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Brettell Road

DMU project – Done!

One of the things that struck me as a bit weird with the pics of the class 103 underframes I showed last time was that the bogies seemed to be too far inboard from the ends.  The class 103 (and class 110 for that matter) have bogies centres of 40 feet but Hornby have them set closer to 38 feet.  This is not something I’ve ever seen mentioned before with regards to the Hornby 110.On the trailer and the none powered end of the DMBS, because i had used Brassmasters bogies it was simply a case of moving the bogies out. Originally the mounting plate sat neatly inside the moulding (although raised by some 100thou evergreen strip.  Now they sit outside of the moulding by 20thou as can just be seen in the picture.  At the powered ens U opened out the floor at the inner end and simply bent the forward clip of the bogie to push everything back (the sideframes aren’t the best fit to the power bogie and were way to stiff before anyway!).

The bogies have been backdated with bits of wire and microstrip.  Happier now.   With that, some paint, the seating modified and some LEDs, aside from some windscreen wipers I can call these done.

Class 103

The roof vents were kindly printed for my by my friend John Chivers and I extend my thanks.

Class 129

And finally both units together.


The last few DMU’s – Part 2

Attention has moved the the under frames of my DMU project. As I mentioned when building my class 114 the easy option for the 103 would be to stick with the 110 under frames and I would expect most people wouldn’t notice.  However as per my 114 project that wont really do.

The DMBS.  Its easier to start with a center car chassis than a power car as when you cut off the Hornby details it gives you a flat floor to work on rather than just a hole. The battery boxes are from Replica and most of the other (black) bits are spares from a Heljan class 128.  The white bits are scratchbuilt and the buffers are from Lanarkshire models. The heating ducts on a class 103 are quite distinctive as is the way the exhausts are routed past the inner bogie.

The DTCL I must add a note of thanks to Eddie Knorn for his assistance in helping me work out were the bits all go.

For the class 129 the obvious thing to do would be to mount the body on a Bachmann class 105 chassis.  However the class 129 chassis is a bit different to a normal cravens unit and shares some parts with a class 108, especially the distinctive battery boxes. So most of these one came from a Bachmann 108 with again some scratchbuilt parts  Buffers and their stools again come from Lanarkshire models.

With all these there is still a little more to do before paint, namely bogie steps, air horns and lamp irons.


The last few DMUs

Long time followers will recall this old picture of a Hornby Class 110 DMU that I intended to chop up into something a little more ‘local’.  With the acquisition of a Bachmann Derby lightweight as a gap filler it kind of fell off the radar a little. I did debate doing another class 100 but in the end I have decided that a Park Royal class 103 would be the target of my attentions.

A little about the prototypes

These units were introduced in 1957 to the Birmingham LMR region. 20 sets were produced and the last vehicle in passenger use lasted until 1983.  A few vehicles survived a little longer in departmental use (Derby RTC Lab5 lasting until 1991) or as a Sandite unit (1985).  There was another oddity in that one set was converted to a Viaduct Inspection Saloon.  This was withdrawn in 1978 but was saved for preservation.

The 20 sets were all allocated to the Birmingham area for their first decade operating mainly Walsall services before moving on initially to Chester then spreading further afield. Although none standard they did use the blue square coupling code so could work with the majority of other DMU types. Pretty early on they started to suffer from cracking in the bogie frames and their poor reliability saw steam hauled services return to many of their diagrams while the problems were sorted out.  Aside from the oddballs mentioned earlier they only carried 2 liveries. Green (with or without whiskers and later with a small yellow warning panel) or BR Blue (small panel or full yellow end). None received blue and grey livery.

The Model

The similarity between a class 103 and the class 110 is reasonably obvious and (as with my class 100 and 114 conversions) the desired result can be achieved buy cutting parts out and shuffling them around, Plus a few spare panels from previous projects.

The above diagram may be of assistance. The red lines are cuts or areas than need to be removed.  The orange areas are surplus and the blue areas need filling in.  On the driving trailer everything aft of the last door stays the same as the class 110. I didn’t cut into the roof.

Initial stages of assembly.  You can see the additional panel from another body shell in white.

Face on you can see where the windows are opened up to match the class 103. The new frames are 10 x 30 thou microstrip secured to the inner edges. Incidentally in working on this conversion I have come to the conclusion that the class 110 windows aren’t right as supplied. They need to be wider and the angles tops need a slight curve.

The 2 body shells after a coat of primer and more work with filler. The angled tumblehome Hornby used has been rounded off and any missing hinges replaces with etched ones from Southern Pride. I need to add another cental filler to the DMBS yet.

Why do one when you can do 2? 

While in a DMU kinda mood I have started work on a class 129 DPU using a DC kits body kit.

A bit on this prototype as well

3 of these single car units were ordered from Cravens by the LMR.  These had a none standard coupling code (yellow diamond) meaning that the could work with the original Derby Lightweights. Introduced in 1958 they lased until 1973 with one going to the RTC initially for brake testing but later for hydraulic transmission tests and gaining the name ‘Hydra’.  None of the 3 survived into preservation. Although 55997 was initially allocated to Walsall it was 55998 that was most often to be found working int he Birmingham area during the late 1950s mainly on New Street to Walsall, Wolverhampton or Coventry services. Later it would regularity continue on to Rugby and one slightly unusual service was Alrewas to New Street with produce from market gardens.  As with the other DPU class, class 128 they would regularly pull a tail load.

The Model

Charlie supplied his class 129 kit with a standard class 105 cravens DMU cab moulding (no doubt tooling up another cab just for this class of 3 units wouldn’t make a huge amount on commercial sense).  So there is a little work to do to make it closer to the prototype, mainly removing the destination box and moving the marker lights down. I elected not to use the supplied flat bass etch for the route indicator box and made my own from microstrip.

The main bodyshell assembled with extra little details.  On something so plain sided it pays to add these little things to break up the sea of grey plastic

 

 


More thoughts on Brettell Road 2 but not kinda not at the same time

A while ago I shared my initial thoughts on extending Brettell Road.  For those that missed it click here.

The initial plan required some modification to the Left hand end of the existing layout but otherwise it was pretty much an add on.  Then the coronavirus happened and while plans were firmed up no wood was cut (lazered) and its not progressed to any kind of physical reality.  In that time my thoughts have turned to correcting the first regret, that being that Brettell Road 1 wasn’t double track to begin with.  This would also have the benefit of replacing the mainline track bed with ply as initially I used MDF.  The layout was only supposed to be a play thing if you remember.

This would require some additional tweaks to Brettell Road 1 but actually not as drastic as one might think.

Starting with the left hand end, where the new boards would attach to the existing layout in addition to the track.  I was actually quite generous with the track spacing and the double track would fit with only a slight tweak to the wall shown by the arrow. There’s another advantage here as my first plan would involve splitting the single slip across the baseboard joint but the double track pulls everything further in to the layout meaning the entire slip falls on this board. No changes would be required to the bridges.

At the right hand end there’s a benefit to slewing the track away from the front of the layout with space then for the second track in front of it.  The plan is to extend the furthest siding a little while shortening the front one a smidge.  This would allow me to start curving the front wall just after the canal bridge to generate the extra space.  I will need to build a new bridge. None of these tweaks are particularly drastic.

Below is a mock up of how it would look.


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.


A slight diversion

One thing that’s always bugged me a little about the above image is the coupling rods on the class 11 (left). I cant remember why but I used the Brassmasters standard rods rather than their finescale ones. Well I finally got around to swapping them over.

Another little distraction is this Bachmann anchor tank wagon.

A simple wheel swap with a new etched discharge wheel and new ladders from Stenson models.

A bit more of a ‘proper’ project was this diagram 1/163 iron ore hopper from Wizard models. Quite a neat little project this one.

Finally, i don’t want to remind anyone but the nights are drawing in again!


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.


Another ‘tweaks’ post

Bit of a random post this time but I have been revisiting a few things. Be warned though these are all really subtle and if I didn’t point them out I suspect no one would ever know.

Starting with the safety valves on my prairie. As supplied it was a pretty flat dish with 4 blobs to represent the valves. A bit of drilling and some wire gives something a little better.

I’ve also gone back (again) to my Dapol railcar for another little tweak.

As its not all that obvious I have fiddled with the bogies a little. Some 3x4mm triangles and some microstrip was used to change the sideframe shape to something more accurate. I also got a spare set of sideframes and cutting the springs and axle boxes of the new ones, filing down the old ones and sticking them over the top had given me more relief.

Sometimes its nice to look back at where we started to see how far we have come.

While i was in a railcar kinda mood this is my detailed Lima one. I haven’t done anything to it, it just tends to avoid the camera for some reason.

Austerity hides at the headshunt. Again no tweaks just a piccie.

Now this is properly subtle. I have revisited the layout with some Tamiya smoke and AK wet effects to see if I could increase the wet look a little. The smoke provides the darkening effect of the rain.

It a little easier to see on the light walls of the pub.

The thing is I know its darker because i knew what it was like before. In order to give fresh eyes something to compare it with I needed a few areas of contrast.

By the warehouse i can leave the area under the canopy dry to give the contrast I was looking for.

and at the other end the areas shaded from the rain by the bridges. Its important to make sure the rain falls in the same direction. So the buildings don’t have smoke applied to the sheltered walls. Its the area above where I feel the effect has come out best.


A little something I’ve been dipping into.

One little project I have been dipping in and out of now and then has been the station buildings for part 2 of Brettell Road.

This is the smaller building. The real buildings at Brettell Lane were wooden but of a GWR origin. As Brettell road is more midland I used the Ratio (previously Parkside) LNWR station panels. These or similar were used in the Birmingham area so that was near enough. The canopy valence and supports are from London road models and the poster boards from N brass. The chimney is from Unit models.

The side in the first picture faces away from the public so rather than have a blank wall I decided to give the viewers a sense of being inside the building. (it is supposed to be raining remember, who wants to stand outside?)

The main building is the same but bigger. The above image gives a rough feel of the look im after. I actually shot it like this because I haven’t done the roof yet!

I have mentioned in a previous post the idea of letting the layout have little bit of a life of its own. Originally i was going to use the name Brettell Grove not Brettell Road so why not an old station nameboard with the original name?


Back to the canal.

Back in the early days of Brettell Road I represented rain falling on the canal as seen above.

Over the years however the effect of this became lost so I have revisited this area of the layout to get the effect back. Also to make the canal look a little more downtrodden. I have used a thin layer of clear resin and the same baking soda in wet varnish trick as I used originally. Results are below.


Those little Mainline iron ore hoppers.

Anyone modelling in 4mm scale for any length of time has probably come across the Airfix/Mainline/possibly Dapol/ Bachmann 21, 22 or 24 ton Iron ore hoppers. Based on a Charles Roberts version with the standard, at the time, stretched to fit compromises to fit a generic 10ft wagon chassis. They do however make a good little project for ‘tarting up a bit’.

Geoff Kent wrote a great article about just such an exercise in MRJ 182. I have however deviated from his sage advice in a few areas.

The hopper is easy with 3mm cut out center but offset to the side of the bracing to hide the cut. For the chassis I cut it into 3 parts to retain the middle detail. Geoff thinned the base and removed the top of the chassis on his models but I decided to cut the base away around the edge and mount the chassis flush with the top. The chassis being a Parkside 9ft example.

The door closing gear was knocked up from microstrip and a few bits of brass., Shiny bits on the chassis came from Ambis, Mainly Trains and Bill Bedford.

After a light weathering. I still need to add the rain effect yet mind you. The ladders are from Stenson Models.


Last tweak to the presentation.

With Brettell Roads new roof design the last thing to do was remove the original pelmet.

I have to admit I wasn’t expecting that removing it would open up the layout quite as much as it has.

This is the view from my eye height. Obviously this higher angle wasn’t available to me before now.


Just a gallery post (no need for words)


RTR wagons

I’ve been looking at a few RTR Wagons recently from Bachmann.

Slope sided mineral. I really like the chassis design on this one as the brake gear is separate and for P4 can be moved out to line up with the wheels with just a little bit of trimming. As well as my usual gouache approach for rust I’ve also tried out some weathering pencils from AK interactive. I won’t go into any detail on those as yet as I’m still getting to grips with them.

Bachmann’s presflo’s are a lovely little model with just a change of wheels, couplings and buffers required. The buffers on these were very odd and I’m not really sure what they were supposed to be so I have used Accurascale ones in their place. I’ve also added more weight as they hardly weighed anything as supplied.

Im not a huge fan of textures in weathering as I believe they often look too heavy in 4mm scale but on these wagons the dry concrete could often look really caked on so i used talc in wet paint as part of the process.


Return to the roof

A while ago I showed a picture of the framework for Brettell Roads new roof. I was going to have this done for Scalefour North but given the Covid-19 crisis the show was canceled and the urgency to get it done went with it. However I have turned my attention back to this with thoughts on the material.

The first material I brought was just too heavy so i didn’t even try to use it. The weight wasn’t something i had really considered. This is the second material, much lighter but it let too much light through. On top of that my efforts were too scruffy and would have bugged me if I left it.

So this is material 3 – Much happier now and with the help of my wife much neater as well. The image shows it before I finished the front off and the supports will obviously need to be darkened.

The above image shows the lighting on the layout pretty much as the eye sees it. Not as dark as before but still obviously night time.


Bashing Buildings

When it comes to building I admit I tend to just get on and scratchbuild them. Part of this is due to ignorance of whats actually out there but recently I picked up a couple of Wills kits and have had a go at these instead.

First up is the kit for a lamp store. You actually get 2 in the kit and these are for the slightly different GWR design but can be adapted to something more ‘midland’ pretty easily by shortening the sides to form a 6ft square structure. I cut out the door and remounted it flush as well as replacing the roof with thinner plasticard. On the other end I added a few extra window bars (see below).

The other kit was for the ‘station garage’ which i have chopped about to give a industrial looking wooden building. The roof again is plasticard (the wills stuff is quite thick) and the vents are from unit models.


Brettell Road 2

As the song goes, regrets, I’ve had a few but unlike the song I am going to mention them. With Brettell road pretty much finished off thoughts have turned to what to do next. Before anyone asks, New Street isn’t calling me back at the moment.

Brettell road was only supposed to be a play thing for home, but much in the way of New Street which started with the idea that you could model the western end station throat in 8ft, Brettell Road went a little bit wrong.

It was designed like an exhibition layout but not as an exhibition layout if that makes sense. In the urge to get something done and 1950’s midland railway practice being alien to me at the time there was one major aspect of the track plan that I have always regretted. You see, for those like me who didn’t know, the Midland had a thing about facing points, especially coming from passenger lines onto goods loops and yards. What they preferred was a single slip and the train would pass the slip. Back up through the slip onto the wrong line before proceeding into the yard. Had I known this at the time (or more accurately been bothered to find out!) I would have done the Brettell Road main line as double track and used this arrangement. For the operational interest as well as its not really something you see done on models.

The other regret is about proportion. You see for an exhibition layout that’s 16ft overall but only 50% or 8ft scenic I feel the proportions are off. If it was 24ft with 16 ft scenic then a viewing ratio of 66% sits much better.

And so, presenting Brettell Road part 2. An extension to the original incorporating a station and yard based very loosely on the real Brettell Lane. Doubling up the track on the existing 2 board is still a none starter but with minor adaptation to the track work at the left hand end of the original I can get the single slip in and get in the operational interest I missed the first time. The yard will rise slightly to be level with the platforms which is something I’ve borrowed from the features of the yard that was at Kings Heath. I plan to do the station in the very last week of service to keep with the run down feel (hey no one really expected this to be pretty did they?)


A quick win, relatively speaking.

With my ongoing Duchess build my thoughts turned to a little quick win project (also with Scalefour North coming up at the end of March). I said relatively speaking in the title because a few years ago I would have likely considered this quick win as a bit of an undertaking but there you go. When we were at the Wakefield show with Moor Street, my attention was drawn to a cheap Lima GWR small prairie tank loco. They were not common at all on the Stourbridge to Wolverhampton line but their larger sisters, the Large prairie were somewhat a mainstay of the line.

I know Hornby are doing a new model but a dirt cheap Airfix example was found (none runner) along with a comet chassis and I set to work.

Stage one – body detailed and the chassis built. I modified the pony trucks a little and sprung them using a method outlined by Dave Holt (see here). The original smokebox door was too small and a few extra details were added to the body. After this picture was taken I also reduced the height of the safety valve bonnet.

A quick blast of grey primer and a liberal(ish) dose of archers rivet transfers and the body was read for the paint shop. A few images of the finished result follow.


Why we still need books.

Although they have apparently been around for a while now I’ve only recently come across the Locomotive Portfolios series of books from Pen and Sword.

Presented in an almost square format and hard backed at 250 or more pages they seem well detailed and have a very large number of pictures (some in colour). From what I’ve seen so far I will be keeping an eye on this series.

While on the subject of books one of this things that had drawn me onto Brettell Road and away from New Street for the last few years is research. Its a side of the hobby that I really enjoy and I feel that New Street was becoming less about learning stuff and more about producing stuff. That’s not to say I knew all there was to know, far from it but I would go as far to say I had a pretty good idea where to find stuff.

With Brettell road it was all familiar but at the same time so different and its this that has drawn me in. Its a railway I knew but clearly didn’t know at all and it definatley ticked my learning stuff box.

One thing that really surprised me is the reliance on books. Its easy, now we are well into the 21st century to think we can get all we need online but the truth is that is far, far from the case. Yes the internet is great but when you are a somewhat detail obsessed railway modeller looking for a specific thing its next to useless. The information just isn’t out there in the digital world and i wonder if it will ever be? We will always need books.


Local Flavour

This post can best be described as a taste of local flavour if not the full meal itself.

Anyone familiar with railways in the Stourbridge area will be aware of the Parry People Movers that operate between Stourbridge Junction and Stourbridge Town. Little 4 wheeled railbuses that spend their days shuffling along the UK’s shortest passenger branch line. The line itself is still jointed track meaning the ride is somewhat best described as lively! While famous now for these little vehicles Stourbridge didn’t really embrace the railbus idea the first time around, The line begin operated by autotrains and GWR design railcars at the time railbuses were being tried elsewhere.

However as Brettell Road is a loose interpretation I have gotten hold of a Heljan one as a nod to the little people movers. This was always going to be a nice to have rather than a need so having kept my eye on eBay for a cheap one, just on the off chance, this AC version popped up as a non runner with a dodgy motor for less than half the price the runners were going for.

The motor was replaced with a small Mashima I already had. One of the drive shafts was bent out of shape too but as these little models are very heavy for their size I binned that and now its just powered on one axle. For what it needs to do that seems absolutely fine.

I’ve fitted a Zimo MX634D decoder in the space in the roof linked to a TCS KA2 stay alive hidden behind the door and weathered it, The wheels are Branchlines 3ft using the original gears and bushes. You do need to grind a little bit of the chassis away to get them to fit. A couple of passengers and its good to go.

Same idea – different generations!

Another bit of local flavour. The yard crane at the real Brettell Lane was a bit of a chunky affair. In line with my upcoming demo at Scaleforum on making the most out of older models, I’ve come up with this representation using the Airfix dockside crane as a start point. The jib is scratchbuilt from plasticard. I’ve only seen a few distant pictures of the real thing so this is very much a loose interpretation.


J94 Project – Done!

When I picked up my nearly finished J94 kit it came with an already assembled Branchlines Gearbox. Try as I might I just couldn’t get on with it. For some reason it seemed to have very little torque but this wasn’t sacrificed for speed as it didn’t really have much of that either (perhaps the energy was being used up by the noise it generated?). So admitting defeat I swapped it for a High Level Road Runner +. What a difference that made!

Another little problem I came across was the lack of space between the inside motion and the springs I fitted on the front 2 axles. I had used a short handrail knob in the same way that the advocates of CSB systems use but it was all just a little bit too tight for comfort. So I ditched that and just soldered a couple of springs to the inside of the chassis – Number 10 guitar springs for the center axle and number 12 for the front bearing on the top of the axles. Anyone with any kind of knowledge of how things should be done are probably reading the rest of this post from behind a sofa but it works so that’s fine in my eyes!

Anyway its done so here’s a few pictures.

Here’s a very short video of the inside motion at work

Below are a few evening images.

Another little video – this time a spot of shunting. There’s a few stutters which I am hoping a little more running in will iron out.

Finally one of those unplanned shots you sometimes get when you are focussing on something else and they just catch your eye. A simple line up of coal wagons.


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.


What ever happened to…

Way back towards the start of this project I posted the above image. The little black tank wagon at the far end was a Peco wonderful wagon kit and avid follows of this little adventure might notice nothing has really been said of it since.

It was pretty quickly joined with a companion and the pair have been lurking near my workbench ever since. Well now they are finally done and ready to go. Modifications to the original kit were to replace the w-irons with Bill Bedford ones. New ladders from Stenson models and new handbrakes from Ambis. I didn’t really like the mounting rods as supplied so these were replaced with 0.6mm brass tube. The ends being flattened with pliers. The walkways came from my spares box.

The crane has its runner from a Cambrian kit. Its a little freelance is based loosely on an image of a similar but steel wagon I found on Paul Bartletts site at Bescot. The steps are spares from a Bachmann class 25.

Before i settled on the Cambrian route for the crane runner I found an image of a diagram 1/001 lowfit that caught my eye. Built by BR they had a LNER style body on an LMS style chassis. Bachmann do this RTR but the chassis is completely wrong so its been replaced with a Parkside one. The mineral is diagram 1/119 21 tonner from The Chivers kit. (Tim had some lying around when I last went over). This wagon would be very new in the Brettell road period. This is also the upper end of my build it rigid approach to wagon building. Any longer wheelbase than this and I tend to go for springing.

Speaking of Tim we have been working on a curved version of his display shelves with a few design tweaks such as the more solid locking of the ends and little clear ‘buffer stops’ for the ends. The 4mm scale versions are ready to go, see Tims website.

Finally a co-bo on a parcels train for no other reason than why not?