Sunday, 25 August 2019

Second Hand Wagons

I picked up some wagons at Pewsey and, along with some others in the stash, I decided a quick cleanup and repaint and we'd be good to go. The emphasis was on quick but it wasn't to be.

A week later some of them are clean enough but most still need work. Soaking in Stripit removes a layer of paint but doesn't touch the next layer or the several after that. All the wagons have been painted multiple times with thick paint to the point where I knew the detail was there but couldn't see it clearly. Of course I broke a couple of brake handles in the process but I have spares of those.

It did get me thinking about the practicality of second hand over new. I paid £6 for a wagon compared to £10 for the new kit price. So I exchanged £4 for the tedium of stripping paint, prodding it out of crevices and having to repair broken bits.

If the wheels need replacing, at £6 a pair, then it is definitely a lost cause. Hey ho, I might look more carefully next time at how much work it will take to refurbish!

Monday, 19 August 2019

Pewsey 2019

That went well! Pewsey was its usual great exhibition and I was pleased that Melin Dolrhyd behaved itself. Most of the stock ran well and my good friend, Matt Kean, brought spare stock to use which was really useful. We had the occasional derailment but all the obvious issues that were exposed at Swallowfield had been fixed and we were able to enjoy ourselves.

Here's the obligatory photo of The Earl on a good train showing how the tree sort of camouflages the entrance/exit line.

I was asked if I could do a video so as an experiment I produced this. I'm quite happy with it for a first attempt. Next time take the tripod!

Sven van der Hart came across with his new loco, Bob Telford's Ashover Railcar.

Sven does some exquisite modelling and I was honoured to have him use my layout to showcase his latest model. More photos of this can be found here. Sven's website is here.

Lastly, I spent money. 5 second hand wagons off the society stand plus a job lot of replacement wheelsets to fix the worst offending wheelsets that are on my stock. A quick tally showed that I have 12 wagons and 3 coaches partially built. Time to finish them!

Friday, 9 August 2019

Quick, do some work, there's an exhibition coming!

The bi-annual Pewsey 009 Meeting will be happening on Aug 17th. You can find show details here  where you will discover that your truly has been invited, or was that coerced. Never mind! I'm taking Melin Dolrhyd so I thought I should do some of the jobs I had planned since its first outing.

The first job was to hide the layout exit a little. My stash of trees is looking a little empty but this one did well enough though I think I need to do some work round the base to make it look less out of place.

The second piece of work was to add a little more detail round the Mill garden in the form of someone working and a gate and fence. There's much more to do here but I currently expect this to be the only person on the layout!

Lastly, I've started to add vegetation along the embankment wall. I don't want to overdo it but I suspect in real life, even for the era I am modelling, there was probably significant vegetation against the wall.

Do come to the show if you want to see a good number of narrow gauge layouts.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

New Toy

It was an itch that wasn't going away and whilst you are told never to scratch itches, I couldn't resist. My birthday present to myself was a 3D printer. Most people are aware now that there are two types of printer, Filament or Resin. Filament printers are those that melt plastic and Resin printers are those that deposit resin under ultraviolet light. Both have their pros and cons but as I was going for detail I opted for a resin printer, the Anycubic Photon S. It's the latest version of a very popular printer but there are limited supplies at UK Amazon - I saw they were back in stock a couple of weeks ago and bought one. Now they are out of stock again.

2 weeks after the day of arrival I finally produced the first print from the test file.

It's a lattice cube that stands about 2 inches tall and prints exactly as you see it in the picture without any support. In the end it took just over 6 hours to print this.

Why did it take so long to do the first print, mainly because of the paraphernalia that is required with resin printers. First off I had to reorganise my den to have a solid area for the printer to sit on, then you need the IPA to clean the print plus containers to put the IPA in, then you need to build/buy a UV curing box, then you need to work out how to use the software. Combined with working for a living it all took time to get up.

Right at the last minute, Kathy Millatt produced a great video on resin printing which helped build confidence and fill in a particular blank I had.

Next up is a railway test print, to learn to use the software better and to get back to building stock for Melin Dolrhyd.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Fiddle Yard Wiring

One task that had been left for later is wiring the points in the fiddle yard. For it's first outing the points were operated manually and there was no frog wiring. This wasn't an issue and it was fine to operate like this. Long term I have half an idea to automate the fiddle yard which means it does need wiring fully.

At a recent 009 Wilts group meeting, Adrian turned up with a new point motor, the MP1 from MTB Models. They are available from  DCC Train Automation. They are a motorised switch with adjustable range, automatic cut-off and a single pole switch. They are also very compact with a 45mm x 45mm footprint and less than 20mm deep. They run off AC or DC.

An order was placed and they were waiting for me on my return from a business trip and a bank holiday Monday seemed an ideal time to complete, what is, a very dull job.

The picture shows the primary end of the fiddle yard with the three motors in place along with the power connections and high frequency cleaner. As an aside, the cleaner was also a post show addition and showed that one particular engine has a dead spot in its pickups somewhere. It flashes with each rotation of the wheel!

The layout has now gone back onto the units where it is stored and I can carry on with detailing the layout and building stock.


Monday, 20 May 2019

First Outing

Last week the layout had its first outing at the Loddon Vale MRC 50th Anniversary Exhibition in Swallowfield, close to Reading. I had attended this show before as an operator for Matt Kean and he came and helped me this time. With it being just 10 minutes from home it made it an ideal location to try the layout - close enough to dash home if anything was needed (it wasn't).

We were put in a corner which was fine and had plenty of space to work with. It was less than 30 minutes to put the layout up and with experience we could probably get it down to a lot less. The inbuilt lighting proved it's worth as the day started fair but got dark and wet at one point and the lighting in this corner was not that strong.

The layout attracted some lovely comments which was very gratifying. The water was commented on as the light catches it as you move your head which does create a good effect. In the picture above Joan, painted plain black, is hauling some WLLR Goods stock.

I took a few photos but would have been better either with a flash or tripod as many came out more blurred than I find acceptable. Above is one of Matt's rakes - North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway 0-6-4T ‘Gowrie’ single Fairlie hauling a mixed train of Festiniog and NWNG carriages.

The embankment provides a good viewing point for stock. This is the same train but from a more realistic low level view.

WLLR 'The Earl' with the goods. Matt had fixed the nameplates that morning so it is steadily looking more and more like it did in Cambrian days.

A close up of 'The Earl' is not too shabby and really shows off the lining that Matt did.

Overall the layout performed well. The obvious niggles were:

  • The legs didn't all touch the floor. At home it sits on a shelf and sometimes on the carpet which hid the fact. Coffee stirrers were used at the show but adjustable end pieces would definitely be of benefit.
  • The rail joins had not been soldered down and whilst they could be aligned it was clear they needed a more permanent fixing and this has already been done, soldering the ends of the rails to copper pins.
  • One of the fiddle yard tracks was out of alignment and a rail had come out of the plastic fishplate. I had soldered the frog wire to close to the end which had caused a poor fit. This has already been rectified.
There's still plenty of detailing to do but for a first outing it was a very successful event.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

The Earl

The Welshpool and Llanfair only had two engines, The Earl and The Countess. There has only been the one kit by Golden Arrow and that has been out of production for years. Fortunately I was able to purchase a ready built one from Rod Allcock, a longstanding member of the 009 Society. Rod had built the loco as it ran in the GWR era and I was happy with that as I wasn't going to start messing with a loco built by Rod despite modelling the Cambrian era.

However, there was one thing bugging me about it, the couplings. They were the bulky whitemetal sort and the kit has them set relatively high. Mine isn't a shunting layout so that wasn't an issue but it was itch that would not go away.

I was looking at it a month or two back and had a soldering iron in my hand and took the plunge, literally - straight through those whitemetal blobs. One thing led to another and before long the paint had been stripped and a quick email to Chris Meach ascertained that original castings were still available. The dome, whistle cover, top feed and chimney were all replaced.

I've painted it in Cambrian Black and it has been lined for me by my good friend Matt Kean and just looks stunning as a result. Mind you he was able to point out that to be correct I should have shortened the cab (I had missed the fact that the GWR lengthened the cab) and the smokebox should not have had rivets in the Cambrian era. There's a definition for that sort of observation! There are some other bits that should have been reverted but I'm happy with how it looks. It sufficiently captures what they looked like in original form.

It's just waiting for plates which are on order and a little bit of tidying up. Most importantly it has Greenwich couplings and they are at the right height.

Second Hand Wagons

I picked up some wagons at Pewsey and, along with some others in the stash, I decided a quick cleanup and repaint and we'd be good to go...