Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Warehouse Wednesday: High Wycome Part 2, Fire Escapes

Warehouse fire escape

While at High Wycome, I took the opportunity to take photos of the fire escapes decorating the outside of the warehouses. These are essential details for models, but are frequently missed off, partly through lack of pictures to follow.

Fire escape landing underside

I'd assume that these aren't originals, or at least very well preserved if they are. Climbing up a set of steps, everything seems solid, apart from where the steel has been replaced by checker plate.

Descending the fire escape

Everything seemed to be a standard design, leading me to suspect wholesale replacement at some point on all the buildings. Modelling this stuff isn't quite as easy as you might thing. There are quite a lot of joints with balls around them. A blob of solder, plastic bead or even blob of PVA might do the job for these. Or just ignore them, the main thing being to get the stairs, handrails and supports in place.

Fire escape

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Softening PVA glue joints

My dad's Bismark project continues with the odd instruction to sand 2mm from the side of each aircraft hanger.  These were assembled some time ago, so I assume this modification is an error in the original parts spotted late in the day when producing the series. 

Losing 2mm from a pieces of MDF is some serious sanding and almost impossible to achieve accurately without mechanical help. Far easier is to replace the part with a new one the correct thickness. The Parker stash of thin wood is well stocked with suitable material. 

The only problem is that the parts are fixed together with waterproof (blue bottle) Resin W. 

No matter, leaving small pads of damp kitchen towel against the joins seems to have weakened them enough that the sides to be replaced could be gingerly peeled away. I'm not sure that the glue has been broken in all cases, but the join softened enough that the very top surface of the MDF was peeled off.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Lost pliers. Found.

Over 20 years ago, I bought this set of pliers when replacing my tools after a theft. Since then, they have been my constant companion at the modelling board.  I know the pivot is a little sloppy and the points aren't identical in size but the first doesn't seem to affect their use and the second is helpful when bending bits of wire. 

They are so useful that I don't bother putting them back in the tool drawer, they just live on the modelling bench. 

Until a few weeks ago when I took them to a show. I know I did this because since my return I've been searching for them. Eventually they were hiding in a bottom of the toolbox wrapped in some paper towel. In the meantime I'd used several other pliers but they didn't really do the job in the same satisfactory way. I'm glad to have them back in their rightful place.

Does anyone else have old tools that are almost part of you?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Seen at Warley

OK, it's late and I'm tired, but here's a selection of goodies spotted at Warley on Saturday.

Thank Cross  Country Trains and a broken railway system for allowing me to post these rather than using my original plan to go down the pub for a beer...



Heljan - 4mm


Heljan - 7mm



Oxford Rail


Severn Models

Thanks go to Andy York for letting me use his light box while he was shooting stuff. For some reason, my cheapo compact doesn't do white balance in it, so do not take any of the colours of these photos as gospel. 

As far as my (dream) shopping list is concerned, I am pleased I've pre-ordered a Hornby Peckett as it's little gem. The Golden Valley Hobbies (by Oxford Rail) Janus is rather nice too and very tempting. Heljan's L&B loco is lovely too, and will manage the Peco set track curves on Owen's Bridge. Bachmann's bostlers will be useful as they are quite a bit stronger than the kit built equivalents. 

There were coaches too, but since this is my blog, and coaches all look the same, I've not bothered with them. 

Anyway, hope you like the quick snaps. Any questions, put them in the comments and I'll do what I can to answer.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

High Wycombe & District MRS open day 2016

Club panorama

High Wycombe & District MRS can be found at the top of a large warehouse 5 minutes stroll from the town's main shopping centre. The space has allowed them to build a shocking number of layouts, including a whopping great OO number capable to handling the largest express trains or some serious freight.

A couple of weeks after their annual exhibition, Wycrail, they throw open the doors to all comers. The place is tidy, layouts are working and a buffet is laid on - all for free.

Train ferry dock

Unusually for a UK club, there is a strong US modelling section with a couple of stunning layouts that would happily grace the best US magazine covers. If you think model railways stop at the channel, take another look.

I mentioned this last time I visited but things have moved on with an On30 project based on a tie (sleeper) treatment yard under construction. Chatting to the builders, I'm really looking forward to seeing this finished in a couple of years as there is some really clever design and engineering going on. The pressure treatment vessels open and close in line with a traverser feeding gurney cars into them - all ready to be installed in the model once all the wiring is complete.


Just inside the door, there was a rather nice MPD layout. I enjoyed a little game of "spot the kit" but was really impressed with the way both these and scratchbuilt buildings had been integrated into the modest sized model. Every time I read a whine on Facebook about lack of time or space, I'll point the poster at this since it's the sort of project that could be built for multiple different periods yet wouldn't take much time or space.

You'll expect a cake review and I can say they didn't disappoint. It seems that HW&DMRC members are particularly fond of both tiny sausages and sausage rolls as we were extremely well supplied with these as well as many different types of cake. Both chocolate and apple were delicious. 

If you live in the area, do take a look at the club website. The members are very laid back and friendly, the whole pace has a lovely atmosphere and there is a lift if the stairs are too much. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Packing up for Warley

This weekend is Warley weekend. I shall be found on the BRM stand - A37. That is unless I've wandered off to find cake or even look at some model railways. Don't worry, they won't let me go far so I'll be around!

Owens Bridge

On display will be Owen's Bridge, my WW1 009 layout, complete with a couple of new locos that have been in various magazines over the last few months.

Layout in a box

There will also be the new N gauge layout - which you have the chance to win. I'll be thrashing anything suitable around this. If we get our hands on any pre-production models you can be sure they will be tried out.

Gauge 3 railway wagon

Finally, all the "wagons in every scale" will be on show in a new display, which at time of writing, I haven't actually built yet...

So, please come along and say hello. I'm always delighted to meet up with any magazine or blog readers. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Scott's hand

 A little repair to a famous face. Scott Tracey, as any fule kno, is the pilot of Thunderbird 1 in the famous Gerry Anderson TV series and films. co

My miniature Scott is a vinyl figure kit built many years ago. Vinyl was a new material for me at the time, and still one I've had very little contact with. It's popular for large scale model figures (Scott is 10 inches tall) presumably for ease of moulding among the "garage kit" manufacturers. 

One advantage with it is that should any part be mis-shapen or need remodelling, heat from a hair drier will be enough to soften it from whence it can be tweaked to shape with fingers and held while cooling. 

I've often thought that moulding OO figures in vinyl would be handy, at least if the casting is clean as you can't sand the stuff to remove lines or flash. I like the idea of changing the poses with a little bit of heat. 

Anyway, Scott's hand had fallen off while he'd been on a trip out. The only adhesive that works here is  superglue, or maybe epoxy if you can hide the bulk. A few moments work re-attached his limb. I'm sure he's supposed to be holding something though and I have definitely lost that. Never mind, I think he's looking FAB again.

Scott Tracey

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Warehouse Wednesday: High Wycombe Part 1

Wycombe warehouse

Saturday saw High Wycombe MRC's annual open day. The club occupy the top floor of a fantastic warehouse. Admittedly, a slightly run down one on one side, but brilliant nevertheless. Sadly, I know nothing about the building other than it was erected in 1913 and appears to have spent the following hundred years falling apart. 

Wycombe warehouse entrance

Wycombe warehouse window

Quite how the place has escaped conversion into trendy loft apartments is a mystery. So close to London, and only 20 minutes stroll from the station with regular services, you'd have thought some developer would have jumped at the opportunity. After all, high ceilings, industrial chic and a model railway club to hand, what more could you want?

Wycombe warehouse courtyard view

There's so much of this building, I'll be returning next week for some detail shots. I'll also cover the open day in Saturday's post.

Wycombe warehouse panorama

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A bit of history on the shed floor

Winter means less food for birds so it's time to get the feeders out of the shed. On the floor was little station sign for my first serious layout, the Cawood and Wistow light railway. It must have fallen off the model when this was removed from the shed a few years ago.

Built over two decades ago, I've used Slaters plastic letters on a Plasticard background with some micro strip edging. I'm not sure I'd do anything different nowadays so times don't change that much.