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Weathering track – some thoughts

One topic that seems to come up fairly regularly on forums and Facebook groups is weathering track. I thought I’d do a mini article on my thoughts and how I approach this subject. As always other methods apply.

The prototype

As with any modelling activity you need to look at the real thing if you want to copy it. You don’t necessarily need to understand it and the advice model what you see, not what you think you know applies. If you are modelling a real place then the jobs pretty much done for you but it pays to look at references as close as you can to the timescale you are modelling. Even when track is brand new it actually isn’t. this was taken a few days after they relayed the eastern end of new street.  Note the use of wooden sleepers, not all brand new track uses concrete or steel sleepers. The rails are very rusty and there’s already evidence of the trains using it. The visible colours of he pandrol clips wont last long. Some plain flat bottomed track that to any modeller would be considered clean. things to note are the welds where it was joined, the rail colour has spread to the sleepers in places and some of the ballast is on top of the sleepers. I’ve found when it come to track being really neat isn’t always he best thing.  Its subtle but look at how the 2 rails are not the same colour. The inside face seems dustier than the outside. The weather changes things – the rails look very dark because they are wet. The wetness seems to mask some of the subtleties seen in the previous picture. Around points things have to move and as such they are greased. Note how the grease from the rod passing under the rail has manages to creep onto the web of the rail above it?  The rail dust is visible around the baseplates and the third rail is a completely different colour to the running rails. I include this picture because it illustrates an important point. 2 tracks can be side by side and look different. There are many reasons for this. The tracks might be different ages. The trains might be doing something different depending on the direction they are going. If they are braking then there will be more brake dust. The trains themselves might be different too, loaded freight trains that carry loose material do tend to drop things and push dust along with them.  If your line had a heavy use of a particular type of train then the material itself can affect the look of the track and distort its colouring.  Also track weathering is directional. As the trains move along they tend to push any dust or debris along with them. As we run on the left in the UK the left hand line will tend to look the dirtier of the two when looking away from you. You can see this effect here and it pays to weather your track in the direction the trains are moving for best effect.

Modelling it.

If I am using wooden sleepers then I tend to lay the track first then give it a base coat of a mucky brown colour. I use JLTRT track colour but I’m not sure if you can still get it. Halfords do a decent matt brown in their range of camouflage spray paints which is good as well. You don’t need to be too precious as it is just the base colour. I then paint the rail sides with either Humbrol matt leather (look for tins with the union flagon the side, the others are weird and too green) or Revell 84 before ballasting. You can get a little tool for paining rails that consists of a little roller fed from a reservoir. To be honest I tried it ans didn’t get on with it. A nice flat brush seems much easier. Do all this before the ballasting. Flat bottom track on New Street.  It was pretty new in 1987 and the rails had a distinctly different colour to the bullhead stuff. As its bi directional i sprayed the track from both directions. Firstly with a light coat of Revell 84 and then a mix of gun-metal and black. Note the grease around the fishplates done with the same colour and a simple card mask to prevent overspray. Sidings outside New Street signal box, It pays to have all the scenery immediately next to the track in place before the weathering. Overspray onto these elements is something that would happen in real life.   Note much more gunmetal/black colour where the loco’s stand. Make sure that you repaint the checkrails once you’ve cleaned the rail tops A black sharpie is good for keeping them dirty or you can chemically blacken them as well. Close up of the end of a double slip. Older sidings on Brettell road.  I used my finger to ‘smudge in some powder paint to the ballast to give the less cared for look. Some static grass gives an impression that the yard is losing the battle with nature. While in some cases weeds can creep into sleepers or even force their way through them it pays not to have your greenery on top of them.

Its all pretty simple stuff really but as I said at the start, observation is the key.


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.


Some more road vehicles

Oxford diecast continue to act as lifesavers in the world of road vehicles for more recent layouts.  Yes, they do tend to go for the more exotic (or chavvy) versions but when it’s that or nothing we can’t really complain a great deal.  Hence the Vauxhall Astra – supplied as the Mk2 GTE but still very handy for New Street, the Mk2 being first introduced in 1984.  The middle one shows the quite nice casting once you strip the caked on white paint off!  I know I have gone on about this before but the super thick paint really does the toolmakers no favours. White seems to be the worst culprit.   On the right a more standard version achieved by cutting the spoiler off, filling the vents on the bonnet and tweaking the radiator a smidge.   All finished in a fetching shade of mud brown (why did people buy this colour?)

Also from Vauxhall the Cavalier, also a Mk2 but i think this is the post 1985 face lifted version.   I’ve picked out the grill in black and outlined the window frames. Some light weathering and a blast of matt varnish as is my standard approach with all vehicles.  I also removed the rather naff looking sunroof which was literally just a printed on silver panel.  It seemed to withstand efforts with thinners and IPA so I sanded it off in the end.

Similar treatment for the Volvo which would be a fair bit older on New Street.  A Volvo 300 series would be a nice addition to the range if Oxford are listening!!

Finally an EFE Bedford TK which cropped up really cheaply on Ebay. I brought it just because it was orange as much as any better reason, being in GM buses livery.  The livery elements on this one responding well to IPA.  I’ve just fitted new wheels from RTI and weathered it with a mixture of enamels and gouache.


More mk1s

As coach building continues for New Street, much of it is more of the same and to some extent so is thisnse-mk1

Another Bachmann mk1, fitted with replica bogies and the usual details. Like the rest of my Bachmann based NSE liveried stock I repainted the blue to something lighter which I feel better matches the early vehicles so painted. The IC liveried coach behind was completed at the same time.


revisiting a class 47

One of my early class 47s featured a Lima body on an Athearn PA1 chassis as below. 47433-on-platform-6This was done before I settled on the windscreen modification for the Lima 47 (I don’t think Shawplan actually had done them at the time) so I wanted to revisit it to make the face match the others on the layout. Along the way I had been collecting cheap ViTrains 47s so while it was in for an overhaul I swapped the chassis too.   The results can be seen below. 47433-redo


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/


Sherpas ticked off

sherpas-finalMy 4 Sherpas are now done. Aside from the Royal Mail one the transfers were all drawn up in Illustrator and printed on crafty computer paper. I decided that the paragon models wheels that I used for the minibus were too big so swapped them for the wheels from and Oxford beaver tail transit. As supplied they were no smaller but by changing the types for some from their mk3 escort they look much better. Its worth doing this even if you are keeping them under the transit to my mind. On the subject of tyres I tend to paint them Humbrol 67 grey rather than black. You only really see black tyres in car showrooms or at car shows. sherpas-rear


DCC controlled Dinghams

I originally wrote about this several years ago but since the topic has come up again on a forum I’m going to take a little look back at my thoughts on couplings.

There are 2 schools of thought on the issue of coupling trains together. Something that looks like the real thing, or something that can work automatically. The downsides of these are that the real thing type can be fiddly (and the closer you get to dead scale the more fiddly it gets) and the often bemoaned ‘hand of god’ that seems to be wheeled out as a regular complaint by some forum go-ers. The automatic type doesn’t look like the real thing (unless you are doing some sort of buckeye type prototype) and many of them require fixed magnets and an odd ‘shuffle’ to be performed by the driver to uncouple.  How this shuffle looks any better than the hand of god I don’t really know and to my mind its better to credit your viewer with the ability to suspend their disbelief for a moment while you uncouple a vehicle than for said vehicle to look wrong all of the time!

Problem is with New Street I don’t have much choice. Loco’s will need to be changed and all that overhead along with a shopping centre means that a manual hook isn’t going be in any way practical!   So automatic it will have to be and as only certain rakes will need to be uncoupled some sort of DCC on board solution seemed the obvious answer

dingham-raisedProof of concept. The coupling of choice being the Dingham coupling which will couple to a Smiths hook (not automatically mind you), By fitting these to coaches that have gangways they can be hidden as much as possible and there’s no requirement for a weird coupling on the loco. As supplied the Dingham has a steel dropper that when passing over a magnet is pulled down to raise the loop. By fitting a magnet instead and using an opposing magnet the loop can be raised from inside the vehicle.

electro-dingham-1By salvaging an electro-magnet from a cheap relay and wiring it to a DCC decoder this process can be simply automated. with no power the loop sits in its normal position.

electro-dingham-2But when power is supplied via a decoder function the loop is raised and coupling/uncoupling can be done. It’s all quite simple really!

 

Dingham Autocoupler


The Sherpa can take it!

sherpas-batch-2Long time followers of my efforts might recall a batch of 4 Sherpa vans I did from the kingfisher Miniatures kit. I said at the time that I wanted to do more and after a long wait the kit is back in stock so a second batch has been started.

Sherpa’s were a common sight in my childhood as they were produced locally at Washwood Heath. While my travels didn’t take me over there often I tended to see rows of brand new ones parked up between Tysley and Small Heath waiting for shipment by rail. Public bodies were urged to by British and BR, the Post Office, BT and schools used them extensively over the (better) for Transit. The suggestion was that Ford couldn’t make Transits fast enough to meet demand anyway!

Unlike the last batch which was relatively simple (the conversion of 2 to sliding door variants was about as adventurous as I got) this batch is a bit more involved.  On the left a BT version with swappable body/ The body being a simple plasticard box. Second along what will become a minibus in the livery of my secondary school. This is a bit of a best guess as I cant find a picture of one. We definitely had them and I am pretty sure they were long wheelbase ones. The back of the BT one was used to stretch the body but minibuses were wider than vans so the whole model was cut in half (2 cuts down the bonnet on the panel lines and spread with microstrip before gluing back together.The wheels are from Paragon models.

Third along is how the kit was intended, this one is destined for British Gas livery. Lastly another port office one, tis time long wheelbase and high roof. I remember PO vans being slung round the streets of the midlands with the driver’s door wide open. Careful consideration of where you cut the van bodies mean you can get 2 long wheelbase vans from a single spare shell.

This is the basic surgery stage. The detailing stage starts next.

Kingfisher Miniatures


Going about it all backwards

One of the first kit wagons I built was the Cambrian Turbot. Back then it had super fragile bogies but was, and still is, a decent kit. The current version comes with one piece bogies so they don’t tend to disintegrate as soon as you look at them anymore.

A while ago Justin Newett of Rumney models produced an upgrade kit for the Lima bogie bolster E and since that where the Turbots came from it seemed sensible to use one of these to update my ancient and small buy valtrex fleet of Turbots. (Kind of the reverse of what BR did.)revised-turbotAbove is a comparison of the new underframe and the old. Because of the good design of he kit its dead easy to build although I did have to cur the baseplate in half as my solebars were close together than the Lima model’s.

turbot-undersideThe view no one will ever see! These are the newer type of one piece bogie which Cambrian do as a spare.

Cambrian Models

Rumney Models


New Street, new board

Back in the latter half of last year when Tim and I did the boards for Brettell Road we also cut the next 2 boards for New Street. While the boards for Brettell Road were experimental both in design and materials we didn’t want to jump that far with New Street so sticking with what we know we opted for ply.
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This is the first of the two. A simple rectangle but the awkward part was that the surface isn’t flat as the trackbed drops down as you leave the station. This board will be entirely under the tunnel but I plan to leave a letterbox in the front so you can peek in. The jigsaw shape in the top surface is due to Tim’s cutter not being long enough (he now has one that can do boards this size with ease).
One thing I did forget was although we etched the track plan and cut holes for the point droppers into the top sheet I forgot to include the holes on the bottom one! (note for next time). I also mistakenly glued the back boards the bring way round (hence no jigsaw as Tim kindly re cut it for me on the bigger cutter).

The next board will be similar and will recreate the area I originally did for the plank.

As always, thanks to Tim for his help.


revisited class 86 – the body

class 86/4 jsw etches
Having stripped off most of the old detail I have now got effectively back to where I started! I have replaced the headcode box sandbox filler covers and TDM sockets with my own etches.  The headlight was removed and re-attached straight (Yeah I know) and the jumpers are from a Hornby 50. One thing I didn’t pick up on last time was that class 86/4 had a single body mounted lamp iron like a class 87 and not twin buffer mounted ones like a class 86/2. Not sure why I never noticed this before.


Next project – revisit an old class 86

class 86/4 to redo

One of my early electric loco projects was this class 86/4 built using the Craftsman conversion kit. There are several areas that I need to look at but I am hoping I can avoid a complete repaint on this.

First up the chassis, It will need converting to a Bachmann warship drive as per the rest of my class 86 fleet. I’ve covered this in other places but never on my own site so I will give a few tips on how this is done.  The blanking plates for the bodyside clips are visible so they will need looking at and the sandbox fillers are the early type. The headcode box will need replacing as will the TDM cables and MU boxes (Spare Hornby class 50 ones at the ready). Also the handrails are too chunky and the bufferbeam detail will need redoing. Finally I will need to knock up another reworked Sommerfeldt pantograph which is something I have been meaning to cover too.


A brief return to the 101

You may remember the discussion on improving the Lima 101 turned to the windscreen problem as this is the only area (at least in the body) where the Bachmann model scores over the Lima one. Well a kind-hearted soul sent me some window frames to fix the Lima model and the results are presented below.
improved lima 101 windscreens
I was never that put out by the Lima windscreens but side by side it’s quite a difference.


A spot of reading

Been doing a spot of reading, one book not very Birmingham and one not very railway! The first, Life on the Lickey 1943-1986 by Pat Wallace appealed because i’ve always had a bit of a fascination with the place, particularly Blackwell, My great aunt lived there (still does) and many an hour was spent with my dad and brother on the old platform watching all manner of things cresting the top of the incline. Peaks and 50’s were always the favorite and Peaks in particular seemed little troubled by the long climb from Bromsgrove. Funnily I don’t recall seeing any banking as a kid but in later years we were treated to such delights as 3 class 60s on a steel train. The book covers Pat’s time working the Lickey from engine cleaner to driver including accounts on working the unique Big Bertha as well as in later days such shenanigans as starting a failed HST when the guard wasn’t quite ready and dumping the poor chap into the ballast. I was lucky enough to meet Pat last year at the launch of the book where he kindly signed me 2 copies (one for my great aunt). Sadly he passed away a short time after but thankfully his experiences live on in this fascinating insight to working this well known piece of railway
ISBN 978-1-85858-523-9 www.brewinbooks.com

The second book is Birmingham in the 70’s and 80’s by Alton Douglas and while there is some railway interest such as the derelict Snow Hill A Deltic at Bromford Bridge and a picture of 210002 working the Cross City Line, this book is very much about the city. The Street scenes are just pure nostalgia and these are intersected with newspaper adverts from the time. Ive written before that New Street has become less about the trains and more about the place as time goes on and this book fits in with that view perfectly
ISBN 978-1-85858-511-6 www.altondouglas.co.uk


Why do those with the least to say make the most noise?

One of the side effects of being reasonably well-known is that you attract the attention of the good old Internet troll or two. I’ve had 3 in my time and the all follow a similar pattern. That being a minor disagreement that most normal people just move on from (and I often have to search to try to track down myself as it was so insignificant at the time) sets them off on their self-imposed moral crusade. They then follow you round the Internet trying to have a pop at everything you do. They also nominate themselves as a voice of the people and take great delight in telling you what everyone thinks (of course this is usually accompanied by a host of messages from ‘the people’ telling you that they don’t think that at all!

My first pet troll told me he “had marked my cards early on as one of those finescale types” that ‘his’ forum didn’t need. And to be fair to him he did a good job of getting me banned from that forum for a single comment deliberately quoted out of context. I must say I had never had any negative feedback from the moderating team at that point and no effort was made to contact me or discuss anything by them. I did contact them and eventually I got some sort of half arsed reason for their decision which they couldn’t really justify!

Troll 2 and 3 decided to work together. Troll 2 made a big fuss about sorting me out but sadly any private correspondence to have an adult discussion were ignored and he continued his attacks on the forum. Troll 2 was quite an unusual one as the supportive feedback I had been mostly from people who had met him an found him to be a bit of a plank in real life too! Troll 2 seemed to delight in trying to get troll 3 to do his work for him and tried to encourage him to post my private messages on the forum for all to see. More of that later

Troll 3 has, I am told via quite a lot of unsolicited messages, a bit of a reputation for his own brand of abusive private messages and seemed to spend a great deal of time on Facebook complaining how everyone in his little village basically hated him!

So since troll 2 thinks it so important that the world sees just what I’m like regarding my private messages il, do him a little favour and post them here for people to make up their own minds. The only edits are to remove names and clues to their identity.

It all started with this post on one of the forums

It depends what you mean by “mega star layouts”? Don’t you feel that by saying this that many of the people who have already exhibited at past exhibitions will feel rather insulted by this remark, as you give the impression that you don’t rate past/current efforts compared to your own unfinished layout?

To which someone with a normal degree of common sense replied

I don’t think this is Jim’s point at all. I think the question he poses is rather, among the general modelling public, which layouts are talked about in ‘must see’ terms? I think he’s claiming to be to close to the problem to see the general public’s view.

The reply came back

I’ll refrain from supporting others here then and posting in general in that case. Jim is known for his dismissive posts about others efforts; the Edited layout thread is a classic example. I’ll also retract my offer to make a free professional promotional film edited as well.

All the best
Troll 3

Not wanting to get into a discussion on the forum I sent the below via private message

Excuse me? What have I done to deserve this?

His response is below

Jim,

You know full well why. I’ve never read a single comment of yours, either here, facebook or anywhere else that doesn’t attempt to put something or someone down. Your recent spat with Troll 2 on the name removed thread is just one such example. You were always attacking my non railway stuff on facebook; (i cant recall this ever happening by the way bu this might be one of those insignificant comments that normal people just move on from as mentioned before) I was always waiting to read one positive thing from you. Your comment today edited was patronising and insensitive and how name removed (or whatever his name is) could decipher a hidden code in your message that us lesser mortals were oblivious to is completely beyond me. Again, you start posting a cynical view about my track on my layout thread; all of this just because of that catenary incident years ago! It’s rather sad don’t you think and babyish? I’ve often posted nice and genuine comments about your layout, but apparently these count for nowt where you’re concerned. Why can’t you show a little more modesty and spiritual generosity towards others? Why does this concept hurt you so much? I find it very weird and abnormal personally.

My reply

Name removed

You admit you have constantly read me wrong then? It is you that bring bring up the catenary thing consistently so it is clear that it’s you that can’t drop it. Yes I’ve had a few disagreements with people but I’m not even close to the amount of people you have routinely pissed off. I suggest you look closer to home before you point the finger and drop this pathetic point scoring agenda.

Jim

His response below

Jim,

OK name all the people I have constantly pissed off and why; the catenary shit was you mentioning it the other day. Other than that I only mentioned it once on RMweb – so twice (the second time because you brought it up). You’ve always had a problem with me; fuck knows why (although I have several ideas) but my advice to you is, do one. Find somebody else like you; sad; desperate for attention; egocentric with a very lonely pathetic life in a grotty basement in the Midlands, to unleash your miserable troll existence on. We don’t all give a shit about your huge sprawling self important layout like you think we should, and we don’t all spend our every waking moment building railways and trying to prove to an uninterested world how great we are(n’t).

Tight lines

My reply

I’m very happily married thank you and I don’t have a basement. You presume to know a lot and consistently get things completely wrong.
As for attention seeking egotists, remind me how many times you repost the exact same pictures you’ve been posting for the last 3 years again. I have said positive things about your layout but not every time you repost the same bloody thing.

Like I said, best not point the finger and prove my point

And that’s it. Not sure what I’ve done to deserve his ranting other than not tell him how great he is often enough! I am very aware that its poor form to post private messages online but since troll 2 is a fan of it and one of his mates did exactly the same to me on a forum I had no access too (even going as far as unlocking a thread just to score points – that’s a fine example of moderation for you!)

I hope I’ve removed enough identifying comments from the above and I must point out that any comments that do identify these people will also be edited. Perhaps trolls stand out because they are so rare and I might even be in a minority of only having 3!


Display shelves

20141106-195926.jpg
Above is a couple of test shelves I did for a demo at DEMU earlier in the year. A variation on these shelves is now available from Tim Horn. If you missed the demo I will be doing a similar one (also on multiple units at next years Scalefour North. I’ll post details nearer the time.

click here for a link to Tim’s site


Peak performance

Those who have been following my efforts for a while now will know I really like class 45’s.  However the model ones seem a bit lacking in performance especially when it comes to road-holding. The problem is usually down to the pony trucks which are really just along for the ride in a flopping about kind of way.  I wonder if RTR steam loco’s have the same problem?  The problem is to my mind two-fold.  1 – staying on the track, they are just too light and while there’s some rudimentary springing its more of a token effort than a real attempt at a solution.  2 – no side control, a pony truck should lead the bogie into curves and without some sort of side control thats just not going to happen.
Peak pony truck
The solution? These rather natty sprung pony trucks from Rumney Models. They also provide side control and a handy ballast box to get some much-needed weight in there. For more details see www.rumneymodels.co.uk


New(ish) technology or modelling witchcraft?

New technology, there are those who embrace it or those who reject it or seeing it as cheating in some way. It’s not a new phenomena or even restricted to railway modelling, I remember such discussions when digital illustration started to appear. With a hobby of course it’s up to you how you pursue it. Do you want the end result to be the best it can be or do you enjoy the route to the end result more? No one is ‘right’ in such circumstances but if someone choses to embrace new technology is it fair to accuse them of cheating in some way?

The finescale end of the hobby has always had a reputation for valuing the journey over the destination and for a long time detailed or converted RTR was frowned on as not proper modelling by those who scratchbuild stuff when in many cases the RTR looked much more like it was supposed to than the scratchbuilt stuff anyway. In reality though the finescalers have usually been the ones to embrace new technology and ideas first and the current crop of high quality RTR is largely down to people wanting something better. You hear it all the time, we’ve never had it so good and it’s probably true but things don’t get better if people just accept what they are given – they have to ‘want’ better too. It’s probably worth at this point mentioning that we never had it so good 20 years ago and we will probably still be saying it 20 years from now. Does anyone really believe that the current crop of RTR is the best we are ever to see?

So to the point – Laser cut buildings. Already people are saying that its cheating, that you just push a button and a building pops out of a machine but in reality it’s just a very very clever scalpel and while I believe the end result is better is it any easier or quicker?
20141010-120514.jpg
What you see above is a simple canal bridge drawing for Brettell Road. Its drawn in illustrator and while I have used some time-saving tricks like custom brushes for the arch and a custom fill for the brick pattern it seemed to take a lot longer than just getting a sheet of brick plasticard and cutting it out. The thing is though I could convert the pattern to lines (expand appearance for those interested) and then tweak it. For example I could easily recreate the half width header near the corners in an English Bond wall while doing so with plasticard would have been a massive faff. In fact I wonder if anyone has even bothered, I know I didn’t think it worth the effort!
20141010-120530.jpg
Above is the actual wall loosely positioned on its canal bed and towpath. The top row are routed and cut by Tim.
20141010-120539.jpg
However laser cut can be a bit clinical. For the towpath I wanted a cobbled section but also a dirt section to – the finished cut was attacked with files and sandpaper to roughen it up. Going back to the point of New technology and illustration, I always thought, if Michelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci had Photoshop would they have used it? Id bet that they would!


Transit, nearly there

20140920-232312.jpgWell thats another transit van nearly done. Just need to add a tax disk and wing mirrors.


Filling the stock box.

Perhaps its a bit of OCD but I find if there’s a gap in a stock box I have an urge to fill it with something. In this case I have a gap next to my TTA’s and the easy option would be to buy a Bachmann one, fit springs and a new walkway and bobs your lazy uncle! However things don’t work like that and while browsing Paul Bartletts wagon site I came across these!

Something a bit different and yet not in a stand out “look at me” way. A couple of cheap Hornby TTA’s were found and cut in uneven halves to make the barrel 3mm longer. I know I have gone on about the Lima Mk2′ s being too short and how I’m not all that bothered and yes the difference is about the same but it pays to think of these things in terms of context and percentages. Context , I need a lot of Mk2s and I don’t see a huge gain for the effort in a large fleet, where as I’m only doing one of these. Percentages – 3mm over a coach is a lot smaller percentage error than 3mm over a wagon that’s less than half its length.
20140915-144738.jpg
The chassis is scratchbuilt (it’s not exactly complicated) from evergreen section with suspension from Wizard models, Buffers are from the Southern modellers group.

Also in progress is another Mk2 transit van. I’ve been meaning to do a LWB high roof bus for a while in BTP livery to park outside the station (that’s where the BTP offices were and there were always police vehicles parked there). However an out of the blue request* has led me to a short version instead . The ingredients are the usual mix of Corgi Mk1 van and ABS fronts with a hefty bit of drilling and filing.
20140915-144723.jpg
*More about that in a later update.


A spot of reading

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Been doing a spot of shopping, first up are a couple of new(ish) books by Kevin Derrick and published buy Strathwood. I’ve always liked class 25s and 45s so the these books are right up my street. A4 hardbacks and full colour they are essentially picture books with a very brief intro. That’s fine with me as other books dealing with the technical sides of these locos are already out there and do we really need a repeat? Besides pictures appeal to my, ‘what does it look like, I don’t care how it does what it does’ approach to things.
What I like about these 2 books is that effort has been put in to showing different livery variations and in the case of the Peaks nameplates (including the painted ones). Add in there’s some nice New Street shots in both and I’m more than happy.
£19.99 each website

Sometimes an impulse buy can lead to a whole load of trouble. In this instance I’ve always liked Jintys and indeed I scratchbuilt a body for an n gauge one as a kid. It was a bit rubbish to be honest, ok a lot rubbish and the fact that it was scratchbuilt couldn’t save it from the bin! However the Great British Locomotives collection have just done one and for less than a tenner I couldn’t resist!

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This is how it came out of the packet although I did reattach the bufferbeam so that it was straight. The magazine isn’t really one, more of a stand alone article but I was surprised that it’s quite well done with some good images and illustrations.
In the real world steam wasn’t allowed in New Street in my era so the above would never have happened but it’s good for a little flight of fantasy.
The problem is I’ve found myself looking at the Brassmasters detailing kit, as well as the High Level chassis kit. Also thoughts of a small diorama based on some sort of industrial setting and set at night (and in the rain). This is not a good thing!


Room for a 101?

So far Bachmann have done quite well with their first generation DMUs. OK the mould lines on the 108 cab were not ideal and the oversize metal chassis block is a poor design decision but they fill a much needed gap in the RTR market place. Not so their latest offering offering as the 101 is already available and given its Lima origins isn’t bad at all. Of all their DMUs the 101 is the the one that Bachmann could least afford to drop the ball on but sadly it seems they have. Given that this is the first DMU thats a victim of the new price structure it’s a bit of a double clanger!
I feel I must take some responsibility for some of the online fuss as I may have been the first to point out that the bottom of the main windows and the door windows all line up on the model when they shouldn’t. One online commentator went to great lengths to draw lines on photos of the model and the prototype that show the error very nicely (although in a bizarre piece of manufacturer brown nosing he then try’s to convince us that the model is right)!
On its own the window error isnt much but it’s one of those relative errors that just screams out at you. Lima themselves seemed to have a good understanding of this and while literally everything on thier earlier 117 is wrong it all works together so it looks ok. Correct one thing and suddenly it looks worse than when you started!
A few years ago the obvious thing to do would be to combine the strong points of both models to produce something accurate. Lima body on the bachmann chassis and while that’s fine for something like a class 25 where your outlay can be less than £50 do we really want to be forking out close to 3 times that for a DMU?
So given that fixing the bachmann 101 is going to be quite difficult, the easy route this time is just to fix the Lima under frame. People have remarked for years that it’s bad because it’s just a box with surface detail but lets think about this for a second. What is depicted is about right it’s just that the holes are filled in (you can see where this is going can’t you?)
Option 1 the quick fix
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Ok this is a total bodge but all I did was weather the chassis and repaint the ‘holes’ in matt black. It was only ever meant to be a temporary fix but it’s stayed like this for a good few years now. I have also replaced the undernourished Lima bogies with spares from the Hornby 110.
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It’s not actually much more effort to just drill out the holes and tidy them up with a scalpel or circular saw in a mini drill. I’ve re-added the tanks from bits of plasticard. With hindsight I was never going to replace my Lima 101s anyway but if I were to buy another I’d definitely be looking at buying a cheap second hand Lima model than feeling the need to have the latest thing.