my layout, which has been in storage suspended from my parents garage roof since 2008.

Well today was the day.  Weather not the greatest (although wetter I think than 2011 it has been slower and more widespread and there hasn't been the flooding that there was this time last year) but we managed to jag it for the space, both at my parents house and here at home.

The layout has survived rather well.  There are no signs of damage due to insect infestation and while a few telegraph poles need straightening and some signals need a bit of TLC, on the whole it is in pretty good shape.  Mind you, I look and parts and shudder to think I thought they were pretty good!  They probably were at the time (the layout celebrated it 12 birthday over the New Year period!) given my skill and abilities when I did it.  Now I am not sure I would have done what I did had I known what I do.

Pictures tomorrow - even the ugly bits - once I finish bolting it together this evening.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

To do in 2012

I haven't done any modelling this year - been too busy sorting out the modelling space to actually do any real modelling. But since I am going back to work this week following the Summer Holiday I thought it would be a good idea to put a list of what I hope to complete this year out there as a means to keeping me on track.

To work it out I decided I would only look at the UFO box rather than the gloat box (which recently had some etches from Masterclass Models added to it - LNER Quad Art and BR 4-TC).  There is plenty to do in the UFO pile but these are the top 10:

Finish the:
VR K class
ERG Royal Train
LNWR signal box
Farish Class 33 repaint
the gardens on St Alban's Priory
rewiring job (started in 2007!) on StAP
points on Swallow's End (after fixing up the trackwork!)
Mk3 fodder store to go with the 2mm cattle dock.

So there is 10 things on the list - some should be fairly straight forward (the repaint for example) while others will take a bit (the rewiring job wins this one!).  There will certainly be other projects which crop up along the way but hopefully at the end of the year I can look back and tick these 10 off the list.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year - New Goals

2011 done and dusted and 2012 shaping up to a very busy one train wise. 

I have been thinking about what I should set my sights on for 2012 now that I am back in civilisation with a couple of hobby shops for bits and pieces (like fishplates, track pins, brass etc) and DIY shops for things like baseboard supplies and so forth.  The major improvement in my lot since starting this blog (and the previous threads on RM Web) is I now have access to my train shed - work on which is progressing to get it to the state I envisaged when it was erected in 2007!

So goals - the first one is to take a 2mm Finescale layout to the Darling Downs Model Railroad Club exhibition in June.  This is assuming they still hold it!  Must email them and ask.  Now before anyone says this is overly ambitious (particularly since Swallow's End hasn't progressed since I decided the track needed attention and I hadn't managed to get a working point on it!) it won't be as Amity reckons I should get around to building the rest of my W&U stock and building Elm Road to run it on.  So the challenge will in fact be to get a working J70 or Y6 tram (or two) done and dusted.  Of course, if worse comes to worse, there is the pair of Class 04s which can sub.  As this layout is merely an oval with no points (and either a cassette or traverser system for a fiddle yard) there is nothing complicated track wise to cause issues.

Second, get at least 12 UFOs done - one a month.  The list, in no particular order, is the Cartic4, my Royal Train (vinyl overlays from ERG), a Class 33 which needs repainting, DCC chipping my Blue Diesel fleet, my NSW C38 and VR K steam locos (so that gets me to May or June!   Must look at the box but will publish the list and then tick them off - lists help get things done I find).

Third - Swallow Street.  Long time readers will know this was the BR(S) third rail layout I build and chronicled on RM Web 3 in 2009.  They will also know I wasn't particularly happy with some aspects of it and it is now 2/3rds of the way to being scrapped.  I have plans to redo it - same track plan and scenic aspects but 1 1800mm board instead of 3x600mm boards thereby making it run much smoother.  I am tweaking the track plan in as much as I am putting in a single slip which will move some points closer to the station and hopefully mean one of the signals is easier to see by viewers rather than just the driver!

Fourth - well this is a surprise which will be revealed in the fullness of time!  A third layout (what I hear you say!) is a distinct possibility (well the Australian stuff will need somewhere to run won't it?) but I don't want to over reach (or fill up the shed too fast!)

Fifth - go over my layout which has been in storage for the last 4 years (last run in May 2008) and hopefully have some trains running by February.

Sixth - form a NGS/2mm/BRMA Area Group.

There - that, along with family and work should keep me busy!  Stay tuned and see how I go.