Monday, 30 December 2019
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
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
- 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
Sunday, 3 November 2019
Below are the 12 wagons I've had waiting for painting. These have had a couple of coats of primer, a coat of topcoat and have spent most of the day in the airing cupboard.
I also primed the engine Joan with some etch primer but I can't have cleaned it thoroughly as I should have as there is a blot on the side tank where the paint hasn't taken. It remains to be seen whether remedial action needs to be taken.
Sunday, 27 October 2019
On a recent holiday (one of many reasons why there has been a lack of posts) I was reading about the recently introduced AK Interactive Weathering Pencils. They struck me as a potential solution since the way they work is that you rub on the pencil as you would with any crayon but you can then spread it out and work it into crevices using a damp paint brush.
If you really don't like the result then you can use more water and wash it all off completely. Here are some examples of what I have achieved so far.
It's a mixture of smoke, rubber, dirt, earth and sepia. Due to shortages of the packs of six I splashed out on the complete set, probably excessive but it did give me the chance to experiment. Interestingly I didn't like the effect I created on the roofs so I dampened a piece of kitchen paper and wiped it off, creating a better effect than expected!
They can probably take some more layers and there is definitely a technique to getting the dirt in the corners but I think I will persevere.
Sunday, 25 August 2019
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Sunday, 7 April 2019
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.
Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Saturday, 30 March 2019
Tuesday, 26 February 2019
It took a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon to solder up the pieces. The hardest part was deciding where two particular pieces went. In the end I realised they were bottom bracing for the cab unit. After that it was relatively quick to glue two pieces of plasticard together and then stick them to the roof with contact adhesive. I'm slightly concerned the fumes might attack the plastic but I used the glue sparingly. A file and several grades of sandpaper have been used to shape the roof. It doesn't have to be perfect.
There are several photos to be found on the internet but there is an excellent photo on flickr which is taken from above the railcar which shows the roof detail - the only photo I found of this.
Monday, 18 February 2019
The second piece of work was the telegraph poles. These had been made by Andy from the 009 Wilts Group and were surplus from his layout so he kindly gave them to me. It took a while to go over the pictures and determine where they might have been in real life but I believe they are close. While wondering what to use as wire my wide reminded me we had bought some invisible thread for hanging bats in a church (don't ask...). Needless to say we couldn't find it - well it's invisible isn't it... Once it was found I strung it up, just wrapped round the insulators for now and taped through the opening at each side. I also ran a paintbrush down the thread, much like dry brushing and that has helped it stand out a bit. Currently it is taught because off the reel the thread is slightly twisted. I am wondering if over time it will lose the twistedness and I can reduce the taughtness and have it sag like in the real world.
With my wife's help the front drape was hemmed and tested. No photo of that as the light had started to go off. I also turned the black material I had bought into a dust cover so it wasn't wasted. This all took place in the lounge so it dawned on me that as the layout was downstairs I should probably check if it fitted in the car. Thankfully it does and I have a good idea how I will pack the car on future outings.
Monday, 11 February 2019
Then the question was how to handle the 'wings' of the layout. The main board was designed to fit into the back of the car and to ensure there was no join in the visible part. Would these line up with the front or just be flat behind? Eventually I started cutting wood and it came together. The sides of the main fascia were glued on and braced with balsa. The bracing does not carry any load but is there to limit flexing.
The wings were cut and I selected a trapezium shape to try and limit the amount of flat surface the public would see and to help it stand out from the traditional square blob. I realised that I could effectively fix the wings to the sides of the main fascia by gluing strips of wood to the back of both boards and have then stick out. Imagine alternate pegs that push together by a lattice.
I then tried some velcro on the edge but it came away so a block of timber on the face of the wing provides the main weight support.
The next task was the front curtain. I went and bought some black material but it clashes with the muted green of the fascia so I will have to go out and buy another colour, probably grey.
The other task done is I have filled in the roof of the layout with mounting board. A layout like this is best viewed from just under eye level. My personal preference, however, is to set the layout height so people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters can see it. It means the majority of people have to stoop for the best view but many lean on barriers anyway. There isn't a good solution to this situation.
What I realised when standing up was that you could see down through the roof and that distracted from looking through the front s I filled it in.
Is it ready to go out now? Yes, I believe it is. I'll sort the curtain this week then there will be no bare boards visible and it runs. There is plenty to do on detailing and I need to build up enough stock but it can now go to exhibitions. I've contacted a couple of local shows and offered it as a fill-in should someone drop out at the last minute. A couple of shows should iron out anything I've missed!
A look back through this blog showed that I started this in Jan 2017 so a little over 2 years for a layout that has one track on it! I confess thought I had taken longer and wonder if I didn't start blogging until much later - who knows!
If you are interested then pop across to the Melin Dolryhd page on my website where there are details and an exhibition flyer you can download.
In the last 2 months I have had two articles published. The first was in Issue 121 of Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Modelling Review...
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...
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 bee...
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 a...