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fiddly details

Compound finished off.

So back to the Bachmann compound then.

The body  looks pretty much spot on to me and the firebox Bachmann had modeled suits the loco I have chosen to do. 40925 was a late survivor and based at Bournville so that’s local enough  for me.  I added the lifting points to the front frames and the large pipe coming from the smokebox. This is an exhaust steam injector and not all compounds had them. As far as I can tell they were only fitted on one side, that being the side opposite the driver (compounds came in both left and right hand drive versions).  The smoke box has been painted in Revell no9 and the difference looks a little stark at this stage.

The ejectors are the Bachmann ones cut down, again refer to a pictures of your specific loco as these varied a lot. There’s a connecting rod that appears to go from the back of the ejectors to somewhere near the slide bar support bracket. In the pictures that show this well it always looks extremely close to the face of the rear bogie wheel. I decided the best way to replicate this was to mount it on the actual bogie instead.

Crew from Modelu – the driver looks distinctly uncomfortable straining to see. As the compounds had very large cab roofs I haven gone for a rain sheet on this model.

On to the tender

The body Bachmann supplied was a later Fowler type with coal tunnel and doors. Of course the loco I had picked had the earlier type without them. Luckily Brassmasters do a conversion kit and coal rails so that was what I used. The floor in the Bachmann model is flat so I knocked up the coal chute from plasticard.  Incidentally the supplied handrails are absolutely fine and don’t need replacing. They had to be on the one side for no other reason than I mangled it!

So the model has been weathered (to look tired but not scrap line) and aside from the wheel balance weights I can call this one done.


The Bachmann Compound – part 1

I found a relatively cheap Bachmann Compound recently and thoughts have turned to what to do with it.

Lets start with a little disclaimer. Alan Gibson supplies a set of wheels to convert this loco to P4 and I would have every confidence that just swapping the wheels would get a p4 steam loco up and running pretty quickly. After all a 4-4-0 has got to be about the best case scenario you could really ask for. I didn’t try it myself but we’ve had a wheel swapped GWR Grange (I think) running on Moor Street for years now.

Being relative new to RTR steam locos, this is actually my first RTR tender loco I’ve had since i was a kid, there’s always 2 areas that stand out to me as looking a little weak on pretty much all RTR steam locos. No, not the wheels although big, in your face, wheels do perhaps yield the greatest benefit of swapping to p4 visually. The areas I am talking about are bogies and tenders. More specifically in the case of the latter, tender underframes. They just always seem so, for want of a better description, flat!

The bogie

So to the bogie. There was nothing about the supplied RTR one that i wanted to keep so its a straight swap with a Comet example. As supplied they can be built with central springing for side control but no springing on the axles. Setting some simple springs up however couldn’t be easier.

The loco chassis

To the loco. I decided I wanted to use some of the Comet chassis bits but not exactly as intended. So the first process was deciding what of the RTR offering I wanted to keep and what I wanted to replace.

I wanted to use the sideframes in a sort of Brassmasters easychas inspired way and keep the original Bachmann drive. Initially I thought the crosshead was just an RTR bodge but they do actually look like that. So that and the cylinders were keepers. I also liked the brake gear so that stayed.

The Comet chassis is not designed for this model and is too long. The wheelbase between the driving wheels and hence the coupling rods are also too long. Comet do specify this is the case on their website. The Bachmann frames are actually the right width at the front of the loco but narrow from the cylinders back to accommodate the 00 wheels. The cylinders look, from underneath that they might fit on little pegs coming down from the footplate. They don’t, they slot sideways into the chassis. Its best to pop them off and keep them safe.

I decided to split the chassis behind the forward step to loose some of its extra length. The front part being a relatively easy fit. The rear part needed some trial and error to cut away little sections to get it to fit. The Bachmann model is driven on the front driver ( it looks like the chassis was designed for gears but to both axles but it doesn’t have them), so the Comet chassis was carefully titivated so that the rear axles position matched. I wasn’t too worried about the front driver as I has decided to keep it rigid.

By leaving the RTR style bearings off the rear driving axle you get a little room for vertical movement. A Brassmasters sprung bearing was modified with a bit of tube (the Bachmann and hence Alan Gibson axles are an odd size). The frames were glued in place using 60 thou plasticard to space them out to something more prototypical. The springs are part of the RTR keeper plate so they are too to far back but I decided to leave them as is.

The brake gear needs a bit of modification to fit over the new frames and it was here that I hit a little unexpected snag. Bachmann use bigger wheels than scale. I wonder if this is because its a development of the national railway museum model which being an earlier example had bigger wheels? Anyway the effect of this is the brake gear sits too low and would likely hit the rails when crossing pointwork. The solution is to take a mm out of the top of the keeper plate so that everything moves up a little.

Valve gear

Lets be honest RTR valve gear is generally a bit weird. Its often both too big and to thin at the same time. The Bachmann coupling rods are about scale height (ignoring the bosses which are huge!!) but being only 1 piece of metal aren’t thick enough. So these were discarded and the Comet ones used in their place. Suitability shortened by 2mm.

The connecting rods as supplied are quite good though. Much more meaty and they feature the big square bosses that the Comet ones don’t, so hybrid valve gear it is then! The Bachmann crank pins are 2mm wide (really!) so a bit of tube was soldered in to make them fit the Gibson crank pins. While I was at it I made another 2 collars for the trailing driver a the coupling rods on a compound are outside of the connecting rods.

On to the tender

Body great but underframe – ugh!

Luckily Lanarkshire models do a replacement chassis kit for a Fowler tender. This was assembled as per the instructions. For the outer frames I was kindly supplied a spare etch by Brassmasters and mated this with some Comet springs and axleboxes. I decided to keep the Bachmann steps as they are moulded as part of the tender body.

As is often the case with this sort of stuff, the most pleasing view is the one you wont ever see!


A somewhat unfocused post.

Something that always bugged me about my Heljan class 27 was the somewhat odd buffers. A long time ago i got a set of replacements from Sutton Loco Works and its just one of those things I never quite got around to. Well now that little job can come off the list.

Finished the roof of my station building – just need a layout to plant it on!

The gutters are a recent introduction from Modelu. I found they don’t like superglue at all but stick very nicely with liquid Poly (in this case Tamiya extra thin).

Popped back to my Kirtley to pick up a few things that irked. The loco to tender gap has been tightened up a bit and the rain cover tidied.

Crew from Modelu

Bit more off a proper project this one. A clasp braked 16 ton mineral from a Parkside kit on a Rumney Models underframe. The only down side to Justin’s stuff is it looks better not painted! A few pics below for history.


Project Coronation – Tender part 4

Progress on my tender build continues. This is the front end with some of the detail started.

And the rear end.

Inside showing the fire iron tunnel and and the coal pusher which is a 3d print.

Below are the some images of the tender in its nearly complete state. There’s still a few bits I need such as the ladder etc but focus will now shift back to the loco.


Some Steel wagons.

The diesels have escaped to Brettell Road again. Actually its just a convenient photo background but there you go.

New Street isn’t known for its freight operations but there were some services booked through the station on a fairly regular basis. Normally late at night and of those steel traffic was quite common. To that end I have recently finished off a few old Cambrian bogie wagons that have been lurking in my half started box for a while now.

First up a BDA. When I started this model there was no Stenson Models so sometimes, letting a model live in the half started area for too many years works out as a positive. The little kit for the braking gear lifts the model. I’ve used Jon Hall etched bogie inserts with the cambrian bogie sides but if you want better, sprung bogies with nicer sideframes then Stenson models do those too.

I replaced the supplied bolsters (when i say replaced I actually mean lost!) with microstrip which better suited the wooden ones fitted to the earlier conversions anyway!

In a not entirely unrealistic scenario, a class 56 heads towards Round Oak.

BAA also from a Cambrian kit.

… and a BBA.

Although my Yorkshire DE02 is part of the Brettell Road fleet they were still very much around in the late 1980s and still in their original wasp livery so this scene isn’t implausible either!


J94 project – something a little different.

Several years ago now DJ models appeared with much fanfare (Although only in one place if we are being completely honest) and announced a brand new J94 model. This was of interest to me as 2 of them were used by the NCB in the local area. While it would have been a nice to have I was never going to go for the RTR effort but i did hope that if it was good enough it might see a few unstarted Brassmasters kits appear which would be a little more up my street.
In the end this didn’t really happen so the idea was kind of abandoned until the good folk at Brassmasters mentioned they had a unfinished test build of their kit somewhere. Money changed hands and a slightly different style of project was formed to what I’ve done in the past. 

So this is what i was presented with (albeit with a Giesel chimney that i replaces with a RT models casting) and a little box of spare parts. I’ve never finished a half started loco kit before and with no instructions and not knowing what bits I didn’t have it was going to be a bit of an adventure.

The easy route would be to just add the body detailing and finished what I had but the chassis was missing most of its representation of valve gear and I didn’t have any of these bits in my little box of spares.

The chassis as supplied.

My friend Les supplied me with a copy of the original instructions (which sort of helped a little) and members of the Scalefour Society forum kindly provided pictures of the etches, some finished models and some prototype pictures so I set to work.

The detailed up body, using prototype pictures as a guide.

The Chassis. I used a Brassmasters inside motion kit, shortened by 3mm and simplified. The prototype locos seeming to have a much more rudimentary arrangement than the LMS locos the Brassmasters kit is intended for. I also couldn’t use the original central pivoted rocking beam compensation so I have sprung the front two axles from a central pivot on either side instead.


A little wander around.

The point of the above picture is nothing more than the drainpipe.  Yeah so what? you are no doubt thinking, we’ve seen this stuff before!  Well you would be right but modelling this sort of stuff is now a lot easier thanks to some useful bits from Alan at Modelu.  See here.  I still need to add the actual gutters yet.Speaking of Modelu a couple of Alan’s figures discuss the latest delivery of real ale to the pub.  The chaps umbrella is actually a parasol intended for Z gauge.  The lights and indicator on the lorry do work as can be seen in this little video of a wander around the layout.

For those who like to see things, here’s a daylight version too!

Finally a couple of images starting with Brettell road trying to impersonate a small depot somewhere!


Return to the factory

Although the factory was essentially finished for Scaleforum it lacked the clutter that gives it an ‘in use’ look.  Unless the workers were meticulously tidy I suppose. So I have gone back to make a bit of a mess.  The image above is the before shot……and the after.  I’ve added a wall and gate to the entrance. The old lorry was featured earlier. The wooden boxes are from 4Ground models. I knocked up a rudimentary travelling crane from bits of brass and plastic. The discarded machine tools were 3 d prints and originally intended to go inside the building but I thought they were a bit too nice to hide away so I weathered them up an dumped them outside. Another crane from bits of brass and some basic yard lights.  Below are a few images of the factory at night.  The yard lights do provide a bit more light to the centre of the layout.


HEA steps

As you may be aware my friend Phil has taken over the wagon bits and kits side of Colin Criag’s useful range and set up Stenson models. Its hoped this will grant Colin more time to develop stuff as well as new things Phil wants to develop himself. One of the new bits is this rather handy etch for the HEA steps. Phil has used some good thinking in the design ensuring that the end result has a neat and robust way of actually attaching to the wagon (some purveyors of etched bits take note).  The same steps were found on the MEA and MFA wagons too.  One down 17 to go!

 

http://www.stensonmodels.co.uk/

HEA steps and instructions


Grampus test etch

A few years ago I was working on a fleet of grampuses (yes that is the plural before anyone asks) for New Street but the project stalled when I decided i wanted to etch new baskets, door bangers and steps for them. This has been on my to do list for a long time but things have changed in that time and when Justin at Rumney models said he was thinking of looking at the same I dropped my plans in favour of just waiting for his. I don’t see a lot of point in duplication in this hobby (although some of the RTR chaps seems a little obsessed with it at the moment) especially when I’m just doing bits I want and someone else is doing bits as part of their business. I’m more than happy to let the guys doing this for a job get on with it basically.
Justin has kindly sent me a test etch to try out and the results of which can be seen above. There is, of course more detail to add but a this point if what you see is plastic it’s from Parkside. If its metal then its from Rumney models. The wagon the right way up (I’ve straightened the bent door banger). Justin is hoping to have these ready for September so keep checking his website. I’m going to need a fair few of these!

Rumney Models Website.


94xx tank – thoughts on the footplate

With the chassis complete and test fitted thoughts turn to the footplate. Left hand side. One little point to mention, I mounted the valve gear rivet backwards on the coupling rods as the hollow appearance seemed to match prototype pictures better.

I tend to carry forward things from one project to the next and stuff I’ve worked on before seems much more obvious in the future. In this case the splashers are too big and the rear one is in the wrong place. so these will need changing. Somewhere in the history of owning the model the forward footstep has broken off and been long lost. The lower part of the firebox is much wider than the upper part – no doubt to accommodate the RTR mechanism. So this will need looking at. It also means that the details on it are all a bit flat. And after!  I filed up new forward tank supports from a bit of H section. The forward steps are from a mainly trains etch, I replaced the steps under the cab too and the rear-most steps are knocked up from a bit of brass. The splashers were cut off about a mm from their base and remounted. the ones behind the toolboxes coming from a scrap chassis I carefully cut away the lower firebox sides – leaving the front bracket in place and made new sides from plasticard. The injectors were an enjoyable little project, soldered  up from bits of brass and tube.   Below is a close up of either side.


trying a little tenderness.

I never planned for Brettell Road to be populated with anything other than tank engines but as with most things I have planned it’s all gone a bit wrong!  So…

brassmasters-4f-chassisI present you the Brassmasters easychas for the Bachmann 4f, not that its going in one mind you. I found a picture of an interesting little loco at Saltley in one of D.J. Nortons West Midlands books and there was a ancient kit for it too. However the chassis supplied is literally 2 bits of brass with 6 holes in it. It wasn’t really going to do!

The chassis has been built kind of as intended although I needed to shorten the tender wheelbase a bit. I also added a few Alan Gibson frame spacers to the chassis and a high level gear box (smaller motor is in the post) . The p4 frame spacers were a tad wide and I wonder if the EM ones might be better if you are following a similar approach?

inside-motion-paintedHaving never built a tender loco before and figuring if you are going to do something you may as well go for the ultimate solution (or potential failure) I decided to have a go at Brassmasters working inside motion too.   It certainly ticks the fiddly details box that’s for sure but was fun to build.

inside-motionThis is what it looked like before fitting to the chassis.    But what loco is it you might wonder?

kirtley-mock-upA Kirtley goods, I was attracted to its ancient appearance. These loco’s (the 700) class were introduced in 1869 and the last one made it to BR as 58110 being withdrawn in 1951 when she had seen 71 years service!  The body and tender (shown losely mocked up) are the Keyser kit and the kit itself is nearly as old as I am.  I’ve removed the springs to be replaced with something a little more refined and shortened the footplate so that it doesn’t overhang the bufferbeam, All the rivets have been sanded off, the ones on the  smokebox were too crude and the tender of 58110 was flush riveted in the end.  I’ve also reduced the with of the tender footplate slightly to add some 0.7mm L section from Eileens (the actual prototype being very thin in this area and nothing like the chunky cast floor thee kit comes with.

 

 


Containers and other things

I picked up a few Parkside container wagon kits at Scaleforum and over the last week or 2 I have been putting them together. Along the way a Bachmann example was added too as it was cheap and had the smaller container that I was after.

conflats-in-progressAbove are the Conflats themselves, the 2 on the left being the Parkside ones and the 3rd the Bachmann one.   The first one is built as intended with the usual additions of buffers and brake pipes from Lanarkshire models, safety loops from Bill Bedford and tie bar from Eileens emporium. (I’ll come back to the chains in a moment).   The second one uses the Red Panda underframes as a lot of those pictured on Paul Bartletts site (link here) seemed to match this configuration. For the Bachmann one it looked a bit of a faff to sort out the underframe as the brakes were set for 00. Strangely Bachmann had the wrong brake levers on either side meaning that the brakes wouldn’t actually work anyway as lowering the lever would pull the shoes even further away from the wheels! A Parkside chassis is the easy option and I had a spare from the second wagon. conflat-underframesAbove is a view of the different underframes. You could go much further than this if you wanted too but this is a representation of what I feel you can see in all the gloom. If you did want to go further then the obvious start point would be one of Justin Newett’s excellent etched chassis but even if you didn’t he puts his instruction on his site anyway and there’s some good references and info on how it should all look. Well worth clicking here! The wagon at the front is the BR clasp underframe. conflat-fine-detailsI mentioned earlier that I would come back to the chains and to my eye Parkside have been too delicate in the details on this kit. There’s a tendency to think that finer is better but I don’t think it works here. The chain I used is 23 links per inch from Langley models Which as supplied has quite round links with a twist to them. You can see the original shape on the container on the right. To get them to the more lozenge shape it’s simply a case of putting one end of a length of chain in a vice and pulling the other to stretch it. Nothing cleverer than that!   The lifting shackles on the roof were also too fine and were replaced with spared from Justin’s Bogie Bolster E underframe detailing kit.  In case you are wondering the wagon on the right was destined for the smaller container which is why the raised links are towards the middle. conflat-rakeThe finished wagons – Both large containers were sprayed with Halfords Rover damask red. The apparent difference being due to the weathering. I might be stating the obvious here but it pays to weather the wagons and containers separately meaning the weathering process is earlier in the build than normal. conflat-close-upThe shackles are from Roxey models and use the same Langley chain links. While a little fiddly it does mean that they can be assembled without resorting to the soldering iron! I didn’t use the supplied eyelets for the containers as I felt they didn’t really look much like the prototype pictures I was using so I just used a bit of fine wire instead.   Once the chains are in place it worth treating them to a thin coat of ZAP thin CA (the pink bottle) to set everything solid.

lowfit800I’ve been doing other wagons too. Above a Dia 1/002 Lowfit from the Red Panda kit.

lms-mineral

D2109 LMS 16t mineral wagon from the Cambrian kitbanana-vansA couple of Banana vans – Wrenn bodies on Red Panda underframes with additional details. 20t-brakevansAnd finally a couple of brake vans – on the left the Airfix kit with Bill Bedford springing and extra details. On the right Hornby RTR.

Some handy links

Parkside Dundas (also for Red Panda)

Cambrian Kits

Eileens Emporium (also for Bill Bedford)

Langley Miniature Models

Roxey Mouldings


making a start on the left hand upper side.

I was recently asked for a track plan but I thought a satellite style image was better so here it is.
brettell road satalite viewWhile the left hand end is coming along pretty well the right hand side is looking a bit neglected so more building work is required, starting with…
quick-win…a bit of cheating. This is actually to go behind the large warehouse on the left and is a blatant short cut. The reason for its existence is an excuse for the chimney, perhaps when the warehouse was a factory in its previous life it had a small steam engine or something? In truth you will only see the chimney so I could have missed out the building completely or just used a box but I had an old Hornby water tower so why not just use that instead? I knocked up a new roof, gave it a light dusting of red primer and blanked of the windows with a bit of scrap ply I just need to paint the door and weather it. little-industrial-buildingNo such short cuts on the more visible bits though.  This little building is based on a picture I found on the brumpic site. Construction is 2mm card clad with plasticard while the arches are left overs from New Street. The steps are plastruct and microstrip. pub-frontThe real life Brettell lane and surrounding area has an awful lot of pubs so I decided to have one on the layout. Construction is the same as above and the windows are modified Brassmasters ones. The roof slates are from Mr Horns laser cutter. pub-rearThis is the rear view in roughly the position it will occupy on the layout. I knocked up a little store hut too. pub-close-upI find things like guttering to be strangely therapeutic. The actual gutters are half round brass from Eileens while the rainwater downpipes are 1mm brass with a single strand of electrical wire double wrapped to form brackets. Experiments have shown mounting the gutter brackets on top of the wall is the most robust way to secure them with the roof adding extra reinforcement later.


illuminating secrets

yard-lampWhat we have here is a typical midland type yard lamp from RMLectronics, link here They kindly supplied me an incomplete model as I wanted to change the flat ladder supplied (an understandable commercial compromise) with one of Colin’s 3d versions. I felt the light was a bit white so I painted the LED with some revel translucent yellow. The effect of this can be seen below. lamps-comparedAlthough Brettell Road is basically a personal plaything there has been interest in it going out to an exhibition or two at some point. With this in mind I have included a couple of viewer friendly hidden details in the warehouse for those who like a good look at little details. hidden-lorryFirst up a lorry unloading scene using a modified base toys lorry and a couple of Airfix platform figures painted to look like factory workers. hidden-craneSecondly a hand crane included to give a suggestion of how goods get from one floor to the other. This is very loosely based on one at the SS Great Britain museum in Bristol (well worth a visit if you are in the area. There are a few remains of the railway there too along with some old wagons that are also worth a look.)


who let the cat in?

Picking up where I left off last time, a few more dark pictures.

old-signal

hiding-shunterI’m sure we have all had the frustration of glancing something interesting out of a train window but it being hidden away so that a proper look is impossible?  That was the idea behind this image.

I’ve been building more wagons too. 16-tonner More of the same! Another Airfix 16 ton mineral wagon and another 12 ton LMS diagram 1832A van from the Cambrian kit. (C101)standard-vanI’ve done a Cambrian single plank wagon before too (diagram 1987, kit number C93) but the last one was a fitted example. The Standard 12 ton van, diagram 1/208 is a Parkside kit and is an upgrade for one of their older models (PC07A)french-mineral-wagonA few more Parkside kits. The ‘french’ mineral wagon is one of their older kits (PC22) but I liked its quirky look, the prototypes for these were built just after the war . The 7 plank wagon is a 1923 example with fixed ends (PC73)GWR-vanAnother Cambrian diagram 1667 5 plank open (C57) along with a Ratio GWR van of some description (v23 I think) this wagon is a bit of a freebie. I brought some cheap ‘random’ ratio bits and included in them was the sides and ends for 2 of these, the roof for 1 and no underframes.  I had a box of underframes that I picked up from somewhere else so this wagon was born! coke-hopperFinally for wagons an ancient Three Aitch Mouldings kit for a LMS 20 ton coke hopper. Built with Bill Bedford W irons.   I know Hornby are going to do one of these but building a kit is much more fun!

gwr-railcar-at-brettell-roadA slight diversion as a GWR railcar trundles past!

warehouse-WIPMy warehouse is starting to look a bit more like a building now. The canopy is another old Arifix kit adapted to suit. I’ve mentioned before wanting to depict some life inside this and the following pictures hopefully do that.warehouse-lower-floor-3 warehouse-lower-floor-1 model-mooMost of the figures are Dart castings ones with a Bachmann gent thrown in. The last picture is the reason for the title of this entry as the cat is modelled on my own cat Moo!  Anyway remembering that Brettell Road is set in the rain, Moo has obviously snuck in to somewhere nice and dry!

 


Dave Hewitt

Long time readers will have seen mention on many occasions of a little company called Unit Models. When I first came across them they did a range of resin bits mostly for US modellers in HO scale but what a range it was. Noting spectacular but they produced no end of useful little bits and pieces for people who scratchbuild buildings and the like. Things like vents, wall fans, lockers etc. The sort of stuff that was a bit of a ball ache to scratch build yourself. signal-box---pre-weatheringThe roof vents you see here are from them and as they didn’t do the exact ones I needed Dave was only to happy to do some for me, he didn’t even seem to charge any extra for them either!  Well Sadly Dave passed away recently and the business is up for sale. I hope someone picks it up and continues to produce this specific but invaluable range of bits and bobs and its sad to see such a lovely chap taken from us. My thoughts with his friends and family.

http://www.unitmodels.com/


moving stuff around

I want to depict some sort of activity within the current building or at least evidence of it either about to occur or that it’s just occurred (luckily the vans will block the view when the place is the most active) . So I need some way for my mini workers to move stuff around.
barrows

These barrows and sack trucks are from Scalelink and depict items of Midland origin. I thickened up the wheels on some using old handwheels from various etches as a single etch didn’t seem thick enough. On the larger sack trucks I couldn’t figure out how the mount for the wheels was supposed to fit, you can see my best guess on the one lying down. On the others I just mounted the axles on plasticard blocks as mounting them on blocks seemed to be more in keeping with a picture of something similar in LMS miscellany bu H. N. Twells. the wheels on the last barrow were supplied as a flat etch so I used some of Colin Craigs handwheels instead as they had a better look. I think the rear wheels are actually too far forward now its built mind you.

Incidentally the brown used for these is from Halfords range of camouflage spray paints and would make quite a good basis for general track colour if you are looking for something for this.

forkliftA spot of research showed fork lift trucks to be a lot older than I thought they were so I figured that the owners of the building had got hold of one to move stuff around. My idea is that the building was originally a factory of some sort but now being used as a warehouse so a make do approach seems more sensible than everything being designed for a purpose.  Anyway this is a JPG Models kit backdated to look like a generic earlier forklift. I ditched the safety cage and added a grill on the side and some vents on the back as it seemed that the earlier fork lifts tended to be more like this.


Signal wires and a spot of playing.

rods-and-wiresIve recently been adding the signal wires to the layout. The wheels are from Brassmasters with the majority of the actual wires being from easyline. The posts are made from 1mm strip with 0.7mm brass rod for the pullies. old-rampAs with the point rodding I wanted to include some leftovers from the branch line, No wires but some pullies and posts along with a rudimentary walkway over the now long gone wires. deeley-bwThe abandoned building is now fixed in place too, a bit more work needed to bed it in but here’s a pic of the Deeley tank simmering away in front of it.  Ive done a little video of a spot of shunting that shows all of the Brettell Road loco fleet (so far) the limp you can see on the deeley was caused by one of the rods being a bit too long, now corrected.


More brass bashing

deeley-frontI’ve been busy fiddling about with more etched kits. This time a Brassmasters kit for the Deeley 0-4-0 tank engine.  It’s all gone together pretty well with just a few areas that needed a tweak or 2 to get right (if that’s down to an error in the kit or my ham fisted effort to bodge it all together ill leave up to you).  For the benefit of those who might want to try the same kit i’ll share my findings.  On the valve gear the connecting links (part A36 in the kit) are too long and needed reducing in length by about 1.5mm. While the eccentric rods (parts A37 and A38) are also too long and needed shortening by about 3mm.  I didn’t bother using the supplied buffers and new etched heads and replaced them with some A1 models sprung oleos. (part A81) Don’t worry as I know the real loco didn’t have oleo buffers but the A1 models ones don’t look much like real oleos anyway.deeley-rearI found adding the rear lamp irons to be a bit of a faff and lost some anyway. Its much easier to use a bit of fine strip to form a lamp iron with a long foot so that you have something to hold on to while soldering them in place. I decided to make the roof removable by soldering some scrap etch to the edges so that it can be gently sprung into place under the sides.  Brassmaters supply the sides for the earlier flush sided loco as well as this one. I prefered the look of the later ones as it looked more antiquated somehow.deeley-sideI’ve never done valve gear before. The instructions say that valve gear rivets make the job easier but I elected to use brass pins with the heads filed down and located out of view. A slip of cigarette paper and a drop of oil means that the whole lot doesn’t solder together in one big, rigid lump.  I’m pretty pleased with how it came out if I am honest.


One of those finished things posts.

The advantages of working on more than one project at once is that, firstly, I don’t get bored and secondly every so often you seem to finish a lot of things together.  This is one of those instances with several things that have featured recently have reached the finish line sort of together.

loading-gaugeMy loading gauge has been painted for a while but now its been planted too. I love stuff like this as its one of those things that I hope disappears into the scene and becomes unremarkable. Perhaps once in a blue moon someone will notice it but, much like the real thing I like stuff like this just to be ‘there’. It’s not supposed to get people’s attention. (don’t worry about the big gap under the wall – that’s not been permanently attached yet)Thames-and-AustinMy Ford Thames and Austin A40.  The colours of the Austin have a somewhat obvious Birmingham influence. Cartwrights was a furniture store in Brierley Hill but I have no idea if they used Austin vans or even if they had any road vehicles at all. ex-coke-wagonThis was a quick win project – Started life as a Bachmann Coke wagon which I imagined was sold to Round Oak and had the coke rails removed. I just liked it because it had a local livery and i’ve never done a distressed private owner before. The lettering was attacked with one of those brass brush wheels in a mini-drill and then the wagon was weathered. The w-irons needed a but more work with the mini-drill and a burr to get the wheels in but this was really minimal effort modelling! DE2-paint-1And so to the big project of the last few weeks – the DE2 shunter.  I have to admit I didn’t relish the thought of painting its striped livery but by using some 4mm making tape from a company called Jammy Dog it wasn’t too bad at all. (click here for their website)      A few more pictures below.DE2-paint-3 DE2-paint-2coal-emptiesThis is the sort of train I had in mind for the loco – Pushed up the hill with the loco at the rear and no brake van. I will need to add a shunter to the front wagon at some point.

van-train-bwFinally another moody shot of the Jinty heading out of the yard on a train of vans.


Yorkshire Engine DE2 part 2

de2-build-complete-2I can call the build stage of this project complete. The chassis is all wired up and runs and all the little fiddly bits are in place.de2-build-complete


More vehicles, greenery and a first for me.

more-commercialsThe above 2 vehicles represent a return for me in a small way in that both come from manufacturers I have used before and in both cases I was a little bit disappointed previously . On the left an Austin A40 from Road transport images who I used before for a dodge cab on New Street. In the case of the dodge cab I felt it was a bit too rounded and didn’t really capture the look of the real thing all that well but I must say I’m much happier with this little van which was an impulse buy at this years Scaleforum. This is one of their all in one kits which is unusual for them as they usually sell all their bits separately so you can build the vehicle you want. Road Transport Images

The Lorry is a Ford Thames from John Day models. In this case my previous experience was with a diesel-powered Transit bus and again I wasn’t all that impressed. This model couldn’t be further from the transit though as its much better cast with very little work to do. I swapped the supports in the bed for wire as they were a tad scruffy and the bed and cab both needed a little bit of evergreen 40thou section to make them fit a little better but I like it! John Day Models

unloved-trackI decided that the track in my little yard looked too neat so I have attacked it with some powder paint (rubbed in with a finger then sealed with Klear) and some weeds. I’m much happier with how it looks now.
loading-gaugeAlthough I don’t have a goods shed I do need a loading gauge. I’m reliably informed that these were used to ensure that wagons leaving the yard were within gauge and not as some sort of protection for goods sheds. The above example is a typical midlands one and started out from the Smiths kit, I filed off the moulded lifting gear and replaced it with some spare handwheels (from Brassmasters) and bits of wire and brass.
weighbridgeI mentioned in the title a first for me and this is it. Not that i’ve never built a weighbridge before (Although I haven’t) but i’ve never actually built a kit building before. When I was a kid my dad built some for me, usually Airfix kits and Linka, but all my buildings have been scratchbuilt up to now. So in the interests of breaking new ground this is a Wills kit. I turned the door over as hinges on the outside indicated it opened outwards which seemed a bit odd to me. I also filed off the panels on the end and rescribed the bricks and fancied a brick-built chimney but it is still a kit building. Oh and the guttering is bits of brass from Eileens!

Finally, you may have spotted earlier that Ive bedded in (most of) the abandoned warehouse, a few pictures follow:abandoned-line warehouse-bedded-in


Point rodding and hints of the past.

Signal detector
What you see above is a representation of a detector for the ground signal on Brettell Road. It was knocked up from scraps of brass using photos and Steve Hall’s articles in MRJ 113 and 115. I always enjoy fiddly details like this even though I know it will go unnoticed to most people.
There’s only going to be 1 point on Brettell Road that’s operated by the off scene signal box, the rest being operated by hand levers. However I wanted to include remnants of what was there before meaning the double slip would have been operated either end with facing point locks. Also given the distance a couple of compensators will be needed so while it’s not exactly complicated stuff it is worth doing.
My chosen route is the Brassmasters etched bits with rodding from MSE. I have also included the odd rodding stool where the rodding has been removed to help with the idea that it’s not so much added to the layout as taken away.
Point rodding compensators
Most of this stuff is quite basic if a bit fiddly. Above are a couple of compensators. The ones supplied are cosmetic and don’t move and that’s fine for the disused rods as per the one on the right however with only 1 run that does anything it would be rude not to make it work. Ok it’s driven from the point rather than driving the point itself but let’s not worry too much about that. 2 Brassmasters compensators were used to make the one on the left with the centre arm from one and a few brass pins meaning it will move when the point it thrown.
All in a fun little project.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QrJsLczids&w=600