Sunday, 1 March 2020

On Becoming an Author

In the last 2 months I have had two articles published. The first was in Issue 121 of Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Modelling Review. The second was in the March 2020 issue of 009 News.


The articles were written for slightly differnet audiences but both were an overview of the layout, how it came about and how it got to the state it has. Needless to say there is a very nice feeling of accomplishment, otherwise known as smugness, that the work done is of sufficient quality/interest to be included in these magazines.

I have one more article in the making but I need to finish the model I am writing about. More to come in the future! 

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

The first cut is the deepest

The Kenavon show has been and gone. The layout ran very well though the Earl definitely prefers travelling anti-clockwise. A couple of couplings and lead weights came off when I was packing away and I also dropped a cattle wagon which broke into 4 parts but all were fixed in a 15 minute session on Sunday.

The one obvious problem was that I had previously made some card tunnels to prevent light getting in from the sides but they have warped slightly and because I made them too small the stock was always hitting them. There is absolutely no way the coaches are going through so new ones need making before the next show.

I also need some information for visitors to read. I was asked the same questions over and over again so have ordered some acrylic stands to go on top of the layout - the advantage of a layout with a top! The bookmarks I had ordered were a great success, I gave them out to all the children and some adults as well.

The next show is Nailsea at the end of March and that is likely to be a much tougher test of the layout as it will be its first 2 day show. I possibly have enough stock but I think one more engine would get the roster up to something that can accomodate one or two failures without having to repair on the fly. I also should finish the coaches but I sense some serious procrastiantion going on there...

I've had the kit of Triumph from the Bowaters Paper Mill complex, now preserved as the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Railway, in the stash for a while along with a spare Bachmann 2-6-2 N gauge loco. The kit is meant to go on a Minitrix 2-6-2 chassis but I used the Bachmann under Joan and it is a very good runner.

As always, there is some initial work to marry up chassis to footplate and some significant cuts had to be made to open up the footplate to accomodate the block of the motor. Hopefully it will be worth it.


I was not aware of the Bowaters Mill Complex until recently and it looks a fascinating prototype, not least because they also had the engine Monarch which went to the Welshpool and Llanfair where it performed equally badly and a kit is available...

Sunday, 9 February 2020

How an impending exhibition focuses the mind

The exhibition season is about to start. Melin Dolryhd is going to appear at 3 exhibitions in 3 months. Over Christmas I made great progress on coaches but then January came and all I can say is that I am glad January is behind me. It was a month of calamity in the Taylor household and progress on hobbies came to a very solid halt!

Now with 2 weeks to go till the first show of the year I need to make some progress. The layout is fine as it is and there is always detailing to do but I am short of trains to be comfortable with a one day show and am definitely short of stock for a 2 day show should any of them feel the strain.

Joan is back available though still needs detailing. Hopefully it's plates will arrive in time but it made sense that since Joan is a preservation engine of the WLLR then it should haul a preservation train so a hunt of ebay and hey preto, an instant train.


Having set the time period of the actual layout to 1912 I have a few more options in terms of stock. Bolster wagons, flat wagons and sheep wagons all existed by this point in time so examples of all are in the paint shop waiting to be completed. First one completed are the sheep wagons.


If any more wagons are finished before the first show then it will be a bonus. For now, I believe I have enough stock to run for a day.

I wonder if anyone will notice but these pictures were taken on my new phone. Up till now all pictures were on my Panasonic DMC-TZ60 Compact Zoom which is a great camera which I used because my old phone had a rubbish camera but I've upgraded my phone to a Samsung A40 and it is nice to once again have a phone with a decent lens in it.

If you want to know which shows I am attending then please pop across to the website or Facebook page.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

And Then There Were Two

Not yet at the full complement but with some perseverence the second coach is now in the same state as the first. The confidence of having worked out all the issues on the first coach showed with how quickly this one went together.


I'm using Lilliput bogies under these coaches but the couplings on the bogies were fouling the underframe and everything else is Greenwich so I ordered some Centre Point Couplings from Sven at Tramfabriek and they were really quick to put together and they just work.

I have the third coach to build but I am short of bogies for those. I have some Banwy ones to try but I'm not sure I want to mix and match now that the Lilliput ones have proved effective. Can I sneak some more modelling time tomorrow to get the full set - I might even play the album to celebrate!

Monday, 30 December 2019

Letting the passengers sit down

I've had a WLLR coach partially built for a while. It's one of Worsley Works scratch aids. It's certainly caused me to do some scratching of my head as I worked out what I needed to do. I've had the basic shell built for a while but have kept putting it off going to th enext stage. There were definietly a mixture of reasons in there from being unclear on the next stage, unclear how the roof was going to be done and also the soldering wasn't going that well.

I decided I needed to fix my soldering first and invested in a new temperature controlled iron. I suspect that all I needed was a new bit in my 25 year old Weller iron but new bits are a similar price to a new iron these days! I also decided to stop using multi-core solder and started using some Carr's solder I had in stock. I've always used Carr's green flux. It made a huge difference or else I was just more confident.


The first job was to take off the false flooring on the verandas as it was making the railings too high. then I was able to fix the railings relatively easily, if you ignore the burnt finger. At least it was only one finger. I still have memories of 40 years ago catching a falling soldering iron by the hot end. That hurt and necessiated a trip to the school nurse - do they still have those?

I also soldered in some brass nuts to hold the fixing screws for the bogies. Now I need to work out what height the coaches should be and whether there is enough space for the steps on the end.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Burgundy instead?

That's better. Matt came up trumps, again, with a can of Ford Burgundy Red. The engine did require stripping back to bare metal but the effect was worth it. Thankfully Christmas, for me, is one of those times when I can settle down to some modelling so I have cracked on and got Joan repainted. the photo is cruel and shows where the brass banding on the domes has not come out as well as I would like but in normal use it gives the necessary level of colour.


I had ordered soem nameplates from Narrow Planet but they are too large. I was surprised when I ordered them that plates for this loco weren't available as a set. Guess what I found today when reviewing their site. Ordered and will hopefully be delivered before the first outing of the layout this year.

If you are interested in what shows I will be attending then head over to my website or Facebook page.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Now that's what I call Red

Yesterday was a chance to get stuck in and put Joan through the paintshop. Spraying is so much easier, and ultimately quicker, than brush painting. The order of events was:

  • mask off all the black areas and spray the red
  • 30 minutes later another coat of red
  • 30 minutes later remove the masking
  • 4 hours later mask the red and spray the black
  • 30 minutes later remove the masking
All kept in the airing cupboard to keep it nice and warm. Is there any other use for the airing cupboard, I ask myself? And the result is...


too red. It was the only spray red in the humbrol range and it looked okay in a small amount but on the model it makes it look too toy like. Now I need to find another source of red and decide whether I am going to over spray or strip it back - again!

On Becoming an Author

In the last 2 months I have had two articles published. The first was in Issue 121 of Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Modelling Review...